Blizzard has just described some design changes coming in Patch 1.0.3 and it’s a lot. Players have been literally screaming for these changes. You’ll find changes to drop rates, Nephalem Valor, co-op benefits, difficulty curves in Inferno past Act I, increased death penalties, Increased Attack Speed changes, dramatic crafting cost changes, minor class changes. Also, some news on Legendary item power. Whew. Wow. Alright let’s delve into this.
Drop Rates In Hell and Inferno
In an effort to increase playing and pure progression in Inferno and bring less “need” to use the Auction House to make your way through, Blizzard is changing what items drop in what Acts. Before Blizzard saw a lot of people sticking to Hell Act IV, killing everything and breaking everything for a small chance at those lovely items whose item level is above level 60. While you can still do that, Blizzard is making an effort to make Infero Act I seem a lot more worth it. After all, you’ve beaten Hell. It’s time to move on.
Drop rates for ilvl 61, 62, and 63 (the current cap for items and the strongest) are increased throughout Inferno and kept the same in Hell Act IV. As you progress through Inferno and leave Act I, you’ll find even more chances to get these nice items.
Sadly, this will not be in Patch 1.0.3 but Blizzard has said that after the update they will have more news about it. This is upsetting a tad since this update is so huge you’d expect something like buffing an item set to be in it. However, this is not easy work. Blizzard is continually working on it. As upsetting as it sounds, I really can’t imagine this being a quick fix. There is quite a number of Legendaries and Set Items (which are, I’d say, Legendary level) and they need to change all of them.
Look for more info on this after Patch 1.0.3.
Nephalem Valor Changes
When you kill champions and rares at level 60 you receive a buff to your magic and gold find. This buff can be stacked up to 5 and each stack increases these finds up to 75%. The buff lasts 30 minutes and can be refreshed with more champion and rare kills. However, you can’t change any skill, rune, passive, or leave the game or the buff disappears.
In Patch 1.0.3, when you have the full five stacks of Nephalem Valor you’ll go from two guaranteed rares on bosses to one but you’ll now get at least one guaranteed rare on champion and rare enemy packs. You still have a chance at getting more rare, though. This is to promote progression instead of boss farming using the buff. This also gives you more chances to get better items now that champions and rares drop better stuff guaranteed with five stacks of Valor.
When a player joins your game in Diablo, the monsters get tougher. This is known. However, in Inferno, that can be very daunting. Also, some classes are able to have a certain strategy or skill build that increases survivability to a point that soloing Inferno is better for them. Blizzard is changing this a tad by adding co-op benefits. They did not say what kind of benefits would be coming but they want to try and make solo and co-op play in Inferno as close as possible in terms of viability.
Difficulty Curve In Inferno
A common saying in the Diablo 3 community is that everyone can solo Act I Inferno. It’s Act II when you hit the roadblock. This is very true, especially for Barbs and Monks. Well, honestly, every class hits a strong gear check in Act II Inferno. It’s a matter of skill builds that allow some classes to pass by it a bit easier. Blizzard is lessening the difficulty curve while trying to preserve the inherent overall difficulty of Inferno. They don’t want to make Inferno easy or just moderately hard.
They will be making it so that characters who were able to go offensive after gearing up in Act I can switch to a more defensive build in Act II and do alright while building back up to that offensive position. It seems like we’ll be headed to a defense-offense-defense system of progressing through Inferno. At least this sounds like it will less the whiners who don’t want to wait for gear and just want to smash through the game like in Normal through Hell.
Right now Blizzard doesn’t feel like you appreciate death at all. There are barely no repair costs and zerging packs of strong monsters or bosses is very rampant. They thought of many ways to change this. Some of them would completely suck but they have gone with increasing repair costs at level 60. This is a radical change, too. Expect increase of 4x and 6x of what you see now at level cap.
The alternatives were increased resurrection timer, no rezzes during boss fights, or a death debuff. This method of repair cost increase keeps players in the game and playing but makes them think that maybe this constant zerging is a bad idea.
Increased Attack Speed Changes
I have to agree with Blizzard that Increased Attack Speed is basically needed by high level characters. My amulet and rings always have this. It’s gotten to a point that even my low level characters have their jewelry decked out like that as to not get myself in a stat-heavy jewel craze and watch some stats drop when I switch to Attack Speed. We need that mobility in Inferno. You need to be fast and get stuff done and move. Blizzard is changing this a bit.
They are going to be lessening the attack speed increase on items. They thought about having a cap for attack speed and add diminishing returns but they didn’t want another hidden stat.
Crafting For Dummies
That’s kind of what this feels like. This is the most dramatic change in the patch. Just for example, the cost for crafting a Flawless Square Ruby requires 3 Squares, 20,000 gold, and 2 tomes. After Patch 1.0.3 it will require 2 Squares, 100 gold, and 2 tomes. Wow. If you want to think about what lesser gems will cost, just keep going down.
This will not be happening to any tier of gems over Flawless Square, however. Those will still be very expensive as to balance this new system out. Star gems are very, very good so this will add to their power. They did not list any changes to Blacksmith other then that they are changing his costs, too.
Minor Class Changes
Blizzard said that class changes are not a focus of Patch 1.0.3. There will be minor ones coming in this patch but overall it is something that will be happening nearly every patch. Balancing all five classes is an extremely hard thing to do while preserving the soul of the game, especially in Inferno. Do not expect a lot of changes this time around but they are always working on classes.
Blizzard said their will be fixes for “quality of life”, the Auction House, and other systems. They did not go into detail about this, though. We most likely won’t know until the Patch Notes are release.
This is all the major points of the new patch coming. You can view all of Blizzard’s info, charts, and percentages here on Battle.net.