Posted by Raine Hutchens on May 23, 2012

Blizzard Nerfs Diablo III Classes, Leaves Many Players Upset

Blizzard has just released the first of some hotfixes that will go out for Diablo III. These ongoing fixes are meant to help balance out each of the character classes. With balance, though, comes nerfing, and that’s exactly what the developer has done. Of course, players are less than thrilled with the outcome.

The first fix has reduced the effectiveness of the Monk’s Boon of Protection rune. It used to offer protection to players being healed by Mantra of Healing. According to Blizzard the rune was “approximately ten times over its budget on the benefits provided, and it was quite simply a mistake on our part to let the rune ship as it was.”  Apparently they plan to issue a lasting fix sometime in the future, but for now it’s been nerfed so bad that players aren’t even using it.

As for the Wizard and Demon Hunter, they’ve had their Force Armor and Smoke Screen skills nerfed for less power. Smoke Screen lasts for a lot less time than it used to before. If you’re not coupling it with the rune that extends its duration, the skill is now practically unusable. For players who are attempting Hell and Inferno difficulties, your strategy has been reduced to kiting enemies around to avoid attacks and damage. The enemies are already overpowered, and these changes won’t help at all.

Blizzard’s Diablo III forums are being lit up by aggravated players, most of them who play the Monk class. The developer claims that their issue is with players relying on the same skills, but the argument in return is that these skills, such as the Mantra of Healing and Boon of Protection combo, are the best chance at support the Monk had on higher difficulties. Some are even saying that they can’t pass Act I with the way things are, even before the nerfs went into effect.

Personally if Blizzard is upset about certain skills being overused, I think they should buff the bad skills. Don’t take what works and break it, fix what doesn’t work and move on. The developer commented on their decision saying, “Class balance is an ongoing investigation, and by no means do we believe the game is now perfect, but we’re also seeing evidence that supports the Monk and Barbarian are not as bad off as they seem. The game is young, there were some skills that threw things out of what, and we expect the landscape to settle out a bit more evenly. Or at least change again so we can continue to monitor the impact. Maybe we’re wrong, maybe there’s no current chance for Monk or Barbarian to compete with ranges, but our current suspicion is that’s incorrect and until we know for sure we’re not going to turn any dials.”

This is definitely some defensive attitude that Blizzard is sporting on the issue. I don’t think that nerfing good skills instead of buffing bad ones is the right way to go, but the developer will do what they want. Taking away the single skillset that makes the Monk’s support build stand doesn’t make too much sense. Players seem to agree with this line of thinking as well. Of course balancing characters, skills, and overall gameplay for a title where players will pretty much be spending their every waking moment will always cause some controversy. The thing is, players who are attempting Hell and Inferno are already having their heads explode. Why make that tougher?


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