Blizzard needed help. They had a question that required an answer, and they wanted playtesters on the Diablo 3 PTR to find that answer. The question was:
If a set makes players do 100 times as much damage as before, is that too much?
The answer was yes.
Doing 100 times as much damage is too much. Now that they have an answer to their question, they have decided to make it 12 times as much damage instead. This, one suspects, will actually get them into the right ballpark.
I won't complain about this change, in fact I think it is brilliant. What Blizzard is doing is adding a set of two rings that have a set bonus of "If you are not benefitting from any other set bonus, gain 100% more damage and 4% damage reduction for every Ancient item you have on." Ancient items take awhile to find so you won't start out with one in every slot by any means, but you will find them, and when you have a full set of them you can top out at 1300% damage bonus and 52% damage reduction. The obvious great thing about this is it lets players build a character with all kinds of random items instead of being stuck using a single massive set.
That 100% bonus, by the way, was temporarily an 800% bonus. Per item. So yeah, that was too high, but 100% is going to be just fine.
This doesn't meant that sets in D3 will be obsolete when the 2.4 patch hits. They will still be there, at the very least used as stepping stones into end game builds. I suspect that some classes will use sets and some will use the ring set combined with a random mishmash of gear. Maybe once people assemble the perfect set of ancient gear they will all use the ring set at endgame, but even then gearing will progress from random rares to random legendaries to set building to ring/ancient setups with a ton of farming required to actually get to the end of it all.
I like the change for two reasons. First off, it will be nice to have more selection. Being locked into a 6 piece set means that you have few choices remaining and this will make it feasible to run a build with a bazillion choices, and introduce interesting choices between one more ancient piece that isn't optimal and the perfect piece that isn't ancient. I guarantee you will see a lot more variety at the top end.
The second reason to like this change is that it will make a lot of old stuff relevant again. When everyone is using a set that gives 1000% more damage to a single skill, all other sources of damage are irrelevant. Why would I use an item that whacks an enemy for 700% when my main attack is doing 40,000%? However, when I have the option to multiply all of my damage then lots of currently useless items could potentially be worked into a build. Some will be better than others, naturally, but we will still see a much greater number of items in rotation than before.
I am definitely going to be taking another run at D3 when the next season starts. There will be so much more to collect and so much more to puzzle through when it comes to builds and gearing, and I love tinkering away at that stuff.