The Science Behind Changing Damage Numbers In ‘Diablo 3’

With the latest patch to Diablo 3, players were introduced to shortened damage numbers with a crisper appearance. The change is a welcome one for many players considering the millions of damage being dealt in the action RPG were starting to clutter the screen. Although many players want to see their output, the damage display was starting to cover the screen, impacting the game’s visibility.

Although truncated numbers and critical indicators seem like an easy fix, a lot of thought and effort went into the damage number change in the 2.4 patch. To elaborate on what goes on behind the scenes, Blizzard Entertainment developers explain the process for changing something as simple as players’ damage numbers in a developer blog.

Diablo 3
How damage numbers appear in Diablo 3 [Image via Blizzard Entertainment]
Players now see damage displayed in millions with an “M” behind the value rather than displaying the entire number. For instance, instead of seeing 10,000,000 on the screen during combat, players now see 10M pop up. This makes the game less cluttered visually while still sharing important information with the player. Even with set of rules for when the game displays damage, another point of consideration was when the damage should be highlighted with a different color. The decision to display numbers in the millions and highlight critical hits were both calculated decisions.

The “M” behind each damage display seems like an easy fix on the surface; however, there are millions of players to consider. Players all around the world play Diablo 3. In fact, the game is localized in 13 different languages. Each localized version of the game has to be considered when major changes occur to the game and that includes something mundane like damage numbers. The choice of displaying numbers with an “M” made translations easier considering some languages do not commonly use a term for billions. The developer blog even notes how different cultural backgrounds will affect the impact of shortened damage.

Diablo 3
Critical hits are orange and larger than normal hits [Image via Blizzard Entertainment]
Even the choice to display critical hits as a different color was a labored decision in Diablo 3. Coloring critical hits seems like a no brainer, but again, so many players enjoy Diablo 3 across the world. It is important that the change be meaningful and understandable for every player. Specifically, colorblind players were considered when the new orange critical hit color was chosen. The new orange passes the colorblind test between the existing damage number colors in Diablo 3, making a critical hit pop out to everyone. The color’s hue and saturation are even measured when making changes to the game.

The change to the damage numbers in Diablo 3 occurred a little over one week ago when patch 2.4 launched. The latest Diablo 3 patch added a number of new features to the game including a new zone for the Adventure Mode, Set Dungeons, a plethora of new legendary items, and much more. The new Greyhollow Zone, expanded existing zones, Empowered Rifts, and an improved buff bar are just a few things Nephalem are enjoying since the latest patch.

Patch 2.4 released simultaneously on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One as reported by the Inquisitr. Be sure to check out all of the patch notes for the patch on the official site, too. Most of the notes are shared between platforms with the exception of Season information. Diablo 3 players on console do not participate in Season play since it is not available to the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One platforms. All other class changes, legendary item updates, and features apply to all three platforms.

On PC, patch 2.4 ushered in the start of the fifth Season in Diablo 3. Players can complete specific goals now as part of their seasonal journey to unlock a full set of class armor while earning other rewards. Not to mention, Seasonal Rebirth is now live with an option for a seasonal character to be reborn in the next Season. All the previously earned items will still be mailed to the non-seasonal portion of the player’s game; however, a player will not have to delete a seasonal character to create another. The existing seasonal character can just start anew in the current season.

[Image via Blizzard Entertainment]

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