Blizzard posted a long blog post covering their intentions and thoughts on the progress of Diablo 3 now we’re leaving the ‘launch period’. In that post they’ve covered a lot of ground including treating us to some interesting stats:
- On average players have created 3 characters each
- 80% of characters are between levels 1 and 30
- 1.9% of characters have unlocked Inferno difficulty
- 54% of Hardcore players chose a female character
- The majority of Hardcore deaths (35%) occur in Act I Normal
- The most common level 60 build in the game is only used by 0.7% of level 60 characters of that class (not including Passive diversity)
- The most used runes for each class at level 60 are Barbarian: Best Served Cold, Demon Hunter: Lingering Fog, Wizard: Mirror Skin, Monk: Peaceful Repose, Witch Doctor: Numbing Dart
Inferno is intended to be extremely difficult, but with some specific skills, a few classes were simply able to progress far more easily than intended. This made the classes, which were about where they were supposed to be, seem very underpowered. It also created the perception that the classes doing well were intended to rely on specific runes in all their builds, and the other classes were just broken. This is the opposite of what’s true. If any single skill or rune feels absolutely required to progress, it means that skill is working against our goal of encouraging build diversity — and those “required” skills need to be corrected.
They covered inferno in more detail – including dropping hints that they may make it more ‘easy’ (in terms of mitigating the ‘one shot’ effect most players will have experienced):
From a high-level perspective, we think a more fundamentally fun way to approach difficulty in Inferno isn’t seeing how much incoming damage you can avoid or mitigate, but rather to see how efficient you can be while voluntarily taking on a challenge that pushes you. For anybody who’s ever died because they chased a Treasure Goblin too aggressively, you know what we mean; dying because you got greedy or overconfident can actually be a lot of fun. Now that the skills mentioned above have been brought more in line, we’ll be keeping a close eye on balance.
We’ve also seen some people saying our intention with Inferno is just one-shot you to make it difficult. While damage is a bit spikier than we’d like, we’re actually seeing a pretty significant number of people attempting Inferno without sufficient gear. There’s a good chance that returning to the previous Act to farm upgrades will do the most to help you survive. That said, we’d like to shift some of the focus away from survival and more toward using a variety of offensive tactics to succeed. Survival will still be important, but finding ways to maximize your damage while staying alive is more exciting. We’re not particularly concerned with whether or not a boss is “beatable,” though it should feel epic and challenging to defeat it. We’re more concerned with ensuring that acquiring 5 stacks of Nephalem Valor and taking on as many Champions and Rares as you can remains the most challenging and rewarding way to play.
And they had a lot of juicy information about items: legendary item relative power, crafting items and combining gems. It’s a very nice post and well worth a read.
What do you think about the first few weeks of Diablo 3? Are there any areas you’d like to see patched or tweaked? Personally I’m not finding that their skill diversity works above Hell. Up to that point you’ve a free reign with skill selection but into Inferno each class tends to require at least 3 skills. Perhaps Blizzard aren’t seeing that in their stats but as the stats show only 1.9% of players are in Inferno. Share your thoughts on our blog!