Blizzard have been sketching out their plans for the important 1.0.4 patch for Diablo 3 over on
. The update aims to rebalance the difficulty of the action RPG's toughest sections and give players more reason to team up. Easier mobs, tweaked monster abilities, more loot, better legendary items and reduced repair costs will arrive alongside a host of class ability changes that may have us all rethinking our favourite builds.
Class changes will be detailed in a future blog post. For now, Blizzard are focusing on the item and mob balance changes they're planning to smooth out those troublesome difficulty spikes at Diablo 3's highest levels. Firstly, they'll be "lowering the health multiplier for monsters per additional player in co-op games." Elite mobs will be slightly less tough, and Blizzard are planning some changes to their randomised abilities. The "Invulnerable Minions" affix will be disappearing completely.
Blizzard say that currently "normal monsters die quickly and are usually just fodder, and Champions and Rares can feel like a brick wall." Patch 1.0.4 is "looking to bring normal enemies up a smidge, and Champions and Rares down." Enrage timers that severely debuff players after a fight has gone on for too long will be removed, and Champion and Rare monsters will no longer heal back to full when left alone.
The rewards for killing those monsters will be much greater. The team is "increasing the likelihood they drop magic or rare items by a factor of four." Those items should have a better chance of being decent too. Level 61 and 62 items can bear level 63 damage values, if you're lucky. Magic and gold find averaging will also go, removing the incentive for friends to gear towards "adventure stats" that improve drops, which often means sacrificing useful monster-killing stats.
Double-handed weapons will get new randomised affixes that will make them more useful. Currently, the value of having a shield stuffed with gems and packed full of stat boosting goodness tends to outweigh the power of your average monster club. There's more good news. The huge repair costs needed to keep high level items in shape will be reduced by a quarter of the current cost.
Patch 1.0.4 is due to arrive at the end of August. Blizzard have previously admitted that
Diablo 3's endgame is lacking
, and say they have plans to give top players new challenges beyond 1.0.4. They're also due to add a PvP mode, which was stripped out of the main release because the developers felt that it wasn't quite ready for prime time.