"Build Changing" Loot and Improving Upon It

  • Let's Discuss the direction of Loot 2.0 -- which imo, is headed in the right direction, but still needs a little push. Prepare for text.

    Here's the video I'm going to base this discussion around:
    http://youtu.be/rYbt27bRMqs?t=4m

    Josh presents a Wizard-specific legendary centered around the Hydra Skill. And this is the step in the right direction that Diablo III needs as far as loot is concerned. Take a skill from a class and discuss how to make a build focused on that skill fun, diverse, and viable. This should be at the center of thinking when offering build changing loot.

    Here's the issue. The Serpent's Sparker, albeit powerful, is NOT a build changing loot. Wizards may use this for their character at some point to see the effect, but it offers little in the way to make anyone focus their entire build around the Hydra. What this particular item is lacking -- is other loot and other affixes that make the item worth having for a Hydra-specific build. And this is the important part of how itemization needs to be improved upon to allow build changing loot.

    Here's what I'm proposing, and hopefully you agree with me, what will allow for build changing loot. New affixes... starting from all Rares and moving their way up. I'm going to use the Hydra as the primary example for this discussion, the numbers are just examples -- don't take them to heart...

    Nightmare+ Affixes: can appear on all Rares
    Hydra Arcane Power Cost -1Hydra Damage +5%Hydra Duration +1 secondHydra Critical Strike Chance +2%Hydra Critical hits grant 2 Arcane Power

    It's important that affixes pushing in the direction of one skill as a focus start appearing early (in Nightmare). While leveling into your character, you can make the decision to start acquiring loot to focus on the skill you like/want to use the most. These are examples of affixes that will start to appear on affixes in Nightmare, and will continue to appear in higher difficulties with different ranges.

    Hell+ Affixes: can appear on Rare Wizard Hats, Sources, and Wands
    Hydra Amount +1Hydra Damage to Elites +2%Hydra Critical Strike Damage +10%

    By the time the Player reaches Hell difficulty, they will start to see loot specifically tailored not just for their class, but for their build -- helping to make them a more powerful character. It is usually by late Hell that players decide they need to start sacrificing the skills they like for skills that will simply keep them alive. Instead, players should be offered loot with affixes that start to make their favorite skills more enticing.

    Inferno Affixes: can appear on Legendary items
    Hydra Amount +1Gain +25 All Resist per active HydraGain 100 Health Regeneration per active HydraHydra Attack Speed +75%On Death: Summon 5 Hydras

    When a player enters Inferno having stuck with their favorite skill -- they should be encouraged to finalize their build. Legendary items are not supposed to be Build Changers, but Build Makers. The difference being that all your other items and affixes should help shape your build and your play-style; But Legendary Items should bring that build and play-style into viability. By Inferno, you should be able to proudly say "I'm a Hydra Wizard", "I'm a Mirror Image Wizard", etc etc.

    Approaching loot in the manner I've etched out above does a few things for players.

    1. It makes the journey to Inferno worthwhile2. It improves the item hunt across multiple items.3. It helps brings varying skills into viability across multiple difficulties.4. It makes the pool of affixes more diverse.5. It increases the amount of viable builds.

    TLDR: More skill specific affixes, more diverse affixes, more powerful affixes, appearing on more items.

    I'd like to hear your thoughts on this -- and I encourage you to post your own ideas for affixes that might make for build changing loot.

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    EDIT: In light of the blue post by Travis Day and the data mined info -- I've started making a compendium of affix effects I'd like to see for each class. They are listed below...

    Wizard Affixes
    http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/9793109384?page=5#82
    Demon Hunter Affixes
    http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/9793109384?page=7#128
    Monk Affixes
    http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/9793109384?page=10#190
    Witch Doctor Affixes
    http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/9793109384?page=13#245
    Barbarian Affixes
    http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/9793109384?page=14#274
  • Hello folks,

    So first I want to touch on the Serpent's Sparker really quick. The item that people saw screen shots of at Gamescon was not a final version of the item, that item was changed to be "Allows you to have 1 additional Hydra active".

    One of the most important things about expansion legendary effects is that, as much as possible, they are designed to change how players interact with the game. That could mean they make a skill you don't currently use something you want to use, you interact with the environment in a different way, you interact with monsters in a different way etc. An example of this is one of the legendaries we added recently gives players a speed boost every time they destroy something (barrels, barriers, etc) suddenly you find yourself wanting to break random crates you may have ignored previously.

    Jawbreaker was another example people saw at Gamescon, it makes your Dashing Strike free when you hit a target more than 25 yards away. When people get their hands on the new and improved version of Dashing Strike I suspect they will appreciate how awesome that effect is ;)

    There will also be some items that exist just because they are cool. For example The Cow King's Halberd is one that I made just because I wanted to make something that captured a really cool element from D2. It deal's lightning damage (and yes elemental damage types have effects associated with them now) because it's a nod to the Cow King himself and also has a chance to summon a herd of murderous cows to fight with you. That effect isn't really changing any gameplay... but cmon it's just awesome!

    There is still a tremendous amount of work from now til the expansion releases and we are still coming up with and implementing awesome ideas on a daily basis. Given the philosophy point I listed above I would love to hear what kind of cool things you guys would like to see. Things that change your gameplay, big or small, and class agnostic things are the best. For example "Knockback skills now deal more damage and knock targets back further". That is an effect that opens up build possibilities for more than one class and gets people thinking about how a single item can change the way you interact with the game or what skills you want to use.