Yesterday we gave you a laundry list of features Blizzard is considering (and not considering) for Diablo 3's future. Today, we received more solid intel on what's going into the upcoming Patch 1.03. Highlights include making it easier to get higher level items on earlier acts, rare mobs dropping more stuff, and bosses dropping less. Read on for more.
Previously, item Level 61, 62, and 63 items (the highest in the game) would only drop from Inferno Acts II, III, and IV, respectively. After the patch, you'll have a chance to find iLevel 61 and 62 as far back as Hell difficulty Acts III and IV, albeit at a much lower drop rate than Inferno. iLevel 63 gear will drop at in all acts of Inferno, increasing in frequency as you get to higher acts.
If you haven't made it to 60 yet (which is to say, a vast majority of Diablo 3 players), you're probably wondering what Nephalem Valor is. Kicking in at the level cap, Nephalem Valor is a buff that stacks, up to five, with every Elite pack you kill and gives increased magic and gold find. The intent is to incentivize players not to just farm bosses, a'la Diablo 2, since you get more loot if you clear the act first. (You lose your stacks if you switch chapters, so you have to actually play through rather than building to max Valor and then skipping to the boss.)
Previously, five stacks of Nephalem Valor would reward you with two guaranteed rares from a boss kill. After the patch, this number will be reduced to one guaranteed rare, but also adds a guaranteed rare to every elite mob kill when you have a full stack. This will mean more rares overall, and makes boss rushing even less efficient.
An ally has joined, but the minions of hell grow stronger. At least, in terms of hitpoints and such. Their damage, however, will no longer scale in co-op, as it was de-incentivizing group play too much.
The community consensus has been that the difficulty jump from Act I to Act II Inferno is just way too high, especially for melee classes. Though vague on the specifics, Blizzard says that they'll be bringing down Inferno's three latter acts to be a smoother curve up from Act I.
The specific number given is "4x to 6x" the current cost. The devs say this is to make it less efficient for max level players to "graveyard zerg" their way too a boss, running past the normal enemies and not paying attention to how many times they die doing so.
The most affected system here will be gem combining. The highest two tiers of gems will still require you to promise your firstborn to a treasure goblin, but everything below that is having a cost reduction into the domain of being trivial. For example, crafting a Flawless Square Ruby, previously costing three Square Rubies, 20,000 gold and two Tomes, will now only require two Square Rubies, 100 gold and two Tomes.
There is more on the docket (such as class balancing) for Patch 1.1, the game's first major update. To read the full preview, check out the official post on Battle.net.