'Tavern Talk' Features Seasons, Sets, and Achievements

Three Diablo III developers talk at length about the future of the game

Diablo III Tavern Talk - February 2015
The Diablo III developers discussed Seasons along with a slew of other topics in Tuesday's Tavern Talk. They dropped new info about the upcoming class Sets for Patch 2.2, talked about ideas for changing up the game ruleset in future Seasons, and explained just how the Focus and Restraint rings ended up as such a dreadful set. Watch the full video of the livestream, or read the transcript for all the important details!

The Twitch stream featured the following members of the Diablo III team:
  • Wyatt Cheng, Senior Technical Game Designer
  • Travis Day, Game Designer
  • Don Vu, Associate Game Designer
  • Brandy "Nevalistis" Camel, Community Manager

Brandy Camel - Tavern Talk February 2015

The transcript below features all the important information from the lengthy discussion.

  • Season 1 wrapped up on February 3. How did they do as players?
    Don: He only played hardcore, on a Wizard and Monk. He wanted to get top 100 on hardcore Season 1 Greater Rift leaderboard, and he got there.

    Don Vu - Tavern Talk February 2015

    Wyatt: Played 4 different classes: a Monk and Wizard in hardcore, and a Crusader and Demon Hunter in softcore.

    Travis: He started a Monk, which he'd never played before. Got high on the leaderboard for Monks, and 4-player with friends at the start of the Season.
  • What are some of their favorite memories in Season 1?
    Wyatt dying, a lot! Wyatt lost a Leapquake Barb, which died while he was Leaping away but not soon enough. Another death was when he was on vacation playing hardcore, on a hotel internet. The power went out in the hotel, and he died after disconnecting. Travis got a screenshot of it.

    Wyatt's Hardcore Death - Tavern Talk February 2015
    Don: He and Wyatt played for 7 hours straight at the start of Season 1. They left a Diablo development monthly meeting to start playing in Season 1 because the meeting ran long!
  • Speed Racer Conquest
    Don and Wyatt went with a 4-player team to get the Speed Racer Conquest, which requires doing all the Acts in under an hour; the best time they got was 3 minutes too long. That is a very tough Conquest to obtain, less than 300 people total got it in Season 1. In Season 2 there is a different Conquest, to kill all the bosses in Torment IV in 20 minutes.
  • Goals of Season 1
    In 2.1 came Seasons, Leaderboards and Greater Rifts. They add a sense of community, like watching a streamer try to get high in Greater Rifts on a new character. They learned a lot from it, and are looking forward to more.
  • Learning from Season 1
    At the start of Season 1 there were fast leveling methods that weren't really fun. They learned not to focus so much on leveling, those "clever uses of game mechanics". They also learned a lot about Greater Rifts, specifically the pylons. There was too much randomness in Greater Rifts, people relied heavily on getting a Conduit Pylon. That wasn't the intention, as it's not a fun way to play the Rifts. That was changed in 2.1.2, where pylons have a more even distribution and density in Rifts is much higher. That way you don't feel like success was determined by RNG.

    Travis: They learned about tuning drop rates. About 2 weeks into the Season, he came into the office and had "gotten everything" on his new hero, which had more gear than all his other RoS characters. It was really awesome, but they needed something else to keep chasing. That brought about the idea of Ancient Items.

    Travis Day - Tavern Talk February 2015
  • Length of Seasons
    Five months felt too long, they want it shorter than that. Realistically the Season length is determined now by the development schedule. In Season 1 there were 2 different patches that happened during the Season, but that changed the content mid-Season, which affects the Leaderboards. Going forward, the plan is to end a Season, then release a patch, and only then begin a new season. So you can expect future Season to be shorter, but the content patches to happen in between Seasons.
  • Gameplay Changes in Season 2 Compared to Season 1
    Ancient Items are the new "white whale" or the long tail, for players who have played a lot, to chase those uber items.
  • Conquests
    In Season 2 there is the boss mode conquest mentioned earlier. Another one is to collect all the lore books, and usual Greater Rifts ones.

    There were Greater Rifts changes that went in with 2.1.2; they have their eye on it, including the changes to the layout of the dungeons. Backtracking has been reined in a lot so players should only have to backtrack 1 and 1/2 screens at most, to get you on your way. The Rift Guardians got updates as well, there are still improvements that can be made. They aren't done yet, they're still evolving it.
  • What are you looking forward to the most for Season 2?
    Don: Playing with buddies again, like playing with Wyatt last time. Gungdo Gear for Season 2, using that on Monks.

    Travis: The social experience, all the people getting back into it who maybe hadn't played a while.

    Wyatt: The rapid rate of progression at the start of a Season is a lot of fun; getting a character to 70 and crafting the different sets, collecting and leveling up the Legendary gems.

    Nevalistis: Leveling up all the Artisans at the start of Seasons is a blast.
  • Future Seasons Beyond 2
    Wyatt: Maybe there's a little too much emphasis on Leaderboards, and not just "what have you done?" Wyatt was talking to a buddy who plays with his wife, they were at maybe Greater Rift 18 and having fun just the two of them. The buddy said "our goal is to beat Greater Rift 30 by the end of the Season", and eventually they did. Wyatt wants the game to celebrate that more, and recognizing your individual accomplishments. Like people who weight lift or run, and are constantly trying to beat their own personal goal.

    Wyatt Cheng - Tavern Talk February 2015
    Don: That goes with the idea of knowing when it's a good time to leave; when you reach your personal goals, you know it's a good time to leave the game and feel good about it, and come back later. Diablo is a game you should feel good leaving, not uninstall, and just come back when the next Season starts. It would be good if the game gave goals of that nature.
  • New Sets in Patch 2.2
    Travis: They are coming in a future patch, we've still been iterating on some of them. They showed off the Barbarian set, and have plans to modify it from what the players have seen. It's still going to be all about Whirlwind, they just weren't entirely happy about having to Whirlwind, and then Rend things, and go back and forth that way.
  • Class Representation in Group Leaderboards
    They view that as something that's in flux. They want to provide new Legendary items that are really fun to play, which will have an impact on the power of the class. The composition on the top of the 4-player leaderboard shifted between the beginning, middle, and end of Season 1. They expect it to change again, with the reworked sets that came in patch 2.1.2. They want the classes to be at a roughly equal level power level, but it isn't like StarCraft II where it's touched as little as possible, for the meta-game to settle. Diablo III is a PVE focused game that will change over time.

    Don: A good example of playstles evolving was with the patch 2.1.2 changes to the Monk set, that have brought about a lot of different types of new Monk builds. With Gungdo Gear in Season 2, that will likely change again.
  • What was the reasoning behind making new Legendary Gems season-exclusive?
    Legendary Gems are like any other Legendary in the game; they add new ones all the time, and they want to have reasons for players to do Seasons. They want to add more Legendary gems in general. There are three new Legendary gems for Season 2. Two of them are defensive-oriented, if a player wants to be defensive they want to provide tools for that. Wyatt is excited about the power-leveling gem, since he does lose hardcore characters! Once it's ranked to 25, it reduces the level requirement down to level 1, so you can hand a level 70 weapon to your next character and level them up super-fast. Early testing shows that you can powerlevel yourself faster than a friend might, in certain circumstances.
  • Is auto-pickup of crafting mats and gems coming any time soon? With new goblins it's even more annoying than before.
    Wyatt: The new goblins are awesome, but it does cause you to click a lot. The immediate solution people suggest is auto-pickup. The developers have found that when they make something auto-pickup, it disconnects you from what you get, and players sometimes don't even notice that it's being picked up. They want to preserve the connection that if there are 18 crafting mats, you should feel like you've gotten 18 crafting mats. It is annoying to click on all the tiny little pile, so as an example they hotfixed it so that crafting mats drop together in bigger piles. They're looking at other similar solutions to try to maintain that physicality.
  • What about more Legendaries from the Legendary Workshop at BlizzCon?
    Travis: They just finished the one from BlizzCon internally. Travis loves to read the threads about Legendary powers that players suggest on the board, and some of those ideas might make their way into future Legendary items.
  • Will there be more multi-element builds?
    Don: They want to add more to help boost that, and make items like the Tal Rasha set viable. The ring from BlizzCon will help with that, as it rotates through the elements; it will help with a Tal Rasha set, or a cold and fire build. They made it a ring instead of a source, so everyone who wants to try out new specs can check them out.
  • Is there any way to increase build diversity other than items?
    Travis: They want to take the things that aren't in the top tier, and bring them up to the top tier. They want to add new items, or retrofit old items without special powers, to help with that.

    Wyatt: Sometimes build diversity helps with not in a fell swoop, but multiple changes. The change to The Tall Man's Finger was interesting, but maybe it needs another supporting Legendary. The rework of The Undisputed Champion in Season 2 gives you the effect of all 5 Frenzy runes at once. He tried to make a build based around those sort of skills in Season 1, which was fun but not top tier. With the belt it'll be even better. Part of the fun of Seasons is the order in which you get your items, that lets you try different builds.
  • Sunwuko Set
    Don: In patch 2.1.2 whenever you use a spender you get a damage buff, the immediate damage. This works out better so you aren't spamming your mantra all the time, compared to the old playstyle.
  • Are you happy with the relative level of power and usage of Season-only items in Season 1?
    Travis: There isn't some bar for the power level when adding a new Legendary. They just keep adding to the pool of new Legendaries with the knowledge that players will do more with them.

    Wyatt: The new Legendary power for Wormwood in Season 2 is to cast Locust Swarm on monsters nearby. It could be used in a build with Locust Swarm, or a build without that at all, in a Fetish-based set. They put tools in the players' hands with the sets, and people puzzle out different ways to complement it with other Legendary items.
  • Any ideas to expand on Adventure Mode?
    Wyatt: Not a lot to share yet. Adventure Mode is really fun at the beginning, like RoRG farming since people really want it. During Season 1 the drop rate from Bounty bags was super-increased, so it's not hard to farm that anymore. If you play on Torment 1 it's like 25%, up to 100% chance on Torment 6. That makes it really easy to get that. They are looking at how to position Adventure Mode so it's fun to do early in a Season, but if players want to graduate out of it, they can do so.
  • One-handed versus Two-handed Weapons
    Travis: They're pretty happy with the balance, and the usage they see between one and two-handed weapons. There's a fair amount of diversity in classes and specs. Their goal is to provide playstyle choices. The best-case scenario is that they can add a lot of one-handed and two-handed powers, and people can choose which one works for them.

    Wyatt: He'd rather that it isn't just a math problem, that X does more damage than Y. Even with the The Furnace, it's a little dry and too mathy. They much prefer that people are excited about the Legendary power on the items and not just getting a flat damage increase.
  • Will they improve Mighty Weapons?
    Travis: No, we're done, we aren't doing anything with them. [Laughs] Mighty Weapons haven't gotten as much love as other weapons, primarily because general two-handers are more useful since more classes can use them. There is a list of Mighty Weapons that need abilities, and they are aware of them.
  • Lightning Themed Items
    Lightning Items - Tavern Talk February 2015
    Wyatt: I remember the conversation. They were talking about how at the time, and even still today, there's a lot of emphasis on the Fire element. That still persists for some classes today. A lot of it has to do with some particular elemental items like Cindercoat, which gets brought up a lot and is a really strong Fire-themed item. What has been talked about is that, Fire should not be the only way to play the game. Let's introduce more not just for Lightning, but for all the elements. There are a few in there already of items that provide bonuses to different elements, they just don't happen to be as common in the top-tier builds as Cindercoat. Travis has been working on talking about having not a literal one...

    Travis: They don't want to just copy Cindercoat to all the other elements. I don't want to take this idea that was cool over here, and just copy and paste it and everywhere; I want something totally different. They tried adding more items, it didn't work out as well as they'd hoped originally, but they keep working at it. Frostburn and Rimeheart were added with the hope of them working together as a playstyle. When they did Legendary gems they deliberately avoided making a Fire-based Legendary gem, but instead added ones that worked with other elements. They're still trying to reinforce that idea, and they'll be pushing more of that in the future.
  • Will they change less used skills more frequently to balance them?
    Don: The goal is to add Legendary items to boost the skills that aren't being as well-used.

    Wyatt: Instead of trying to tune the skills individually too much, they focus on the Set items. The Marauder set was changed in 2.1.2 to help with this. Before the patch, with that playstyle the sentries were 95% of the damage, but they were remade to cast spenders when the Demon Hunter does. They had considered other ways to get around this gameplay style; instead of changing the skills, they changed the set items to make them more interesting. Wyatt had friends come up and say, "I got my Maurauder's set and it was awesome for a week, then I got bored." So now you're still the turret guy, but there has to be stuff that you do more.
  • Only 1 Legendary Item per Class Each Season
    Travis: Currently they do 1 for each class, and others that are sort of globally usable (like a two-handed sword instead of a Mighty Weapon, for example). So they add more generic ones, not just class-specific.
  • Season Length
    Wyatt: It really depends on the development schedule. The plan is to end Season 2, release the next patch, and then start Season 3.
  • Will the Sorrowful Countenance offhand ever be added?
    Travis: I saw that off-hand a few weeks ago in the data files, it's not a droppable item. At some point they'll come up with a really cool idea for it and add it in. Maybe Haunt oriented, because it's a ghost head?

    Wyatt: Haunt is used right now in Jade Harvester's... maybe Spirit Barrage? They'll figure something out.
  • Nemesis System for PC
    Wyatt: The Nemesis System on consoles promotes asynchronous multiplayer, even if you aren't playing at the same time as your friends. It was developed for consoles because multiplayer there is a bit harder. It's a possibility, but no promises. Right now they're focused on promoting multiplayer in other ways: seasons, clans, leaderboards, friends list. They like the Nemesis system, who knows.
  • Will Greater Rift Trials be changed or removed?
    Wyatt: Back in the beta for Greater Rifts, you used to start Greater Rifts at level 1 every time. So the Greater Rift Trials were added to help that. It's still something that isn't pleasant to do.

    Travis: I'm with you, I totally sympathize. We've talked about how to maybe remove it, improve it in some way.

    Wyatt: The trial still exists for a couple reasons, and there are questions we're asking and exploring. They feel there's a lot of value for not always pushing yourself at the hardest level every single time. The other concern is multiplayer, particularly public games. Everyone gets matched together right now, via the trial. That's the other problem they're looking to solve. They recognize the problem, they're just trying to find the right solution.
  • Will they change how Sets are working? Right now it seems like every class has 1 set that determines how to play it.
    Travis: Before Reaper of Souls, items were just kind of stat sticks and didn't modify your gameplay. A goal in RoS is that items should change the way you play the game. Sets are kind of the inevitable conclusion of that goal, that if Sets are really impactful, to some extent they are going to dictate the way that you play. That is why the biggest goal is continuing to make items that reinforce every skill in the game. The question is simply how quickly can they make an item for every skill in the game. In an upcoming patch, they're adding more set items to the old sets like Natalya's and Immortal King's, and adding 6-piece set bonuses to them, to introduce even more gamestyles. It's also a goal that's hard to obtain, for there to be a cool conglomeration of items, where players can kind of hodgepodge their own gameplay. Kind of like the Frenzy build that they keep trying to make happen - with a Legendary gem, and a belt, and a Mighty Weapon, and a pair of pants... none of that is a Set, it's just that these all kind of work together in cool ways.

    Wyatt: It's a sort of a false conclusion to say that sets make it so that there is only one valid way to play. Let's say that this Frenzy build did become the best Barbarian build, because they did add a chestpiece and a helm that made Frenzy even better. What you have in essence at that point is a 5-piece set that happens to be composed of 5 different Legendary items. Players are always wanting to look for what's best. I don't think the answer is to get rid of sets, the answer is to provide more options that are all competitive.
  • Will they make Season-specific gameplay elements, that change the game?
    Unique Seasons - Tavern Talk February 2015
    Don: That's something we've discussed in the office quite a bit, I'm not saying we're going to do it, but it comes up in the forums and reddit and with us. It depends on when and if we're able to do that.

    Wyatt: Part of it is, can they do it without fragmenting the playerbase for match-making purposes? Can they run 2 seasons concurrently, maybe a short one and a long one? What does that look like? If they do something dramatic like "you can't heal, all healing is turned off", that sounds really interesting. You'd probably have to change a bunch of things in the game to make that happen. It might not even look like Diablo anymore. Is that something that they want running for 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 months? Probably not, but it is something they could experiment for in a short period, if they were able to. When you play around with the rules, affecting everybody for a long time is probably not the best way to go about doing it.
  • What are the concerns regarding the new season?
    Travis: Like at the beginning of Season 1, there's always this fear that there's something broken or mistuned that they don't know about it. Players tend to not really push the boundaries of what can and can't be done in a game, until they're competing with each other or environments like this. So something said internally is that hopefully all the things have been found that players are doing that weren't intended for them to do before the Season begins, than after. I feel like we do a pretty good job keeping on top of it, but there's way more players than there are us, and they're way cleverer than we are, so who knows. There might be something at the start of the Season that sets it off on the wrong foot.

    Wyatt: One that comes to mind is using a ruby and a Leoric's Crown in your helm. The developers were talking about this last week: is everybody going to feel like they have to do this? This is way better for the game if that's an option, but it doesn't make you the most powerful. They do not want everyone to feel like they have to do that. If everyone is forced into wearing +experience sets, and Hellfire Ring, and all that, they have some solutions in mind. But they also don't like the situation where you are getting a +1600% bonus from the difficulty or Greater Rift, but the ruby adds 62% more or something piddly.

    Travis: It's been discussed... So there's someone not using a diamond? Maybe that's what they want.

    Don: Something like that is on the fence, like if it's ok or not ok. If the developers decide it's not ok, they'd probably change it in between Seasons, not during it.

    Wyatt: Sacrificing current power for future power is not good, especially to the degree to which you do that. Like if you're making your own game less fun for the promise of future power, that might be bad. They'll have to take a look at how severe that is, but so far it doesn't seem to be a catastrophic scenario.
  • Monster Debuffs - Will there be any changes to the debuff that hellwitches and enslaved nightmares apply?
    Wyatt: Didn't we change that already... oh, it's not live yet! It's not even just how deadly it is, but he doesn't like players having to mouse-hover a debuff that has obscure text, to understand what's happening to the character. They try as much as possible to put the mechanics of the game into a visual space, that players can understand intuitively. Some changes to improve debuffs went in with patch 2.1.2, but more are on the way.
  • Season 2 Length
    Don: The season will end prior to the patch, then the patch comes out, then the new Season starts. Any major changes are planned to happen in between seasons: new Legendary items, skill changes, etc.
  • Will there be more Achievements?
    Don: That is something he's working on for a future Season, to make them more interesting. They want to make achievements feel like achievements, that you feel good when you get them.
  • Zombie Dog Gear
    Travis: Zero Dog gear is when players are creating builds using legacy pre-RoS items. They're totally ok with the builds that people are using to do it. But builds that aren't obtainable in the game anymore is an issue. Maybe the developers will recreate some of those items and bring those forward. Or maybe they'll make items that are even more powerful and totally obsolete those old ones.

    Wyatt: The developers don't want to take away legacy items, but understand that people can't get them anymore. They didn't recreate the zero dog playstyle verbatim after RoS because they didn't like the old playstyle of summoning Zombie Dogs, and then Sacrificing them immediately, and going back and forth between those two skills. Much the same way that the Marauder build meant dropping Sentries and then not doing anything, you weren't actually that conscientious where your dogs were standing, and you weren't aiming skills. You had two untargetted skills that were very effective. They have reworked Sacrifice since then, and it is a targetted skill. It is worth investigating whether or not that build can come back. The other issue is feeding health globes to Demon Hunters, for their Hatred. It's interesting and makes for fun group-based play, but Wyatt doesn't like excessive amounts of health being handed around. That makes characters more glass cannon, having just enough health to survive half a second because they know another Health Globe is on the way, which is a problem for monster affixes like Jailer. That issue would have to be solved in any implementation to compete with a Zombie Dog build.
  • Will there be more season only Legendaries or Legendary recipes?
    Travis: Yes, the plan is to just keep making more Seasonal items every time a new Season is added.
  • Will the talk to Alaric quest be fixed?
    A hotfix to take care of that is on the way.
  • Bloodshard Cap
    Travis: I will be the guy who takes the blame for this, because I'm the guy who constantly says there's a reason for it. The cap forces people to figure out "What is this thing, and how do I use it?" Once people hit the cap, they have to learn to use them. Blood Shards are a huge part of the reward structure, so the cap is in place predominently so that people who are new to the system are forced to use them, and prevent people from deferring the reward for a very great length of time.

    Wyatt: The cap is useful for new players, but also for experienced players. There's this whole other group of players who are trying to min-max the usage of Blood Shards. Like if you have 3 pieces to a set, and decide to just wait until one of the other 3 pieces drops, before going for the final pieces by spending the Blood Shards on the other slots. The developers don't want them deferring rewards like that. Also, if you're forced to make a choice, and you spend all your Blood Shards and you spend them on shoulder pieces, maybe you'll pick up a different Legendary shoulder on the way than what you wanted; that's a typical Diablo experience, which changes up your game.

    Travis: They have talked about exceptions to the cap. It gets brought up every week at the community developer meeting. The cap was intended to be something that wasn't easy to hit, and now players hit it a lot. They've talked about ways to preserve the cap, but maybe let you increase your cap by doing parts of the content, or through some mechanism. They have plans to maybe address it in the future, but nothing specific at this time.
  • Rend Animation Speed
    Wyatt: It's tough because on the one hand, when you're Whirlwinding around and you want to Rend, it does break up that pace. At the same time, when they make something a secondary animation, players tend to not appreciate the cost of it as much. A lot of the skills are tuned around the idea that there's a risk associated with it. If I'm Whirlwinding, the moment I stop to Rend I'm more vulnerable. As designers, they like the idea of players having to decide if it's safe enough to stop there. There's a push and pull; it does slow down your flow. Especially with the Whirlwind and Rend set coming out in patch 2.2, they'll have to test it out.

    Travis: I don't know it's healthy to just infinitely hold down right-button with Whirlwind. The gameplay is literally hold down this one button forever, it's a lot healthier the way it is now.
  • Will there be higher Torment difficulties?
    Wyatt: I don't know. The designers been looking at the relationship between Adventure Mode, Rifts, and Greater Rifts - what is the intended role of each of these? Adventure Mode is maybe for the early 70s, and then something you come back and visit occasionally, or making a new Hellfire Amulet. Nephalem Rift versus Greater Rift is a much tougher question, because there's a little bit of overlap in what they serve. Greater Rifts you don't have to pick up loot on the way, but there's more pressure with the timer. He doesn't know if they'll have more difficulties after Torment 6. They have to answer the question of what are the intended differences in the playstyles, and what kind of a player chooses to do Rifts instead of Greater Rifts, and how can they best serve them.
  • Getting Forgotten Souls
    Travis: We've added a lot of ways to get Forgotten Souls. I'd be more curious if how you're running out of them.

    Wyatt: I find I'm short in Forgotten Souls early on in a Season or a new character. Once you get to the point where you're only enchanting newly-found items, you have a lot more. When I hit 70 and I want to craft a Legendary item and it requires 2 Forgotten Souls, that's hard because you're in all yellows, without any of them. The developers have talked about how to make that first 20 hours better, but also how to provide more sinks for those crafting materials later, when players are swimming in them.

    Travis: If you play a big stable of characters, none of them are necessarily swimming in a bunch of legendaries you don't need, and so you're using up all the crafting materials. Ultimately, the answer is "I'm glad you want them". If you're running out and just can't get any more, then that's a problem.
  • Will there be more rings?
    Travis: We could give you toe rings, belly button rings, pinkie rings... [laughs]. It's a fair argument, and it makes me kind of sad, because it means I need to make better rings. I could easily make rings that would be amazingly buff, but there aren't enough awesome rings yet. Just this week they were implementing a bunch of new rings for one of our upcoming patches, to make more to be used instead of Ring of Royal Grandeur and Unity. Rings, just like every other category have a lack of diversity, but really that's just a matter of saying, "What are some really, really powerful effects that we can make, and make them rings." If you've got 10-15 rings that are all as good as those, suddenly you have a really difficult choice, and they're all really impactful. That's where they want to be eventually with rings.

    Wyatt: I think about Focus and Restraint rings.

    Travis: Oh god, they're so bad.

    Wyatt: Initially the bar was, this is how powerful a Legendary should be. Over time, our Legendary items have gotten more and more powerful, and suddenly Focus and Restraint when you look at them, you say "this is really terrible!" Well, compared to yellow rings, they were really good, but compared to RoRG and Unity they're just a drop in a bucket. And these rings are asking you to give up not just one but both rings. So one of these days, they want to revisit Focus and Restraint. To make them strong enough for people to consider, for certain types of builds and playstyles, to take off Unity and RoRG.

    Travis: The funny thing about Focus and Restraint is that back in RoS beta, before they had a sense of how powerful Legendary were going to be, the old power used to be: Whenever you cast an ability while at full resource, it deals 50% bonus damage. Q/A was testing builds, and they came back and said, "This is crazy, there's this Gyrfalcon's Foote that makes Blessed Shield free! That'll make it 50% better all the time, that's way too good!" But if it had shipped exactly how it was, it still would not have been good enough. So the game is in a different environment than it was, and there are some rings that need some love, that set especially needs a lot of love.

    Wyatt: Some of the ideas being kicked around recently for those rings were: When you hit full resource, the buff would stay on you for 5 seconds. Or, If you got more damage based on the percent resource you had left, so you didn't have to always be at full. What if it had nothing to do with resource, but it affected all of your spenders, or all of your generators. And then Don was like, if it's 50% more damage, make it maybe 500% more! Step 1, figure out a mechanic that we thing is really cool and will enable new ways to play. Step 2, pick a number that's big enough that it will compete with the rings that are there.
  • When will you guys make giving our followers upgrades easier to compare items?
    So far, there hasn't been a good solution. There is nothing currently to share, but it's something that's been discussed and there were some mockups made.

    Wyatt: I've wanted that too, and I think there were issues with UI elements where the screen was getting cluttered when it was tried before.
  • When will the revamped Skull Grasp come out?
    Wyatt: That will come out with the Whirlwind / Rend set.
  • Trade System
    Travis: We've talked about this a whole lot, this was kind of a holy war internally before trading was removed. We talked about how of the trading system we can preserve as much as possible, and the only thing we felt comfortable was what we ended up in game: you can give stuff to people if you are playing together, and for a limited amount of time. The sense of people earning the cool things they have is connected to getting rid of the old trade system and Auction House.

    Wyatt: The nostalgia factor can't be understated. A lot of players have really great memories of trading in Diablo 2. Or in Magic the Gathering when you traded cards at a shop, before the internet or prices were published in a magazine, it was great. It wouldn't work now, the same with Diablo trading. Clan trading is mentioned a lot; that isn't allowed because when I give you an item, I short circuiting your reward loop. In some circumstances, that feels really good and I know you and have a social connection to you, so the social currency makes up for that. A clan is too distant, you're going to just be trading with people who are utility to you, not close friends that you're killing stuff with.
  • Will there be other item grades beyond Ancient Items?
    Ancient Items - Tavern Talk February 2015
    Travis: Not currently, there isn't any discussion to do that. What is in place in terms of item progression is pretty solid, it's fulfilling all the needs of the game right now. The original Ancient item pitch started out way more comprehensive, it involved multiple tiers of Ancient Items. They decided they didn't need that, just a super-rare version that was more powerful. With the increased drop rates of items, and Kadala being more generous than she ever was before, they wanted preserve some sense of rarity. If they find they need more of that later, they have the ability to add more, but they have no plans for that now, and they'll cross that bridge when they come to it.
  • Class-Specific Gambling
    Travis: They want you to find other items along the way, instead of getting just the specific items you are looking for. Instead of just gambling on two-handed weapons for The Furnace, they want you to find other items. There are no plans to add Daibo-specific gambling at Kadala, and that's why.
  • Will single-target abilities ever be viable?
    Don: Upcoming sets and legendaries could buff them. One of them is the revamped Dashing Strike set. It's totally different from what was shown at BlizzCon; it will make those better.
  • Will clans in Diablo be expanded?
    Wyatt: Clans are so you have people to play with, and hang out. Right now, the developers still view clans an optional opt-in social thing. They don't want it where you're min-maxing being in a clan for actual power. They do value more ways to socially interact with players online, and will be working to get better at that.
  • Natalya's Set
    Travis: All 5 of the classic Diablo 3 sets are getting more items added to the sets, and 6 piece bonuses added to them, to make them better. Wyatt: And yes, we're still working on the Helltooth set!
  • Will the fetish AI be made better?
    Wyatt: No immediate plans to do that. They shoot when you do, nothing immediate.
  • DPS Meter
    All: No.
  • Hellfire crafting is tough and really random
    Travis: There are no immediate plans to change it, but they can discuss it internally. I'm ok with them being super-random, but if they're super-random they shouldn't be time-intensive, so one of those should give a little.
  • Unity rings seem like a requirement for some classes in solo Greater Rifts
    Don: They just need to keep adding more useful rings.

    Travis: If players want to increase survivability, that's one of the reasons the more defensive Legendary gems and other such options have been added.
  • Will there be 2-piece sets added so RoRG isn't necessary?
    Travis: No, they just need to make better options. That's a totally solvable problem and high on our priority list, and something that our next content patch will alleviate for some people.
  • Are support DPS builds ok?
    Don: As long as the gameplay is engaging, that's fine.
  • What about other uses for crafting materials?
    Travis: It's either feast or famine for using them. For both directions, our primary goal is that when you don't have enough, you know how to get more. When you have too many, you should know what to do with them. I have some plans for that for the future, hopefully we'll have some really solid solutions but that's a ways out.
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