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Diablo III

Diablo III nerfs explained, stats shared

8:00 AM on 05.29.2012 // Jim Sterling

Blizzard has posted a new update on the Diablo III official site, sharing some interesting gameplay stats while explaining the current changes and plans for future updates. In particular, the publisher talked about the controversial changes made to the Demon Hunter, Wizard, and Monk. 

"Regarding the changes to Lingering Fog, Boon of Protection, and Force Armor: we determined these skills were simply more powerful than they should be, and we felt their impact on class balance and how each class was perceived warranted hotfixes as soon as we were able," it explained. "However, we don't want you to be worried that a hotfix nerf is lurking around the corner every day. If a skill is strong, but isn't really breaking the game, we want you to have your fun. Part of the enjoyment of Diablo is finding those super-strong builds, and we want players to be excited to use something they discovered that feels overpowered."

Blizzard has said that the nerfed skills were allowing certain classes to have an easier time in Inferno difficulty than intended, and that the "underpowered" classes were actually where players were supposed to be. However, the studio did admit that Inferno's tendency to cut huge chunks from a player's life bar isn't correct, stating that Inferno is meant to consistently drain health, rather than remove it in huge portions. 

"Right now, there’s a lot more damage “spikiness” occurring than feels right, and that’s one major area we’re looking to adjust in patch 1.0.3. While we don’t have any specifics yet, our design goals are to support and promote build diversity; continue to ensure that a mix of champion packs, rare packs, and boss fights are the most efficient way to acquire the best items in the game; and ensure that all classes are viable in Inferno."

The controversial loot drops and relative power of Legendary equipment has also been addressed, with Blizzard confirming that Legendary gear isn't supposed to be the best in the game. 

"First and foremost, Legendary items are not designed to necessarily be the best items in the game," it said. "They’re just one additional type of item as you level up, and they are not meant to be the primary items you’re chasing at the end-game. They can -- and should -- be exciting to find, but they’re not supposed to serve as the single driving force of the item hunt. Rare items, for example, have the possibility to roll up 'perfect' stats that can, if you’re lucky, outpace the predetermined stats of a Legendary. That’s by design."

In a new patch, Legendary items will receive a buff to help make them more useful, while changes are being made to item comparisons in order to stop players thinking that blue (magical) equipment is superior, something Blizzard calls a misconception. Adjustments are also being considered to make using the artisan characters cheaper and more attractive. That'd be helpful, since I personally gave up using the Blacksmith entirely once I figured the Auction House was the driving force of the game. 

Finally, here are some interesting player stats for you to stare at:

  • On average players have created 3 characters each
  • 80% of characters are between levels 1 and 30
  • 1.9% of characters have unlocked Inferno difficulty
  • 54% of Hardcore players chose a female character
  • The majority of Hardcore deaths (35%) occur in Act I Normal
  • The most common level 60 build in the game is only used by 0.7% of level 60 characters of that class (not including Passive diversity)
  • The most used runes for each class at level 60 are Barbarian: Best Served Cold, Demon Hunter: Lingering Fog, Wizard: Mirror Skin, Monk: Peaceful Repose, Witch Doctor: Numbing Dart

So, lots of interesting stuff happening in the world of Diablo.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
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