Does the Diablo 3 PTR Need an Item Merchant?

Like this every minute on the PTR?

Should the PTR be like this every minute?

A fan asked for easier gearing on the PTR and created some Blue debate. Does the Diablo 3 PTR Need an Item Merchant?

You guys are introducing a lot of new items and sets! In order to speed up the testing and get the 2.1.2 live, please give us an item merchant where we can buy the new sets and legendaries for a few bloodshards in order to properly test stuff!

The biggest part of PTR testing is ensuring the drop rates are correct, and there is not some hidden issues.
Tyvalir: While it’s not necessarily the biggest part of a PTR, testing the drop rates for different items is certainly important. It’s one of the reasons we don’t have a special vendor or adjusted drop rates for patch testing purposes.

As much as we like feedback on how it feels to finally wield powerful new items, it’s just as important that we get feedback on whether an item feels too rare or too common. That said, we appreciate you all taking the time to find items on the PTR, take them for a spin, and tell us what you think!

I don’t necessarily agree with Tyvalir here, despite his heritage and the fact that I had several nice conversations (via text or lip-reading, alas) with him at the Community Corner during Blizzcon 2014.

Sure, drop rate testing is an important part of the PTR for a new patch, but unless Patch 2.12 greatly changes the drop rate, the devs have endless data on that from the Live realms. Adding one or two new items of a given item type won’t make any real difference to Diablo 3’s very simple drop odds tables. (Though bugs might happen and testing is the best way to discover them.)

That said, what do you guys think of some kind of item merchant on the PTR, whether it’s Kadala with 100% legendary gambling returns or something else? Players often say they don’t want to PTR since it’ll take too long to gear up and they could spend that play time on the live realm. Or players actually fear finding something great on the PTR since it’s not theirs for real. If the great gear could just be loaded up like candy from a vending machine, would that increase PTR participation on the whole?


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  1. Well, it would would really make a difference for me if this option is included. Knowing my luck I would find every good item on PTR and never see them again once the patch went live! This is the reason I don't play PTR …

  2. It would ruin the fun of playing on production realms. Imagine getting all that great gear on PTR from a vendor, and getting back to your old lame char on real realm and having to farm for them for months.

    • But that's what happens now on the PTR; you find good gear for a char that's temporary. At least with an item merchant you'd "find" that gear quickly and easily, so it wouldn't feel so real. And you could look at it like testing for what your "real" char will be, when you gear them up?

    • you missed the point in PTRing. Sure its suppose to be fun, but its mostly there to find bugs/issues/workout mechanics in the game.

      You know how much valuable data can be acquired if you had items day 1 to test and find every exploit so they can adjust? It’d keep them from having to constantly change items in live with all the data available at their hands.

  3. I very much agree with Tyvalir. Regardless of how simple the drop system is people's experience with it could very different. A large chunk of Diablo 3's development was about the dev's coming up a system that looked good on paper, but didn't quite hit the mark due to how people's expectations differed. The devs very clearly tweak the game according to what *feels* balanced, not what's mathematically balanced and they need feedback to do this, even about trivial things.

    That said though, I think an item vendor could be useful if it would appear only for a short time on the PTR, a week maybe. This way people could still try out all the items and provide feedback on potential balance issues that only appear with some combination of them, but drop rates would still be tested as well.

    • I kind of agree with this. I think an item vendor would provide loads more useful information on item and set performance than the devs would get otherwise. That being said however, I do not think it should be available at all times. Perhaps for a brief period towards the beginning of the PTR. Then, once the item and set properties felt balanced and fun, they could remove the vendor and concentrate on drop rates and other stuff. We must keep in mind that the more items and sets they add the more difficult it becomes to find any one item, let alone 6 specific items. For that reason I don't think they will ever really be done tuning drop rates.

  4. I don't think a vendor is necessary. Just play PTR if you want to and if you're dedicated enough to test a set, you'll keep playing until you get it. Adding a vendor would just add more complaints when the PTR goes down and the patch is real. "Why don't you bring the vendor to the live servers?" "I like when I could get my items instantly."

    I wouldn't want to encourage that behavior in a game where people already incessantly ask for better and better droprates.

    • Testing something shouldn't require dedication. A good item balance is in the best interest of everyone, therefore I think for a limited time it should be made as easy as possible to test it. There's a reason why we can copy our live characters over to the PTR. This why testing skills at level 70 doesn't require any dedication at all. Why should items be different, when they are at least as important to our characters as skills, if not more?

    • I don't think a character transfer for PTR is necessary. Just play PTR f you want to and if you're dedicated enough to test a character, you'll keep playing until you get it. Adding a transfer would just add more complaints when the season resets and the restart is real.

  5. If you still had to find gear, but they let you keep a stash tab full o' loot at the end of the PTR, *that* would increase participation…

  6. i find it a waste of time to farm for a new set on PRT on the premise of testing the said set.

    let the player base waste less time by just having a PTR new set vendor in town and let the players get it on.

    it will mean shorter PTRs too.

    and less waste of a time for players to keep NOT find the set they want to test but endless existing sets they dun care for.

  7. I don’t get it. If we could buy the new sets from a vendor, how does that prevent them from observing drop rates?

  8. the need to test these sets power and functionality should definitely trump drop rates. a vendor is a brilliant idea and it should cost absolutely nothing. We don't have any need to test the leveling process at this point. Nor do we have a need to test drop rates. What needs testing is any balance changes as well as the new legendary/set pieces.

    Blizzard has proven over and over again that they can't properly test this game. They simply can't afford to pay enough testers to find all issues that crop up. It takes massive amounts of players to test and really hammer the system. There are players out there who are capable of really thinking outside the box, dreaming up ways to break things that I personally would never have thought of. Yet they do it time and time again.

    The only concern I have with drop rates is the dilution of the drop table. Every set they add is going to make it that much harder to find your desired set. (I'm 44 hours into a barbarian. I have only found 3 pieces of Raekors. Yet I have found full sets of both earth and kings including a backup set of each) This is only going to get worse.

    • Totally agree. And with each new season bringing more and more Legendaries, it’s going to eventually get to a point where people won’t be able to find what they want. Either bring back trading or introduce a way to farm for specific Sets/Legendaries (more specific than Kadala).

  9. We've seen the current testing. It results in servers being active for months and major gamebreaking bugs going live anyways.

    Given that, if the goal is test items all obstacles should be removed that'd prevent the testing of items. We already know how the drop rates are – terrible for any useful non set items, and also terrible for any set items with usable stats.

    That doesn't even need further testing, hell a item merchant is likely the only way most people will ever even use these items.

    If that'd cause people complaining that they'd rather just have all the items instantly yeah that's a facepalm worthy complaint, but that's what happens when you make what was formerly just the means the entire end. Diablo was never about finding items and was always about what you did with them, so a "You get every item now" button becomes a "You win the game forever." button and not a "You can do anything now, what first?" button.

  10. I'm with the above poster. Remove unused and unchanged items from the PTR. Add a vendor and people still test drop rates and item changes because hey drop rates are what is learned from farming rifts and such.

    I would much rather people have instant access to the items and then be able to show blizzard item flaws/strengths in greater rifts/rifts/whatever and them be able to focus more energy on tweaking them than for them to focus on item drop rates which would still be learned info even if there was a vendor because people will still PvM on a PTR.

  11. playing PTR to find some new items to test it, is waste of time. it takes to much time to find all new items just for test purpose.
    and PTR is for testing drop rates??? if thats the case they should fire all programers. PTR=public test realm. test realm. TEST…i dont want to play dozens of hours to get some item so i can test some builds…
    i'm paragon 504 on HC and still didnt droped some items

    last PTR is only one i 'played' cause i wanted to test how far i can go solo vs ubers on HC. i also tested some cheat passives…

  12. I am of the opinion that if it isn't a blue frog, then why would I waste time on it trying the same thing over and over. I get nothing from test center other than waste of time. I could test a set to see if its overpowered or not but I'm not playing the RNG on a test realm.

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