There were two main goals with patch 2.3: Get the difficulty a bit spikier and to make playing a caster require a bit more tactical challenge.
I addressed the first goal with a Vaults. Vaults are rooms hidden behind doors on most floors. Each one is either a monster or treasure vault. Monster vaults contain a challenging encounter with an elite monster and his cronies. Treasure vaults contain a bunch of items, including an elite. The number of treasures vs. monster vaults evens out enough to allow some intense difficulty spikes without bringing the game into unfair territory. But you will have to play on your toes a bit more.
I tackled the next goal in a bunch of ways. The first and most obvious is a whole gamut of new enemies. 4 in total. Each one tailored towards making life more difficult for ranged characters. For instance, the Spirit pulls characters towards him. The Other teleports adjacent to characters. The Illithid will disable your character. Each of these enemies provides a distinct challenge to melee characters as well. But they’re tailored to get mage players into the tactical positioning strategic level of the game as well. Next, I added Magic Resistance. This requires a separation of all damage types into either magical or physical damage. Physical damage works like it always has: it’s reduced on hit by the damaged characters defense value. Magical damage is no longer reduced by defense (so those stoneskin postions won’t help you with Demonologists and Flaming Skulls anymore). Instead, characters can get Magic Resist which gives the character a chance to completely nullify incoming magic damage.
There’s now three types of shields in the game to compensate for this defense change. Steel shields have the highest defense, but provide no magic resistance; emerald shields provide lots of magic resistance but no defense; onyx shields sit somewhere in between, with a small amount of defense and magic resistance. All shields also require a lot of strength to equip. This means high strength melee focused characters will have a great source of magic resistance, but casters will have a lot of trouble defending from magic attacks.
Many of the enemies old and new now have magic resistance as well. This will make the casters job of figuring out who to take out first considerably more complicated. The goal is for this to add tactical tension to playing a caster throughout the game.
-Lots of UI tweening polish
-Rewrote item spawning system to be more easily extensible
-Rewrote damage system to support Physical and Magical damage distinction
-Added Emerald Shield, a shield focused on magic resist
-Added Onyx Shield, a shield balanced between magic resist and defense
-Renamed Shield to Steel Shield, rebalanced to focus on defense.
-Made Elite enemies substantially harder
-Rebalanced a few enemies to have magic resist, making them more threatening to intelligence focused characters
-Flaming Skull idle anim polished
-All status effects now have mouse over descriptions
-Fixed fire trip and altar of pain bug that caused the game to randomly stop playing.
-Added Monster Vaults
-Added Treasure Vaults
-New enemy: spirit (+elite)
-New enemy: spider (+elite)
-New enemy: other (+elite)
-New enemy: illithid (+elite)
-Added stupidify effect
-Reduced normal item placement to compensate for extra items from treasure rooms, encouraging players to take the risk of entering vaults.
-Removed the ability to alchemize elite items into new elite items. Alchemy does not produce elite items anymore (except in extremely rare circumstances).
-Changed mouse input to allow holding mouse button while enemies are near but cancel generated paths, making input a little more lenient when near enemies.