Inferno Difficulty Testing is… Underway?

A fan asked Bashiok how the testing of Inferno is going, and got reassuring misdirection for a reply.

How many ppl are testing Inferno? I mean, after few days/weeks like 60+% of ppl will do inferno only. How u know its balanced enuf? — xorp89
I doubt that many will hit it that quick. But we have a big and talented QA department. It’ll be fine. —Bashiok

Here’s a dirty secret; video games hardly ever, if at all, test their higher difficulty levels. The vast majority of dev time is spent on making the damn thing work, and the balancing is focused on the early game experience (ala the D3 Beta) since that part has to be good to hook new players. (That so many games *still* suck at the start is a sad testimony to time crunches and institutional thinking.)

Diablo 1 and Diablo 2 are certainly included on this list, as their higher difficulty levels were virtually untested, with the items, monsters, difficulty curves, etc, all just guess work, with the stats extrapolated up from normal. We saw countless memorable problems with wildly OP OR UP skills, items, monsters, monster modifiers, Magic Find, and even whole skill trees. (Shed a tear in memory of 4 years of “useless even in Nightmare” Elemental Druids.)

This sounds bad, but on the other hand, both D1 and D2 had huge longevity and were great fun for players on Hell, since they were tweaked and balanced in patches after release. As we can count on the D3 devs doing that, I will echo Bashiok’s final sentence, even while thinking that happy conclusion will have almost nothing to do with the work of Blizzard QA (other than in testing all the discoveries and arguments made by fans, before fixes/nerfs/buffs are implemented in patches).

Personally, I think there’s very little point in Bliz spending much time trying to balance DiabloWikiInferno in advance, since a week after release half a million devoted players are going to be testing it 12 hours a day, and producing more data in an hour than Bliz QA will between now and release. (Same goes for Nightmare and Hell, but even more so.) I would bet a considerable sum that Inferno will be in no way balanced upon release, and I don’t mind that at all. It’ll be fun to see (and write about) all of the bugs, loopholes, exploits, and other tricks that player ingenuity discovers, and see how the D3 team moves to fix them.

What do you guys think? Do you expect, or even want, balance all throughout the game, upon release? Or are you looking forward to being one of the first into Inferno, where you can try out new techniques and equipment combinations no one else has ever tested, then use them to earn massive rapid profits as you exploit the hell out of various vulnerable game systems?

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, Diablo 3, End Game


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  1. If Blizzard’s QA department manages to even hit the ballpark of balanced in Inferno at release it will be impressive. Inferno should have been balanced with participation of the beta testers. I just don’t have much faith in developers hitting the sweet spot between too easy and too tedious.

    • I bet the game will be pretty well balanced and calculated across all difficulties because the “Inferno” mode is the “RMAH mode” par excellence. Is Inferno unfair to people who don’t trade? This remains to be seen.

  2. \It’ll be fun to see (and write about) all of the bugs, loopholes, exploits\ and the avalanche of ban for those who dare use them!

    • I’m just looking forwards to the first bugged/duped items that Blizzard decides to destroy and the accompanying class action lawsuits for destroying items that people legitimately bought in the RMAH etc.

  3. sorry double post 🙁

  4. I expect it to be so flawlessly perfect from day 1 that no patch could possibly improve it.

  5. After all the time they have spent on this game, I think it is fair to expect some semblance of balance across the difficulties. By the way, testing on Inferno has probably been “underway” for quite some time now. They probably have to test every difficulty each time they make big changes.

  6. At this point i would not mind for blizz to release it and patch it as we play it. I think that is all any hardcore diablo player wants anymore…just a bit of love and attention. We can live with not perfect but as long as they keep patching and making an effort to fix it i will keep playing. nuff said 😉

  7. Does it matter? They still have months to test Inferno 🙁

  8. It would be interesting to study the evolution of D3.  We will always have a patch history for what big changes.  What I’m most interested in is the time between issue/bug report and fix.  A time line feature might would be fun to see, at least for the first 6~12 months.
    Anyone want to take bets on what patch version we will be on after 60 days?  I’ll set the over/under at v2.5 lol.

    • that’s actually a more interesting poll than what the release date is

    • v2.5 would be sometime into the first expansion. They would use 1.xx for all vanilla D3 patches. I personally wouldn’t be surprised if we are getting up to 1.05 – 1.07 after the first couple months depending on how many minor patches there are (although they would probaly add letters onto those like they do for their other games).

      • This isn’t terribly important, but no one should listen to Scorch with more than half a ear. He has no idea how their versions will be named. Usually it’s NOT like he says, even expansions begin at 1.0 since that’s the release build. But this guy always talks crap and knows everything about development without any experience.

        • Well Scorch numbering system is what WoW uses (at lest from the patches I saw when i played), but then WoW needs to be fully compatible across all possible packs combos IE base, base +xpack1, base + pack 1 & 2 etc.

  9. Given Blizzard’s history, going from D2 to WoW to various WoW expansions, I actually think that the higher difficulties will be REASONABLY well tested and balanced. D2 and WoW were both released with virtually zero attention paid to endgame balancing. In both cases, they gradually balanced the endgame through patches, only after a large proportion of the playerbase had hit max level.
    On the other hand, the recent WoW expansions (Lich King and Cataclysm) have been released with remarkably well-balanced endgame content, including Heroic-difficulty bosses that are decently balanced from day 1. This was a huge change from the level-60 and level-70 game, where the hardest bosses were often completely broken, and only fixed after enough guilds had actually advanced to them.
    Over the past few years, I think Blizzard has figured out how to balance truly hard content.

    • At the start of Cataclysm, when i was still playing WoW, i kept up on all the things related to heroic content. All i can say, is that encounters were far from being polished, with bugs that enabled the raid to oneshot toughest bosses in the tier or nullify their mechanics almost completely. Not to mention that WotLK and Cata are the worst examples of balancing content. Blizzard did most of the time a terrible job of making any progressing difficulty level. Worst thing they actually listened to player feedback. The bad feedback, mostly coming from entitled casuals who whined that bosses were “too hard, please nerf”. Add many flaws of loot mechanics there, and you have an awful end game expirience which is grindy and unsatisfying. Last thing i want to see is Blizz having WoW as an example.
      I think you’re talking out of your hindside.

      • It’s impressive how bad you can make something sound by citing a few hearsay problems.
        If you’re trolling you need to cut down on the amount of text or improve formatting, most people won’t read it otherwise. If you’re not trolling you haven’t raided in early cataclysm at all, to which your closing sentence seems like a very fitting comment. Reading about problems others are having does not mean that you are experiencing any problems.

        • I would link you my character armory profile to prove you that yes, i’ve been raiding in early cataclysm – unfortunately it’s inactive since i haven’t touched WoW for almost a year.
          Hearsay problems? I think you had your head in the sand when all the top guilds were competing for world firsts in tier 11. Sure didn’t affect me, i got bored while progressing on heroic content, and besides that kind of problems had to be hotfix. Things i mentioned are as follows – When i think it was Paragon progressing on Lady Sinestra, one of their Death Knights almost one shot her by using an ability called Dark Simulacrum. Second thing was the infamous Pillar Exploit on Atramedes. If i recall correctly it disabled most of his abilities on heroic mode and made it a dps race. Nefarian on heroic killed by a raid group full of feral druids because their damage over time abilities scaled insanely with mind control or something (it was borderline on exploit). Feel free to google search on those things.
          As for balancing – I’ll have to correct myself – cataclysm was pretty well balanced in terms of heroic dungeons and raids on normal at the begining. I’ll admit, can’t say about the state of heroic raid bosses in early days of t11 – my guild back then was undergoing merging and we didn’t progress as fast as we wanted. Before release of t12, heroic dungeons and t11 normal raid bosses were nerfed into oblivion. Mostly because Blizzard insisted on doing things WotLK way – i.e. let the scrubs gear up for wiping on next contet patch.
          I could go on, but i don’t expect any meaningful response judging by tour tone. I mean i understand that term trolling is used all the time when describing an opinion you don’t agree with, but if i wanted to just troll, i would actually just troll. Also, i’m sorry that my formatting is not upto your liking. Nor is the length of text. Feel free to respond with tl;dr.

          • Yes, but most/all of your examples are either bugs or exploits, which, while important to the game experiance, aren´t what we are discussing here. The issue here is balanace, how many elements will overpowered or underpowered, will we have bosses/uniques/champions that are impossible to kill, or will we have ones that are much easier then they should be, etc. Not, is there going to be bug which, in certain curcumstances, allows you, or your party/guild to one-shot a boss with bajillion health, or exploit allowing certain class/race combinations to break the damage ceilling. Balance, not bugs and expoints, was what, I believe, the original poster meant. 

          • Do you notice the difference? In your first post you said:
            “All i can say, is that encounters were far from being polished, with bugs that enabled the raid to oneshot toughest bosses in the tier or nullify their mechanics almost completely”
            Which sounded pretty broken. The reality was that there was one case of a boss almost getting oneshot (being hotfixed while they were fighting the boss) and another of an exploit on Atramedes that took a little more time to be fixed. The nefarian kill was just min maxing and druids got the most out of it, they killed it just fine without druids the next time.
            Sounds different, doesn’t it? The fact that you admitted you never even saw those problems and that your experience was just fine, besides getting bored on heroic progression, speaks volumes about the level of hyperbole in your post. If the amount of exploits and bugs in D3 can be counted on one hand and the balancing is as tight as cataclysm, then that would be a result we could only dream of, don’t you agree? No apparently you do not, apparently that is the “last thing” you want Blizzard to do; doesn’t sound like trolling to you?

  10. That part about higher levels beign untested is true. I remember when Diablo 2 was just released, those who invested in Fist of the Heavens for the pally were royally screwed in hell

    • To my recollection, that’s not one that was ever fixed.

    • More interesting is Diablo 1.

      Affixes such as Godly and of the Whale had qlvls of 60, with the clear intention that they could be dropped in Hell difficulty only since mlvls of most monsters capped at 30 + 4 for bosses such as Lazarus. It seems that they had something in place where mlvls of monsters in Nightmare/Hell had +15 and +30 to their mlvls to increase difficulty, but this in itself meant that you could find amazing item affixes just by going to Nightmare or Hell Church where the monsters were very easy. In earlier versions (than 1.08) the monsters would display as having +100/200 HP in NM/Hell, presumably a change they had made to help with the difficulty, but the monsters didn’t actually have that much HP.

      What we ended up with was:
      – NM monsters have 2x HP
      – Hell monsters have 3x HP
      – NM and Hell monsters have specific HP/damage/to hit/resistances for each difficulty
      – NM and Hell monsters gain +15 and +30 when calculating the ilvl for base item drops
      – NM and Hell monsters keep their normal mlvl when calculating the qlvl for affix drops

      Thus we’re left with the situation where Godly and of the Whale and other affixes with a qlvl of 60 cannot be found in the dungeons because no monsters have sufficiently high mlvl and can only be bought from Wirt. All due to last-minute balance changes to NM and Hell.

  11. Sorry to be a dick but if blizzard’s infinite wisdom on the skill/stat system is to be believed then we should have nothing to fear in inferno because “all builds are viable”.  look for decent weapons and have a little skill and you’re solid right?  hello?    🙄  

  12. First.

    That’s not *entirely* true that QA departments don’t test hard modes.   It’s a combination of things at work.

    First QA focus is usually on stuff ‘most’ players will see.  Now D3 is a game where it can be reasonable to expect a lot of players to stick it out until the end so I’m betting they are testing it.  In many other games, they may put less emphasis here.  It isn’t ignored.  Is it tested as much as the first few missions in the game?  No.  Untested?  Also no.

    …the other shoe is when QA finds bugs in this end game stuff towards the end of a project, many times they’ll choose to ship with those.  For the same reason QA focus isn’t as heavy there, dev focus won’t be as heavy on fixing the end game bugs.  They only have so much time and more bugs on their plate than they can reasonably fix before ship.  They’re gonna hit the stuff that is going to impact a larger chunk of their playerbase than the end game stuff. 

    …so just wanna get it out there that it isn’t always QA’s fault.  It’s annoying when everyone immediately blames QA for bugs when there’s a reasonable chance QA found the bugs, but production/development said “Nah, we’re not gonna fix this.”

    Next!  More on topic.

    …I kinda hope it’s n ot 100% perfect balance.  It’s fun when there’s items out there that are like dream items and in heavy demand that are OP.  If everything is more flat and less balance, you lose that magic of attaining the crazy item.  Instead if the items are ‘trash’ and ‘pretty good’…and nothing ‘transcendently good’…you lose a bit of the excitement of an item hunt.

    In addition, as others in this thread has noted, Blizzard has grown quite a bit in their ability to balance end game content through WoW and observing D2.  While D3 isn’t a direct corollary to WoW, there’s still a lot of lessons you can learn about item design, and just how crazy players are going to get when it comes to crunching numbers to find out the best combos. 🙂

    • I didn’t mean to imply that QA wasn’t useful or interested or capable of testing Inferno. They just don’t have the time and it’s not a top priority of the devs. Plus everything builds on everything else. As soon as they make a big change to some skills or items or whatever, then that changes the balance throughout the game, and they’ve got to test it all the way up. 

      There’s no way dozens of guys in QA are playing lvl 60 chars all the way through, upgrading theri equip, finding strategies, etc, and then working them in inferno for long hours. Just too many other things to work on. Their inferno testing is using game codes to make lvl 60s, equip them, etc. And that’s just not the same in the style of play or expertise built up over hundreds of hours of play time. Which millions of volunteers will be putting in as soon as the game launches.

      • “They just don’t have the time”
        As long as we’re waiting, they have time. And we’ve done quite some waiting over the years.

      • Yeah Flux, I have no problem with Inferno having limited testing.  No matter how you slice it, no team could ever test-to-perfection when millions of humans will eventually get their hands on the game and splay it open in millions of ways.

        Test it until it’s playable, let us break it, and then rebuild/fortify accordingly.

        @Justace: That would be a waste of time, man.

  13. Bash doubts that 60% of the players will hit Inferno after a few weeks ?

    I doubt he knows what what the heck he’s talking about, especially considering the items that will bring in the most money in the RMAH are the items found in Inferno, and considering the ease of Normal mode. 

    People are not going to spend time rerunning Normal and Nightmare with one of each class.
    There will be MANY people who rush through it as fast as they can; for bragging purposes, for RMAH purposes and for PvP purposes.  It is an EASY prediction to expect at least 60% of the players to be in Inferno after a few weeks.

    And “we have a big and talented QA department” has to be the most farcical comment ever, considering all the bugs we’ve seen in beta concerning the AH, remembering settings, duping and others.

    I mean, just take a look in the upper right corner of this page — and this is after 5 months of beta testing and 12 patches

    • 60% of the people reading this may be in Inferno. But from what they keep telling us about past games, and from their very heavy focus on casuals in D3, I doubt 60% of the people who buy the game will get into Nightmare.  Ever. We are the sharpest point of the tip of hardcore players and not at all representative of the population on a whole. Which is why so few of the features or promotion are designed to appeal to us.

      • Probably the better prediction is: 60% of people who will ever get into Inferno, will be there within 1 month of release.

      • “I doubt 60% of the people who buy the game will get into Nightmare”

        this I agree with
        or let’s say 60% of the people who buy the game will never FINISH Nightmare  

        it will be too difficult for them and they won’t enjoy doing the exact same content again the 2nd time around 

        Lanthanide’s post sounds about right

        I think 60% of the people still playing after a month will be in Inferno
        the other 40% will have quit the game entirely or will be in Normal/Nightmare

        but that’s after a month
        after 9 – 12 months, yeah, that 60% in Inferno drops dramatically

      • Yep. It’s probably not anywhere near 60%, some number so low we’d be shocked.

        When I was active on Dragon Age 2 forums last year, a CM said that the amount of people who played the hardest difficulty was less than 1%.

    • I would also doubt that 60% of players will hit inferno. Ever. I bet that damn near half the people who buy the game never beat nightmare, or even bother to try.

      Steam stats support this in almost every game.

      Edit: Flux and I posted this at the same minute but he beat me. :p

        Here is a most relevant example. A mere 1.3% of the people beat the final boss on hardest difficulty. And that’s a game where you can choose the hardest difficulty from the beginning. In Diablo 3, you have to play through the game 3 times in a row to just have a chance at Inferno…

        Most of us are extremely oblivious to the fact, that by comparison to the average, almost everyone around here is very much a hardcore gamer.

        • 12% never even found the mines…I’m speechless.

          • Well, that counts all the people who loaded the game once and then went off to play something else.  The number of games the average person has access to these days, and the number of great sales, it’s not really that surprising.

        • Konfeta,

          Those are really interesting stats. How are they compiled?

          • By Steam itself. Those are official statistics. These obviously don’t account for people who are playing steam in offline mode; nor do these account for the non-steam versions of the game, but I believe there are enough people playing the game on steam to trust these statistics.

            There could also be some inaccuracy caused by the bit where people buy games in the wallet muggings that are steam sales and never get around to playing them.

            Even if we completely discount numbers above “killed final boss on normal”, it’s still 1.3% compared to 20%; or almost 5% of the committed players reaching the end-game proper.

          • Thanks. I’m amazed at the drop off rate. I don’t think it’s reflection of that game because I enjoyed it and imho it was a decent hack and slash.

            I’d love to see stats like this for other games – the single player aspect.  For example SC2. I know quite a few people who played that (SP) but didn’t finish it. I did and my interest in finishing it never waned at all.  All I got from people who didn’t complete it was ‘got bored’.

            The breakdown on the link you gave is much more interesting though.

        • I’d actually say that it’s pretty impressive to beat TL on highest difficulty if your first playthrough was on a lower difficulty. You know, on a physical level? I’ve never seen a game going so fast from “pretty fun” to “holy shit this is boring as hell”.

        • Comparing Torchlight to Diablo 3 isn’t really a valid example.  Torchlight’s harder difficulties did not bring better items.  The content was simply….harder.  Diablo’s difficulties bring harder *and new* content.  There is no reason to play Torchlight on hard, except for personal gratification.  But to get the best items in Diablo, you have to beat all the difficulties.  

    • I don’t think 60% of the players will reach inferno after a few weeks. There will be millions of people playing Diablo, but there’s a lot of people that play it casually. These people either will play the game over months or won’t bother playing past normal because they don’t see the appeal.

      • maybe, but I still see the first few weeks as the optimal time for the RMAH 

        people will want to find Inferno items and put them in the RMAH before the RMAH starts to get flooded 

        that’s my main reason for thinking people will rush to Inferno

        but after the big push, I expect to see things slow down

        • Of course there will be people rushing to Inferno. But it will ultimately be a tiny fraction of the total playerbase.

        • Yes, but market for inferno items will be much smaller, then what you assume. All items in D3 have Clvl req., all inferno items have Clvl req. 60. That means only the people who are in the inferno themselves will be interested in inferno items. Everybody else won´t fork over 10/100/1000(?) bucks for items that none of their characters can use. I think we have all agreed that relativly small percentage of people will ever reach inferno, and that small percentage are going to be the entire market for inferno items. Also, from my experience, hardcore players are less likely to pay real money for any non OMGWTF holy crap amazing item, 

          I think that actually better way to make money off RMAH, would be to scour late Normal, and using Clvl 60. chars decked with as much MF as possible, find as close to perfect as possible Normal item, and then sell that to millions of casuals. That market would be hundereds of times bigger then market for inferno items, which would also guarantee bigger profits. 

    • I’m looking at Portal 2 achievement stats; Only 58% of accounts got the achievement for finishing the game. Portal 2 isn’t a long game, it only takes 10 hours or less. So I doubt more than 15% of accounts will reach Inferno after 30+ hours of leveling or whatnot.

    • Funny thing is 60% of the people who buy the game will not even finish the game on Normal.
      30% of players don’t finish games like Modern Warfare…  :mrgreen:

    • my thinking exactly, I wanna get to hell asap, as long as i don’t get one-shot or don’t suffer from XP barrier or sth:)

  14. Of course I don’t think it’ll be balanced, no game ever is, even single-player games, until it’s in the player’s hands. Players are the ones who make the game what it is once it is out in the wild.

    However, I hope they don’t make the same egregious errors in correcting problems that the D2 team did.

  15. Fun > Balance
    What worries me is that they have been simplifying and throwing away mechanics in name of balance yet still will somehow manage to make a hugely unbalanced game.

    • I’ve been thinking along those lines lately regarding Diablo that Fun > Polish/Balance/Userfriendly. I am worried that D3 will be too balanced/polished/userfriendly, which sounds really strange in theory but I believe a game needs to have struggles, annoyances and tough choices to be good long term. 
      Some examples from D2 would be that you have to chug manapots for a long time to spam spells, your skill/stat choices are permanent so you have to think through your choices from the very start and plan for the future. First time Duriel is something many people remember, impossible! Belts in normal act1 only have two rows of potions, omg annoying. Many of the best items are basically impossible to find. Characters scale exponentially with better gear, you start out really weak and notice the difference when you get better gear. Characters and speccs are far from equal in terms of power.
      I believe many of the aspects that make D2 great can be seen as bad design decisions if you just look at them in theory, because they aren’t necessarily balanced, polished or userfriendly.
      A good Diablo game shouldn’t just be a ride on rails down happy lane imo, I think having the player struggle and make some permanent choices(I know some of you don’t like those) they regret on their first playthrough is good, learning from mistakes is satisfying.
      I’m worried that they seem to be focusing too much on making a good impression on a first time gamer the first time he plays with the ‘hold hands’ approach.

  16. Being a part of the dirty, jacked up, wonky end game right around release is half the fun for me. It’s like Disneyland: you don’t want to live there, but it’s fun to visit for a time.

    • I could definitely understand that. It can definitely be oddly appealing to play not totally finished games just because you get to see what it’s like before the final coat of polish is smeared over the screwed up parts, however, it’s best for that to be done in betas and test servers before it’s released to the general public because most of them will put the most negative spin on it and give up on the game altogether.

  17. While I understand the balancing process to be this way. It isn’t pleasant being the person or people that are ahead of the pack and bumping into clearly broken game mechanics that ruin the game for you.

    I mean, with the way the game is set up atm, there’ll be no need to start a new character of the same class. So unless it’s balanced right the way through the game at release (which it wont be), we’re gonna be bumping into problems that will ruin the game experience no matter what. That, to me will ruin character development.

    Maybe we’ll be making more toons just to experience the ‘complete package’ a year after release or something.     

    On the bright side, more broken mechanics means items that will probably be extremely ‘rare’ but easy to get until they patch it and as such will become more valuable on the RMAH. So there’s an opportunity there.    

  18. Devs pretty much always underestimate the players in terms of balanced difficulty. No need to try balancing it perfectly now, when its doomed to fail anyway.
    As long as they keep balancing it often and fast after release I’ll be happy.

  19. For people that think they will be able to file class action lawsuits : They have a clause that says you can’t do class action lawsuits agsinst them if you agree to the EULA/TOS, just like sony did. Good luck.

    • I’m pretty sure a clause like that is illigal in itself. But nobody gives a shit and/or is willing to go to law for it so nothing happens.
      It would be like signing a TOS that says they can legally shoot you, by law that document would be void nomatter what.

      • Being a lawyer myself, I beg to differ on the class action clause. I am not sure this has yet reached the Supreme Court, but such clauses are flying around quite often and nobody at Berkeley Law has openly referred to them as illegal:)

        •  I’m pretty sure no one said the EULA that said they now owned your soul was illegal, but i doubt it would stand up in court in most places…
          Also, as i recall in France (and thus all the EU) there already was a case that said the EULA doesn’t count because you sign it only after you paid and opened the product. Of course the online  server thing might change things…

          • Well until a legal ruling is passed one way or the other they are in the grey zone. IE No one can say who would win as it might go either way.
            ^ Yep that means that it really hard for companies to sue people for breaking EULA etc, unless it comes under breaking an existent law. Software Piracy is covered by the Copyright Acts, but the rest is not in the law.
            As for the online bit well that falls under services and as such they can impose conditions here, the most basic being the rights to terminate said service for a number of reasons.

      • Bad example there Occam as the law already says that causing harm to someone is illegal, and TOS etc are a contract between the user and the company, as such they cant do against current laws, but they can add conditions on top of what the law says (as long as it don’t break any laws).
        IE you get a job you sign a contract that says you will get paid X amount per hour, as long as X is more than the law says the minimum wage is the contract is valid, but if its below what the law says the minimum wage is, the contract is an illegal contract.

        • I just did a quick google “class action lawsuit clause Sony” and it seems Sony is already getting sued over this clause despite what i said that nobody is willing to/cares (whether that be succesful, i doubt it though). I’m not a lawyer myself so i don’t know the exact letter of the law, but i have enough common sense to know that signing a contract that wavers away one’s rights isn’t exactly within the spirit of the law. Sorry that i used the tem “illigal” prematurely, but i believe it should be.

          • no worries. Personally, i don’t think its likely to get invalidated given the current trend of demoting and watering down the class action as such – this is all over the place. Plus, if arbitration clauses in fine print have been held enforceable in consumer contracts (see Carnival Cruise, a Supreme Court case), I don’t see why a informed waiver of or covenant not to sue in class action format, would be not. 

  20. Did we start having the “hardcore vs casuals” argument yet?  Or how Blizzard is “quite obviously catering to casuals”?  Can’t wait for that discussion! 

  21. “Personally, I think there’s very little point in Bliz spending much time trying to balance Inferno in advance, since a week after release half a million devoted players are going to be testing it 12 hours a day, and producing more data in an hour than Bliz QA will between now and release. (Same goes for Nightmare and Hell, but even more so.) I would bet a considerable sum that Inferno will be in no way balanced upon release, and I don’t mind that at all. It’ll be fun to see (and write about) all of the bugs, loopholes, exploits, and other tricks that player ingenuity discovers, and see how the D3 team moves to fix them.”
    I think you nailed it with this.  See it so often in heroic WoW raids they try to keep secret from the community.  They have tons of bugs and sometimes are just flat out broken.  We’ll probably see a lot of tweaks in the first few weeks.

  22. Well it just more milkage to be done so they can wait for the RMAH ot work properly and I think they are trying to release close to Tochlight 2. They can be spiteful like that…

    • Seriously? Are you really trying to trick people to go to those when it’s blatantly obvious what they are? Or are you just trying to get banned for doing something stupid? 😐

  23. I guess they are testing higher difficulty levels vigorously. Wasn’t one of the reasons behind the stats change (the last one) was that people were all chasing the same items at higher levels?
    Also, the higher level item game is crucial to the success of D3 now. Because RMAH.

  24. Unfortunately, QA and CR rarely have any idea as to what they’re doing.

    Honestly, seeking QA opinion on difficulty level is akin to shooting yourself in the foot.

    I would go as far to say that part of why Diablo 2 was so lasting was because the lack of testing for Hell mode. The dev/QA team have very different definition of hard content.

    They believe it has to be readily doable to keep the casuals in; fact of the matters is that the end game should be excruciatingly hard for ARPG. Don’t like it? Go a difficulty down until you can hang with the big boys.

    Alas, Inferno will probably end up being a breeze for any veteran players. If they want to ensure at least half the player can work through it, then the other, more devoted, half will scoff at the challenge.

    “Being a lawyer myself, I beg to differ on the class action clause. I am not sure this has yet reached the Supreme Court, but such clauses are flying around quite often and nobody at Berkeley Law has openly referred to them as illegal:)”

    Nobody that goes to Boalt says Berkeley Law. You know nothing.

    • Unless you have something informed to say, other that your preconceived misinformed and personal notions, I would suggest you to remain silent. 

      • From what you’ve posted, you demonstrate the legal knowledge of someone with access to Google. Anyone who has actually been to T14 Law School and passed the bar exam will find you hilarious.

        I would suggest you to remain silent until you can type one coherent sentence.


  25. A tiny wee bit OT, but was the Druid’s Elemental Tree ever viable? Is it now? :s
    But Blizz constantly say how hard Inferno is going to be, I’m hoping that they stick to their guns on that. D2 level difficulty in Hell (fairly, not Nintendo difficult) would be good, and a step up from there into Inferno nice. I probably won’t get far in it, and not many besides, but that’s what it’s there for, no? Apparently, anyway. We’ll see.

    • Unless for some reason you completely forgo all the wind skills, the elemental tree is more then viable.
      And the fire skills aren’t half as bad as people are suggesting either, but nowadays anything that isn’t as OP as the lammerdin isn’t considered as viable it seems. :/

  26. “exploit the hell out of various vulnerable game systems”
    the problem with this is that blizzard, if you do it to well are going to slap you with a ban or worse 😉
    they do so in the beta now, and we are not even retail 😉

  27. They will not succeed in making the end-game perfect.. ever. Simply because it’s impossible. To make a fun end-game it should be challenging, though achievable for all characters and for all people that reach inferno. This results into three possible scenarios:

    – They make it too hard, so no one will actually be able to beat it, which is obviously not a good stage.
    – They make it hard, where only the really specific builds/tactics will survive, resulting in standard tactics all around, similar classes, only to be able to beat inferno, generally a very similar end-game for everyone.
    – They make it too easy, where a lot of builds and playstyles will be able to play through inferno, in which case it will not be a challenge to the real die-hard gamers like some of you here.

    The end-game will either be undoable, only doable for the very specialized characters (either in knowledge or builds, NOT in skill) or doable for too many people and thus a breeze for the “good” people. The best balance would be an end-game that is hard but doable for the skilled people, but Diablo is a type of game where skill is more knowledge/gear than actual skill.

    I for one, will be glad when i finish hell on each character and then will see how far i’ll get into inferno. I’m not expecting to have the time to play through to inferno in very rapid time. Besides, i want to enjoy the other difficulties as well. No matter how the end-game will turn out, i think it’ll be close to as good as possible, which will not be perfect, but pretty damn good.

  28. omg… what a missleading title -.-. you could just write a normal head line and in the first paragraph that bashiok wants to balance inferno post-release with Q/A and that you know that this is standard in the games industrie..

  29. m i only one who thinks that peoples will play Inferno 2-3 days after the game is released?

  30. I’m sorry but I couldn’t help noticing — “useless even in nightmare elemental druids”.
    I’m guessing you didn’t play a lot of druids, because ele druids were one of the most solid builds in the game. 🙂
    Disclaimer: Sorry, no trolling intended.

  31. I agree with your statements.  If Inferno isn’t balanced I don’t think I’ll throw a fit.  I’m used to dying… alot when making the transition from difficulties.  And in D2 I often found my character to be useless for long periods in Acts since I usually was a singular focus build.  And as most of you know each act (on higher diffs) has mobs that are immune to one if not two types of damage.  Any who I can’t wait for them to finish the game so I can take a week off and play it religiously.

  32. Really stupid question. I want the game out already, so screw the balance. It can be balanced later on, because there will be so many people playing, that every major bug will be found in a matter of days. And the smaller ones will take years to find. So I say again, screw pre-release balancing and bug fixing, just release the damn game already!

    • We can dream, but an early release won’t work for the reviewers. Blizzard does not want D3 to be etched on Metacritic as “80%, generally favourable reviews”:

      “Flawed masterpiece”
      “Frustrating bugs mar an otherwise solid experience” 

  33. Completely agree with Flux. Games like this are at their purest at release. The funnest part is learning how to exploit the game early when ingenuity is key. After the game is out for a while, it will be patched up and balanced and great, but the strats will be more solved and less unique.

  34. Heh .. weird things in a start of any game are fun to remember afterwards. Like in D2 Corpse Explosion madness in 1.00 or whirlwind before nerfing 🙂 Some weird items etc.
    I’m thinking D3 will be more tested and polished than D2 anyways so I think it will be a nice experience.

  35. 1. ‘balance’ is always shifting, so impossible to achieve.
    2. imbalance makes people buy things. So they’ll probably focus on a slight imbalance. if they are smart. 

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