Diablo 3 Patch 1.0.4 and My Builds

This patch came out earlier than expected, but it’s a good one. Check out the official patch notes for all the details. However, what I want to concentrate on is whether I need to update any of my builds. I did a quick look and here’s the results:

The Fastest MonkExploding Palm and Wave of Light were both buffed, so this build does even better now. That’s always a good thing. The only place I need to change for this build is with the Fleet Footed passive skill. It no longer counts towards the +25% movement speed cap, so the maximum potential is now +35%. I think that number is only reachable with Legendary items, but I will be looking into it and updating the build as needed.

The Kiting Blizzard WizardArcane Torrent got a good damage boost, but another change that could affect this build is the Cold Blooded passive skill. It actually increases all damage to frozen and chilled enemies, not just cold damage. I want to add an “alternatives” section to the build, a little something about replacing Temporal Flux with Cold Blooded

The Survivalist Demon HunterEntangling Shot got a pretty hefty damage boost. Both Impale and Cluster Arrow got damage boosts, around 10-20% each. The build now does more damage, which is nice, but none of these will require me to make changes to the build.

The Sticky Barbarian – Both Bash and Seismic Slam got damage boosts, but even better, the “stickiness” of the build was buffed. Leap now ignores crowd controlling effects. For example, if a monster Prisons you, Leap will still work. You won’t be able to move at the end of the Leap until Prison wears off, but Leap itself will ignore that. Ancient Spear now roots the target for 1.5 seconds. Not only are the enemies pulled to you and slowed, they also can’t move. Overall, I just need to add a few lines to the build to account for these changes.

Monk Spirit Generation in Diablo 3 – This is not a build, but there were a few changes in this patch that affect Spirit gains and regeneration. That means Spirit gained per second is different. I want to make sure it has the proper numbers.

Also, I am on vacation Wednesday (tomorrow) through Sunday this week, so I won’t update the builds until next week. No new build this week either. The Witch Doctor build will be out next Wednesday, the 29th. It is mostly done, but I need to make some changes because of this patch.

In the future, I don’t know if I will be going through all my builds and noting changes. The more builds I have, the more time it take to maintain all my builds. In the build listing, I have included version numbers, so viewers will know whether I have updated a build or not. For instance, right now they are all v1.0.3. By the end of next week, they should all be 1.0.4.


Testing out Torchlight 2!

I never got invited to the Diablo 3 beta, but I found a Torchlight 2 beta invite waiting for me when I got back from vacation! I stayed up late Sunday and then played more on Monday and Tuesday evening. Each day I have played a different class. I did a full playthrough of the beta content with the Outlander, Embermage, and Berserker. Tonight I will do the same with the Engineer. Beta will be ending Thursday 4pm, so I likely won’t get anymore playtime after tonight until the game is out.

I am loving the game so far. I looked at all the skill trees. Even though not all the skills are revealed in the beta, I can already see a number of possible builds. I really like what they did with the attributes. Every attribute is good for every class now in some way. Most builds will only focus on two attributes, but there are other builds that will use other attributes. So every attribute is useful for some build with every class. There are just so many more possibilities compared to Torchlight 1.

The beta has a level cap of 21 and 2-3 big outdoor areas to explore with lots of dungeons of varying sizes. Apparently, that is all of Act 1. It did go pretty fast, but it still took about 4 hours to explore everything and reach the level cap. For me that doesn’t matter much because the fun will be testing all kinds of different builds. The only thing I don’t like is that it didn’t seem like monsters respawned. I wonder how we will farm items without the ability to farm monsters. Maybe they will have an infinite dungeon or portal scrolls like Torchlight 1. Hopefully there is some way to farm monsters though.

I also want a respec feature. In the beta they have one for level 10 and lower, but I want an option for high level characters too. I just don’t see myself leveling a new character from scratch just to try different skills. I did that with Diablo 2, but I have much less free time now. The good thing is that Torchlight 2 supports mods, so someone will eventually make a respec mod. Hopefully it won’t be buggy either. I used a respec mod for Torchlight 1 but hoped it would be in the base game for Torchlight 2.

Now, I also got Diablo 3 installed and created my Monk, but I haven’t touched it very much. I knew the Torchlight 2 beta wasn’t going to last long, so I got straight into it instead of Diablo 3. I will have plenty of time to play Diablo 3 while waiting for Torchlight 2. I don’t have anything planned Friday, Saturday and Sunday, so I should make some good progress in Diablo 3. I plan to have the first character update out this coming Monday.

Torchlight 2 Prepurchase Available!

Steam and Runic Games have just added Torchlight 2 to the Steam Store. It is $20 for a one copy or $60 for 4 copies, so you get a 25% discount for buying in bulk. The multiplayer mode supports 4 players, so the 4-pack is perfect for anyone that has a lot of friends they want to play with. One copy gets added to your account with the other 3 copies added to your account as gifts. You can give these to your friends or even use them in trades for other Steam games.

On Steam every prepurchase has a bonus for paying before the game is out. In this case, the bonus is a free copy of Torchlight 1. If you already have Torchlight 1 you can gift the free copy to a friend or trade it with other gamers for a different Steam game. This prepurchase bonus also stacks with the 4-pack bundle; you get 4 free copies of Torchlight 1.

Torchlight 2 is also available from Perfect World Entertainment, the majority owners of Runic Games. However, Runic Games currently is not selling the game directly. If you want to support the developer more, you might want to wait until they are accepting orders directly. No matter where you buy the game, you will have to create a Runic Games account to play online.

The Steam page lists the game as a Summer 2012 release but gives no concrete date. I will wait until then to prepurchase. I’ve been burned in the past with games I preordered and the release window got pushed back further and further. I eventually decided I will not do preorders unless the game has a concrete release date announced by the publisher and developer (retailers just guess on their store pages). Hopefully, they announce a release date soon.

Runic Games Reveals Torchlight 2 Pets

Torchlight 2 is slowly progressing. We still don’t have a release date, but Runic Games have started doing news updates every Friday about the game. Last week’s update is about the new (and old) pets Torchlight 2 will have.

  • Ferret – Previously only available in certain Torchlight 1 copies (retail, Xbox Live), but now available to all users in Torchlight 2. Now with new and improved 3D model and textures.
  • Chakawary – Sort of like a dinosaur/bird hybrid, the body of a velociraptor with the head of a bird.
  • Cat – The cat returns from Torchlight 1 with new and improved 3D model and textures. In Torchlight 1 she looked almost like a lion. She keeps her large size in Torchlight 2, but now has the markings of a tabby cat.
  • Bulldog – A new pet that of course looks like a bulldog. I really like the 3D model. He looks like he has a lot of personality.
  • Hawk – A new flying pet. It appears to not fly really high, just mostly hovers and flies by your character’s side.
  • Panther – Similar to the Cat of course, but with a bigger frame. It looks like a big cat compared to the thin frame of the Cat. Solid blueish-black coat with jade eyes.
  • Wolf – This is basically the Dog from Torchlight 1 just bigger and stronger than before. Like all the other pets, he has a much better 3D model and textures than Torchlight 1.

The pets will have all of the same functions as Torchlight 1: have their own inventory, sell stuff for back to town, learn spells, transform when fed fish. They also have one new function: buying items in town for you. I don’t know how complicated this will be. I am guessing it will be mostly for generic items like potions and scrolls. If you run out, you can simply tell your pet to go back and buy some for you. Not bad.

I always liked the pets in Torchlight 1 but was disappointed there were so few. I wanted to have a different pet per character. Now there is a pretty good variety. I think I will make one character per pet, with more characters if I want to try out a different spec. There is some clamor on the forums for Runic to add a respec option, but I have a feeling Runic will be keeping Torchlight 2 the same in this area with no respecs available.


Diablo 3 Release Date Announced!

We have been waiting months for this, but now we finally know the day we will be playing Diablo 3: May 15, 2012. Blizzard is now excepting pre-purchases of the game today if you want to go the digital download route. People who got the WoW Annual Pass are also now able to download the client. The battle.net site was really slow, but I was able to purchase the game and get is started downloading.

Like the Starcraft 2 digital download, you get all the game files downloaded before the release date, but they are encrypted. Once the installer sees the live server is up and running, it then downloads a decryption key to decrypt the game files and install the game.

I have some bad news though. Unfortunately, I have a vacation planned from May 9 – May 20. Basically, I am going on a road trip and meeting a lot of relatives I haven’t seen in 15-20 years. I have been putting this vacation off for years, so I am not cancelling it now. I will just have to wait until after to play Diablo 3. I will probably get back home late Sunday and install the game (from my pre-downloaded files) but most likely won’t play until Monday evening.

My plans are still the same for Diablo 3. I will write down my thoughts as I play the game with the Monk. Each week I will do a little write-up, which I call a character update, combining my thoughts into one post to show where I am at in the game. It will mainly be about rare items I find, the new skills unlocked, and the monsters I am facing. The idea is to get a good sense of what my character is up against and what skills counter which monsters. Then, I can take that information into harder difficulties where it is really needed.

Back to Dragon Age: Origins

It has been a long break from RPGs, but it is time to get back into them. I had started Dragon Age: Origins sometime in October while finishing up my Mass Effect 1 & 2 builds but just lost interest in RPGs. I thought a couple months break would be enough, but now I see that 4-5 months was better.

My first Dragon Age: Origins character is a Warrior Tank. That is also what the first build will be. Dragon Age: Origins is quite different from Dragon Age 2. The attributes seem to be the same, but the spells/talents and skills are pretty much all different. After I finish this playthrough, I might end up doing a second playthrough to refine the build.

I don’t feel completely comfortable with the Dragon Age: Origins rules. I think I have chosen a few suboptimal talents for a Warrior Tank. The game does not have a way to reset talents, so hopefully I am able to correct the build by the time I get to the max level. I believe the max level is around 24 for the base game and 30 for the expansion.

This all hinges on Torchlight 2 and Diablo 3 release dates though. The Torchlight 2 beta is expected to be pretty soon. No dates have been giving but I am predicting the end of March at the earliest and by the end April for sure. Also of note is that it is now a friends and family beta, so most likely only the devs, Runic Games Fansite, and a few popular forum posters will be testers. I have also been hearing rumors about a Diablo 3 release date as early as April 17 but would not be surprised about a May release.

It looks like these two heavyweights may end up coming out in the same month. That’s no problem to me since I am getting them both on launch day. Torchlight is the reason I created this blog, and I have been waiting for Diablo 3 since 2004. They are absolutely the focus of this blog. If they come out early, Dragon Age: Origins will take a back seat for at least a few months. I want to have at least one build per class in Diablo 3 and Torchlight 2 before I go back to other RPGs.

Diablo 3 Skills, Runes, and Auction House Changes

Blizzard has made a couple quick posts in the last week. One covers changes to the Skill and Rune systems and the other to the Auction House systems. I will just layout the main points here as I have done previously. You can read the full text for more detail.

Skill and Rune systems

  • Skills are now separated into categories (Primary Attack, Secondary Attack, Defensive, and special “Unique” which depends on class like Mantras for Monk).
  • The bottom hotbar and the skills interface are now linked. Selecting your 6 skills and 3 passives sets the abilities on your hotbar at the same time.
  • Runestones have been renamed “skill runes”.
  • Skill runes do not drop. They are simply unlocked as you gain levels.
  • This new system features unlocks across all 60 levels whereas the old system only had unlocks up to level 30. You had to find or trade for runes to unlock new skill variants.

Runes are essentially just part of the Skill system now. The Rune system was the main thing extending development time. I think it is safe to say that the game is pretty much ready for release. They just need to do a little bit of bug testing on these new changes, and it should be good to go. They have likely already tested a bunch of this internally, so there should not be that many bugs.

Auction House systems

  • No more listing fees!
  • Transaction fees are increased to $1.25
  • Minimum listing price is increased to $1.50
  • Only 10 active listings per Auction House (Gold and Real Money)

These changes are titled as “beta changes”, but I can’t see them changing much for release. The lack of listing fees is a big one. You will now be able to put things up without having to worry about whether it will sell or not. At the same time that 10 listings limit prevents players from abusing this to auction massive amounts of items.

I was mainly going to use the Real Money Auction House for casual selling. This works a lot better for the way I will play the game. This is probably very disappointing to the people that were planning on making a living off this, but I think this is better for the game.

We still don’t know how much PayPal is going to charge for each sale. It’s possible you can still lose money if you choose to turn the sale into real money and not Blizzard Bucks fake money. The minimum you can make from a sale based on those numbers above is $0.25. PayPal could set a flat fee of $0.25, but I think they will probably go with a percentage fee that pays off a lot with big sales. With a 10% fee an item sold for $2.50 already pays them $0.25. Anything above that is more than what the flat fee would pay them.