Diablo 3's upcoming 1.0.8 update is aiming to improve cooperative play, according to Blizzard. Senior technical game designer Wyatt Cheng says the company is currently working on balancing improving "efficiency" of co-op play without making multiplayer feel like it's required.
"Co-op play in general is a big focus of the 1.0.8 patch and efficiency is definitely one component of that," Cheng said on the Blizzard forum. "Co-op is already more efficient for some players, but this is the exception rather than the norm. The degree of co-op efficiency depends heavily on the co-ordination of the party, skill builds, and the relative gear level of the teammates. Since launch we've made some modest changes to encourage co-op play but there's still room to go farther. At the same time, we don't want to go so far as to make multiplayer feel 'mandatory' for those who prefer to play solo, but we still want to err on the side of being co-op favorable."
As an example, he cites the "Identify All" feature coming in the 1.0.8 update. "Sometimes the trip back to town to sort through a bag of gear is enough of a hurdle to make somebody feel playing co-op isn't worth it," he said. "Nobody wants to be in the dungeon fighting monsters while your teammate is off in town identifying a full inventory."