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Bagstone #2613
Trials. Yeah, this again. (Cont'd)(1)Category: GeneralApril-10-2015 4:21 AM PDT (7 years ago) Go to Blizzard forum post
Disclaimer: This thread was initially posted in the PTR forums and sparked a lot of discussion and replies, but no bluepost (on this thread or any other trial thread). I've saved the thread on the PTR forums before they were taken down, and here's an updated post.

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This thread could be kept short - "remove trials" would probably do it, and I have no doubt a majority of the playerbase would agree. The trials debate came up over and over again, especially recently on Reddit and Diablofans, which is why I'll just make another desperate attempt to bring this debate up. We saw no changes to trials whatsoever in 2.2, and that is worrying, because trials are now a bigger annoyance than they have ever been before.

Trials serve a good purpose; for those of you who remember the very first iteration of 2.1 on the PTR it was quite annoying to play up your keys, and trials were seen as a good solution at first. It didn't take long though before people became annoyed with them; the reason simply being that they still have too much RNG, your trial performance has sometimes nothing to do with your Greater Rift performance, and they take up quite some time in which you get no rewards (a laughable amount of XP and gold, and absolutely no drops whatsoever).

Travis Day recognized that trials are a problem (IncGamers podcast: http://diablo.incgamers.com/blog/comments/the-diablo-3-podcast-157-travis-day-interview), but stated that they "want to have trials". He basically brought up exactly the same arguments - the measuring stick at a roller coaster entrance" - at the Tavern Talk (http://eu.battle.net/d3/en/blog/17963737/tavern-talk-vod-now-available-12-02-2015) for why trials are annoying. What was the silver lining for me was that it did not sound like "trials are definitely going to stay forever", but they're looking in other options to solve this. Unfortunately, it seems like for them it was not as high up on the priority list as other changes, which is why it was not addressed in 2.2. And in the Tavern Talk just before 2.2 launch, we heard the exact same roller coaster parable again. At this point, we don't need to be told why trials are bad, we all now it - what we'd like to hear from the developers is an acknowledgement that trials need huge changes (not just small fixes as seen in 2.1.2) or, even better and in the end probably inevitable, entire removal. And here's why.

The two biggest changes to Greater Rifts in 2.2, in my opinion, are 1) the fact that solo Greater Rifts are becoming more important than ever before, as there's going to be a personal reward with the increased blood shard cap; and 2) the "changing meta" of which classes will perform well in GRs and subsequently in trials.

If you are a solo player and aiming for a Greater Rift record, you will have to get your keys in a group. There might be some classes that can get close to their personal record in rifts - but even if you get a GR35 key when trying to push for your GR40 record, you need 5 "decent rifts", thanks to the RNG, to push your record. And we all know that the chance of getting 5 "decent rifts" is smaller than seeing Diablo riding on a unicorn through New Tristram. Essentially, to push your record to your true maximum you need to group up to get keys. You need to lay out a strategy for this group (unless you have 3 friends that are completely outgearing you or there's going to be another overpowered build like the Marauder's Demon Hunter in 2.2). And on top of all of this, you probably even need the "fitting classes" - which might vary a lot from the established trial meta game we've seen since the start of trials, which has always been 2 Demon Hunters plus 1-2 support classes.

Let's try to list some of the problems of trials - with regard to 2.2, but also from experiences in the past:


  • True solo players will not get the high keys they need.
  • Your trial performance does not correlate with your GR performance, as it requires an entirely different build and playstyle, usually even a different class.
  • With a changing meta in 2.2, you might start seasons with the "wrong class(es)" to reach your goals.
  • Trials are extremely unrewarding: they do yield a laughable amount of gold and XP, and no loot whatsoever. In 2.1.2, we spent almost as many hours in trials as we did in high-level Greater Rifts.
  • Trials are still quite time-consuming, even if done efficiently; for speed lower Greater Rifts you need about a minute to get a key, and 2-3 minutes to clear the rifts. Getting GR60+ keys requires you to be in a trial for 3-4 minutes (and that's only if you get "good RNG").
  • Trials have RNG. Why? Why does a "measuring stick" have RNG? To use Travis's example of the roller coaster measuring stick, that would mean that you line up 10 times - and 5 out of those 10 times the measuring stick tells you "you're too short", the other 5 times it tells you "go ahead, you're tall enough". That doesn't make any sense. It only increases frustration. If you want to spice up trial waves keep them as being from different mob families, but always the same type (10 big mobs and 20 small mobs, same hitboxes, same collision boxes, all pullable, but just different monsters). Sand Dwellers are the new Golgors of 2.1.2.
  • The final leaderboards of 2.1.2 were less a testament of groups' Greater Rift performance, but rather their ability to constantly generate high-level keys in trials.


There is another very apparent problem: In order to receive the highest keys possible in trials, certain groups used exploits (gear swap exploit in January), clever game mechanics that were removed shortly after (Sever/Grim Reaper), or items that are not available to all players ("zero dog WD"). The fact that due to the limited availability of legacy gear or the limited timeframe of the first two "mechanics" certain groups have a significant (unfair) advantage over others seems to have been completely neglected by Blizzard. Of course you cannot do anything about this afterwards; you cannot delete all 60+ keys as it's possible to get those without any of the aforementioned mechanics. And where do you draw the line? It's simple "damage done", and no easy way to fix it.

However, you can prevent it from happening again (and it will happen again): By removing trials altogether.

Let players get their ranks based on their Greater Rift performance, not based on how good they perform in trials. Let players enjoy the game with the class and build they want, don't pigeonhole them into having to gear up one specific class and build just to get to their goal. Note: Initially I had a second, band-aid fix solution in here; that opportunity has passed. After thorough discussion everyone in the community agrees that trials need to go, and if Blizzard has good reasons for why they should stay or what the unfixable problems are, it would really be about time to share them. Because honestly, at this point the silence is deafening.

Therefore: Remove trials, and let's focus on how to design an alternative system to acquire keys.

The basic idea that has been identified as the best solution is that Orek takes a trial key and opens a rift of your choice, with a maximum level of your highest clear +1. Why plus one? Because you don't have rift keys anymore. This would solve so many problems:


  • You can't spam rifts anymore that are 5 levels above your limit. The highest rift you can do is only +1 of your current record. To get higher, you need to beat that one. Step by step!
  • You can still skip rifts - if your last clear was extraordinarily fast, Orek will give you a higher rift; just like the key you would've gotten out of this. For example, if you clear a GR40 in 10 minutes you can now try your luck on GR42. If you clear a GR1 in 2 minutes (which will be what will happen at the start of the season) you will get a GR11 key.
  • Rift keys don't occupy space anymore. (WOAH!) Only the trial keys (which stack to 1000 now. Please :P)
  • Your rift success level is bound to your character, not account. Just because you cleared a GR25 on your monk does not give your yellow, inexperienced, undergeared wizard the right to tackle a GR26.
  • You can spend the time you used to spend some trials to go outside and get some fresh air. (Oh sorry, whom am I kidding... I meant you can play more Diablo!)
  • When you want to run lower Greater Rifts for speed rifts, you wouldn't have to do boring trials that feel completely pointless and dull. Doing trials to get GR35 keys is as if you'd ask a 50 year old guy for his proof of age in the liquor store when he's buying some beer.
  • A more personal note, half my friends list would take a break playing T6 and join me in GRs - they just hate trials so much and are sitting on 1000-2000 trial keys but can't get arsed to run a single trial.


In the Tavern Talk in December the problem of group keys was brought up. Well, it's not a problem at all: You take everyone's maximum rift (either the personal one on that character or their best performance in a group rift of that size - 2 players, 3 players, 4 players) and take the average or minimum of the group. Different options, and whichever will be the last one is up to the developers. Let's say there's a group of 3 people, and their respective 3 player records are GR35, GR40, and GR45. The system would give them a GR40 key to start with in the "average" model, or a GR35 for the "minimum" one. Both doesn't matter: you play up the keys and have some fun. But it's better than having to do trials for half an hour or more before joining a group! You could even check out people's personal records to see which level you'd start on when you group up with them - no more "please post your available keys to see if we have to run trials". Really... this wouldn't just kill two birds with one stone, but rather hit the aviary with a meteor.

This suggestion isn't new, this was probably proposed approximately a billion times on these forums here, on Diablofans, on Reddit, on IncGamers, and by everyone who has done just give trials and realize how boring they are. Please, please please please please dear developers, do not let us wait for 4 months just to present a minor fix to trials ("you now get 2 level higher keys and we removed Sand Dwellers"). That would've been something you could've sold us as a band-aid in 2.2, but after having to wait for so long please consider what always made Blizzard so strong: acknowledge that an idea backfired completely and the only fix is to entirely remove it (example: AH).

Thanks.
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Tyvalir
Trials. Yeah, this again. (Cont'd)(41)April-10-2015 6:24 PM PDT (7 years ago) Go to Blizzard forum post
Posted by: Bagstone

What was the silver lining for me was that it did not sound like "trials are definitely going to stay forever", but they're looking in other options to solve this.

You're absolutely correct.

In fact, Wyatt mentioned during our last Tavern Talk that we've considered allowing you to earn multiple Trial keys at once (as one possible solution). While we did not make changes to Trials in Patch 2.2.0, the bottom line is that we recognize they can be improved, and we're weighing different ideas for fixing them. In the meantime, we appreciate everyone's patience as we develop a solid solution, and we'll be sure to share any updates as soon as we have them.
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Posted by: Tyvalir

In the meantime, we appreciate everyone's patience as we develop a solid solution, and we'll be sure to share any updates as soon as we have them.


Thanks for the info and for informing us Tyvalir
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Multiple trial keys would be fine since it would be multiplicative to what we are now getting. Keep up the good fight.
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Posted by: Tyvalir

Posted by: Bagstone

What was the silver lining for me was that it did not sound like "trials are definitely going to stay forever", but they're looking in other options to solve this.

You're absolutely correct.

In fact, Wyatt mentioned during our last [url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWFi90Hv7RQ&t=3m54s"]Tavern Talk[/url] that we've considered allowing you to earn multiple Trial keys at once (as one possible solution). While we did not make changes to Trials in Patch 2.2.0, the bottom line is that we recognize they can be improved, and we're weighing different ideas for fixing them. In the meantime, we appreciate everyone's patience as we develop a solid solution, and we'll be sure to share any updates as soon as we have them.


The best solution is to add a slider so we can choose our GR difficulty for easy farming WHILE you work on that solution. You can change it to whatever you come up with later, but in the mean time give us the slider.
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Posted by: Tyvalir

Posted by: Bagstone

What was the silver lining for me was that it did not sound like "trials are definitely going to stay forever", but they're looking in other options to solve this.

You're absolutely correct.

In fact, Wyatt mentioned during our last [url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWFi90Hv7RQ&t=3m54s"]Tavern Talk[/url] that we've considered allowing you to earn multiple Trial keys at once (as one possible solution). While we did not make changes to Trials in Patch 2.2.0, the bottom line is that we recognize they can be improved, and we're weighing different ideas for fixing them. In the meantime, we appreciate everyone's patience as we develop a solid solution, and we'll be sure to share any updates as soon as we have them.


If by "improved" you meant "removed" you would make a lot of people a lot happier.
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I'm honestly really tired of hearing this excuse about waiting till the new system is just perfect, just patch in the multi trial keystone thing or the option to pick whatever grift you've completed before. It's not hard, you can later change it to whatever system you come up with. And a bandaid fix is vastly superior to the current system.
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Remove trials please.

:(
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Posted by: Tyvalir

Posted by: Bagstone

What was the silver lining for me was that it did not sound like "trials are definitely going to stay forever", but they're looking in other options to solve this.

You're absolutely correct.

In fact, Wyatt mentioned during our last [url="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWFi90Hv7RQ&t=3m54s"]Tavern Talk[/url] that we've considered allowing you to earn multiple Trial keys at once (as one possible solution). While we did not make changes to Trials in Patch 2.2.0, the bottom line is that we recognize they can be improved, and we're weighing different ideas for fixing them. In the meantime, we appreciate everyone's patience as we develop a solid solution, and we'll be sure to share any updates as soon as we have them.


I implore the dev team to consider other examples of the community being up in arms over an unnecessary dynamic that was continuously "fixed", despite the players SCREAMING that the only fix is to do away with it.

Remember individual item identification? Remember how we begged and pleaded over the course of an entire calendar year to just give us ID all? They stuck to their guns and kept "fixing" it by attempting to mitigate the time it took to individually ID an item, and we kept SCREAMING to just do away with it.

You're doing the same thing here with trials. When you polish a turd, you just smear crap all over. Get rid of the turd (trials). It is a bad idea, period. The d3 "bad idea graveyard" is not quite yet full, there's room for one more bad idea corpse.

I mean this respectfully, of course, but I feel being direct is best. Trials are simply terrible and there is no fixing them. Just like with the individual ID systems, you're wasting our play time here. We want to spend our time in rifts, not in an arbitrary qualification system to enter that which we already proved we belong in.
[Post edited one time, last edit by BurningRope#1322 at April-10-2015 7:26 PM PDT (7 years ago)]
Avatar of Tyvalir
Tyvalir
Trials. Yeah, this again. (Cont'd)(155)April-16-2015 3:13 PM PDT (7 years ago) Go to Blizzard forum post
UPDATE: As Wyatt mentioned in his interview yesterday on the Westmarch Workshop podcast, we do plan on removing the Realm of Trials in an upcoming patch. For those who haven't watched the interview, Wyatt also covers our philosophy about the issues we're addressing as we work toward this change (plus a lot of fun conversation and other game design tidbits), so it's definitely worth a watch.

Full transcript (courtesy of Reddit):

WYATT CHENG: The Trials are not good. We don't like them. I don't like them. I would hesitate to say I hate Trials... I would say that they are—

NEINBALL: Can we say it for you? (laugh)

WYATT CHENG: (laugh) I think it's part of the natural iteration process. It solved a problem that we had before. And, I don't want to defend Trials; I'm not going to defend Trials. I think that it is the latest in a sequence of events...and Trials will be getting removed from the game. I can't tell you when. I can tell you that we already don't have Trials in our internal builds. We've been playing around with it and testing it, and we are committed to removing them. But there were some problems that came up. I don't want to go into all the details that we have because it'll sound like I'm defending the Trials system, I just hope that people can respect that we are working on it. Jonny Ebert, he is hard at work. He's working with Roger, the gameplay engineer, to remove Trials.
And some of the problems that we've had, just scratching the surface, is what does Legendary Gem upgrading look like if we don't have Trials? What happens is—so, in the very first version where we took Trials out, we'd say "well, how do I decide what grift to do?" and it's like…well, what if we just let you pick? Just like, crazy-crazy idea, what if there was just this arbitrary—or what if it was based on your Personal Best, that gets mentioned a lot, too.

So, let's say that I can do—normally, I do grift 40 comfortably, but I happen to get to grift 50 in a 4-player party, and then I go back to solo and my Legendary Gem is 48. Well, what grift do I wanna do by myself next? I can kind of comfortably do 40, there's no way I'm going to be able to do 48, 49. And yet, to upgrade my Legendary Gem, I'll be incentivized to pick 48 or 49. And it's going to be an absolutely terrible run, it takes 30-40 minutes to clear, but you do it anyway because that's how you get your 60% chance to upgrade your gem rather than a 2% chance. So we said, “okay, that's no good.” So, we iterated a little bit, we made it so that you have to beat the timer in order to upgrade your gem... [Editor's note: this was still part of the hypothetical ideas. It should not be implied that this timer change is coming.]

Anyway, there was kind of like—it sounds like I'm defending Trials, at least maybe some people think that—that's not my intention. I want to say that—I'll keep my answer short. We've gutted Trials internally, we're working on it, there were some issues, it had a bunch of downstream effects, and we are still working on it. But we recognize that people are not happy with them. Asking for them to be removed isn't going to make it happen any faster. I wish it could! If I could make it happen faster I would say everyone should talk about it all the time, but, you know what, everyone talks about it all the time already, and unfortunately it just doesn't speed up how fast we can get them out.
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