Wyatt Cheng Explains Legendary Changes in Patch 2.1

Patch 2.1 brings big Legendary and Set changes, most will not be retroactive

Diablo III developer Wyatt Cheng
As seen in the Diablo III PC PTR Patch 2.1 patch notes, the upcoming patch will overhaul a large number of Legendary and Set items. Most of these changes will not be retroactive; players will need to find new versions of the items, for the new stats. A few broad changes are retroactive, such as Set bonuses that are being updated, and the increase in damage for all two-handed melee weapons. Diablo III developer Wyatt Cheng took to the forums to explain the thinking behind these changes. That was one of the many recent Blizzard Blues dealing with the item updates in patch 2.1.0.

Patch 2.1 Legendary and Set Changes
As noted by Mr. Cheng, one big reason that most item changes are not retroactive is that the developers do not want players to be worried that a Legendary item might become better in a future patch. The Diablo III stash gets full enough already, with the items that are useful right now! Players should not be have to think about about keeping an item, in the small chance that it will be changed down the road.
Posted by: Kensai

Will the new changes to legendary affixes be retroactive? E.g. Madstone, Leoric's Crown, Vigilante Belt. Would this apply retroactively to items that have had their affixes modified? (Thinking Flow of Eternity).

We try to avoid retroactive changes on items as much as possible. First and foremost, there needs to be a compelling reason for us to make an item change retroactive, because in an ideal situation, items should have a sense of permanence. As part of that permanence, we want to avoid creating an environment where players feel they need to hold on to a Legendary forever in hopes it gets buffed or changed in your favor.

There's a lot of philosophy that goes into when we make these decisions. First, we try to determine if the issue we're trying to solve can be done without changing the item. For example, say there's a problem with a Legendary. There's a few ways we can address that without messing with the item itself. Maybe the skill an item relies on is weak, maybe the skill merits a buff. We could also introduce a new Legendary item that offers a cool interaction or synergy with the "weak" one, and makes it better.

Even in cases where an item is "too strong," we first ask ourselves if it's possible to introduce other, comparably strong items to compete with it and create choice. Stone of Jordan is a great example. It's a very strong item, but rather than nerfing it, we've chosen to introduce other, equally powerful rings as alternatives.

Ultimately there are 3 situations that have come up to date that warranted a retroactive item change:

Situation 1. There might be a case where a mechanic is simply not something we want and no future Legendaries or skill adjustments will alleviate the problem. Those are the cases in which we make a retroactive decision. While we don’t like to nerf things, it was clear to the majority of the community that the Furnace and Rimeheart were causing problems and it is better for the overall health of the game.

Situation 2. We have retroactively buffed set bonuses. The sets play a pivotal role in the overall power level of each class. If we introduce a new version of a single item such as Depth Diggers, we can do so without many side effects. In the case of altering a set bonus, trying to maintain set items with different set bonuses is impossible. If we made a new version of the set it raises questions of how the items mix-and match, confusion over the names and if the set effect is the same but with larger numbers it becomes just plain confusing. Do not expect us to do this type of retroactive change much in the future, our focus as a development team will be on bringing new Legendary items and new Set items to the game.

Situation 3. In the case of the 2-handed change we made the buff retroactive because we didn't want an entire class (Crusaders) to log in and feel substantially weaker due to the corresponding adjustment to Heavenly Strength. If we hadn't also been tweaking that passive, we probably wouldn't have made the increase to 2-Handed weapons retroactive. We try our best to avoid situations where a class logs in after a patch and feels substantially less powerful. In this case we had to choose between trying to avoid retroactive changes and ensuring a class doesn’t feel substantially weaker and we upheld the latter.

You shouldn't expect retroactive changes from us frequently, if at all. We really want items to feel permanent, and for players to feel free to salvage/vendor items without fear of regret.
Here are a few quick Q/A follow-ups from Wyatt. Italicized questions are from players, quoted answers are from Wyatt. (link)

Q. Is it likely that the Shadow's Mantle set will continue to be a Shadow Power modifying set? (link)

The Nat's set is a great example of looking for alternative ways to make a set better. In my original post I said "We could also introduce a new Legendary item that offers a cool interaction or synergy with the "weak" one, and makes it better."

So in the case of Nat's, one thing Travis (Day) has been advocating internally is that instead of changing the Nat's set directly (which, as I've mentioned, we prefer to keep retroactive changes to a minimum), we could look at finding cool synergies with Rain of Vegenance. I don't want to put out any specifics, but in the same way Quetzalcoatl makes Jades Harvester better, or you can imagine that any legendary item that makes Rain of Vengeance better, makes the set better.

Q. Why is Helltooth not getting touched when firebirds got redesigned? (link)

Because at the moment we're not completely happy with Wall of Zombies. We'd like to get Wall of Zombies to a place we're happy with first, and then we can properly evaluate Helltooth within that context.

Q. I'm sure there's a huge list of items tht you want to look at along with abilities, but I'm just wondering if you have any plans at evaluating the chantodos set at some point in the near future? (link)

As I mentioned in the post, after 2.1 we're trying to shift away from revising old sets and more towards introducing new legendary items that introduce new play styles. Rather than just have an existing set be more powerful - let's find ways to promote skills by introducing brand new Legendary effects.

This is not to say buffing existing sets is out of the question, but 2.1 was about hitting things of the highest priority.

Q. What about enchanting? You guys basically turned the high end weapon enchanting game on its head with Ramaldni's Gift. I've personally found two or three incredibly rare, well rolled (native socket) weapons that I assumed I'd never replace... but that's not the case anymore. I know these weapons are by no means useless in the new patch, but had I known of Ramaldni's Gift at the time, I would not have enchanted them the way I did. (link)

Yes - this is non-ideal. The things I've described are ideals, not absolutes. We can't improve the game without being able to change it, and sometimes change has a few negative consequences. Overall we try to keep the negative consequences to a minimum while maximizing the positive effects. In the case of the Gift we feel that the benefit was worth it.

Mystic Ally Power Coming to The Crudest Boots
As patch 2.1 is developed and tested on the PTR, the Legendary item changes are still in flux. This can be seen with the Vigilante Belt Legendary. In the first patch 2.1 build, the belt was given the ability to roll Cooldown Reduction, which normally cannot roll on belts. In the most recent PTR build, the belt instead was changed to have a new Legendary power:
Mystic Ally summons two Mystic Allies to fight by your side
Since that would make the belt only useful for Monks, the developers are going to change it again! It will go back to rolling with Cooldown Reduction, and instead The Crudest Boots will gain that special power for Mystic Ally.
Posted by: Aether

Now that Vigilante Belt is a monk legendaries it will only drop as non-smart-loot for other classes. But Vigilante Belt is also the only belt that was able to roll Cooldown Reduction. Please make another belt able to roll CDR so classes besides monks can still find a CDR belt!

Funny you should mention it, because we're going to make some changes relevant to this. We decided to revert the Vigilante Belt to its previous form, so it'll be good for everyone again, and the Legendary power to summon two Mystic Allies has now been moved to The Crudest Boots.
Posted by: TheTias

Mystic Ally does not become available before LV 22, but the boots can currently become available at LV 8. Will you still be allowing the boots to drop at LV 8-21 without an affix and with the affix at LV 22+, or will it be another item whose minimum level at which it drops gets raised due to the affix?

Good question! The boots won't start dropping until level 22.

Read on for more Blizzard Blues posts on items, including testing new powers in patch 2.1 for the Legendary weapons The Furnace and Rimeheart.

New Legendary Shields in Patch 2.1
Another Legendary power that has moved is for a shield. The Amazonian Parma is the name of a Legendary shield that was being added in patch 2.1. It originally showed up with the bonus:
Allows Phalanx to summon twice as many Avatars
In the latest PTR patch, that shield no longer had the Legendary power. Instead, the power is being moved to a Crusader Shield called Unrelenting Phalanx. The Amazonian Parma is not currently dropping on the PTR; we will see in future builds if it returns with a different Legendary power!
For now, this is intended. The legendary affix on the Amazonian Parma was removed intentionally, and the item itself will no longer drop on the PTR. I can't say for sure whether or not it will return with the same legendary affix, a new affix, or even whether it will return to the game at all, but for now, the missing affix and the fact that it does not drop are intentional.

Update: The legendary affix from the Amazonian Parma shield has been moved to the Unrelenting Phalanx crusader shield.
Posted by: WalkinTall



There is a new CRUSADER Shield: Unrelenting Phalanx!

It has the SAME effect (Phalanx now summons twice)
BUT it is a CRUSADER Shield, which is WAY better for us! Since it can roll Phalanx Damage and CDR!

Stop flaming, they just made it BETTER

This is indeed correct. The legendary affix on the Amazonian Parma shield has been moved onto the new Unrelenting Phalanx crusader shield. Please do keep in mind that this is a PTR and that iteration on items, skills, and systems are still happening at a fairly rapid rate, so changes like this can occur.

Thanks again for the reports, everyone!

Crushing Blow Powers Replaced on The Furnace and Rimeheart
Back in the beta testing of Patch 2.0, there was a Crushing Blow item affix that did damage based on the health of the monster. That item affix never made it into the game, but the Legendary weapons The Furnace and Rimeheart have had similar powers. That will change in patch 2.1, as the ability to do percentage monster health damage was too overpowering, especially in Greater Rifts where the monster health keeps climbing. As mentioned by Mr. Cheng, these changes will be retroactive to all copies of those weapons. The new Legendary powers are still undergoing testing, and an upcoming PTR patch will bring a boost to the new power on the Rimeheart. Feedback about the changes are requested in this thread.
As some of you are aware, we made a changes to a few items so that their damage no longer scales with monster health. The most recent changes in line with this philosophy were made to the Legendary items Rimeheart and the Furnace:

  • Has been redesigned
    • 10% chance to instantly deal 1800-2400% weapon damage as Cold to Frozen enemies

The Furnace
  • Has been redesigned
    • Increases damage against elites by 40-50%

As noted above, the primary goal of these changes was to remove their Crushing Blow mechanics. From there, our secondary goal was to rebalance both items so that they would remain compelling choices for players, but not necessarily be best in slot.

In the case of The Furnace, the redesign is aimed to keep the item in line with one of its primary uses on live—to kill bosses. In the case of Rimeheart, the chance on hitting a Frozen enemy with a lot of Cold damage was kept, and the additional tuning is intended to allow Rimeheart to remain competitive with the current best Legendary 1-Handers in the game. With that goal in mind, we do agree Rimeheart’s current damage on the PTR is a little low and are looking to increase its damage in the next PTR patch.

We'd like to make sure that we are keeping an eye on your feedback about these changes, and this thread is intended to be a central place to help us do that. With that in mind, we kindly ask you to keep the posts in this thread on-topic and focused on Rimeheart and the Furnace. (Off topic replies will likely be head butted right off the mountain.)

New Crusader Set
A new Crusader set is being added to the game, with the following set bonuses:
  • (2) Set Bonus: +500 Strength
  • (4) Set Bonus: +100% Shield Bash Damage; +100% Sweep Attack Damage
  • (6) Set Bonus: Hitting an enemy with Shield Bash or Sweep Attack grants 20% Attack Speed for 3 seconds, stacking up to 5 times
The developers are also looking for feedback on this set, which can be directed here.
Greetings Crusaders (and other assorted heroes of Sanctuary),

We recently unleashed a new Crusader set into the wilds of the PTR. With this set, our goal has been to encourage a melee playstyle and to promote new builds and synergies apart from the established builds (looking at you, Blessed Shield and Darklight).

As we move forward with the PTR, please feel free to share any and all general feedback you may have about this new set in this thread. However, info which specifically relates to the topics below may offer the most productive commentary for us to share with our development team.

Related topics on which we're seeking feedback (again, in this thread) include:

  • What synergies prove most useful?
  • How do you see this set competing with existing sets?
  • How has your playstyle been affected by the set, and/or the individual items in the set?
  • What changes might you suggest?

Recent patch note information regarding the set can be found here.

As for one last point, we do ask that everyone tries to keep suggestions focused and on point. Off-topic commentary will be moderated.

Thanks again everyone! Your feedback is most appreciated and continues to be instrumental in helping us to bring 2.1.0 into the mortal world. As ever, your deeds of valor will be remembered.

Tyvalir Joins the Diablo III Community Team
The North American Diablo III community team has a new member! Community manager Lylirra posted about Tyvalir, the new addition to the team. The thread is filled with many other greetings, from players and Blizzard employees alike!
Hey everyone,

Please join me in welcoming Tyvalir to the North American Diablo III Community Team!

As with many of you here, Tyvalir possesses a strong passion for Diablo III and is incredibly excited to be joining us on our many adventures throughout Sanctuary. In between the normal community manager functions of meeting with developers, writing feature articles, engaging on social media, and attending live events, he'll be joining us here on the forums discussing Diablo III with all of you—endeavoring to be a conduit for information as well as a voice for the Blizzard community.

Random Facts About Tyvalir:

  • He hails from south Texas, so is naturally attuned to heat of the Burning Hells
  • He previously worked as a contributing author over at Diablo III IncGamers (where you may have known him as "Waterfiend")
  • He loves the Witch Doctor, but will be rolling a Demon Hunter (SC) and Crusader (HC) when Seasons hit
  • He first played Diablo on a netbook and he's been hooked on the series ever since
  • He is the newest community manager at Blizzard, and is therefore burdened with the task of carrying around an adorable pirate octopus plush toy, referred to as the "FNG Pirate" (lol)

So, without further ado: Welcome, Tyvalir!

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