Blizzard has announced a host of changes that will be made to Diablo 3 in the game's next major patch. The updates were revealed during the game's dedicated panel at the publisher's BlizzCon gathering in California.

Patch 2.1.2 addresses a number of issues identified since the launch of Patch 2.1 earlier this year, from a rebalancing of the Greater Rift system, to the addition of new creatures, weapons and armour.

Success in Greater Rifts is measured by the speed of completion, yet certain random elements can have a radical, random effect on your chances of success or failure. Conduit Pylons, which cause a character to temporarily fire devastating electrical damage around the scenery, often determine victory outright.

Rather than reducing the power of the Conduit Pylon, Shield Pylons and Speed Pylons will instead be boosted in the new patch to provide an equally useful effect. The former will soon reflect damage back to enemies, then explode when the shield expires, while the latter will provide enhanced movement abilities for a longer period of time.

Some of the more irritating dead ends are also being removed from Rifts so as to minimise downtime. Death penalties will also be tweaked, and monster density will be addressed to ensure a more even distribution of enemies between leaderboard attempts.

Treasure Goblins, those popular and lucrative creatures which occasionally appear in the game and drop money when whacked, are also being overhauled. There'll be three new Treasure Goblins introduced in patch 2.1.2 - the Gem Hoarder who drops gems, the Blood Thief who drops Blood Shards, and the Odius Collector that's just dripping in crafting materials and plans.

Those who have exhausted the game's current supply of Legendary items can also look forward to losing a new life grinding out Ancient Items - tweaked versions of the existing Legendary equipment that are up to 30% more powerful than their vanilla counterparts. New Legendary Gems will also be added, to encourage more experimentation with character builds.

Patch 2.1.2 is promised to arrive "soon" which in Blizzard parlance can mean anything from one month to one year, but what about the future future?

Beyond 2.1.2, you can look forward to a new zone called Ruins of Sescheron which packs in plenty of traps, from swinging blades to floor spikes that can be intentionally triggered to damage enemies. There'll also be new enemies in this fresh zone, including the Rat King - a particularly nightmarish and intimidating monster which sheds rats from its back. Nasty.

If you've been holding out for item trading to make a return, it looks like you're going to be waiting a long time. Following a question from the audience, the developers on-stage confirmed that there are no plans to expand on the current system that allows party members to exchange equipment within a small period of time.

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John Bedford

John Bedford

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John is Metabomb's Editor in Chief, and is responsible for all of the Hearthstone news, features and guides content on the site.