In his open letter to the D3 community he gives us some more solid confirmation on what to expect in patch 1.0.4 and beyond:
- We will be seeing significant changes to legendaries in 1.0.4 “…new and improved Legendary items that are more interesting, more powerful, and more epic in ways you probably won’t be expecting.”
- More class balancing, including buffs for underutilized skills: “this update will contain changes designed to further deliver on the team’s goal of promoting “build diversity,” with buffs to many rarely used, underpowered class abilities.”
- 1.1 will see the addition of the PvP arena, as well as social and auction house changes. Let’s hope one of those auction house changes is more search options.
- “Endgame” alternatives for PvE players are in the works; sort of vague but at least they have the ball rolling.
Morhaime also touched on the topic of always online DRM, saying that, “Diablo III was designed from the beginning to be an online game that can be enjoyed with friends, and the always-online requirement is the best way for us to support that design. The effectiveness of the online elements — including the friends list and cross-game communication; co-op matchmaking; persistent characters that you can use by yourself, with others, and in PvP; and some of our customer support, service, and security components — is tied directly to the online nature of the game.”
People have been frustrated at the inability to play offline, but this clarifies D3’s status as an MORPG, instead of just an RPG with an always online DRM.
The other sensitive topic Morhaime touched on was the Gold and Real Money auction houses.
“We are also committed to ensuring you have a great experience with Diablo III without feeling like the auction house is mandatory, which was never our intention.”
Ah, that does sound like a lovely dream, doesn’t it? Here’s hoping that something changes to make their “intentions” come true.
The whole letter and forum thread can be found here. I’d be interested in what you guys think about the changes coming for D3. Is there something you want to see in a future patch?