Well, this should dispel the notion that a developer’s work ends when the game ships once and for all. Just over a week after Diablo 3 released, Blizzard has confirmed that the game’s first patch will be coming soon to address several technical and gameplay issues that have been plaguing the game since launch. Unsurprisingly, the amount of time required to get the game running well enough to implement the Real Money Auction House has forced the developers to delay its launch even farther.
While a large number of Diablo 3 players likely never encountered many of the technical bugs or glitches – except when they caused the servers to be taken offline – the presence of anything that can end a player’s game and boot them entirely is a problem that must be dealt with quickly. Thankfully the team has announced via Battle.net that several changes are being made soon: some on the developer’s end, others through a patch expected to arrive next week. While that’s all well and good, the technical support for the game doesn’t seem vastly improved from its state when the decision was made to delay the Real Money Auction House.
Introducing actual dollars into this uncertain climate would be a recipe for an even larger disaster than what Diablo 3 has already faced, so Blizzard isn’t taking any chances:
“In light of the post-launch obstacles we’ve encountered, we have made the decision to move the launch of the real-money auction house beyond the previously estimated May time frame. As we mentioned in our original announcement, our goal has always been to ensure everyone has the smoothest experience possible when the real-money auction house launches, and we need a bit more time to iron out the existing general stability and gameplay issues before that feature goes live. While we don’t have a new launch date to share just yet, we’ll have more information soon.”
It’s hard to attack a publisher for acting in the best interest of the customer, but these developing issues are starting to show just how much the troubled launch of Diablo 3 has affected Blizzard’s plans. With still no word on PvP arenas, it’s becoming clearer and clearer just how much of Diablo 3 was incomplete when launch arrived – an issue we noted in our review.
In a bit of good news, Blizzard did claim that the number of Diablo 3 players who had actually contacted them with concerns that their accounts had been hacked into and stripped was “extremely small.” From their investigations it seemed that accounts were being hacked using “traditional” means, not exploits found within the game’s servers or Battle.net specifically. Hopefully that remains to be the case, and players can attain their gold and loot without fear of any unprotected servers or loopholes.
As for the upcoming changes, so far only the hotfixes have been detailed, and not those requiring an upcoming patch. These are just a few of the issues set to be resolved over the coming days, with the list set to be updated regularly. Spoilers may abound for those who have yet to finish the game’s campaign, so read at your own risk:
- Mehtan the Necromancer and his skeletons can no longer be used to kill other monsters which have been kited to their location before or after the “Restless Sands” event.
- Players will now receive an error message when attempting to remove a gem from an item with no sockets (rather than disconnecting).
- Players will now properly have their casting interrupted when attacked while performing resurrect on a fallen group member.
- Resolved over 30 game and service crashes affecting players.
- Smoke Screen: Duration reduced from 2 seconds to 1 second (tooltip will still show 2 seconds).
- Skill Rune – Lingering Fog: Now increases the duration of Smoke Screen to 1.5 seconds (tooltip will still show 3 seconds).
- Fists of Thunder: Skill Rune - Quickening. Fixed an issue that was causing spirit regeneration to incorrectly trigger off critical hits from other sources, such as Sweeping Wind.
- Mantra of Healing: Mantra of Healing will now correctly provide only two times the base healing effect for the first 3 seconds after activation, down from four times the base healing effect (tooltip will still show the old value).
- Skill Rune - Boon of Protection. A maximum absorption amount has been set to 1000 Life. This skill will be redesigned in an upcoming patch.
- Serenity: Skill Rune – Tranquility. Duration of immunity granted to nearby allies from crowd control effects reduced from 2 seconds to 1 second.
- Arcane Torrent: Skill Rune – Cascade. Fixed an issue that was causing Arcane Torrent to fire 3 new missiles per kill instead of only 1 new missile per kill. Number of simultaneously missiles generated from this rune will now cap at 10 missiles.
- Energy Armor: Skill Rune – Force Armor. Amount of damage absorbed from a single attack will now cap at 100% of a player’s maximum Life.
- The chest spawn in the Town Cellar in Alcanus has been changed from a 100% chance to spawn a Resplendant chest to a 50% chance to spawn a Normal chest.
- Players can no longer dual-wield two-handed weapons.
- Players will no longer remain invulnerable to attacks after defeating Diablo.
- Players can no longer become stuck during Diablo’s Shadow Grab ability if a player blinds Diablo while Shadow Grab is being cast.
- Equipping a shield on a follower as a demon hunter will no longer disconnect you from the game.
- Act I: Players can now always interact with Karyna during the quest and quest step “Trailing the Coven : Talk to Karyna” when they resume from a save.
- Act II: The Enchantress will now always appear during the quest and quest step “Shadows in the Desert : Disrupt the Hidden Conclave.”
- Act IV: Tyrael will now always be present for the in-game cutscene during the quest and quest step “Prime Evil : Climb to the Pinnacle of Heaven in the Silver Spire.”
Hopefully no unforeseen delays affect this side of things, and the patch arrives next week as planned. When Blizzard reveals exactly how much will be changing with its arrival, or when the Real Money Auction House can be expected we’ll bring you up to date.
Diablo 3 is available now for the PC and Mac.
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