Diablo III finally has a release date of May 15, so now is the perfect time for the hardcore fans to start putting the game's mechanics under a microscope. In a discussion with fans about rune points, Blizzard dropped a few new tidbits on how the game handles monster levels.
At the Diablo Fans forum, Blizzard community manager Bashiok revealed that the Inferno monster levels won't be linear in this incarnation. Instead, they'll level up progressively. He says the developers originally intended users to be able to farm wherever they want, but playtesting revealed a few problems. The final boss didn't feel like an appropriate challenge, the pacing felt off, and Blizzard wanted more variety so that hardcore players could have a challenge while casual players could make it through the game.
This raised concerns of taking away the ability to farm anywhere, but he says they aim to make loot better in later acts without making earlier equipment completely obsolete. "Even though the theoretical best items might come from the later Acts, well-rolled items from the earlier acts will still be better," he said.
Responding directly to a fan who felt the game might be too easy in Hell, Bashiok assured that the difficulty will ramp up properly. "You're going to die, a lot, and you're going to have a horrible character for quite a while," he said. "You're not going to hit 60 and finish the game on Inferno. You're going to be smashing your face against Act 1 Inferno for weeks. Perfecting your build before then will not matter."