Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
An interesting read.
First off, I'll give you the TLDR:
- Patch 1.0.3 = damage control in an attempt to fix D3's economy and keep you playing.
- Nephalem Valor guaranteed rares = Smoke Bomb, blinding you from the truth. The rate at which high-end (high iLvl) items drop has been nerfed to the point where the game is no longer rewarding or fun to play
- Nerf drops from vases, pots, and dead adventurers = stop gold find bots, the easy way, punish everyone, and kill a cool part of diablo.
- If you were farming acts 3/4 prior to 1.0.3, you will probably notice and either give up or give in. It doesn't matter, because you're the minority.
- If you were stuck in acts 1/2 prior to 1.0.3, you have no idea. This does matter, because you're the majority, and the patch makes things "seem" better on the surface. You're more likely to continue playing.
And onto the conspiracy theories:
Patch 1.0.3 looks great on the surface, but it was really a huge nerf - obviously damage control in an attempt to repair D3’s economy. Many players who have been stuck farming act 1 and 2 inferno have no idea what really happened. I’ll break it down from the beginning for you.
Originally (pre 1.0.3), Inferno was designed to be a huge grind where it was very difficult to progress. The gear that dropped in act 1 was mostly garbage. It was designed to take a while farming act 1 in order to get geared to the point where you could start farming act 2. And so on for act 2, and 3, etc. Each act was significantly harder, and there was a “wall” in difficulty between acts. You had to really, really farm one act, get the best possible loot from that act, before you had any chance (or reason) to play the next act.
However, a number of things happened that caused this to backfire and players were able to progress through acts faster than blizzard had anticipated:
- Bots were crushing jars and looting dead adventurers making 500k + gold / hour
- Players were skipping into later acts using bugs – no legitimate progression required
- Certain class / build combinations (namely, glass cannon DH / wiz) were able to farm high end gear efficiently
- Treasure goblin farming
- Clever use of checkpoints to farm the same elites over and over very quickly and efficiently
- Insert [easy way to farm gear better than you're supposed to be farming] here
Gold and high end items were being brought into the game economy faster than blizzard had anticipated. On top of that, the vast majority of people were stuck in act 1 (as intended), but Blizzard realized many people were getting sick of the gear check / “wall” between acts. Many people don’t want to grind act 1 inferno over and over for a month just to tackle act 2 inferno. They’re seeing a lot of players leaving the game, and they need people farming inferno so they can continue make money from the RMAH.
So, people are sick of inferno and dropping like flies. Blizzard has to keep people interested and playing, so they make a big beautiful promise in the form of patch 1.0.3. On the surface, patch 1.0.3 looks like this:
- Nephalem Valor guarantees rare drops! Players are able to loot rare items consistently! High end items will now drop from lower acts! You can farm the best gear in the game in act 1!
- Slight fix to attack speed! Don’t worry, it’s cool guys! We’ll figure something out! We are going to listen to your input!
The announcement of 1.0.3 was like Blizzard shining some light of hope down the dark tunnel at us. It made us feel reassured – the game was a little rough around the edges, but it has a lot of potential. We’ll wait it out and keep playing, because 1.0.3 is going to make things way better.
1.0.3 rolls over like a !@#$ storm. What did 1.0.3 REALLY do? What is the TRUTH behind 1.0.3? I’ll tell you:
- Instead of going directly after bots and banning botters via anti-cheat measures (Warden), they figured out what botters were doing and put an end to it by nerfing it to the ground. Presto. You can’t loot valuable items from jars, vases, dead adventurers anymore. They got rid of gold find bots, which is great, but at the same time those bots ruined it for everyone and now you can’t loot anything valuable from jars, vases, etc anymore.
- They made it possible for higher level gear to drop from lower acts in inferno, BUT they ninja nerfed the drop rate of high end gear in later acts. Prior to 1.0.3 a small minority of players were able to farm acts 3 and 4 very effectively – too effectively. Players were farming the best high end items in the game at a rate that was causing the economy to tank. Nothing you could farm in act 1 or 2 was really worth anything, because blues from acts 3 and 4 were so common and significantly better. Blizzard ninja nerfed drop rates of high iLvl items in acts 3/4 order to make high-end loot more valuable.
The majority of players think 1.0.3 is a good thing, and they have no idea. They were stuck in act 1 looting a bunch of level 50-59 garbage and they weren’t getting anywhere. Now we can kill elites in act 1 and get fill our inventory with rares easy as pie!
A number of players who were farming acts 3 and 4 prior to 1.0.3 have made threads regarding this issue. I understand that random loot is random – sometimes you get lucky, a lot of times you don’t get lucky. I realize the patch has only been out a day. But if you’ve been farming act 3 for the last month, you’re kind of used to it and have a good idea of what kind of loot you’ll typically get.
You don’t have to believe me, I mean you can keep farming and farming and get there and see for yourself, but the rate at which high end (high iLvl) loot drops has been severely nerfed overall. This has been done to make these items more valuable and hold over the end game of diablo 3 (and the RMAH) for a while longer.
People are farming tons and tons of rares now, going back to town every 5 minutes and identifying a bunch of stuff. They’ve been stuck in act 1 and 2 for a month, and they don’t know any better. Unfortunately, they’re blind to what really happened here – blinded by all of the guaranteed rares dropping all over the place. Most of which are complete garbage.
Blizzard hasn’t and won’t release the drop rates prior to 1.0.3 because they actually nerfed them overall. Sure, you might be getting tons of rares, but overall the high iLvl items are much more rare now and are being introduced to the economy at a lower rate - per player. EXCEPT... more players are looting them. So I guess overall, loot is probably coming into the game at the same rate, except as a player on an individual level, it's just much, much less rewarding. Basically everything is garbage.
Thanks to lowered drop rates (not so obvious) and crazy repair bills (obvious), the price of gold has stabilized and is no longer dropping in value. The value of gold actually appears to be slightly increasing since 1.0.3 was released. Working exactly as intended. In order to alleviate the complaints about repair bills, blizzard will probably slightly reduce the rate at which durability is lost, or something along those lines. They’ll do something to make it “seem” better, but it’ll most likely remain rather expensive to repair. The repair bills, in combination with the IAS DPS nerf, and re-tooling of certain boss mechanics (reflect damage on siegebreaker, etc) make farming later acts with glass cannons no longer viable.
I know it sounds like a conspiracy and you don’t have to believe it. There's no way to really PROVE it, because it is random. I understand that. If you were regularly farming acts 3 and 4 prior to the patch, you’ll see what’s been done here - in the form of a "gut feeling". If you were stuck in acts 1 and 2 like most people, you won’t know any better. And more power to you! I wish Diablo 3 was still fun.
EDIT: My main point here I guess, is basically the game is now less rewarding for the individual player. I don't know what the drop rates were previously, but once you got to act 3, you'd get some good items and it was fun. It was rewarding to play. Maybe a bit too rewarding. Now, it's just not even remotely rewarding unless you're incredibly lucky.
I could go on about this forever, and give you my opinion regarding how things are being handled in this game, but there's plenty of that garbage on the forums already. I just wanted to throw out my opinion regarding how this patch was handled, because seriously - there are some hidden footprints taking place.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always been a huge Blizzard fan. Diablo 3, while kind of disappointing at the moment, is a great game with lots of potential.
Best of luck to everyone playing! I cashed out on the RMAH and I’m done until they iron it out, add some PvP, and so on. It’s kind of funny when you think about it actually – it’s absolutely brilliant that Blizzard made quite a bit of money just because I quit playing! What kind of a game MAKES MONEY when you quit? That’s absolutely brilliant. I truly hope they can take all the money they’re milking out of the RMAH and turn it into a game that’s worth playing.
"For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed:
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever grew still!"
~Lord George Gordon Byron