The last 48 hours of Diablo IV It was a little messy to follow Highly controversial changes to the player’s power level in The first pre-season game patch. Now, developer Blizzard is doing some damage control, going live on July 21st to try and explain the decision-making process, as well as the changes it makes in response to the overwhelmingly negative feedback.
Diablo IVThe latest patch, 1.1.0, has significantly reduced player power across the board. Changes include reductions in XP earned for various activities, as well as a decreased role for status effects such as a weakness that played a major role in class creations. It’s been a tumultuous set of changes to say the least, all documented Comprehensive list of mods via the official patch notes. As promised, Blizzard held a livestream today to address these changes, as well as provide some updates on future changes to the game – particularly in response to negative feedback on the previous patch. You can Watch the entire broadcast here:
Reducing player power: “We know it sucks. We know it’s not fun.
In the livestream, Adam Fletcher, Blizzard’s Associate Director of Community Management, immediately responded to the intense negative feedback in response to the patch, acknowledging that bugs had been made and that reducing player power had spoiled the fun of the game for some players.
While Fletcher mentioned that Blizzard had specific goals in mind with the latest patch and that they wanted an opportunity to explain why these changes were being made, some good news is that the team “doesn’t plan on making a patch like this again.”
Blizzard plans to ‘always provide patch notes well in advance’
While the latest version greatly reduced player power and hit the heart of the evolving meta, one of the most chaotic elements of it all was how suddenly the patch notes arrived, how long they were, and how it felt like there was absolutely no warning about what was going to happen in the game’s first season, which kicked off on July 20th.
As a way to move forward on future issues like this, Blizzard has promised to provide patch notes “before long,” with an estimate that notes will appear about a week before the new update. The next update for the game, version 1.1.1, is expected to arrive sometime soon, and Blizzard will discuss the specifics of this patch in another live chat next Friday, July 28th.
Changes in the player’s strength are explained
Although some may find Blizzard’s explanations for the dramatic mass extinction lacking, Associate Game Director Joe Piepiora explained that the cuts in player attributes such as cooldown rates and status effects such as vulnerability were made to try to amplify player choice. About cooldown rates specifically, Piepiora said:
[Cooldown reduction (CDR) is the most powerful stat] in Diablo IV, The reason for this is obvious: when you are able to get the CDR to a certain point when using certain class mechanisms, you can effectively obtain instant active skills. That can give you unlimited resources, it can give you unlimited movement speed, it can give you unlimited resistance to damage, and it starts dwarfing the effectiveness of the other options when you start trying to take those things into account.
During the broadcast, both Piepiora and game director Joe Shely realized that overpowered buildings and mowing down lots of enemies is central to a power RPG fantasy. However, the team is currently concerned that player choice in builds is dying in favor of moving into metas, meaning that if you don’t emphasize reducing cooldown time, or optimizing builds to send enemies into a vulnerable state, you’re running at a huge disadvantage.
The vulnerability, which saw its damage rate significantly reduced in patch 1.1.0, has become, according to Piepiora, the only way to really start damaging enemies at certain levels of play. The team said this is out of line with their vision for the game, and in many ways they believe it is the result of the outsized influence of high-level Nightmare Dungeons, which Piepiora said is one of those areas of endgame content that tend to require very specific designs without much room for customization and choice.
The truth is that Nightmare Dungeons is vastly overdone in terms of where they actually need to be based on the role they take in the game itself. So it’s very difficult for most classes of Level 100 Nightmare Dungeons to actually be able to access and as a result they start to seize the opportunities and options that players have when they start to interact with the content at that level. You need to rely on very specific builds, very specific setups with access to things like near-instantaneous cooldowns for certain skills in an effort to get through those spaces. This was not the true intent of this content.
It’s clear that Nightmare Dungeons will see changes on at least two fronts: the density of hordes will increase to play into the fantasy of power to destroy massive amounts of enemies, and in connection with Piepiora’s statement that the overwhelming difficulty level they form has too much of an effect on build selection, the difficulty will be reduced, bringing down the current difficulty level of Tier 100 Nightmare Dungeons.
Patch 1.1.1 is expected to address some concerns
During the broadcast, the team confirmed that the goal was not, in fact, to reduce the game’s speed and slow progression, though many felt that changes to the game’s systems such as increasing the time it takes to teleport out of dungeons seemed to indicate otherwise. Commenting on this particular change, Shelley said the team will continue to evaluate such changes, but stopped short of saying why, exactly, this particular change was made in the first place.
The next patch, 1.1.1, is expected to address a variety of issues found in the current version of the game. Blizzard revealed some of these changes, such as an additional tab in storage size to alleviate concerns about inventory management, and a 40 percent cut in convenience costs so players can respond more appropriately to changes in the definition of the game while having more options to build variety as the game progresses. Other specific details, such as changes that greatly reduce the energy level and strength of certain classes more than others, will be explored more in depth in next week’s livestream.
The team has confirmed that it doesn’t want to take away powerful skills and items abruptly like it did with the latest patch, and vows to introduce more alternatives when possible sweeping changes happen in the future. A hotfix is due to arrive later today (July 21), along with patch notes expected to hit Diablo IVwebsite of shortly before the start of the live broadcast.
It is not uncommon for live service games to make sudden changes such as Diablo IV Here, however, community frustration with poor communication and implemented changes can easily build up over time to create burnout and resentment. Time will tell how fast Diablo IV Recovering from this last incision.
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