Blizzard has been trying very hard to clear out the rough spots in the popular hack-and-slash RPG, Diablo III. The game has many problems in the gameplay, such as some skills being so underpowered that the class itself is deemed to not be viable, most players finding the highest difficulty of the game - Inferno - outright impossible to finish, and the very boring gear that drops most of the time after difficult battles. The latest patch for the game, 1.0.4, aims to fix some of these problems.
A blog post by Diablo III’s senior technical game designer Wyatt Cheng explains many of the changes the game will be seeing, and the reasons for these changes. The post says, “One of the general improvements we’d like to make to our item game addresses the difference between an item having a chance of being good vs. knowing the item isn’t going to be good before you even identify it.” To put it simply, there’s a big difference between an item having no chance of being good and the item having some chance of being good. While Blizzard won’t be able to fully address this issue in the patch, it is a long term plan for the company.
About to get patch 1.0.4
The developers plan to bring changes to the weapon drops in the game. “Weapon damage is the most important stat on a weapon. It can be disheartening to get a lot of weapon drops and you know before even looking at them that they have no chance of being good.” The raw damage value on all the highest level weapons will be extended so that these weapons get better viability.
Some of the other changes discussed in the blog post are bringing changes to spells that aren’t as popular as other spells. While the changes made to individual classes will be detailed in separate blog posts, Cheng does explain what some of the changes are and why they are making the changes. The post says, “Does the skill have any control or readability issues that would make the skill less satisfying to use? If so – polish the skill more. A good example here is the Barbarian Rend ability – many people don’t use it because you can’t always tell which enemies are affected by the bleed and which aren’t.” This will be one of the many ways Blizzard will be changing the spells in the game.
Recently, Blizzard announced that Diablo III had over 10 million players. During the earnings call, Blizzard’s Mike Morhaime accepted that they experienced some challenges during the launch of Diablo III. "Due to the unprecedented influx of players, a number of service issues arose that we needed to work around the clock to address," he said.
Morhaime also talked about a further drop in subscriptions for World of Warcraft to 9.1 million as of 30th June, down from 10.1 million at the end of March. The game’s highest point was in October 2010, when there were 12 million subscribers worldwide. Morhaime said, “the majority of declines at the quarter coming from the East. Historically, we have seen usage decline towards the end of an expansion cycle. We saw a similar drop in subscribers in the months before Cataclysm, followed by a substantial number of returning players around the Cataclysm launch. We're also seeing that a number of players took a break from World of Warcraft to play Diablo III.”