Wednesday’s release of a patch upgrade to 1.0.4 of Diablo III saw some changes to Classes and Legendary Items in the game. Here is how that could affect you.
The changes specifically affect Wizard, Barbarian, Witch Doctor, Monk and Demon Hunter classes while the updates to Legendary Items will affect all of them.
We’ll start here since this affects nearly everybody. Most of the changes to legendaries are in order to liven them up a little and make them a little more unique. Until now, they’ve mostly just been more powerful weapons and not really all that cool. To add salsa, Blizzard changed both their visual effects and their customization options.
Most of the changes are in how stat points are allocated to build out the item. Build diversity is finally seen and the items have been more like they were in DII, which was nicely done.
Several classes got changes, as listed above. Most of these changes are to flesh out characterization and improve weak points that were inhibiting the game, especially at higher levels, such as the insta-death many Witch Doctor pets seem to suffer and balancing for other classes like Wizards.
This class will mostly see buffs added to skills that sorely needed something. Cleave, Bash, Hammer of the Ancients, Seismic Slam and Rend have all been upgraded, much to the delight of every Conan-derived player in the game.
Hatred generator skills like Hungering Arrow and Bola Shot now have buffs to enhance them. DPS skills (hatred spenders) like Chakram and Cluster Arrow have received a damage boost. This makes up for the often lame mid- and higher-level play Demon Hunters can get stuck in.
The martial arts experts of Diablo III are now seeing visual improvements to their game play. Skills like Exploding Palm now have much better graphic presentations and also got increased bleed durations. Several other skills also saw some damage boosts and the ability to wield 2-handed weapons has now been granted to higher level monks.
The biggest change for these players will be in pets. At about level 30 or so, pets became more of a nuisance than a help for players. They generally lasted nanoseconds in battle. That’s changed as pets have been buffed a little and their heal over time traits increased. Zombie Dogs are no longer tied to the players states either, so they can be a more useful tank to hold off predators from the Doctor.
Mana regeneration and skill upgrades are also now live with this new patch.
Until this patch, the most powerful thing a Wizard has was Venom Hydra, which got way overused in the game. Now Arcane, Lightning, Frost and Mammoth Hydra skills have been buffed to bring them in line with Venom Hydra. To make up for this buffing, Energy Twister saw a nerf in its proc coefficient. Meteor and Arcane Torrent saw some improvements as well.
A major change that affects all players, at least at high levels, is the new Paragon System. At level 60, experience earned begins slotting towards Paragon levels. There are 100 of these and each adds permanent bonuses to the player.
With so many players reaching end-game content before Blizzard is ready to unleash another major update, something had to be added to appease them and keep them filled with accomplishment.
Permanent bonuses include upgrades to Gold Find, Magic Find and stat increases (Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Vitality). Every time 10 Paragon points are earned, the player gets a new hero portrait border to show the Diablo III world their awesomeness. The border gets more and more elaborate with each upgrade earned. Sadly, it doesn’t go all Dorian Gray when you hit max.
Several other changes came with this new patch. These include a slurry of bug fixes followed by the usual hot fixes to come after the patch to repair issues the patch itself caused (ahh, life).
Game difficulty is probably the biggest little change made. For most players, it won’t appear to be much, but over time, it will greatly affect play. Gaps between how hard it was to take down normal monsters (fun to say, isn’t it?) adn Rare or Champion mobs have been reduced, making them a little more playable. You may also have noticed that enrage timers and heal to full timers are now gone for these mobs as well.
High end item repair costs are down letting you keep more of your hard earned game currency.
Finally, other smaller changes are abundant. Auctions can be cancelled if they don’t have any active bids and several upgrades to the AH search system have been implemented. A few improvements to Battle.net itself have also been given, some of which affect other Blizzard games like World of Warcraft.