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    Yesterday Azzure posted news about some of the big changes to the Diablo 3 economy we’re seeing previewed in Beta Patch 16. The main discussion in comments on his post here is about the change from a flat fee to a 15% tax on RMAH auctions, (which was apparently a display error/bug in the beta) but if you click through to the full article on Diablo 3 Markets, you see two other interesting tidbits.

    The new feature I found most interesting were the changes to crafting. The required materials got their usual reshuffling and many of them decreased in the quantity of ingredients. Their gold costs changed in the other direction though, and you might as well call the last couple of levels of Blacksmith plans “Heaven,” since the streets do indeed seem to be paved with gold.

    If you scroll down the list of Blacksmith plans via DiabloNut, you see the gold costs right there on the table (you have to click to every plan page individually to see the costs using Blizzard’s site DB). The costs aren’t too steep through Normal and Nightmare, and even into early Hell lots of plans still cost under 10,000 gold (plus other materials). Once you get to the end of Hell though, and start working the level 9 plans… things get pricey.

    The more desirable Level 9 recipes, which you’ll be doing in late Hell or early Inferno, cost 30-40,000+, and when you get up into the highest level crafting gear, better bring a credit card. Everything costs at least 50k, with dozens of plans at 100,000+, topping out at 171,054 for the 10 most expensive (and best?) crafted weapons in the game.

    Obviously we don’t know anything about gold drops in Hell or Inferno, and we know even less about the Tomes of Secret, at least 1 of which (climbing up to 17) is required in every Inferno crafting recipe. Still, it’s clear that vast quantities of gold will be required to craft at high levels.

    Note also that none of the plans any longer require Fiery Brimstone. (Which might be out of the game entirely; it’s still on Blizzard’s site but isn’t listed in any plans or Blacksmith training costs, and it only shows up in one weird recipe via datamining.) They can all be made with just blue and yellow mats, plus Tomes of Secret and gold. This seems like a change that will make it easier (or at least more feasible) for players to pull themselves up by their bootstraps in Inferno. Theoretically you could grind Act One Inferno for a few hours, building up gold and materials, which you could then spend on crafting recipes with a chance to make yourself a really top end item, of the type you’ll need to survive in the later acts of Inferno. This might be a solution to a problem that crops up in some games, where your character really needs Item X to survive on the higher levels, but there’s no way to earn that item without playing on those higher levels in the first place.

    Secondly, we see more changes to legendary items, though their stats are still far from finished, as displayed on Blizzard’s website. (Legendaries and Item Sets aren’t included in the beta data files at all, so can’t yet be datamined.) Click through for details on those…

    Months ago, we engage in some debate about the early stats listed for legendaries on Blizzard’s website. They weren’t very impressive back then, without much in the way of affix bonuses, and surprisingly low damage. This led to speculation that perhaps top weapons in D3 were flatter in their DPS, and and that unlike D2’s weapon system, properties other than huge +damage might have value in the end game.

    That may yet be true, but from the new legendary item stats, it looks like the lack of damage disparity has been iterated away from, or else it was just a by product of the very early itemization at that point. As Azzure points out, most legendary weapons now have HUGE damage increases over their base item types. As the comparison of Azurewrath to a base Rune Sword shows, it’s more than double the damage.

    This is still a lot less than the damage bonuses top weapons had in D2, where +250% was quite common, with top items (mostly runewords, ultimately) expected to grant +350% or more. That said, this is still a work in progress and things may yet change a lot, as you’ll note that the itemization is still underway, with almost every legendary weapon and high level crafting plan still just listing “and X random attributes.”

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