Blizzard's next big patch for Diablo III has landed, and while there aren't any huge changes, there are a number of significant smaller changes that will affect how many Inferno farmers play. To counter the seeming Infernfo nerf and increased drop rates, other systems will become more daunting than ever. This includes repair fees and boss fights -- though improved pathing for all rare monster spawns is ominous in its own right.
I won't be covering all of the changes here, just the big ones, but if you'd like to check out all of the patch notes for yourself head on over to Battle.net.
High Level Loot Drop Rates
Currently there are three tiers of "high level" loot that drop in Inferno Acts 1, 2, and then 3-4 respectively. They're termed level 61,62 and 63 loot, and you could only acquire them by playing their respective Inferno Acts. Blizzard, bless them, has decided that this method of distribution is inhibitive to progress, and encourages players to spend money on the auction house as opposed to farming as intended.
These new drops rates allow all tiers of items to be dropped in all Inferno acts, and some also in the fourth act of Hell. Players interested in farming can now weigh a more challenging act with higher drop rates versus a faster lower act with lower drop rates.
The second, and also significant change to loot drops in Inferno, pertains to your Nephalem buff. Previously, the goal was to max your stacks of Nephalem up to 5 and then do a boss -- rinse and repeat. Blizzard wants players to continue to play after defeating a boss now, transitioning from a "Boss Run" system to a simple "Play Until You're Done" system. How are they implementing this change? Well, act bosses themselves will now drop one less guaranteed rare item (down from two), while rare spawn packs and bosses will drop one more. Keep in mind this is at 5 stacks of Nephalem. Hard to tell whether this system will prove better or worse in the long run.
One last note, your magic find will no longer affect environmental object destruction, so there's really no use breaking stuff in Inferno anymore. Another way Blizzard wants to streamline endgame item runs.
Here's another change coming in two parts -- Inferno's Act II, III and IV difficulty is being revamped. Blizzard is happy with the difficulty of Act I, but recognizes that stepping into the areas beyond is like walking into a wall without hours of item grinding or auction house purchases. Thusly, damage from monsters in these acts has been reduced accordingly.
On top of that, Blizzard has heard our cries and nerfed several "overpowered" monsters that the community has made infamous. For instance, Wasps, Soul Lashers, and Heralds of Pestilence have each been nerfed or changed in different ways. Invulnerable Minion spawns have reduced health and Mortar spawns, while having longer range overall, have a wider area around them that mortar fire can't hit. Other small, similar changes have been made -- mostly to balance difficulty as opposed to straight nerfs.
The second part comes from cooperative play. Experienced Diablo players will know that inviting friends to your game can, on occasion, simply make certain bosses or rare packs impossible to defeat -- they just do too much damage. Blizzard recognized this and sees it as inhibitive to social play, something they very much don't want considering it's an always-online game. With patch 1.0.3 monster damage won't go up with increased party members. They'll still take more damage than usual, but they won't deal more damage.
And to counter most of these changes -- after all Blizzard doesn't want Inferno to be a breeze -- a number of Act bosses have been buffed or balanced in particular ways. For instance, The Skeleton King now spawns archers as most players could simply kite the adds; the Jailer (notoriously a pushover) now has Fast and Molten affixes and also Desecrator in Inferno; The Butcher was left the same, but his some of his fires were doing too much damage -- and that's just Act I.
There are many other changes that have been introduced in Diablo III's patch 1.0.3. You can read a written summary of the main changes, or the specific patch notes also. In general, there are only a few class changes, some reworks to crafting and repair costs, and an insane amount of bug fixes across the board.
It's a beautiful thing that Blizzard not only is dedicated to quick updates for their games, but also that they're so incredibly willing to listen to their community. A majority of the changes in the patch are a direct result of player complaints. Love or hate Diablo III, Blizzard does its best to appease its fans.