Avatar of Gosu #1173
Gosu #1173
The Salvation of Diablo 3: A Guide by Gosu(1)Category: GeneralFebruary-26-2013 7:48 PM PST (1 year ago) Go to Blizzard forum post
Prepare for a VERY long read with no TLDR. If you wish to skip through to the “best” stuff just browse the post for whichever bold section interests you. I definitely recommend checking out each proposed system.

My name is Gosu, not really but let’s go with that. I am a hardcore gamer of 20 odd years with a wealth of experience under my belt. I estimate my number of games completed at over 1000(what one thousand?!) and I enjoy games of ALL genres. Shooters, RPG’s, JRPG’s, action/adventure, puzzle, platformers, MMO’s, MOBA’s, indie games of all types, ARPG’s, racing games, fighting games, rhythm games…the list goes on.

The point is, I feel that I’ve learned just about all there is to know about what makes games fun and why. And yes, I am well aware that different people enjoy games for different reasons.

In this guide, I will discuss EVERY major problem that exists in Diablo 3, why they are problems, how to fix them, and why the fixes will work. This post took me the better part of 3 weeks and nearly 100 hours to write. I pray to the gamer gods that it does not fall on deaf ears and that it somehow finds its way into the hands of people who can use it to make a difference. Getting a Blue to respond by informing me that the post has been passed on would make it all worth it. Of course, engaging in an open discussion with a CM would be the bee’s knees.

Before I start, I also want it to be known that I enjoy Diablo 3 and I don’t feel it is a bad game in the slightest. Quite the opposite actually, I think it is a fine and enjoyable game. I do, however feel that it falls quite short of its potential. I have a 60 of every class, a paragon 100 Barb(amazing accomplishment right?), and nearly 1100 hours of playtime to go off of. I have a massive passion for this game and I could not have written this compendium otherwise.

Please know I do not claim that all of my suggestions and examples are fool proof, 100% balanced where numbers are concerned or even FULLY fleshed out. They are simply a foundation for what I feel this game should strive for in order to achieve epic greatness.

So let’s start with a generalized list of D3’s largest problems.

• Challenge
• Itemization
• Auction House
• Class Balance and Build Variety
• Crafting
• Aesthetics Customization
• Social Features
• PVP
• End Game and Incentive to Play
• Multiplayer/Group Play


Quite a long list no? All of these things need vast improvements unfortunately, though some require less attention than others. Enough delay, let’s get started!

CHALLENGE:

By challenge, I don’t just mean the difficulty in killing random monsters. Challenge is about much more than how long it takes to kill something or how many times you die before you can do it. As far as THAT kind of challenge is concerned, the monster power system was a fine step in the right direction for the game.

However, I feel that Diablo 3 is almost void of the kind of challenge that gives players a great satisfaction for having overcome. The Belial boss encounter in vanilla Inferno is a perfect example of this kind of challenge. For a game that plays off of one’s ability to click, there sure is a lack of challenge associated with that clicking. Belial was a great encounter because it forced you to pay attention and take very precise click-focused actions in order to succeed. This kind of challenge is almost completely non-existent in the game at this point.

So what is the solution? Unfortunately it isn’t a quick fix and I don’t think it will help any to go into a long list of ideas. To put it simply, the game needs more moments of challenge that aren’t simply based on how much HP a monster has or how much damage it does. Use environmental hazards that deal a percentage of non-mitigatable damage to your health pool, give monsters abilities that are VERY obvious but will take you down to 1hp or outright kill you if you’re being neglegent, have monsters that use timers in interesting ways (how about a demon that summons pulsating orbs that explode into zig-zagging rays of instant death that must be avoided if you don’t kill the orb before it goes off).

These are the kind of challenges that can’t simply be negated with gear. They don’t need to be overly difficult, but they could certainly serve to force players to think and act instead of overcoming the obstacle with gold/money. Gear should ALWAYS make things easier, but I definitely don’t believe that it should allow you to avoid every single challenge the game throws at you.

As it stands now, the majority of monster abilities in D3 are nearly impossible to avoid with any consistency. This style of damage dealing forces players into figuring out ways to permanently avoid the challenge instead of overcoming it in a fun way. Mortars, molten, electric, plagued…most people just stand in all this stuff because it’s either too difficult or too time consuming/inefficient to avoid. Also, a truly challenging obstacle needs to grant players with rewards that reflect said difficulty. These challenges aren’t any fun if they present themselves in the game without rest. Spread them out and make them different, interesting and varied, while rewarding players accordingly.

As a side note, certain challenges introduced into the game need to be made easier/more fun when playing with a group of players, this is the kind of thing that helps to incentivize group play. It’s fun to overcome challenges with friends, the current game does not facilitate this outside of Uber Bosses.

Give us repeatable quests that require large amounts of demonic essences and other resources to activate. These quests could involve challenges that are almost impossible by yourself but get significantly easier with more players. They could involve things like multiple spawn points where something needs to be protected. You can try covering them all by yourself and it’s certainly possible, but how much more fun would it be to get a team for that kind of thing? YOU COVER TOP SPAWN, I GOT BOTTOM, JERRY CATCHES THE LEAKS, OH NO, JERRY’S DOWN, LAY SOME TRAPS AND GO REZ HIS A**! Have the reward be a guaranteed legendary/set piece and a pile higher tier’d gems. Now ask yourself, is a challenge like that incentive to play? More on this specific topic near the end of this post.

Itemization/Auction House:

Arguably D3’s biggest problem. Every single patch has been focused on fixing a leak that will never stop so long as the foundation it’s built upon continues to remain in use. I’m sorry to say it, but Diablo 3’s itemization is not good. Not very good at all. So why exactly isn’t it good and what effect does it have on players and the game as a whole?

Diablo 3’s poor itemization stems from a few key areas.

• Incredibly limited number of interesting, unique and build diversity-promoting affixes
• Poor weapon system
• Over population of items in general, particularly useless ones
• Poor Legendary/Set Piece item system
• Poor arrangement of affixes


Now what do these problems result in?

• Limited item-oriented build diversity
• A bore-fest of ID’ing items, 99% of which are going to be barely vendor worthy
• A large number of best in slot items that have no place in a game that purportedly encourages build diversity and revolves around a randomized item hunt
• A clear cut path to the end of the road for all item slots (Everyone knows what the best item looks like for every item slot for every class, regardless of spec) with extremely limited exceptions
• Reliance on the Auction House for upgrades


Let’s discuss each point above.

I think that one of the biggest problems with itemization is the complete lack of interesting affixes. Where actual stats are concerned on armor, all damage comes from main stat, crit chance, crit damage and attack speed (and occasionaly +min-max dmg). All of these stats increase damage in very similar ways with little influence on how you actually play the game due to the fact that they are all available in quantity and quality that make selecting and identifying optimal values easy. Never have I ever chosen one item over another by comparing actual CONTENT of the offensive stats as opposed to the damage boost that one gives me over the other (with the rare exception of fulfilling minimum requirements for crit chance and attack speed). Obviously there are extreme scenarios in which this could occur, and it is also worth mentioning that much of that lack of choice comes from poor build diversity as much as it does poor itemization.

The same thing goes for defensive stats. There is a flat recommended value for every defensive stat for every class with little to no difference between specs. There is an EXTREMELY limited number of efficient and fun builds that require a special item affix that is at least slightly difficult to achieve.

EDIT: I decided that I want to clarify something.

In order for itemization to succeed, players need to be able to say, "if you want to do this build or play this way, you need THESE stats". Not only that, but those builds and styles of play need to be able to achieve efficiency as it is understood today. As the game exists now, everyone is simply saying, "you need ONLY these exact stats, no matter what".

So basically, items play a terrifyingly tiny role in promoting build diversity due to the fact that both offensive and defensive affixes are extremely limited in number and creativity, making them quite easy to plan for and acquire where needed.

So how do we fix this? I have two specific solutions and several small suggestions that should improve the item system tremendously. First let’s start with the “small suggestions”.

• Remove all boring and useless affixes from the game, or at least the higher tier’d items. Health globe/potion restoration amount, thorns (I don’t feel that thorns is right for this game at all, not even if it was significantly buffed. If a number of skills were altered for each class to promote FUN thorns builds, then perhaps I would change my mind), life after kill, ignores durability loss (why is this stat still in the game?), level requirement reduction, immobilize, fear, blind, freeze (fear is annoying and pointless in all situations and immobilize, blind and freeze are all too similar to their counterparts. Also their maximum value on most items is absurdly low, making it almost impossible to create a build around) and last and certainly least, bleed dmg proc chance(this is the only one that is arguably worse than ignores durability loss. I am actually embarrassed for Blizzard that this is still in the game in its current state).
• Remove all class specific affixes. Don’t worry, I have a solution for this that I will detail a little further down in the post.
• Greatly increase the number of interesting affixes! Here are some suggestions to get the dev team started. While most of these suggestions are for Rare item affixes, some of them may be better suited for legendary items.


Note: I am aware that some of these suggestions sound like they should be among the passive abilities found on each class, but I am absolutely certain that introducing some of these basic combat alterations as item affixes can only result in gameplay that is MORE fun and a build diversity that is infinitely higher.

Chance on skill use your next skill does % more dmg

Chance on skill use your next skill costs no resources

Chance on monster death to increase your movespeed

Chance on skill use to cast a second, identical skill for free, instantly

%of your combined or highest resists added as physical damage

Increase the damage of channeled skills by %

AOE damage increased by X%

Single target damage increased by X%

% of non-critical damage dealt lingers on targets for X seconds (a better version of bleed)

Damage taken reflected for X% weapon damage(alternative to thorns?)

Reduce all damage taken by X%

Targets hit with non critical damage restore X% max resources

+X% All resistances/armor/main stat for 5 seconds after kill

% of damage taken added to your own for X seconds

Non-critical damage you deal receives X% life steal

Reduce resource cost of all skills by X%

X% chance to instantly slay non-elite enemies

X% of max resource restored when you are hit

% of gold picked up added to armor for X seconds

% of single target damage dealt explodes around you in a X yard radius

Resource generation skills generate X% more resources

Run speed cap increased by X%

% increase to main stat (int, dex, str)

+Chance to Dodge

+Nephalem Power points.
(Explained a just a little further down)

Does anyone realize how many builds can be created from proper utilization of some of these affixes? I’m so sick of shooting for the same stats with every class, especially considering that these stats play such a miniscule, if non-existent role in deciding my character’s build.

NOTE: I came up with those ideas in about 15 minutes. I’m sure that a table full of developers can come up with more/better ideas than that. DO IT!

One important thing to remember when looking at improving itemization is the aspect of choice. One of D3’s major itemization issues is the fact that no one rich enough ever has to choose between anything on each piece of gear. There is a clear BiS piece that makes choosing easy. The fact that I immediately know the value of every single thing I identify is a major sign of poor itemization. There need to be enough offensive and defensive affixes that are able to appear on ALL items so that a player will always have to say, “do I want this or do I want this?”…regardless of the depths of their wallets. The fact that there are barely 6 useful affixes and a maximum of 6 affix slots on items means that people almost never have to choose! Poor people have to make more choices, but even they know exactly what SHOULD be on each piece. Also, gearing out players in beefy gear is pretty cheap nowadays due to inflation and overpopulation of items that all shoot towards the same set of affixes. Soon even poor players will have it easy(BoA crafting anyone? ).

I look forward to a day where I have to inspect someone for a good 20 minutes before I have an idea of how they’ve chosen their gear and how it allows them to play the game. Hell, I look forward to the day where I don’t know EXACTLY how a person plays the game after inspecting them for 3 seconds.

Before I move any further, I’d like to discuss the first major system proposal I have for Diablo 3. I call it the Nephalem Power stat system.

SYSTEM PROPOSAL #1: NEPHALEM POWER STAT SYSTEM

This system serves to improve the game in several ways.

• Supports the removal of class specific affixes on items (with the exception of legendaries. I feel that some legendaries should offer interesting class bonuses, especially where set piece bonuses are involved)
• Promotes item and build diversity as well as vastly improves itemization overall
• Gives players another layer of potentially DEEP and rewarding customization
• Brings back a version of the popular skill tree sytesm


Class specific affixes just don’t belong on most items, ESPECIALLY rares. They’re always there when you don’t want them to be and they’re never there when you would pay out the butt to have them. Then when they finally do show up, their values are so low that it basically defeats the purpose. Either that or the wrong class affix shows up. Why do you think no one picks up rare class specific items???

So here’s how it works. Items will now drop with the potential of rolling the “Nephalem Power” affix. Like all other affixes, this affix rolls a certain value. For the sake of explanation, let’s say that value is between 1-5 depending on the item. Once equipped, your character will now be able to “spend” these points in a new pseudo-skill tree system. Unequiping items will simply remove the last points you placed in the tree equal to the number of points you just removed(is that overly hard to program?lol)This “skill tree” will have a variety of options to put points into, each one affecting the character in ways that were previously sought out on class specific affixes on certain items. Here’s a few examples for each class just to give you a better idea of what I’m talking about. This list is nowhere near final, as the final list would contain many more options that focused on individual skills, much like many of the class specific affixes you see today (-5 hatred cost to Impale, for example).

Barbarian:

Increases fury regeneration by X. 0/10 points

Increases Bleed Damage by X. 0/5 points

Increases Lifesteal by 0.2%. 0/15 points

Increases Max Fury by X. 0/10 points

Decreases Fury cost of all skills by X%. 0/15 points

Decreases Cooldowns of WoTB, CotA and Earthquake by 4 seconds. 0/20 points

Wizard:

Arcane Power regeneration increased by X. 0/10 points

Critical hits restore X Arcane Power. 0/10 points

Max Arcane Power increased by X. 0/10 points

Increase Hydra spawn cap by 1. 0/6 points (max of 3 extra)

Increase Lifesteal by 0.4%. 0/15 points

Decreases cost of all skills by X%. 0/15 points

Channeled Skills Decrease Damage taken by X every X seconds up to X amount. 0/10 points.

Two different armor skills may be active at once. Requires 15 points.

Witch Doctor:

Increases Mana regeneration by X. 0/10 points

Increases lifesteal by 0.4%. 0/15 points

Increases Max Mana by X. 0/10 points

Pets Deal X% more damage. 0/15 points

Increase Max Number of Zombie Dogs by 1. 0/6 points (max of 3 extra)

All Spirit Skill damage increased by X%. 0/10 points

Decreases cost of all skills by X%. 0/15 points

X% Chance for a slain pet to revive automatically. 0/10 points

Monk:

Increases Spirit Regeneration by X. 0/10

Increases lifesteal by 0.3%. 0/15 points

Increases Max Spirit by X. 0/10 points

X healing per spirit spent. 0/15 points

Lowers Cooldown of 7-sided Strike by X seconds. 0/10 points

Two different Mantras may be active at once. Requires 15 points.

Spirit Generators get X% improved base spirit generation. 0/10 points.

Breath of Heaven radius and power increased by X%. 0/10 points

Demon Hunter:

Increases Hatred Regeneration by X. 0/10 points

Increases Discipline Regeneration by 0.2. 0/10 points

Increases Lifesteal by 0.4%. 0/15 points

Increases Max Discipline by X. 0/10 points

Increases Max hatred by X. 0/10 points

Decrease Hatred cost of all skills by X. 0/10 points

Pet and Sentry Damage increased by X. 0/5 points

Vault resource cost increased to 25 and changed to Hatred. Requires 12 points

Movespeed increased by X% for 3 seconds when hit. 0/10 points

All traps restore X Hatred and X discipline when triggered. 0/4 points

While some of these values and suggestions are obviously not 100% balanced, you should still get the point I’m trying to make by now. There is an extreme lack of customization present in the game right now and I strongly believe that this can help to alleviate that. I also think that class specific affixes are the bane of existence on rare items and many legendaries. They are almost always either a waste of a slot or missing in action when you REALLY want them to be there. This system puts the power in the player’s hands while also forcing them to make important choices. This system should also increase build variety tenfold if incorporated properly. I also think it would be cool to grant players points while they level up Paragon. Perhaps 2 points every 10 levels or 1 point every 5?

For those of you who are thinking, “yeah but then everyone will just stack Nephalem Power Points because the bonuses are so good”. NOT TRUE! You only think this because you are familiar with Diablo 3’s current itemization. Give a player several reasons to feel that they’d rather have another affix on a certain piece of gear than more NP points and you avoid the issue entirely. That is a large part of the reason why new and powerful affixes need to be incorporated so badly. It’s definitely true that NP points offer more variety being that they are condensed into one affix but this is okay because variety is the main goal of proper itemization, even if a large chunk of it comes from one affix. I also believe that creating a new gem that gives NP points would be a positive step in relieving many players of feeling like they absolutely have to have NP on all of their gear. In reality though, NP will only be as powerful as the numbers that represent the bonuses. Also, I propose another system further on down this post that will also help to avoid the problem of people feeling the need to use NP points over anything else. REMEMBER, IF PLAYER’S ALWAYS FEEL LIKE THEY’RE MISSING OUT ON SOMETHING AWESOME AND HAVE TOO MANY CHOICES, REGARDLESS OF WHAT STATS THEY’VE CHOSEN, THEN D3’S ITEMIZATION WILL HAVE OFFICIALLY ACHIEVED EXCELLENCE!

So now let’s cover the rest of the bullet points for itemization issues in D3.

Poor Weapon System:

I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this section because I don’t have a clear solution for the problem, nor do I feel the problem is very large in comparison to some of the other problems discussed in this very long post.

Basically, the different weapon types have almost no differences in how they affect your gameplay. Other than a couple passives and slight variations in attack speed, there is almost no difference between weapon types. My most immediate recommendation would be to add a guaranteed affix to each weapon type that causes the weapons to stand out from each other a bit. EXAMPLES YOU SAY!?

1h Axe: 40% Increased Bleed Damage. Critical hits have a chance to cause instant death to non elite monsters

1h Mace: 10% Increase to Str, Dex and Int. Enemy deaths cause bone shrapnel to be hurled in all directions causing 30% weapon dmg to enemies hit.

1h Spear: Increase range of all projectile skills by 35%. Projectile skill damage increased by 25%

I’m definitely not claiming the above examples to be suitable or balanced, I’m simply trying to illustrate the suggestion.

Before I move on to the next bullet point, I’d like to make a specific mention of the tragedy that is the Demon Hunter weapon fiasco. There is literally only 1 weapon in the game that DH’s should be using. Everyone knows what it is and every sane DH seeks one. This is an absolute travesty that needs to be addressed immediately. Make 1h xbows and 2h bows suitable alternatives to 2h xbows and introduce an alternative to the all-powerful Manticore. Start by fixing that stupid passive. I also suggest introducing another set of ranged weapons into the game.

I'd like to supplement this section with a brief mention of one problem: Weapon damage rolls. The fact that weapon damage is so utterly important to every class and every spec means that including THREE different affixes that can increase said damage is a formula for disaster. The weapon damage roll needs to be erased from this game. Weapon damage should be applied based on the item level of the weapon. I think it is perfectly acceptable to have the +%DMG affix and the +%Attack speed affix, but the damage roll needs to be forgotten forever.

Too many awesome weapons have been wasted because of the absurdly low odds of rolling a suitable damage roll. The only thing that the weapon damage affix has managed to accomplish is bringing down the enjoyment of the item hunt.

Moving on…

Over Population of Items:

Items are overpopulated, pure and simple. Too many whites, too many blues, too many rares, yet still not enough legendaries. No one with any sensibilities picks up ANY equippable items other than rare 1h weapons, gloves, pants, rings, ammies and shoulders. That is what, 1% of the total item pool? People are asking for an “ID all” button because everyone is sick of ID’ing 50 items every 10 minutes. Imagine how many they’d have to ID if they picked up more than just the items I listed above.

Nobody wants to pick up THOUSANDS of useless items. The fact is, the average item is just too awful. This is a large contributor to the feeling of helplessness that comes with playing this game and always leads players to relying on the Auction House. When you have to ID 500 items before you find one worth selling and then start the process all over again, you begin to feel desperation and a sense that your luck is just worse than everyone else’. NO ONE wants to spend that much time sorting through that much junk. The only reason we do it AT ALL is so that we can scrounge up enough savings to enlist the help of the AH. We don’t do it cause it’s fun, we do it because we have no other choice.

The sheer amount of junk sorting in this game is just ridiculous. The first step to solving this problem is to decrease the number of overall items dropped and increase the minimum power of items. Unfortunately, this problem cannot be fully understood until we shed light on Auction House problems and some of the more general problems with itemization in this game.

The problem with the Auction House is more complicated than anyone seems to understand. Perhaps someone has nailed it, but I’ve yet to see it. The problem that everyone has with the Auction House is actually the result of several combined problems.

• The Auction House makes buying and selling too easy and systematic.
• The Auction House displays the best items the game has to offer, which actually decreases the enjoyment of the item hunt. This problem is actually caused by poor itemization, but is exacerbated by the AH.
• The Auction House is interpreted as a fully necessary source for the majority of your upgrades. Again, this problem is caused by poor itemization. Unfortunately, Blizzard is trying to patch this leak with BoA items. I don’t believe that BoA items in general will harm the game, but I do believe that the over implementation of them could cause serious damage to both the item hunt as well as the fun that can come with trading and scrounging for upgrades amongst the community. I don’t think the current BoA system will harm the game in any meaningful way.


The Auction House being too easy and systematic is actually a major problem, but not in and of itself. This problem is the result of so many factors of poor itemization. Without an auction house to facilitate such quick and simple means of spending and acquiring gold and items, players wouldn’t be complaining for the same reasons.

In optimal conditions, players who are constantly finding items that present them with the problem of choice do not feel the need to flock to the AH right away. There is very little sense of experimentation in this game when considering how well the game COULD support such experimentation. Players all shoot for builds of maximum efficiency because they need the gold earned in order to make further upgrades to their character’s killing capabilities(among other reasons). It’s quite an unfortunate cycle. The AH isn’t just mandatory because of the lack of powerful items being found, it’s mandatory because everyone knows exactly what should be on every single item and the AH makes finding that item a breeze. Powerful items are relative, but it’s the manner in which they exist in the current iteration of this game that caused such outrage towards the auction house.

Playing “for fun” can only be possible when a state of strong efficiency can be reached within the build you have chosen. This is just a fact for the majority of players, the evidence is everywhere. Most players just can’t have fun when they know that their build is fun to play but absolutely CRUSHING their efficiency. However, having fun is certainly possible when your build supports different types of efficiency. Unfortunately, this game does not support many different types of efficiency at the moment. Again, this problem stems from itemization, poor class balance, a lack of proper content and several other, more minor, foundations. I’ll get into this more a little later though.

For the auction house to work the way it should work, itemization needs to reach a point where choosing between items is very difficult. A player needs to have a wide variety of VERY different builds available to them as well as a wealth of items that make choosing that build even more difficult. This is just not the case…not even close. 95% of the choices in this game are super easy.

The auction house will never work the way it could (and should) until itemization is remedied to the point where players are constantly bombarded with gear choices. Gear doesn’t have to be powerful in the sense that most players see it as today in order to promote a choice. Gear simply has to offer you something that you can utilize in various ways. For this to work without JUST buffing the rate at which players find “powerful” items, it is crucial to remember that a gear choice CANNOT simply mean an increase to your unbuffed DPS or resistances/armor (as it does now). A gear choice must reflect an enormous number of things.

• Kill style(Range single target, melee single target, R-AOE, M-AOE, AOE projectile, POI-AOE, etc.)
• Kill speed/power(speed at which you kill different amounts and types of enemies. Relates to your DPS, move speed and skill choices)
• Kill style and speed in relation to defensive power required to execute your preference for each
• Kill style and speed in relation to how quickly you move from group to group(downtime in between groups)
• Kill choice variety (how many variations of killing in one build exist for you)
• Situational kill choice variety (same as above but with circumstantial focus)
• Regard to resources while factoring in personal preference of big spending with strong regeneration or small spending with a focus on spending efficiency or some variety outside or inbetween(Resources play a MAJOR role in builds. This game does not take advantage of giving players the options to utilize resources in a variety of interesting ways)
• The effectiveness of damage types on varying levels of monster HP and Power
• Efficient life return
• Circumstantial life return
• Effective Health Pool


…just to name a few. As I mentioned above, I will cover this topic in greater detail further down the post.

To sum things up; the auction house is not the source of this game’s problems as so many people would have you think. While the AH certainly does introduce some questionable gameplay factors into an ARPG such as Diablo 3, I believe that, with proper itemization, the AH will do much more good than harm(I don’t even feel the AH is really doing harm to the game per se. Poor itemization and build variety is making the AH look far worse than it is). I believe that strong itemization and build variety will remove a great deal of the necessity in using the AH that players currently feel. Unfortunately, so long as the AH is the easiest method of acquiring upgrades for the majority of players in the majority of circumstances(and selecting those upgrades is equally easy), it will be looked poorly upon.

I want to be clear that I don’t believe BoA items and crafting should be the sole fix for this issue. Players need to be able to discover their own upgrades and options via looting them on a somewhat regular basis, even at the higher gear levels. As I’ve stated several times by now, this will never occur while build diversity, character customization, and interesting items are lacking or non-existent.

Moving on to the next bullet point…you tired of reading yet? 

Poor Legendary/Set Piece System:

This is a pretty controversial topic. From what I can see, developers seem to believe that they vastly improved the game with their changes to legendary items in patch 1.04. I absolutely agree that the game was improved, however I think the amount of improvement is FAR less than they, and many other people believe. The majority of improvement that came from the legendary change was the removal of legacy legendary items from the game. They were embarrassing in how poorly they were designed. Unfortunately, certain areas of the game were actually made worse by the implementation of the new legendaries.

Original legendary items were literally the most unbelievably and horribly obvious development mistake in Diablo 3 (in my eyes). They were (and still are in MANY cases) so god awful, that I still cannot believe they made it into the game. I’m trying to keep this post as constructive as possible, but I’m having a hard time refraining from speaking my mind about the state of legacy, and many non-legacy legendary items. They carry with them some very serious and unfortuntae implications of Blizzard’s ability to make good design decisions for this game.

As with all the other bullet points, the problem with legendaries is a multi-faceted one.

• Most legendaries are still 100% useless to any player with more than 500,000 gold to their name
• The role that legendaries should play in this game is not clear, nor do they seem to be supported by a system that works for what I am assuming is the dev’s goal for legendaries
• Legendary items are too common if they’re supposed to be items that contain guaranteed extreme power (which they aren’t even close to accomplishing), but WAY too uncommon if they’re supposed to be anything else.
• Legendary items are boring. The mildly interesting and unique affixes present on some of them are grossly underpowered, they don’t play any role in promoting build diversity and they are present only on the items that no one wants.
• Most set piece bonuses are plain and boring to the point of frustration. Powerful they might be in some cases, but interesting and fun this does not make them.


I believe the current legendary item economy is the result of rushed implementation (even though the dev team had years to perfect them). The role that legendaries play in this game is nothing more than a tiny number of clear BiS items, should they roll a certain and obvious combination of affixes. Mempo with crit = BiS all classes all builds. Lacuni Prowlers with crit+mainstat and vit or AR = BiS all classes all builds. Vile Wards with high main stat and vit = BiS all classes all builds (at least before the implementation of BoA shoulders, which, with a lot of luck, can be as good as Vile Wards).

The fact that I was even able to name ONE item that is BiS for all classes and all builds is an absolute abomination. What is the one thing that makes 2/3 of those items BiS???? I bet it’s something really cool… Nope, it’s attack speed.

The dev team needs to realize that giving an item attack speed that can’t usually roll attack speed does not make for an interesting and fun legendary item. It can absolutely make for a powerful one, which is totally okay. I don’t have a problem with these items existing. My problem lies with the fact that there are zero alternatives. Why are 99% of sub ilvl63 legendaries utterly useless??? Why does Inna’s 3p set bonus increase spirit regen by 0.33? Why is a 2 socket Manticore the ONLY viable weapon for Demon Hunters? All of these questions have the same answer; poor itemization.

So how do we fix legendaries? Again, not a super simple or super fast fix. The answer itself, however, is quite simple:

More unique affixes, less of an all-encompassing power gap between 2 different rolls of the same legendary, more variation and much higher quantity. The majority of legendary power should come from affixes that don’t appear on other gear slots. This doesn’t mean that you should just throw attack speed on everything. Get creative and give legendary items some interesting and unique powers.

I am under the impression that the devs are afraid of making items too powerful in interesting ways. Everyone familiar with frostburn gauntlets? (yeah I bet you are) Why can’t these gloves roll 40%+ increased frost damage??? Would that make them so good that more than 1% of players would say, “OMG SO STRONK I NEED THOSE GLOVES”? I seriously doubt it. And why can’t they roll ANY other useful stats?

What about that ring that sucks life from surrounding enemies. Why can’t it suck like 3k life per second? It’s not so much as to make you invincible, but at least you’d notice it.

Or what about Slorak’s Madness Wand? Why can’t this wand be an item version of the Wizard passive Unstable Anomaly with like a 5 or 10 min CD? And why can’t this wand roll any combination of the offensive stats it needs to in order to be considered powerful?

Why can’t unique legendary affixes do anything that would actually affect the way we play and/or build our characters? I think it would be awesome to have a build or even a branch of builds that can revolve entirely around one item. That doesn’t mean that said build would have to be the most uber powerful thing ever, but there’s nothing wrong with it being powerful enough that it inspires some people to do it. Allowing items to play large roles in influencing builds is literally the most time-efficient thing the dev team can do considering the extent to which the game would improve as a result. You’re literally multiplying the effectiveness of the systems you already have in place via clever methods of itemization.

Bottom line: Legendaries are still too boring, too weak overall and too uncommon considering their current role in this iteration of the game. Get some fun affixes in there that carry some ACTUAL formidable power with them. How about a sword that has a chance on hit (with internal CD) to burn bright in your character’s hands while sending waves of force out in front of you dealing a % of weapon dmg and increasing all Holy damage taken by those enemies by 50% for 8 seconds. I bet all of you can come up with some pretty sweet weapon procs or interesting armor effects, why can’t the devs?

Alright, let’s quickly cover the last bullet point so we can move on to the next subject.

Poor Arrangement of Affixes:

This one is mostly the result of a lack of available and desirable affixes as well as many of the other factors listed in the last hundred paragraphs. Basically, the fact that certain affixes can only appear on certain pieces of gear on top of the fact that these affixes are REQUIRED for max efficiency, means that players, AGAIN, have a completely clear cut path towards their end item goals. Get the quinfecta’s where they can be and get the other 4 good stats on pieces the quinfecta’s don’t appear on. For every one of these select few affixes that an item is missing, it gets significantly worse. Do the devs realize this major issue?

This is bad bad bad. I’m not saying that attack speed and crit should be able to roll on every single item in the game(although I do believe they should be able to roll on MOST items, just at lesser values than they do now). That problem is, AGAIN, that there are no suitable alternatives. So again we have an issue that is built on the poor foundation that is Diablo 3’s itemization, customization and build variety.

Players would not seek out the same stats on every item if the best and ONLY way to efficiency wasn’t pure dps with a minimum requirement for survival given the MP level.

Players would not seek out the same stats on every item if they could use OTHER interesting stats to support different methods of efficiency and power.

Players would not seek out the same stats on every item if they could get those stats, or stats that fill a similar role, on other items and instead use those particular affix slots for another means of build support.

Players would not seek out the same stats on every item if class balance supported a wide variety of efficient builds based on an enormous variety of stat collections and allocations.

And finally, players would not seek out the same stats on every item if there existed legendary items that could introduce special affixes to the game that PROPERLY supported the use of non-conventional stats and/or skills.

So how do we solve this problem of clear cut stat hunting that seems to work for every class and every build? We use the same solutions that I spoke about throughout this post thus far. However, I have another system proposal that I feel could help tremendously in improving itemization, particularly where this specific problem of affix arrangement is concerned.

PRIME POWER LOOT SYSTEM PROPOSAL:

The prime power loot system is a system that attempts to achieve the following.

• Improve overall itemization
• Improve the enjoyment players receive during the loot hunt
• VASTLY Improve item-oriented build variety
• Improve player ability to FIND their own gear
• Alleviate the issue of players always having a clear cut path where desired stats are concerned


The system introduces a new kind of loot into the game. Any piece of loot from Uncommong (blue) to Legendary (orange/brown) can roll as a “Prime” piece of loot. So what designates a prime piece of loot? A prime piece of loot is a piece of loot that has rolled one or more affixes that rolled higher than what is normally allowed on a given item. Basically, these affixes roll like normal then a multiplier is applied to that roll, resulting in a new and higher value.

This prime loot drop would be indicated by a unique graphical effect that is visible on said loot the moment it hits the ground, much like the beam of light that shoots up from a legendary/set item. So let’s compare 2 pieces of identical loot, one is a prime piece, the other is not.

NON-PRIME PIECE: Rare shoulders

+165 Dex

+300 Life regen

+40 All resists

+60 vitality

+7 yards increased pickup radius


Normally, most players would look at this piece of loot and say, “that’s not terrible, but it’s definitely not going to make me rich and I already have a pair of Vile Wards that are a lot better”. Even a somewhat cheap pair of Vile Wards or a nice crafted pair of BoA Archon shoulders could beat it quite easily. Now let’s look at the prime piece of loot.

PRIME PIECE: Rare shoulders

+165 Dex

+900 Life regen (3x Prime multiplier)

+40 All resists

+60 vitality

+14 yards increased pickup radius (2x Prime multiplier)


What exactly happened? The piece of loot still isn’t ideal given the fact that the current itemization and class balance system supports pure DPS and standardized minimum requirements of defense for efficiency, but even with those poor foundations we are currently playing with, we now have an item that no one would deem as “total crap”. 900 life regen on one piece of gear is nothing to scoff at, and +14 yards increased pickup radius might be WELL worth the slight loss in DPS and EHP to many people.

Some of you might say, well that’s nothing but an artificial/arbitrary inflation of common stats. Well, that’s not too far off from what the system is, but let me tell you why it’s so much more than that and why I KNOW it would work so well.

First of all, this system cannot thrive to its full potential if incorporated into the current itemization system that is present in the game. As I’ve said many times by now, there needs to be a much larger variety of choice in affixes as well as proper character balance and customization options to support such items.

To illustrate how this system works, I’m going to go over each bullet point that I listed above and HOW this system accomplishes those points.

Improved Itemization:

Very general. This system improves itemization because it takes uninteresting affixes or uninteresting values of those affixes and transforms them into something interesting because of the potential values it can create. It also allows players the opportunity to fill whatever requirements they’ve set for themselves on an item that could have never previously accomplished this. I don’t believe that a player should have to find the max amount of life regen that any item can attain and then find it on every single item that it can appear on before you can create a build from it or even get any noticeable benefit from it.

300 life regen isn’t interesting, nor can any builds or play styles stem from it. 900 life regen, on the other hand, can be quite powerful when paired with only a couple items similar to it(as opposed to requiring a full set of near max rolls of the stat). Here’s another example.

NON-PRIME PIECE: Rare Fist Weapon (MONK)

979DPS

55% Crit Damage

284 Strength

400 LoH

Open Socket

Not super fancy or appealing. Not terrible either, but probably wouldn’t net u very much on the AH or serve you very well in your travels.

PRIME PIECE: Rare Fist Weapon (MONK)

979DPS

55% Crit Damage

852 Strength (3x Prime multiplier)

400 LoH

Open Socket

All of a sudden, this weapon is looking far more interesting than it could have ever looked before and it only took ONE prime affix. 852 Strength equates to 852 armor. That is a TON of damage mitigation to be gained from a weapon, something previously thought to be almost a non-source of significant or even minor mitigation. One could even say that such a high amount of armor might give you the opportunity to sacrifice defensive stats on other pieces of gear for something more fun or even change up your build a bit. Hell, you could probably easily make up for whatever DPS loss you’d receive by taking this weapon over a slightly more offensive one just by swapping around some armor. Also keep in mind that this weapon only rolled one prime affix, imagine what it’d look like had it rolled more than that.

So I know what you’re thinking. Won’t this system just beef up everyone and eventually cause people to go back to hunting the perfect stats, except this time with “Prime” rolls? The answer to that question is a VERY partial, “Yes”, but let me elaborate.

First of all, a good itemization system doesn’t have any “perfect” stats. Secondly, prime rolls are not so common as to make such item hunting an easy task. Let’s say that 1 in 100 items roll a prime affix. Let’s say that 1 in 1000 items roll 2 prime affixes. This system actually significantly DECREASES the likeliness of finding a top tier’d item(at least what would become the top tier). However, you no longer need to find top tier items in order to gear yourself out without the help of the AH. On top of that, these new prime items give players the chance to stack some crazy high amounts of certain stats that were previously considered subpar or even useless. 5k life regen could be attained without an insane amount of effort. Maybe then you could forego LoH on your Monk entirely? That means you have completely discarded what was previously considered almost MANDATORY for the majority of Monks. Now you can use that slot for something that YOU find more interesting and fun. Look at it objectively and in the big picture and you will see the myriad of awesome implications this system can foster.

Rare 1h Axe

1100 DPS

78% crit dmg

3% lifesteal

200 Str

Open socket

Most of us will never see an item this powerful. Now what are the odds of rolling this item the 100 times it will take before it rolls ONE prime affix(and that’s assuming that 1 in 100 items roll a prime affix). What about rolling it 1000 times?(for 2 prime affixes) Obviously such an item would be revered among the entire Diablo 3 community for its sheer godliness, but would it be common AT ALL? HELL no. Those are the kind of items you only hear about in legends. They are the kinds of items that make you say, maybe one day I’ll hit the royal jackpot and find that item that is miles above the next best one. That is what the prime loot system can offer.

However, this system will absolutely result in an inflation of base power across the board. The reason being; it wouldn’t be insanely difficult to find subpar items that happened to roll one or two prime affixes, POTENTIALLY turning them into very powerful items. It’s still very rare, especially considering the fact that the affix needs to roll high in the first place BEFORE the multiplier of the Prime Affix is applied AND you need to hope that the prime multiplier was applied to the affix you want it to be on. Either way, it’s going to happen semi-frequently considering how many items are looted each day.

So yes, the average player will become stronger, except this time they can accomplish it with literally ONLY the items they’ve found. To compensate for this rise in overall power, I would recommend that higher monster power levels have their difficulties increased while lower monster power levels remain mostly unchanged.

I think that higher monster power levels should only be blown through effortlessly by the most insanely well geared of players (top 0.001%). Frankly, I think monster power 10 is way too easy. My Barb is worth between 1.5-2.5 billion and he can absolutely steam roll it. I do NOT consider myself in the very top tier of well geared players…not even close.

END OF SECTION 1
Avatar of Travis Day
Travis Day
The Salvation of Diablo 3: A Guide by Gosu(387)February-28-2013 6:58 PM PST (1 year ago) Go to Blizzard forum post
Thanks for taking the time to put your thoughts on paper for us. There are a lot of topics here that deserve attention and I want to share our views on them with all of you. Stay a while and listen.

Challenge

Challenge is certainly something that has value; players can’t feel a sense of accomplishment if everything in the game can be face rolled. I think many people would agree that, at launch, the game was too challenging. It was very difficult to progress through Inferno depending on your class or items and the challenge was a large part of the reason players felt like they were driven to the AH in the first place. When you present players with difficult content they will find a way to overcome it which usually means using only the most powerful items and abilities. The unfortunate side effect is it also drives players away from the play styles they feel are “just fun”. We have taken steps to improve this problem a number of ways; reducing the overall difficulty of Inferno, improving the potency of underused skills to allow players more diversity in their gameplay, and introducing Monster Power to allow players to set the game to a level which they feel is enjoyable. I think the right way to introduce challenge is to make it optional, for example having difficult content for the players that enjoy it without penalizing the players who prefer a more relaxed gameplay experience.

Items and AH

Items are a topic with a tremendous amount of depth and also a very sensitive subject, so I’ll do my best to provide some of our insights into the matter. Removing “bad” affixes is certainly a suggestion that surfaces from time to time, another suggestion is to group all the good affixes into a shared category so that they can’t all roll on the same item. I think on the surface those sound good but the reality of what they would do to the itemization isn’t what we want. I addressed the topic of the “bad” affixes in a prior post about items so I won’t go into too much more detail here, but I think it’s well within our ability to make those affixes compelling for some people, Pickup Radius and Witch Doctors are a good example of this. Specifically as it relates to Thorns, no one will disagree that in its current state is pretty lackluster, but it supports a play style that I’m sure we can capture with enough alterations to both the core mechanic and some supporting class abilities and passives.

As it relates to bucketing affixes so Crit Chance, Crit Damage, and Attack Speed are mutually exclusive, yeah that would add more choice to item selection, but it would be artificial. I think this issue has some underlying causes that we should look at before going to the extreme of preventing them from existing on the same item. One of the first reasons trifecta items are an issue isn’t that they are so good; it’s that they are the only thing that is good. Of course you want the only three stats that increase your character damage in a meaningful way on the same item, because there are ONLY three stats that increase your character damage in a meaningful way other than your primary stat. I don’t want to derail this by getting into why primary stats were introduced or debate whether they are good or bad. I do want to say that Diablo 3 has been through much iteration during which a vast number of approaches to stats and items were tested and in the end we felt primary stats were the right thing for Diablo 3. I think a better approach to this issue is to introduce more affixes that players are interested in, so there is a sense of tension over what the six affixes are on your “ideal gear”. When a perfect pair of gloves is “Core Stat, Vit, Res All, Crit Chance, Crit Dmg, Attack Speed” and you can’t even imagine another stat you would want instead of one of those, we have a bigger problem. Introducing more choice instead of less and giving players more ways to feel like they are customizing their character is what we want to see. If gloves also had the ability to roll +% School Damage, +Life on Hit, Skill specific affixes, plus a couple more things you want, than players may find themselves in a situation where trifecta isn’t as clearly defined anymore.

The “problem” with trifecta items can’t be discussed without also pointing out that it is only a problem because the AH makes obtaining these items so easy. On a basic level, I have no problem with items existing that players highly desire, but when it is a forgone conclusion that you will have those items then we have problems. If the auction house never existed, players wouldn’t be upset that trifecta exists, they would be upset that they haven’t been lucky enough to find their own trifecta items. To summarize, I think the right solution to this problem isn’t cutting trifecta items from the game, but rather it’s about getting to a point where you want more things than you can fit on an item.
I think your affix ideas are cool, and we have spent a lot of time lately talking about what kind of awesome effects we could put on items that we don’t currently have. I’d even say that as cool as some of these ideas are, we can go even further. We are putting a lot of effort into coming up with really awesome item ideas for future content. I’ll give one quick example of my personal favorite so far before moving on and also to give context to the direction we are moving in. Imagine a pair of Legendary boots that read “Makes you ethereal, allowing you to freely move through enemies”. Whether or not that idea makes the final cut is hard to say, but we want to really push the boundaries as much as we can, so legendary items become things that players can get really excited about.

Character Customization

Your system idea for Nephalem Power Stat is basically a roundabout way of suggesting we re-implement the Diablo 2 skill system. The old skill system was fun, back in the day, but I think it’s honestly dated in today’s landscape. People fondly remember making tons of characters and trying out different builds, and while I have a lot of those same fond memories, I also remember that usually the end result of my time investment in my “cool new character” was complete and utter disappointment.
Today the availability of web sites or posts about character builds would mostly overshadow any of that old character rerolling. You would read a post saying someone else tried the build that you had imagined would be amazing, only to find out it was awful, or you would find out it was great and build it also. The skill system today allows people the flexibility to try out things they enjoy without penalizing players who want to experiment with new ideas. The only difference is if their idea doesn’t pan out, you didn’t waste hours leveling a bad character.
Character customization is fun. People want more ways to feel different from their neighbor, and we want to help provide players with more options in this regard as well. There are lots of things that we have discussed and some ideas we have for long term system additions to the game to help in this regard. One of them which I mentioned in another post is the plan to eventually introduce a system to allow players to customize their character appearance more. Another system we haven’t talked about before is the long term plan to change the way the Paragon system works to allow it to offer more character customization in the form of actual power. The details of that system are still being worked out and players probably won’t get their hands on it for quite a while. We do agree that customization is important and we want more ways for players to both express themselves and differentiate themselves from their friends and other members of the community.

Too many items

I cover this topic in some depth in the upcoming Item Blog that community is in the process of getting ready for release next week. I will briefly say that we agree that too many items drop and we have plans to eventually reduce the rate that players see items, while also taking measures to improve the general quality of items you do see. The end result should be fewer items that are better instead of tons of items you don’t want.

Legendary and Set items

This is a topic I’ve touched on some in this thread and it is also a talking point of the upcoming Item Blog, so I’ll just say that we agree and we want Legendary items to feel game changing.

Finding your own gear

Whenever we talk about what the fantasy of Diablo is and what we want the core gameplay to be, never do we say “we want players to farm gold and go buy items off the auction house”. The AH definitely has made an impact on Diablo 3 and we talk about it constantly, but our conversations are usually in the context of “how can we get players to find their own loot instead of just buying it”. The new crafting recipes and Demonic Essences were added to provide a little bit of this gameplay but we have a lot of ideas for the long term about how we want to go about addressing this. At the end of the day, it is our intention that players are able to find their own items, because we feel the game is just more fun that way. There are several reason why it might not feel that way right now. One is the inherent randomness of our loot system. Another is the fact that the AH completely removes all friction between player trades. And another is when players DO find items they should be excited about, they are often disappointed because this items are not very good. All of these are very important and we hope to address them over time.

Skill Diversity

This is something we constantly strive to improve. Yes, there are a lot of runes and abilities that are lacking, but as you can see with our patches, we try over time to improve the balance of them regularly. In some cases runes are designed just to be fun or cool. In other cases, we try to make a large spectrum of runes competitive, but the math ends up favoring one over the others. In some cases, certain abilities or ability combinations are so potent that they overshadow almost every other option available. WW/Sprint/Battle Rage is a good example of this. There are some cool ideas here, but I don’t want to turn this post into a discussion about specifics of design. This is a problem that we can’t fix overnight, but we are confident that over time we can constantly improve the situation and hopefully the community can see that we are making efforts on this front with every patch we release.
Crafting
What crafting was meant to be and what it ended up being aren’t necessarily the same. Again there are a long list of reasons why it turned out to be a bit underwhelming for some people. Not the least of which is the existence of the AH. Why make random things when you can buy exactly what you are looking for? We are constantly exploring new ideas for how to make crafting more relevant and trying to carve out a more defined role for it within the scope of Diablo 3 itemization. We have discussed ideas such as letting players have some control over what stats will appear on the item they are crafting, using the crafting system to allow players to reroll the values of affixes an item already has, etc. This is a system that, with time, should be able to find a better place in the overall gameplay experience of Diablo.

Social Features

This is an area that has a lot of room for improvement. I personally used to talk about the fact that when I would play with my brother and two of my good friends, I constantly felt like they were a detriment to my ability to farm, which is at the core of my enjoyment of the Diablo series. Since then, we have made changes to improve the coop experience like reducing the health multiplier of additional players and removing the damage scaling when more players join the game. However, we need to do more to improve both the in and out of game experience. We want it to be easier for players to find other like-minded people to play with and this is a topic we are actively trying to improve in the near future.

Conclusion

Ok I’ve reread this thing enough times that my brain is starting to melt. The Diablo team is incredibly passionate and constantly striving to make the game we love even better. I hope this post helps clear the air about where we stand on a lot of these topics and I also hope I never find myself never feeling the need to write a post this long again lol.

TLDR – Travis has crit Gosu with Wall of Text for 1 Billlllllllion damage.
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