Due to the late announcement from Blizzard, it was perceived that Patch 1.0.4 was not going to be deployed during this week’s scheduled maintenance, but alas…it is.
Quote from Lylirra
We will be performing scheduled maintenance for Diablo III starting tomorrow (8/21) at 3:00 a.m. PDT in order to deploy patch 1.0.4. We anticipate that maintenance will conclude and that all services will be available by approximately 1:00 p.m. PDT. […] (Source)
Ready or not, Patch 1.0.4 is happening tomorrow. This Patch is a monster – adding many additional features and improvements to game play. Among the most notable changes…
The most significant update in this week’s patch is the introduction of the new Paragon Levels system. Paragon Levels are attained once a player reaches the current level cap of 60. At level 60, players will embark on a new level progression, referred to as “Paragon Levels”. Paragon Levels award core stats (strength, intelligence, dexterity & vitality) – in similar amounts to what you normally gain from a level – as well as 3% Magic Find and 3% Gold Find – per level.
The Paragon level cap is 100, which will be a huge undertaking to try and attain. Paragon Level 100 is being likened to reaching level 99 in Diablo 2, which was a painstaking grind, achieved only by those with dogged determination and an abundance of free time. The new Paragon Level system will hopefully serve to add some end game re-playability.
Even more appealing than the core stat gains, the real beauty of attaining max Paragon Level is having your character(s) be magic find and gold find capped (300% – respectively), without the need for additional MF or GF stats on gear. Max Paragon Level characters will not only be inherently MF and GF capped, but they’ll also be insanely powerful due to the added core stats and improved gear itemization budget. Level 100 (MF/GF) Paragon characters will not have to allocate any of their gear’s stats to magic find or gold find. This should allow max Paragon Level characters to rip through Inferno content – farming items and gold like nobody’s business.
…And with the improvements to Legendary items in this patch, that will definitely be an appealing goal.
Paragon Levels will be obtained though experience gains earned by killing monsters and combat challenge streaks (Massacre, Killing Blow, etc.) – once a player has reached level 60.
There will also be a new portrait frame to denote Paragon progression.
Magic Find will no longer be averaged across the group during co-op play.
Magic Find will now be capped at 300% (or 375% with full Nephalem Valor stacks).
Level 60-62 weapons will receive a boost to minimum and maximum damage.
Two handed melee weapons will see a boost to core stat values, as well as additional damage increase values, making them much more viable in Patch 1.0.4.
Off-hand items will see core stat values boosted to the same level as armor pieces.
Legendary Items will be receiving huge buffs. There are quite a few upgrades to Legendaries, so please see the full patch notes for complete details.
Visual Upgrades to Legendary Items
Here’s a sneak peek at some aesthetic changes happening to post-Patch 1.0.4 Legendary Items, along with some new proc effects. Enjoy. 🙂
These changes will only apply to weapons crafted or dropped after Patch 1.0.4 hits.
Monsters have been nerfed a bit for co-op and Inferno play. Monster health bonuses will be reduced in group play, with Inferno play also seeing a slight monster damage reduction in Acts II, III and IV.
Monsters will award loot and grant experience more closely related to the effort required to kill them. Monsters that are less difficult to kill will award less loot and experience than before, where as the tougher monsters will now provide greater rewards.
Normal monsters will now drop approximately 4x more magic (blue) and rare (yellow) loot than before!
Patch 1.0.4 looks like it aims to make the game a little more accessible and enjoyable for most. The in-game and Auction House UI’s are seeing a host of improvements, end-game progression will likely be easier (and arguably more appealing), leveling seems like it will be slightly faster (especially in the later levels, pre-Paragon), and it looks as if the re-playability of the game will improve somewhat.
Diablo 3 is not a game that the devs nailed on their first pass, so I expect a few more major content patches before we start to see something more closely resembling what the majority of players expected to get last May 15th. But, in time, I think Blizzard will get it there. This patch seems like it will address a lot of the issues plaguing the current iteration of the game, plus it adds some interesting new game systems and mechanics. Should be exciting!
There are several other updates, improvements and fixes coming in Patch 1.0.4, so please check out the complete list of Patch 1.0.4 notes for full details.