Diablo 3 Patch 2.1 PTR Test Report


I hopped on the PTR last night and tested out a lot of new stuff. This isn’t one of my mega-reports since I only had a couple of hours to play, but I was able to try out new things with Nephalem Rifts, Demon Hunter skills, the gold interface, Cesspools, and more. So here’s my first, quick, Diablo 3 Patch 2.1 PTR Test Report.

Gold and the Gold Counter

Gold counter, lower right.

Gold counter, lower right.

Gold counter, lower right. Gold stacks still just have a little scattered heap of coins graphic, which makes it impossible to discern between 1000 and 50,000. (Bring back the gold bricks graphic!) But there’s a little gold counter on the lower right of the screen that shows how much gold you’ve picked up in one sequence of grabbing.

It’s most obviously seen in one of the new screenshots we got of DiabloWikiGreed’s Domain; that’s what that “692,775” number means in the thumb on the right. Because the DiabloWikiTreasure Realm = riches!

Golden chest drop.

Golden chest drop.

You get that in normal situations as well, and if you play with the icons instead of item names (highly recommended), every stack of gold now shows a little white bag icon. Previously the bag icon only showed for crafting recipes, (and Follower items?) and they were orange or green, so it’s odd seeing a white one. And I’m used to only seeing a white icon for a white item drop, and those aren’t something I generally bother to pick up as I’ve already got 1000s of DiabloWikiReusable Parts. (Materials still do *not* auto-pickup. Bleh.)

Here are a couple of shots from my play last night, showing what it looks like on the PTR with icons for item drops. These shots are from an early game when I was just rushing around checking things on a low difficulty, so the gold drops are tiny, but you get the idea.

Below are 2 shots of the same drop, a Rift Guardian’s full drop, and then what it looked like after I ran through and vacuumed up the gold. You can see how similar the gold icons are to the common materials icons.

Rift Guardian drop

Rift Guardian drop

Rift Guardian -gold.

Guardian minus the gold.

 

The Cesspools

My second rift I found one level of the new tile set, the DiabloWikiCesspools. The were different and interesting, but not exactly “leap out of your seat in excitement.” Not that Blizzard said they would be.

Cesspools dungeon exit.

Cesspools dungeon exit.

They are a sort of nighttime docks area, kind of reminiscent of parts of the Act Three Kurast docks and jungle huts from Diablo 2, but also with the rotting bamboo elements of the Bogan caves you get in parts of Act Five. It’s a great area for a ranged attacker since there are very few walls (just a few ramshackle buildings here and there) and you can constantly blow things away on adjoining piers and stone wharfs before they can reach you.

The tilesets are mostly narrow, short walkways that change directions constantly, always at right angles. There was no elevation other than a few short stairs up into the rotting huts, and if it used the same level generation grid as any other area, (the way the Passage and Ruins of Corvus in A5 are reskinned A3 Keep levels) it wasn’t apparent to me from one level of it.

The level I got was quite large with no major dead ends and I never went more than half a screen without the pathway branching off multiple times. It’s basically a big maze, but outdoors and without walls, so it feels open and easy to navigate.

My spawn had some zombies, but was mostly blue Fallen of all type except hounds, and the density was pretty thick. Maybe a 6 or 7 out of 10 on density, and it took me quickly from about 30% to 100% complete on the Rift. (I got this as level 3 in the Rift.) After doing the Guardian I finished exploring the level and there was a lot more of it.

Screenshots below, and yes, it’s quite a dark area. You get a better sense of what it looks like as you play it and move around with the lighting following you. My monsters were green and blue, so not hard to see, but if you got really dark colored enemies it would be a challenge to see them until they were right on top of you.

 

Horadric Cache

The Horadric Cache has a new graphic, with what looks like a little golden hat on top of it. Only zooming in on the screenshot afterwards showed me it was actually an opening lid with golden light shining out.

Personally, I like the idea of Caches with hats better than that, so I’m going to pretend that’s what it is. Feel free to join me.

New Horadric Cache graphic.

New Horadric Cache graphic.

The PTR resets all of your tooltips, custom keys, and “don’t show this again” type pop ups, so you get deluged with annoying, “won’t close when you hit Esc/Space” reminders the first time you pick up anything and everything.

 

Nephalem Rifts

I’d love to write about DiabloWikiGreater Rifts, but I didn’t do any. I cleared 4 or 5 Rifts, several quick ones on lower difficulty, but the last two on Torment 1, and didn’t get a single greater rift key to drop from any of the Guardians. I don’t know if this was just really bad luck for me or if it’s the design.  There is a thread in the community forum where people are reporting their drop rates and it’s mixed results so far.  I was playing Hardcore and very late night so no one I knew was on, so I played solo. Other people I know who found Greater Rift Keys were in multiplayer games. So maybe that’s required, or it greatly boosts the drop odds? Nothing in Blizzard’s Patch preview says anything about difficulty level or multiplayer impacting the GRK drop odds.

To access a Greater Rift, simply complete a regular Nephalem Rift in any difficulty. When you defeat the Rift Guardian, they’ll have a chance to drop a Greater Rift Key. You can then use this new key at the Nephalem Obelisk, similar to other Rift Fragments — this will open a Greater Rift. If you have members in your party, each player will be prompted to use one of their own Greater Rift keys to join the fun!

As for entering DiabloWikiNephalem Rifts, it’s a little inconvenient now since you have to have a Rift Key in your inventory. It won’t automatically pull them from your stash as before. This is because you have to choose to do a normal rift or a Greater Rift, so you click the Nephalem Altar and get a pop up window asking what kind of rift you want to do. Right click on your the type of rift key you want to use (I only had the normal ones) and it auto-pops into the big statue’s head, and then you click okay to open it.

Screenshot030Screenshot031

Everyone seems annoyed by the clunkiness of this interface, so I expect it’ll get streamlined and you’ll get buttons or something, each one listing the rift key options you have, with buttons for types of keys you don’t have grayed out.

Tooltip popped up when I collected my 5th key.

Tooltip when I collected my 5th key on the PTR.

Regular Nephalem Rifts now require 1 key to enter, and that’s one key from everyone who is going to enter. (Same rules for entering Greater Rifts.) So it seems that DiabloWikiRift it Forward is done, though with just 1 key required it hardly seems necessary. Anyone so addicted to RiftRiftRifting that they can’t take a few minutes to pop off a few quick bounties for keys probably needs the break anyway.

Some of the tooltips weren’t updated yet, as you see to the right.

Now if only we could trade Rift Keys, there’d be something resembling currency! Not that there’s anything worth buying or selling, with everything BoA. Pay Rift Keys for power leveling?

 

Demon Hunter Skill Changes

I didn’t have long enough to play to do anything like a thorough testing, plus the PTR wouldn’t let me transfer over my EU account. Just the US one, which I’ve played much less in RoS and not for about 6 weeks. Thus I had trouble estimating how much better/worse/different things were working since I was playing a character I hadn’t played in weeks, who was much weaker geared than my DH on EU.

That said, I tried out multiple new skills that had been buffed, and compared them to the previous options, and liked the new stuff quite a bit. Since I hadn’t played this DH for some time she wasn’t very customized. She had plenty of damage to do find in T1 (solo and HC, so even on the PTR I had to be a little careful) with 850k DPS and 25% Lightning Skills damage, her gear didn’t have any useful +skill bonuses until I rolled +13% Cluster Bomb on some new boots. (One benefit of the PTR; since it’s not “real” you can just salvage everything you’re saving for other classes to get Souls, which I did so I could upgrade some gear.)

When I saw the patch notes I was EXCITE for the buffs to a number of DH skills, and most of all Rapid Fire. I really enjoy using that skill, and it’s my favorite part of rolling a new Demon Hunter (an experience I’ve savored all too many times, because Hardcore), knowing that as soon as I hit level 5 the machine gun will be active, and then at 11 when Withering Fire comes in it’s even better.

Unfortunately, Rapid Fire is just too weak to use in the end game. It’s great for a single target, but DiabloWikiCLUSTERBEAR or Multishot or even Ball Lightning puts out so much more DPS so much more quickly, especially when you need AoE.

And yet, the Patch 2.1 notes gave me hope.

Rapid Fire
* Weapon damage increased from 525% to 685%

* Skill Rune – High Velocity
** Pierce chance increased from 40% to 50%
*** Damage type changed from Poison to Lightning

So that’s a big buff to the base skill, a big improvement to the piercing, and a shift to Lighting damage type, which is the bonus element on my (not so well-geared) US DH. Can has?

I tried it out, of course, and compared it to CLUSTERBEAR (780% damage, fire), Cluster Arrow: Shooting Stars (buffed to 600% damage, lightning ), Multishot, Fire at Will (not buffed, 360% damage, lightning), and Elemental Arrow, Ball Lighting (not buffed, 300% damage, lightning). (My DH on US doesn’t have a Kridershot, so everything cost Hatred.)

ClusterBear dealt the biggest damage, even though it’s Fire and my DH had Lightning damage buffs. The base explosion created the biggest crits, plus the following grenades add excellent damage on top of that. But it’s very Hatred expensive, which is why many DHs were vexed by the nerf to Preparation: Punishment.

Shooting Star does good damage, but the rockets are auto-targeting and hard to put where you want, so it’s not my fave.

Multishot was very good; the best for clearing big screens full of dudes much faster and for less Hatred than either Cluster Arrow, but it’s not great for single targets.

Compared to all of those, I actually felt the newly-buffed Rapid Fire: High Velocity was the best. It was not the best on big screens of action, since it doesn’t hit everything at once the way Multishot does, but the bigger damage and the big increase to piercing makes it awesome for any sort of narrow corridor or enclosed space, and I usually use it with Grenadier to get all those extra seeking rockets, which add good damage and are very helpful to polish off the stray monsters that get behind you or scurry off to the sides.

It’s not the hands down best skill, but balance doesn’t want there to be one that’s obviously the best, as CLUSTERBEAR is currently, partially since Fire Damage is so easily obtained. (Fire and CLUSTERBEAR is why Demon Hunters are the leading users of Cindercoat.) In a better world different skills have different utilities, and that was definitely how it felt testing out my DH on the PTR. That may change, of course, with more specialized gear and higher difficulty levels.

 

More Testing

There’s so much more I didn’t get to check out, so hopefully you guys are getting some PTR time and can share your findings with the class. I really wanted to test some Monk, as that class got a lot of big skill damage buffs, and the improvements to Sweeping Wind and Fists of Thunder make me hope my fave D3v build might be viable again.

I’m dying to find a way into DiabloWikiGreed’s Domain I definitely want to try out some Greater Rifts as well, but that’ll have to wait. How many of you guys are on the PTR already, or plan to hop on this weekend? And what’s your chief testing goal?

Comments

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  1. The gold icons have got to go, there is way too many of them. I got really used to not having them since 2.0. At least make it an option. Also want autopickup of mats and gems.

    'Hardcore death' is a filter in the settings for clan news so I hope that means it will be included.

    Rift creation is far too clunky. Give us a second obelisk for greater rifts and otherwise keep it exactly the same.

    There's a new game type to queue for called 'Rifts' instead of 'monster slaying' but who knows if people will become aware of it or use it.

  2. Awesome! I keep checking here for the latest Diablo news.. Wait. I do that everyday, all day! Anyway, I wasn't going to try out the PTR but given I've never been this bored of Diablo I figured maybe the PTR could freshen things up. I'm really loving the gold icon, gold counter and cursor changes! Call me cosmetic but it gives it a fresh feel. Kind of more arcade with the gold counter.

    It must be all in my head but it seemed that the graphics were better? Given I always have my video settings on low. I thought my video settings had switched to their default settings because of how smooth and nice it looked. Iono. My FPS seemed higher too. Call me crazy!

  3. I tried out the PTR in a few short sessions today and overall I think it's an improvement. I agree that the icons for gold stacks need to go (too many of them and create a lot of unneeded ground clutter). I'd probably say my main goal is to try to get into the land of Greed, but also try out the ladder system once they've got that implemented (and see what the legendary gems are like).

    I've done about 4 Greater Rifts…all solo (@T3) and each time I got a GR key of a higher difficulty level. I got the first one (level 1) from my first normal rift, then got GR keys for level 6, 11, 16 and lastly 17. I haven't done the lvl 17 rift yet, but was able to clear all of them _very_ easily up until the lvl 16 rift (finished that with about 2-3 minutes left). If GR keys are supposed to be a random drop, they're either tuned really high (so I guess you had some really poor luck there Flux) or I just got really lucky on all my drops. I think all the GR guardians dropped at least one legendary for me as well.

    I've only been playing my DH (SC) so far and while it feels weird to see "Dodge Chance = 0" in the details section, the change to Dex is a helpful move and opens up some more choices for passives to use. Btw, are you (Flux) happy DH finally has a "cheat death" passive? I wonder how hard Wyatt fought to keep that from getting in. =)

    Just for some further info, I swapped out my Marauder set to try out the revamped Shadow set (I had 3 pieces stored and have RoRG) to see what the 4-pc bonus was like, which states "Shadow Power now lasts forever." True enough, once you turn it on, SP stays up for good. The Gloom rune is an obvious good choice (35% damg red), and the Glide rune (+30% movement rate) does let you exceed the 25% cap. There's definitely some good build potential there, especially with very good LoH from SP.

    Happy hunting everyone! =^-^=

  4. I got the cesspool in my first rift with a friend, it was quite frustrating. we hit all kinds of deadends from branching paths. It would not have been too bad except that there was almost 0 mobs in the whole place. The map was quite large and we hit maybe 3 packs in the whole thing, with 2-3 screens worth of walking between even regular mob packs. The mobs spawning were fetishes but there was very very few. each 'pack' of regular ones had maybe 6-8 in it, and that was it, then walk a ways and maybe another little group. I would give the density 'rating' on it a 1/10, it was just bad.

    My DH was tankier, and it felt like I was attacking faster, though I think it was just my mind playing tricks. I really dislike the 0% dodge though, armor or no. I checked on my other chars as well, all 0. I mean the crusader has a passive that 'removes chance to dodge but gain 15% block" so I guess it is just "+15% block" now, as no one dodges. (the odd skill maybe, bout it).

    Greater rifts were pretty good, but i'm glad that they added that last stash tab, the current system for opening them is horrible. We made it up to level 27 before I lost connection to battle.net from that lovely bug that out of nowhere "you have lost connection to battle.net" that they can't seem to fix. However, in my inventory i now have a Greater Key Level 1, level 13, 19, 24, 27, all taking up slots. It's … amazing. *sigh*

    Side note, hope you do not disconnect while in a greater rift. 1 – the timer lowers for the people you left in there to a lower time (apparently single people have to go faster), but 2 – you will not make it back in. I hit he disconnect bug just as the guardian spawned on level27, it failed the timer on my friend on him, and when i got back in and got an invite, i was unable to re-enter the rift, getting the error "You are unable to enter a greater rift in progress". So i missed all the loot, and missed out on seeing the legendary gem guy. It was very frustrating.

  5. the keys drop based on how fast you cleared your current difficulty, and their difficulty is independent of your torment level, so rift difficulty 1 is a breeze and you will fly through, getting a high one (we did it in 2:43 and got a level 13 one) then doing 13 we did it in 4 mins and some and got a level 19 key. If you were slower, you will not get quite as high, but every time you kill a greater rift guardian in your difficulty and beat the timer, you will get a key. Getting the first key from a non greater rift though seems random.

  6. Is the loot in greater rifts toned down significantly, as they said ? Only rift guardian drops lewt ?

    • Yeah, physical drops are toned down significantly in Greater Rifts… ostensibly to save you time on the timers by NOT picking up trash along the way!

  7. Yes I think that's correct

  8. I disagree that Rapid Fire is worthless endgame. Yesterday, I found a 5th piece of Maurader’s, enabling me to get the 6 piece set, so I changed over to Cluster Arrow for my sentries, but prior to that, I’ve been a Physical centered Rapid Fire/Nether Tentacles (w/ Kridershot) DH for a long time. I solo T3 on it all the time. Totally doable. Sure, it isn’t T6, but not many specs can solo T6.

    I’m looking forward to the buff on it, but for now, I’m using LFB with my sentries and having fun with that. I’m not saying Maurader’s with LFB isn’t the better build, just that Rapid Fire, if done right, was totally viable.

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