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Patch 2.6.8 PTR Update & Season 19 Ending March 1st

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Blizzard has just released a patch for the 2.6.8 PTR with some bug fixes and balances changes. The entire updated patch notes are below with the changes highlighted in red, but it looks like the big take aways are the developers are addressing some performance issues for the new Witch Doctor's set and smoothing out the playability of the Barbarian and Wizard sets. The devs also note they're keeping an eye on Crusader performance because the balance changes for the Valor set may not have been enough to bring Crusaders more in line with the performance of other classes.

 

We also have confirmation via Twitter with the usual two week warning that Season 19 will be ending on March 1st.

 

Correction

( ͡° ͜ʖ├┬┴┬┴ Season 19 ends March 1st. https://t.co/Z2aJzXb2Mp

— Diablo (@Diablo) February 14, 2020

 

Originally Posted by Nevalistis (Official Post)

 

Patch 2.6.8 PTR Begins 2/6

The two-week PTR testing period for 2.6.8 begins February 6 and we need your help to make Season 20 better than ever!

We’ve got three brand-new class sets to dig into, an armful of Legendary item changes, and a pretty crazy game-changing Season mechanic that’s bound to blow the lid off your traditional build approach. Check out the preliminary patch notes below and start theorycrafting; Patch 2.6.8 is on its way!


Table of Contents

Please note that this is a preview for PTR content, which is subject to change.


PTR Details

We’ll be conducting the Patch 2.6.8 PTR over the course of two weeks, starting Thursday, February 6. During the course of PTR, there may be periodic maintenances, outages, hotfixes, or minor patches.

There will be two buffs active to help you on your PTR journey: increased Legendary drop rate and double Blood Shard drops. You can also buy customized gear we’re focused on testing from the special PTR vendor, D’jank Miem, who will exchange Blood Shards for class-specific bags full of Legendary items that need your testing!

Feedback should be provided in the PTR Feedback forum while bug reports should be provided in the PTR Bug Report forum. Clearly separating these discussions allows your designers and quality assurance testers to home in on the information they need most.

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PTR Goals

With another new game-impacting Seasonal buff and entirely new class sets to experiment with, we know it’ll be very tempting to get your hands on as much as you can! To help guide your focus, here are our priorities in terms of what we’d most like to see tested.

  • Barbarians, Witch Doctors, and Wizards heavily testing their new class sets and item changes
    • Please note when providing feedback about these class sets to avoid mixing/matching with the Season buff, mentioned below. While that feedback is valuable, it’s best kept separate to ensure we’re reviewing the long-term strength of these sets beyond Season 20.
  • Experimentation with the Season of the Forbidden Archives mechanic, with emphasis on finding bugs and testing functionality

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PTR Tips

As with our previous PTRs, this testing period will have a short duration. Whether you’re a PTR veteran or newcomer, we thought we’d pass along a few tips to get you started.

  • Because of the limited duration of this PTR, we ask that participants pick a particular portion of this update to focus on testing.
  • For example, if you’re primarily a Wizard player, consider what changes impact the Wizard specifically. What you like best, what you think may still need adjustment, and what you’d want to see in the future (even if that may be beyond the scope of this patch) are all good questions to ask yourself.
  • Prior to the start of PTR, consider stocking up on items like Puzzle Rings and Bovine Bardiches. Having these available after you import your character can make any necessary PTR farming much faster!
  • Try to break things! Just tell us when you do so we can make sure that the patch launch is as smooth as possible.
  • When providing feedback, focus less on a solution and more on your experience. How did the changes make you feel? Was there something “off” that you noticed? Did something seem wrong or insufficient? Suggestions are always welcome but identifying the issues themselves is most important.

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Patch Notes

Below you will find the patch notes for the latest PTR patch for Diablo III, Patch 2.6.8.

 


Last updated February 14 @ 11:00 a.m. PST.


PATCH 2.6.8

Table of Contents:

Note: The following changes apply to both PC and Console versions of Diablo III unless otherwise noted.

Note: Changes between PTR patches have been denoted in RED.


General

  • Infernal Machines and Organs are now subject to vacuum pick-up
  • Crafting plans from Bounty Caches are now guaranteed to drop unless all plans have been learned
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Seasons

  • A new Season Theme has been added for Season 20, the Season of the Forbidden Archives:
    • For the duration of Season 20, all slots in Kanai's Cube will be able to select Legendary powers from Weapon, Armor, or Jewelry
      • This means you could select three Armor powers, three Weapon powers, three Jewelery powers, or any other combination thereof across all categories
      • Items are not self-additive or multiplicative (meaning, you cannot stack multiples of the same item's power)
      • Once the Season has ended and characters roll over to Non-Season, players will have all currently active powers in their Kanai's Cube reset
      • Developer's Note: As we outlined in our Developer Insight blog, we want to continue to get creative (and maybe a little crazy) with the Season Themes and powers we add to the game. We heard from some players that they preferred themes that made your character directly feel more powerful rather than needing to focus on the environment around you. If that describes you, then the Season of Forbidden Archives should be right up your alley, and we're really interested to see how this changes the game for Season 20.
  • Two new Seasonal rewards are available for players who fully complete the Season 20 Journey, including a new portrait frame and pet
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Classes

  • Crusader
    • Developer's Note: We're not convinced that this change has fully reigned in Crusader performance to be more in line with other classes. We'll be continuing to keep an eye on overall Crusader performance (as well as performance among the other classes) as we move into 2.6.8 and beyond.
    • Heaven's Fury
      • The animation for the Fires of Heaven rune can no longer be cancelled early.
  • Witch Doctor
    • Spirit Barrage (Phantasm)
      • The periodic attacks from Spirit Barrage (Phantasm) are now twice as slow, but twice as powerful
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Items

  • Developer's Note: With Patch 2.6.8, we're adding three(!) new class sets with similar goals to those we included in the previous patch. Each set was designed primarily with boosting long-requested skills and play styles we lifted directly from community feedback. Frenzy, Spirit Barrage, and Hydra were requests that offered a lot of opportunity for gameplay exploration, and we're looking forward to seeing what players do with these new tools at their disposal. Additional changes to associated supplemental Legendaries have been included to round out these builds. It is critical when providing feedback on these sets to include whether or not you were using the Season 20 buff during your testing; while feedback of any kind is welcome, we're especially interested in Non-Seasonal testing as that will better reflect the long-term performance of these sets.
  • Mantle of Channeling
    • The bonus granted by this item now occurs 1 second after channeling has begun
  • Barbarian
    • Developer's Note: We wanted to provide an alternative method to gaining the benefit of the 2-Piece bonus of Horde of the Ninety Savages. Adding in Frozen as an option allows this benefit to work on bosses, provides an alternative gearing option, and should work better in groups without having to remove an option for play.
    • New Class Set: Horde of the Ninety Savages
      • 2-Piece Bonus: Double the effectiveness of all Shouts. Feared and Frozen Enemies take double damage.
      • 4-Piece Bonus: Each stack of Frenzy reduces damage taken by <s>5%</s> 6%. Frenzy lasts twice as long.
      • 6-Piece Bonus: Frenzy deals 1000% increased damage per stack.
    • Undisputed Champion
      • Frenzy gains the effect of every rune and deals 300-400% increased damage.
    • Bastion's Revered
      • Frenzy now stacks up to 10 times and hits an additional time per stack. Each additional hit will chain to any enemies within 15 yards and the damage is split between all affected enemies.
  • Witch Doctor
    • Developer's Note: Many of the changes we made for the Witch Doctor focused on improving the set's survivability and server performance. We also improved the behavior of Big Bad Voodoo, so it should be much less likely to be left behind!
    • New Class Set: Mundunugu's Regalia
      • 2-Piece Bonus: Big Bad Voodoo now follows you and lasts twice as long.
        • Big Bad Voodoo will now follow you more closely, across zones, and correctly in groups
      • 4-Piece Bonus: Gain <s>50%</s> 60% damage reduction for 30 seconds when you enter the Spirit Realm.
      • 6-Piece Bonus: Spirit Barrage deals increased damage equal to <s>100 times</s> 50% of your Mana Regeneration per Second.
        • Developer Note: This isn't actually a buff or a nerf; it's a rewording to make the functionality of this bonus more clear.
    • The Barber
      • Instead of dealing direct damage, your Spirit Barrage now accumulates on the target. When you stop casting, it explodes dealing <s>225-250%</s> 400-500% of the accumulated damage to all enemies within 15 yards.
      • Is now classified as a Ceremonial Knife, with a base 1.4 attack speed
    • Gazing Demise
      • Spirit Barrage gains the Phantasm rune. Each active Phantasm lasts twice as long, increases the damage of Spirit Barrage by <s>40-50%</s> 100-150%, and also increases the attack rate from Manitou spectres.
      • PTR CHANGE: The attack rate granted to Manitou specters has been slightly reduced.
    • Ring of Emptiness
      • You deal 250-300% increased damage to enemies affected by <s>both</s> either your Haunt <s>and</s> or Locust Swarm.
  • Wizard
    • Developer's Note: Wizard encountered a lot of bugs with its new class set, so please make sure to check the Bug Fixes section below for additional detail! We did consider adding another skill into The Typhon's Veil, but we believe there's more work to do first on Wizard Legendary options to make choices outside of the Etched Sigil/Deathwish/Mantle of Channeling combo more appealing. We're looking at this now as a longer term goal, as we have plans to do much larger overall balance passes in the future after all the new class sets have been added to the game.
    • New Class Set: The Typhon's Veil
      • 2-Piece Bonus: Double the duration of Hydras and increase the number of heads on multi-headed Hydras by two.
      • 4-Piece Bonus: Damage taken is reduced by 8% for each Hydra head alive as long as there is one available. Each time you take damage, a Hydra heads dies. Heads cannot die more than once every 2 seconds
      • 6-Piece Bonus: Hydras deal <s>1000%</s> 1200% increased damage for each Hydra head alive.
    • Serpent's Sparker
      • You may have one extra Hydra active at a time and they deal <s>450-600%</s> 350-450% increased damage.
    • The Magistrate
      • <s>Frost Hydra</s> Your Hydras now periodically casts Frost Nova and deal <s>450-600%</s> 350-450% increased damage.
    • Etched Sigil
      • The bonus granted by this item now occurs 1 second after channeling has begun.
    • Deathwish
      • The bonus granted by this item now occurs 1 second after channeling has begun.
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Bugs

  • Several issues with adding/removing players to group and starting new games as a group have been resolved
  • Captain Crimson's Trimmings
    • Fixed an issue where the set bonus did not increase damage reduction when using Devour - Voracious
  • Barbarian
    • Fixed a bug where Threatening Shout (Grim Harvest) would not activate when enhanced by the Horde of the Ninety Savages set bonus
  • Crusader
    • Corrected the spelling of “Imperius” on the flavor text for several pieces of the Aegis of Valor set
    • Fixed an issue where the bolts cast by Fist of the Heavens - Divine Well failed to zap enemies
  • Demon Hunter
    • Fixed an issue where In-geom was not properly dropping for Demon Hunters
  • Wizard
    • PTR CHANGE: Arcane Dynamo should now properly apply to extra Hydra heads created by The Typhon's Veil
    • PTR CHANGE: Fixed a bug where active Shields would not prevent Hydra heads from dying while utilizing The Typhon's Veil
    • Fixed a bug where Arcane Torrent would get an extra damage multiplier from Etched Sigil and Deathwish
    • Fixed a bug where Hydra (Frost Hydra) was getting a damage bonus instead of Attack Speed bonus from its owner's Attack Speed; this rune now benefits from Attack Speed in the same manner as other Hydra runes
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PTR Only Changes

  • Djank Mi'em's Bag of Fortunes now also include crafting materials
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