Don Vu Talks Adventure Mode Revamp

New class sets and better passives discussed in the 'Play Your Way' stream

Diablo III Play Your Way - April 30, 2015
There were many Monk deaths and plenty of interesting Diablo III discussion in the latest Play Your Way Twitch livestream, on Thursday night. The stream featured community manager Brandy "Nevalistis" Camel talking with game designer Don Vu, and players Meathead Mikhail and Davlok. Topics discussed include current and future class Sets, and the upcoming revamp to Adventure Mode. Read on for thoughts from Don Vu, or watch the VOD for all the fun!

Keep in mind that many of the changes currently being worked on "for a future patch" will be coming in patch 2.3, the next major patch that will bring Season 4. Other updates won't arrive until later patches, depending on the vagaries of the game development process. You can watch the VOD below or on Twitch, for the full experience. It includes plenty of fun banter, along with many deaths of Nevalistis' Monk. Below is a rough transcript of the statements made by Don Vu about many topics of interest in Diablo III.

  • Delsere's Set - Don made the new Delsere's Magnum Opus set as kind of a nostalgic remembrance of the Diablo II Sorcerer.
  • Sets Not Used - There are roles for specific sets; Firebird's Finery is a good speed farming set. There's validity with each set having a role for a specific playstyle. Over time people figure out better builds; the "best" way to use the new Tal Rasha's Elements set has changed multiple times since 2.2 started, as the players figured out which builds and other supporting items work best with it.
  • Monk Sets - Inna's and Sunwuko sets are hard to tune right now, since they can be used together. In a future patch (not next patch), Sunboku will become a 6-piece, but it's hard to balance because of Monks wearing both sets at once.
  • Barbs Running Ahead & Without Pull-in, No Place in Groups? - Don wishes there were more options for Barbs, so they could feel useful in a high Greater Rifts. If more items are introduced that help out with the Immortal King's set, that could help them make more useful in groups.
  • Bracers - Bracers and Belts are great to have as Legendary items, because they don't fight with the set pieces for the most part.
  • Evoker's and Helltooth - The Evoker's and Helltooth sets might be being worked for 2.3; there's a lot being worked on right now.
  • Vyr's Set - In a future patch, all the classic class sets will get 6-piece bonuses. Some might be redesigned, some will just get the extra set bonus. For Vyr's Amazing Arcana it'll stay about Archon. It won't be permanent Archon like before, but maybe something that when you aren't in Archon mode it feeds into the power of Archon, and vice-versa. They don't want it to feel like when you're in Archon that you're in god-mode, and when you aren't then you feel like you're useless. Unlike perma-Wrath of the Berserker, perma-Archon replaces all your normal abilities. It's ok to have Archon up something like 60% or 80% of the time, but not permanently. Maybe the Vyr's set will make it so that if you're out of Archon longer, it boosts your gameplay in Archon stronger, than if you gear up specifically to stay perma-Archon.
  • Tank sets for each class? - It's hard to design because the gameplay would be something boring like taunt, and then just sit there with a lot of Thorns on - they'd want more interesting gameplay than that.
  • Unused Items - They're constantly reviewing all the items. They're mainly looking at the ones without affixes at all. Over time they'll look at all the Legendaries and make sure they are actually Legendary.
  • Death's Bargain - the idea is great, but they don't scale well - At lower difficulty, items like Death's Bargain could be good. With infinitely scaling difficulty in Greater Rifts, players naturally focus on the very specific "best" gear.
  • Hammerdin Set - Don Vu played a Hammerdin in Diablo II, and kind of misses that gameplay. But it was kind of boring as far as the gameplay goes. The current plan for the next Crusader set is to be kind of like the Hammerdin gameplay, boosting Blessed Hammer. Hopefully the gameplay can be more interesting than the old Diablo II kind.
  • Itemization in 2.2 - The fantasy of each class kind of hit the mark with all the different sets in Patch 2.2. They want to keep that up with future patches.
  • Imbalance in Materials - Maybe they'll add a way to transmute one form of materials to another; that's not being worked on at the moment.
  • Shield Power - They're pretty happy with how Crusaders use shields. A shield would have to include an insane amount of damage affixes to be comparable to using a two-hander or dual-wielding, for the other classes. Making shields useful is a hard problem to solve, because people are so obsessed with damage numbers and killing things quickly, because it's Diablo!

Adventure Mode & Rifts
  • Trials for Greater Rifts - No more Trials soon, hopefully. You're going to be able to choose which Rift you go to, based on what you completed before. It goes from the highest Greater Rift you completed, and you get the option for the next one. They're still figuring out the progress, for solo versus 2/3/4-man groups.
  • Adventure Mode - They're overhauling Adventure Mode progress in a future patch; the current iteration has players able to enter Greater Rifts without needing a key. Rifts and Bounties should each give different rewards, for different gameplay goals.
  • Fishing for Rift Guardians - Don wishes there was less variance on Rift Guardians, in how difficult and interesting they are. If every Greater Rift Guardian was interesting and as difficult as Orlash, people would fish less and they'd be easier to balance overall.
  • Hellfire Rings/Amulet Encounter - The revamp of Adventure Mode might cover part of that. There's a lot of stuff coming in future patches; it's hard to say how the cadence of playing the game will change once all of that is in.
  • Greater Rifts vs. Normal Rifts Maps - The Greater Rifts maps have less variance, to keep it simpler for comparison and Leaderboards.

  • Whirlwind Graphics - The alpha for the Whirlwind tornadoes graphic is going down in a future patch, so they don't cover up everything on the screen. That change might be part of patch 2.2.1, which is mainly just a bug fix patch.
  • Harmony Usage by Monks - Passive diversity is important. Right now the developers are mainly focusing on providing Legendary buffs to skills. Harmony is used by something like 80% of Monks right now. One issue is that Monks aren't very tough compared to other classes like a Crusader; if Monks had more options to get Toughness from other sources, Harmony usage would probably go down. Monks use a lot of Dodge runes now, too; everybody hated on Dodge before, but now everybody loves it!
  • Unstable Anomaly vs. Other Passives - They are going to change Unstable Anomaly to be better, on par with other such passives. The current iteration is that instead of healing you, it will give you a shield equal to 300% of your health. It'll also stun targets instead of slowing them. That might change in testing.

Other Topics
  • Difficulty - 2.2 brought a lot of power creep, Torment VI is laughably easy right now. There are no current plans to make higher difficulties, but it's something they want to work on in the near future; it's been discussed often, including last week.
  • Experience Gain - Share Across the Group? - It hasn't come up. Just sharing the experience bonuses (like Magic Find used to be shared across heroes in a group) might not be the proper fix. If it's an issue that zero DPS heroes have nothing better to wear so they just end up using +experience % items, maybe there can be better zDPS items.
  • Reduce Monster Damage? - They are leaning towards reducing incoming damage, since permanent Crowd Control isn't available anymore.
  • Incentive to play Campaign Mode - Maybe farm bosses for a specific Legendary? - There's a Conquest where you can speed-run Campaign mode, but they want to do better to expose those to the playerbase. Targetted Legendaries are tough, as seen by people hating to farm for the Ring of Royal Grandeur. If the activity itself isn't fun, people dislike farming the same content over and over. It's hard to balance that, and not swing too far in one direction.
  • Buff Bar User Interface - They are talking about how to improve the buff bar, and they aren't sure exactly how to go about it. They definitely want to do it. Especially with all the new Legendary items that give buffs, there are a lot of buffs to try to see. If there was some form of prioritization to which buffs showed up that'd be better, but that isn't coming anytime soon.
  • Unavoidable Damage (Jailer) - It's kind of a gear check. Part of the frustration is that even if you sacrifice other stats to get Toughness, it doesn't help you clear the Greater Rift any better. Don wishes there was more paper cut damage, to make it clear when a character isn't ready for that difficulty of Greater Rift. The intention is for people to get Toughness, and not just be glass cannon, but the trade-off isn't there yet.
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