Game Changer

I regret using such a punchy title for Diablo 3’s 1.0.4 patch, but good god have you seen this?

Introducing the Paragon System

The new Paragon system coming in patch 1.0.4 is designed to address Magic Find gear-swapping while providing players who’ve reached level 60 with an extended progression system.
Here’s how it works:

  • After you hit level 60, any further experience you earn from killing monsters will begin to count toward Paragon levels
  • There are 100 Paragon levels
  • Every Paragon level will reward you with:
    • Core stats such as Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Vitality in amounts similar to what you’d gain from a normal level
    • 3% Magic Find and 3% Gold Find

In addition, a distinctive increasingly-impressive border will surround your character portrait in the in-game party frame to denote your Paragon progression, with a new frame earned after every ten levels. Your Paragon level will also be visible to other players wherever your normal level is shown.

[...]

The time to reach the upper Paragon levels approximates the long-term time investment required to get a level 99 character in Diablo II.

Now, the above is in addition to all the AH changes – the biggest of which is the ability to sort by Bid Price and Ending Time (eBay snipe city incoming) – and all the class and difficulty changes I talked about last time. For sheer scope, I recommend checking out the full patch notes as well.

Oh, and it will probably be Live by the time you read this, not the 28th like I thought.

Sitting in my chair, jaw slightly ajar, I could not help but start wondering if there comes a point at which even positive changes become too conspicuous. This patch feels like I just started haggling with a used car salesman and he immediately gave me the keys and said “Here, just take it and go.” Eyebrows and suspicious are raised in equal measure. These are not features Blizzard had planned to roll out at the start, like PvP; damn near everything is a concession based on (negative) feedback that apparently came to a great surprise to Jay “And Double It!” Wilson and crew. Should they be praised for listening to feedback or damned for releasing a game in such apparent need of repair?

Also… what does Blizzard know that we do not? Did they perhaps intend for Diablo 3 to hold everyone over until MoP’s launch, but the negative 2 million subs and the (assumed) precipitous drop in D3 player activity got them spooked? Why else roll out this magnitude of changes? I have no idea. All I do know is that this version of D3 I might be playing tonight is going to almost be a completely different game than the one I started playing four months ago.

And since I haven’t even reviewed Diablo 3 yet… I’m not sure which game to write about now.

About these ads

Posted on August 21, 2012, in Diablo and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Does the Paragon system completely replace magic find gear? Or Nephalem Valor? Or is it additionally?

    In any way it sounds like something to grind out to keep player from starting another MMO until MoP launches. Level 99, if you play it as your goto game, should keep you busy for about… 2 weeks? Then you farm gear for 2 weeks and switch to MoP. I’m sure that’s the reason why there are 100 level and not 60 or 200.

  2. Kring, once you hit Paragon level 100 (which will, by the looks of it, take months for bots, years for normal players), magic find gear will be completely useless. The MF% cap is to be 300%, and Paragon level 100 will give you 300%.

    Neph Valor is still separate: the 300% cap is before NV, so your actual MF% will be able to get as high at 375% with full NV stacks. Plus, of course, there’s the extra guaranteed rare drop from elites at full stacks.

    Also NV is going to give the same 15% per stack bonus to XP earned, so you’ll advance Paragon levels more efficiently if you get to 5 NV stacks and then keep clearing.

  3. The “paragon levels” design is a bit too obvious of a Skinner box, and concerns me: “People stopped playing our game when their characters stopped gaining levels?! We don’t know how to make the game fun, but we can make more character levels, lots of them!”

  4. Couple of points:

    Just because the negative feedback came as a great surprise to the man at the top, doesn’t mean it it was a surprise to the people lower down the totem pole, That so many plan-B’s are being dusted off and implemented rather suggests to me that there were a lot doubts internally.

    Second point, I didn’t buy Diablo III and I haven’t played it. But…that spot in my gaming rotation that it would have slotted if I had got it, the ‘I just feel like running around and killing mobs for a few hours today’ spot? That’s the exact spot that *GW2* feels like its going go for me, with a hiatus whenever Torchight 2 comes out, rather than the Exploration/Lore/Barbie Dressup spot that that MMOs usually awkwardly fill for me (but for which TSW seems to fit for me like glove).

    • Ironically, I never felt particularly satisfied killing mobs in D3. Even when I’m farming Act 1, there is no levity or sense of “I’ll stop the moment I get bored.” If I stop mid-way, I’ll lose my Neph stacks! And since the only possible chance I will find an item worth getting excited about (read: can sell for gold to buy items I want) is to have some 300% MF, I almost would have been better off not even playing.

      My “I feel like killing mobs” urge is getting 100% satisfied by Orcs Must Die 2 atm.

  5. I turned pretty negative on D3, but I have to admit that this patch has impressed me. My faith in Blizzard was shaken, but they do have some fight left in them and aren’t just doubling down on the original design philosophy. I still don’t think D3 will ever become as ‘classic’ as D2, but it might yet be pulled back from the brink.

    “the biggest of which is the ability to sort by Bid Price and Ending Time (eBay snipe city incoming)”

    I was a little baffled by that as well.

    “Should they be praised for listening to feedback or damned for releasing a game in such apparent need of repair?”

    Both! One reason I probably won’t buy MoP is because of the Obvious Beta-ness of both Cataclysm and D3 at launch. I’ll give them credit for trying to fix it, but it remains to be seen whether the old Blizzard that didn’t release crappy half-formed games is gone for good.

    • In many ways, I think the RMAH did too much damage to the long-term item hunt feeling for it to attain classic status. Why hunt, when you can grind Act 1 for gold to pay for upgrades?

  6. Well as far as the review goes, Blizz makes you update to the latest so it’s not like you can ever play vanilla. Review the game as it currently sits, but note it has seen several patches.

  7. Mixed feelings here, ranging from “So I really -have- wasted a lot of energy fighting a broken model” to “Leave my broken but challenging contraption alone.”

    However, it does leave Jay Wilson looking like (more of) a total idiot vis a vis Cussgate, considering that the patch pretty much reflected Brevik’s criticisms.