Diablo 3: Patch 2.3.0 PTR Preview First Look

Blizzard announced the upcoming 2.3.0 patch for Diablo 3 on their PTR servers. Like 2.2, this patch looks to be pretty big with some major features that have numerous players chomping at the bits in anticipation for the release. Let’s take a look at the major features here.

The Ruins of Sescheron

The Ruins of Sescheron, if I recall correctly, was one of last major pieces that hasn’t been released since the preview at Blizzcon 2014. Lore-wise, I believe this area is connected to Act 4 in Diablo 2 with the heavy winter regions of the barbarians. I do think I had an opportunity to test it during the demo at Blizzcon 2014 where you were put in this zone in a Greater Rift. Pretty much there’s traps and environmental elements that will make it pretty exciting.

Kanai’s Cube

Let’s by honest and state right now that this is a feature everyone has been waiting for and no doubt will be the ultimate star for this coming patch. I talked about something similar in previous blogs where I felt that we could do more with materials, particularly trashed legendaries and using the affixes or powers to augment other legendaries. From what I’ve read other people have been asking for similar items. The net result: Kanai’s Cube.

This is an artifact akin to the Horadric Cube found in Diablo 2 where you could create new items from other items and have numerous combinations/effects. Here, Kanai’s Cube’s main purpose will be using the properties from legendaries and providing passive bonuses. A few of the Diablo 3 developers have already hinted at some possibilities like the Ring of Royal Grandeur with the Mask of Jeram and Carnevil.

I don’t know exactly how many passives you will be able to acquire through this item, but it seems you can get at least three. The main focus is to allow more builds to open up and free up key slots like rings. Obviously, the Ring of Royal Grandeur and Unity will be huge since you can then utilize Focus/Restraint. But think about things like the Tall Man’s Finger, which has been discarded in favor of other abilities or passives.

Additionally, the description talks about being able to convert one type of material to another. Not sure how that will work out but the big thing is increasing the amount of possibilities to play the game, which I’m certain will excite all fans.

Improved/Simplified Crafting System

The idea here is that the materials gathered while leveling will be the same as when you hit max level. So it sounds like they might just get rid of the lower level materials entirely and just have the stuff you find at level 70. That will help free up space and make farming more focused rather than something that splits between 1-60 and 61-70.

The other aspect is the streamlined recipes. So for the most part, it feels that this part is more about making leveling more fluid and providing the gear immediately rather than forcing someone to wait around until a certain level to be able to craft something. I suppose the only thing that is questionable at this stage is how it will affect level reduced gear. I know for people who want to hit leaderboards in seasons, level reduced gear when starting a new season is critical. It’s entirely possible that the new system might prevent people from crafting certain pieces of level reduced gear (like weapons). Not sure if that will make that huge of a difference but the possibility is there.

Adventure Mode Updates

Here, they’re upp’ing the ante with Adventure Mode by encouraging people to do more bounties across acts. Part of the incentive is to provide act specific crafting materials from Horadric Caches while Bonus Acts get more goodies. And of course, the other note here is the removal of Greater Rift Trials, which I’m certain almost everyone will be happy about.

New Torment Difficulty Levels

Basically, we’ll see Torments go up to 10, which has been a request by a large number of players in the forums since Torment 6 is considered pretty easy once someone obtains their main gear and can be done blind folded with ancient gear BiS gear. Of course, this also goes back to the controversial topic of power creep, but presumably we’ll be seeing higher numbers in Greater Rifts once Kanai’s Cube hits and people begin determining better combos to bump up their defensives and increase their damage.

If anything, this is just going back to Monster Power, except that we’ll have different methods of obtaining power from set gear, to ancient items, to legendary gems and next new passives via Kanai’s Cube. The important thing is that the number of combinations ought to keep things fresh while still posing enough of a challenge at the base game level.

New Legendaries and Set Items

Many of us are already anticipating the revamping of some sets that got left on the chopping block of the last patch like the 6 piece Sunwukos. Also, the developers have mentioned that all the RoS 4 piece sets will be getting a 6 piece bonus and probably have their effects revamped accordingly (along with items like the Helltooth set). There might be some new set items (no names given) along with new legendaries and new abilities for legendaries that lack a special ability. Either way, we’ll see more combinations and ways to play through this patch.

Combat Changes

The big thing mentioned here seems to be focused on the topic of crowd control. I think the aim is to decrease harder monster’s tolerance to crowd control. If I’m not mistaken, most elites and bosses are almost immune to crowd control or their duration is extremely short. So you end up running into situations where you really don’t have a lot of strategy when you solo. Either you get lucky with whatever boss you find or you quit.

This change makes it seem that your crowd control will matter, which is great. For instance, a demon hunter’s caltrops that slow/snares an elite. Most times, it won’t matter and you just run away and kite or try skipping every creature until you find an easy level of monsters. Obviously, that’s not a great way to play the game since you’re just fishing at that point rather than trying to deal with the mechanics.

With the increased difficulties, you definitely should be able to have more forms of handling situations rather than just have raw offense. Add to this all the possible combinations from passives so you become more well rounded as opposed to just a high damaging machine. Instead, hopefully these changes will allow people to top out at a certain damage amount and start focusing on crowd control effects to help deal with certain abilities (like it’ll be great to interrupt a boss that is about to toss fire breath at you if you’re prepared for it as opposed to giving up and leaving the game).

Overall, this feels like a very polished product at this point. Of course, people are still clamoring over trading and PVP. Not sure if trading will ever be resolved after the auction house fiasco. But PVP probably would be the last will deliverable.

For myself, I probably won’t check out the PTR just because of time constraints for the next month. But I’m hoping that by the time the patch is ready to be released, I’ll be mostly done with my work project and have more free time to check the game out again. I definitely am going to start looking at the possible combination of items from legendaries once we know more about the limits of Kanai’s Cube. But I won’t speculate too heavily until more details are released on that subject.

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