Friday, 4 April 2014

The Stinger

In Diablo 3, you can get a lot of stuff by playing the game - running the campaign, doing bounties, doing rifts.  Of course you can do better than that.

Arreat Core always had seven chests in it and it was a small area, so running Arreat Core just to get the chests produced gear faster than just killing the monsters you meet in a random area.  The cursed chest in Old Tristram summons the Skeleton King so you can fight him and get his boss loot drop without having to worry about dying and having to start over, which means you can fight him on a much higher difficulty.  There are uniques that spawn in particular points so you can farm them at high difficulty level, fighting one unique and then reloading.  Another thing people do is making mobility builds and then doing bounties on normal in multi-player games, completing the five bounties in an act very quickly to get the box.

For the chests in Arreat Core, staff at Blizzard decided that it was too efficient and/or did not reflect the way the game they wanted to make, so they reduced the number of chests in a hotfix.

I think I've written before about how I think balance is stupid.  Screw balance, let people play however they want.  Balance is for player versus player only.  That being said, Arreat Core chest farming is a pretty silly hill to die on.  This was not compelling gameplay that needed to be protected as another way to have fun.

Still, I don't really like the change.  What I don't like about it mostly is the timing.  Reaper of Souls came out on March 25.  Today is April 4.  In the first eleven days of the games existence there have been plenty of hotfixes applied.

I don't have a problem with hotfixes:

  • Skills that deal Physical damage should no longer benefit from items that increase elemental skill damage.

Now that's a good hotfix.

But a hotfix that takes away one of the best ways to generate look applied so quickly seems to encourage people to seek out and engage in other similar methods of play.

I didn't do any Arreat Core chest runs, but now I feel like I should have.  I heard about that strategy only two days before it was removed from the game.  While "forever" is much too long to hunt for chests to get better loot to hunt for more chests, two seems like a reasonable number of days to engage in some less-fun gameplay to get a long term advantage at the monster killing.

There will be another optimized strategy for getting loot, and another after that.  Hotfixing them quickly encourages everyone to read the best ways to play on the internet and take advantage of those while the getting is still good.  It creates an urgency around utilizing loopholes that makes them far more appealing than they would have been otherwise.


  1. As I understand it there are other reasons for some of these hotfixes. Apparently people constantly restarting games is actually a big drain on server resources and negatively impacts other players' loading times. Hotfixing things that encourage people making new games every 30 seconds is, according to blizzard, actually a logistical issue and not just a balance issue. This doesn't apply in all cases, of course, but some of them definitely.

    1. I've heard that too, and it seems plausible that the seconds taken creating a new game are ten or a hundred times as intensive as the seconds spent running an existing game. But if that's the primary issue then I would rather see a fix dedicated to that issue in particular (e.g. something that actually doesn't let you make games at a break-neck pace). There will always be efficient ways of doing things, so this problem is going to outlast any particular cause.