I must apologize for the lack of updates over the past few weeks. I’m sorry but I’ve had little motivation to play and it almost seems pointless until 1.0.4 hits. I think it’s forgivable considering Blizzard themselves have been just as quiet on how they intend to breath life back into the game.
Earlier today, Bashiok announced an announcement (must be desperate to maintain our attention) regarding patch 1.0.4 and I thought I’d take the time to look at the people working on the changes he mentioned.
System Changes, by Wyatt Cheng
Senior Technical Game Designer Wyatt Cheng is preparing a high-level summary of some of the system changes planned for 1.0.4.
Who is Wyatt Cheng? He’s the technical designer behind Diablo 3 and was the prime developer behind the Demon Hunter class. He previously worked on TBC expansion for WoW although I can’t find any information regarding the length of time he spent on that project.
It’s difficult to say what changes he has in store for the game but one likely change will be the disparity between melee and ranged. Wyatt Cheng previously stated:
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.
You can read more about his thoughts on game design at his blog but he only blogs about other games and not those he works on at Blizzard.
Legendary Item Improvements, by Andrew Chambers
Senior Game Designer Andrew Chambers is working on a blog detailing all the ways we’re making Legendary items stand out.
Given his history with Games Workshop, I am hoping the updates to the legendary and set items will over deliver. I’ve looked but I can’t find any info regarding if he was responsible for the abysmal gear to begin with. He was previously the Creative Director for SC2.
Magic Find Update, by Jay Wilson
Following up on earlier discussions, Game Director Jay Wilson will be providing an update on how Magic Find is evolving in patch 1.0.4.
No doubt about it, MF needs a change but I have fears Jay will over promise and under deliver yet again. Because you’re punished for grouping with others with low amounts of MF through the group average mechanism, there is currently zero incentive to group up with others. Removing the penalty and adding in-game gear swap would be ideal but I doubt those are the changes we’ll get. Looking at the suggestions Blizzard previously made for fixing the system (and I wonder if all the suggestions were made by Jay), it’s hard to speculate on what the changes will actually entail.
My biggest fear with any change is it will require me to re-gear my character and/or make my current MF sets worthless. Given I spent considerable time/gold gearing up 4 WD’s for my 4 WD high MF farming team, it’ll really sting if that’s how it works out.
Class Changes, by Wyatt Cheng
Wyatt will also be providing a preview of the changes we’ll be making for each class in 1.0.4 (and the philosophy behind those changes).
If you love the DH class, you’ll think this is a good move. If you hate the DH, you’ll think it’s bad. Personally, I think it’s a good move as most classes only need minor tweaks to improve their gameplay.
The big question is when will patch 1.0.4 go live? Soon – I believe within the next fortnight for 2 reasons. First, I think Bashiok’s earlier post today was meant to wet our appetites and was a heads up that the patch is coming very shortly. Secondly, Guild Wars 2 launches on August 28th. A lot of people are considering moving on from D3 to GW2 and are unlikely to come back regardless of the changes made to the game. I think Blizzard will need to get the patch out quickly while maintaining quality if they are to maintain our attention on the game.
One has to wonder what impact all these unexpected changes to the game have had on the development of the PvP system.
Small update – System of Excellence is a new function in patch 1.0.4 but as to how it interacts with MF is yet unknown.
Chance of finding items of magic and levels of excellence by Jay Wilson
Jay Wilson will inform the community regarding the chance to encounter magic items
and will also reveal and explain the details of the System of Excellence, a new function of patch 1.0.4