Blizzard on Diablo 3 Patch v1.08 and Monster Density


Fresh from the item blog, the Diablo 3 devs have posted some follow ups on other coming features in Diablo 3 DiabloWikiPatch 1.08, in addition to the item blog info (which is mostly slated for post-v1.08).

WOW, I can’t wait for this patch. I will be downloading the PTR the minute it is available. This actually has me ecstatic. It might bring more of my friends to the game as well!
Lylirra: Note that (as of now) only the changes we’ve confirmed as being “for 1.0.8” will be going into 1.0.8 — so things like Identify All, monster density balancing, etc.

The other changes mentioned in Travis’ blog are being discussed for after 1.0.8 ships and are still in the planning phase of development.

I would like an update on monster density being increased through acts other then act 3, however. It’s nice to have new things to hunt for, but I would also like to enjoy looking for them in acts 1, 2, and 4 without having to waste time traveling dead spots looking for things to kill.
Lylirra: We’re looking at making some adjustments to monster density, and right now we’d like to see if we can get those changes in with 1.0.8. The trick with adjusting density is that, by doing so, we could inadvertently create another “most optimal” route in Act I, II, or IV. It’s the kind of thing we’ll be doing a lot of internal testing on before hand, and likely something we’ll want to have up for additional testing on the PTR.

Personally, I think there should be different optimal routes. The best route for farming xp, items, specific items, etc. I’d like to have something other to kill then just Keywarden and A3. Although, density needs to be increased drastically in some of those locations. Just saying 😀 I like variations and different reasons to hunt different things.
Wyatt Cheng: Yup! Pretty much this.

We’re spending time working on monster density in Acts I, II and IV because while optimal routes are inevitable, we want things to be close enough that options exist.

Currently we have a situation where a small number of specific runs are twice (or more) as effective as your average run. This margin is too large and overshadows other factors. Our goal is to make the monster density in Inferno close enough that factors such as your skill choices and gear level start to become more relevant. Let’s suppose you were trying to optimize XP/hour. What if a cookie-cutter Archon build on MP1 had one optimal run, but an SNS Wizard on MP3 had a different optimal run? Different areas also have different monsters with different abilities. Some classes have an easier time dealing with particular monster types, this can cause the “optimal run” to shift as well. If we get the overall densities closer, these other factors will start to become more relevant rather than the current situation where the raw monster density of a run dominates all other factors.

When things are close enough, you may try a run that is a little less XP/hour if it means increased DiabloWikiDemonic Essences. Maybe you just really enjoy the art of the Act I jail. Maybe you just want some variety and haven’t been to an area in a while. Maybe you want to do a full play through in co-op with a friend. It’s a matter of degree — these aren’t tradeoffs most players would make when the run results in a 50% loss in efficiency, but if the difference is 5-15% then these other factors come into consideration.

So, like Lylirra said, our goal is to avoid creating a new “most optional” run, and instead provide players with an environment that allows them to choose from multiple different options.

Travis Day: Ok I’ve finally caught up on all the responses in every location I could find them! This blog was written a while ago and between when I wrote it and when we released it a lot more relevant ideas came up so I want to mention a couple of them. I’m going to keep this short and to the point so I can get back to working on actually improving the game instead of talking about it. 😉

Below is a list of things that players can hopefully expect to see as soon as patch 1.0.8.

Click through for the rest of Travis Day’s post, and additional blue follow ups on what we can expect to see in the next patches.

Mob density

Acts 1, 2, and 4 will be receiving some adjustments in Inferno difficulty games. We want to try to make all of the acts as comparable as possible so that players don’t feel they always have to farm the same areas of the game repeatedly, diversity is the spice of life.

Multi Craft

We want to make it easier to craft lots of items, so we plan on giving players the ability to specify how many of an item they want to craft and then to make that many. Want to make 20 Archon Shoulders of Dexterity? Cool, push the button and watch it go.

AH tooltip compare

Ever wish you could compare the item you are thinking about buying with the item you are wearing? You want it, we want it, and we hope to have it in game soon.

In addition to the changes we introduce in 1.0.8 we also have longer term plans to address issues that need more attention. I mentioned a lot of these long term plans in the blog and outlined some of our philosophies that will drive the itemization of Diablo forward. One of those ideas that I saw mentioned repeatedly in response to the blog is the fact that class specific items can roll non class appropriate primary stats, we have plans to change this down the road. While random really is at the core of Diablo in so many ways this is certainly one of the areas where it has no potential to benefit players. Wizards don’t use Strength, Demon Hunters don’t use Intelligence so let’s just remove those as potential random attributes on Orbs and Quivers respectively.

I am assuming this will include gems. I hope.
Travis Day: Sure does!

edit: You talking about the itemization stuff in the blog? thats it?
what about class balance?

Lylirra: For right now (since 1.0.8 is still being developed), we aren’t going to have a lot of additional details to share about what’s included in the patch. As development continues, though, we’ll be sure to share more information — most likely in the form of a patch preview blog like we’ve done in the past, as well as just talking about stuff in here in the forums.

The distinction I was making with my previous post is that most of the changes Travis’ discussed in his blog aren’t coming with 1.0.8, but are instead being planned for sometime after 1.0.8 ships.

Sorry but it is hard to follow. What features or changes are not included in patch 1.0.8 ?
Lylirra: No worries. 🙂 The only changes we’ve confirmed to be working on for 1.0.8 so far are Identify All, a new multi-craft option, monster density adjustments, and AH comparison tooltips. Travis sums everthing up quite nicely here.

The other changes in Travis’ blog are being discussed for after 1.0.8.

Lots of coming changes and more promised for the future. The monster density thing is certainly needed, but I wonder (once again) why they don’t just add some bonus dungeons, bottomless or at least very deep, into Acts 1 and 2 (and maybe even 4, if anyone cares?) with the same sort of architecture as the dungeons in those acts and much higher monster density.

I wrote a whole article about this back in January, so I’m not going to recap it here, but adding more monster density to existing areas is problematic for a lot of reasons. It’ll make the first play through for new players unbalanced, lots of the dungeons in A1 and A2 are too narrow/small to be profitable even with higher density, lots of A1 monsters are so slow and easy they’ll be motionless exp pots, it doesn’t do anything to fix the boring static level layout issue, it messes up the balance and design of the areas and the story, etc.

New multi-level dungeons, for Inferno only, accessed via some special area in town ala the Hermit’s Shack, etc… seems such an easy solution. Which might be why they don’t seem to be considering it.

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  1. “Wizards don’t use Strength, Demon Hunters don’t use Intelligence so let’s just remove those as potential random attributes on Orbs and Quivers respectively.”

    Of course, we could’ve intelligently designed our attribute system so that some DH builds benefit from INT and some Wiz builds benefit from STR (Remember when this was the actual intent???). But I guess removing mods is easier than improving them.

    • Can you honestly tell me how “get enough strength for gear, max block with dex, and the rest in Vit” was any better? If gear was the important thing, why not just allocate primary stats on items? In theory it sounds much better and I honestly think it’s a much better system than D2’s.

      Don’t tell me I could build an all strength Necro in Diablo 2 because I’ve never seen one in any server and they would have been terrible at pvm.

      • Did I say D2 was better? D2’s attributes sucked and so do D3’s.

        Regardless, my point is that the game would be vastly more interesting if Int, Str, and Dex where of meaningful use to at least some builds for ALL classes. This was the originally stated intent and it’s extremely lame to hear them just give up on that notion.

        • Oh I see. Sorry I misinterpreted.

          Now I agree with you. It would have been more interesting to see the other attributes being used.

        • TL2 certainly isn’t perfect, but the stats lead to different builds utilizing (more of) an alternate stat, and no stat is completely useless to a specific class (or the classes I’ve played so far.) The additional build “strategy” is welcomed.

          • I dunno if that would work w/o diminishing returns on prime stats, which is another different can of worms. You’re already chasing enough stats (crit, crit damage, haste, etc) that having to piece-meal multiple main stats makes it incredibly difficult to stay competitive w/ “pure stat” builds and classes. And being a “pure off stat” build would require a lot of extra skills and abilities that most builds would never touch (okay, that’s a good thing!) While I like more options, I’ve never trusted Blizzard (or especially Blizzard North) to handle balance very well. This bit about Inferno farming is a perfect example. The idea was sound (make sure everywhere in the game is pretty effective farming wise), but the execution was severely lacking. The more variables you throw at the team, the more ways they have to screw up.

    • Strength adds armor and Dex adds block, useful as secondary stats on a few items for a melee range wizard anyway. Would have been nice if the attributes contributed to effects: STR = chance to stun, DEX = chance to crit, something like that.

      But, really like what I’m hearing from Travis and Wyatt, these are – like others said – ‘quality of life’ fixes that probably should have already been in there. Is Jay gone the difference? We’ll likely never know, but it looks like part of it.

      Regardless, removing the tedium in running the same area, identifying, crafting, AH comparisons, etc is all good stuff. Looking forward to it.

      Now, if they could only figure out a way to make random dungeons more than 2 levels deep. Or how to get an event or any sort of multi-level dungeon or tower in Act 4.

  2. They’ve intended to make inferno a place where you can efficiently farm anywhere since the new difficulty was first announced. Same as they’ve said with all the “variety” in builds for each class.

    So I think I’ll wait and see how these changes turn out before applauding these words of improvement.

  3. One of the problems with farming is the dialogues and cutscenes. If they allowed us to circumvent those even being seen it would go miles towards making other acts viable. Act 1 Inferno needs more elites in the early stages on top of higher monster pops.

  4. An infinite, randomly generated dungeon is pretty clearly the optimal solution for anyone who’s still playing D3 and is therefore sick to death of the linear slog through the same old act quests in the same old boring locations. Does *anyone* find that fun?

    I can only assume that they’re saving it for the expansion.

    • While this sounds awesome (because it is awesome as was proven in Torchlight) D3 will never be capable of that level of random generation. Modern PC hardware is more than able to handle such things. Other games have done it to critical acclaim so it’s not exactly a hard or risky move. I really can’t think of a logical explanation for this other than lazy coding.

  5. Flux, You said

    “It’ll make the first play through for new players unbalanced, lots of the dungeons in A1 and A2 are too narrow/small to be profitable even with higher density, lots of A1 monsters are so slow and easy they’ll be motionless exp pots, it doesn’t do anything to fix the boring static level layout issue, it messes up the balance and design of the areas and the story, etc.”

    but they clearly said “Acts 1, 2, and 4 will be receiving some adjustments in Inferno difficulty games.” Observe the “in inferno…”

    • I mean first time in Inferno; I typed it in short hand here since I did a whole article spelling out the details back in January. Imagine a brand new level 60 char, mostly self found, entering Inferno in v1.08 with 5x the monster density? It would be unplayable.

      Obviously that’s not a lot of people now, but I figured it would still be a factor that the devs would want to avoid. Hence suggestions like new dungeons, or density increasing with MP level, etc.

  6. I’m glad to see talk about a new update so soon after the last patch. They are really working hard on addressing these issues which is always a good thing.

  7. I was expecting big things for the next patch. I don’t think they will address multiplayer or items until expansion sadly.

    “The only changes we’ve confirmed to be working on for 1.0.8 so far are Identify All, a new multi-craft option, monster density adjustments, and AH comparison tooltips.”

    ID all: Identification was actually one system that never bothered me at all. I was fine with both the D2 ID all option and the way they did it in D3. Either way its a minor quality of life issue that should require next to no effort or imagination to fix.

    Multicraft: I have no desire to craft. Again another minor quality of life issue though. Doesn’t require innovation or thought just makes something mundane occur faster *YAWN*.

    Monster Density: A meaningful and major quality of life fix… but like they said it will take a long time and tons of testing. There’s also a very high risk of doing a lot of work for nothing here as they might just create another “best route”. They’ve made that mistake when fiddling with both gear and runes so don’t hold your breath. This doesn’t really excite me that much anyway yes I hated endless ACT III loops but there other far more important issues. No thought or innovation required it’s just trial and error adding packs to the other acts. Best change though.

    AH comparison tooltip: Common sense minor quality of life issue. Should have been present at launch if not hotfixed yesterday. No thought or innovation required. I posted about this one earlier though.

  8. @flux
    Monster density will probably only work on inferno difficulty (or after you defeat it) or they can add it as an option just like MP levels. Problem solved for new players.

    Now does that mean that a bottomless dungeon is not needed after monster density change? not at all. I would still want it to happen.

  9. Awesome! This means the game will be finished sometime next year?

  10. So we’ve been suggesting ‘ID all’ since roughly 1 month after the release of th game, right? They are finally putting it in…AFTER Jay Wilson has left the team. That’s just a coincidence, yes?

  11. More features that should have been in at release! Is d3 the least finished blizzard product ever at release? Or was d2:lod just that good? D3 dev time exceeded d2 + its expansion, so I’m not sure what went awry. Maybe they had to force d3 out the door to end the destructive iteration (ie last minute stat system and runes overhaul).

  12. They’ll probably give the ID all option to Deckard Cain so you can only do it in Act 1. 🙂

  13. No endless dungeons. The greatest mystery of all time. Indeed.

    Probably because they want you to experience the story each time! People would be missing the intriguing conversations with Azmodan while farming act 3.

  14. All these changes seem like good ideas, especially the big one: mob density.

    For all the ppl that think bliz can’t balance – don’t play the game! I think they do a good job for the most part. Remember when the game came out inferno was next to impossible, no MP or para lvls, legendaries sucked, and crafting was useless.

    Not that bliz is perfect, but D3 has improved since it came out, and it’s really a moving target. Fix one thing (nothing past lvl 60 – para lvls) something else comes up (too easy/”grind for ext” – MP lvl) and now it’s density (act3 – rebalance 1, 2, 4). Like a game of whack-a-mole, once they fix one thing, something else comes to the forefront – it’s the meta game of balance, and part of the reason bliz games do well is because they do it better than most, and on the whole keep working and updating their stuff.

    With that said, I’d LOVE to see a random bottomless dungeon.

  15. What issue would an endless dungeon fix? Sounds like a boring effing endgame to me.

    It’s more varied to run around in the world with both outdoor and indoor areas and use MP levels as a source for difficulty increase.

    What they need to do is increase and tweak the mob density through all acts and increase the reward for completing rare scripted events. Give us a good chunk of EXP, guaranteed Demonic Essences and increase Naphalem Valor stacks to 10 for a period of time after completing them. Or something similar.

    I’m soo looking forward to running act 1 again.

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