Boon of Protection Hotfix & Balance Plans

Blizzard are applying a hotfix to the Monk’s Boon of protection and posted a few notes on what is going to happen with the skill and some comments on the current state of the Monk and Barbarian. Hopefully later today we should know more about Blizzard’s skill balance plans.

We’re in the process of removing the on-use benefits of the Mantra of Healing rune, Boon of Protection. The hotfix change is:

Amount of damage absorbed is now capped at the amount of healing provided by Mantra of Healing in the first 3 seconds after activation

We recommend discontinuing its use until the rune is replaced with a new rune and mechanic in a future patch.

The Boon of Protection rune was approximately ten times over its budget on the benefits it provided, and it was quite simply a mistake on our part to let the rune ship as it was. We don’t intend to take these quick and drastic measures often, but considering the severity of the issue, we felt it important to correct it swiftly.

We’re shooting to post a full list of recent hotfixes tomorrow, and will be looking to answer questions once that’s live.

Wait, so you’re going to take it out entirely?

It’s essentially being nerfed to the point of obsolescence until we can implement a new rune in its place in a future patch.

All great and dandy but now the Monk class is dead late game until some unknown time… Now what?

We’ve made a number of class changes (again, intend to post about all of them tomorrow) and we want to monitor how those shake out before we attack any content difficulty changes. Our intent is to get classes a bit more aligned, verify no new issues crop up from these hotfixes, and then considering all the factors we’ll look at content. It’s not a preferred method of operating, I’d say, but just because the game is so new we don’t think quick decisions on overall balance is the right approach when the metagame is still shifting.

Let me follow up by saying that in general class balance is an ongoing investigation, and by no means do we believe the game is now perfect, but we’re also seeing evidence that supports (with a few nerfs to wizard and demon hunter) the monk and barbarian are not as bad off as they seem.

A large part of the monk and barbarian designs are based on survival models that mimic the concept of the class itself. The idea of a monk is that he survives through being agile and difficult to hit, and his healing and survival scales particularly well by focusing on mitigation stats like dodge, resists, and armor. The concept of the barb is that he survives through a huge health pool, and healing himself through damage (%life on hit stats), which is potentially a bit obvious with all the life return skills but can’t be overstated.

The game is young, there were some skills that threw things out of whack, and we expect the landscape to settle out a bit more evenly. Or at least change again so we can continue to monitor the impact. Maybe we’re wrong, maybe there’s no current chance for monk or barbarian to compete with ranged, but our current suspicion is that’s incorrect and until we know for sure we’re not going to turn any dials.

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    54 thoughts on “Boon of Protection Hotfix & Balance Plans

    1. Damn I wonder why every patch since beta contains some kind of nerf to monks. Even the last little one had a final sentence stating the only gameplay change, a monk nerf of course. It’s like a ritual for every patch. Let us monkees be free 😛

      • I’m sorry, but I don’t remember my DH cutting through the endgame like a warm knife through butter.  Blizz is telling me that my DH was TOO POWERFUL??   🙄

        • Guess you never used Scmoke screen with lingering fog in combination with preparation backup plan. Which gave you an unreal long amount of godmode.

          • Thanks for the tip.  I do see quite a few fellow DHs doing the smoke screen thing when we play so maybe thats what they are doing.  HOWEVER, I don’t notice them “owning” anymore than I do or dying any less.  I think it may be overrated.

            EDIT: I took a look and will play around with it later tonight. You sacrifice some skills slots to make it worth your while though. But I admit that previously my only defensive skill was vault which has limited value imo.

    2. Balance is always a continuous process, and I have faith that Blizzard move things in the correct direction. I’m baffled that there is so much complaining about skill balance in the first week of the game. Of course it was going to be all over the place, that’s to be expected. Remember how many things got changed around in Diablo 2 over its life? The skills in that today look nothing like it did back then.

      I’m glad that I’m playing hardcore and moving through the game slowly, so things will be more fallen into place by the time it becomes an issue for me.

      Having a blast in this game. 

      • I’ve played SC to 60, realized it’s all broken and went over to the HC side.

        Having a great time, and really happy that Inferno can’t even be done in HC. Good, the gear there is overpowered (1200 dps inferno vs 400 dps hell??? Really???) and the whole idea is damn stupid.

        • Welcome to the club! 🙂

          I think it’s hard to identify with a lot of the problems people complain about when they don’t really apply to HC at all. Corpse hopping? Flooded auction house? No need to reroll? Boring gameplay based solely on farming?

          I just don’t see these issues. I’m too busy fighting to survive.


          • But the “mid game” item progression is still an issue… a specially in HC after 5 minute of kiting and playing on edge vs nasty champion pack i got recompasated with not even salvage worthy blues, becasue they didnt match the everlasting mainstat + vita combo. Rinse and repeat, until i die.


      • The Blizzard of today is nothing like the Blizzard of D2’s time. 

        Today’s Blizzard is huge and has a crap load of money.  You can’t claim that because D2 had lots of changes its ok and to be expected that D3 have changes also. 

        This game had a NINE MONTH beta. During that time it went through all kinds of internal testing and play throughs.  They said the complete game was played company wide.  

        They shouldn’t need to fix skills and make changes ONE WEEK after release.

        You say its EXPECTED for the game to be all over the place ! ?

        No, I don’t expect that at all, not from a company with billions of dollars, not from a company with 1000’s of employees, not from a company with all this experience, not from a game with a nine month beta.

        “It’s essentially being nerfed to the point of obsolescence until we can implement a new rune in its place in a future patch.” 😆 a NEW RUNE IN ITS PLACE ! after a nine month beta 😆


        • Was that rune even accessible in the beta? 

          Even if it was – it certainly wasn’t being used in high level situations… 

          • it was internally 
            unless they put the rune in and none of their internal people ever tested or used it 😀  


        • As others have said, D2 had at least as many problems, and a bigger company does NOT necessarily = perfection on release.  Actually, the opposite is true.  Game developers often cite teams being too large, as a big hindrance.  Just think about how it complicates everything to have a company that large.  And you have Activision breathing down your neck all the time.  Not excusing, but it’s true.
          On D2’s release the Necro’s Corpse Explosion skill, scaled out of control with more players in the game, allowing the Necro to destroy everything with a single CE.  That was pretty bad.  Show more evidence of your claim that the Blizz today is “nothing like the Blizzard of D2’s time.”

          Your arguement makes no sense, nothing was balanced at all when D2 came out.

          • “Show more evidence of your claim that the Blizz today is ‘nothing like the Blizzard of D2?s time.'”

            uh, billions of dollars ? WoW ? SC2 ? Years of experience ? World renown and a company that has their choice of the the top developers, testers, scripters and designers ?

            my argument makes complete sense 
            comparing Blizz of D3 with Blizz of D2 is like saying, “Its ok for Ford to have problems with cars today because Henry Ford had problems with his first cars too”   😆

            Blizz today is multi billion dollar company  
            They’ve had years of experience developing internal testing procedures with WOW and SC2. If anybody should have Quality Assurance and internal testing down to a science, it would be Blizzard.

            who the hell cares about D2 ! 
            this has nothing to do with D2 !

            D3 had a nine month beta and during that time it was playable to level 60 internally and hopefully was tested internally, yet they’re already preparing to get rid of Boon of Protection and put a new rune in its place

            I’m not saying Blizz of D2 was better. I’m saying Blizz of D3 has no excuse considering their experience and money.

            • That’s a silly argument. Apple has more money than Bliz and a ton of experience but you still see incremental patches between major iOS releases even when Apple is dealing with a fixed hardware platform and nowhere near the variables that a game like WoW or D3 has. The fact that you think money or an internal beta can guarantee flawless software tells me you’ve never been involved in software development. 

      • I agree I’m not readying my pitchfork and torches yet…I keep a nice supply of each for whenever I need to insight a riot.  But yeah it’s the first week of the game and people seem to forget that Diablo 2 was an awesome game…but it wasn’t until Lord of Destruction that it was Amazing and not until they added the synergies in a later content patch that it was the best.  So knowing how awesome this game has been week one I’m super excited to see what they add down the road.  For now I’m going to slow down on how much I play and probably casually play some alts for the time being.  Putting 97 hours in week one I feel was a good amount of play 😀

    3. Well poop, aoe serenity and boon of protection was the reason i remade my monk from dps to support. I wonder what will happen now..

    4. Wizard’s Force Armor is nerfed (doesn’t work at all, or at least has new rules to it), and the bug that lets you use an offhand with a 2h is fixed as well.

    5. Finally fixed, it was to overpowered anyways, they may now fix the inferno content so it is actually doable past act 1.

      • Never knew the rune effect was imba, used dodge aura while soloing Inferno to A4 ( except for Zoltan Kulle, 2manned that ).

    6. So basically the Barbarian HAS TO play with a humongous life pool, even though there’s only one skill boosting his healthpool and only with 10%, and HAS TO use skills that actively heal him all the time or be fudged in anything past Hell? Sounds great.

    7. Maybe its just me but the barb seemed under powered, the monk over powered, and the other 3 about right. I wonder what will be nerfed on the DH? Right now I do good damage but die easily while the monk I play with every night does almost equal damage and is near impossible to kill. My barb was probably under geared so I am not sure if he is really under powered or not. Must admit I am not a fan of being forced to take skills for the barb to keep him alive though

      • DH is going to get a nerf involving Smoke Screen, if it hasn’t already. That skill with certain runes, Prep, and and other runes that allow the DH to regen discipline quickly basically break parts of the game.

    8. Here you go kid > you bought some Apples! They are soooo gooood!
      Ow…you ask if they are so good that you can swallow them? Well we might change them for bananas if …well…soon. Maybe just chew on some apples till I get the bananas.


      PS: Fix the godamn boss fights – add minions, add environment interaction. Fix the godamn stats on items, rolls, drops.

      Why did I pay for this open beta..? o well…ill take it as a pre-paid order that allowed me to be in the open beta 😀

    9. I thought I’d ask if there is an ‘official page’ (rather than forums and the startup page when booting up the game) where we’ll be able to view all hotfixs, patches, etc?  I’d like to bookmark it for future reference.

    10. The biggest problem of Barbarian is fact that health regen and especially lifesteal are reduced on higher difficulties, to stop classes like DH from being too OP with huge amounts of HP they get on their attack. Even though my life regen says 700HP per sec on char sheet, I get only around 300HP per sec with war cry and corresponding rune active in game. And since Barbarian takes lot of damage on higher difficulties because he has to get close, he almost becomes useless without CC skills like Ground Stomp and Hammer of Justice with stun chance. Even with that, all you are left with is hope that your Revenge will proc when you are swarmed, if it does not you are pretty much dead in matter of few seconds and if playing solo on later difficulties and enemies get out of your cc. They need to fix those HP regens asap for Barbs. For example, Wizard can clear nightmare very easily, as my friend proved. He had almost no problems on Nightmare, since he was able to kite all those rares, where I had to get close and take those painful hits. Barbarian simply does not have enough sustain as he is now and his only sustain ability is based on luck.

      • The regen isn’t broken; the numbers over your head tick twice a second, not once a second.  I’m not sure how you misunderstood the length of a second so badly that you thought that your regen was halved.

      • I’m playing barb in act 3 Hell at the moment and I’m not having any problem – apart from the occasional horrible champion pack I have to run from, but doesn’t everyone?

    11. It’s just D2 all over again… melee characters kinda sucked, ranged characters were much easier to play, especially on higher difficulties. Classes that were supposed to tank and soak up a ton of damage couldn’t do it very well in practice. I’m finding it’s the same here. It’s sad, because so far the barbarian is my favorite class in D3, and I feel pidgeonholed even in normal difficulty into very specific builds with almost everything wired to a defensive skill.

      Also, I’m confused why there are healing wells in the room of every act boss except for Act 2, which is by far the hardest fight in the game?

      • I don’t know if I agree with the sentiment that melee characters *always* sucked, which you sort of imply. During the life span of D2 and LoD all classes went up and down in power (except maybe the Druid, go figure…). For example, the necro was far from the powerhouse he is now in the early days. I remeber trying to play one early on only to find how wimpy he was. Only useful thing about him was that he could farm items from bone walls 😉

        Anyway, I do know for sure that at one time WW barbs was all the rage for hell Meph runs and I can’t remember having trouble to kill most anything even with MF gear on.

    12. I was recently partied with a Barbarian, and my Monk never died once… though I didn’t use the boon of protection spell, just fancy foot work. My Barbarian friend died a lot though…

    13. I, for one, think this seems like a sensible approach. While I’m not thrilled that the survivability of my DH just got lowered, I like that they admit some things are off, but that they’re trying to take small steps in fixing them.

      I remember another recent game (*cough* SWTOR *cough*) where the developers obviously panicked and within a few weeks had hit so much with the nerfbat that it was silly. Apparently, they preferred to have no useful crafting skills instead of having one, among other things. I prefer a developer to ride things out a bit and not be afraid of boosting some classes/abilities, instead of just going down the road of endless nerfs. While we have yet to see if Blizzard will actually do things right in this aspect, their comments to the changes sure indicate so.

    14. I have a really good build for monk in hell at the min but I am fully aware it won’t be good enough for inferno. I was planning to change my build soon to the heal based tanking spec but now thats not going to be possible I’m unsure of what my role in group will be:

      Current Build:
      Way of 100 fists
      Crippling wave – Concussion or Blinding flash.
      Serenity – Peasful Repose
      Mystic Ally – Earth
      Breath of Heaven – Wrath
      Mantra of Conviction – Overawe

    15. you guys are complaining about game breaking bugs … LOL … its a week after release and you cant beat inferno as easily … geez.

      I hope blizzard doesnt cater to this  

      • I agree. It pretty much goes like this:

        1. Fan base asks for A.
        2. Fan base gets A.
        3. Fan base complains that A is not at all what they wanted and wants B instead.
        4. Fan base gets B. 
        5. Fan base complains that B is not like A.
        6. Go to step 1. 

    16. Looks like the duration of Smokescreen with lingering fog has been reduced, the buff is now shorter then the Smokscreen Cooldown.

      • Yes, now it’s a 1 or 1.5 second invincibility skill. Yay,…?
        I wish that instead of screwing with the numbers Blizzard would actually fix inherently broken skills and abilities, but apparantly Blizzard can only pay the programmer/cleaning lady for only 10 minutes of work.

    17. of course they find out about MY skill lol.. i 100% agree with this and thank god they are doing balance changes.. paired this up with breath of heaven with the increased spirit gained rune, and serenitiy, with 50% dr in all resistances and armor, and cripling wave which made enemies attack 20% slower and reduced 20% damage after that, and the passive that caused my attacks to reduce 20% of their damage.. ya i was almost unstoppable

      • Unstoppable, sure, but it also takes 30 seconds to kill a regular mob with this build.

    18. They should just increase barb natural DR to 50% or more in hell/inferno. Monk can remain on 30%:)

    19. NERF WIZARDS?!?! LOOOOOOOOOOOL they dont need nerfing, I am in need of some serious dps and defense upping, Act 1 in hell having a hard time! (solo tho)

      • You’re crap, simple as that (and no offence, but it’s true).

        I got to Act1 Inferno solo with my wizard and although it wasn’t easy – it shouldn’t be either.

    20. I hope mr. Wilson soon come on his barb to Act2 Inferno and check how is life there with all that dodge, lifesteal etc

    21. Just remember:
      When it’s someone else’s favorite class, it’s well needed game balance.
      When it’s your favorite class, it’s unfair, irresponsible and shortsighted nerfing.

    22. Bye bye Monk, you sucked in Inferno before this nerf and are just going to be obliterated after Boone is removed. Time to re-roll. /fail

    23. Insightful!
      I’ve played both and like both, but I prefer the monk due to his speed.

    24. “. The concept of the barb is that he survives through a huge health pool, and healing himself through damage (%life on hit stats), which is potentially a bit obvious with all the life return skills but can’t be overstated.”

      Huge health pool ? HAHAHA NOPE.

      I got maybe 10% more than my Witch Doctor friend and just because I got Amethyst in every fucking socket.

      The only thing here is Warcry with 10% but even that is useless compared to the dmg I receive.  
      Even with Shield, Resi Gear, Def Passives (Superstition, Juggernaut, Nerves of Steel) and Def Skills (Ignore Pain, Ground Stomp, Revenge, Stun Frenzy, Stun Hammer, Threatening Shout, Warcry…) I get fucked So hard in Hell now.  

      “Healing through damage”  “life return skills”

      But 90% of those skills ARE FUCKING RETARDED AND USELESS.

       Some completely unavoidable Elemental attacks do more than 60% of my HP in one fucking tick even after 20% Dmg Reduction from Superstition , 5000 Armor and 120 Resistance.
      Getting back 2% of my HP with Rend or Warcry is fucking dumb and worthless.

      Even with Ignore Pain(Ignore is Bliss) + Wrath of Berserker(Insanity) some enemies still EASILY nuke me. I get 20% HP back of those 23k damage crits with like 1,5 attacks per sec and they just fuck me. With this combo I can survive against some rares but after those 5 sec from Ignore Pain its over anyway.

      In Nightmare stuff was fine but now everything just fucking kills me so fast the regain on HP is a fucking joke.

    25. “It’s not a preferred method of operating, I’d say, but just because the game is so new we don’t think quick decisions on overall balance is the right approach when the metagame is still shifting”

      They need to blow it out their collective asses.

    26. It’s funny when you compare set bosses you sometimes randomly encounter against randomly made elites and champions, the latter are soooo much more difficult. The discrepancy in difficulty doesn’t make sense at all, unless ofcourse if Blizzard completely fucked up balance by not accounting for the fact that elites and champions gain extra abilities in higher difficulties. Infact i’m almost certain of it that that’s what went wrong.

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