Patch 1.0.3 is now live and despite some great changes, the increased cost of repairs has many players up in arms. Before we jump in and look at this questionable change, it’s important to remember why these changes were made in the first place. Blizzard said:
Current repair costs at level 60 are barely noticeable, and because of that we see a lot of people wonder if “graveyard zerging” tough enemies or “chain rezzing allies on a boss” is intended gameplay – it definitely is not. To help solve the issue we evaluated a number of new death mechanics, such as just allowing the resurrection timer to increase even higher, disallowing resurrection during boss fights, or putting a debuff on you when you resurrect (such as reduced combat effectiveness).
Ultimately we felt that increasing repair costs was the best solution that preserves the fast paced style of the game. Repair costs on level 60 items are going to go up a lot. Our goal is the next time a player is graveyard zerging a boss, it should occur to them that “this is probably not an efficient way to go about things”. We’re currently evaluating repair costs between 4x and 6x their current values.
In the face of increasing costs, we recommend listening to the Hardcore players out there as they probably have some helpful advice on how to minimize repair costs. Following this change zerging a boss will still be possible, but our intent is that it won’t be optimal, and players who are seeking to be as efficient as possible will adjust their item hunting routes accordingly.
Some players might mistakenly believe the repair cost increase was made to balance the economy but the reasoning was made quite clear by Blizzard; it was done to address graveyard zerging. Gold sinks such as Blacksmithing and Jewelcrafting are now cheaper but they were always optional – some (if not most) players avoided it due to the high cost.
With both of these changes going live in the same patch, an optional high cost gold sink has now become mandatory for all players because everyone needs to repair whether they die or not. Just as it was in Diablo 2, your items sustain damage while you’re in combat. Prior to patch 1.0.3, this didn’t matter as the repair cost was minimal but now, even if you only die occasionally, the cost to repair has a noticeable impact on the amount of gold you can earn per hour.
This change also impacts another important aspect of the game – buying and selling gold. Although gold is not yet available for purchase from the RMAH, it was looking like there would be very little incentive to buy it. This is easily observed by looking at how quickly the prices charged by 3rd party sources dropped.
If the ability to buy and sell gold goes live in the next few days, it’s not a stretch to imagine that the repair changes were really about ensuring demand and that graveyard zerging was a convenient excuse to introduce the changes seen in 1.0.3. This may be why the functionality to buy/sell gold has been disabled to date – at least until Blizzard figured out a way to ensure the majority of players would need an easy means and reason to purchase gold.
While we wait for an official means to buy/sell gold, I’ll be watching 3rd party prices to see if demand spikes as confirmation that the repair cost change was over kill – quite possible given the complaints from people on the bnet forums and other places across the net saying they have no gold left to repair with. If you’re interested in the Diablo 3 economy, I invite you to subscribe to my free newsletter of which the first issue will be going out this Sunday evening.
Should repair costs be lowered in an attempt to find a middle ground or has Blizzard got it right? Feel free to leave your comment about the situation below.
P.S. Please fix zombie bears.