For players with extraordinary levels of skill, masochism and free time, Diablo III is adding a new difficulty level even harder than the ruddy hard 'Hell.' Those braving 'Inferno' difficulty will face even tougher and more powerful monsters, but have a shot at finding unique loot not available anywhere else.
Inferno is made for players who've hit the level cap of 60, game director Jay Wilson explained to Kotaku. However, the lowest-level monsters in Inferno will be level 61, and will have more health, damage, resistances, and skills than in Hell difficulty.
"The idea was that we wanted a difficulty mode where the entire game was viable," Wilson said. "So you don't have to pick and choose key areas [to replay]."
In Diablo II, players typically farm specific areas to level up, then the end game is simply making 'boss runs' over and over for loot. Blizzard aims to make Inferno different, hoping to have players seeing far more of the game's content. Should focused runs develop, it may tweak the game to encourage and reward roaming further.
There certainly are rewards for braving Inferno's horrors. It'll have its own exclusive weapons, armor, items, all with brand-new and unique looks. Some high-level runestones will only drop in Inferno, too. Doubtless, they'll sell for a pretty penny in Diablo III's real-money auction house. Certain rare items will also drop more frequently in Inferno than in lower difficulties.
There's still no firm word on Diablo III will launch for PC and Mac, but the external beta is scheduled for owner Activision Blizzard's third fiscal quarter, which begins October 1. Blizzard is also "very, very serious about bringing the Diablo 3 experience to the console," the developer said yesterday.