Hotfixes Nerf XP and Change Set Drops

The latest changes promote playing in Torment, and the upcoming Adventure Mode

Diablo III Hotfixes
Two new hotfixes were announced on Friday and are now live, that shift the balance of certain types of gameplay. The first hotfix lowers the experience on "swarming" types of monsters, those small creatures that attack in groups and have very low health. The second hotfix changes where class Set items can drop, by restricting them to Torment difficulty. These changes boost the usefulness of playing in Adventure Mode which is part of the Reaper of Souls Expansion, and encourage players to jump into the higher difficulties when they are geared for them. Here's a look at the announcements and explanations about these hotfixes, and what they mean for Diablo III players.

Balancing Around Adventure Mode
Nevalistis provided some background on the two changes that were just hotfixed, the latest in the many changes done as part of the Patch 2.0.3 Hotfixes. The change in experience is to discourage players from finding some area of the game with a group of easily killed monsters, and resetting the game over and over to just kill those creatures. The developers want to encourage more engagement in the game world, whether in the campaign or the upcoming Adventure Mode. The experience players could achieve by simply farming certain areas was considered too great, compared to the experience that will be provided by completing Bounties and Nephalem Rifts in the expansion. The hotfix makes those small, easily killed monsters provide less experience.
Some of you may have noticed I recently updated the Patch 2.0.3 Hotfixes to include a couple new upcoming changes. These hotfixes should be live later this afternoon, and we wanted to offer some clarification regarding these changes in advance (as well as to keep the Hotfix list clean of lengthy explanations).

  • All class set items will now only drop in Torment I or above.

  • We've been listening to player feedback on difficulty rewards, and one of the most frequent comments we receive is that Torment difficulty isn't rewarding enough. As a result, we've reached the decision to make class-specific sets, specifically Natalya’s, Immortal Kings, Tal Rasha's, Inna's, and Zunimassa's, drop only in Torment I or above from this point forward.

    The class sets weren't designed as a progression, but rather as a lateral choice between different play styles. It makes sense for all of them to be obtained at the same difficulty level, alongside the other sets that will be available at 70 in Torment I+. This should also make these very strong items a little bit more rare, and when you reach level 70 and you see someone wearing a full set, you’ll know the level of play they needed to reach in order to acquire those items.

    The reward level of each difficulty setting and how they feel is very important to us, and it’s something we’ll continue to observe and tweak as we enter the expansion.

  • Reduced the amount of experience granted by monsters with lower than average health pools.

  • It took us some time to evaluate whether or not we wanted to alter some of the current most popular runs. Our baseline for comparison for these alternative runs is to see how they stack up versus Adventure Mode and Bounty runs, and these different types of play should be on par (or at least fairly close). After extensive testing, we were finding this wasn't the case and came to the decision to make these changes. It’s a decision we wrestled with for a while, but ultimately, we want to avoid situations where the most efficient game play isn't necessarily the most engaging and our investigations revealed this to be that kind of situation. We want a larger variety, rather than only one or two particular routes, to be the most rewarding way to play.

    On a related note, we know a lot of you are still preparing for the launch of Reaper of Souls, so we’re also upping the ante on the Community bonus experience event. Starting right now and for this weekend only, the bonus experience provided will be upped from 50% to 100%. This should help you get all your nephalem heroes leveled and geared up for the battle against Malthael!

    Swarming Monsters Detailed
    In a few other posts, Nevalistis gives an idea of the type of creatures that are now providing less experience. The change was done to the smaller, lower health monsters.
    Posted by: Gunt

    Exactly which "lower than average health pool" monsters will this be affecting?

    The list is actually quite long, but we were specifically targeting enemies that "swarm." In other words, those that tend to appear in large quantities and offer little resistance.

    Posted by: Supernose

    1. As quoted above, this nerf applies to swarming cannon fodder.

    This is the intent. Wakil gives some good examples of these types of enemies, I'll quote it again for convenience:

    Posted by: Wakil

    No, it's things like the little spiders in Caverns (Act 1), the swarming skeletons in CotA (and one would assume the cathedral ones as well.) the Scorpion/Spider things in Act 3 that are before Azmodan, Probably the little black things that burst out of the corruption in Act 4/Swarm you in the rifts. Things that swarm you and have like no HP so they die before they even get to you.
    Figuring out the exact changes has been difficult, because of another bug that seems to be active. For this weekend only, there is a +100% experience bonus in Diablo III. But from testing done in the wake of these hotfixes, it appears that the 100% experience buff may not be affecting level 60 characters. That naturally makes the hotfix experience nerf seem more drastic than it actually is, when comparing the experience gained before and after the hotfix. If that bug is indeed active, it is a temporary one, since the experience buff will go away for all characters on Monday.

    Set Armor Only in Torment
    The other hotfix change involves the class Set armor, which will now only drop in Torment difficulties. This is in addition to the previously listed Torment-only drops at level 70; those items include Legendary potions, powerful items for Followers, and other types of Set armor. This is being done to encourage players who have good enough gear to go into Torment, to get into those difficulties even at level 60.

    These type of changes are part of the rebalancing process after Patch 2.0 overhauled many parts of the game. We may see further changes along these lines after the expansion lands, as the developers make sure the game is balanced properly for the new content. Ultimately, the goal is to have the best rewards in both experience and loot come from the most interesting and difficult content in the game.
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