28

    livestream-nevalistis2Blizzard held the last of their current series of Play it Your Way Thursday live streams last week, but there were technical issues with two crashes during the recording, and the VoD of the video was not made available after the show. If you missed it live, there’s been no way to see it until now, when the video went online this morning

    Real life caused me to miss it last week, but with the video now available I watched it and typed up a running commentary which you can read below, in a lot less than 58 minutes. There wasn’t any new news, or any hints about upcoming features or Blizzcon plans, but Wyatt Cheng did share some interesting behind the scenes info. The biggest speech was when Wyatt talked about their design theory and goals behind the Focus and Restraint item set rings, which he admits are strong, but doesn’t think are OP.

    29:40 Storytime with Wyatt! “We iterated on those rings a lot.

    Initially the idea was at full resource you’d get extra damage with the rings equipped, and it was like that in the game for a year or so. When we wanted to improve them in v2.2, our goal on the redesign was to make a ring choice that was better than the Ring of Royal Grandeur. And most players think we did, and some players think we overshot. We’re open to debating that. If we did overshoot (made F/R too good) we don’t think we overshot by very much. You’ve got to consider other choices like Unity or Convention of Elements. Focus/Restraint is worth 62.5% damage per ring slot when the buffs are up, so it’s better than other stuff, but we don’t think totally overpowered.

    The bad old days...

    The bad old days…

    We talked about a lot about mechanics with F/R. Should it require high resource or low resource? Back in 2.1, before the F/R revision, players were making all Spender builds that didn’t to use any generators, and there were complaints about that. So we wanted to provide more options.

    I’m not thrilled when people put a Generator on their bar *just* to make the F/R buffs work. That’s pretty common for WW barbs, where they’ll often put Bash on their build just to keep the F/R buffs triggered.

    The intent for F/R was to make a good pair of rings for people who are already using a build with a mixture of spenders and generators. F/R isn’t supposed to be something where you just watch the buff bar timers and then click your Generator with .5 left on the buff.

    But it is what it is and I think it accomplished our goal of making something even more powerful than RoRG. People said there would never be any ring options better than that. And now people say F/R will never be outdone by other ring options.. I’m sure there will be other things that come along that are even better or different options.

    Ultimately I’d like F/R to be a build choice, something that really works with your gear and play style, and for there to be other build options that were just as good, for builds that weren’t alternating spenders and generators.

    The play session was on the PTR, recorded while the Community Buff was active, so the legendary items rain like candy. They start off buzzing through a couple of T8 Rifts, and then move over to Grifts. As usual on these, the Blizzard people are using test accounts that aren’t very strong, so the guests are actually driving the most powerful cars on the track, and poor Nevalistis gets obliterated repeatedly, trying to keep up, and talk, on high difficulty level with an underpowered character.

    Participants are: Nevalistis’ Witch Doctor, Drothvader his Roland’s Crusader, Wyatt’s Wizard, and Rhykker’s Demon Hunter. Click through for the video and transcript/summary.

    1-3:30 — Intro and Drothvader talking about his Crusader build and how he’s modified it on the PTR; better resource regen thanks to the Cube has allowed some gear switching.

    3:30 — Power failure at Blizzard, things go black for a short delay.

    4:00 — Back with Wyatt talking about the Season Journey, and how it’s fun to earn the Achievements with mini-goals and the profile and banner visual rewards. Rhykker only plays non-seasonal, but will do some seasonal to get the achievements.

    6:55 — Wyatt, “We could open up a Realm of Trials and see how far this group can go… oh wait!” *group laughter*

    8:00 — Nevalistis talking about how undergeared her WD is on the PTR test account, and how she can’t show off the build of the month as well as she’d like. The players who submitted the WD and Wizard builds weren’t able to join the stream that day.

    12:00 — Wyatt gets everyone to talk about how good the console version of Reaper of Souls is and how everyone should play it. (Both show guests are PC only.) Even Wyatt admits that it’s not wise to play online since people have hacked items, but it’s great playing with friends on the couch.

    12:30 — Wyatt talking about programming decisions for the console, “What happens if the loot’s there and the guy next to you takes it. Should we lock it? No, that’ll be more fun, you can just elbow him in the ribs and argue over it.”

    15:00 — Greater Rift time! Their group’s highest available is GR37, so off they go. With much joking about how Nevalistis will die a lot. (She’s a Death Maiden, after all.)

    15:30 — Wyatt talking about playing Hardcore next season, for a change. Rhykker says he’s only softcore, but did some on the PTR since the queues were so much shorter, and kind of enjoyed it. Wyatt talks about how Hardcore is more accessible now, since so much of your progress is bound to your account via Paragon points, shared stash, Kanai’s Cube powers, etc.

    Wyatt talks about the Cube recipe to make no level req gear and how he wants to do a full backup gear set.

    Wyatt: Admits to not knowing what the DiabloWikiHope of Cain cube recipe is. (Upgrade Rare item to Legendary of that type.) He knows the internal names they’ve been working on the Cube for 6+ months, but not the lore names in game.

    Jokes about how they called it a “Super Kadala” feature during a live chat months ago. How they didn’t want to call it “Super Cube” since that would have given things away during development.

    20:00 — Goals for the season. Debating if trying to earn GR60 conquest in Hardcore is too scary. Wyatt doesn’t think he’ll make it. Nevalistis talks about playing softcore and hardcore depending on her friends, but says her greatest goal for Season 4 is to find the new legendary cat mojo for her Witch Doctor.

    21:00 — They blew through GR37 in about 4 minutes and moved up to GR39.

    21:30 — Wyatt talking about Kanai’s Cube, and they were asking Travis Day if they could have two immunities, and they thought it was too crazy. That the world would explode. (And now everyone just does CoE for higher damage.)

    23:00 — Talking about cool legendary powers via the Cube to add melee weapon powers for Demon Hunters. Interesting options, since there aren’t any viable DH builds that don’t involve bows/xbows.

    25:00 — Wyatt talks about a lot of recent changes to boost performance. The Witch Doctor Carnevil change to cut the number of Fetish darts at once was the most visible to the public, but the programmers have been tweaking many skills and item effects to improve performance and cut latency. Removing multiple redundant procs, etc. Players should notice many performance improvements across the board.

    26:30 — Talking about more build diversity thanks to Kanai’s Cube.

    27:30 — Nevalistis gets frozen in place, can’t t move. And stays stuck when she goes back to town. Has to exit and rejoin the game. Welcome to the PTR!

    29:40 — Story time with Wyatt about Focus/Restraint set rings! (Approximate quotes:)

    “We iterated on those rings a lot. Initially the idea was at full resource you’d get extra damage with the rings equipped, and it was like that in the game for a year or so. When we wanted to improve them in v2.2, our goal on the redesign was to make a ring choice that was better than the Ring of Royal Grandeur. And most players think we did, and some players think we overshot. We’re open to debating that. If we did overshoot (made F/R too good) we don’t think we overshot by very much. You’ve got to consider other choices like Unity or Convention of Elements. Focus/Restraint is worth 62.5% damage per ring slot when the buffs are up, so it’s better than other stuff, but we don’t think totally overpowered.

    We talked about a lot about mechanics with F/R. Should it require high resource or low resource? Back in 2.1, before the F/R revision, players were making all Spender builds that didn’t to use any generators, and there were complaints about that. So we wanted to provide more options.

    I’m not thrilled when people put a Generator on their bar *just* to make the F/R buffs work. That’s pretty common for WW barbs, where they’ll often put Bash on their build just to keep the F/R buffs triggered.

    The intent for F/R was to make a good pair of rings for people who are already using a build with a mixture of spenders and generators. F/R isn’t supposed to be something where you just watch the buff bar timers and then click your Generator with .5 left on the buff.

    But it is what it is and I think it accomplished our goal of making something even more powerful than RoRG. People said there would never be any ring options better than that. And now people say F/R will never be outdone by other ring options.. I’m sure there will be other things that come along that are even better or different options.

    Ultimately I’d like F/R to be a build choice, something that really works with your gear and play style, and for there to be other build options that were just as good, for builds that weren’t alternating spenders and generators.

    33:00 — Wyatt: The Nat’s build is a great example, and F/R should pair very well with that. But for some other builds, like say the Roland’s Build, if you’re squeezing in some generator just to use F/R, that’s fine, we’re not going to nerf it, but we’d like to provide other options.

    34:00 — Hexing Pants keep the damage buff even if you stutter step. Wyatt, “A little bit of slosh is intentional on there. For reasons of performance and for playability also.”

    35:00 — GR39 cleared, and they’re off to The Vault via a Puzzle Ring. Wyatt: I love when the team really loves an area, and the team just gives that extra 5%. Everyone really loved the Vault when they were designing it, and they like that players enjoy doing it so much.

    Talking about players saving up their Puzzle Rings now, so they can use them for riches once v2.3 goes live. If anyone likes the Vault so much they’ll save up rare rings and try to use them in the Cube recipe to upgrade to legendary, just hoping they turn into more Puzzle Rings.

    41:00 — On to GR41, with plans to end the Stream with some Brawling.

    42:00 — Wyatt asks if anyone has Season Three goals yet to achieve. Wyatt wants to break into the top 1000 on the Wizard leaderboard, but doesn’t think he’ll make it.

    43:00 — Conversation about Diablo character in Heroes of the Storm. Will people name their female Crusaders after Johanna?

    44:00 — Wyatt says Blizzard is in the best shape in maybe ever. WoW expansion coming, Heroes of the Storm doing great, Hearthstone, Overwatch, etc. (No mention of or teasing Diablo 3 expansion? Neither of the streamer/guests make a peep to ask that obvious question.)

    47:00 — Wyatt wondering if this is the patch where Ancient items have {{double brackets}} yet when they appear. He says they had that in the development months ago, and can’t remember if it was live yet, or not.

    48:00 — Talking about the Greater Rift snapshot showing gear/build on a highest GRift clear. That snapshot was working in the tools long ago, but they were bottlenecked in the UI changes, so there was nowhere for the snapshot to display.

    49:00 – Question from chat asks about fighting King Kanai in the Ruins of Sescheron? (When you find him on the PTR, a message “The time is not right” is all that you see.)

    Reminiscences ensue about Kevin Kanai Griffith, and the question never gets answered.

    50:00 — Stonesinger has been temporarily disabled, but he is coming back. They made some changes but the PTR data showed that it wasn’t enough and he was still too easy. So rather than delaying the PTR, they just disabled him and they’ll bring him back later.

    52:40 — On to the Brawling, and Wyatt is the first to die! Nevalistis follows soon after. They run around dying randomly for a bit, with the 2 guests doing best with their much stronger accounts. Eventually they say from now, when you die twice you have to return to town. Soon leading to a Brawling champion DrothVader, thanks to his instant kill Shield Bash.

    (No player questions about improvements to PvP, pre-made chars for even fights like in the 2010 and 2011 Blizzcon demos, etc.)

    57:00 — Thanks to everyone for joining and watching, etc.

    _______________________________

    No new info or secret stuff, but some useful behind the scenes info from Wyatt. It’s easy to forget how far ahead the internal development is, compared to what we see in patches. Features that seem “new” to us have often been working internally for months and months before players know they exist.

    You may also like

    More in *Featured