As promised last week, three Reaper of Souls developers, Travis Day, Wyatt Cheng, and John Yang joined CM Nevalistis for a live chat this afternoon @ 4pm PDT. The whole chat went 90 minutes and covered more than 50 questions, and you can see the full transcript below.
A few highlights of new or newish info:
Much more in the full transcript, with over 50 questions. Click through for that and the full archived video.
Diablo 3 Developer Live Chat: Transcript
Rough transcript done in real time, with some polishing afterwards. Not exact quotes except in rare “quotations” instances.
Neva: How are you all today?
John: Great, let’s jump into the questions. And we just announced an exp/gold buff today. Doesn’t seem like a year since RoS….
Question: The mobility for Demon Hunter and Witch Doctor is not equal with other chars. Will you change it?
Travis: We talk about that and Demon Hunter was one of the higher mobility classes in our breakdown. And Witch Doctor was on the lower end. We don’t think they should all be the same and that’s probably not something we’ll change.
Wyatt: Witch Doctor’s mobility isn’t as strong as say Demon Hunter or Wiz, but the Witch Doctor should excel in other areas. There’s diff ways to measure mobility. How far/fast can you go, and how well does it go over chasms or through monsters or through a jail grate? We want the classes to feel different, and have strengths and weaknesses.
John: We did look at them before RoS launch to equalize. We put in the Witch Doctor passive for that. We don’t want total differences between classes, so one guy falls way behind in the party and can’t catch up. And Spirit Walk is so good already, being used by lie 97% of Witch Doctors, so we didn’t want to tack even more speed onto it. We’ve considered buffing others, like Soul Harvest getting some movement speed also.
Question: Can we use multiple Trial keys at once?
Wyatt: Trials get beat up a lot, both in public and by the dev team. I think we can go farther than letting you use multiple at once. Nothing to announce today, but we’re definitely going to make that better soon.
Question: Given all the feedback about trials, can you agree they need to be fixed?
Travis: I totally agree we can make them better. I’m on the side of players who want to fix them. My usual analogy is that they don’t measure your height every time you get on the roller coaster. So why do we? Trials serve a purpose, but they are very high friction and we’ve talked about lots of ways to make the lower friction, more of an easy opt in. We’re batting around a lot of ideas. We want to do something, but we don’t have the details to reveal yet.
Wyat: We’re experimenting with… not quite related to trials. We’re changing the blood shard cap in v2.2.0. I’m excited about it. The way it works is your highest rift in personal solo raises the cap by 10 per each GR higher you do. So if you do GR25, then you’re cap goes up 250. I mention this because it’s about emphasizing your personal progression and personal accomplishments. I don’t want a giant drop down from 1-1000 with Trials that lets you pick any Rift. We had that with the Monster Power system in the old days and players often picked higher than they could handle and had a bad time. So we want to do something with unlocking or options to allow more freedom in Trials, but not totally out of your range.
Question: Given the clear demand, will we get microtransactions outside of China?
Wyatt: A few weeks ago we released some info that we’re making changes in various regions. The changes are for new regions only, not US, EU, Korea, Japan. Just new regions. In those we’re selling wings, pennants, pets, char space, and stash space. And boosts. None of that is planned for the 4 regions I’ve mentioned. No announcements planned about microtransactions in the current regions. We’re interested in cosmetics, and people have asked for more options. Fiery footprints, for instance, though some legs give similar to that already. We don’t want the same thing from legendary and cosmetic.
One thing I want to make clear about boosts, we have no plans to sell them in any of our existing regions. Blizzard as a company we don’t want a pay to win situation. I don’t think players want that either. We want an even playing field and players want that too. The reason we have platinum in upcoming regions, which you can earn by playing the game (or buy with real money), we have a stance against pay to win in all regions. We’re tuning it in the upcoming regions so you can earn enough platinum to earn boosts. Such as a full time exp boost. Obviously if you only play like 30m a week then you’ll have to pay some for the boosts. But the game is generally free to play in those regions.
Question: Will we see a legit IK 6 piece bonus beyond the +100% damage increase?
John: The plan is to keep it as is.
Wyatt: That’s a leading question. I think the Immoral King’s bonus is legit. I don’t mind doing double damage.
Travis: no plans to change that. but I chuckle since we often talk about set bonuses and something that just adds 100% damage is one of the least interesting way to do it. That’s a pretty good set bonus, but it’s not at all sexy. I’d like to double damage in a cool way. But in terms of performance it’s a great bonus. And people are only angry since the 500% bonus that set initially had on the PTR was obscene.
John: When we put 500% on PTR people were instantly doing GR60 and people thought it was amazing. And now it’s down to 100% and people complain about a huge nerf. If we’d done 1% to start and then gone up to 100% people would think it was awesome.
Wyatt: Our philosophy of the barb sets in general… prior to v2.2.0, Raekor’s set has been the #1 barb set. LeapQuake was pretty good, and IK was just okay. People are very excited about the new Wrath of the Wastes Whirlwind set. And at the end of the day we want the new set to be really good. The star of the show. We want you to enjoy all the sets, and the Whirlwind set is the new hotness. We don’t want a state where one set is always the best, and we don’t want to inflate power levels every time. But particularly for the IK set you get 2p bonus of Ancients last forever, 4p reduces the cooldown when you spend Fury which enables Wrath of the Berzerker full time. And the 6p is when all are active you get double damage.
This is a very open-ended set that can be combined with a huge number of skills. We expect the strength of the IK set to increase over time. We don’t want to make it as good as it’ll ever be right at the dawn of the patch. Compared to the WW set, everyone knows it’s not just the set, it’s got synergistic legendary items. And we’ll probably add something like that to the IK set over time, with other legs making it stronger.
There’s an expectation that IK should be number one, but that’s not our plan. It should be good now, and better in the future as new legs pair with it.
Travis: I refer to IK as one of the “generic” sets, since you can do any build with it. Akkhan’s is similar for the Crusader, since you can run Akarat’s Champ full time. So any time we add a new Crusader item you can pair it with Akkhan’s set and do new things. That’s the design goal. Last patch added a new shield made Condemn great, so then players immediately paired that with Akkhan’s. So that’s kind of how IK is supposed to work, pairing with lots of different potential builds and pairing with new items for new builds.
Wyatt: When we first released IK on PTR, it was better with Whirlwind than the Whirlwind set. And that’ wasn’t ideal. But we brought that down and now Whirlwind works best with the Whirlwind set, though it’s pretty good with IK as well.
John: There’s a new Hammer of the Ancients weapon. Where Wyatt’s going is that we didn’t like the WW set to work better with another set. I personally want IK with Hammer and Seismic Slam and Whirlwind to be good, but not better than the other specifically WW set. But I don’t think the difference should be really large, and it’s similar now.
Question: Have you guys considered changing pylons so they’re only seen in Greater Rifts up until GR30 or so, and no Pylons on higher GRs?
Wyatt: Pylons are… they’re in a better place than they used to be. We’re not there yet, but it’s better. I think the Speed Pylon could use adjustments. I don’t think we want to remove Pylons completely, but from a strictly, hyper-competitive “I want to remove all randomness” players want that, but it’s not a situation where people only do a GR a few times with the exact same layout every time.
We want a situation where there’s a highly replayable game, and you run a lot of rifts and see hwo the RNG works out. That’s part of our core game.
John: I think removing randomness removes some of the fun. I know that might affect the sanctity of the top of the leader board. We debate that interior. No one can argue that Conduit or Channeling is terrible if it lets the number 1 guy win. Other people can get the same luck if they run a few more Rifts and get the same luck.
There’s a range, where the old conduit could be a 1/1000 chance and let you run much higher Grift. We don’t mind randomness when it’s just a slight difference in the top of the line.
Travis: There’s so much variance at the top of the Grifts, with monster variance, level layout, etc, and pylons are just another level of randomness on top of that. Previously the variance was too big, and we’re trying to equalize it a bit, and players tend to really notice any big difference, like the all zombie rift. Players want to feel the top ranks are deserved and not just random luck. Pylons are great at spicing up the luck and making it more fun, but they do verge on territory that might skew the Leaderboards too much.
Wyatt; Diablo III is a PvE game first. Anything that smells like PvP has to take a back seat.
Question: Season 1 was too long and Season 2 was too short. Can seasons be more consistent in the future?
Wyatt: Season length is dictated by our dev schedule. This season has 3 new sets for the classes, Wizard, Barb, and Demon Hunter set. Next patch will be new sets for Witch Doctor, Crusader, and Monk. And the next season will start when the patch is ready and the content is ready. I personally hope it’s longer than S2, but shorter than S1, but we’ll do our best to give you the progress along the line and the two week warning.
John: TLDR, we’d like them to be 3 months or so.
Travis: 3-4 months.
Question: Can you just make Teleport work all the time like it does with the Aether Walker wand?
Travis: Probably not. We have an item that does that, so get the item to get the effect. General observation: any time you take a skill ability and modify it with an item, people want it to work that way all the time. That’s not the point; if you want to cool effect, get the item that gives it. Just on Aether Walker, probably no.
Wyatt; Players see all the leg weapons, and the first filter you put it through is how much damage it’ll do and how much DPS it’ll do. Players like Furnace since it’s damage with a leg effect or more damage. So we like other legs that do cool stuff but maybe not just damage, so players have to choose. And players want both, but no,.
John: IF we made Aether Walker baseline, that would really increase the movement disparity between classes.
Question: Why does every Witch Doctor set include a mask, when all the builds require a special mask. forcing all WDs to wear a RoRG for any gear variety?
Travis: When we talk about sets internally, and related to RoRG. I don’t see that Witch Doctor as a problem. I’d say it’s a desired effect. We don’t have enough competition for great slots on all classes. I wanted more great rings to make the RoRG more of a decision. We have a lot of new rings in the new patch and some of them are insanely powerful. Id’ rather see that approach to rings and Witch Doctor helms. So players have to choose between the great items. And then debate the RoRG to get the other helm or not, etc. Interesting choices are created. Of course the player wants all the cool stuff… but I’d rather players make choices and have a sense of customization.
No plans to take other Witch Doctor masks out.
John: I realize that feels a little bad, to never wear Jade helm since Quetzalcoatl is better. There was no choice before this patch. If we’d shipped with the new gear like Ob/zod, then players would have had more choices. Since there weren’t those options initially the current style feels like the base setup.
Wyatt: There’s always a diff between end point and the journey to get there. I’m a fan of seasons and I’ve got a Witch Doctor I want to talk about. I got 5 pieces of Jade really quickly, including the mask. But I don’t have the Jade chest. and I have the Quetzalcoatl. I’m 3000 shards into gambling for the chest, no luck yet, but it gives me something to hunt for. There was a big power jump when I first unlocked the six piece bonus, and I’ll power jump again when I find the chest and can switch from the Mask to Quetzalcoatl. It makes the journey fun.
Many Monks wanted Seven Sided Strike or Sweeping wind to be the focus of the new set. Why Dashing Strike was chosen?
Travis: The new bonuses are spirit generator damage and IAS, your Dashing strike costs spirit, and the 3rd bonus makes Dashing Strike do huge damage when you use it. So the whole set revolves around Dashing Strike. That was a set were long ago we decided that Dashing Strike was really fun, so the Monk could jest fly around and obliterate everything. So we started with that fantasy and it wasn’t a very good set at RoS launch, and we tried again in patches…. we really like the fanstasy of the really fast agile Monk, so we’re working on that. I know some players don’t want to use Dashing Strike as a damage button, but not every set has to be or everyone one.
We’ll make more sets later for more skills, but this one is about Dashing Strike for now. If you like that fantasy, here you go.
John: I read feedback about the Dashing Strike play style being too jittery and headachy. Like how Sunwuko was hand hurting in the past. In the meantime we’ll look at how the camera pans or jitters. Compared to Furious Charge, it’s less headache inducing.
Travis: Zero headache is the right amount.
Question: Any thoughts on the Wizard’s resource? It’s the only class that can’t spam worthwhile spells.
Travis: Interesting question. I’d say the Wizard has a resource that matters, to some extend. I know this is ideal designer land, resource matters, that’s why we don’t have buttons that are just “hold me and win.” I think it’s fine that Wizards can’t always spend infinite of their sbest skill. I’d say that wizards should be completive and comfortable and have a good play experience. If the skills you can cast don’t feel meaty enough, we need to work on it. And maybe we haven’t made good enough legs for certain skills.
We’re trying to push it. I know the new Tal Rasha’s set is making Meteor amazingly powerful. I’m interested to see what happens with Tal Rasha’s set and maybe the new Blizzcon Ring combined. Maybe there will be really cool builds on that. When a skill doesn’t get in play, we think about how to make it better. with a super cool idea.
Wyatt: Reminds me of Focus/Restraint set rings. The current meta standard is RoRG/Unity/SoJ. We wanted to not nerf them, but to make more rings that are really good and in competition. Our first pass on Focus/Restraint on PTR, boosted 150% damage when you were high on resource. It just became a math problem. Classes that could put on both rings and keep high resource were better.
We didn’t want math to just make one ring set up the best. So we changed Focus/Restraint to give damage buff when you use a generator and a spender. We don’t want them to be for everyone. We want them excellent for certain builds. We think Wizard is great to take advantage of that, and other classes who can use both spender and generator also.
John: Like the Unhallowed Essences set.
I want to say on the Wizard front, why they don’t have spammable spenders. There are some ways to do it with items, like you can spam Meteor. Yes you do have to cast your primary skills sometimes, but with work and gearing you can spam your Spenders. And the other angle is, “we’re not done with the game yet.” There are skills that are not being supported by items. We’re going to add items that will make them viable and spammable. We’re not done with the game.
Travis: I’m going to make sure we clarify that not every skill will be spammable. *laughter*
Wyatt: Every Spender viable for an end game build.
Nevalistis: A good skill to mention is Arcane Orb, that recently got Triumverate as an awesome item boosting it.
John: Hammer of the Ancients, etc. Triumverate is a Wizard off hand Source that gives you a stacking buff. The more stacks you have the more damage your Arcane Orb does. Makes a previously very viable spender into a viable spender.
Wyatt: Both are coming in 2.2.
Question: Do you think there will be a system introduced to allow converting gems, like in a 3 to 1 ratio?
Travis: No. What we want is to give you uses for say, Rubies if you’re playing a Demon Hunter. And ways to let you get more gems of the type you want. Like the Broken Crown legendary.
The other side of the coin is what do you do with all your excessive Amethysts, if you’re not playing Hardcore? We’re always looking for more ways to consume excess materials or resources. and find ways for players to get rid of those. But it will not simply be converting Gem A into Gem B.
Question: Are you planning to make changes to ancient weapon damage range, since ancients are now always better than any non-ancient roll?
Neva: I had that issue today, with a bad ancient vs. a good non-ancient.
John: This means if you’re using a current Furnace, you can replace it with an Ancient anything. And then when you find an Ancient Furnace, it’s the best. So you get 2 item upgrades that way, instead of just one, or you’re at the best weapon forever.
Wyatt: Last week I was listening to a recent Westmarch Workshop podcast, and one of the questions was about Incense Torch, non-ancient, and an ancient two-hander with much higher damage. What followed was like a 5m conversation on which one was better; spamming bells vs. more raw damage. The theory was run the same GRift 5x with each and compare the times. I think that’s part of how players should have their own experiences, and I know there’s this mystical ideal of best gear, but I like when gear takes you down different roads.
I would like to see more interesting weapons in general, and sometimes you get an Ancient w/o any special power, and that’s just not fun. I’d like if all weapons had interesting effect. There’s a Witch Doctor knife I want Dagger of Darts, but I keep finding Spider Queen Grasps instead. And I got an ancient one, but I still don’t use it since it can’t make up for the lacking power. I want all the leg powers on weapons you’d always use the new Ancient one, and have to change your play style ot take advantage of it.
John: that’s the dream. eventually we’ll get there.
Wyatt: Johns’ been working on buffing the weapons to make them better.
John: I’ve buffed several fo the new weapons to make them better. I want to do a lot more of those in the next patch. We want to make it so any ancient is better than the current weapon you have, but there’s a lot more to add.
Question: Plans to make the topaz in helmet reduce resource cost.
John: I see that a lot, and looked into it. There’s probably someone out there who likes magic find… we might do something some day, but maybe add a new gem someday to do new powers that people want. Better than changing current gems.
Question: Plans on adding Ancient’s Fury into the IK set bonus, to make all the runes generate fury?
John: I know people think that’s mandatory… but that’s one of the reasons the Bul Kathos’ set adds 10 fury per second. But for everyone who doesn’t use that, or uses IK weapon, or Furnace… you might have resource woes, it’s a slightly problem now.
Travis; I don’t think that’s soemthing everyone feels. There’s always the vocal minority who says this skill is bad without Rune X. Some are great for HC if they boost survivability, but we like some cases where it’s a hard decision between them. Players make choices that are valid and interesting, That’s what runes are there for.
Question: Plans on removing Rend’s animation to not interrupt Whirlwind?
John: We like that it interrupts your WW to make gameplay interesting. So there are ways to make Whirlwind take less damage, and we’ve shortened the casting time for some skills so they’re less of an interruption, but we like when there’s a moment of weakness mixed in casting Rend before going back into your WW.
Question: What happened to Cursed Realms, and will we see them next patch?
Wyatt: Cursed Realms was datamined, and nothing we’ve talked about or that we’re going to. There’s lots of stuff in datamining that’s not real. There was a Professional Russian Sword that was made by a QA guy for our internal testing, and never anything intended for the live game. Always use a grain of salt reading datamined info, and especially the Cursed Realms stuff.
Question: Why did you change mechanics of Sever mid-season?
Wyatt: Yeah, so… Sever had an interaction with the March for Death rune on Demon Hunter. It allowed the damage to spread. We looked at that interaction and we try to avoid situations where the damage you’re damage is disproportionate o the rest of your gear. Anything that does % damage, like the old Furnace, Crushing Blow, etc. We try to get away from things that do way too much damage for what it does. Sever was originally a cosmetic effect to make cool gibs of monsters, and wasn’t meant to be a really powerful tool on top of that. . We should have implemented it as a visual, instead of scaling damage.
We were split about changing it in-season, and we debated that, and we had disagreements about it, but we were all split, both as a team and each of us internally. On the one hand we didn’t want to affect leaderboads mid-season. But on the other hand, it was a very specific gameplay style that we didn’t want to promote. And on the third hand, we don’t tune our game around the Leaderboards, so to an extent we were like, “if we want to fix, we should just fix.’ And on the fourth hand, we also considered waiting for the next patch to fix it.
In the future when stuff like this comes up, it’s always case by case. Would we change leaderboard affecting stuff mid season again? Maybe. it’s not what we want to do.
Travis: We went back and forth about that change. For me it was more reasonable to change now… Sever was so much better than anything else, as soon as it got popular everyone would do it, and it would greatly reduce the variety of play styles. And I know the top sliver of players feel only one set up is viable, but we think most players use more variety.
Wyatt: To be honest… if it came up again I think something similar, on the dev team there’s resistance to change mid-season, that went up after we changed Sever. We had another philosophy discussion afterwards. Where’s the line that something merits hotfixing or not. What would player want us doing with our time? Working on content for the next patch. Do it sooner. If we want to fix sever or something like that in the future, fix it next patch?
John: Sever was something beyond our fixing threshold in the past. Now it probably wouldn’t be.
Question: It’s too hard to gamble specific weapons. Can we gamble for the type we want, or maybe reduce shard costs?
Travis: The short answer is No. The longer answer is Maybe.
I have strong feelings about being able to gamble the specific item you want. I think it’s important to improve odds, but shouldn’t be guaranteed. We’ve discussed future ideas I’ll just call, “Super Kadala” where you could take a base rare or blue of the item type and make it legendary through some mechanism that’s really expensive, like requiring a lot of gems or materials or Souls. So if you really wanted a Furnace you could sink a ton of materials turning blue and yellow two-handed Maces into Legendary two-handed maces.
Giving players some more control over their weapon creation is good, but I’m against just breaking Kadala down into a lot of different tables and letting people simply buy the legendary they desire.
Question: Was Spirit Walk meant to be nerfed by the Witch Doctor set changes and Immunity reductions?
John: Spirit Walk was kind of an innocent bystander to the recent changes against permanent immunity. Spirit Walk could make you invulnerable for up to 15 seconds at a time. That said, we really like the Jade Doctor play style. It makes you get in there close and it’s dangerous, since the Witch Doctor doesn’t have that big 30% damage reduction. We’ve tried to compensate for the Spirit Walk changes by adding new defensive bonuses, like the 2p bonus to Jade, etc. If that’s not enough we’ll look at it further.
We don’t want people to log in after a patch and feel weaker in their same gear. Maybe Jade WDs will feel that, and that’s our fault and we want to change that.
Wyatt: Survivability is something we look at. Not just for Witch Doctor, but for all classes. I want immunity to be part of your survivability kit, but not the whole thing. We look at ways to add survive, all over. Like the new legendary gems in the last patch. And the next patch has another leg gem that reduces melee damage also.
We don’t want players to feel lke Spirit Walk is essential to survive, but there should be other ways to boost survivability also.
Question: When you look for feedback on the PTR, do you want ideas and concepts, specific numbers that need to be changed, or bugs, or everything?
Travis: All of the above.
John: I took ideas for Gavel of Judgment straight from threads on B.net. We’ll take feedback all the time. Look at player comments, we look at the PTR Leaderboards, etc.
Wyatt: There was a suggestion about the blood shard cap that we liked. Sometimes PTR suggestions are awesome, but not always useful for right then. Someone asks for a whole new set around a skill, we can’t just throw that in.
John: Helltooth set ideas I love. We like the ideas. Keep them coming.
Question: Can we remove Gold Find from paragon points and replace it with +Damage to Elites?
Travis: No way. That’s come up before, and not everyone likes Gold Find, and I’m sure expert players have nearly infinite gold. There are people who Gold Find is useful for.
Wyatt: I finally got the Avarice Conquest in S2, picking up 50m gold outside of the Vault, and I was proud of that, making it in the first 100 to earn the reward. And I needed to put all my Paragon points into Gold Find to make it, and I couldn’t do it until I hit Paragon 200 and had all 50 points in Gold Find. Gold Find is situationally useful. And since it’s in the Utility category, I wouldn’t want something super damage focused in there like +Damage to Elites.
Area Damage is in there, and we’ve got the idea to make Area Damage much better for the future.
Question: Which criteria determine is a set is over or under performing and what do you balance around?
John: Overall we’d be happier if a class had several viable, competing within 3 GR at the high end — everyone wants varying play styles. For a while Raekor was clearly the best for Barbs.
Wyatt: This isn’t really about benchmarking for over/under performing. we worry a lot about play style more than tuning. If there was a build that could do GR70 but was really boring to play, that’s not doing anyone any favors. Also, the sets will have some variance. IK has some room to grow. It’s generic and open ended, so it’ll take advantage of new items.
There are old sets that can really pair with the new rings: Ob//Zod and Broken Promises. And there’s so many ways to combine new and old items. If a narrow set it should probably be a little higher power, since it’s less likely to leverage new items.
Question: Could you make less six-piece set bonuses to allow us more options in mixing in Legendary Items?
Travis: That’s a popular suggestion. I think 6p sets are cool, but we want there to be lots of viable play styles. We focus more on the play styles than 4p or 6p or whatever. There should be viable play styles that cover a spectrum of ways you want to play your character.
Barb is an example, with just LeapQuake, then Raekor’s for charging around. And the WW set gives Whirlwind the power again. And the IK set is making you a super ancient king so you can be Wrath of the Berzerker all the time. Whether that’s 4p, or 6p, or some special sword required… the old Fire Wizard set before we had Firebird’s, you’d do with Cindercoat and a Wand of Woh. As long as there’s a variety of options I don’t really count the pieces of gear.
Question: Any plans on making new craftable set or legendary items?
Travis: No current plans. There are so many leg and set items that need love/improvement, making more new recipes isn’t the best use of our time. I’d rather spend time fixing the Invoker set than making a new crafting set.
Question: Monks have to many sets competing for the same slot. Why not more bracers?
Travis: Monks got a ton of love this season. Monks went from one of the least played classes to the most played in S2, mostly due to Gungdo Gear. We’ll keep making more Monk gear to allow new play styles. We’ve got new bracers.. or belt? Coming to help Monks survive. I think the Monk is doing well now.
Question: Better drop rates to the uncommon legendary items in season? Took me til P460 to find the dagger I was seeking.
John: Starmetal Kukuri is super-rare, because it’s insanely powerful.
Wyatt: We’ve had a philosophy for a long time that Rare = power. So when you get a really rare item, it feels really powerful. That said, rather than make the rarest weapons more common, I’d rather se some of the other weapons get better leg properties. Something we’re working on still. John is on that. You’ll see some coming in 2.2 and lots more in 2.3. There are many reworks of lots of old, existing legs.
I think we should always have a few rare items that are really really good. that’s part of the chase.
John: A topic we talk about is why don’t rare items drop more often in seasons. Do we want to make people play seasons since drop rates are higher? We’re still discussing that. And replacing certain items in or out of seasons. A new set like the MS set we wouldn’t do Season only. But S3 will have Dead Man’s Legacy and Ob/Zod, and they can be build defining. To me the MS build feels incomplete without it, so I’m sad that it’s seasonal only.
Wyatt: It’s a tough one. How much do you incentivize seasons? Seasons are very popular, over half of our players took part in S2. But we’ve also seen feedback from people who don’t do seasons and they like making one character and don’t like feeling forced to do season and start over. This is something we disagree about internally. So the quiver, which is basically the “7th piece of the Multishot Demon Hunter set” isn’t available non-seasonally now, it will be after S3. I think that’s okay.
We’ve been experimenting more with cosmetic rewards, this season. Not just power, cosmetic, like the new pennant and the profile image in S3. So we’re trying out that as an incentive for playing in a season, and if you don’t do seasons it’s just cosmetic.
John: End of the day is make the game fun for as many people as possible. We’re not sure if Seasons will do that or not. Seeing how it goes.
Question: Why did we just see two consecutive Wizard set nerfs, when Wizards were worse than Demon Hunters in the current game?
Wyatt: *laughing outrage* I want to stop this. People say nerf, but it’s just the PTR. Blanket statement; if you can’t handle seeing a lot of changes, then don’t follow the PTR. If we put things in weak and then buffed them gradually, so it never seemed like anything was getting a nerf, maybe the items wouldn’t be balanced right for Live. We’d rather put them in strong on the PTR and then adjust accordingly.
Travis: It’s a test realm, so we test things. That’s what it’s for.
Question: Witch Doctor, the new Gargantuan ring is great, but the Elite attack rune effect takes a bit to start up, so you don’t get the full 15 seconds of effect
John: I thought I secretly made it take longer than 15s since it takes a bit for the AI to start up. If you feel like you’re not getting the full time we’ll take steps to address that.
Wyatt: We’re introducing a ton of awesome rings this patch. Last patch we buffed the Tall Man’s Finger which made all your zombie dogs into one giant one., and now we’ve made the Little Man’s Finger, which makes your huge Gargantuan into 3 smaller Gargantuans.
Question: What is the reasoning behind 6pm PST season start times. Eastern players it’s too late?
Wyatt: That’s great feedback. Ultimately it’s kind of a midway point. Starting at 3pm west coast time there would still be people at work. Starting at 6pm West Coast and 9pm East Coast seemed like a time everyone could play. And by around 5 hours when you’re hitting level 70 it’s 1-2am. Maybe that’s too late? So maybe a future season should start at a different time or different day of the week? We’ll consider it.
Question: Wizard doesn’t have any skills that benefit the party as a whole?
Wyatt: New Slow Time set!
Travis: Slow Time is very useful for the whole group. Delsere’s Magnum Opus is very beneficial for the group. You’re stunning things, it buffs the Wizard’s attack speed, it slows down enemies.
Wyatt: There’s always a new legendary, the Obsidian Ring of the Zodiac, that reduces cooldown. It’ll let you Frost Nova much more often and I think we’ll see things change in Season 3.
1:17 — Have you ever considered making a Legendary Gem tab similar to the Heirloom tab in WoW? Where every character could use the same LGems and level them up through the tab, as a Quality of Life thing.
Travis: Funny story. I would love that, but we couldn’t do it at the time. We talked about it a lot on Lgems. I made Heirlooms in WoW, and when I was working on that in D3 I had the thought. A shared repository for all your characters. The first design we talked about was ranking up a Lgem, all gems of that type would rank up on your account.
That proved to be an enormous technical hurdle, and caused extra legendary gems of types you didn’t need to drop. But we tried to get around it and couldn’t work it. Maybe in the future we could do it.
Wyatt: I’ve also noticed a hassle on Seasonal rollover. Some people had issues with the Send to Inventory Button right next to the Trash All Items button. Without a confirm. That was unfortunate.
Legendary Gems was another sore point, at least for me, where I had 14 gems before, and now I’ve got to merge 14 new ones and have to compare the tooltip to see the higher rank. Some system with just a page that tracks my gems and their rank and auto-merges them would be fantastic. No timeline or promises, but I agree that would be great.
Question: If perma-immunities are bad (nerfed on the PTR) why is perma-root and perma-CC okay?
Wyatt: I think you’re right, and we should not be promoting that. It’s something that’s on our Radar. perma-cc shouldn’t be a thing. It’s probably going to be even more of at thing with the Ob/Zod coming in. It’s on our list of things to address next.
Nevalistis: Not for 2.2.
John: Hotfix, mid-season! *laughter*
Question: In Season 3 all cheat death effects were fixed except for Unstable Anomaly. Will this be fixed so Wizards will die immediately to AoE effects?
Neva: Since they don’t get a temporary immunity.
John: Yeah, probably. Someday.
Wyatt: We were coming from a place where we wanted the cheat deaths to feel different from one another. There’s a chance that we’re overthinking it, but it started to feel very vanilla, when everyone’s cheat death looked the same. Maybe we need to just accept that.
John: Our design philosophy changes. The more cheat death becomes how you play the game, either on higher Greater Rifts or in Hardcore, when one doesn’t work how you expect it to, it sucks. We’ll think about it.
Question: Did you ever consider giving Resource Cost Reduction and Damage Stack reduction in six-piece Roland’s Set?
Wyatt: Yeah… no, I’m kidding. Right, so again, it’s something we want to encourage is diversity. We don’t want everything just more the same. Adding even more resource cost reduction to that set makes it more like everything else you can use. There’s a shield you can use that makes Shield Bash cost less. You can refund Sweep Attack cost, etc.
If it’s a matter of performance, then we’re open to making changes. But maybe in the future we’ll look to make more complimentary items. I think on the whole Roland’s is pretty okay.
Question: Plans to increase Multishot to increase Unhallowed Essence viability? Or reduce Shield Bash resource cost for Roland’s?
Neva: That’s two different questions! How about just the Demon Hunter question.
John: I think UE is pretty viable; people on the PTR are hitting GR50 with it. Multishot works pretty well too. If people are just asking for more power, the answer is maybe, if you’re weak. I don’t think UE is weak, though.
Question: Fun fact: The Holy Shock rune effect of Sweep Attack is not Holy. Also, why make the new Denial shield non-Crusader and thus no RCR, CDR, skill damage?
Travis: Wow, we should change that Holy Shock rune damage type. Is that the only one that’s Physical rune for that skill?
Neva: I don’t think so.
Travis: There was a big pass made recently on all of the runes to diversify their elemental types, and this one may have been changed away from Holy fro some reason? Honestly, I don’t recall this rune…
John: We’ll take a look at that, thanks. Second part…
Travis: Yeah. It is odd that RCR and CDR is only available on Crusader Shields. It’s worth investigating anyway, since most likely they’re the only class that will be using the item.
John: On the topic of why Denial was made a the Sweep Attack item, is that the item was made and this power should go on a shield, and I thought okay, it was a shield you’d use with Sweep Attack Roland’s build, but not the shield you’d use with the Sweep Attack + shield bash, Roland’s Build. I thought that sounded good, but I wasn’t sure what people were going for or wanting.
Players have a Transformers build and want a piece to add onto their shield to be even bigger and buffer. That’s cool too, but I wouldn’t mind if Sweep Attack only was a cool build. That’s not there yet, but I think that’s what the shield was going for.
Question: Dex/Str scales with Armor, and Int with AllRes. Why do we have gems that add AllRes, but not gems that add Armor?
Travis: I don’t see the correlation.
John: Someone looking for some symmetry.
Travis: I don’t think we need armor gems. It could have been a Gem point, but I personally feel like Armor and Res All are redundant, and it’s just a math question, so I don’t see the need to present players with that calculator question.
Wyatt: If we had Sapphires they could give Armor! *laughter*
Question: How do you feel about taking pre-existing items and making them into sets? For example, Velvet Caramel and Myken’s Ball of Hate have a bonus that adds to Electrocute damage.
Travis: That’s like a previous question about why everything is a six-piece set. Not everything is, but we do sometimes make legendary items that can be used in tandem for better effect. Once upon a time we had a thought, what if there was a “gold set” and you’d get like Gladiator Gauntlets, and Goldwrap, and Goldskin, and Kymbo’s Gold, and it would be all about getting gold and adding your cool bonuses with it. We didn’t make it an official set, but we just thought players could find all the items and do some cool things with it.
That’s a great example where we just add a couple of cool new lightning-oriented items and players can use them all together if they wish.
Question: What is your stance on on-kill effects? I feel like the newly-added In-Geom sword shows their uselessness.
(“In-Geom legendary sword: Your skill cooldowns are reduced by 4-6 seconds.”)
Wyatt: Useless is a harsh word. It has a specific use case. I think a lot of players, especially high end palyers, evaluate items through a single filter, which is, “Will this item help me be #1 on the leaderboards?” We don’t see items the same way.
Certainly some items should be that, but others should have other effects. Like Gold Find. If you’re gold is to get lots of Emeralds, you should use a Broken Crown.
Similarly I think it’s fun to be overgeared for farming. Boon of the Hoarder, for instance, just for gold farming. In-Geom is a win more item. It’s an item you can maintain 100% uptime when you’re very strong, and it’s fine for that situation.
Question: Any plans for rewards for Leaderboard rankings at the end of a season?
Travis: We’ve never discussed that. On the spot I’d say I’m against that. It would definitely put a much stronger magnifying glass on the top of the leaderboards, which I don’t think is something we’d want to encourage.
Wyatt: At the end of the day, there are hundred of thousands… millions of people who play in a season. I want to celebrate each person’s journey. In S3 we have a new GR end screen we put in. When you finish your GR you get a full screen showing off you and your party. I’d rather see us not focus on the leaderboards but instead be more like “go you!”
That’s why the portrait and pennant for S3 aren’t focused on leaderboards. They’re something everyone can earn with Achievement points. We want them to be for anyone who puts in the effort gets it.
Neva: That’s all we have time for today, thanks to you guys and all the questions.
The whole show went 91 minutes, and you can view any portions you like below:
Pretty good info, even if they didn’t get the questions I submitted or most wanted asked. Any of you guys get a question in, or hear a reply on what you most wanted to know?