In a detailed community update on the developer's website, Blizzard has outlined plans for the short and medium term development of Diablo 3 post-launch.
Patch 1.0.2 (due within the next week) will address general service issues, while the next patch will address game-balancing concerns - although a timeframe for this latter patch was not confirmed.
Blizzard stressed that emergency hotfixes have only been made to those skills the developer had considered game breaking. Post-launch adjustments to skills such as the Wizard's Force Armor had caused consternation within the community, particularly for those players who had invested heavily in equipment from the auction house in order to complement a specific build. In the future, the developer hopes to restrict these adjustments to well-publicised, scheduled patches.
On the issue of Diablo's hardest difficulty level Inferno, the developer acknowledged incoming damage is too "spiky" at present, causing players to be killed before they can respond through use of character skills. While acknowledging that the game requires further tuning to promote skilled play - and full use of varied skill builds - the developer also noted that many players attempting the mode were still undergeared from not "farming" previous difficulty levels.
The perceived value of that equipment is also under review. In a future patch, all level 60 items will be assigned an item level value (similar to that of World of Warcraft) to make it easier to compare the relative worth of items. This, the developer believes, will better highlight the value of Legendary items which are often perceived to be less valuable than the more commonly dropped equipment. Legendary items will also have their stat and bonus values revised, although any changes to this in-game loot will only apply to equipment discovered after the patch, and will not be applied retroactively to existing equipment.
Finally, Blizzard will tweak the in-game Blacksmith profession to reduce the cost of levelling up your craftsman. This change is scheduled for patch 1.0.3, and will also reduce the number of gems required to create an equipment socket upgrade.
As well as discussing upcoming plans for the game, Blizzard also highlighted some interesting statistics from the first two weeks of play:
- On average players have created three characters each.
- 80 per cent of characters are between levels one and 30.
- 1.9 per cent of characters have unlocked Inferno difficulty.
- 54 per cent of Hardcore players chose a female character.
- The majority of Hardcore deaths (35 per cent) occur in Act I Normal.
- The most common level 60 build in the game is only used by 0.7 per cent 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; and Witch Doctor: Numbing Dart.