The planned topic was Seasons, and they talked about that, and got into a lot of other issues and fan questions as well. Topics included: adding more levels of Torment difficulty, the new (upcoming) Item Sets, improvements to existing legendary items, fixes to single-target skills, and much more.
We took a rough transcript during the show, and will polish it when the video is posted for review. Click through for a bullet by bullet list of the main topics covered. The full session is also available on video, at the bottom of this post.
Transcript: Developer Live Chat, 10 February, 2015. Sorted by topics for easier absorption.
Seasons are meant to provide a sense of community, as everyone starts over from scratch together. Like sharing a common goal and purpose.
The devs hope S2 is a bit less about initial leveling speed and rushing, after S1 (in Softcore, at least) was ruined by bounty exploits. They also think the v2.1.2 changes to Rifts, including higher/more consistent density, better layouts, and more even distribution of Pylons should make Greater Rift success feel less about the luck of the layout/monster type/pylons.
Future Seasons should be shorter than the 5 months that Season One lasted. No definite length was stated, and it will vary depending on patch development.
They again confirmed that future Seasons should be spaced around patches, with new patches generally launching after a Season ends, giving players a week or two to experiment with the patch changes before the next season begins.
Wyatt Cheng stated that with Leaderboards there may be too much focus on Greater Rifts. No concrete changes planned, but they want the game to give more acknowledgement to accomplishments than just GRs.
In regards to Seasonal Legendary Items, they were pretty happy with how the S1 items worked out, and hope to continue that in S2. The three new Legendary Gems are exclusive to Season Two on purpose, to provide an incentive to play Season.
They’ve considered making some more radical changes to Seasons, possibly in shorter term Seasons that would be almost experimental. Such as making it impossible to heal at all (presumably they meant via health potions).
The much-hated Realm of Trials was defended. Devs know lots of fans don’t like doing them, but the devs think the waves are useful to sort players to the correct level of Greater Rift. Especially in multiplayer games, where with the Realm of Trials, everyone is guaranteed to enter the same, appropriate, level of Greater Rift.
The common issue of all single-target skills being underpowered came up and the devs agree with the issue, but no imminent changes to game mechanics. They will be adding buffs to various single item skills via items and sets. (One example is the Mighty Belt coming in Season Two that grants simultaneously all rune effects to the Barbarian’s Frenzy skill.)
Common requests for Bounties to be improved are being considered, but nothing to announce. Devs are aware that players mostly do them just trying to find a Ring of Royal Grandeur with a good random affix, and that grind gets boring.
The recent buff to two-handed weapons made them viable (some fans would say 2H is now too powerful) but the devs like the current balance of 2H vs. dual, and aren’t planning to tweak it further.
The Console has a “Nemesis” system where a monster that kills a player can travel and show up in their friends’ games. This is cool on the console, but not coming to the PC any time soon.
The much hated “too low” 500 Blood Shard cap comes up in meetings all the time, but the devs hold to their “othewise noobs wouldn’t notice they even had Blood Shards” excuse that Travis Day laid out in our Blizzcon interview. They might implement a way to increase the cap, but no promises on that yet.
Another common fan request, for higher levels of Torment difficulty, is discussed regularly, but they have no plans to go up to T8 or T10 or further. They feel that more levels of Torment would take away from the specialness and challenge of higher Greater Rifts.
Forgotten souls are too rare initially and too common eventually, but no fixes are yet in place for this issue.
Trading got a lot of conversation, with reminiscences about how it worked in Diablo 2. The devs don’t want to bring that back in D3 since they think it would short circuit the item hunt, making it too easy to gear up too quickly, and then there’s no more discovering of self upgrading. They also shot down adding trading in clans for the same reason, and also since they think it would turn clan mates into item source utilities, instead of friends to play with.
The devs are okay with some classes and builds working as support, since they think it can add some variety and teamwork.
Gambling requests for specific one-handed and two-handed gambling options were shot down since they think it’s more fun with players sometimes finding new/different weapons that they wouldn’t have used otherwise.
A common Quality of Life request is a DPS meter that would show how much damage a character is actually doing, since the current character window and DPS doesn’t incorporate +elemental% or +skill% damage. The devs say that’s not in the works.
Requests for auto-pickup of crafting materials and gems were denied since the devs think players would feel disconnected from the process and not even notice they were picking stuff up. (Maybe we could get auto-pickup on those, but with a really annoying hardcap that was much too low?)
On a related question about adding more uses for crafting materials in the long run, the devs said it’s something they want to do, but nothing to announce yet.
Ancient Items aren’t perfect, but the devs like that they add some more complexity to the item pool. They came about when heavy duty players (like dev John Yang) had all teh gear they wanted just weeks into a season and no real prospect for further upgrades. There are no current plans for a tier of gear higher than Ancient.
As mentioned at Blizzcon, they’re adding legendary affixes to a lot of legendary rings that are now just stat sticks, trying to create more competition in that slot. The legendary ring with rotating bonuses to elemental damage type mentioned in the Blizzcon Workshop workshop is a go and is already usable in the internal build. (Set rings Focus and Restraint are also being reworked, but nothing imminent.)
To reply to a question about why not more good legendary affixes on Mighty Weapons (or all class-specific items), the devs said it’s something they’re working on, but so far they’ve focused their time on item types that all classes can use.
Complaints about builds that only work thanks to legendary powers on legacy items, which can not be found anymore, are a thing. The devs don’t mind legacy items working in some cool ways, but they might enable new items that do the same things, so these would be available to everyone.
The devs again confirmed that they want to buff all the original five class-sets (Natalya’s, Iron King’s, Zunimassa’s, Tal Rasha’s, Inna’s) to make them comparable to the currently-BiS six-piece sets, but those aren’t imminent. These sets will probably have additional items added to make them six-piece sets (IK already is 6 while the others are all 5), and they mentioned that a new item has been added to Tal Rasha’s.
The Monk’s Thousand Storms set was said to be gaining a cool proc when used with Dashing Strike. It’s not ready yet, but has changed in design a lot from the initial preview. (Pic to the right.)
In reply to a question about adding more two-item sets, the devs said nothing was in the works. (They did say that improvements to the never-used two-ring set Focus and Restraint were being planned, but not real soon.)
Talking about the v2.2.0 coming new Barbarian set, which was testable at Blizzcon last year and based around Whirlwind and Rend. The theory is that the Barb should feel vulnerable when he stops WWing to cast Rend, and thus change up the gameplay. (I didn’t think the set design worked very well, in my Blizzcon testing.)
The chat was pretty good, if a bit heavier on “yeah that’s an issue we’re working on it” than most fans wanted to hear. Did you guys listen? Any thoughts?
Update: The Twitch archiving must have choked since the video wasn’t posted until a day after the chat, and then only via YouTube.