Blizzard on the IAS Nerf, Champion Affixes, Repair Costs and More

Blizzard commented on the IAS nerf and whether other things will be nerfed as well. Looks like it was just a one time thing, and they won't be touching other major gameplay mechanics unless there is an "extreme situation". Below is the full post as well as a few other comments about champion affixes, repair costs, magic finding gear, and more.

Blizzard Blue Tracker: Updated June 21, 2012

IAS Nerf:

There are plenty of stats we could have nerfed, there are many (some which have been mentioned) which are probably skewing itemization and build variety. We nerfed IAS because it was probably the worst offender, and because unlike most other stats has a bigger impact on mobility and resources. We know build variety is still affected by a number of issues and factors. We plan to really attack that problem in 1.1, but we didn't think IAS could sit as it was until then.

We don't want people to be afraid of nerfs, and ... I guess maybe I can try to get that across by saying we could have nerfed a bunch of stats that probably deserve it to some degree, but we didn't (aren't you thankful!?), because we don't believe our design approach should be constantly noodling with really important things, like stats. It should only be when we have an extreme situation developing, and we felt that was the case with IAS.

Champion affixes:

There's a difference between saying "that's an unfair affix combo" and "I can't beat this affix combo" (yet). Certain affix packs will be harder than others. The variance in randomness and in the difficulty of the packs is completely intentional and we're happy with where things are right now. 

Having to restart a game or skipping packs altogether is also totally fine. As you become more powerful, finesse your builds, and develop a variety of tactics to use in different situations, you'll be able to kill more monsters. If you could kill everything uniformly the first time you stepped into an Act, you'd have a really limited sense of progression and the feeling of becoming "more powerful" wouldn't be as present. The design intent is that some affix packs will unbeatable for you at first, but then you'll come back later and get your sweet (and well deserved) revenge. We feel that making every affix combo equally difficult would take away the satisfaction of overcoming the more challenging combos later on. 

Repair Costs:

No one is going to like additional repair costs. I'm not sure how any feedback would be "Great, I really love paying more for repair costs." however, we have seen enough feedback and data to show that the ratio is pretty good as long as people aren't throwing their character's corpses against enemies. Death has meant nothing for a very long time now. It's going to take some getting used to and just understanding that death is no longer something that just happens, it should be something you're really fighting to avoid, and potentially being smarter about tackling content you can actually tackle.

That said, we think the normal wear and tear is maybe too high. Just fighting is probably too expensive, and we're looking at potential adjustments there.

Magic Finding Gear:

Ultimately, we think players running around with an entire set of Magic Find gear and swapping out those pieces every time they want to open a chest, smash a pot, or click on a weapon rack isn't really all that fun, and we didn't want the game's mechanics to make players feel like they needed to do that in order to be the most efficient. We also don't want players avoiding fighting monsters just to run after shiny clicky things (we want you to do both). In both situations, this is something we wanted to discourage and we implemented changes we felt would accomplish this. 

We're already working on another developer blog that delves more deeply in to our current philosophy regarding Magic Find gear swapping, why it's our current philosophy, and how we're looking at improving Magic Find in general, so that will probably provide insight on this particular topic. No solid date on that blog yet, but it's definitely coming soon(tm). 

Additional Changes: 

While I'm unable to say one way or another whether "this is where things will stay," we're definitely not opposed to making additional changes. Iteration is big part of our design philosophy, and we will continue to make improvements to the game (maybe not forever, but definitely until we feel that everything is in a good place). For example, we're currently looking at a number of solutions for how to curb the popular practice of players swapping out their normal gear for Magic Find gear right before a kill to min/max their efficiency. In general, this isn't something that those players seem to particularly enjoy, but instead feel compelled to do because of how efficient it is.* Also, to be very clear, this practice is not intended. (The developer blog I was talking about previously will go into the solutions we're considering in much more detail.)

There will always be situations where our definition of "fun" and some players' definitions of "fun" will vary, but in general our goal when making changes like these is to improve the overall game experience. We might not always succeed, but this is what we strive for. For environment objects and destructible objects, it became an issue of players repeatedly choosing to avoid killing monsters in favor of smashing pots. Not because they particularly liked smashing pots or didn't particularly like killing monsters, but because it what was most efficient. We want you to kill monsters. We also want you to not have to worry about dragging along a separate set of Magic Find gear just for the sake efficiency gains. Did we succeed with these changes? Maybe. We think it was the right move, but it's only a day out from the patch and we're still waiting for all the feedback to settle. 

By the way, when players say things like "Blizzard just wants us to play the game the way they want us to play it," that's both true and not true -- but maybe not in the ways that you think. We definitely encourage experimentation, exploration, and variety. We've seen a lot of interesting tactics and builds and play styles develop since launch, and we're still seeing players find new ways to progress their characters. And that's really freaking cool. What we don't want to have happen, though, and where we're most likely to step in make changes, is when a certain tactic or a single way to play becomes the ONLY way to play. (Treasure Goblin farming is a another good example of this. For most, it was fun mostly because of the rate of loot reward...but, you weren't really fighting all that much, and because it was one of the most rewarding tactics out there, that meant a lot of players were driven to play that way, even if they didn't want to.)

*I realize this not exactly what you were suggesting, but I wanted to make it clear that we're not opposed to making further changes to a specific mechanic if we feel that it's not where it should be. 

Destroying Objects: 

For clarity, we never said destroying environment objects wasn't fun. You can still smash objects for a chance at gold drops, or just because you want to. Players feeling like they needed to always carry around MF gear and switch to that gear before destroying environment objects in order to be as efficient as possible, however, was something that was repeatedly communicated (in these forums even) as something that wasn't enjoyable -- and we agreed.