Bashiok has been out in force recently, answering questions around the official forums. A few topics of interest have come up, one of which I can speak to personally. The three topics are regarding enrage timers for bosses, potential CE copies at the midnight launch in Irvine, and gear-checks in groups for Inferno.
Starting with the first topic, Bashiok responded with some information regarding enrage timers and how they might work. For those that are not familiar with the term, enrage timers are the window of time that Blizzard requires groups to finish a fight before the boss/enemy dramatically increases in difficulty. World of Warcraft examples range everywhere from getting a massive damage and attack speed increase to increased spawning of foes, etc. The translation of “hitting the enrage timer” in World of Warcraft often equated directly to an instant wipe. Bashiok explains further on what this might look like in Diablo 3:
People kiting the Skeleton King around for an hour with their level 3 characters is fun to see. It’s not fun when it’s level 60’s at end game and item drops matter. To make these kills and thus a character’s progression matter we need to try to fight cheesy tactics that allow people to just flop through the game.
Gear-checks and Inferno
Bashiok steps in on this topic to clear up some confusion regarding the correlation between sets and stats. Many people are equating tiers to a relative increase in stat possibilities. According to Bashiok, the two don’t necessarily impact the other in a direct way. His explanation seems to placate the original poster, who professed his/her concerns about the results of gear-checking from Act to Act to ensure efficacy of the group. In short, there is a real possibility that Hell and early Inferno loot can rival what you might find during Inferno.
We separate out ‘item tiers’ for their visual appearance first and foremost. We have a number of “armor sets” (18?) in the game that match visually, and so we call them ‘tiers’ because there’s no real better way to say it. When all of your items are from that ‘tier’, you’ll match. That doesn’t directly determine their stats, though.
They’re spread out in a logical progression, and items get more awesome looking as you go further in the game. Ipso facto the higher the visual tier the better chance it’s a more powerful item, but it doesn’t preclude the possibility of it being worse. You can absolutely find an item from a visual tier back in Hell difficulty that’s better than an item using a later visual tier in Inferno.
It’s best to just expunge the term ‘tier’ from your minds, because it really has nothing to do with any kind of stair step or item upgrade approach. It’s just models and textures.
Midnight Launch in Irvine
The second topic I can speak directly to, because my experience was the exact opposite of what this poster claims. With the midnight release approaching swiftly, it means that people are wondering more about the special events being held around the world. The question for a lot of people is whether or not those that attend will have the ability to buy a Collector’s Edition if they show up without a pre-order. In all honesty, this SHOULD be the case, because thousands of people will be attending these launch events across the world and most particularly at the Irvine event.
As I will be attending the event on behalf of IncGamers (and myself, of course), I took the liberty of calling the store and I was told a good deal of info regarding the event. The manager explained that they expect a massive volume of Collector’s Editions for the sheer amount of customers they will be getting on launch night. According to the representative I spoke to, they expect no less than an extra 2,000 copies sent, which rivals the amount CE’s they gave to Fry’s for their Cataclysm event – he said he expects more than that because Blizzard “is extremely hyped about this launch event.” This message also seems to reflect Bashiok’s thoughts:
Each of these segments have longer explanations and responses, so feel free to read through each of the topics.