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Two things.

I cleared Inferno (solo). I wanted to do it before the patch hit (since there were incoming nerfs). Hardest boss is Azmodan followed by Belial. Total time was 212 hours. Most of the time was spent farming ACT I and mostly ACT II. Hardest boss was Azmodan for me. Those blood pools suck.

Second thing. Patch hit today. And very happy with the changes. They made the bosses harder and added enrages to most of them, so you can't cheese it. The trade off though is damage from monsters have been reduced and better items can now drop in ACT I and II. Which is good because some people I know, not as lucky with drops as me, were killing themselves from farming useless gear in ACT I. I will go through the game again and compare the difficulty differences. But, from the patch notes it just seemed they got rid of the annoying things that did not really made the game harder, just frustrating.
Some major Diablo III 1.0.4 changes.

Paragon system is being added. Essentially it's another 100 levels to gain after level 60. You'll gain further stat buffs with each level and your gold find and magic find will increase with each level up as well. Definitely a smart move for Blizzard. Grinding and gear checking as the only form of a progression system after 60 doesn't work too well in an action online RPG with limited content.

Major class buffs. Most of the classes are getting their skills buffed so there is more build diversity. Certain overpowered skills were readjusted though.

Also, legendaries are being buffed, cheap ass champion pack affixes are being readjusted, weapons are being improved, group play is being improved so you can actually play with your friends and not be punished by a retarded difficulty spike, and the auction house is getting better search functions. The prior patch nerfed Inferno a bit, so with these new changes it should be tolerable.

My question is, why wasn't the game developed like this before it came out? I don't like purchasing incomplete games which I need to beta test. The new changes definitely seem cool and I like the new Paragon system, but did they really think playing a game that's more a chore then being fun, would actually be, oh I don't know, fun? Never design a game that appeals to the minority 1% that likes to torture themselves with bullshit retarded fake content. Don't force certain game behaviors on players. Believe it or not, but sometimes when a game doesn't force you to grind to progress, but to grind because its fun to play with friends and develop an avatar, it's actually better received. Artificial Gear checks don't = a challenge, it = Chinese gold farmer. I think they're finally figuring that out now with these new changes.
I've been following the character updates on the 1.04 patch and while they were interesting, its not a real fix to the problem of the game's replayability. However the details of this paragon mode are VERY much the type of shot in the arm the (nonexistent) end game in D3 needs.

I don't like to grind, but I can't continue playing a game without a clear objective or continual progress. Adding these Paragon levels are a good incentive to keep going, especially if more builds (i.e. not god damn bears) are viable for Inferno play. If the rumors/leaks are true, it seems like they're adding a shitload more Legendaries to the mix as well, with some unique abilities. Here's a list of what's supposed to be coming:

  • Pig Sticker - Squeal!
  • Blood-Magic Blade - Blood oozes from you.
  • Wizardspike - 20% chance to hurl a frozen orb when attacking.
  • The Gidbinn - Chance to summon a Fetish when attacking.
  • Last Breath - Slain enemies rest in pieces.
  • Skycutter - Chance to summon angelic assistance when attacking.
  • Sever - Slain enemies rest in pieces.
  • Azurewrath - This weapon will forcefully repel undead enemies.
  • Scourge - 20% chance to explode with demonic fury when attacking.
  • Maximus - Chance to summon a Demonic Slave when attacking.
  • Genzaniku - Chance to summon a ghostly Fallen Champion when attacking.
  • The Butcher's Sickle - 20% chance to drag enemies to you when attacking.
  • The Burning Axe of Sankis - Chance to fight through the pain when enemies hit you.
  • Sky Splitter -10% chance to Smite enemies when you hit them.
  • Butcher's Carver - The Butcher still inhabits his carver.
  • Fire Brand - 25% chance to cast a fireball when attacking.
  • Odyn Son - 20% chance to Chain Lightning enemies when you hit them.
  • Earthshatter - 20% chance to cause the ground to shudder when attacking.
  • Boneshatter - Slain enemies rest in pieces.
  • Cataclysm - 25% chance to sunder the ground your enemies walk on when you attack.
  • Schaefers's Hammer - 25% chance to be protected by Lightning when you are hit.
  • Vigilance - Chance to cast Inner Sanctuary when you are hit.
  • The Raven's Wing - Ravens flock to your side.
  • Cluckeye - 25% chance to cluck when attacking.
  • Demon Machine - 35% chance to shoot explosive bolts when attacking.
  • Buriza-Do Kyanon - 40% chance for ranged projectiles to pierce enemies.
  • Pus Spitter - 25% chance to lob an acid blob when attacking.
  • Hellrack - Chance to root enemies to the ground when you hit them.
  • Calamity - 20% chance to target enemies with Marked for Death when you hit them.
  • Fjord Cutter - 20% chance to be surrounded by a Chilling Aura when attacking.
  • The Paddle - Slap!
  • Flying Dragon - Chance to double your attack speed when attacking.
  • Maloth's Focus - Enemies occasionally flee at the sight of this staff.
  • The Tormentor - Chance to charm enemies when you hit them.
  • Slorak's Madness - This wand finds your death humorous.
  • Wall of Bone - 20% chance to be protected by a shield of bones when you are hit.
  • Lidless Wall - You have a chance to be shielded when hit by enemies.
  • Andariel's Visage - 20% chance to cast a Poison Nova when you are hit.
  • Fire Walkers - Burn the ground you walk on.
  • Goldskin - Chance for enemies to drop gold when you hit them.
  • Pox Faulds - These pants occasionally make you stink.
  • Death Watch Mantle - 15% chance to explode with knives when hit by enemies.
  • The Grin Reaper - Chance to summon horrific Mimics when attacking.
  • Storm Crow - 20% chance to cast a fiery ball when attacking.
  • Thunder God's Vigor - 25% chance to cause Shock Pulse to erupt from your enemies when you hit them.
  • Moonlight Ward - 25% chance to be surrounded by balls of Arcane Power when attacking.
  • Puzzle Ring - This ring sometimes calls forth a Treasure Goblin when you are hit.
  • Bul-Kathos's Wedding Band - You drain life from enemies around you.
  • Band of Hollow Whispers - This ring occasionally haunts nearby enemies.
  • Bul-Kathos's Warrior Blood - You occasionally Whirlwind furiously.
  • Shenlong's Relentless Assault - Chance to hurl a ball of pure energy when attacking.
  • Manajuma's Gory Fetch - You are surrounded by a deadly Poison Cloud.
  • Litany of the Undaunted - This ring sometimes summons a Skeleton when you attack.
  • Demon's Flight - Chance to reflect projectiles when you are hit by enemies.
  • The Murlocket - Call forth a creature from the depths.

More details on the leak here:

It seems legit since it did show the paragon level up graphics before Blizz revealed their actual purpose.

I swore I wasn't touching the game again until the PVP mode was released, but I think this will actually give me incentive to resume playing! Now if only I can actually GET some of these items as drops, right?
The paragon levels thing is actually something Kripparian suggested to Blizzard a couple months back. If you guys don't know Kripparian, and his friend Krippi, were the only people in the world to complete Hardcore on Inferno before the nerf. Got a ton of attention in the gaming community, reddit, and from Blizzard. Kripparian knows a shit ton about the Diablo III. So it is cool the actually are using his ideas because he knows what the game needs to make it better.

I've been playing still, just to make a little bit of extra money on the RMAH selling high end gems. It was surprising that people were still buying shit when the game was dead. One of my guildmates in WoW actually sold a legendary for $125 a week and half ago before any of this patch stuff was revealed. crash.gif

I will probably play some more. Since a lot of the holiday titles this year I was interested in were pushed to next year.
How many items have you actually sold for real money, and how much have you made if you don't mind?

And do you think the amount you've gotten in return is worth the time it takes to get a drop that's worth selling on the RMAH? I've steered clear of that whole bees nest but it would be interesting to get some perspective on it.
I've made over $150. Enough to pay for a couple new games that were on sale on Greenman gaming, two nights at the bar and the next two months worth of Gamefly. Which is my intention for selling on the RMAH; to pay for my gaming while gaming. I am quite content with it so far. So, totally worth it for the time I put in because I enjoyed playing the game and I would of probably been using that time to play anyway.

I do it very very casually, as in I am not one those people that play the Auction House by flipping stuff; unless I stumble on a good deal. While I have not sold stuff in two weeks, but when I did I would play about 3 hours for my farming session. I could usually make three gems which sold for $15 each at the time (they sell for 8 bucks right now I think). Basically, I would farm then put really good items on gold AH, then use a portion of the gold to craft gems. I could probably make a ton more if I was not interesting in still decking out my character or playing the AH a bit.

I play the game still to gear up for the most part. Though how I got to this point took a ton of time because farming and getting really good gear, to do ACT III was a huge time sinkt. I had the advantage also of clearing Inferno before nerf too. Still I only used about a quarter of the gold I made to make gems to sell for real money. I used the rest to purchase upgrades because I still very much care about decking out my characters.

Selling gems is the way to go because the price of gems in real money is cheaper than in equivalent gold. They sell very fast! Because they always sell and getting the gold to make them takes little to no effort if you can farm efficiently. The other half is knowing what sells on the Gold AH, so that takes some time to research. Also, not wasting time on picking up all items. You want to discriminate items that don't have a good chance of being good so you are not wasting time emptying bags and identifying stuff. It is not uncommon for me to end a farming run with only 4 items in my bags, but knowing their likely total value together will be at least 1 million gold.

Selling gold is the best though if you don't mind waiting.

I know people that are not really playing the game and are sitting on items that could sell well. Like, Fiery Brimstones for example. I told a guildmate of mine to buy up a ton of Fiery Brimstones with his gold before he quit because the price in gold fell to 140k and 25 cents on RMAH ( Though the trick was to buy lv 59 and 60 legendaries for 100k and salvage them). Because of the patch the price is now 400k gold and 46 cents in RMAH. I expect the price to get close to a dollar when patch hits, and my guildmate is sitting on hundreds. So you can speculate on stuff and it usually pays off with very little effort just by playing the game casually and a little bit of knowledge.

Finally, a friend of mine sold a stack of 200 Exquisite Essences last Thursday. That nets about $36 after fees. That is $36 per 300k gold right now! I was like "Are you fucking kidding me?" Getting a ton of Exquisite Essences is like the easiest thing in the game to do. Was very surprised by that. I did not think they would sell for real money because it is so easy to obtain. But, I guess people are going crazy building up their banks with mats in order to craft the new legendaries with really good stats.

I know I could make quite a bit of money if I spent all my gaming time playing Diablo III and flipping on the AH. But, it is not that appealing to me. I am content with playing the game a few hours a week for fun and making a little bit of money while doing it.
So I played a little yesterday, got halfway through my first paragon level. The game is definitely more playable now, as WD. My pets actually survive quite well in inferno Act 1 now, elite/champ packs still take a little caution but it's not a brick wall soloing. Its nice to actually use skills other than bears with success.

I duo'ed with HC82 and we easily made it through the last part of Act 1.

The game still has the basic problem of just going through the same ol' shit over and over though. Its got me wondering, what exactly is separating this game's "fun factor" from that of D2?

Gameplay-wise, UI, graphics, and player-friendliness hands now D3 has D2 beat. It feel like on a technical level D3 is a better game than D2, but the sum of its parts doesn't have that "magic" that makes it actually more fun to play continually. And I feel like Blizzard is acting as though there is this tangible "fun algorithm" that they can reach by tweaking the values, that somehow if they keep changing shit till its just right then D3 will be as fun, or more fun than D2 was.

Is this even possible? Is what made D2 great even something that can be recreated in a modern game? And what exactly makes D2 so great compared to D3? I feel like I'm doing the same shit, running through levels, killing guys, getting loot; of which most sucks. But why could I have fun doing that on D2 for years on and off, but I'm sick of it on D3 in less than a month?
It's the Auction House. Items drops do not feel meaningful because you know you can get any item with the stats you need instantly if you have the gold or money. Then the gear is not really good for anything in the game once you get it. There needs to be some extra optional challenge to put that gear you have to test. Many people have suggested an endless dungeon that becomes progressively harder.

I like the Path of Exile endgame, where there are random maps that you can get as rare drops that have affixes which will generate a level for you. The affixes on the map describes what you will be in for. For example, you may get a map with affixes like "Enemies have 1000% more HP, 200% damage, 150% better loot from chest." I think that is a really intriguing system.

Blizzard seems to be aware of the issues though and looking to address it.

But yeah the Paragon levels thing did make the game feel fresh for me. I actually joined a Public game and had fun grinding out some EXP. Group play feels less like a chore now with the nerfed HP to monsters.
Expansion pack was announced officially today (after being rumored for a week or so with a teaser site).

Gameplay vid:

The deets:
  • New class: The Crusader, meele character with shield and swords / hammers / flails (i.e. Paladin).
  • One new Act: "western gothic setting" looks much more reminiscent of Diablo 1 and D2 Act 1.
  • New level cap (70): new skills and runes for all classes.
  • Loot runs: Entirely randomized dungeons that take 15-20minutes to complete (for endgame).
  • Nephalem Trials (any idea what this is?)
  • Expanded paragon system: Paragon levels are now account wide (applies to all characters), unlimited cap. I have no idea how this is going to take paragon levels you've already earned into account.
  • Loot 2.0: Modified loot-system, multi-level legendaries and a new system called "smart drops", loot will drop less but the drops will be better and more meaningful for you.
  • Transmogrification: Change the look of your stuff but keep the stats
  • The Mystic: Artisan that allows you to re-attribute the stats of your items (basically the shit they moved

I love the character design of the Crusader. Looks like something from Dark Souls!

With the new loot system, loot will drop less frequently but be "more meaningful", meaning you'll get drops more tailored to your class, and drops you will actually want to use. Legendary drops will happen more frequently too, and each legendary will be a "Build Changer", something you'll want to adapt you playstyle to so you can use it.

It sounds like this expansion is going in the right direction for Diablo, the endgame content sounds like something way more appealing than the "crank monster level 10 and run inferno over and over" going on now. I really hope they add more than just the 1 class though, otherwise everyone is going to max out their Crusader on the 1st or 2nd day.
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