This afternoon Blizzard ran their monthly live stream conversation with a developer, and saw John Yang and Nevalistis join two fans for some Greater Rift action. They finished up through GR30 and Nevalistis scored 4 legendary items and a set item from the final GRG, so lucky to her.
The conversation during the live stream covered a lot of interesting game stuffs, with new info or at least new explanations for things, courtesy of John Yang. I typed up a quick transcript, so here’s what went down. Unfortunately I had some tech problems and didn’t get the start of the show, but I’ll add that transcript once Blizzard ups the full video. You can look for it here, but in the meantime:
The guest star of this show is Deadset, and they’re observing his “LeapQuake” Crusader build. He and the other guest/streamer Qelric are both EU players, so they had to level up new chars on the US server for this stream, hence they’re weaker than usual.
I typed this transcript in real time and fleshed it out a bit and fixed typos and added links afterwards, so it’s not exact quotes
Opening conversation and preparing to start off in the Realm of Trials and then go into a Greater Rift. John Yang’s is by far the strongest character in the bunch, but they blast into the waves effortlessly. The new “jump up to higher waves quickly” system is evident as they go Wave 1, 7, 13, 19, 25, 30, 33… and then John realizes they’ve gone too high and runs to the edge of the level instead of killing the wave, which leads to Nevalistis getting left behind and slaughtered.
The issue was that they didn’t want to earn too high a level of Greater Rift Key, since that would have put them into too high a level of Greater Rift. That would have been more rewarding, but would have been too hard to play while carrying on the conversation… especially since Nevalistis doesn’t have a real strong character and the two guests are both usually on EU and using their alts on the US server.
The effort earned them a GR28 key, which they seem content with. Not too high, not so low as to be a cake walk for the stronger chars in the party.
John’s playing his very strong Demon Hunter, while the other three are all doing Crusaders. Deadset (who really needs a headset, since he’s echoing badly speaking into a mic on his desk) spends some time talking about his Crusader LeapQuake build.
Conversation about why Blizzard’s Play Your Way Thursday doesn’t focus on the most popular cookie cutter builds. It’s more fun to have variety and builds that aren’t the most common.
They beat the GR28 in 10:48, after about 20 deaths combined between the three Crusaders, and many jokes from Nevalistis about wanting to switch the stream host to John’s machine. This earned them a GR29 keystone, showing how much the system has been turned down from the early PTR, when you got a higher level GR for about every 60-90s you finished under the 15m time limit.
Nevalistis dings Paragon 168 while talking about how she can’t leap into Seasons on Friday since she’s going on vacation that day and hitting a gaming convention. Blizzard CMs… where work duties = recreation activities.
3:22 — conversation about seasons starting soon. Who is going Hardcore or not. John is not, “I like to minimize risk to maximize progress.”
John: Our thoughts on legendary sets are damage, toughness, utility. Kind of the three main areas of focus. The thinking is if we provide you with a full set of offensive items, and let you rely on some skills for survival, maybe we didn’t give you enough.
If you think of a set as 10 points of power, and something like Akkhan’s set is 5 offense and 5 defense. Where as the new Crusader set Roland’s Legacy is 100% offense. It might be possible that the offense doesn’t make up for the lack of defense. I think it is missing something. It could use another synergy of some kind.
I had imagine when I made it that people would use Depth Diggers with the set, since you get so much resource you can really spend heavily. I don’t think people are using it that way yet, but I’m curious if they start doing so.
Take Punish, for instance. It’s 350% weapon damage. If you double that with Depth Diggers you’re at 700% damage. And you double that with the set bonus double attack speed, that’s 1400% weapon damage. That seems very reasonable for a type of damage output that’s also generating resources. If it’s not good enough we can do something to boost it further.
They defeat the GRG on GR29 and loot-splosion. Deadset talks for a while about issues with the Crusader’s Shield Bash. It sure would be nice if he had a mic or wasn’t talking into a corner with echo so we could easily understand him.
John: Yeah, what happened there was the art for the set was late coming in, and it was hastily designed. We needed a power and it looked pretty good. But it does need more hands on testing and there’s not a vendor on the PTR that could just sell the items, so we had to hope players would find them and use them. I was really glad you (Deadset) found it and used it to prove it could at least get up into the GR 30+ range.
With Leaderboards now in existence on Live, I think people will eventually get it and post videos to show that it’ll work.
Some down time after completing the Rift, plus Deadset’s audio/video dropped. Interestingly, Qelric can still hear him. She’s also in the EU, so she and Deadset remained in the game without noticeable lag, but Deadset was off audio/video (via Skype) to the US people, while Qelric was not. The magic of the internet.
John: Let me talk about Firebird’s set while we have a minute, since it’s been a hot topic since the patch launched. With a lot of bugs in Patch 2.1
The bug: As of yesterday and possibly right now is that when the 3000% weapon damage 6 piece bonus starts ticking, it works as though the first hit had been a critical hit, even if it was not. And since crits deal somewhere around 5x the damage of non-crits, players would either get a tick for 10m or 50m. And when it’s 10m it feels broken.
What we’re going to do is roll the crit hit and damage into it, so the DoT will still be able to Crit, but the effect will work.
Nevalistis: It’s on the pending hotfix list right now, and should be fixed shortly. Later today, most likely.
John Yang: Question about Demon Hunters. Players are noticing that the Demon Hunters are clearing 2 or 3 tiers above everyone else in the Greater Rift Leaderboards. That is a slight problem We’d love all classes to be within 1 or 2 GR tiers from each other.
Some people have pointed out that Demon Hunter’s damage output is not too far higher than everyone else. The problem is they have really good sustain, (via Sentries) and they can do damage while being out of range or line of sight. And they’ve got Smoke Screen for invulnerability and can cheat death via their new passive.
What we want to do is “paper cut” players more. It’s a term Wyatt uses a lot.
So melee classes have a hard time avoid damage taken. Because they’re right in the middle. Ranged classes can deal damage around corners, with pets while they’re far away and avoiding trouble, etc. We don’t like that. That’s very specifically why things like Thunderstorm and Jailer do damage immediately. If a DH or Wizard can get to GR40 with all DPS and 5m toughness, we don’t like that. That’s unfair since the melee classes can’t do that.
So we want to paper cut you. So all complaints about Jailer doing too much damage? That’s on purpose. It’s how we even out the disparity between the classes.
Sentries don’t die. Pets do die. That’s also a problem. We said on Tavern Talk that we want to fix pets. No timeline, but we know it’s a problem and have plans to work on it.
They launch into the GR30 and instantly get stair trapped and wiped out repeatedly, thanks to an Elite pack with Plagued that fills the entire cul-de-sac in front of the stairs.
Deadset has a question about pet control and AI.
John Yang: It’s very hard to give players direct control over pets. I mean how would you do it? Box select and target? This isn’t Starcraft.
What we do instead is budget pet damage higher than normal with the assumption that they’ll sometimes hit things you don’t want them to hit. Sometimes die. Sometimes run around like idiots… though hopefully not so much anymore. We worked a lot on pet AI for Patch 2.1.
Nevalistis: They’re much better. I’ve been doing a pet crusader for a long time and it’s more noticeable now.
Deadset asks about setting pet priority.
John Yang: Yeah, making pets know to attack the big yellow guy is a common suggestion. Because of the way pathfinding works in the game, it’s already very resource intensive. So for instance, if the yellow guy is behind two regular monsters and your pets are set to go for the Elite, they’ll get stuck trying to reach him, not realize it, and just stand there and get stuck. And then players will complain that the pets are broken. That’s why they just focus on what’s closest now. At least they deal damage.
Question about pets blocking movement, or each other.
John Yang: It’s a problem, since both pets try to go forward. There’s nothing in the code that tells one pet to back up so the other can go forward. I’ll talk to the engineers and see if they can suggest something.
It’s especially a problem for the Crusader Phalanx skill, when you have swordsmen and archers summoned. The archers just stand there shooting and they can completely block the advance of the swordsmen.
John: Ahh, I see. That’s dumb and we should fix it by adjusting the collision, especially since the Archers aren’t valid targets for monsters to attack.
Deadset explains his Crusader build. Requires two of the rarest Crusader items in the game. Cam’s Rebuttal two-handed sword, for the ” Falling Sword can be used again within 4 seconds before the cooldown is triggered.” And Akarat’s Awakening for the ” Every successful block has a (20-25)% chance to reduce all cooldowns by 1 second. ” This results in a very risky play style where the Crusader has to be right in the midst of combat all the time, blocking to reduce the cooldown, and thus isn’t real practical for Hardcore.
See the recent Play Your Way Thursday for full details about his build and gear.
The stream is running on Greater Rift 30, which is well above Torment 6 and Nevalistis and another player are way over the difficulty of their chars and getting nuked repeatedly.
John Yang: Thorns doesn’t work. We tried. Crusader has a lot of thorns mechanics built in. But waiting for enemies to hit you just wasn’t that fun. During internal testing, players had trouble understanding the mechanics behind Thorns + block chance + the block value. It was making the Crusader way too complicated. So they gutted the Thorns mechanic and removed some of the Crusader abilities that synergized with it. (This was pre-RoS release.) They didn’t change the whole Thorns of the Invoker set though, and they’re unlikely to do so now since there are some players who are using it and doing Thorns. (This is indirectly why the new Roland’s Legacy set was added for the Crusader, since Thorns of the Invoker was meant to be a Crusader set.)
Jade Harester set doesn’t work with Legendary Gem of Efficacious Toxin.
John Yang: Raiment of the Jade Harvester set is one of my fave play styles. I had a full pet doctor build/gear, but that wasn’t as fun. Jade Harvester has a nice on-kill mechanic which makes for very active play. The problem is that it doesn’t scale that well on higher rifts since you can’t kill fast enough to keep the proc going. Same problem with Natalya’s 4 piece bonus. NO easy solution at the moment.
Question about Demon Hunter Marauder’s set.
John: I’ll reiterate what he said on Tavern Talk last week. We’re thinking about adding new 6 piece bonuses to vanilla sets. Wizard needs another play style that’s not just Firebird’s.
I’ll quote what he said on Tavern Talk since we posted a transcript over the weekend and he went into much more detail then.
John: The other sets are useless if you want to be the strongest Demon Hunter and clear the highest Greater Rift… absolutely right. The problem isn’t with M6 itself… a lot of DHs including myself think there is a lot of strategy and gameplay nuances with placing your sentries correctly, balancing your resources, etc.
The real problem is that there aren’t viable other options. And that’s really where we’re trying to go.
Examples: We’ve talked about designs for 6 piece bonuses for all the vanilla class sets. None of which are top tier. Inna’s, IK, Natalya’s, etc. We have solid plans for adding 6 piece bonuses for all those sets that would bring them to the power level of M6 or Jade Harvester or LeapQuake or whatever.
They would then be a build of their own. For example, the Nat’s 6 piece bonus is something like, Every time you cast a generator or spender, you reduce the cooldown of your Rain of Vengeance by… 10 seconds. Something like that. The idea is to be a different kind of build. Wyatt’s going crazy because that’s way too powerful… *laughter* Some number that makes a different build by bringing up the power level. And that’s really the idea we’re going for. Adding new things and not nerfing existing things.
We have a bar now. We have Greater Rifts. We see every class on top of the leader boards and their build… so now we want to bring the other builds up to there by adding new items and synergizing existing items.
Back to today’s live show transcript:
Greater Rift reward changes?
John: We’ve had a lot of conversations about that internally. The rewards changed a lot during the PTR. I’ve got nothing new to say right now. We think the current system is working and incentivizing people to go to higher tiers, even if they have higher level legendary gems already.
Witch Doctor Horrify: Frightening Aspect skill was changed/nerfed in Patch 2.1. (From 100% Armor for 8 seconds to 35% Armor for 8 seconds.)
John: That was a skill that was better than it should be. It was overbudgeted in power. For comparison, Tough as Nails does 25% armor. Warcry it’s 20% armor and 20% for the rune. You’ll see similar level on other skills. The Wizard’s Energy armor 20% AllRes. Compared to the others, Horrify was way too strong. Anytime we nerf it’s not done lightly and only severe issues. Horrify was 3x too high, basically, so we changed it from 100% to 35% additional Armor for 8 seconds.
We know that some Witch Doctors are suffering from it, since they were built with very low survivability and were using that skill as a crutch, since it was so overpowered. Some WDs might have to use another passive to help survive, or change around some gear to make up for it. We don’t like to nerf things. We only do it when they’re really overpowered. Part of the goal is to provide more variety, since if one skill is so much better then everyone has to use it.
We’re keeping an eye on the Witch Doctor and if the class is hurting from this we might make more powerful Witch Doctor items in the future to help out.
Change made to the Crusader skill Akarat’s Champion > Fire Starter’s DoT effect? Ninja nerf?
John: I don’t work on Crusader stuff currently. I don’t know of any specific nerfs or buffs or bugs to that skill.
Nevalistis: Lots of items with procs were proccing other things accidentally. The apparent change might be what Wyatt says, “We don’t want procs proccing procs.”
John: For instance, we want every ability to proc LoH once per use. Whether it’s single target or AoE. Every time you swing it should trigger. Might do more than one with many targets, but at least one. Fire Starter should work like that. If you had another legendary that was procing, it shouldn’t be procing Firestarter as well, and possible that was happening before this patch which is why it seems like it’s been nerfed.
Possible changes to Crusader’s Falling Sword? The cost isn’t too problematic. But the cooldown is too long. Rarest Crusader legendary Cam’s Rebuttal.
John: We could definitely buff it. We’d like a different item to synergize with Falling Sword. Rather than just buffing the skill. We think things with both a cooldown and a resource cost are redundant. We’d like to have one or the other.
More of this Diablo 3 Developer live stream transcript soon. Any of you guys watch, and what caught your eye? Or ear.
The funny moment for me was when Nevalistis was giving a tutorial on the Legendary Gem upgrade she was doing at the end… and since the 4 webcam pics of the players were covering the left 1/4 of the screen, nothing she was pointing at in Urshi‘s interface window could be seen. D’oh!