An extensive Q&A session with Blizzard answers questions about new crafted items, PvP, and class balance.

The Auction House has been one of the most criticized new features in the latest installment of Blizzard’s dungeon crawling action RPG, and it’s a problem the developers themselves have acknowledged. In a Q&A session on the forums, a group of five Diablo III developers reveal that too many players are finding gear upgrades on the Auction House rather than playing the actual game, something that they wished to change with patch 1.07. “Something we discuss frequently is how the Auction House has impacted the game and how we can refocus players away from farming the Auction House and onto farming monsters,” Game Designer Travis Day wrote. “Making the new crafted items account bound was done for one very distinct reason: to give players more incentives to play the game rather than the Auction House.”

Demonic Essence, the material required for the new crafted items introduced in 1.07, is also account bound. The reasoning behind this was to force players to actually play the game to find it, instead of just buying it en masse from the Auction House. “We want players to not only find or produce their own items more often but also diminish the impact the Auction House has on the game, and we felt like this was a good opportunity to take our first steps in that direction,” Day wrote. He later corrected himself, noting that patch 1.05’s Hellfire Ring was actually the first effort they made to refocus the game on slaying monsters, rather than studying spreadsheets, and 1.07’s account bound crafted items are a continuation of that trend.

Lead Designer Kevin Martens also answered a lot of questions concerning PvP in the Q&A session. Martens reiterates some prior statements from Blizzard, telling fans that there are currently no plans to add any kind of rewards or point tracking to duels. He stresses that the game will always have a PvE focus, with PvP being more of a secondary activity for players to “show off” with. He also shoots down suggestions for a betting system, 2v2 duels, and open-world PvP, explaining that they just don’t fit in with the current design philosophy of Diablo III.

Lastly, Game Designers Don Vu and Wyatt Cheng, along with Day, spoke of the changes to the Wizard and Monk classes in 1.07. On the Monk, Day said, “One of our goals with the Monk changes of 1.0.7 was to try to encourage build diversity and open up more options to people who enjoy more active gameplay.” Regarding the Wizard, Vu said, “Since launch, we’ve been increasing the damage on the Wizard’s Secondary abilities to try and make them useful tools in specific builds and for specific play styles.”

Last month, Jay Wilson stepped down from his position as Game Director of Diablo III. He promised that the development team’s plans for the future will go ahead uninterrupted, and also acknowledged making “many mistakes” in managing the relationship with Diablo fans. Patch 1.07 is the first major patch since Wilson’s departure.


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