Blizzard explains Diablo III hotfix and nerf philosophy

Tuesday, 29th May 2012 01:14 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Waking up one morning and finding your Diablo III monk is less of a powerhouse than yesterday is painful, yes, but Blizzard insists it’s for the good of the overall game.

In a new developer blog post, Blizzard said hotfixes allow the developer to “react quickly to critical design and balance issues, bugs, and other problems that seriously conflict with our design intent”.

“We expect that because the game is new, some other issues will arise that will need to be immediately addressed through hotfixes, but in general, most changes will arrive through patches,” it promised.

While admitting to having “outright nerf”ed some aspects of the game with the most recent hotfixes, Blizzard said these were necessary changes to bring about the kind of “diversity” of build it hopes to find reaching endgame in the higher difficulty settings.

“Inferno is intended to be extremely difficult, but with some specific skills, a few classes were simply able to progress far more easily than intended,” it said.

“This made the [other] classes, which were about where they were supposed to be, seem very underpowered. It also created the perception that the classes doing well were intended to rely on specific runes in all their builds, and the other classes were just broken.

“This is the opposite of what’s true. If any single skill or rune feels absolutely required to progress, it means that skill is working against our goal of encouraging build diversity — and those “required” skills need to be corrected.”

Blizzard apologised for surprising players with the hotfixes and promised to communicate better in the future. To that end, the post also gives some details on upcoming changes to the blacksmith and to Inferno damage spikes, as well as some interesting statistics; just 1.9% of characters have unlocked Inferno difficulty, for example. Hit the link above for more.

Thanks, Blue.



  1. evilashchris

    Diablo III shirley?

    #1 3 years ago
  2. tatsujin

    Patch 1.0.2 in a week.
    Patch 1.0.3 in June hopefully followed by Patch 1.1 (brings PvP and buffs Legendaries).

    I’m waiting for Patch 1.0.3 to balance Inferno rather than get destroyed in less than a second in Act II Inferno (have 9K+ armor, 800+ resist to all, 33k+ HP, 10-11k+ DPS).

    #2 3 years ago
  3. TheWulf

    The problem though is this sucks for people who don’t want patches forced on them.

    If RunicGames decides to balance things in Torchlight II in ways you disagree with, you have two options:

    1. Simply don’t install the patch.
    2. Use a mod that restores that part of the game to how it was pre-patch.

    If Blizzard does this with Diablo III, you have one choice:

    1. You have no choice. Like it or lump it, the patch is forced upon you and you can do shit all about it.

    This is why I dislike Diablo III, it’s always been a single-player MMORPG in the worst possible ways. But this is just showing all the other problems with their design. I’m glad I didn’t waste my money on it.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. Ireland Michael

    @3 Well you see, if the game was balanced *fairly* people wouldn’t have to grind out rare mats to get super-powerful gear to sell on the Real Money Auction House, and they’d lose out on money spent by the players too lazy to do the grind themselves.

    I love the part where they act like this is for the consumer’s sake. Lawl.

    Blizzard has had years to get this “communication” thing right. It’s a fucking joke that they’re apparently still getting it wrong at this point.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. DSB

    It’s not hard to see who’s playing the game and who isn’t here.

    I think the real money AH is a failure, not because it gives anyone an advantage, but because it really isn’t any use to very many people. The drops are random, the game is the grind, and there’s no problem gearing up your characters. While the crafting is arguably the games quintessential money-sink, I don’t feel any kind of temptation to spend actual money just so I can take a chance on a randomly crafted item.

    It’s only a failure for Blizzard, not for the people playing the game.

    As for the Monk, he/she’s still a whirling tornado of murder. No harm, no foul.

    The comparisons to MMOs are certainly totally valid when it comes to most ARPGs, but it’s pretty severely stunted by the fact that something like Diablo 3′s idea of longevity is replaying the same exact game, only harder. That really doesn’t leave a lot of game in there for people to sacrifice their social lives for.

    Basically the only thing that’s meant to sustain the AH and the endgame is “e-peen”. Now, e-peen is an important thing in any MMO, but it’s a lot more satisfying when you earn it, rather than buy it/randomly pick it up.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Ireland Michael

    “…it’s pretty severely stunted by the fact that something like Diablo 3′s idea of longevity is replaying the same exact game, only harder.”

    It wouldn’t be half as bad if there was more *actual* game to play.

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Sini

    i can beat skeletons all day long.

    just checked, i have 120 hours logged across all my characters in the past 2 weeks, holy fuck where time went.

    also, dont bring up torchlight 2, game looks like some cartoony shit, both the scenery, enemies and characters. I half expect them to start picking flowers each time someone links to the game video.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. tatsujin

    @7 – couldn’t agree more with you.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Patrick Garratt

    I’m about 12 hours into it as the witch doctor. I reckon I’ll run through as a barbarian next.

    Be interesting to see how fast they do put out more content. I mean, there surely won’t be any more this year. They’ll have to do a full expansion, etc. I don’t reckon we’ll get anything until mid-late 2013, realistically.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Patrick Garratt

    I just bid 37,000 gold on a magic frog.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Erthazus

    Someone who brings Torchlight II to the topic is a noob and don’t know how to play Diablo III that actually involve skill and your brain.

    @PAt, There will be PVP Patch soon with arena’s and etc.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. jacobvandy

    I wouldn’t rule out smaller DLC releases. New classes are a no-brainer (they’d make millions just rehashing old ones like Bard, Paladin, Necromancer) and given their randomization it’d be pretty simple to just inject some new dungeons or mobs into the existing campaign. So then the big stuff like new Acts/locales, raised level cap, new skills for all, etc. would be reserved for expansion pack(s).

    #12 3 years ago
  13. Patrick Garratt

    @11 – When’s the PvP patch? In June? That’s awesome. Is it 4v4?

    @12 – Yep, new classes would be amazing. If they released the necro there’d be a small meltdown, I think.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. Llewelyn_MT

    @7: Why the hate? In comparison to its predecessors, Diablo III also is some cartoony shit. I just picked up a 4-pack of Torchlight II on Steam with my friends. Here’s why:

    It costs just a bit more for the 4-pack then a single copy of Diablo III.
    It has no always-on DRM and a P2P co-op, which means we can play whenever we feel like it, not when the publisher allows us.
    It has a support for mods, so we are playing the game how we like it. This is how PC gamers roll.
    It’s supposed to be wild fun, so we’re OK with the alleged “cartoony shit”.

    Go play your Diablo and leave my Torchlight alone. We’re obviously wanting different things from our games. It’s OK with me and you might want to get over it as well.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Patrick Garratt

    I’ll play both of them, to be honest. I think they’ve both got different vibes and Torchlight II’s doing some really cool stuff. I love Diablo, though, and it’s clearly going to get very awesome before it gets boring. PvP should be hilarious.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. OlderGamer

    The “dark” themes, graphics, and mood of Diablo III aren’t really all that cool folks. And that is the biggest thing that most people put down Torchlight for. It isn’t that Diablo III is bad because of the way it its art style is. But any more then Torchlight II is bad because of its art style.

    Playing Diablo III doesn’t make you more of a grown up then playing Torchlight II. Both games are working in the same space. And talking about one in a thread about the other does make sense, because the comparasion is warrented. Much the same way BF vs COD. They are related in so many ways.

    Just FYI three people that made Diablo and Diablo II, founded Runic games, and made the Torchlight games. So the comparasions have even more merrit.

    The thing that stands out most to me about this article is the 1.9%.

    Only 1.9% of toons have gotten into the hardest mode. That is a little askew because it implys toons and not players. So if Erth, for example, has two toons, he is likly only 50%. However, I really have to wonder how many players actualy get that far? How many players will complete the game? And the big one…how many players will be playing for years to come? I played Diablo II for years and years, infact I was playing DII this winter/spring. I really don’t see me playing Diablo III very long. Once I get to that point where I need to buy other players gear in order to advance, I will prolly be done.

    Grinding for gear make some degree of sense for a game like wow. In wow the gameplay is more involved, and the group play is more dynamic, and if played with friends/family can be a lot of fun even in overplayed content. I don’t have that feel with Diablo III. In DIII grinding just feels like grinding.

    I will play and move on to Torchlight II, GrimDawn and/or something else.

    1.9%, lol.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. DSB

    @16 I agree that graphics shouldn’t matter, and I respect the fact that Torchlight II has more options for the player, it’s more sandboxy, and that’s cool. But the combat is really mindnumbingly simple. It’s not as if all the number crunching and choice is actually put into a more complex gameplay experience.

    Surprisingly, playing the Torchlight II beta really gave me a whole new appreciation for D3′s gameplay.

    I don’t think either game is very “grown up”, as such. They’re both pretty simple clickfests that really haven’t moved that far from the games who originated that formula. The devil is in the details.

    I agree with the last bit though, I have no idea what Blizzard really envisioned here. I don’t see any reason why you’d ever have to buy gear instead of simply earning it. These games are really just one big grind, and the gear isn’t exactly short on anyone. And making me go through a piss easy first playthrough just so I can get to the real meat of the game? What gives?

    #17 3 years ago

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