Blizzard Blues: Monster Density, Ask the Devs

More thoughts on increasing monster density, and the upcoming Q&A

Ask the Devs Q&A
The latest discussions from the Blizzard Community Managers deal with the multiple conversations on two big topics: the upcoming first Ask the Devs Q&A session; and the hope for increased monster density throughout the game, so that players have more of an incentive to farm places other than just in Act III.

On the European Diablo III forums, Vaneras quoted the recent comment by Wyatt Cheng about increasing monster density. Over on the American side, Grimiku also asked for input in what areas and methods players would like to see more monsters. It does sound like a topic that will be addressed in an upcoming patch, just not patch 1.0.7.
I know some people in this thread has linked to Wyatt Cheng's response on this topic already, but I will quote it again to make it more visible for those who haven't seen it yet:-)
except monster density....I'm so sick of act 3.

Wyatt: Unfortunately increased monster density in Act 1 and 2 in Inferno difficulty did not make patch 1.0.7. It is absolutely something we would like to improve, and it is still on the list for the future. I spend most of personal play time in Act 3 as well: Keeps 1, Core, Tower, Bridge, Fields. It's a matter of degrees, it'll never all be balanced 100% equal in all zones everywhere you go - but they need to be comparable within a certain tolerance, and we're definitely outside that margin right now.

As you can maybe gather from this, we totally would like for people to feel that they are able to farm any Act they wish without being worried about efficiency, and we are looking into various ways to make this happen. We are not yet able to share any specifics in regards to what exactly is on the table though, but we will of course let you know as soon as we are able.

Feel free to post your own thoughts the kind of "mob density options" you would like to have in the game, as such feedback would be helpful to us :-)
I think there are multiple reasons behind the desire for scaling monster density for the players who are asking for it. The first one that comes to mind is not the self-serving need to squeak out insane farming efficiency (there are some who seem to definitely want this), but the desire to feel that they are not losing efficiency when farming anything other than Act III. We definitely want people to farm multiple Acts, so we are discussing options to achieve that goal.

Your ideas on the subject are certainly welcome (in fact, the question of "what mob density would you choose?" is a great one to debate) and we hope that you will continue post them.

I wonder if the mere adjustment to having Nephalem Valor persist between acts would inspire farming of Acts 2 & 4 far more often

In patch 1.0.7 Nephalem Valor will persist between Acts. This is just one of many possible features that should provide some incentive for some players to farm areas they normally don’t. I know I will personally see Act 4 a little more as a direct result, but we're still seeing how it's being received by players on the PTR before we have a good idea on how much it’s helping. That said, Nephalem Valor persisting through Acts is just one step, and there are still lots of options and ideas we are exploring to improve this part of the game.

The first Ask the Devs Q&A is starting on Tuesday, all about patch 1.0.7. Lylirra answered a lot of questions about the Ask the Devs process, and how it is all expected to work. First, there was the more cynical view that the entire process is just a "poll test for Blizzard":
Or it's a genuine attempt to begin rebuilding the relationship with the community. It's a first step, so it might not be a perfect system right away, but we're willing to make the effort and improvements along the way.

The other thread had more serious questions about the process:
1.0.7. I wonder if questions should only pertain to this patch.

They should, yes (I highly recommend reading the rules listed here)!

The reason we're asking players to focus their questions on a specific topic is that it helps the Q&A run much more smoothly. While it might mean we receive LESS questions, the questions that we do receive tend be of a higher caliber and have much more depth (which in turn allows us to provide responses that are more meaningful and meaty). Additionally, it makes the Q&A super cohesive since the questions all relate to one another in a very specific way.

Posted by: WarHogg

So many questions we'd like to ask,but if it's only limited to specifics about what they've already announced for the patch,it won't answer many of the hundreds of suggestions/questions already unaddressed by the devs and CM's.

We choose 1.0.7 as the topic because it's very timely. Not only is the patch on the PTR right now, but we've also been seeing a lot of questions from players NOT participating in the public test about the content in 1.0.7 -- everything from why a certain change was made (and what the philosophy was behind it) to how a specific feature is intended to work to whether or not we've considered the long-term effects of a specific update.

We'll be having Q&As about a variety of different topics in the future (and, yup, itemization is one of them). :)
Posted by: Ignatius

But seriously, look back at the Reddit AMAA. That wen't pretty well, a lot of the answers were fairly long too and very in-depth, at least from Wyatt, especially after getting hounded by one question asker.

Yup, and we'd like to do more of those kinds of Q&As in the future (i.e. more open-ended and held in real-time).

For this particular series, though, we want to have a topic not only for the reasons I listed above, but also because it works better with the format. We're going to be collecting the top questions from each of our regions, translating them into English, getting the developers to provide responses, translating those responses back into the other 10 languages we support, organizing everything in a readable layout, and then publishing the information globally at the same time -- all within a week. Open-ended Q&As tend to work better in real-time and when they're being conducted in only one language; the scope would just be too large for the Ask the Devs, especially if we're looking to provide responses quickly.
Posted by: ZehDon

While I applaud Blizzard's attempts to re-connect with the community, I feel that this format is really only allowing a place to ask PR-friendly questions.

We're not asking for "PR-friendly" questions. In fact, we encourage critical inquiries that are detailed and provocative.

What we are asking for are questions that actually can be answered by our developers. They're not going to be able to share release dates or necessarily confirm upcoming projects, but they can provide insight into design choices, acknowledge awareness of certain issues and concerns, as well as discuss (in a more broad sense) their direction for the game.

Because of that, it's probably a good idea to avoid asking things like "WHY DOES DUELING SUCK?" or "WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO RELEASE LADDERS?" and instead opt for something more along the lines of "I'm not a big fan of the way dueling is being implemented in 1.0.7. Are there any plans for a reward system in the future? " or "I loved ladders in D2 and feel like they'd be a great addition to D3. Would you consider adding a similar system in D3, potentially in the form of D2-style ladders?" (Though, admittedly, the latter question isn't great for the first round of questions since it's not really related to 1.0.7.)
Posted by: Dinkster9


Explaining our design goals for certain features and stating that one of those goals happens to be "make it fun" -- or even saying something as bold as "we think this new system is pretty fun" -- is not same thing as us defining what the word "fun" means to you.

We know that the definition of "fun" varies from player to player, and we're certainly not trying to suggest that our definition is better than anyone else's. What we are trying to do is create an enjoyable game. Different players have different play styles, though, so there may be times when we think something is fun that you do not. And while may not always see eye-to-eye on the fun/not fun level, more often than not we're willing to make changes and work with the community so that what we find fun is also what you find fun.
Not sure I will have time to get home and ask a question before it's locked because full. It looks like it's allowed to post more than one question so maybe it will fill up fast. Would have been great to limit to one question, forcing everyone to focus on their best and more serious question. But since it's done in a forum, home made, it's likely hard to do, monitoring all this.

That's certainly something for us to consider, though as you said it would be difficult to really monitor. I'll take this back to my team and we can debate it, as civilized individuals do (i.e. there might be white boards and post-its involved :P).
Posted by: Polaris

Rules say 1 question per post, but say nothing about multiple posts per user. So does this mean we can ask multiple questions as long as they are all in separate posts?

This is correct. While it might be a futile request, even with the ability to submit more than one post, we encourage players not to spam the thread, but instead contribute thoughtful questions which they feel the community would like to have answered.
Posted by: zobudeny

What languages they are? Is there czech language and if yes, will be slovak language acceptable for czech questions? These languages are so similar.

English - US:
English - EU:
Spanish - MX:
Spanish - EU:
Brazilian Portuguese:
Traditional Chinese - TW:
The first questions will be taken on Tuesday, January 29 -- then a week later we should have replies from the developers.
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