The Diablo Podcast #59: The Great Beta Patch 13 Debate

Flux is joined by aspiring game developer Grug, and D3 econ guru Azzure to talk about the brand new Beta patch 13. All the guys got in some play testing time Saturday night, and by Sunday they were ready to weigh in on the major game system changes. The biggest, of course, is the new skills system, which integrates runestones right into the interface. Azzure accurately predicted this system several weeks back, and after his verbal victory lap, the discussion turns to the nuts and bolts of the new system. How does it work in practice, what’s wrong with the UI, how will this system play out long term and in the end game, what does this do to character customization, is it really casual-friendly, and more.

Other topics covered on this show include the new Diablo III chat channels, item variety in Diablo 3, general gameplay and monster improvements in this patch, and discussion of some specific class improvements and changes.

Grug and Azzure are both very into game dev theory and design, so they both make some good and insightful comments and provide nice analysis of the nuts and bolts of the game’s new functions.

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19 thoughts on “The Diablo Podcast #59: The Great Beta Patch 13 Debate

  1. What if Blizzard didn’t spend enough time on the interface because they where busy getting the final system out as soon as it was ready? What if they thought that there would be enough of a shitstorm about runes moving to non-itemized unlocks that no-one would care that the interface was in an early iteration? Or even better (paranoid edition), they thought that the crappy interface would distract people from talking about the major changes?

    It seems to me they got the big important stuff right and still have time to fix what isn’t working (the interface) in a reasonable time-frame after community feedback. (although that is my fanboi optimism speaking 🙂 

  2. Terrible new skill interface. Seems this UI is best suited for a console game. D3 should never be a console game.

    Oh and there still shouldn’t be a skill cooldown while in town.

    Character customization was thrown out the window a long time ago. The only difference, as was said in the podcast, between characters end game will be all these random stat items.

  3. These podcasts are awesome. It’s always interesting to hear different points of view, and you guys always discuss the topics that are somewhat time consuming to pinpoint in the forums, yet extremely current, relevant, and intriguing. Keep it up!

    • Glad you enjoy and thanks for the feedback.

      We didn’t get into much specific class discussion in this one since we hadn’t had time to experiment much yet, and since we had so many other topics to talk about.. Next show though, recording this weekend, is going to be all about the 5 classes and their early skills and runes. I think we know enough now to start to make some valid comparisons, or at least to argue strengths and weaknesses.

      Not sure who the guests will be yet, but all the potential participants have agreed to play at least 3 chars through to 13, so we should be fairly well informed.

  4. Nice podcast, spot on for most everything.  Regarding assigning skills to different buttons, yes it’s clunky, but you can use the key bindings menu to make any skill work with any button you want.  So, while not optimal, it’s a minor issue really.

    • I was much more against the system Saturday night during my first couple of hours of play, but I played a Barb through to 13 tonight and by about lvl 10, I wasn’t having any issues anymore. The UI is definitely sub-optimal, but once you get used to its idiosyncrasies, and don’t try to assign skills with a right click on the belt interface, and don’t try to put the same skill on two hotkeys for convenience, and realize you’ve got to plan ahead on rearranging, it’s not that bad.

      whether you think “not that bad” is acceptable after so many years of development… is another issue.

  5. Azzure you sound quite a bit like John Safran 😉  Good discussion, great points, thanks guys.  Personally I’m very impressed with how the laggy feel of playing from Australia has disappeared between patches 1.05 (my beta entrance) and 1.13.

  6. Alot of the problems arrise surrounding the current implemented UI for the skills for me it seem’s minor, I’m sure blizzard intended to put out an un-polished version of the UI so they can polish based on feedback, and really when you look at it, all it requires is a few tweaks here and there, the core philosophy of the system will work, blizzard are the ones testing 30-60 , they know what works better for us as players in the long run
    Character Customization is still the same, eventually everyone would of had Runes stacked throughout their entire Stash (not very pleasant) and would be just selecting from a pool of Runes, all this system has done is remove the item hunt for the runes ( Which yes, is kind of sad) but in retrospective to how much other stuff to explore and item hunt for it really hasn’t scrated the depth of this game, not to mention 10000 hours of PVP to come
    Looking forward to Blizzard polishing this current system over the next 1-2 months and giving us a juicy release date
    This game will be awesome.

    • I agree. From the Blizzcon video I’ve watched it appears that there will be a lot of prefixes and suffixes in nightmare, hell and inferno that we won’t be seeing in normal that may be wildly different from what we see in the current item drops. I’m not 100 percent sure if these will allow for the kind of really offbeat builds some folks are hoping for like Melee Demon Hunters and the like. But I’d bet there’s going to be a lot more customization options then people are worried about here.

    • Yeah I’m surprised this hasn’t made more news since it’s been one of the big gripes from people. Hell, I think RPS even had a whole article over it trying to lamp shade how bad this was.

      Ah well, focus on the negatives and forget about the positives I guess. That is our community in a nut shell. 😉

  7. I completely agree with the mundane affixes.  Since there are no longer skill points, the previous d2 affixes like +1 to skills is void.  Instead they should further customize our playing styles by creating affixes that affect individual skill + rune.  For example +1 projectile to magic missile (split) + 6 yards to acid cloud (acid rain) These would work in tandem with the desired ruin affect, and create further customization of skills at lv 60 

  8. Yet, another great Diablo podcast. Azzure is always awesome and I could listen to him talk for hours. Flux, you are cool too!

    Been listening since episode 53 and eagerly look forward to each new installment and try to promote it to any Diablo fans I talk to. Keep up the great work!


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