Blizzcon 2013 was held on November 8th-9th 2013 and Blizzard released a lot of interesting information about the upcoming changes for Diablo3 as well as the Reaper of Souls (RoS) expansion.
I have collated a lot of the interesting points here and they form a nice summary of all the information out there. I encourage you to read all the posts and watch the interviews in full, but if you are looking for a quick interesting collection of all the information out there, well then, Stay Awhile And Listen.
Also, on a separate note, I have to mention the book “Stay Awhile and Listen: How Two Blizzards Unleashed Diablo and Forged a Video-Game Empire – Book I“. It seems to be a great book for any Diablo Fan and I’m waiting for the next free weekend I have to go through it all (along with my signed copy of Book of Tyrael)!
As we all know, it is super annoying to go through the game as it is now. You are stuck in one Act, can’t carry over Nephalem Valor stacks and have to keep skipping through every animation & cutscene and have to be super careful not to trigger waypoints.
Adventure Mode is here to fix some of these things. The new idea is “Go Anywhere, Slay Anything”. You don’t have to go through the game linearly anymore, you can skip around and play any waypoint in any Act. This would make for some great farming routes – Festering Woods, Crypt, Fields of Misery, Vault of the Assassins, Dahlgur Oasis, Keeps 2, Rakkis Crossing etc.
The most obvious thing to do when you start up in Adventure Mode is to hit the zones which have Bounties. Those appear with an ! icon on each Act’s waypoint map for random bosses (as seen in the picture above), or a Diablo’s skull icon if the boss is a quest type boss.
Moving around on the Adventure Mode map is super fast. When you click one of the waypoints, your character instantly teleports to it, assuming you’re in town. Else, it requires the usual 5 seconds of uninterrupted casting. The best part is that you go straight to the chosen waypoint without stopping in town, even if its a different act.
The difference between Adventure mode and Normal mode is that Normal mode has all the cut scenes, animations etc. Also, it seems that the new difficulty levels (Easy, Normal, Hard, Torment, Demonic, Apocalypse) apply only to normal mode and not Adventure mode. Apparently, difficulty in Adventure mode is scaled based your DPS (averaging out in teams), which is relatively weird and I hope some clarifications are posted on this soon. There is no mention right now of Monster Power at all.
I have no clue as to why someone would play Normal mode more than once to see all the cutscenes etc. Mainly, because you will play Adventure mode to get Bounties, Bounties give Rift Keystones, those give randomized dungeons with great XP and loot.
Bounties are the main reason to play through Adventure Mode
Random quests are given to you, in all 5 acts, which could include any kind of monsters, bosses or dungeons. 25 bounties are given at the start of a game, 5 in each act and can be completed in any order. You could be asked to: Kill a Boss, Complete an Event, Kill a Unique or Clear a Dungeon.
Rewards include gold, experience, powerful items, and Rift Keystones to unlock Nephalem Rifts.
As reported by Incgamers, bounties seem to be very farmable. With a level 32 character, they were able to complete 6 bounties in 20 minutes (playing for the first time) , netting 20k gold and 50k XP on an average per bounty. Now this means, that if you spend an hour playing, assuming one Bounty per 3 minutes, you can get 20 bounties an hour which nets 400k gold (meh) and 1mXP (bah). Im not sure how that works out from a reward perspective, as most decent farmers can get 100mXP an hour and the really good players get 200m-300m XP. And XP is now all the more important, as higher Paragon levels give better stats.
The Bounties Incgamers saw, ranged from “almost instant” to “two levels down” in terms of how findable they were. The easiest one appeared on the Waypoint, which was just luck. Other Bounties required more searching, but their icon shows up on the map once you’re within a few screens of them. Even if it is in a Lvl 2 dungeon, the map indicates the same. That’s mainly what makes them so farmable.
Nephalem Rifts are very different, they can be 1 to 10 level deep dungeons. They can have crazy buffs, much better than in normal mode. They are accessed via yellow portals in town in Adventure mode and are unlocked by using the the Rift Keystones earned via Bounties. At Blizzcon, The Keystones were already provided in the inventory, so Keystone drop rates are unknown at this point.
Each Rift is completely (supposedly :P) randomized in its layout and types of monsters. Afaik, even the monster traits are completely randomized.
As an example, according to Incgamers, “The levels are fully random; the first Rift I entered from Tristram got me a Desert tombs dungeon for Level one. Level two was an Act One Leoric’s Dungeon. Level three was an Act Three Keep type level. Level four was an Act One jail type level. And every one of those levels had a fully random assortment of enemies; not tied to the act of the tile set, or the monsters limited to just one act, etc.”
When you enter a rift, there is a progress bar on the screen below the minimap. It represents percent of monsters killed. The counter goes by kills and doesnt weight monster type, HP etc. Hence, if you get easy trash mobs such as 10-20 scorpions, each group can fill up the bar quickly by 2-3%.
Once you reach 100%, the Rift Guardian appears. It appears instantly when you kill the last monster and it doesn’t matter what you’re doing at the time. So you could be fighting 2 bosses and suddenly a Rift Guardian as well.
The devs have referred to a special reward if you complete a full Rift. This hasn’t been seen at Blizzcon, though it seems that the Rift monster appears every time and is not randomized like the Keywarden whose Key drop rate is tied to MP levels.
One thing that was noticed is that every Rift dungeon had a lot of bosses. Even when not clearing the full levels, at least 3 or 4 random Elites appeared per level, with lots of trash mobs between them. This results in short downtime between elites with larger trash mobs in between, as compared to what is seen in the game today.
Also, it is mentioned that the new shrines help immensely in clearing the Rifts faster. These 30 second shrines could be: No cooldowns and resource costs, Invulnerability, +Damage 400%, Max Movement Speed, Mass Electrocute abilities etc.
Items + Smart Drops
With the Loot 2.0 patch, the new philosophy is”Less is More” i.e. lesser items will drop, but of better quality. Also, “Items Support Builds” means that skill based items will actually influence the way you play. This should add in a LOT of variety to the builds. However, that does depend on the builds themselves. If certain builds are better, then people will concentrate on maximizing those and will hence gravitate to that weapon type. E.g. For a Barbarian, Movement speed Bracers, Pants and Boots (2 out of 3) are a must to even think about infinite WOTB.
The New smart drop system means sometimes (but more than now) the Item type, Stats and Skills will be tailored to the character currently playing. Also, the stats will not roll from 1-100 (E.g. for Strength) as they do now, but will roll from 75-100. Also, stats are grouped into Primary and Secondary stats. So you don’t have to worry about a primary stat being replaced by Magic Find or Melee Damage which are comparatively useless.
For legendaries, we see many more of them drop now as opposed to before the patches 5 months ago. In my playtime, I think in the first 8 months I barely saw 4-5 legendaries and 0 sets. Now, I get 5-6 of them every hour. Now, Blizzard wants to change it to an “end game for everyone”, so we should definitely see more of them. Also, ALL the current legendaries will now be available at higher tiers and will roll according to the Monster level. That means we have a chance of getting Level 63 Leorics (I hope) now.
If you see the Frostburn Gauntlets image above, it shows a good example. On the left is the legacy gloves, and without primary stats, they are completely useless. On the right, we can see that it now has a high value of Intelligence, Life on Hit and Armor (You press Ctrl ingame to see the grey values). I can now see these being pretty useful for Wizards, except that without Crit Chance, Crit Damage and most importantly Attack Speed for Wizards, I’m not sure the high Int and LoH value can compensate for that. But the game changer could be “Your chill effects have a 50% chance to Freeze instead of Slow”. This means that every other attack freezes all monsters in range and that means they can possibly get rid of Frosta Nova for a better Area of Effect (AOE) skill.
Other interesting effects are :
Bracers – “Every time you destroy a wreckable object, you gain a short burst of speed”
Boots – “You may move unhindered through enemies”
Witch Doctor helm – “Horrify causes you to Fear and Root enemies around you for 8 seconds”
An interesting note from the Q&A states that to get away from Trifecta, the devs are removing (!!!) Life Steal. Firstly, I believe Trifecta means CC, CD and AS. The next in line would be Primary Stat and then Avg Dmg. So I’m not sure that the question was answered correctly. Also, removing LS is a pretty big deal since all characters use that as their main healing skill, so it is going be interesting on how they compensate us for that, else we could all turn into Glass Cannons.
There are a lot of new Monsters which will be introduced. I personally want to wait and experience them myself, so this will be short.
Importantly, there is a new capability called Backpedal, where ranged monsters can backup without changing direction, and keep attacking while they move. This makes them much more deadly as if they run from you now, they turn around and do no damage and you can easily take them down.
Some of the new monsters are called Boggits, Brutes and Terror Bats (Image above, Right). You get lots of small Boggits and a bigger Brute which spawns Boggits. The Bat bites Boggits who turn into Brutes and spawn even more Boggits. This could make farming much more efficient, similar to how people do quick crypt walkthroughs to “activate” all the monsters and then farm them, resulting in 2-3x the number of monsters.
A very interesting one is the Realm Walker (Image above, Middle). He guards a portal on his head, using which he brings in monsters from another realm. When he dies, he spawns a portal that we can jump into and then kill monsters in there. Should make for an interesting mini Dungeon, plus an excelled escape tactic.
Another one is the Westmarch Hound (Image above, Left), who looks like a bulldog and treats the player like a chew toy. When he kills the player, he turns and actually pees on them!
Other great stuff
Groups and Clans were teased in the trailer. For me, this is one of the best new features, since now the game actually has a social aspect. I already have my own mini clan, would be nice to make it formal and have everyone together in one place. Plus, it adds competition, especially if they institute some kind of Global DPS, EHP, PLvl rankings.
As specified in other Blizzard blogs, the Mystic makes a return and can either Transmorgify items (Make them look different) or Enchant (Re-roll) one stat.
Lots of gold sinks are coming, Enchanting is a big one; but Transmogrify is not a big gold sink. New and better Blacksmith recipes are coming, with Smart Drops, so now the crafting is even better.
Toughness is replacing Armor as the basic stat that’s displayed. No more need to go to D3Rawr to see your EHP. Life is now replaced with Healing, which is a mix of all the life affixes.
Four Passives are now available at level 70.
Items now display stats as either Primary or Secondary and they roll accordingly.
White, Blue and Rare (?) items now give crafting reagents when salvaged.
It seems Nephalem Valor stacks may have been removed as they weren’t in the RoS playable demo @ Blizzcon.
They did cover the Crusader quite a bit @Blizzcon, but I haven’t covered that as a) I want to try out and enjoy the character myself and b) They also covered that already in previous Blizzard blogs before the event.
Heroes of the Storm:
I couldn’t end this post without mentioning Blizzards new MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena). This is a new game they are working on, to compete with League of Legends (LoL) and DoTA (Defense of the Ancients). What is interesting is that the battles are supposed to be much shorter, 20 mins or so and they have characters from all Blizzard games. As seen below (in the Top Row), you can see Diablo, Tyrael, a Witch Doctor and Andariel as playable characters!!
You can see Tyrael in Action below:
As seen below, we have the epic standoff between Tyrael (on the left) and Diablo (On the right).
If you would like to go through all the transcripts and liveblogs, check out: