We allowed the members to ask any kind of question regarding the project, and we have chosen 10 of these to answer publicly in this topic. Most of them were centered around sigma patch which is a few weeks away from entering the the private beta testing phase.
Is Season 18 likely to be a patch on MXL 2017, or will it be the beginning of Sigma?
While Sigma release is getting close, our plan is to launch a private ladder season before it's released to the public. So next season will be M17 based, while at the same time we launch our test season for sigma in parallel.
How many hours per day or week do you put into Median?
Does it mainly consist of adding new content or balancing existing one?
We are a team of 7 people, each person with different responsibilities. There are many aspects of the project we have to cover that are not always modding related. Most of the members put at least a few hours into the project every day. That said, as far as modding goes, it's a pretty even distribution between the time spent adding new content, improving existing one and solving bugs.
Will any tiers be removed in sigma?
We will cut two tiers of tiered items to make the upgrading progression smoother. Because sometimes less is more, we will be reworking sacred uniques so that there are only 2 versions for each item type. This will help us make the sacred uniques more consistently good and memorable, as we'll work with more defined purposes for each layer. For example making the common layer of sacred uniques consistent and good for multiple builds, while making the rare tier (SSU) more about specific interactions and mechanisms.
Is there any change that is major enough that it will change the majority of the builds?
There's a feature in sigma called Quest Lock which we'll gradually implement on endgame quests. This feature consists of locking the players in the zone after a period of time and not allowing them to die or take a portal back to town. This change will punish the portal abuse strat which has been an ongoing issue with Median since its inception. This means that other aspects of builds will be relevant such as survivability, which can lead to a shift in the meta.
In the future can HC players expect more content to be tweaked with them in mind?
Yes, and the quest lock feature definitely goes in this direction. Being able to die countless times is a resource the softcore player has, but once certain quests are reworked to be completed deathless, there will be more room for HC players to thrive.
Is there a particular class targeted for updates in the next patch?
On the earlier releases we won't be focusing as much on addressing individual builds, but there will certainly be a few changes to classes. Some examples are: a new defensive stat for all Sorceresses and changes to the Neutraldin. Another priority for us is to rework the pure summoner Necromancer. He is a common gateway many people take when coming from classic Diablo, and we feel they often get disappointed. So we are going to make him great again.
Will the currently underpowered oSkills have a use?
There's an interesting post by suchbalance here: viewtopic.php?f=44&t=2938 which discusses changes to sacred uniques. A lot of these changes involve tweaks and improvements to the current oSkill pool. We will regularly improve new oSkills as well as potentially add new ones with every patch.
With the upcoming sigma item rework are tweaks to builds now already getting added with that in mind or should we look forward to a large list of changes when that drops together kind of like how 1.0 was a major balance shift?
As answered in point 6 there won't be many changes to specific builds in the earlier releases, but items will indeed be tweaked, which can affect the top tier builds. There are some misc changes such as making poison a viable boss killer, and try to bring it close to the other elements as we have done with magic and phys damage in the past.
Opinion on how sigma feels now with 60 fps and inc res vs d2lod
The increased resolution is definitely mind blowing and overall a huge quality of life improvement. While multires plugins have always existed, the increased resolution in sigma also increases the size of the GUI, which means bigger inventory and a more relaxed interface. It's definitely one of the most anticipated core features that is coming to Median.
Which feature in Median was the hardest to implement?
The first M17 patch was definitely the one packed with the hardest and riskiest reworks we implemented so far. Monster HP cap was a huge issue for the game, and reducing the damage of ALL monsters and player skills proportionally without major side-effects had been unthinkable for many years. We have been doing groundbreaking changes in the last year that we are very proud of and hopefully we can keep moving the game in the right direction.
Thanks to all that participated!