Inferno, Enrage, and Launch

DiabloWikiBashiok 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.

Enrage Timers

Starting with the first topic, DiabloWikiBashiok 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:

I know what some boss enrage timers are, but to save spoilers I’ll transpose it onto the Skeleton King. So, as an imaginary example, in Inferno if you don’t kill the Skeleton King within four minutes he starts spawning three times the amount of skeletons. That creates a much tougher situation, but it’s one you could very well handle if played right.

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 DiabloWikiHell and early DiabloWikiInferno loot can rival what you might find during Inferno.

There’s a confusion of terms making this an issue, but it’s really not one.

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:

I would be surprised if we’re relying on the store’s normal stock to fill the potential demand at the event. On the other hand the number of Collector’s Editions we printed is finite so maybe it’s not out of the realm of possibility. Thanks for bringing it up though, I’ll pass this along/look into it.

Each of these segments have longer explanations and responses, so feel free to read through each of the topics.

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    61 thoughts on “Inferno, Enrage, and Launch

      • Talking about this on the podcast we recorded yesterday, it seems like the 8 hour delay between EU servers and US servers might actually be to the advantage of people on the US ones. In that EU can serve as the guinea pig for massive player ontime, potentially making the EU servers at launch like the start of free beta weekend. Which was hours of gridlock and horror, but served a greater good with things running smoothly for the rest of the weekend. 


    1. tier 9 could be better than tier 10, so why call it tier? 
      what about series instead of tier?

      • “Tier” is only confusing to WoW players. I mean, a tier does kind of insinuate some type of quality (which there is a difference in quality…being ilvl) but this isn’t related to “tiers” in other games.

        • That’s still 12million people.  It’s not like it is some small number.

          • 10 million.
            Aside that, i think tiers were more confusing because it wasn’t clarified. So, people assumed it’s similar to WoW in that respect.

        • Going up a “tier” is a sign of something becoming more powerful in many types of games. RTS games refer to “tiers” of units; fans of fighting games arrange rosters into “tiers” (top-tier characters being considered more powerful/common tournament pics); etc.

          So, no, it’s not just WoW players.

          • MRR yes a high tier unit/item is stronger than a lower one but only if your comparing like to like, in RTS games a lower tier spearman unit will usually make mincemeat of a higher tier cavalry unit etc.

            The way to look at it guys, is like this there are tiers but it’s not as clear cut as in WoW etc.
            By this I mean it better to think of it as power level ranges IE Tier 16 is power levels 15-17 and tier 17 is power level 16-18 etc,  on average high tier items will be better than lower tier but the best items in a tier will be better then the worse items in higher tier.

          • In terms of this community, WoW is what is most relevant. I know we always talk about those “damn fighting game players ruining our game” and all that, though.

            • I agree that, presently, WoW players are most likely to be confused by this usage of the term “tier” to describe the armor sets (and they’re likely also the ones perpetuating it). If it became the common way to refer to the gear sets, however, it could be confusing to Diablo newcomers from other gaming backgrounds.

              Eventually people will get used to these things anyway, and they’ll know the mechanics and how to find good gear no matter what people say to refer to the appearance of their armor. Ultimately it’ll probably be a non-issue. 

    2. So going by this guys definition of fun, a necromancer taking a long time to beat a boss using decrepify and a clay golem is both inefficient and cheesy.

      • No, that’s not what’s being said – he didn’t say that any strategy that takes forever is necessarily cheesy. The statement implies that some strategies that take a really long time are cheesy.

        But, for what it’s worth, I never found that type of play especially fun when I had to do it, and I certainly wouldn’t call it “efficient”.

    3. can anyone please explain to me how the witch doctor’s \soul harvest\ skill works?

      • Sure. You get a soul (they come in various sizes), you harvest it using dark and forbidden magic, and voila! You have soul harvest.

      • You have to train for decades in the art of witch doctory before anyone can explain the secrets of soul harvest to you.

      • It functions much like a farmer harvesting crops (wheat, corn, barley, etc.) only more metaphysically.

      • gathering bonus from surrounding foes up to 5 total(from 1 cast only. 2nd refreshes number). Each point grants 30int
        +150int = +150% magic damage. Got my WD’s DPS at about 120+ playing OBT with this buff

      • There’s a blast centered around you, and the more monsters you catch in the blast the more powerful your buff will be (capped at a max buff for hitting 5 monsters).

    4. #1 There is issue with loging in, I imputed my data three times now, and every time after it redirects me, I am still not logged in.

      #2 The whole gearcheck “issue” is simply silly. Sure, it might be relevant in some other game, but Diablo is a loot based game, that means that by definition, everything is a gearcheck. Every new area, act, and most especially every new difficulty, they are all “gearchecks”. You can hardly attempt Nightmare with gear from start of Normal, just as you stand no chance in Hell if you use level 30 gear, and so on. Complaining about Inferno being a gearcheck is simply ridiculous. Yes, the monsters will have more damage, higher health pools, and they will be impossible to kill with gear that is too weak, but that is true for all difficulties, again, you stand no chance against level 50 monsters with character that is equipped in level 30 gear. 

      This is Diablo, obviously, so there are no set loot tables for monsters, which means that you are not guaranteed to get any item. Each monster has a set of perameters that determine what gear it can drop, but the nomber of possible items that a single monster can drop numbers in millions. There are no sets in WoW terms, and you can potentially get excelent item way below what you normal would get it. Diablo fans have a tendency too overreact on everything. There will be no sets like in WoW, and I know that simply because “tiers” means that there you are guaranteed to get an item after farming for it for long while, which means set loot tables, and they are not in the game. Which further means that, there won’t be any perfect gear but there will be a lot of gear which will, to a higher or lower degree, viable.

      • I’m not sure where you are getting the idea from but Diablo 2 had little or even nothing in terms of gear checks.  The principal separation was through levels.  The player level compared to the enemy level has a huge impact on combat.  Stories like The Poorman are a good example of this.  Diablo 3 inferno is actually an entirely different approach.  We are now guaranteed to be lower level than the monsters which changes combat to become a gear check since we no longer have the level advantage that was of such importance in the past (or in earlier difficulties in D3) so I’d say there is more happening in the math here than you are giving credit.

        • That was only true for the lamers that outleveled the content. Not going to happen in Diablo 3 Inferno.

    5. I wonder if all enrage modes are gameplay related and not just pure damage increase of the boss. Because I am kinda intrigued in how enrage will work with multiplayer. So we have the required damage increase of all monsters in proportion to the number of players, and then that damage will be increased yet again when enrage hits.

      I am hoping that it will be all just like the Skeleton King example, wherein the number of mobs were increased, not the personal statistical damage themselves. It kinda makes room for technique and strategy, rather than just saying “Okay, he’s enraged, he’ll be doing x% more damage now.”

    6. “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.
      Yeah guys, don’t worry. Higher tier is just a different appearance!
      Sovereign Mail, lvl 60, 360-397 armor
      Archon Armor, lvl 60, 397-457 armor
      What a load of crap.
      Bottom of page

      • You could have a rare defense sovereign chest piece spawn that beats out an archon piece. This isn’t hard to understand.

            • Because I will refuse to use Archon Armor. It’s just not my style. Since it’s all just “models and textures”, Sovereign is the way to go!

        • Of course I haven’t played Diablo 2. I just happen to somehow know lots and lots about it? The “way to go” is the gear with the better stats, whether it’s archon, sovereign, or a cracked sash. If you want to go completely san fran metro on it, use a vanishing dye.

        • a rare archon piece with the same rare def will beat sovereign’s def stats, so in the end the archon is still the ultimate. It will just be extremely rare, and be the one thing everyone wants.

            • no, im saying ultimately, the archon piece with the “best” stat for your build will still beat a sovereign that has the “best” stat for your build. If both items are capable of generate the same affixes, it only make sense the item with a better base number will beat the other. If a sov is capable of getting a rare def bonus, an archon piece can too. 

      • You’re just being obstinate.

        The point is that, unlike some games, the item with the “higher tier” appearance won’t necessarily be more powerful. You know this, and you know what was meant by the blue comments. Don’t twist comments just for the sake of making controversy. 

    7. @hellfurion

      You’re probably familiar with the usual mmo enrage timer, where it’s designed to just wipe the floor with the players almost immediately. Whatever the mechanic happens to be. 

      It’d be nice if it was a gradual increase throughout the fight. Like if the Skeleton king spawns n+4 minions each time and that eventually becomes too much to handle. That way you get, at least, the chance of winning in a blaze of glory despite the enrage timer being passed.

      You could tune it however you want, just make it gradual.  


      • yeah. been playing a lot of mmo so the i dont want d3 to turn out like one, and it seems that blizz was right on the money. i’d rather have a much elevatyed gameplay mechanics than the instant-wipe enrage style of mmos. and seeing that d3 is completely soloable, there wouldn’t be any reason to restrict players with class roles.

        • Yep its good that they are thinking of doing things like making the skelly king make more mini skellys instead of enrage into a “I now 1 hit you fools” mode.

    8. This is not World of Warcraft. Please begone with your gear scores and item checks and your other stupid WOW-related needs.

      • You’d rather have a game where you can use average gear to clear the hardest part of the game?

        • You must never have played a Diablo game or not followed news about D3, especially inferno. You will not be able to clear any part of inferno with average gear. You will die. The gear you have will be reflected by the territory you’re playing in. There is no need for a gear check system. If some scrub joins your group and can’t survive, he/she will be left behind… And don’t worry, you won’t wipe. I promise.

    9. Enrage timers just sound like a bad idea. It’s up there with not being able to dodge melee attacks through movement.

      • I suspect they’re trying to avoid it being the case that the easiest way – that is, the way that requires the least advanced gear, etc., – to kill bosses is to do some tedious runaround that takes a jillion years. It helps preserve the challenge (and prestige!) of clearing higher difficulty levels. It also makes it (slightly) harder for a very advanced character to drag an underleveled and undergeared character though late-game boss fights, since the advanced character has to burn through the extra HP the boss has as a result of the second character being there before the enrage timer runs out.

    10. Well there will always be a seperation in the quality of the armors in different tiers. Even with affixes not affected by the tiers, the base armor is. Now it might be that thhose values doesnt matter much in the end, who knows with the game not out, but i doubt it will be the same for the weapons, with all the skills depandant on the number on your weapon. We are already seeing cases of the weapons on higher tiers selling for ridiculous prices even though they are white items in beta. Im not saying this will be the case for end game, but i cant see how ppl will let go of the numbers. Unless you are saying at end game all tiers will generate about the same numbers? doubt it.

    11. There was no blue comment on gear checks here. Seems like Nizaris is just trying to create a headline to stir people up lol. I haven’t heard in any interview’s the issue of gear checks being raised, I might be wrong. It would run contrary to the premise of allowing more player skill into the game imo.

      • Look at the blue tracker, with the big blue link that has “GEARCHECKS” in the title, which Bashiok responded to.

    12. It’s a good thing. Plain and simple.  Diablo 2 had a \gear check\ too, and it was your cLvl + your uber cookie cutter spec + All those High Runeword items you got from a hacked botter in trade chat to farm Uber Tristrim.   Without those, you weren’t going to kill Ubers.   Now, you have to actually be GOOD AT THE GAME and not run in circles and kite a boss around , taking 1% off of his HP every 10 seconds.  Everyone sounds like they are afraid of having to actually do something semi-difficult in an ARPG.  Trial and error is a scary thing.

      • I bet a lot of the complainers are confusing “kiting” with “skill”. There is nothing skillful about kiting a boss around until he drops dead.

    13. Somone should just doctor up the launch screen for Diablo 2 using the diablo 3 logo. Then everyone who constantly brings up how this game differs from diablo 2 can just install the new splash screen and start playing “diablo 3” right now. If I wanted to play diablo 2 again, I’d launch it. Its still installed on my computer. I’m excited that someone took the time to make a different game instead.

      • Thing is, it’s not different. It’s Diablo 3 and you’re just nerdraging.   Or they are.

    14. Regarding gear tiers, I wish they’d implement something like WoW’s transmogrification. For those who don’t know, it allows you to change the appearance of an item by replacing the model with one of an identical item type and quality. In WoW, it works like this: you have a tier 18 helmet whose modifiers you like and a tier 13 helmet whose look you like. You give the tier 18 and the tier 13 into the transmog NPC to make the tier 18 look like the tier 13. The catch is that it costs a fee and it has to be of the same quality (in D3: rare for rare, legendary for legendary, etc.).

      I think this could have its uses in D3, keeping people playing more areas of the game, adding yet another gold sink, etc.

      Personally, for a lot of the D3 classes and for a lot of the armor slots, I like the look of the lower and middle levels more than the high. Here’s a vid with the tier 2 through 16 armors: SPOILER

    15. I have a question.
      Did the spawns of the skel king drop loot?
      Would it be a viable idea to kite him for the extra loot since he’ll spawn much faster after time.

      • No. No exp either. This is Blizzard you are taking about, not some indie developer.

    16. Dear Bashiok, three questions:

      Will the best possible top tier item be better than the best possible item of a lower tier?
      Will the average power of top tier items be better than the average power of lower tier items?
      Will some of the best set and unique items only drop in higher tiers and not in lower ones?

      I’m guessing the answer to all three of those questions is ‘Yes’. If so, the statement that there is only a cosmetic difference between tiers seems silly.

      • i don’t think bashiok actually admits to coming onto incgamers, as this is not a asskisser fan site. and if he did(you know he does) i don’t think he would actually post on here

        • You’re right, we haven’t had Blizzard people on here for years and years.
          Just wanted to make it clear what I was addressing, i.e., Bashiok’s claims.

      • I don’t understand why oh why people have such a huge problem with the use of the word Tier when it comes to describing the aesthetic differences between item groups. So what? 😐

        • Because term Tiers has specific meaning which was already described few post up.
          Using word Tier just for sake of aesthetic differences will confuse any real gamer not only WoW players.

    17. Kiting a boss around for an hour when he can one-shot you if you screw up is not cheese in my book; but a fine example of persistence and skill. Also, news of enrage timers don’t sit right with me. This will make some boss fights on hardcore totally hit or miss as you won’t be able to draw the fight out to improvise a solution if you get in over your head :(.

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