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Post by Dan @ 02:06pm 07/06/12 | 27 Comments
Blizzard have posted another very detailed developer blog explaining their approach to the many balance changes that are being actively worked towards for Diablo III's upcoming v1.03 patch.

Technical Game Designer Wyatt Cheng, goes into great detail to explain the intention and justification behind each change, many of which are sure to both elate and enrage different types of players.

Here's a very high level summary of some of the proposed changes:
  • More generous drop rates for higher level items in later Hell and earlier Inferno Acts.
  • Tweaks to rare item drop rates with five stacks of Nephalem Valor -- raised for champion packs, lowered for bosses.
  • Removal of the increased monster damage modifier in co-op to encourage people to play together rather than solo.
  • Lowering monster damage in Inferno acts 2, 3 and 4 to make them easier.
  • Increasing the cost of repairing high-level items (possibly 4 or 6 times as much) to discourage suicide tactics
  • Lowering the over-used attack speed bonus on items
  • Reducing crafting costs and the amount of commodities required to craft.
The above list is just a very basic summary. The the complete description and well-argued explanation, be sure to check out the full blog post.



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Latest Comments
Lynx
Posted 02:32pm 07/6/12
Been holding back combining gems until this patch.
Hope it doesn't take too much longer.
Julez
Posted 03:45pm 07/6/12
Discourage suicide tactics, i for one do all i can to stay alive and die 5+ times on some of the extremely fast elites/champs the repairs are gonna kill me more then death. They need to slow them down a bit to make up for the repair cost.
Morax
Posted 04:02pm 07/6/12
Discourage suicide tactics, i for one do all i can to stay alive and die 5+ times on some of the extremely fast elites/champs the repairs are gonna kill me more then death. They need to slow them down a bit to make up for the repair cost.
With the changes in multiplayer damage, it will actually be beneficial to run co-op. Thus less running away
carson
Posted 05:19pm 07/6/12
Have they allowed us to buy and sell gems on the AH yet?
IronAwe
Posted 05:23pm 07/6/12
carson, yes they have
Nukleuz
Posted 05:52pm 07/6/12
Maybe I'm a cynic but this seems more like a patch to lure the (pissed off portion of the) crowd back. Likely WoW players who can't play Diablo because there is no healer and/or tank.
eXemplar
Posted 06:35pm 07/6/12
It bugs me that a lot of this stuff made it through testing and beta into a release game.
Jim
Posted 07:14pm 07/6/12
Likely WoW players who can't play Diablo because there is no healer and/or tank.
d3 has heals and tanks

not that running around in circles is hard anyway
WirlWind
Posted 07:29pm 07/6/12
I still thing they should have shot themselves for making all the best loot drop from rare / champ mobs in the world, rather than bosses.

All they've done is shift the gear grind from bosses to slightly less bossy bosses that you have to spend more time looking for.

Killing a boss doesn't even feel like an achievement anymore, I get 2 blue drops and think "Well that was s***..."
Hogfather
Posted 07:54pm 07/6/12
Killing a boss doesn't even feel like an achievement anymore, I get 2 blue drops and think "Well that was s***..."

Nub, get some NV up ya.
reload!
Posted 08:06pm 07/6/12
I get 3 useless rare drops and think "Well that was s***...

fixed for ya, hoggy :)
Hogfather
Posted 08:07pm 07/6/12
fixed for ya, hoggy :)

MUCH BETTER
jconradr
Posted 10:03am 08/6/12
Yay!
Hogfather
Posted 10:56am 08/6/12
More information and rationale from Wyatt Cheng on the updates, specifically about melee : range balancing.
I'll state up front that I do think there's a disparity between melee and ranged, and I would like to see that closed. I feel like if I talk a lot about thought processes and design philosophy and don't state this up front people will lose the forest for the trees and conclude we think everything is fine. So I'll say it again: melee vs. ranged disparity is not fine, changes are being made, and even if you disagree with the approach outlined below we can hopefully have the common ground that the current situation needs improvement.

It may not look like it on the surface, but a large number of the changes in 1.0.3 are actually targeted at closing the melee/ranged gap. Let me go through some of them.

Hardcore


I'm going to use Hardcore as a starting point. In Hardcore, there's actually a reasonable distribution of classes, and I don't think the melee vs. ranged disparity is as large. There are a lot of Hardcore players of every class in Inferno without a huge disparity. Why is this important? It's because a significant portion of the melee/ranged disparity is related to a ranged character's ability to progress even while dying. A melee player can throw themselves at a monster and die, doing almost no damage to an elite enemy. A ranged player can do a huge amount of damage to an elite enemy, die, respawn, and basically attrition the enemy down with repeated deaths. In the Hardcore environment where a single bad Mortar, Vortex, Jailer, or Reflects Damage will kill a glass cannon-ranged character, the disparity between ranged and melee is an order of magnitude less.

Repair Costs


One of the more controversial changes in 1.0.3 is the increased repair costs. The design intent of these increased repair costs is to make death more meaningful. One of the top arguments we see against the increased repair costs is "I'm already dying dozens of times to make any progress in Inferno. Don't you see this is going to make this impossible?" This concern is most often brought up by ranged glass cannons. Many melee players respond "increased repair costs seem fine" because they haven't been using death-zerging as a tactic. Melee can't easily death-zerg an enemy down, but ranged can. I don't think the answer is to make death-zerging more attractive for melee; I'd rather make death-zerging a less profitable strategy for ranged.

Enemy Health and Damage


We're also looking to adjust the damage and health of enemies in Inferno Acts II, III, and IV. This is another change that is primarily for melee with secondary benefits for ranged. A lot of ranged are building glass cannon with the mentality "well, I'll just try not to get hit at all." So, reducing incoming damage when they weren't taking any before isn't significant for them, whereas reducing incoming damage for the melee is a big deal. For the ranged classes, I'm hoping that the incoming damage reduction will make some survival stats more appealing to ranged classes. While before the damage was so large it just felt pointless to try and mitigate any of it at all, after the change hopefully ranged classes will think "well, if I just put on a modest amount of survivability, I don't get 1-shot, so that's worth it." There are some ranged players who are already doing this -- stacking survivability so they don’t have to endlessly kite -- and it just feels like the minimum amount of survivability to avoid the 1-shot is so large it's unattainable. That's one of the things 1.0.3 seeks to address.

Damage Reduction in Co-op


Another change which is targeted at improving life for melee is the reduction in co-op damage. Again, since many ranged players just build glass cannon and avoid damage completely, they didn't really care if incoming damage went up as other players entered the game, but the melee characters really noticed. It was very easy for your life-on-hit to have you at a steady equilibrium, but as soon as another player entered the game your life-on-hit was no longer covering the incoming damage and death became imminent.

Additional Changes


And finally, there are always minor polish adjustments designed to help melee -- such as the AI on some monsters (BEES!!!) being tweaked to run away less often, which again helps melee more than ranged. I actually spent some extra time the other day to make sure if a Sand Wasp runs away from you, and you start chasing the wasp, it doesn't turn and shoot 4 bees in your face (hopefully that makes 1.0.3). I'm also working with one of our gameplay engineers to make it so if you sidestep the Dark Berserker’s power hit (where he brings his giant mace down), he doesn’t turn to track you as he swings (though that change probably won't make 1.0.3). These kind of AI adjustments are things ranged players don’t even notice, but are huge for melee.

Another adjustment being made is increasing both the maximum range and the dead zone of Mortar. Mortar was specifically designed to be an anti-range affix, but many ranged players would just stand even farther away, whereas melee would sometimes get caught in the cross-fire of two Mortars. Increasing the maximum range and the dead zone helps with both of these.
Khel
Posted 11:22am 08/6/12
Haha, c****, making mortar even nastier :(
blahnana
Posted 11:42am 08/6/12
Awesome. As a barb, most of these changes sound very beneficial and stuff that I've been whinging about. This one especially caught me the other day:

I'm also working with one of our gameplay engineers to make it so if you sidestep the Dark Berserker’s power hit (where he brings his giant mace down), he doesn’t turn to track you as he swings (though that change probably won't make 1.0.3).


Bee-shooting wasp changes would be awesome too, it's a shame by the time these two make it into the game I'll probably be over it or playing another class.
andrewus
Posted 11:47am 08/6/12
hah works well because i havent really had much time to play yet (lvl 12) so i have kind of avoided all the initial login errors (error37? should be error number 1 - i cant log the f*** in lol)

also being only lvl 12 i havent come across really anything that is being fixed, so kind of looking forward to it - when i get the chance to play
Raven
Posted 12:16pm 08/6/12
All this talk of Nightmare/Inferno when I'm still in Normal Act III :/

Where the hell do people find all this time to play games in that volume :(
centurion
Posted 01:42pm 08/6/12
Council workers
centurion
Posted 01:52pm 08/6/12
Must say I'm loving D3. Slick as tits. Lvl 42 Monk so far. Played through Normal Solo, playing through Nightmare with a mate (wizard) now. Crafting is WAY too expensive though. You can buy gems in the Auction House for a tiny fraction of what it costs to craft them.
blahnana
Posted 02:55pm 08/6/12
That's only true for the gems up to Flawless square (which are easily found in Hell mode). Beyond that they get very expensive very quick... though that is still likely to change with the coming changes... crafting the higher level gems will become cheaper (hopefully) and therefore their price on AH should drop too.
reload!
Posted 04:04pm 08/6/12
nope, they've stated they're only making gem crafting cheaper up to flawless square only. After that the prices will remain unchanged.
imo they may as well have changed nothing if this is the case.
Hogfather
Posted 01:11pm 09/6/12
nope, they've stated they're only making gem crafting cheaper up to flawless square only. After that the prices will remain unchanged.
imo they may as well have changed nothing if this is the case.

Not at all. I was pissed at this until I thought about it.

Gem combines are a key gold sink in the game, which needs them badly to curb the rampant mudflation. However the combines that create droppable gems are never used, which is what they are addressing.
Khel
Posted 04:03pm 09/6/12
Yeah, I can't see them really removing any of the level 60 gold sinks (I mean, with the repair costs, they're even increasing the gold sink, well, if you die a lot anyway). Without those gold sinks inflation would run rampant and gold would become worthless again like in d2.
Julez
Posted 06:07pm 09/6/12
@Morax
True, i do look forward to that change.
I feel sorry for my monk friend he really strugles while i progress with my mage. We were in hell he got so frustrated he went back to nightmare, we do our best with champs/elites some of the fights go on for like 5 mins at a time, but some of them you die in a few seconds only to find your self dying and spawning just to take it down 20% at a time.
WirlWind
Posted 08:16pm 13/6/12
"Zerg tactics" HA!

It's not that it's intentional... When you're a DH in inferno and a fast, extra health, jailer fat zombie in act 1 is 2 shotting you, it's called "trying to progress past this bulls*** c***block those f*****s at blizzard put in my way".

Not much you can do against alot of mixes of elites, esp when you can only take 1 or 2 hits and they can lock you down / run twice as fast as you.

F*** it, think I might just go back to my monk.
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