Blizzard details 1.0.8 multiplayer improvements

Blizzard has gabbed before about focusing on Diablo 3's co-op experience in patch 1.0.8, but what does that actually mean? What's new? What about me? What about my needs? Thankfully, Blizzard's thinking of me, and has explained a lot of changes to make multiplayer friendlier and less frustrating.

"From day one, it's been our goal to make Diablo 3 a great co-op experience, but right now it's not living up to its full potential," senior technical designer Wyatt Chang has written a big blog post. "Even if you enjoy playing with your friends, it can often feel easier and more efficient to play solo."

He details a big long list of new features in 1.0.8, which I've squeezed down to this:

  • Matchmaking Tags - Find players with similar goals by tagging games

  • Multiplayer Bonuses - more XP, Gold Find and Magic Find

  • Monster Health - bonus health per player reduced from 70% to 50%

  • Identify All - less waiting around for people who are off identifying

  • Archon Kills - Archon duration extended by assists too

  • Combat Alerts - automated calls to signal Elites and Treasure Goblins

  • Players Near You - finds people on your local network

  • Private Chat - multi-user private chats

Beyond 1.0.8, Blizzard's still looking at jazzing items up to be more exciting and reduce reliance upon the auction house. Former game director Jay Wilson commented last week that Blizzard hadn't predicted that players would use the auction house quite so much, and that sending people shopping rather than hunting monsters for loot "really hurt the game." The PlayStation 3 & 4 edition cuts it out entirely.