Transcript: Developer Live Chat, 10 February, 2015


season one live chatThe Reaper of Souls developer Live chat went off this afternoon with Nevalistis moderating a conversation with Don Vu, Wyatt Cheng, and Travis Day.

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

  • 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).
  • General Issues

  • 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.
  • Legendary Items

    Skull Grasp and Gungdo Gear.

    Skull Grasp and Gungdo Gear.

  • 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.
  • Item Sets

  • 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.

    Set preview from Blizzcon 2014.

    Thousand Storms set buff preview.

  • 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.

    Comments

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    1. I appreciated their frankness regarding the lack of item diversity in some areas, like rings.

      At the same time I was frustrated that they think gambling for weapons is fine as is because we can find other weapons that may be of interest other than the one we were initially aiming for. This would be true if there was a broad diversity of weapons, but that sadly is another area where item diversity is lacking. 🙁

      Other than that it was pretty much what I expected.

    2. Every key issue i wanted to hear discussed was met with a \we know thats an issue for the community, we’re not changing it because x y z.\

      Most infuriating to me were the answers to the …..
      Bloodshard Cap-
      They seemed to believe that capping bloodshards at the current level was viable because it forced people to learn what the currency was for. Great, for the first week of implementation. waffer thin reasoning this far down the line.
      Autopick –
      They claim that autopickup creates a disconnect between items and the player.
      *rolls eyes*.
      Trading –
      One of the major reasons for having no trading (or in-clan gifting) given was that it removes gameplay from the person on the recieving end. Seriously? speaking as someone who past paragon 500 in season1 hardcore.. yet never found a furnace, never found an Etrayu. found one terrible flying dragon (back when these things were BiS). Remove the act bounty bags and the game is completely RNG, you could play 24/7/365 and still not find the item your after.

      • I'm fairly sure now that there are other reasons for these features other than the one they stated. I refuse to believe that people who can put together a game can be so… I don't even want to say. The reasons given for the BS cap (BS indeed) and material autopickup were especially infuriating. Guess what devs, I notice every potion that was auto-picked up by my character and it bothers me every time.

    3. "The much-hated Realm of Trials was defended"

      Blizz sure likes to keep hammering the same nail. It continues to serve up a dish of frustration to players and will never meet Blizz's expected goals…

    4. … difficulty slider for realm of trials… wtf is wrong with that idea?

      • Or simply let us choose between doing another trial or getting the same level keystone as last time. That would help a TON for solo play. After doing 2 or 3 of these I usually know my character's limit pretty well, I don't need to do more until I find better gear. But yeah, a slider that would allow us to start at a specific level would be great as well.

    5. So to keep it short :

      General Issues : “Yes we know these terrible mistakes exist but we won’t fix them.”

      Well thank you very much.

    6. I actually don’t mind a little bit of grinding, after all, this is a hack/slash game right? Remember when they had the purple bosses drop specific items for crafting legendaries? I thought that was a good idea. Any variety they put into the game is good IMO.

      The game developer should present as much options as they can to the gamers. Not restricting them to a few that they think are the best ways to play the game.

    7. Wow, the devs have tunnel vision. Way to ignore the player base on things like blood shards and realm of trials.
      GG Blizz.

      • Tunnel vision implies that they can still see or read feedback. On some issues at least I'm seriously beginning to doubt that. Sure, many of the problems brought up here are smallish, but their responses are mind-boggling nonetheless.

    8. "Common requests for Bounties to be improved are being considered, but nothing to announce."

      "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."

      "They might implement a way to increase the cap, but no promises on that yet."

      So in the expansion we'll see an interesting, major change to the bounty system. They'll also add a third sink like the Mystic and Blacksmith for us to sink our crafting mats into.

      And finally, if you order the digital deluxe edition then your blood shard limit is increased to 1000. (Since that's how they 'sold' us the additional character slots last time.)

    9. Blood shards: We have designers who can't read tooltips, they have to ask.
      I ask what kind of designers are they…

    10. Their reasons for not wanting to do things just shows what a disconnect they have with their player base. "We like you have to click on things". How is this even a actual response or damn just give us a little counter like they have for gold and problem solved. Because I can tell you when you have 7k gems finding a few more does absolutely nothing to connect me further to the game. The same goes for all the rest of the mats in the game. Eventually it is just a total that sits in my stash and I don't really care how much I am picking up as a go.

      What we got was the typical political double speak we get from blizzard time in and time out. I am not sure what I was expecting from the devs but it seems that these dev talks are a waste of time since they are only confirming what we already know.

      • I think the real reason for all the clicking is that the devs feel that automating the process would break the reward loop, specifically the routine part. That's what they really mean by "connection to the game". Remember, Blizzard employs psychologists (of course they call them User Experience Researchers) and part of their job is to help the design teams with in-game features: http://us.blizzard.com/en-us/company/careers/posting.html?id=1400047

        Since addiction became a positive word in the gaming media (some games are even marketed as such and reviews also say it like it's a positive thing) why shouldn't game companies cash in?

        The reasoning behind the BS cap is probably similar. By hoarding Blood Shards you aren't getting rewarded, again braking the reward loop. By introducing the cap they are forcing you to run back to town for your potential Legendaries or else lose out by wasting Shards. Loss aversion is a powerful incentive. See, they aren't really worried about us forgetting Blood Shards, they worry because we may forget about the reward. If they ever raise the BS cap I wouldn't be surprised if at the same time they would slightly raise the amount of BS that drops.

        • HardRock… I think you're spot on!

        • If this is the case then Blizz has followed TV and Radio with an appeal to the LCD which is very unfortunate.

          • It's their self-confessed goal to reach large audiences with easy to approach games and to achieve that they indeed have to cater to the lowest common denominator in certain things. However, I think that generally Blizzard is really good at adding complexity on top of deceptively simple game mechanics. In this way they can reach an even wider audience without losing people who like simplicity. I think this is a separate issue though, and in fact to me it would be a complete non-issue if D3 would also reflect this kind of design.

        • Hard to fault this logic .. would be very interesting to see how blizzard would respond when challenged on the point.

          • I don't think they would. They would rather wait until the thread gets out of control and then simply close it. To be fair, I'm in complete speculation mode here, but I'd rather believe that they have ulterior motive than the absolutely ridiculous reasoning they presented us. If they really believe in what they said then I think they're living in a different world than the rest of us.

    11. Reading between the lines I'm going to summarize my take away from this transcript.

      "We actually know there are a bunch of issues but we want to save most of the real changes for the next expansion so we have something to market. Patch chances will be minimal band-aids."

      Harsh but that's how I read it.

    12. Some frustrating answers… I just don’t understand the disconnect! They know there are major problems, but then they come up with excuses when it comes to implementing a fix. I also find it mind boggling that they have literally had years and still haven’t fixed (made them worth using) so many sets and legendary items.

    13. Welp, that was pointless. I wonder how long they'll keep doing these livechats when they seem to just be pissing off the entire community with their responses to feedback?

    14. That's some next level BS right there… I thought that with Josh Mosqueira as the head of the project, Diablo 3 is going to go in the right direction, but they're god damn stuck on their weird "we know everyone wants it, but no, because no" attitude.

      As for BS… Allow Kadala to sell Blood Shard Bags that increase your BS cap b 500 and cost 100 BS each. Cap problem solved, people happy, noobs safe, because they still have to find Kadala to even buy the extended cap.

      • MatthewPoland wrote:
        "As for BS… Allow Kadala to sell Blood Shard Bags that increase your BS cap b 500 and cost 100 BS each. Cap problem solved, people happy, noobs safe, because they still have to find Kadala to even buy the extended cap."

        There you go! I like that idea. Be sure to post it to the Bizz boards.

    15. i really hope they are responding this way because they are working on the next expansion

    16. How about meeting us halfway? Can't we at least get rid of the "combine gem" timing bar? That thing kills me. Sooooo much wasted time. 🙂

    17. Do the developers even play Diablo 3? How on earth can they T6 is still sufficient after the massive power creep that has occurred, particularly from the addition of ancient items? My Monk frequently kills elites on T6 before I even know they are there. Despite lacking a BiS weapon and less than ideal rolls on some gear T6 is an absolute joke. Do they really want anyone with even halfway good gear to only play greater rifts?

      I would really like to see the devs increase the amount each new torment difficulty scales up from the previous. This would leave T1 exactly where it is, T2 a bit more difficult, all the way up to a T6 that is equivalent to a greater rift somewhere around 35 to 40. This would prevent the issue of torments greater than T6 having stupidly high drop rates. Perhaps to compensate the ancient drop rate could scale to a higher rate as well.

      • My guess is that it's a difference in the goal of the difficulty system. Rather than scaling highest difficulties crazy high, they implemented the GR system, which scales infinitely. If you want a challenge, you have the option to do that. For those who aren't looking for a challenge, many builds are relatively T6 efficient, allowing players to both experiment and be mostly efficient. Doing it in this manner allows there to be a reasonable ceiling on how much you have to play to be able to efficiently farm the highest difficulty, while still offering those who want more an option for that.

        I often tie this back to the way D2 was. Hell mode wasn't really that difficult at all, and there were many builds that were decently efficient for farming (there were certainly a handful of top tier builds). This meant that a player didn't have to sacrifice a ton of efficiency to do something different. If there were more torment levels in D3 currently, it would only choke out the limited diversity that currently exists to the the highest level farming content.

        I'm more of a fan of them adding more game difficulty independent game mode, like greater rifts. Something that isn't timed would be nice, as it would both allow for more defensive builds and would be a change of pace in general. The point though, is that the more you scale things out of control, the fewer available builds that will be available.

        • basically agree with this. GRs put a spotlight on imbalance and uber gear options. But lots of builds can do T6 effectively. IF we had T10 then the vast majority of builds that couldn't reasonable go above T7 or T8 would make the imbalance much more obvious and annoying.

    18. Currently most broken set that does not promote build diversity at all is Firebird. It scales really well with Fire builds, but other builds are out of luck. There is no Arcane or Lighting build set, which makes use of those builds feel inferior to fire build. They should just change the set to work like Monks One with everything, where the set bonus would apply to your current highest elemental damage sheet bonus.

      • Hopefully this will change in 2.2, as they are adding some new sets and revising some of the current sets that are underutilized. Fingers crossed.

    19. Extreme disappointment, though not surprised in the least. These dev’s are terrible at satisfying their consumers by neglecting every suggestion given. I’ve seen shoestring budgets deliver better support than Blizzard with this title.

    20. I am very thankful the devs took the time to do one of these Tavern Talks. I hope the community didn’t dissuade them from more in the future. You can clearly tell that there are big changes coming in 2.2, and we will just have to sit tight until then. You really had to read between the lines / gauge their body language… That said I don’t agree with some of their beliefs / philosophies but that’s okay.

      Also, they did say that there will be no content patches until after seasons. They DIDN’T say that they will adjust things such as blood shard cap during seasons.

    21. Wrote a lenghty post about my view of the dev chat, while also borrowing a bit from what's been posted here. If I forgot to mention someone, then I'm sorry. A bit tired today and I might've posted something as my own thoughts, that was sparked from something I read here, and then just forgot about it.

      http://eu.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/13686159177?page=1#14

    22. instead of making me exited for season 2 … reading that put me off really…
      might as well wait and see what they decide to fix in next patch …
      I have nightmares of chasing gem/matts/item goblin packs, as my clicking finger just cant take it any more ….

      ingress here i come !

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