Blizzard Blues: Expansion Ideas, Monster Power For Leveling

Thoughts on playing without AH items, sockets for items, and the eventual release of patch 1.0.7

Monster Power
As Patch 1.0.7 continues testing on the PTR, blue posters have thoughts running further afield. Some of their latest posts discuss the eventual expansion for Diablo III, using Monster Power when leveling a new character, what it would be like to have sockets in Diablo III items, and more.

Read on for all the details, including hints at the release of patch 1.0.7.


Patch 1.0.7 Release
Since most of the testing has been done for patch 1.0.7 on the PTR, the question comes up: when will it be released? Here at diablo.somepage.com we are still projecting a release date of February 12 or 19; the Community Manager posts recently seem to line up with that. As they mention, though, it's still a tentative date on Blizzard's schedule; if a big bug shows up on the PTR, the patch can be pushed back to get that fixed.
Not much longer now
I would give you an ETA if I could, but I will not risk the wrath of the community and having my soul cursed into the afterlife if any ETA I provided turns out not to be accurate :-)

To be more serious though, I cannot give you an ETA yet because the release date we are aiming for is still set as tentative.
Posted by: PushUpek

"Not much longer now" == "Soon" ?:D


Hmm... Soon doesn't quite cut it. I would rather say it's sooner than soon, but maybe not soon enough ;-)


Diablo III Expansion
Further down the road, the expansion for Diablo III will eventually be introduced. While we aren't there yet, a recent thread discussed how content gets added in an expansion, and why it changes during the development process.
Posted by: BlackChicken

it waaaay to soon for an expansion

Hmm... that really depends on who you ask ;-)

Posted by: JonoL

For me, it depends on what the expansion offers.

This is a very sensible stance to take I think, especially for those who are sceptical about the expansion and the future of Diablo III. Reading reviews and viewing gameplay footage and streams beforehand should be a good help for evaluating whether or not the expansion will be to your liking.

It is not a bad idea to wait and see before making your decision, especially since the contents of the expansions have yet to be revealed :-)
Posted by: pawlie

You advise to wait and see before making a decision... it's not going to be the same case scenario where we are shown trailers of lots of excellent things and exciting content, only to have lots of it removed on release?


I do not think that it will be the same case scenario at all if those people who are concerned or sceptical about the expansion wait until after it has been released before they make their decision.

In regards to your concern about removed content - I can agree that it is unfortunate when this happens; it is a sucky feeling indeed when content you were personally looking forward to doesn’t happen as originally announced. It is impossible for me to predict if the developers will feel it necessary to remove or postpone content for one reason or another after we have already shown it in previews or sneak-peaks, but I am confident that we will do our best to accurately show you guys what the expansion is about and how it plays before it is released.

In general though, the impressions and reviews of any game or expansion are typically most accurate after release, which is due to the fact that a greater number of people get their hands on them to do appraisals or gameplay videos and streams. So again, if you are concerned about the Diablo III expansion, if you are not sure that it will be to your liking, then the logical option would be to wait and see how it plays out before deciding if you will be getting it or not :-)


Monster Power While Leveling
Although the Monster Power feature is most often used at level 60, it can also help make the game tougher while leveling up an entirely new character. This makes the game take longer, with more intense fights along the way.
I’ve talked with players in several different Diablo III communities about how they level new characters and found that most of them tend to prefer one of two tactics. 1) For a number of players, Monster Power 10 seems to be the way to go when leveling by just playing through the game, but (as you pointed out) that leads to a much slower pace than farming key areas. 2) There’re also players who farm specific high-density locations, but they tend to tone down Monster Power to whatever they can handle while still one-shotting most of the monsters. I’m sure plenty of players do a little bit of both depending on the situation, too.

I prefer a hybrid of the two, but will lean towards faster leveling depending on the last time I leveled the class I'm playing.


Playing Without Auction House Equipment
There are very big differences in playing efficiency, when comparing the gear available from the Auction House to what drops randomly for a single character. It can be more thrilling to play without gear from the AH, or using it sparingly. The Blizzard development team wants players to be comfortable playing that way, without feeling a need to use the AH all the time.
This thread does a really good job of articulating the difference between two popular approaches to playing Diablo III. Some players want to find their own gear and some players just want to streamline their way to maximum efficiency. There are a lot of players in-between as well. Each are completely valid play styles that happen to provide different benefits to different people. (Personally, I like to keep my Auction House use to a minimum in general, but I am willing to spend some gold if one of my items really needs adjustment.)

We know that players would like to have more options when it comes to self-found gear, and we've already begun implementing changes (as seen with the new crafted items and Marquise gem tier in 1.0.7) to help make that more of a reality. Ensuring that players have reasonable routes towards their in-game goals, be it efficiency or just playing at your pace with your own gear, is definitely a goal for the design team and one of things we're working to improve on.

For those of you who enjoy or prefer growing your characters without the assistance of the Auction House, how do you feel about crafted items? In your opinion, does crafting with your own materials count as a "self-found item," or do you think that's something that really only applies to item drops?


Account Bound Items
For a game like Diablo III that places such an emphasis on trading items, it is a bit surprising to see so many account-bound items being added in patch 1.0.7. From a recent blue post, it sounds like the development team believes that this is a good point in the game cycle to add such items, to provide ways for players to get their own items without going through the Auction House.
One of the great things about crafting is the multiple functions it can serve. A healthy resource sink at this point in the game’s life cycle seems like it would be a good thing, and the 1.0.7 bind-on-account crafting recipes and gems should help in that regard. The crafting recipes also provide you the chance to roll a best-in-slot item that you can't buy or sell on the Auction House (something which players have been asking for), and the Marquise gem of course will be the highest tier available in the game.

As time goes on and the game changes, it is likely crafting will as well. We feel that bind-on-account items are the right thing for the game at this moment, but of course we want to keep adapting with the community and the economy as they evolve. In the meantime, and as always, it would be great to hear your ideas about crafting, and we encourage you to keep talking about what you'd like to see out of the system. :)


Adding Sockets to Items
In a question about making a way to add extra sockets to items (such as weapons that don't already have a socket), it's listed as possible long-term addition to the game. Given the game balance issues involved in something like that, there's no doubt that it would be part of a larger item change, such as with the Diablo III expansion.
I know adding sockets to items is a game feature that a lot of players want, and I don’t want to sound dismissive to that feedback, but I was really was hoping that the reason you wanted to loot a drill was so you could theme your character after an angry dentist. Like a melee Wizard named DrNoNovacain. :P

In regards to adding sockets to items, I would like to say that it's still on the table for consideration and certainly something we'd like to add, but it would be a long term design goal if it were to be implemented at all.


Battle.net Forum Revamp
The main batle.net Diablo III forums have been getting some attention from Blizzard's web developers. One of the threads about that details some of the changes made there.
Thanks for all your feedback! Some specific replies:

Posted by: Demiwraith

Some fonts look ridiculous, too, like the name of your character on your profile.


Ahh... the font change on your profile was not intended and is definitely a bug. This will get fixed soon.

Posted by: Demiwraith

Also, I can't click the "1 min" text to jump to the last page in a thread.


Thanks for pointing that out. Will add this feature in.
Posted by: Treleth

I can't view individual item stats on profiles when surfing from my iPad any more.


What if tapping on an item (only for mobile devices) brought up the tooltip instead of linking to it? And tapping again would close it.
Oh wow. That was fast. It just changed to show both last poster and last post time.


You're very welcome, we had a lot of feedback regarding this so we wanted to get it back in as soon as possible. We did like having the last post time, too, so... best of both worlds!

Posted by: Tiakatt

I really liked the old text sizes and line spacing better.


We're still not sure about this change, and we're definitely taking in all the feedback. Thanks for all the replies!
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