Legendary Gems in Patch 2.1 Buff Amulets and Rings

Travis Day talks Patch 2.1 content including Tiered Rifts, Season Legendary items, and Hellfire Amulets (Updated)

Travis Day on Diablo III Theorycraft Thursday Livestream #1
Diablo III Patch 2.1 is bringing a slew of new content, and developer Travis Day provided details about many pieces of it in the first Theorycraft Thursday playthrough livestream. There will be Legendary gems coming in patch 2.1, that will be useful in socketed rings and amulets. The patch will also bring a Hellfire Amulet that provides a random 5th passive skill, crafted up much like the current Hellfire Rings. Read on for the details of what was covered on the stream.

The livestream was run by community manager Brandy "Nevalistis" Camel, joined by Stephen "Leviathan" Stewart, Nolan "Monstrous" Mitchell, and developer Travis Day. They were all running Crusaders and went over the Crusader build that Leviathan had provided for a previous Theorycraft Thursday.

Watch the full video of the Twitch livestream, or check out the details below.



Here are the most interesting details from the livestream, grouped together by theme. Select the timestamp at the end of each topic to jump directly to that spot in the video.


Items and Crafting
  • Legendary Gems - Details about Legendary Gems are coming very soon; Nevalistis has a blog that she has been working on for a while, that is coming right around the corner. A tiny snippet of info: you're going to want to find really good socketed rings and amulets to use in patch 2.1. While they may be expanded on in the future, in patch 2.1 the Legendary Gems are just for rings and amulets. (38:51)
  • Gameplay Choices with Hellfire Amulets - The developers want you to have more things to do: right now there are Bounties, Nephalem Rifts, and soon there will be Tiered Rifts. Ultimately, they want to provide more options for players and are talking about it constantly, looking for really cool ideas to implement. In 2.1 there will be a Hellfire Amulet that will encourage players to go kill Ubers. That will get people doing Keywarden runs and Uber runs, to provide more activities. They are also probably buffing up the unique power of the Hellfire Ring, although maybe not; there are so many good rings, that the Hellfire Ring is just a little dated. They will keep trying to add more cool gameplay modes like that over time. (46:00)
  • Hellfire Amulet - The Hellfire Amulet is meant to be "the thing that maybe you'll craft forever trying to get the perfect one". It is crafted much like the old Hellfire Ring: you pick your main stat, and it's a 6-affix item with the primary stat of your choice. The Hellfire Amulet randomly unlocks a specific passive skill for your class. It effectively gives you a 5th passive slot with it. But it's all random which passive you get, and which stats the amulet will have, so you will have an incentive to try to craft a lot of them to get one of the theoretical best end-game items. (49:20)
  • Season Legendaries and Revamping Older Items - Travis Day just finished the first pass on a bunch of new Season Legendary items on Wednesday, and those will be further tested, polished and tuned. There will be these new items in 2.1; over time they'll be both changing old Legendary items and adding new ones. The goal for Reaper of Souls release was that every Legendary would be special and have its own unique power, but there were just too many and they couldn't do that in time. That's still an important goal and as every patch comes out, older Legendaries will be overhauled and made new, as well as introducing new items with new powers. A good example of an item to be overhauled is the Legendary chest Heart of Iron: "It sounds cool; why is this so dumb, it doesn't do anything!". However, they will not be changing the old versions of items that players already have (other than the announced sets that will be retroactively changing in patch 2.1). Instead, the old versions of changed Legendary items will simply stop dropping, and the new versions with updated stats will drop. So don't bother keeping around old versions of those Legendary items, hoping that they'll get better in the future. (12:08)
  • Unity Ring - Using the Unity Legendary ring with a Follower and the Legendary that keeps the Follower alive is very intentional gameplay. It was designed that way; it is not an exploit. The ring was initially thought about as a co-op item, and it was also made to work to split damage with Followers, so it would be useful for solo players. (19:05)
  • Invoker Set - The Invoker set (with items like Crown of the Invoker) was originally created to be a Crusader class set. Early in the Crusader class development, it was going to have a lot of Thorns buffs throughout the active skills, and passives for the class. The idea was that, much like Monk heals get better with Health Globe Healing Bonus, the Thorns for Crusaders would be boosted by the Thorns item stat. The development of the class didn't go that way and they got rid of Thorns being a big focus for Crusaders. As the main item developer, Mr. Day wasn't aware of that in time, so the Invoker set suddenly didn't have a good use. The developers are making a new Crusader class set and other Crusader items for patch 2.1. (13:50)
  • Monk Sets - Going into Reaper of Souls and designing all the sets and powers, it was all theorycraft land. The developers didn't know what skills would be popular, what the tuning would look like, so all the sets were made in a bit of a vacuum. Some of the sets were shipped kind of weak, and both of the Monk sets were pretty weak. So with the postmortem of the Reaper of Souls sets, the developers looked over how good each of the sets are, and gave them each a rough power level. Some of the associate developers looked at the power of the Jade Harvester's set and thought about making all the set numbers that big, but they don't want to do that; that's the high bar of how strong they make stuff, for now. But every set should be capable of something in the same ballpark. Looking at that, the Jade Harvester big bonus is 6 pieces, so people often wear 5 pieces with the Ring of Royal Grandeur, and the Quetzalcoatl - so the investment is large, and most of your character sheet is used to make that build work. So they want the Monks to have similar options. So the decision was that the set bonus by itself won't be as good as all those items on a Witch Doctor, but the set should be worth a decent amount of damage, and they can make items to complement the sets and that will help push it higher. One of the Monk sets is themed around 2-handers, which people wish were better. They have been talking about that recently; the Monkey set is pretty decent, but 2-handers aren't popular. They are looking at how they want to address that, and talking a lot about what they might want to do. (25:10)
  • Making Sets and Set Bonuses - The developers don't want to rehash the same ideas over and over, like the idea that, "I want that set bonus, but for my class". Instead, they want to make something that's cool, but more appropriate for the class. Most all of the items have been planned now for patch 2.1. For example, Mr. Day is working on a couple of different items that boost Phalanx, which are coming in patch 2.1. That could perhaps open up a whole new playstyle / build style for Crusaders. They've talked about the Crusader sets, since the Invoker set didn't end up being a useful Crusader set. That's one of the rare cases where they thought about changing the set bonus to something new because Thorns just isn't working out; but some people like the fantasy of Thorns, so it would suck to take it away from them. So they're making a new Crusader set, like maybe a Shield Bash focused set; it's all about having giant heavy armor, and clubbing dudes to death with it. They haven't fleshed out yet what the specific effects are going to be. They try to find playstyles that they want to encourage, and introduce items to support and supplement it. The developers don't want to tell everyone how to play the game, or hand players things and say, "this should be your spec." They want to give lots of cool toys to the players, and see what people think of them and how they're used. (31:45)
  • What about a "Cold Cindercoat"? - Right now Cindercoat is "bonkers" compared to what's available for other elements. Looking at how the elements are working out compared to each other, the developers have talked about that a ton. A bit of the issue is the general design of the skills themselves: Frost skills are all very focused around crowd control like slowing, snaring, and freezing opponents, while Fire is about straight damage. So an item that makes Fire better is more valuable than something that makes Frost better. The developers do want to reinforce the different elemental builds and skill builds. In general, +Elemental damage is one of the generic item affixes that worked out really well this expansion. It makes item choices feel like you are committing to a build and "sticky", that the build you chose is your build, because of the investment into getting a specific +element across your items. They will eventually be looking at bringing everything into a more even playing field, or trying to present equally awesome options for the other elements. (35:32)
  • Why remove the Legendary crafting mats in patch 2.0.6? - There's a lot of history to it. The short version is that crafting has 2 jobs. First off, crafting lets you make some pretty good items early on once you hit 70; these are the items you need before you find the great sets and such, to act as stepping stones, like a yellow with better stats. The second job for crafting is to provide you with limitless sinks for materials, so that Forgotten Souls and other crafting materials always have value. (This includes items like crafted Legendary bracers that use up all the blue crafting materials.) The unique crafting reagent system was doing great things like providing players with directed gameplay, which is cool in theory. But it unfortunately created gameplay the developers didn't like, such as players flipping games over and over, looking for a specific Bounty that would have the monster who could drop that specific crafting reagent. Needing a unique component to craft these items was also getting in the way of new players being able to craft stuff, and stopped high level players from spending their materials, since they were restricted by the specific reagents. The change talked and deliberated a lot; Mr. Day thought about fixing it for patch 2.0.5 but let it go at that time. Eventually the cons were outweighing the pros, so they removed the unique crafting materials. (43:08) The biggest problem with the unique crafting components before is that they were more of a gate, and you couldn't even accidentally get the crafting materials to craft what you wanted; you had to flip games over and over to kill the exact right unique monster, to get the needed crafting materials. After all that, you would use those crafting materials and craft up items and maybe none of them were good, which was very demoralizing to players. Because of that, players weren't using up their crafting materials, such as the blue and yellow and Forgotten Souls. The developers feel that making all those items have value is important - they want players to want those items, which means the crafting materials need to be useful. (50:00)


Seasons and Tiered Rifts
  • Seasons and Tiered Rifts - Tiered Rifts are a ton of fun. It's a "very clean experience", as you don't worry about picking up items, but are just trying to kill everything as fast as you can, optimizing how you play the dungeons. (10:40)
  • No items drop from monsters in Tiered Rifts - Nothing drops normally in a Tiered Rift, but the boss at the end drops all the loot. The bosses have a really, really high chance of dropping legendaries and gems, crafting materials, etc. The developers didn't want players to worry about inventory management while trying to race a clock. So there's nothing on the monsters, but lots of loot and the scoreboard at the end. (11:26)
  • Developers are playtesting Tiered Rifts daily - They have meetings multiple times a week to playtest and tune up Tiered Rifts. They are trying out assorted Tiered Rifts, in groups and solo, testing the leaderboard. Tiered Rifts are not going to be static dungeons, as they had initially talked about. They are random like normal Rifts, but the developers are working on toning down the amount of randomness that can impact the time getting through a Tiered Rift. They have recently been testing things like reducing the power of Conduit Pylons in Tiered Rifts, so that the people at the top of the leaderboards aren't there just because they got lucky with powerful pylons. They are also changing how the bar in all Rifts fills up, basing it on the monster's hit points so people don't skip hard monsters. (59:25)


Builds and Development
  • Unexpected Builds - Thinking about builds or item combinations that the players made popular that he wasn't expecting, Travis Day mentioned the new Fire Crusader build. Doing the tuning pass for Crusaders in patch 2.0.5, they balanced out the numbers to where they looked correct, and waited to see what people would make popular. He expected there would be a Fire build, but not that it would involve Darklight and Fist of the Heavens. (28:30)
  • Developing Legendaries - When asked if the developers know about builds or item combinations that players haven't figured out, Mr. Day said the players have had their hands on the everything enough to figure it out. Between the drop rates and Kadala, players have reliable access to everything; they've felt out where the builds are, and aren't. For the developers, it's finding out what everyone uses; figuring out what builds work, and what builds maybe don't work because they need another item or two to support the playstyle. The developers spend a lot of time working in that design space: Like perhaps for the Witch Doctor, since the pet builds with Fetish are strong, and DoTs are in a good place, what about nukes - maybe they need items that support skills like Acid Cloud. (29:37)


Other Topics
  • Theorycraft Thursdays - Brandy Camel mentioned that the idea of Theorycraft Thursdays was to get people thinking outside of just the Most Popular Builds. Instead of just writing up info on the Torment 5 or 6 builds that are very popular, she's hoping to explore builds at lower Torments, that perhaps people haven't poked around with yet. Mr. Day said that the original Zoosader Crusader build was not something that the developers explicitly designed, as they didn't set out to create a full-blown Crusader pet spec. They just came up with a lot of cool skill ideas, and someone decided to make a spec out of it. (34:29)
  • Trivia about Kadala - One of the programmers was looking at changing it so that when you get a Legendary item from Kadala, the Legendary sound would play. When looking at that, he was investigating the code and found something strange. Kadala has a lot more speech lines than she is using. Kadala is supposed to say different lines based on the quality of the item you get, but she's only saying the blue lines. She has nice friendly, positive lines if you buy a yellow or Legendary item; for those items, she's supposed to say things like, "Ooh that's nice, can I have it back?" But right now she's only playing the blue quality lines. She's really perky and happy, but those lines aren't getting played! So the developers were joking that they need to add patch notes about her having a total personality makeover, like "Lorath's love has changed her for the better", and add in all the pleasant upbeat lines. (52:20)
  • Travis Day's 4-boxing Crusaders - Mr. Day uses his "I feel like being lazy" build when doing a 4-box of Crusaders at home. With a Jekangbord and other Legendary items, he just picks a direction of the screen to aim, and all his Crusaders fire off Blessed Shield in that direction for mass slaughter. (5:00) His Crusaders are at the point of needing better versions of what they already have, so he's taking a break from them and leveling up a Witch Doctor. (41:20) He was using a shotgun Crusader spec before, but then switched to 4-boxing his Crusaders and wanted a lazy, easy spec to play. At home he likes to play Diablo III on one screen, watch a movie with Netflix on the other monitor, and sometimes play HearthStone on top of the movie monitor, too! (55:20)
  • Playing Hardcore - Although he doesn't normally play in hardcore mode in Diablo III, Travis Day is thinking about making a hardcore character when Seasons arrive in patch 2.1. He knows he would be upset if losing a character to an internet outage or something else that can't be controlled like that, but he views the gamestyle as "tons of fun - it's a lot more high tension, which makes everything feel more exciting." (8:50)
  • Legendary Crafting Materials Still Dropping - An Adventurer's Journal dropped during the stream, and those sort of crafting materials are not supposed to be dropping anymore. Mr. Day said there were like 38 loot tables that he had to go through, to remove all those crafting materials; he'll be fixing that further to keep those from dropping. (24:08)

Updated Friday, June 13 7:46PM EDT - This news was updated to more accurately reflect the discussion, filling in all the major topics along with video links. We'll cover further Theorycrafting Thursday livestreams, that are scheduled to continue every 6 weeks or so. Before that, Patch 2.1 will be arriving on the PTR, and we'll have all the details for it!

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