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Blizzard explains Diablo 3 design change 'philosophy,' reveals gameplay stats

Xav de Matos, @Xav

Despite Diablo 3 taking hold of multiple Joystiq staff members, Blizzard's latest game has had a shaky launch. Server issues, auction house difficulties, and more have thrown a wrench into what our review feels is a must-play adventure.

In a blog post yesterday, Blizzard outlined its intentions with some of the game's upcoming fixes, and revealed a number of interesting statistics about the commercially explosive title.

Blizzard notes that players have an average of three created characters, with 80% of those characters falling between levels 1 and 30. Only 1.9 percent of players have unlocked Diablo 3's Inferno difficulty mode. Blizzard also revealed that 35 percent of "Hardcore" deaths have occurred in Act I on Normal difficulty.

Gallery: Diablo 3 (10/21/11) | 20 Photos

"When it comes to making game changes, in general, our intent is to react quickly to critical design and balance issues, bugs, and other problems that seriously conflict with our design intent through hotfixes," Blizzard wrote in a blog post detailing the aforementioned stats and upcoming Diablo 3 fixes.

The "first real game balance changes, outside of hotfixes, will be coming in patch 1.0.3," which has yet to be dated. Earlier today, Blizzard released patch 1.0.2, focused on server-side fixes.

But some users have complained about the changes already made to the game, specifically the changes to abilities like Lingering Fog, Boon of Protection, and Force Armor. Users feel these abilities have been nerfed. Blizzard says these abilities stood out as "simply more powerful than they should be" and impacted overall class balance.

"We don't want you to be worried that a hotfix nerf is lurking around the corner every day," the developer's blog noted. Part of the "enjoyment," Blizzard says, is finding super-strong builds to make players feel they are overpowered when discovered. "A good example of this is the monk Overawe rune, which many players have identified as being quite good. We agree it's good, but we don't think it's so far out of line that we're going to swoop in and hotfix it out of existence."

In addition to detailing some of their intent, Blizzard said it is aware implemented hotfixes "snuck up on people," but the dev promises to communicate changes via its website so players are aware of how their builds may be affected.

The post also details changes coming to blacksmiths and jewel crafting, including a reduction in resource requirements for both, as well as its thoughts on Inferno difficulty, which the developer notes "a pretty significant number of people attempting Inferno" are doing so without sufficient gear. Despite that claim, Blizzard says it's keeping an eye on Inferno ... which can't be good for the company's overall eyesight.

For more on Blizzard's latest title, make sure to read our Exploring the Patterns of Diablo 3 feature.

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