I'd last played the game in patch 1.0.3. I had actually posted about patch 1.0.4 (which brought in the 'new' endgame with paragon levels) but wasn't interested enough to actually play at that point. Patch 1.0.7 came out last week, so there's 3 major patches worth of notes to browse on top of the standard Blizzard hot fixes. What have we got?
Patch 1.0.5 brought:
- Monster power. This is basically a dial you can turn to tweak the difficulty of the game. Make the monsters harder and get rewarded with more items. The more items comes in the form of a magic find multiplier which can exceed the standard magic find cap, which seems pretty great. Diablo II let you make the game harder by telling it how many players were in the game and this sounds pretty similar. A difficulty dial is awesome, as is a small but tangible reward for moving up in difficulty. Maybe now hell won't be trivial while inferno is practically impossible!
- Infernal machine event. Kill a bunch of bosses to get low drop rate BoA reagents. Combine three of them to open a hard boss event. Collect stuff from the hard boss events to build awesome BoA items. This sounds like a nice time sink with a real reward that can't just be bought on the AH. This is again exactly what a Diablo endgame needs. Eventually they added similar things to Diablo II and I can remember having a lot of fun running around with Tom and Byung trying to get the unique charm thing.
- They completely redid the diminishing aspects of crowd control! I always hated that spells/mechanics just stopped working properly on harder difficulties and it sounds like they built a new system to keep CC from getting out of control without making it always useless. There's a great post on the topic here.
- Legendary and set items drop more often, which is nice. Even if I don't want to wear a set I still like collecting all the bits!
- Tons of bug fixes and skill balances.
Patch 1.0.6 brought:
- Nothing. It talked a little about Battle.net infrastructure changes. PLEASE LET THIS MEAN GUILDS ARE COMING! I fear it was more to upgrade Battle.net for the StarCraft II expansion, but I'm willing to be optimistic. I WANT GUILDS! Or at least a chat room. Can I have a chat room?
Patch 1.0.7 brought:
- PvP. I imagine this means way more to other people than to me, but I could see tooling around with this. Right now it's just a way to do little duels of up to 4 people.
- Quality of life/balance buffs to the end game systems. Monster power 10 is now worth 610% experience instead of 260% which is a pretty big deal and makes me suspect the monster power rewards weren't actually good enough in 1.0.5. The Neph buff now persists across acts, the base pick-up radius was increased, and you don't get an escalating rez timer if you die a bunch. All little, nice things.
- A new BoA reagent that drops from end game stuff and can be used to craft ilvl 63 BoA gear. Anything that makes farming for yourself a better way to power up than shopping at the AH is fantastic in my eyes since it encourages people to play the game instead of playing the economy. If I wanted to play the economy I'd play Eve.
- New recipes to create awesome BoA gems.
- Legendary items put an icon on the map when they drop to make it harder to miss them.
- More skill balances and bug fixes.
It sounds like they actually have a reasonable end game now. Rather than a single (brutally hard) difficulty with grinding gold being the only realistic way to power up for practically all players there's now a difficulty slider and a decent selection of non-AH paths to power. Paragon levels, the infernal machine, and the new BoA crafting materials all seem like fun things to chase that require you to actually run around, kill things, and take their stuff. It sounds like a reasonable guild system is still a pipe dream which makes me sad.
That said, I'm intrigued enough that if I don't have Blood Bowl matches to play tonight I think I'll patch it up and give it a spin. Most of the changes are focused at max level so it seems like I should probably play my wizard despite having like 8 months worth of skill changes to learn. Man, I hope laser beams are good! But even if they aren't, I can almost certainly still use them on a lower monster power level. I think I had reasonable enough gear when I quit so I'm really hoping that's true!
Ooh, there's an armoury for Diablo III now! Apparently I have 1274 int, 125% magic find, 500 vit, 1468 armour, and 223 resist all. Is that good?