Diablo III's player-base has been disappearing out from under the game, even Blizzard admits it's so. It's not in Blizzard's culture to give up, though, and so new content and patches continue to be released. Yet still, controversy is in Diablo III's nature, but still despite the news of Battle.net's hacking, Blizzard keeps marching forward. Today brings the news on Diablo III's 1.0.4 update, bearing buffs for players, nerfs in Inferno's difficulty, and the much anticipated legendary items update.
DiabloFans.com combed the very long preview of 1.0.4 and collected all of the major changes in a handy list that's easy on the eyes and soothing for your soul:
- Magic find and gold find will no longer be averaged in multiplayer games.
- Monster health will now be a flat increase of 75% health (per player), regardless of the difficulty in multiplayer.
- No more enrage timers on elites.
- Elites will no longer heal to full health
- They are increasing the health of normal monsters (but increasing the drop of magic or rare items by a factor of four), and lowering the health of champions and rares to shrink the gap between them.
- They are adjusting fire chains and shielding, and REMOVING Invulnerable Minions.
- They want to make all items that drop be good, however this is not something they can fully do in 1.0.4. However weapons of ilvl 61 and 62 can now roll damage that extends all the way to top ilvl 63 weapons
- To help with the dual-wielding and two-handers, they will be adding a new set of stronger affixes
- Reducing repair costs of high-end items by 25%
- Legendary changes will have its own blog post
- MANY more blogs to come covering the buffing of unused skills, and big improvements to WD pets.
Most of the changes, you'll notice, are the loudest of requests from the Diablo III community and fanbase, ie Invulnerable Minions and enrage timers. Other changes are a direct result of analysis of player patterns, like the tendency of players to play solo rather than cooperatively. Small changes like the the magic find adjustment and monster health in co-op games will help that. More significantly, Blizzard is promising to buff skills and runes that are underused -- yes, not nerfing overused skills and runes, buffing underused.
Other changes are simply quality of life changes to help bring players back and try to make the Diablo III experience more enjoyable. Dropping repair costs of high-end items, improving the damage numbers on level 61 and 62 weapons, and the legendary item buffs (details forthcoming), are all positive changes. Blizzard can't say it outright, but I will -- Diablo III's endgame is too difficult, not fun enough, not rewarding enough, but these changes should absolutely make things at least somewhat better.
It may not be enough to bring back a significant number of players. Many people attribute the high difficulty, low reward nature of Diablo III's endgame to the real-money auction house. That may or may not be true, but one thing that absolutely true is that making better, stronger items easier to obtain will devalue purchases players have already made in past months. I don't doubt there's more controversy ahead for Diablo III.
Will Diablo III's patch 1.0.4 bring fans back? Will it make them happy? These questions answered and more, next time on Days of Our Diablos.