Q. Has it been considered the addition of a point tracker mechanic for PvP, as well as perhaps the ability to wager or offer any kind of unique rewards to make PvP more interesting in 1.0.7? Kevin:
-- DarkAlucoc (Americas [Spanish]), Gorchitza#2915 (Europe [Russian]), Berninio#2682 (Europe [Polish]), wccjitou (Asia [Taiwanese]), Oray#2440 (Americas [English])
Considered? Yeah, definitely. Not only did we debate the idea of having point systems and other forms of tracking for brawling during the initial development stage, but we also carefully revisited those points as we saw incoming feedback from the PTR. We know that, for many players, having some way of "showing off" your skills in battle either through a point tracker or reward system is very desirable, and we debated various different ways of doing that within the current design of brawling. We even discussed adding ears for players to collect after they'd slaughtered their opponents, and whether that type of "reward" could exist as items or as an ever-growing counter in the UI.
After all those discussions, though, we always came back to the same principle: brawling is a simple, straightforward way to knock your friends and/or enemies into next week. That's it. No rewards, no objectives, no scores. The goal of the feature is to give players a way to fight each other in a no-holds-barred kind of environment, and we want to keep that environment as simple, straightforward, and "no-holds-barred" as possible. While we will remain open to player feedback on the idea of point trackers and rewards and may consider making adjustments based on that feedback in the future, we really feel that brawling will be at its best when it is just simply a free-for-all fight. We like that this allows players to sort of define what brawling means to them, as well as build their own "mini-games" around the feature (for example, there's this thread
over on Reddit that's pretty cool, same for the rules
streamer Inigo Montoya developed).
I also want to point out that brawling is not a replacement for Team Deathmatch or any other types of more complex PvP modes, and that a lot of the design choices we made with brawling were done to navigate around the issues we experienced with Team Deathmatch. Some players may not have seen this, but Jay wrote a major update of PvP in December and he explained why Team Deathmatch was not coming soon (the bad news), and that mode actually had rewards and points. You can read the blog here
. But let me try to summarize the primary points:
- We are a PVE-focused game. Killing more demons more efficiently is what the skills are and should be balanced against. As such, we have so many skills and rune combos, coupled with an enormous amount of items and affixes, and then major power variance based on those items that the formal and organized direct team competition of the scored Team Deathmatch mode really drew that into stark contrast.
- In addition, while Team Deathmatch was fun for a while, the lasting depth wasn't there. So, and I realize I’m getting a little long-winded here (how does one apply that metaphor to typing, exactly?), rather than potentially repeating those issues with another system that had rewards, and objectives, and scoring, just getting a solid way to bash people was our primary goal and to get it out as fast as possible. Brawling is the result of that.
Q. Did you think about introducing an optional betting system for player duels? Let’s say two players are duelling and bet some gold. One player bets 5 million and another bets 5 million. The winner takes 10m*(1 – 0,15). The 15% would be a 'tax' for Blizzard, the master of the duelling grounds ;) Kevin:
-- Czero#2520 (Europe [Polish])
So you thought you could convince me to add betting by offering me a 15% cut, eh? While I like your style, I'm afraid I don’t think the concept will work. I do think it’s cool! But I also think it suffers from two issues -- one solvable and one not so much.
So first, see my notes above about class balance. Betting on a mode that is not balanced has some inherent perils and fairness issues in it. We can always say "buyer beware" or let you do what you want with your own money, but we've found that the variance is so enormous that we’re rather hesitant to offer a formal way to wager on something we well know is not balanced. This can easily be seen as a seal of approval. Now, if none of that applies to you, you can always make a gentleperson’'s agreement with your opponents to trade a prize (be it items or gold) in chat before you enter the Scorched Chapel.
Second, the solvable problem is the UI issue. Creating a betting UI would add additional time and complexity to get into a very simple mode that’s primary goal is to be straightforward. Our UI is rather crowded, too, so any additions to it are tricky to add for any purposes, not just betting. Again, the interface issue could be worked on but the balance issue trumps it.
Q. Can you explain with more detail on the restrictions that make it not viable to have a 2x2 duel system? Why it is not a feasible to add this to the game at the moment? Kevin:
-- Slayer (Americas [Portuguese]), Rowan#2506 (Europe [English]), Crypto137#1400 (Europe [Russian])
2v2 brawling is another form of team-based Deathmatch. The problems we had with depth and balance with 4v4 aren’t better at all with 2 people per side. It's not like we don’t like this idea, to be clear. Here's where we are right now: we want to get the basic player-vs-player combat to you all as quickly and as simply as we can. Brawling in the Scorched Chapel is that. As Jay said back in December
, we will continue to ponder (picture Rodin's Thinker only with more foam axes, nerf guns, and beer) a way to add lasting depth to a team-based mode but, in the meantime, please enjoy beating the living daylights out of each other in free-for all combat.
Q. So…no plans to add any form of rewards for Dueling? Kevin:
-- 힉스입자 (Asia [Korean])
The rewards are the satisfaction of seeing your enemies (and…well… friends, I guess) driven before you and hearing the lamentations of their followers. What more does one need?
The serious answer is honestly only a little different. Like the answer I provided to DarkAlucoc, brawling is just a fun way to bash each other around and if you like testing your skills and powers against other players, then that will be fun on its own. If not, there are so, so many demons to slay and, really, they have totally been asking for it. Especially Heralds of Pestilence—those guys are jerks.
Q. I am not a fan of the "lobby" in Diablo 3 which makes my dueling experience socially limited, currently the system makes finding players to duel a bit difficult and dull. Do you Developers have plans to improve the dueling system to be more sociable and add it in 1.0.7. PTR? Thanks. -Kevin:
- ELPRESADOR#1983 (Americas [English])
We feel that the social features in Diablo III could be more robust, absolutely. Along with that, we understand that finding other players to brawl with could probably be easier. On a very high level, we've been discussing ways to help players find groups more easily according to their specific play style, be that for questing, Paragon leveling, item farming, key runs, or brawling, etc. One of the ideas we've explored—and this is by no means set in stone, but I did want to bring it up since it is something we’re actively considering it—is the possibility of allowing players to identify what kind of experience they’re looking for when entering Public Games by using "tags." So, in addition to selecting your MP and Quest, you could also hypothetically select your "Game Type," and "Brawling" could certainly be one of the types we make available. It's a pretty big change from both a UI and mechanical standpoint, so we don't have an ETA for when social improvements of that level might be added.
So, to answer your question: while we don’t have any additions planned for 1.0.7 (we were paying pretty close attention to how people were finding one another on the PTR and think players were doing just fine), we do
want to make it easier for players to find another and will continue monitoring your feedback in the meantime.
Q. I want field PvP, not a specific zone. If it is indiscriminate slaughtering that Blizzard is concerned of, why not provide an opt in/out for dueling? Why would anyone stand around doing nothing in the arena while others are out in the field grinding? Most of all, a dumbed-down zone fails to utilize all the possibilities of open-world combat. Kevin:
-- FatalPower (Asia [Korean])
I worked with Lylirra closely on a post
that covers this question pretty much in its entirety. Rather than make you go look for it, I can quote the relevant points for you here.
Regarding why we don’t allow brawling in the open world:
The world that you play through normally wasn't designed for player vs. player combat, so it doesn’t translate well to dueling. There are just too many variables that could wreak havoc during a duel: non-PvP friendly geometry, events, scripted sequences, monsters, level-up effects, portals, etc.
For example: What if someone duels a player while they have Leah (or another hireling) as a follower? What if someone accidentally clicks on an NPC and opens up a dialogue window or a vendor screen? What happens when someone transitions through a portal or to a new zone? Sure, we could try to make accommodations for dueling to assist with each and every of these situations, but not only would those changes require a significant time and resource investment, they'd also have to be flawlessly integrated into the main game world. It's a lot of work for a feature that not a lot of players will see or really take advantage of.
Thematically, we agree – it’d would be cool if players could fight wherever they wanted. But having an environment that actually supports PvP combat, was specifically designed for that purpose, and doesn’t interfere with the rest of the world is much more important when it comes to how the actual gameplay feels. This is one of the main reasons why we created a separate zone for dueling.
If anything, the list of complicating issues above was rather short. There are so many more factors that could negatively impact a player’s experience if we were to allow open-world PvP in the existing PvE environment.
Regarding why we don’t offer a right-click > duel option:
One of the big goals with the current design for dueling (in terms of where it exists and how you get there) is to limit opportunities for griefing. By having a separate map that can only be accessed by speaking with an NPC, we're able to give players a means to beat each other up, but without a way to really harass anyone.
We definitely considered the right-click > duel option, but there's a downside to it. If we allowed players to just initiate duels by right-clicking on a player's portrait or in the Friends List, that feature could and probably would be used to grief people by pulling them into duels at arbitrary moments. Heck, even if this system required that the invited player interact with some sort of confirmation dialogue before a duel could be begin, someone still could theoretically spam the bejeebus out of the invite system and use the dialogue feature to interrupt other players’ demon slaying fun time. =/
We've heavily talked about adding NPCs in each Act hub, rather than just having the one in New Tristram to give players more flexibility, and there is/will be a dedicated PvP channel to help would-be duelers find other willing participants. Even so, we'll be paying close attention to your feedback from the PTR, so please let us know about your experiences and what you feel could be improved.
We've already added the PvP channel, and Nek the Brawler is now available in all Act hubs. As noted in one of my earlier responses, we're also discussing ways for like-minded players (including brawlers) to find one another more easily through the game's social features.
Additionally—and I think this is important to specify—one of the big reasons that we changed the name from "dueling" to "brawling" is that we understood the word "dueling" comes with certain connotations. It makes you think of 1v1 combat that’s initiated within the existing world, something that feels similar to the battle between the Dread Pirate Roberts and Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride. There’s spontaneity to it, as well as more formality. Also, it only refers to a fight between two people.
That's really not what dueling was (or is) in Diablo III, so we changed its name to something more fitting: brawling. Brawls are more about getting people together to fight each other in a blur of fists and ferocity where the winner takes all. That’s exactly what our form of brawling offers, as opposed to something more formal and balanced (and only between 2 people). In that context, a right-click > duel option doesn't make a lot of sense.
Q. Most of the duels are concluded after a one-hit kill and most players feel that players with more purchasing power in AH/RMAH will end up being the ones who will always win during engagement with other players. Are you guys considering some kind of resilience system (or account bound equipment), that allow players to reduce damage taken on duels? Wyatt:
-- Slayer (Americas [Portuguese])
There are essentially two different questions being asked. Question one: "The current environment seems very one-hit kill, are there any plans to address this?" The second question is "What effect does the AH/RMAH have on brawling?"
Players have a great deal of control over the gear that you wear. Many players in the current live environment choose to build their characters to be extremely offensive, forgoing defense almost completely. Other players choose to build their character extremely defensively, so they can take a few hits and keep on ticking. Most players fall somewhere on the spectrum between these two extremes, though there is a tendency in PvE to lean more on the offensive side as it results in faster clears of PvE content.
When the 1.0.7 PTR went live, you saw a lot of one-hit kills because players are stepping into the Scorched Chapel with their offensively-oriented PvE gear and sometimes even their PvE skill builds. You are certainly going to see a lot of one-hit kills in an environment like this. Sometimes you see one-hit kills simply because you’re vastly out-geared by your opponent. However, if players re-gear for some survivability in their item and skill choices, things have the potential to shift. Indeed, if two players are both extremely defensively-minded you quickly get into stalemates in which neither player is able to ever kill the other. Ensuring that it is at least somewhat worthwhile to build defensively is part of the reason for the 30% damage reduction for all classes (35% for Monks and Barbarians) seen in the latest PTR patch. If a person who makes a balanced build between offense and defense is still getting 1-shot by somebody who is completely offensively-minded, then it doesn’t feel worthwhile to have built defensively at all, so the 30%/35% damage reduction is intended to close the gap to help people survive the 1-shot scenario.
With regards to the AH/RMAH question, brawling is really no-holds-barred. Players entering a brawl are going to have different gear levels and that gear is going to come from multiple sources. Some gear might be acquired through drops, some might be found on the AH, and some might be crafted -- particularly with the introduction of the new crafting recipes in 1.0.7 to accompany the account-bound Hellfire Rings. When two people enter the Scorched Chapel, one player may vastly out-gear the other. That’s to be expected. We like that brawling is more open-ended in terms of your gearing choices, and we've no plans to limit that by introducing a separate item system.
Asking about the AH/RMAH with regards to brawling, though, is really just a variant of the larger question of what role the AH/RMAH should play in Diablo III. We think the fact that most players get their gear from the AH is an issue, but it’s not one that’s specific to brawling. And we’d rather fix the larger issue (which is in turn will benefit brawling), rather than come up with some new gear system that will only address the problem for PvP. That said, no matter what we do, some players are going to have vastly better gear than others, and that’s probably always going to be the case depending on your level of investment.
Overall please remember that brawling with your friends may not be fair fight. So, if you’re looking for a perfectly balanced, pure skill-based, highly structured PvP mode where everybody has identical gear, then brawling may not be the feature for you. Even so, we still think (for a lot of players) it’s going to be a lot of fun to jump into a game and just beat each other up.