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The Diablo 3 Fallout: How A Game Is Dying Overnight

For anyone unaware, patch 1.03 came out last night. This was the infamous "Inferno nerf" patch...which was actually more like an "Inferno adjustment" patch. Some things were buffed, some things were nerfed, and some things were changed. Regardless of it all, Inferno is more doable but still tough as nails. That's cool, and I've appreciated the adjustment so far.

What I haven't appreciated...and almost an entire forum's worth of people on the Diablo 3 website seem to the ridiculous feeling that we are being punished for trying to progress through Inferno at the cost of insanely overpriced repair bills. These hikes in repair bills (from around 5k broken to 50k broken) were essentially the idea that Blizzard had behind "stopping graveyard zerging". This means that people would pull a mob to the last checkpoint that they had popped, continually deal damage and throw their body at the enemy until they die, then respawn with the enemy right there. Since your companion can never "die" but only get put down to one knee, it means that you could allow them to deal damage while you are dead until you decide to rez and take the kill.

Exploitation in a video game is nothing new, and Blizzard has been pushing as hard as possible to kill exploits. However, with the new patch, they have started pushing too hard and it is bleeding over on the good and honest gamers that just want to enjoy their game, try to progress, and have fun with it. For instance, Warden/Butcher runs in Act 1 Inferno had become a common way to make some money in order to gear up. You had to run through four different areas (Halls of Agony LVL 2, Highland Passages, The Cursed Hold, Halls of Agony LVL 3) in order to get to Butcher, while Warden resided on Cursed Hold. During the course of this, you might have a chance to pick up a couple of rare items that would either have some decent stats for you to replace some gear and upgrade or possibly sell on the AH for a little scratch to put towards more upgrades.

Those runs have had a lot of their item drops nerfed, Warden boss was buffed (which he needed it, but he's still a fucking pussy), and the mobs were generally doubled. This is fine for some classes. However, thanks to a nerf in itemized attack speed, it has caused some trouble for Demon Hunters and other classes who chose to play poorly constructed builds based on exploiting the use of skills that has high percentage weapon damage conversion.

That is partially the fault of people playing Demon Hunters for stacking IAS as a main weapon stat rather than secondary, but it's also the fault of Blizzard for itemizing in a way that makes IAS more attractive than other stats.

Nonetheless, it causes a problem because Demon Hunters, Wizards, and Witch Doctors are generally squishy classes. When you double the mobs that are coming at them, you are essentially sending them to their death wish...and then increasing their repair costs by about four times what it used to be (up to six times more if you are wearing iLVL 63 gear).

Moreover, they have removed many of the capabilities to actually make money due to how fast wear and tear happens. Sure, you can drop down to Hell difficulty and farm for money, but is that really "fun"? If you listen to Blizzard's employees that have been showing up on the forums, THEY decide what is fun - not the players.

Is this the proper approach? I'm just the guy that paid the money for your game, and at this point, quitting the game means you are victorious. You made your money and then killed your game. If you think that's a general overreaction, the numbers that are coming out today support it. XFire usage with the game is down to around 2,000 players. Public Games being shown and registered as active on the game has dropped to around that same number. Multiple people on the forums who have stated that they are quitting...have held true to their word.

People are declaring the game as being dead right now...and the numbers are proving it.

Given that it's a Blizzard game, I'm sure it can recoup, but I've never seen a mass exodus of a Blizzard game in this magnitude. It's kind of interesting to see, as many people on the forums actually...speak with logic and sense! *GASP* I've even posted a few of my own threads, namely pointing out how 1.03 is a completely counterproductive patch that breaks more than it fixes, as it has caused players to fear playing the game more than being excited to play the game. You should NEVER instill fear in people to come into your game world and enjoy themselves, despite what exploiters are doing to your in-game economy. It's an ARPG, not an MMO.

Nonetheless, I've made the decision that I'm going to be taking some time away from the game. There is some serious work that needs to be done to Diablo 3 at this point before it is something I even wish to play again. It just means I'll be able to dedicate a bit more time to Dark Souls before the DLC hits later this year, as well as finally dig into Max Payne 3 and maybe some of the Summer of Arcade stuff.

How does everyone else feel about patch 1.03? Are you going to continue trampling through the game, or do you feel like one brick wall has been replaced by another?