We were asked some great questions at our Reddit Q&A on Tuesday, September 1st. In case you missed them and the answers provided by our team, we've included a recap below, complete with handy links to each topic of discussion for your reading convenience!
Table of Contents
Whimsybandit: Is a proper gem sink being considered, maybe via a cube recipe or whatnot? As it stands, gems are in high demand early into a Season and then they become more inflated than gold.
Travis Day: We have been internally discussing ideas to provide appealing gem sinks in the game in an upcoming patch. No details to announce yet though.
jcooper1876: Diablo III has been quite the ride. Since its release, we've had a new act, a new class, a new play mode, new character skills, new sets, changes to old sets, new bounties, new rifts, a new rift type, new gems, Seasons, new difficulties... everything has changed, except for one thing: the ONLY option for a weapon socket is an emerald. Will this ever change?
John Yang: I am hugely in favor of this. In general, I love balance in all things because having more than one choice is good.
For the case of gems in weapons, buffing Amethyst is a great idea, because the benefit it provides (+Life on Hit) is a completely different choice from the current leading gem: Emerald = Critical Hit Damage. Buffing Diamonds (+Elite damage) and Rubies (+Flat damage) is slightly less interesting because it will probably come down to one mathematically correct answer depending on the weapon and build. Lastly, our goal is to have Topaz be the gem to use for the Thorns of the Invoker set.
OtterAbsurdity: Now that each class has a couple of decent sets, can we get a small balance pass on them to even them out? I love the playstyle of full 6pc Delsere and Marauders, but I feel like I'm gimping my friends by using them and it's frustrating.
Travis Day: Set and Legendary item tuning continues to be an ongoing effort. Each patch we help bring more playstyles closer in line with each other and this will continue to be our goal moving forward.
TyphoonCane: Currently there are a few classes that can mix sets getting six pieces of one set and four pieces of another, is this something you want to see more of or is it something that you'd rather not happen more often?
John Yang: We gave the five legacy class sets a seventh piece because they all included a weapon, which is a very powerful item slot as far as legendary powers go. We didn't feel that adding a seventh piece was needed for the other six piece sets.
goykasi: Is anything being done about the Arachyr 4pc bonus? All feedback and complaints on PTR were seemingly ignored.
John Yang: I've heard all of this feedback and I completely agree. I also dislike the fact that the Toad of Hugeness swallows monsters completely, making them unable to take damage for a short period of time. I want to change this in the next patch to be a simple Stun in the future, but I wanted to couple this change with some animation adjustments to the Toad to match. At the time this feedback came in during 2.3 PTR, it was a little too late to make the art changes in time for that patch.
Nazgren: Any chance for a "close-quarters" DH build? They have plenty of knife based skills.
Kevin Martens: That would be awesome! Geez, John Yang, why don't you do something about that?
John Yang: Done! The Shadow's Mantle set is the redesign that I'm the most excited about for 2.4 so far. The idea of a melee-weapon oriented build that doesn't involve bows / xbows has always been in the back of my mind. Here's what it currently looks like:
2pc - While equipped with a melee weapon, all damage is increased by 1000%.
4pc - Shadow Power gains all runes and lasts forever.
6pc - Impale deals 30000% weapon damage to the first enemy it hits.
The idea is that the set is extremely strong on single-target damage, but weak on AoE. To help with that, a new dagger will have the power "Every second, the damage of your next Fan of Knives is increased by 250-300%." To help with movement, a pair of bracers has the power: "After using Impale, Vault costs no resource for 2 seconds." That item will allow you to Vault into position to Impale the high-value targets.
Additionally, we're also allowing Demon Hunters to use melee weapons with quivers because the fantasy of this quick-moving assassin build is about speed, not walking around with a shield ;)
OwenLantos: With so many newer and stronger class sets, some of the old class sets (e.g. Firebird's Finery, Jade Harvester) became extremely weak. Are there any plans to rework these sets in the near future? Possibly in 2.4? I really like Firebird Wizard, but it is just so underwhelming right now...
John Yang: Yes, 100%, absolutely. Internally, we have already updated, revamped, or redesigned completely many of the six piece sets that are currently not seeing use. The ones that are already done include Shadow's Mantle, Might of the Earth, Jade Harvester, Firebird's Finery, Armor of Akkhan, Thorns of the Invoker, and Embodiment of the Marauder. Monkey King’s Garb and Inna's Mantra are also being worked on. The goal is to bring all of these sets up to the power level of the current top 2.3 sets/builds.
You all will see these updates in the near future in patch 2.4.0
Iwillforgethisacc: I have two questions regarding Kanai's Cube: When I reroll a Legendary item, can it roll Ancient? And if I use a Ramaladni's Gift and then reroll it, will the socket from the gift be lost?
Travis Day: When you use the reforge recipe the result can be Ancient. It's important to note that the chance to be Ancient is unaffected by whether or not you put an Ancient in. Effectively you are destroying and creating a completely new version of the item which means it will always have the same chance to come out as Ancient regardless of what went in. This also means that if you used a gift on the item that will not be on the new item.
aeclasik: Can we see more / improved Kanai recipes down the road? Such as removing the nine gem limit, or reforging Ancients?
Travis Day: The cube has been incredibly well received and we are very happy with it. We plan on adding more recipes over time, but there are no plans to change any of the existing recipes as they each have a very unique purpose that we are happy with.
OBrien: Is the Hope of Cain recipe about as powerful as you guys intended? Did you mean to put it in in order to make Torment 10 rift farming competitive with Greater Rift farming?
Travis Day: The goal of Hope of Cain was both to give players more control over what items they were pursuing and also to ensure that Deaths Breath would always be a desirable material. It's doing both of these things quite well and we are very happy with it.
CarbonatedFalcon: Any chance that the reforge legendary recipe "Law of Kulle" gets re-costed? As it stands, it's kind of ridiculously priced. Even if it is powerful.
Travis Day: Different recipes are intended for different audiences, and this recipe in particular is intended for the most avid players. It's primary purpose is to provide players who are only looking for incredibly rare ancient upgrades a very expensive way to do that. It's very expensive, but it is effectively generating a brand new item of the Legendary of your choice with the standard chance to be Ancient.
Syntaire: The ability to change one Set item into another with the cube is great, but it only works on sets with three or more pieces. I understand that this was partially in response to the relatively cheap cost of the recipe being exploited to get perfect rolls on various items. However, because of this limitation I've been attempting to get Shenlong's Fist of Legend with the upgrade rare recipe for several days and only have about six or seven Relentless Assaults to show for it. It's getting a bit demoralizing.
Is there any possibility of a new recipe that works specifically for the two piece sets? Perhaps something like three of the same piece and some Forgotten Souls / Death's Breaths will give the other piece?
Travis Day: The intent of this recipe was to provide players a way to complete their class sets if RNG was being unkind to them. If you keep getting duplicate pieces instead of that elusive sixth piece this recipe is meant to give you a way to solve that.
We removed the ability to do small sets because the intent of this recipe was not "create Focus" "create Restraint." Also, players were using this recipe to make class sets Ancient. In both of those cases the question we had to answer was "Do we cost it around what they are using it for, or do we restrict it to the purpose it was designed for?"
We decided that ensuring the recipe fulfilled its design goal, allowing players to finish class Sets, was more important to us than providing yet another way to make Ancient items or generate specific items because both of those already have recipes designed explicitly to that end.
whimsybandit: Can we get a way to craft Ramalandi's Gift via the cube? Even if its hyper expensive...
Travis Day: This is a popular request, but we have no plan to do anything of this sort. Ramaladni's Gift is a very useful item and also completely unique in what it does; it's great that players want them and I would prefer to have more things like the gift that are totally unique and exciting to find.
Larklen: Are there any hidden recipes with the Cube that have yet to be discovered?
Kevin Martens: No comment. (This is technically a comment but does it mean anything about recipes? Does it???)
Sargon16: What are your thoughts on the current situation with Death's Breath? This one material is the sole limiting factor in progress, acquiring more has become the most important thing we do, and our primary goal in farming.
Travis Day: We are mostly happy with the current state of Death's Breath. The goal of any resource is that it is valuable, we added a lot of recipes to the cube that are meant to serve as sinks for different materials. Before the addition of the cube people largely considered them useless, after we added recipes to make them appealing people say they want more than they have, my response to this is usually "Awesome!"
IdahoSciGuy: Hey guys! Thanks for this Q&A. This patch has been great, a real blast. Especially with the introduction of Kanai and Kanai's Cube. It was incredible going through the Ruins of Sescheron in search of the cube, and coming upon a lore book that speaks of this legendary warrior. Then, I would get chills realizing that this was based on a real person, and their memory. My question is, what was the character creation process like with Kanai, and how were you affected during Kanai's creation? Thanks again for an amazing patch!
Matthew Berger: Thanks for the kind words.
The most important thing was to make sure that we were paying homage to him. For example we didn't want players to click on Kanai while he was sitting on the throne, that didn't feel right to us.
There is also a hidden event surrounding Kanai that is based on what month it is. That event really was a way for us to play one last time with him, to have him adventure with us again.
As to how it affected people on the team: there are no words I can use that would properly convey how important this was to us. The hole this has left in our team is one that cannot be filled and shouldn't be filled.
Thank you for the kind question.
TricksterClown: Will cubed Legendaries from Season 4 roll over to non-season once it's over?
Roger Hughston: Yes.
Davlok: The only Kanai cube missing is "Upgrade Legendary to Ancient". Are there any plans to add that? Obviously it should be a substantial cost - like 5x Ramaladni’s Gifts + 50 Forgotten Souls. Either that or any thoughts about having an Auction House return for non-season only?
Travis Day: There is no plan to add an "Upgrade to ancient" recipe. Ancient items were added to provide players long term goals to pursue while allowing the drop rates to be generous enough for the average Seasonal player to have a great experience.
TMSquared: Kanai's Cube has introduced a fascinating branch of gameplay: legendary affix "combos". Specifically, the interaction between Madstone, Uliana's six piece bonus, and Gungdo Gear sets the mind ablaze with possibility. It reads and plays beautifully, and was a major incentive for me to dig through the game's item trove to find additional "combo" pieces. Is this a favored design facet, and will we see additional Legendary powers that interact so well together?
Travis Day: The cube has certainly opened up more build possibilities than before which is really exciting. Our goal is to continue introducing items that will expand on or enable builds.
welshwizardd: Why has the number of lower level class specific items (Armor & 2-Handed Weapons) the Blacksmith can forge been reduced so drastically? The only things that seem to have escaped the cull are the one handed weapons and off-hand items for ranged classes [DH/WD/Wiz].
Matthew Berger: We thought that there was too much overlap and redundancy in the crafting choices and we wanted to make each choice more meaningful and be clearer to the player. We also wanted certain weapon and armor types to be only discoverable in the world.
Itarie: Why did you reintroduce the crafting problems you removed from the game once with the Act-specific crafting materials?
Travis Day: Targeted materials serve a great purpose in giving players more direct control over their ability to earn or attain something they want. The reason we removed them initially wasn't because we didn't like them, it was because the way in which they were implemented was causing players to do un-fun things (like flipping a game repeatedly to kill one monster). We are very happy with the new version of those materials and contribute to giving players more diverse activities for distinct rewards. If you want to upgrade your gems run Greater Rifts; if you want Deaths Breath, normal rifts are a great source; if you want to extract powers via the cube, run bounties.
aeclasik: Any plans for gold sink? I'm twenty hours into my Season 4 character with 600 million gold...
Travis Day: We want gold to be a more valuable resource to players and have some designs in the works to this end in our next patch.
Wyatt Cheng: So the tricky thing about a gold sink is that we don't want to add a gold sink that causes people to feel like they need to drop everything to farm gold for hours on end. A good gold sink will pull gold from the economy without making you feel like you need to completely change what you're doing and spend hours upon hours doing it.
Thrashlock: Any plans on Thorns? The latest scaling buff was nice, but it's still lacking far behind any other sets. Now that the Thorns of the Invoker set only drops for Crusader, I expect there to be more changes to Thorns in the future.
Travis Day: Thorns is something we have iterated on in the past and continue to evaluate. Patch 2.3.0 increased the damage bonus given from primary stats to its full value which makes it slightly better. Our current plan is to fully embrace the Thorns theme of the Invoker set and we are working on a revamp for the set in Patch 2.4.0.
Mase123y: What are the updates going on with Area Damage? Last patch, it was said from developers it may/may not get a full rework. Currently, it does not function 100% as the tooltip states. It is specifically disregarding certain damage bonuses which nerfs some classes more than others. The PTR fixed a few of these issues, but then broke them again in the last week of the PTR. What was going on internally that last week that reverted these fixes?
John Yang: The functional issues with Area Damage are composed of several different, but related issues.
In patch 2.3, we fixed most of the issues, e.g. Area Damage working with Wrath of the Berserker - Insanity and similar skills and items. However, a few issues remain (which I believe include Area Damage's interaction with Delsere's and Bracers of the First Men). These remaining issues were deemed too risky from a code standpoint to hotfix because the code touches the order that damage bonuses are calculated and applied, and it was causing other bugs with Elemental Damage bonuses and damage amplification debuffs. We plan to fix all remaining issues in the next major content patch when we have PTR time. Sorry that it's taking so long. We appreciate your patience.
RandomPrecision1: So it seems there are some game files where Malthael absorbs the power of Mephisto and Baal, as well as Diablo. For instance, there are sound files and particle effects for Baal and Mephisto attacks.
Are you able to tell us anything about this alternate version of the Malthael fight that didn't come to be? That is, what would've happened, and/or why didn't that version make the final cut? I think it'd be fun to see our old pals Mephisto and Baal outside of the Prime Evil again - it's been a while. :)
Matthew Berger: One of the ideas we experimented with for the Malthael fight was that he would randomly use powers based on Mephisto, Baal and Diablo.
We tried this out but we felt that the flow of the fight didn't work as well and we ended up focusing on the fight that you know now.
TyphoonCane: Is there any reason that DoTs don't take into account attack speed at this point? It seems unreasonable that your damage over time skills are actually hurt by choosing a faster attacking weapon and basically rules out using skills like Blizzard and Locust Swarm if not using a two-hander.
Wyatt Cheng: This is intentional. We don't feel that Attack Speed needs to be the best stat in all situations. Using a slower weapon that hits hard is intended to be an alternative.
Also note that when it comes to casting a spell like Haunt, Attack Speed does let you cast Haunts more often - so allowing Haunt to also benefit from Attack Speed rolled into its damage would essentially amount to double-dipping.
deadyahaje: Any plans to change some of the Paragon stats? For example, Gold Find or things like Maximum Mana are kind of worthless in my opinion.
John Yang: Maximum max resource is useful for Hammer of the Ancients build! To answer your question, though, we have no plans to change some of the Paragon stats.
akaimba: What are your thoughts on the current build diversity?
John Yang: I will never be happy with build diversity until every build is completely equal in power level for both the top players and average players. This is a huge goal of ours every patch. That said, it's really really hard to achieve perfect balance because we don't have a large team of the top players testing every build every patch for a long period of time.
I will say that I think it's improved in Patch 2.3.0. We saw Barbarians get a Hammer of the Ancients and Seismic Slam + Immortal King build to compete with the top Whirlwind builds. Whirlwind + Rend is also now a thing (again). Witch Doctors saw Helltooth builds perform near equal to Carnevil builds. Monks now have a generator build and a Uliana's build. If we do our jobs right, this trend will continue.
jiminee: Right now, the Monks, and Witch Doctors are mostly sought after for groups since they have the capability to tank. As a person that mains Demon Hunter, I'm a bit jealous that these classes have the capability to switch between having a DPS build and a tank build. Is there any chance to relook at the tanking mechanic in such a way that it would be feasible to have a tank build for all classes?
John Yang: We don't aim to necessarily have a tanking build for all classes and have no plans to redo the tanking mechanic, but we definitely want all classes to be viable and desired in groups. An example is the addition of Threatening Shout - Falter and the change to Pride of Cassius to work for group members in 2.3.
Demon Hunters may be on the low side of group utility right now. In patch 2.2.0, that was okay because Slowball pumped out more damage than any other class, but with the removal of permanent Crowd Control that changed. I'll keep an eye on Demon Hunter group utility and see if any changes are needed and can be made for the future.
Arillious: Any chance we will be able to retire non-Hardcore characters and save them in something like the Hall of Fallen heroes? I hate deleting countless hours just to make a spot for a new Seasonal character.
Wyatt Cheng: I feel your pain. We have some ideas to alleviate some of the agony with deleting a character just to participate in a Season. No promises.
Oranite: Right now the gap in efficiency between solo play and group play is quite large. Does your team have any plans to not necessary completely close the gap, but at least narrow it somewhat?
Wyatt Cheng: I realize this is a hot topic right now in the community and I know a lot of people are eager to understand how we determine the right rewards for single player versus multiplayer game modes. I’d like to go in depth on this question especially.
For us it is an issue than the efficiency of groups who are stacking +XP% don’t get to wear their awesome, face-melting gear. The game should be about slaughtering monsters to get rewarded with epic loot. It’s a lot less fun when you don’t get to do the slaughtering.
Exacerbating the situation isn't experience farming itself, it’s how different the activity is from other activities in the game. I was listening to the State of Sanctuary podcast, and one of the hosts actually mentioned this – in Patch 2.1.0, experience farming wasn't considered as big a deal, not only because the rate of XP gain wasn't as large, but more importantly, XP was a natural by-product of trying to get Legendary items, Blood Shards, or generally melting faces.
Today, the activity that maximizes your experience per hour is no longer the same as the one that maximizes Blood Shards and Legendaries with a powerful build. Because the activities aren’t the same, it forces players to choose between playing the core game as it was designed and wearing +%XP gear in a specifically calibrated environment. We agree that these activities need to be re-aligned again, and that’s what we’re re-examining.
Some people have also asked if our intent in changing experience sharing in Patch 2.3.0 was to better balance multiplayer rewards. Functionally speaking though, there isn’t a difference before and after the patch. Players can still wear the exact same amount of bonus XP gear and perform about as well in Greater Rifts. The difference is that before only two people would be getting all the benefit. How the rewards are split is a separate topic from whether XP gear provides too much benefit.
Let’s talk philosophy. We want people to play together. I think everybody understands that groups should be better than solo, but there’s debate about how much that difference should be. If I’m playing by myself and then a friend joins me, I should be a little bit better off, right?
The issue is that this is only true when you and your friend are exactly the same power level. Realistically, in Diablo III, the power level of players varies widely. You may be in full Ancient gear with your six-piece set bonuses and all the appropriate complementary Legendaries while your friend only has their four-piece bonus and a non-ancient weapon. Is it okay for your friend to join your game and your experience to be worse?
We took a long look at the way the game has evolved over the last three years and made a judgment call: as much as possible, we want a friend joining your game to make your experience better, not worse. People shouldn’t feel they need to inspect you when you join a public game and your friend that stopped playing for two months shouldn’t feel like a burden for wanting to play with you. Generally, you should prefer to have company in your game than not.
Then there’s the suggestion that we should remove the 30% bonus to experience gain in multiplayer. It comes from a well-intentioned place. However, once you examine all the sources of advantages in multiplayer groups, that 30% experience bonus is the least significant. It’s easy to pay attention to because it's the most visible of the multiplayer bonuses, so it’s also perceived as the most advantageous.
Here are the main advantages to playing multiplayer and farming experience:
- Adding an extra person increases potential damage up to 100% or more, but monster health only increases by 50%. Similarly, in a four-player game, monster health doesn’t scale to four times the amount in solo; it only goes up 2.5 times the amount. This is clearly a greater benefit than 30% experience.
- Another source of advantage for groups is skill synergy. When groups are synergizing their group buffs and enemy debuffs to their maximum, the advantage provided blows the 30% experience bonus out of the water.
- Finally, another source of advantage for farming XP is being able to have some people in XP% gear. As noted previously, the problem here isn't that the XP% is averaged, it's that the XP% gear has such a positive effect at all. The fact that it's averaged now just means everybody benefits, which is better than only the people wearing the gear benefitting (despite everybody contributing). It also removes the awkwardness of arguing over who gets to wear the XP gear.
If you feel that XP% gear shouldn't be this good in the first place (regardless of whether you’re in a group), then that's fair. My long explanation is to explain why we are happy with the 30% bonus in groups, but we are examining the other three major contributors to see what we can do there to shrink the gap between solo and group play while still keeping group play better - even when your under-geared friend joins.
drunii: Do you have any plans to scale the health of Elite enemies compared to Champions? It's so much easier to kill a blue pack (Champions) than a yellow one (Elites).
Kevin Martens: It is frequently but not always true that blue packs are harder than yellows. We don't intend to do a full pass on equalizing their health as we are fine with it this way and the affixes or particular monster combinations have given it enough variety.
DogterSmok: What is your stand on the 'feel' or atmosphere of the game as opposed to older Diablo games? I hear a lot of critics saying that Diablo 3 feels more 'epic' or Warcraft-ish than its gothic, dark predecessors. Do you agree? Is this how you meant the game to be?
Richie Marella: With Reaper of Souls, I think we definitely brought up the gothic atmosphere of the game. Adding epic expansive areas to the game like Battlefields of Eternity, in addition to small cramped dark dungeons, gives it a nice variety. We don't want every area in the game to have the exact same tone.
Nadiar: /u/BlizzRichieMarella what has been your favorite model to work on in Diablo?
Richie Marella: My favorite model to work on is the Unhallowed Essence set for the Demon Hunter. I play a lot of this class, and it was really fun and satisfying to complete the set I worked on.
Angzt: Does the Leoric family have any specific affinity to being "possessed" by Diablo? So far, both of King Leoric's sons and his granddaughter had to suffer through that. Does Diablo just like royal blood?
Edit: Also, does Leoric have any more descendants we should look out for in the future? ;)
Brian Kindregan: Diablo initially possessed Leoric because he could do the most damage by possessing a king. All of the misery that has haunted the family since then is the inevitable result of that initial possession. Just a very unlucky family.
As to other family members waiting in the wings… what an interesting idea!
jcooper1876: What is going down in the Skovos Isles? Lorath and Tyrael are always going on about it. Is this a hint at upcoming new content?
Brian Kindregan: Sanctuary is full of deadly surprises, so the New Horadrim that Tyrael is sending out to help humanity have high rates of fatality. Skovos seems to be a particularly rough place to get assigned.
But many other parts of Sanctuary are equally dangerous, so Skovos is just the topic at hand between Lorath and Tryael.
halftankofgas: When are you going to reveal what we all already know -- that Tyrael is the real villain of the series!?
Brian Kindregan: Sssshhhhh!
halftankofgas: The designers who worked on Greed's realm did an absolutely amazing job. I think the feeling of moving up and down vertically adds some really cool vibes to the area.
Is there any chance we'll see more tile sets and zones like this in future content patches?
Richie Marella: Greed's Realm was one of my favorite zones to work on. The verticality came from wanting to show this vast treasure realm with mountains of gold and riches to really support the theme of the zone. It also worked out nicely for gameplay, giving it a nice feel of going up and down. The art team loves giving a lot of verticality to different parts of the game because it shows a lot of what the theme of the area is all about. If the theme of any future zones we are working on calls for it, then we would love to add it. I’m happy you noticed it.
valondon: Will we see the Ruins of Sescheron appear in Rift maps?
Matthew Berger: Yes, you will.
CrazedRavings: Would you ever consider making it so the deeper you go in Rifts the higher chance there is of coming accross an encounter (whether it be goblins, Key Wardens, or something new) to give players a reason to stay in once the guardian is dead?
Matthew Berger: It's an interesting idea. I don't know that I would do it exactly like that, however there is something cool there.
Quality of Life
DoubleTwist_89: Have you considered or are you considering a "stat squish" at some point? It would make the numbers a lot more manageable for players, and I'm certain smaller numbers wouldn't hurt server performance.
Kevin Martens: We aren’t currently planning a stat squish or a change to damage numbers display, though both have been discussed. This is something that we monitor.
Roger Hughston: It is also worth saying that most of our damage and health calculations on the server are done in floating point numbers. Computationally, the expense between large and small floats is the same, and most of the expense on the server is usually the raw quantity of the calculations we are trying to do rather than values stored in the floats themselves.
Amatulos: Certain builds require keeping an eye on your buffs to maximize your damage (for example Tal Rasha’s Elements, and builds using Taeguk or Convention of Elements). However, when playing in a party, these buffs can disappear once you get more than eight buffs. Is it possible to allow players to choose which buffs they always want to see, so these buffs are easier to track?Bottom of Form
Wyatt Cheng: The inability to see important buffs that affect your moment-to-moment gameplay is something we want to address.
We have been avoiding simply adding more buffs because having a large number of buffs on the screen is not only visually unappealing, but it can be just as frustrating to locate the buff that you care about in a sea of buffs.
I view buffs broadly in 3 categories:
Category 1: "Always On" buffs. Really obvious ones are the Multiplayer buff, or when there is a Community event in place. These buffs are great to know, but they take up one of your precious buff slots. Monk Mantras are a slightly less "always" version of this. If I'm in a party with a monk wearing Inna's Mantra, suddenly all players in the party have half of their buff slots tied up.
Category 2: "Reassuring buffs". These are buffs that you want to know they are on you, but they don't affect your moment to moment gameplay. A good example of this would be Storm Armor on the Wizard, or Frenzy skill stacks on a Barbarian. Many times you want to know the skill is working correctly, but you aren't checking on the buff in the heat of combat.
Category 3: "Moment-to-moment buffs". These are the buffs that actually affect you moment-to-moment and are usually the source of complaints. Focus and Restraint are a great example here.
Overall our goal is to find alternate ways to communicate Category 1 and Category 2 buffs so that Category 3 buffs can take center stage on the buff bar.
We don't have anything to share at this time, but I assure you that with the introduction of all the extra powers players have from Kanai's Cube, combined with new Legendary items that make you powerful but require some degree of buff tracking (builds that use Vyr's Amazing Arcana or Chantodo's Resolve come to mind) the desire to address this is greater than ever.
Kevin Martens: So Wyatt just answered re: how we categorize buffs and some possible work on how we display them. I think it is interesting to note, from a behind the scenes development point of view, that sometimes issues like this rise in priority as unintended consequences for otherwise highly desired features. In this case, the “too many buffs to display” issue has been a littlemore class or situation specific (Monk auras, anyone?) but now that Kanai’s Cube is out, people can almost at will choose a wider variety of items with buffs on them, which meant addressing the display problem rose higher on the priority list vs. new feature development. Diablo development works very much in concert with player feedback, as we have said before, but the priorities are often heavily influenced by our piling on of ever-more Legendary powers and all of the ripples of work that come from that. Hope this is interesting for you to know!
TyphoonCane: Would you consider a quality of life change for showing resource cost and cooldowns for a given skill in the skill tooltips? I'm suggesting specifically for skills with cooldowns to be grayed out with a number counting down to represent that remaining cooldown, and for skills requiring resource to list in their tooltips the resource per cast.
Wyatt Cheng: It's a good idea and on the wishlist, but unfortunately we currently consider it lower priority than other UI initiatives such as improving the buff bar. I wish I had a more positive answer for you - sorry! :(
jiminee: Is it possible to add in the tooltip, or add any sort of indicator, to show that a legendary item has its power already extracted in the cube?
Kevin Martens: Thanks, jiminee - that would be useful and we will look at it.
notyouagain2: Hi. Do you think it would be possible to add an option to auto pick up crafting mats in the future?
Wyatt Cheng: We want to retain a sense that the crafting mats are real items. We have found that when something becomes auto-pickup, you often don't even notice when you get it or not. We added vacuum pickup to alleviate how much clicking you need to pick everything up (particularly after killing Gelatinous Sires!).
puggi: Is there any chance you all will fix the Witch Doctor lagging in Greater Rifts this season?
John Yang: The Helltooth lag is composed of several different factors. We’ve sent hotfixes to optimize and address two of the factors – namely the Helltooth two-piece bonus and Acid Cloud, which reports indicate has improved the situation. There are more unaddressed factors, most notably the skill Wall of Death. We plan to optimize this skill in the near future.
I do want to make it clear we will make sure the power level of the build isn’t reduced at all.
Roger Hughston: To expand on what John is saying a bit, we have both been keeping a close eye on some of these collections of items and skills that are causing lag and are trying to fix them as they come up. Please keep letting us know combination of skills and items that are causing these issues, so we can take a close look as to what is causing the lag.
Since most of these improvements need to come in the form of hotfixes we have to be very careful that our changes are limited in scope and very thoroughly tested. The funny adage of “99 bugs in the code, take one down patch it around, 147 bugs in the code” is often true. As a Hardcore Witch Doctor in Season 4 myself, I have selfish motivations to fix this as well =).
(I still haven’t lived down how I changed a parameter in a projectile function a few years ago in a hotfix to fix a Demon Hunter ability, and completely broke Zombie Bears for the entire game for a few days.)
PsyTech: Since the release of bounties there have been many instances where a bounty will become bugged and unable to be completed. Could we perhaps get some sort of mechanism to talk to Tyrael and get a new bounty if one becomes 'stuck'?
Matthew Berger: We are in the process of disabling bounties that are broken to make sure they don't roll. Once we've fixed them, we'll be reintroducing them back into the pool of available bounties.
However, we don't have any plans to add a mechanism to reroll a stuck bounty. We wouldn't want this to become a way to flip bounties and instead we want to make sure all bounties that can roll are functional.
We get reports of stuck bounties internally, as well as hearing about them on the forums. Feel free to list any that you discover and we can compare them against our list.
Redzombie78: Is any of this new stuff in Patch 2.3.0 coming to consoles?
Thunderclaww: Pretty sure everything but Seasons are available on the current-gen consoles. Last-gen consoles are no longer supported.
Matthew Berger: What Thunderclaww said in short. The more detailed answer is that for every feature we try and bring them over to consoles, we usually have to make some changes (often UI related) and make sure it functions as intended on the different platform. Seasons are the outlier in terms of features that don't move over to console.
Sir_Pillows: My question is about the game in general part.
Are there any future plans to clean up console? I love the couch co-op feel of it and playing with my buddies that don't have a PC is great. Unfortunately, online public games are plagued with cheaters and hacks that just defeat the purpose of the game. While I can just play solo or with my friends to avoid these exploits, I would like to see Seasons and other competitive aspects of Diablo brought to console. Either way, I'd appreciate a response. Thanks for your time!
Matthew Berger: I'm glad you love couch co-op - it's something we're really proud of.
Because of how the game is architectured on console there is unfortunately a limit to what we can do to affect people who hack the game. This was one of the tradeoffs of allowing Diablo 3 to work offline on console.
That being said, we are always looking at improving the situation, and we recently made a change to how Legendary Gems work on console to address some of the cheating surrounding them.
HansBoopie: Hello, are there any plans on adding controller support into the PC version of Diablo like there is in the console versions? Thank you all for making such a wonderful game!
Matthew Berger: Hi, and thanks for the question. You're not the first to ask this question and I would love to do so. However, we made very specific changes to the game in order to make the controller work on console.
Not only did we add an Evade move but we also changed how some of the skills function and how the camera behaves. Adding controller support for PC would require bringing those changes as well which is not feasible.
Qraparta: If we could go back in time to the launch of Diablo 3 what would you guys have done differently than you actually did?
Kevin Martens: We would have a long public beta and I think a ton of issues would have been found before launch.
BraveSirDave: Stash space has become such a critical issue in the game that players are using "hacks" like mule characters or putting legendary gems into unused sockets to free up space. The silence of the dev team on this issue (or worse, the condescending "if we give you more you'll just want even more") is really frustrating. When are you planning to address this issue?
Nevalistis: Stash space comes up a lot—it’s something we discuss regularly, and we definitely feel your pain. While we’d love to just provide everyone with more stash space, it’s not currently viable from a technical and infrastructure standpoint. We’re always looking for ways to help make it easier for players to manage their stash, and the problem only gets trickier with each new Season, so we hope to find the right solution in the future.
Third Party Programs
PsyTech: As you guys are probably aware, there are several third party overlays for Diablo. What is your stance on these applications? Would you ever consider building some of their features in game (like range display, affix display, DPS meters)?
Nevalistis: Blizzard monitors third party application use and players should be familiar with the terms of service. Diablo III does not support modding and it is not permitted.
bfodder: Why haven't we seen any action taken on those using it then?
Nevalistis: We don't share the results of actions taken on other accounts, in large part to protect account privacy. This has always been our policy and it will continue to be.
Alvraen: What's the best player story you've heard?
Also, thank you. My dad and I bonded over Diablo and it's why I know English.
Roger Hughston: I usually tell the older guys on this team this story to make them feel old; but my dad and I bonded over D1 as well when I was a kid. I still remember the day I was getting picked up from elementary school and was surprised to see my dad was picking me up instead of my mom. I got in the car and he said he took a half day and bought two copies of this Diablo game he’s been hearing great things about. My mom wasn’t amused, but we stayed up late that night and many nights to come playing the hell out of D1. Good memories =).
Alvraen: Favorite item?
John Yang: Convention of Elements. The item rewards you for changing your pacing and playstyle slightly to maximize the benefit you gain from the item and it feels really good when it pays off.
Additionally (for those who don’t know), this item was designed by the crowd and attendees at BlizzCon 2014 via the “Design A Legendary” event so it’s nice that we have an item that's designed with help from the players and is named after the convention.
Wyatt Cheng: I still love the re-worked Nagelring. I don't know about you - but I call those little guys my Banelings, and I cheer every time I see them run off and blow up.
Roger Hughston: Rogar's Huge Stone
S-band_radar: Which one of you guys has the highest Paragon so far?
Matthew Berger: I think John plays in his sleep.
John Yang: To be clear, I don't literally play in my sleep. I have, however, farmed my face off the most on the team and am at around Paragon 840.
perds: How many energy drinks were harmed in the making of this patch?
John Yang: I drink 2 coffees, 1 Red Bull, and 2 Diet Cokes every single day. My pre-workout also has 135mg of caffeine. I have been told that I should consider cutting back.
Astral707: Above & Beyond are my favorite DJs, and the Diablo franchise are my favorite games. Who is responsible for all the A&B references in D3? We should be best friends.
John Yang: Don Vu (another designer on the team) is one of the biggest EDM-lovers I know, and is responsible for most of the EDM references, including all of the Seasonal Conquest achievements that are named after songs.
hanz12891: Will Diablo have a lot of stuff to show in blizzcon?
Kevin Martens: We are focusing on 2.3 today but we are looking forward to Blizzcon, too. Stay tuned!
Radical5: Are there plans on adding purchasable cosmetic items, such as pets, portraits, wings, etc.?
I ask because it seems like the new wardrobe screen seems to be a lot bigger than necessary for one or two pets/wings.
Wyatt Cheng: There are a lot of different factors that go into decisions like this, including various regional or local market considerations. We know that some of these features would be ones that players in several regions might enjoy, but we don't currently have plans to support these in other regions.
That said - I love that there is room for lots of pets, wings and portrait frames. I hope we'll be able to use this system for various rewards. For example many of you may have seen that you can earn a unique Heroes of the Storm Portrait Frame and Pennant for reaching account level 12 in Heroes. There's also the Season Journey rewards with the Frost Hound pet and the cool new Portrait Frames. (I just got my Slayer in Hardcore last night, working on Destroyer next!)
WarMenace: Do you guys plan on having this season go for four months as well? Or are you planning on re-working the season lengths?
Kevin Martens: With the addition of Season Journey, we will closely monitor the length of play that is right for this Season. Each time, we feel like we are getting more information to dial in the right length. Keep giving feedback! We are looking for it.
ThatGuyYouKnowkappa: Since 2.3.0 is out and so is season 4, what are you planning to do/what are you working on?
Kevin Martens: It has always been our plan for Diablo 3 to have a strong legacy and Patch 2.3 is a key part of that. We've been humbled by the success of the game and the continued support of our players and we want to honor the support you've given us by making the game the best that it can be! So that :)
Fleiya: Can you put a Pomeranian dog in the game somewhere? I really like poms. Pugs are fine too.
Matthew Berger: Well, we did put a cat in. :)