Blizzard Blues: Co-op, Monster Density, More for 1.0.8

The Diablo III developers provide more info on changes scheduled for the upcoming patch

Beyond the big items preview for patch 1.0.8 that dropped yesterday, the Diablo III developers have been sticking around to talk about more changes and additions that they hope to get done for the next patch. These include some much needed "quality of life" improvements such as allowing item comparisons to work at the Auction House, and a new multi-craft option for both items and gems, and of course the long desired Identify All option.

Jump past the break for all the latest details, from the developers and Community Managers.

Patch 1.0.8 Details
The developers added some extra details to the preview, and info on other changes they are getting ready for the patch. The community managers had to keep editing their post about the "verified changes for patch 1.0.8", since more of those kept trickling out!
Posted by: Idahowolfcub

WOW, I can't wait for this patch. I will be downloading the PTR the minute it is available. This actually has me ecstatic. It might bring more of my friends to the game as well!

Note that (as of now) only the changes we've confirmed as being "for 1.0.8" will be going into 1.0.8 -- so things like Identify All, monster density balancing, etc.

The other changes mentioned in Travis' blog are being discussed for after 1.0.8 ships and are still in the planning phase of development.

*edited for clarity
why would you make a trend on a subject that iss already front page news on the forums? i never understood the logic sense behind that.

Three reasons:

1) Because some players who read the forums don't read the front page of the community site.

2) Because some players only read "blue trackers" to get the latest info, so even if a player's post about the itemization update is popular, they might not see it since it's not tracked. Having a blue create a post can help spread the information.

3) Because creating a sticky helps (or can help) centralize feedback.

Hope that helps!
I would like an update on monster density being increased through acts other then act 3, however. It's nice to have new things to hunt for, but I would also like to enjoy looking for them in acts 1, 2, and 4 without having to waste time traveling dead spots looking for things to kill.

We're looking at making some adjustments to monster density, and right now we'd like to see if we can get those changes in with 1.0.8. The trick with adjusting density is that, by doing so, we could inadvertently create another "most optimal" route in Act I, II, or IV. It's the kind of thing we'll be doing a lot of internal testing on before hand, and likely something we'll want to have up for additional testing on the PTR.
Posted by: Desno

Personally, I think there should be different optimal routes. The best route for farming xp, items, specific items, etc. I'd like to have something other to kill then just Keywarden and A3. Although, density needs to be increased drastically in some of those locations. Just saying :D I like variations and different reasons to hunt different things.

Yup! Pretty much this.

We're spending time working on monster density in Acts I, II and IV because while optimal routes are inevitable, we want things to be close enough that options exist.

Currently we have a situation where a small number of specific runs are twice (or more) as effective as your average run. This margin is too large and overshadows other factors. Our goal is to make the monster density in Inferno close enough that factors such as your skill choices and gear level start to become more relevant. Let's suppose you were trying to optimize XP/hour. What if a cookie-cutter Archon build on MP1 had one optimal run, but an SNS Wizard on MP3 had a different optimal run? Different areas also have different monsters with different abilities. Some classes have an easier time dealing with particular monster types, this can cause the “optimal run” to shift as well. If we get the overall densities closer, these other factors will start to become more relevant rather than the current situation where the raw monster density of a run dominates all other factors.

When things are close enough, you may try a run that is a little less XP/hour if it means increased Demonic Essences. Maybe you just really enjoy the art of the Act I jail. Maybe you just want some variety and haven't been to an area in a while. Maybe you want to do a full play through in co-op with a friend. It’s a matter of degree -- these aren't tradeoffs most players would make when the run results in a 50% loss in efficiency, but if the difference is 5-15% then these other factors come into consideration.

So, like Lylirra said, our goal is to avoid creating a new “most optional” run, and instead provide players with an environment that allows them to choose from multiple different options.
Ok I've finally caught up on all the responses in every location I could find them! This blog was written a while ago and between when I wrote it and when we released it a lot more relevant ideas came up so I want to mention a couple of them. I'm going to keep this short and to the point so I can get back to working on actually improving the game instead of talking about it. ;)

Below is a list of things that players can hopefully expect to see as soon as patch 1.0.8.

Mob density
Acts 1, 2, and 4 will be receiving some adjustments in Inferno difficulty games. We want to try to make all of the acts as comparable as possible so that players don't feel they always have to farm the same areas of the game repeatedly, diversity is the spice of life.

Multi Craft
We want to make it easier to craft lots of items, so we plan on giving players the ability to specify how many of an item they want to craft and then to make that many. Want to make 20 Archon Shoulders of Dexterity? Cool, push the button and watch it go.

AH tooltip compare
Ever wish you could compare the item you are thinking about buying with the item you are wearing? You want it, we want it, and we hope to have it in game soon.

In addition to the changes we introduce in 1.0.8 we also have longer term plans to address issues that need more attention. I mentioned a lot of these long term plans in the blog and outlined some of our philosophies that will drive the itemization of Diablo forward. One of those ideas that I saw mentioned repeatedly in response to the blog is the fact that class specific items can roll non class appropriate primary stats, we have plans to change this down the road. While random really is at the core of Diablo in so many ways this is certainly one of the areas where it has no potential to benefit players. Wizards don't use Strength, Demon Hunters don't use Intelligence so let's just remove those as potential random attributes on Orbs and Quivers respectively.
Posted by: bitterman

I am assuming this will include gems. I hope.

Sure does!
edit: You talking about the itemization stuff in the blog? thats it?
what about class balance?

For right now (since 1.0.8 is still being developed), we aren't going to have a lot of additional details to share about what's included in the patch. As development continues, though, we'll be sure to share more information -- most likely in the form of a patch preview blog like we've done in the past, as well as just talking about stuff in here in the forums.

The distinction I was making with my previous post is that most of the changes Travis' discussed in his blog aren't coming with 1.0.8, but are instead being planned for sometime after 1.0.8 ships.

Posted by: Titebiere

Sorry but it is hard to follow. What features or changes are not included in patch 1.0.8 ?

No worries. :) The only changes we've confirmed to be working on for 1.0.8 so far are Identify All, a new multi-craft option, monster density adjustments, and AH comparison tooltips. Travis sums everthing up quite nicely here:

The other changes in Travis' blog are being discussed for after 1.0.8.

Who is Travis Day?
Travis Day is the Diablo III developer posting the most lately, and he answered questions about just who he is!
Wait wait, who's Travis Day?

That would be me.

Just wanted to pop in real fast to try to set the record straight since I've seen some confusion surrounding that question. I'm not the same Travis Day that works at Activision, though I do occasionally get emails intended for him and we have had some laughs over that in the past. I've been a game designer at Blizzard for about 8 years. I used to work on World of Warcraft, some of you may have seen me at early Blizzcons on WoW panels. I transferred to the Diablo team because, like the rest of the development team, I am passionate about the game and wanted to help contribute to making it even better.

Hope that answers your question.

Co-op Efficiency Improvements
Wyatt Cheng also gave some info about changes being worked on for patch 1.0.8, including improvements to help out Diablo III groups. For all the Diablo III players who enjoy playing with other people instead of just solo, it sounds like the next patch will bring some big improvements.
Posted by: Doomherald

Yea I was thinking this same thing. I played with two others today and did my normal farming route, and my efficiency was cut in half. It wasn't even me carrying them they aren't bad players or poorly geared, it just slows everything down so much and doesn't really add any benefit. Co-op is the opposite of fine when it's bad in every way possible to add more people to the party

We are looking to improve co-op farming efficiency in 1.0.8. Co-op play in general is a big focus of the 1.0.8 patch and efficiency is definitely one component of that. Co-op is already more efficient for some players, but this is the exception rather than the norm. The degree of co-op efficiency depends heavily on the co-ordination of the party, skill builds, and the relative gear level of the teammates. Since launch we've made some modest changes to encourage co-op play but there's still room to go farther. At the same time, we don't want to go so far as to make multiplayer feel "mandatory" for those who prefer to play solo, but we still want to err on the side of being co-op favorable.

There's also a number of hurdles to co-op play beyond raw efficiency, so we'll be looking to alleviate/solve some of those hurdles too. The Identify All feature in 1.0.8 is an example of this. Sometimes the trip back to town to sort through a bag of gear is enough of a hurdle to make somebody feel playing co-op isn't worth it. Nobody wants to be in the dungeon fighting monsters while your teammate is off in town identifying a full inventory.

Ideas for Fantastic Legendaries
A player thread dug into what sort of "game-changing legendary" affixes would be fun to see added in patch 1.0.8. This got a blue poster stamp of approval; go post your idea, if you like!
/blue bump

I'm curious to see ideas from other players, as well as find out what they think of the suggestions you listed. Could be fun!

1,2,3 GO.

Community Managers and Developers
Finally, the Community Manager Lylirra got into an interesting discussion about the roles of the developers, and the CM teams at Blizzard, and how they interact with the players.
Posted by: DaRupp

No disrespect to Lylirra and company, but having someone deep involved in the game answer questions is great.

Amount of disrespects taken? Zero. ;)

The role of a CM really comes down to three things: engaging with our players, providing relevant communication, and representing the voice of both the community and the developers. We're sort of like shepards, but instead of managing adorable little sheep, we manage information -- information from developers to players, as well as information from players back to developers. When it comes to getting information to players from developers, though, sometimes it's better or more meaningful if it's coming from the source (i.e. from the developers themselves). We totally, 100% agree.

Things like patch notes, feature previews or announcements, polls, highlighting cool things the community has done, hotfix updates...that's all firmly within the realm of community management. Explaining design philosophies and discussing how those philosophies have contributed to certain decisions or are influencing future changes? Sure, we can do that (and often do), but those are the kinds of details we know players would prefer to hear from the development team directly whenever possible/appropriate.

So, our job as CMs -- or at least part of our job -- is to work with designers like Wyatt and Travis to publish developer journals and patch previews or host Q&As, and it's ultimately why we encouraged them to join us on the forums. I'm super excited they were on board with posting, because they're awesome people (and awesome designers), and I know they can help provide the kind of interaction so many of you appreciate.

That all said, the main focus of our developers is and will always be developing the game, so you're going to see CMs posting far more often. We hope to continue this trend of increased communication, though -- not only because it's something you've asked for, but also because we know it's important.
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