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    With the v1.0.4 patch live on the US server this evening, I hopped on for a quick test run. I used my Demon Hunter who had been working through Inferno Act Two (she beat Zoltan Kulle just last night), took her back to Act One, switched most of her survival gear for MF gear. Her loot is 95% self found, so it’s not spectacular, but she’s got around 180% MF and with a 1086 blue bow she previously had no problem with Act One killing speed.

    Paragon Ding

    My first reaction after starting in Act One was, “Damn there’s a lot of stuff dropping!” That impression deepened the further I went, and it was nice to see more loot. I didn’t count exact totals of items, but there was very noticeably MOAR. I had to go back to town due to a completely full inventory (I picked up every blue and yellow) 5 or 6 times doing about half of act one, (I’d have expected 3 or 4 returns) and every trip had 8-12 Rares. More blues drop, more rares drop, and while the increase is mostly from normal monsters (which now have a 4x higher chance to drop blue/yellow items), it seemed like I got 3 rares from bosses more often than I expected.

    I kept a count of the Ilevel 60-63 rares (though not blues, and there were tons of them as well) I got, as well as the drop items from the two big bosses I killed.

    • Ilevel 60 Rares: 11
    • Ilevel 61 Rares: 12
    • Ilevel 62 Rares: 8
    • Ilevel 63 Rares: 1
    • The Warden: 5 blue, 3 Rare.
    • The Butcher: 4 blue, 4 Rare.

    Self-found weapon upgrades? UNPOSSIBLE!!1!

    For a while I had more 62s than 60s or 61s and thought the drop rates had been wildly boosted, but probability evened it out over the last half hour of my play session. I think I actually did worse than expected on 63s, finding only one Rare, and that one came early on, from a random boss in one of the tombs below the Cemetery.

    Update: Played another quick game with HolyKnight and found my best weapon ever. Upgrade on a cheap one I bought in the GAH weeks ago. Now if only that INT were DEX… *grumble*


    Areas Cleared

    I started out in the cemetery, and did the 3 tombs below there. That netted me 5 bosses and got my Nephalem Valor stacks full, as well as filling my inventory. Screenshot to the right is my inventory after just that first part, in like 10m of play time, and this was while building up my stacks, so some of the bosses dropped no rares at all.

    I then popped out to the Festering Woods and found 3 bosses on the surface, plus the two in the tombs. That was another full inventory and a town trip

    Inventory full after just the 3 Crypts.

    After that I popped to Leoric’s Manor and ran back through the house, finding a cultist mage pack right outside the front door. That got me my first death, mostly through carelessness and surprise, since in my MF gear I was running with about 14k fewer hps than usual, and much lower resistances.I then cleared the 3 torture chambers and the jail, including the Butcher. That took me two more town returns with full inventory. I was going to quit at that point, but as my Paragon bar was already 80% full, I went ahead and did the Weeping Hollow. There I really saw the difference in drops from normal monsters, as the Zombies and Scavengers were just item fountaining. I got 4 boss packs in the area, (no Scavenger Den) and actually had to leave some blue stuff behind on the ground so as not to completely fill up my inventory again. I also dinged my first Paragon level, on practically the last monster in the area.

    Click through for much more on monster changes, boss modifier changes, Demon Hunter skill tweaks, and more.

    I was frankly surprised at how quickly the bar filled up. I didn’t think one quick MF game, of less than half of Act One, would be enough for a full bar. I don’t think my DH has any gear on with +exp, and I don’t even know if that works with Paragon points? It was nice to get exp bonuses for Massacre Bonuses and destructibles again, even if the +500 type rewards from those mean nothing when you need millions per Paragon level.

    If you note in the screens at the end of this post, Paragon level 1 was about 5m exp, and it’s over 8m for level 2, so clearly they scale up as your level increases. So no, we won’t see people at level 60.100 in a week, though I’m sure we’ll have 60.10s later tonight, if I got to 60.1 in less than an hour of casual Act One MFing.


    Monster Changes

    The patch notes say regular monsters are buffed (only in act 2 and beyond; see below) but I honestly didn’t notice any difference. In their drops, yes. Lots more goodies. But if they had more hit points, it wasn’t apparent. They all died in one or two shots, same as always, and I never really had to pay attention to trash mobs; mostly I just targeted the bosses and let the regular guys get caught up in the AoE doom.

    Bosses were easier. Died faster, at least. There are some changes to their DiabloWikiBoss Modifiers, though.

    DiabloWikiMolten is the most obvious, with a more fuzzy, gas-looking effect on the normal trail of flames. There’s a cool little added swirly solar system type effect on the after death core explosion as well. Makes it much more obvious and easier to avoid.

    DiabloWikiFrozen bombs spread out a lot further than before; I had a Frozen packs of Cultist Berserkers in one of Leoric’s torture dungeons, fighting them in a narrow hallway, and several of the Frozen orbs appeared at least 80 yards behind me. I didn’t even see them until I had to retreat and ran back to find them back there. Possibly this was buggy behavior due to the very narrow hallway, but another Frozen Grotesque in the Weeping Hollow was also casting them in quite a wide spread. It reminded me of how Izual does it, though they weren’t as numerous as his are.

    There’s also a little knockback effect added when you get hit by a Frozen bomb. Not the huge boss type DiabloWikiknockback, but your character gives a little jumping bounce. I didn’t notice if the frozen time had been tweaked, since I used Smoke Screen an instant after the explosion.

    DiabloWikiMortar remains almost too easy, with such a huge dead zone that my DH had no trouble staying inside of it, while still kiting around the Berzerkers or Grotesque firing them. The graphics are improved, too. You now see little orange swirls on the ground where the Mortars are about to land, making them easier to avoid and react to.

    DiabloWikiArcane Enchanted; the patch notes said their turrets would spread out more widely. I didn’t especially notice that, but they seemed to be creating fewer turrets than I expected. I definitely noticed the damage nerf against Followers (now just 10% of damage goes to Followers pets from Arcane Enchanted, Frozen, and Plagued.) Kormac stood there, as happily-oblivious to the purple second hand as ever, and was hardly even damaged when one swung through him.

    The patch notes said Cultist DiabloWikiBerserkers would be easier to dodge (their massive overhead maul smash attacks) and I definitely noticed that. They take longer to wind up before the hit, and just using Evasive Fire I several times had one get near me, start to swing, and I’d flip back and shoot him two more times before he even brought the club down. It’ll be interesting to hear what players think with melee characters, but those guys were very easy for my DH to deal with. Not that they were super hard before, but the slower attack rate was very visible.

    In comments, Valmy reminds me why I should have checked the patch notes while typing up this quick report. Here are the patch changes to monster hit points and damage:

    Act I:

  • Elite monster health reduced by 11%
  • Act II:
  • Normal monster health increased by 4%
  • Elite monster health reduced by 8%
  • Overall damage done by all monsters reduced by 8%
  • Act III and Act IV:
  • Normal monster health increased by 10%
  • Elite monster health reduced by 2.5%
  • Overall damage done by all monsters reduced by 15%

  • Demon Hunter Skill Changes

    I can’t comment much on this yet, since I was doing a Magic Finding experiment and thus couldn’t change around my skills lest I lose my STAX!

    DiabloWikiEvasive Fire: DiabloWikiCovering Shot got a slight damage buff, from 125% to 130%, but I didn’t notice any difference in feel.

    The skill that was markedly better was DiabloWikiRain of Vengeance, DiabloWikiStampede. Previously that skill was more useful as a DiabloWikiCC effect than as an attack. It did some damage, but the real point was to get the massive knockback effect against bosses for 5 seconds while I stood safely blasting at their juggling bodies. That still works, but the damage is much improved. Numerous early boss encounters saw all the bosses dead much more quickly than I expected, as each of the Stampede black demon hawk things now does 120% weapon damage, up from 75% pre-patch.

    None of the other skills in my hotbar were changed in the patch, so nothing more to say on this topic for now.


    Items and the Economy

    Light blue potions, gems, and tomes.

    It seemed like I found more DiabloWikiGems and DiabloWikiTome of Secret than usual. Maybe their drop rate is higher now as well, or maybe it just seemed that way since now that they have a light blue coloration, they’re more noticeable. (Or maybe I was just missing 15% of them previously, since they didn’t have a different color when on the ground?)I definitely made more gold than usual; not so much from picking it up, but from finding so many more items and thus having more to sell. (I sell everything that won’t craft into Inferno mats.) I didn’t find any items that I’m going to use (well, maybe one rare bracer will see use on my Wizard, but only since she’s still entirely self found; it wasn’t good enough to sell on the GAH), but it felt like I had a much better chance of that, with many more total items and the better odds for high damage on ilevel 61 and 62 weapons.

    I did notice higher weapon damage than expected. Nothing that was a keeper; the closest was a Rare ilvl 61 two-handed sword that rolled 1070 DPS, but I noted numerous blue weapons with fairly high damage. A one-handed xbow was 790, a DH knife was 804, a 2H xbow was 980, and while none of them were worth using, this was just one game of maybe an hour, with more near misses of almost-gear than I’d usually get in a week of runs.

    So, the economy. Prices will go up since players will make more gold from selling items. Prices will go down since players will find more good items and flood the market. Prices will go up now that new and much-improved Legendary items exist. In total… who knows?

    Better than usual blue 1H xbow.

    Crafting should see a surge in popularity. Not just because ilvl 61 and 62 weapons now pop with top level damage mods, but because total drop rates are so increased that materials will be even more common and cheaper.Repair bills were WAY down. The patch notes said 25% drop in high end item repair costs, but it felt like a lot more reduction than that. I was spending like 515 gold per town return for full repairs, and even the few times I died my repair bill was only 3-5k. This was per visit to town, not for all my gear once I was to the point of having things break, and yes, I remembered to repair more often now that Griswold can do it. I always go to the merchants for item sales anyway, but generally tend to forget repairs from them until the “repair soon” icon appears. Perhaps I’ll lapse back into that forgetful state once the novelty of the Smith being able to repair wears off?


    Conclusion

    Fan interest in the patch is high. More people on my Friends List were online than I’d seen in weeks, and everyone I asked said they were enjoying the changes. I’m personally feeling like doing more Magic Finding runs, rather than testing out the new skill improvements, but I’m sure I’ll get to that as well.

    What are you guys trying out? Have you noticed big changes, expected or surprising? Was the patch worth the wait?

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