Theorycraft Thursdays Livestream #2

Witch Doctor builds, and comments from Wyatt Cheng on Patch 2.1.0

Theorycraft Thursday Livestream #2
The second Diablo III Theorycraft Thursdays Livestream featured developer Wyatt Cheng, in a full group of Witch Doctors. They discussed builds based around the Carnevil Voodoo Mask for Witch Doctors, at length. Mr. Cheng also commented on topics such as what the developers are hoping to create for new Legendary rings, and upcoming skill changes on the Patch 2.1 PTR. Community Manager Lylirra covered the fast-moving Twitch chat during the livestream, providing extra details.

As mentioned in comments by Lylirra, this was technically the last Theorycraft Thursday event. The series will be renamed starting with the next round, to a more appropriate Play Your Way Thursday. Whatever the name, it's an enjoyable time of focus on builds for a specific class, and hearing from one of the Diablo III developers.

You can watch the VOD at Twitch, or in the YouTube video here.

Wyatt Cheng Livestream Discussion
Among the lengthy discussion of Witch Doctor builds, there were comments from Wyatt Cheng about a variety of Diablo III topics:
  • Better Rings Options - The developers want more options for rings, to compete with the seemingly-mandatory Ring of Royal Grandeur. Originally the intent was that there was a menu of choices available for rings, and in all slots; there's not supposed to be one mandatory ring, there should be a lot of interesting trade-offs. The developers had a long discussion when making changes for patch 2.0.5 about how strong The Tall Man's Finger should be. They decided to really push the power of that ring, so it could feasibly compete with something like the Ring of Royal Grandeur and Stone of Jordan. The hope is that this is just the beginning, as that was an experiment. Back in the Reaper of Souls beta the immunity effects were on rings; they didn't want players to become immune to 2 elements at the time, so those powers were moved to the amulet slot. But that left kind of a void in terms of desirable rings. Over time, the developers now want to add more really compelling ring choices.
  • Rings in Sets? - Sets are interesting because of the collection aspect, and you have exclusive choices between various very strong powers. A ring like The Tall Man's Finger can complement a lot of builds, instead of being the focus of its own build.
  • Rain of Vengeance - The developers have been talking about how the Demon Hunter skill Rain of Vengeance might not be strong enough. Instead of just buffing the skill, they're thinking about maybe adding Rain of Vengeance-oriented Legendary items, that combined with the Demon Hunter Set could make the skill more powerful that way.
  • Elements on Runes - The developers have been going through the skills and looking at supporting the elemental diversity.
  • Progression in Rifts - The Rift progression algorithm was changed. In 2.1 the progression is now based on the experience value of the monsters. Sometimes on the PTR you get to the end of the Rift and there aren't enough monsters to finish it; that's a bug that will be fixed. They want it to be where you aren't skipping certain types of monsters in Rifts.
  • Sheet DPS - The developers want to move people away from focusing on just the DPS number on the character sheet. There are other intangibles like: How much can you burst versus not, how mobile are you, etc. One of the things that Greater Rifts will really show is how much those intangibles really matter to your effectiveness.
  • Halcyon's Ascent - A Halcyon's Ascent dropped in the livestream, and there was some discussion of it. It's the only Legendary item that rolls a different Legendary effect based on your class. There is Smart rolling for stats like Strength and Int, and class-specific skill bonuses, but nothing that had a Legendary power based on the class. Because of that, it didn't look like it was going to be possible when they were making new Legendary items for patch 2.0, so they shelved the idea for a while. Don Vu came up with a way to do it with the tech that they had; a couple of days later, it was ready to go.

    Lylirra also had comments in chat about the history of it: "Basically: Vaeflare and I loved how much deadmau5 loved D3, and we wanted to pay him a tribute. We thought about doing a helm, but the deadline was just too close for the art assets. Instead, we lobbied for an amulet, which required no 3D asset, but could still be drawn to look like deadmau5's headpiece. From there, Don Vu (who loves deadmau5, if you can't tell by all the achievement names) took over and created the fun item we have now."
  • Retroactively Changing Items - The general rule of thumb is to not modify existing items that players already own. The developers don't mind retroactively changing items if the change is in the flavor of what it already was. If there's any possibility that changing the item could make it worse for you, they leave the older one around and drop a new version.
  • Class-Specific Designers - There's a misconception that each class has it's own specific designer. In some of the interviews before Reaper of Souls, they listed specific developers for each class, and in retrospect that was kind of a mistake. Everybody thinks that everything done to the Monk and Wizard is by Don, everything on the Witch Doctor is Wyatt, etc. That's not the case; at this point, everything is collaborative among the team. Right now, Don is doing a lot of Crusader work, and Jon is doing Witch Doctor work. A lot of people have been requesting that your Fetish counts have a interface portrait. Jon Yang has been championing that, so he's looking into it. There is a point person who is responsible for keeping track of all the issues and the bugs for a specific class, to make sure they are getting fixed. Wyatt is responsible right now for fixing the bug that happens when you summon a Fetish Army and it kills all your Fetish Sycophants. The ideas for Legendary items come from the whole team: artists, programmers, producers, designers.
  • Getting in Changes - The developers are very committed to working and supporting the game; the patch history shows that. If it doesn't get fixed this patch, it will get fixed next, or the next. The suggestion that, "when I have a death in hardcore, I want that announced to my clan" was brought up many months ago. The team wanted to get into the last patch, and couldn't get it done there. So now it'll be in patch 2.1.0.
  • Art for Legendary Items - Everything happens at the same time; you don't necessarily know what the item will be when the art is being made. Art takes time to produce. So if there's a Legendary item coming out in November, the art would need to be made right now in July. But the developers don't know what it will be yet, so they give general concepts to the artists. The artists do their best to take some of the concepts, and make the art. Afterwords they hook up the art to the Legendary power. Sometimes that Legendary power has to be redesigned because it doesn't work out, and now they have a Legendary item with a totally different power than it was originally thought of, when the artwork was made; sometimes that works out, and sometimes it doesn't.
  • Transmogrifying Set Items - The PTR is still in progress. One of the gameplay programmers Kevin just did the Transmogrification change, so you'll be able to Transmogrify the looks of all your set items. The reason it wasn't done before is that if you put a Set item on a different class, the art may not exist or it would look odd. So now, if you swap that Set item through your stash to a character of a different class, it shows the base artwork for the item.
  • Class Changes on the PTR - The developers are not planning massive sweeping changes at this point, they're iterating on what they have. They are also working on the set items. There are changes coming to the channeled skills like Disintegrate, Monk changes like Tempest Rush is being adjusted some more. If it's on PTR, it's there for testing and it's not final yet.
  • Sacrifice Change - Sacrifice was recently changed on the PTR. Also, some new art is coming for it. Julian Love, one of the lead technical artists, created the art so that the projectile changes based on the dog you have summoned out. It looks just like your dog, it runs over and explodes at the impact point. Wyatt is hoping that the updated Sacrifice opens up a whole new family of builds, particularly with the Homunculus. Wyatt was looking at it last month when they were buffing the skill, to make sure that The Tall Man's Finger used with Sacrifice did more damage. It could get too powerful, the combination of something like the updated Sacrifice, The Tall Man's Finger, Homunculus. So it's not a straight up 6 times as much giant dog explosion sacrificing, but it does interact in some positive ways.

Lylirra Comments in Chat
Community Manager Lylirra was commenting in in the Twitch chat stream, gathering feedback and discussing concerns with the people there. Here are some of the direct text comments from her, with questions from chat members listed in italics.

  • Actually the devs all work on different classes now. (It was more specialized pre-RoS launch.)
  • QUICK PSA: WE DON'T HAVE AN ETA FOR WHEN LEGENDARY GEMS WILL BE RE-ENABLED. Boom. Caps-lock and everything. For emphasis. And great justice.
  • Next class stream? Probably about 6 weeks from now. 4 weeks for build features, 1 week for voting, following week for stream.
  • We have no plans to add a DPS meter or ticker. We definitely appreciate the desire to have one (and the feedback we've received along those lines), but it's not a feature we currently feel really fits or makes sense in a game like Diablo. It's not completely written off forever, but nothing something we're looking to implement now or in the near future.
  • Iamspicyclown i want to know when fetish passive will stop overwriting FA?
    It's a bug fix that's on the to-do list still, Iamspicy. Don't have an ETA, though (other than we're trying to get it in with patch 2.1.0).
  • We're actually going to be changing the name of this series to "Play Your Way Thursday" next round. We started out the series with the goal of featuring theorycrafts, but the content we received was more focused on having fun. And we dug that. We wanted this series to be shaped by the community. We weren't receiving theorycraft submissions, so that's cool. But yeah, the series definitely deserves a rebranding.
  • Lolnotfunny: that's a good point, CM_lylirra why isn't there a way that we can decide if we want to pick up regular potions or just keep them laying on the ground?
    Lolnotfunny (awesome name), it's feedback we've certainly considered, but it's not a high priority QoL fix right now. It's not off the table, and we certainly appreciate all the posts and suggestions we've gotten on the topic.
  • We're looking at ways to improve 2-handers. I don't have any specific details to share right now, but we don't think they're perfect and could be improved. We did think they were in a good place for RoS launch, but that doesn't mean we thought they were good forever and ever. So thanks for all the feedback!
  • It's a bug that Kadala is now providing off-class Legendaries more often. It's been tasked as a bug with/by QA, but I don't have an ETA for when the fix will be live. The fix was to correct a bug on live that was sometimes causing players to not receive any items at all (but still spend blood shards) whenever purchasing off-class items (like a Barbarian purchasing a mojo/source). That fix had an unintended side-effect, which is manifesting in Kadala providing more off-class items than normal.
  • We're hoping to do a few PTR-specific streams. Like I noted earlier, we want to wait for a later build, though (at the very least until Seasons is out). Not sure if that'll be a Q&A directly, but the goal is to discuss PTR/patch 2.1.0 content.
  • Artisan reset every season. (For your seasonal characters. Your normal characters won't have their artisans reset.)
  • Don't have a ETA for patch 2.1.0. Sorry folks.
  • We definitely want to enable Seasons on the PTR. We're waiting for some of the tech to be finalized/stabilized first.

That's all for the comments from this livestream. We look forward to seeing what builds are part of the next round, in the rebranded Play Your Way Thursday event.
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