The Diablo 3 Podcast #93: Year One Patches and Difficulty Nerfs

Flux, Xanth, and Aahz discuss the numerous patches and difficulty changes (nerfs) we saw during the first year of Diablo 3, which made the game easier, characters stronger, and much improved the game.

Approximate segment starting times:

  • 0:20 — Recent play adventures. Xanth’s freshly-dead P71 Monk, and more.
  • 4:45 — Diablo 3 patches relived. Many nerfs over time have made the game much easier and much more fun, showing the lie of our pre-game “we want it harder” claims.
    • DiabloWikiPatch 1.0.3, June 19, 2012. Huge reductions in gem upgrade prices and Inferno-nerfed by huge boosts to the odds of high level items dropping.
    • DiabloWikiPatch 1.0.4, August 21, 2012. Paragon system, skill tweaks, lots of inferno nerfs. Also, sparkles added to Legendaries! (That video is guaranteed to amaze in retrosepct.)
    • DiabloWikiPatch 1.0.5, October 16th. Tons of skill changes/buffs, big Inferno nerf, Monster Power and Infernal Machine enabled.
  • 22:00 — Mage issues. Flux explains why he regrettably has no use for the Diablo III Wizard, after mages were amongst his fave classes in previous Diablo titles.
  • 25:50 — Vote kick fixed and useful crafting (that worked like crafting did during the beta) reintroduced. More patch coverage!
    • DiabloWikiPatch 1.0.7, February 13, 2013. PvP brawling enabled, to universal disinterest. No Inferno nerf for a change, but mega-improved crafting recipes.
    • DiabloWikiPatch 1.0.8, May 8, 2013. Monster density adjustment leads to rejoicing. Also minor skill tweaks and major social feature improvements.
  • 30:50 — We’ve got at least a year until D3X; what can we look forward to before then? Will we ever again see new content in a patch?
  • 35:20 — DiabloWikiWhimsyshire! Memories of Diablo III’s secret level.

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    1. “Many nerfs over time have made the game much easier and much more fun, showing the lie of our pre-game “we want it harder” claims.” ???????

      Sorry but I have to disagree. For me the problem was never that the games was “too hard”.

      I simply hated the fact that it was extremly easy for people willing to pay enough real money while players who refused to use the auction houses had a hard time.

      It is absolutely unacceptable that I buy a full price game and then have to find out that success in the game depends more on the additional money I spend than on my skill.

      • I agree. The dificulty wasn’t as much of an issue in the beginning as the itemization and distribution. Stacking damage all on weapon damage made act 3 blues some of the best items in the game. Their inability to properly test and itemize the game is what lead to a hassle in the beginning. The difficulty could be the same before the nerfs now, with maybe a few adjustments to affixes (mainly invulnerable minions), and the current distribution of gear in all of the acts would make all the difference. Even on the higher monster power the game isn’t difficult, just far more time consuming to kill an elite pack. During the pre release hype it really felt like skill was going to be important while watching the videos. Outplaying the mechanics of the game and using all of your abilities to dominate your foes. What we really have is a handful of builds that have one main attack that you spam and some buffing abilities. Much like Diablo 2 which they consistently said that just spamming one button wasn’t fun. Ohh archon death bearm, ohh whirlwind, ohh zombie bear, ohh tempest rush. Uninspiring bullshit.

        Short of redoing how half of the game works nothing will make it about skill. The best they could do would be to add a dungeon that gave rise to true random and not the predictable layout of every instance this game currently has. Hell, if they would just put arena in it would revitalize a lot of players and increase the community. But the diablo team has the competitive drive of a hippie mother teaching her four year old, whom she still breast feeds, that monopoly, risk, jenga, and uno are the devils work and promote achievement over others when we are really all equal no matter what. It’s a fucking disgrace.

      • Agreed.

        I haven’t listened to the actual podcast, but really, “much more fun”?

        You guys are quite the sellouts. Just the opposite is true, really; all of the Diablo community’s pre-game fears were realized, more or less. The easiest of all the Diablos. The pathetic delay and removal of team PvP. Tons of features removed, right before launch. Dumbed down itemization. The bastardization of one of the franchise’s greatest features, truly random maps. The Disney-fication of the storyline. On the bright side, though, I hear the PS3 version is out!

        I suppose the rest of the gang left a long time ago for Path of Exile.

        I see the devs are still giving you all the usual crap about iterating, being unable to commit. Don’t clutter the UI! Another checkbox and you might lose all playability.

        Also I hear you have massive duping now! Sweet.

        Don’t get me wrong. It was worth 60 bucks. But if you were honest you would admit it could be a few more years of updates before this game is an actual “successor” to Diablo 2.

        • Nice that you’re auditioning as a case study of what was discussed on the previous podcast. About time to update the Diablo-killer reference though, isn’t it? Grim Dawn or something else, glittering in its unreleased perfection?

          As for this show, Diablo 3 is not perfect by any means, but it’s a spectacularly better game now than it was upon release, which was what we talked about on the show. I don’t think that’s really arguable.

          People are free to still hate over the RMAH or console or whatever fits in your hatefoil hat, but that wasn’t really the subject of this podcast. (Though the pros and cons of the AH it is a major topic of part 2 of the conversation, which will be posted later tonight.)

    2. Ow man, I feel your pain, Xanth.

      I lost one of my characters to “Unkown” as well. Somehow she was set ablaze by a Molten death explosion and just kept on taking damage indefinitely.

      Well… at least until I she ran out of healthpoints and before the exit timer completed…

    3. The game was never too hard for me. Yes, I ran into the Inferno brick wall just like everyone else, but the brick wall had nothing to do with the game being too hard. The game difficulty of Normal all the way through the first half of Hell difficulty was a complete joke that did nothing to prepare you for what was to come. The itemization was pure crap. The items needed to progress in Inferno were locked away in later acts which were inaccessible without said items. Thus our only choice to progress was to either use the AH or exploit the game to bypass content. Then there were the asinine boss mod combos that were allowed.

      IMO, the game didn’t need to be nerfed. The itemization and drops needed to be fixed. Normal through the first half of Hell difficulty needed to be rebalanced to provide more of a challenge. And certain boss mod combos needed to be disallowed. No individual mod should have been removed, someone just needed to balance what combos were to be allowed.

    4. Edit… The original inferno was not all that hard for anyone that had the gear.

      • The game difficulty was not the main problem there. In my opinion is the game itemization once again. As the podcast ppl said, starting inferno you hit a gear wall where your gear from hell is not enough and you can’t get good gear practically.
        By those times users used to farm AH to be able to have 1 character to equip the alters. But the main problem, itemization is there 1 year after ^^

        Btw…more than hard as a difficulty is absurd, the dev. team chose the easy way to increase difficulty, increasing the number values practically. They promised faster moving speed, extreme changes with elite abilities and at the end all was a lie or a poor notice thingy.

        Once again…I’m not a hater…I see and want to improve the D3 flaws but really….dunno how to do it at all…beta testing did not help, forum posts don’t help either…so…

    5. The game is way too easy now. MP is an artificial difficulty block that doesn’t actually change difficulty in any meaningful way. I enjoyed the game at release, admittedly, though there were certainly some things that needed to be changed. Some of the monster damage spikes were way too high and some of the affixes like invulnerable were just stupid. The main problem though was the brick wall and the mandatory use of the AH. Couple that with the eventual brick wall players hit that even if they wanted to use the AH to get gear, which most had to in order to clear A2, many players couldn’t possibly afford the items being put up even if they sat there and farmed gold for days on end. The main problem was the intentional function of how loot dropped and how bad it was.

      The game is an easy bore fest now, almost all monster encounters and even affix encounters are meaningless. I stopped playing around the time MP came out and I’m pretty sure the games only gotten easier since then. I do agree that certain nerfs needed to come, but fundamentally the game still lacked and currently lacks difficulty mechanics and design because of overall boring monster design and at this point meaningless affixes. Back in release there were monsters that made your class say “oh SHIT, this is going to be hard” and that feeling is just gone in the game. There were also affix combinations that had you on edge. That is gone as well.

      Monsters are boring, affixes are boring, difficulty is boring. Even if the itemization patch is amazing, which i have reservations about even though I hope it is, the snooze fest difficulty of the game might still keep me from playing. Wyatt thankfully hinted that the game is currently not at a place in terms of difficulty that they want it to be and are looking into ways to make it more challenging.

      Let me just add this little gem. A friend of mine that played with me at release got into inferno as a WD and was dying nonstop. It was painfully funny. 1 shot everywhere. He was really pissed off and annoyed, but ultimately continued to play and enjoy the game. There were problems with spike damage, lack of useful gear being dropped that needed addressing, etc, but he had fun. He returned to play with me in October and couldn’t play for more than 15 minutes whenever we would do a3 runs. He just said ” I don’t know what the fuck is different about this game but it puts me to sleep now. I can’t play this without wanting to go to sleep. ”

      I have yet to listen to the podcast so if that was sarcasm, oh well, if not well those are my thoughts on current difficulty. Also… oh god that legendary revamp video… sigh. Stuff like that just makes me wonder if they can really do a good job with the new itemization patch. That legendary patch was so awful.

    6. 1) PVP Battlegrounds
      2) Itemization
      3) Crafting

      Top 3 things I’d like to see finalized before the expansion.

    7. Before 1.03 I believe you had a 0% chance to get 62 or 63 items, not even 0.00001. 1.03 was when inferno really started being decent because like you said, doing act 2 with ilvl 61 and under items was pretty insane. The rates should still be the same today, which is why MP1 is so important for act 1/2. Once you make the monsters lvl 63, you have the same drop rates as acts 3/4 which is ideal for finding ilvl 63 items.

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