Does Itemization provide enough Character Customization (uniqueness)?

  • #1
    This topic is just for interest. I'm not raging on Blizzard or anything. I still believe the game is going to be a lot of fun. The question is how long will the fun last? This is where I feel character customization through builds really begins to determine this aspect.

    We all know that it's been Blizzard's goal to streamline game systems (Rune system, removal of mystic, No stat points, simpler skill tree's etc) and focus on making great gameplay without unnecessary complexity. In principle I'm ok with this philosophy so long as there is still enough uniqueness to one's own character that ensures 2 things.

    1. That when another Wizard/Barb/ or whatever shows up in the game, that we are not both employing the same skills and strategies when taking down mobs. (Maybe that's not a big deal to most people)

    2. I feel inspired to have more than one character of the same class. (Again is that something that most people would like?)

    Now with all the new Skills* Runes, Blizzard has basically stated that there are so many permutations that characters will not end up being cookie cutters of one another. Will this hold true if people can change skills/runes on the fly without any gold sink? Does it bother people if the character that joins your game starts emulating your skills and attacks. Or that peops keep asking you in every game. "Hey what skills are you using?". For myself I'd be inclined to use skills that aid the party and aren't being used by other characters of the same class so long as the skills are enjoyable to use. I don't plan on emulating other characters of the same class just for the sake of killing speed. I'm hoping that the gameplay will push us to choose different skills to aid each other in battle. Maybe Blizzard has already forecast this issue by ensuring mob types will be so varied that it will be disadvantageous to see 2 wizards using the same skills in the same game. Perhaps all this is moot already?

    Through the simplification process, Blizzard has basically deemed that most of our uniqueness will come from the gear that each of us find or buy, along with the jewelcrafter aiding in some additional customization. I do think gear is great and it's the #1 motivating factor that all of us love to play the game but a part of me feels like in the long run the flavor of not having a permanence to character builds is going to chip away at the love affair that I had with Diablo 2 for over 3 1/2 years straight. Add to the fact that with the auction house the mid level and higher gear might be reasonably obtainable for many of us within a couple of months. This makes me think that itemization between characters will no longer being that big separator in the long run. I also feel quite strongly that itemization does not provide characters with the active choices that are usually associated with a RPG. Usually active decisions through skill choice (permanent) are what makes up a RPG. I think many of us were hoping the rune system would add some sort of semi-permanence to their character builds (or maybe that was just a few of us). Is this viewpoint shared by others or are most people satisfied with the uniqueness provided through itemization?

    At the end of the day Blizzard seems to be going against a lot of the logic that I thought made Diablo 2 great. That isn't bad necessarily but it's definitely a different direction. Fortunately, as I plan on playing Hardcore, the fact that permadeath will be removing characters of mine from time to time I feel there will be ample longevity in the gameplay. At the end of the day I still have faith in Blizzard but a small amount of concern has been raised with the announcement of certain systems. Thanks for listening and feel free to comment.
  • #2
    Uniqueness is a lot like balance. It's a unicorn. It doesn't exist.

    In the end, no one wants to be unique, they want to be the best. Usually the best (in games) means having the same (ie best) gear and the same (ie best) build.

    No matter the game, especially these days, people will inevitably gravitate towards the item that gives them that edge, the spec that gives them the edge, etc. Everyone wants to be unique (in theory), but no one wants to be gimped because of it. This is why D2 had several builds that most people used, and items that went with it. Uniqueness meant you were less effective
  • #3
    Regarding #2 in your post, having multiple characters of the same class.

    I feel that by not having any control over the stat points, and when a great deal of the customization is coming from gear, there will be be no reason at all to have multiple characters of the same class.

    When you can swap your skills and passives on the fly with just a short cooldown, the only thing then preventing you from playing an absolutely different style and build is the gear.. which you would need to have anyway if you would have a 2nd character.

    I suppose, if low level dueling takes off the same way it did in D2 though, that will be at least one reason to have a 2nd character of a class.
  • #4
    Quote from lorien1973

    In the end, no one wants to be unique, they want to be the best. Usually the best (in games) means having the same (ie best) gear and the same (ie best) build.


    I think your correct in your analysis for a good portion of the community. I do think however there are some people who want to be able to say that their character is somehow different from the rest of the community and not necessarily the most efficient build but perhaps a build that shows some sort of coolness factor to it. Within the boundaries that Blizzard has constructed this game I wonder if that will still be possible.

    I guess what it boils down to is that there is no longer the opportunity for someone to discover a new build without someone else having the exact same build in a matter of seconds. Maybe that's for the better as it'll allow us to adapt to different situations more quickly.

    I'm still wondering if there will be any point of rolling a 2nd character of the same class. Personally I thought that was a big appeal of D2. At least we get unique names......errr..or not.
  • #5
    We have item dyes!
    Quote from Vyce223

    Being sarcastic while trying to get a point across is pointless.


    Yeah, & you're really bright.
  • #6
    I'm still wondering if there will be any point of rolling a 2nd character of the same class. Personally I thought that was a big appeal of D2. At least we get unique names......errr..or not.

    Curious why you'd bother? Seriously. At level 60, you are still playing the level 1 content, only more difficult. You get the story (I presume) and everything else that goes with it. It's just at your presumed skill level. I really don't get the fascination of rolling the same class a second time just to see a different skill. Then again, when I played WoW, people I knew had like 1 druids, 3 warriors, 2 paladins, 4 mages, and a priest. And I'm like...Why?

    Makes a lot more sense just to let you respec into it somehow and continue at your skill level.

    I actually re-started skyrim 7 times because I dorked up some points in my build and I'm kinda anal about that kind of stuff. It got stupid and repetitive - and I loved that game to death. But running away from the dragon, bleak falls barrow etc got old. Really quick.

    I like having the ability to mess around. Imagine going thru 60 levels of leveling and finding out that your build can't survive the hardest difficulty? Egads, that'd suck. Wouldn't make me play thru again, that's for sure. It'd make me shelve the game. Probably the reason I quit playing Dark Souls, too. Dorked up some points early on and didn't get my +1 estus flask (got 5 humanity instead - somehow) and never enjoyed the game the same after. It was just too tedious to start it all over. Wasn't difficult, just tedious.

    I imagine accidentally picking corpse spiders at level 27 (let's pretend you earned at this level) instead of wall of zombies or whatever. And realizing it's a bad choice. That'd suck really really hard. A game shouldn't require preplanning to play it; or internet research to find out what works best for you. Life lets you make mistakes, why not this?

    It's just not conducive to getting people to play your game. You want hurdles (which should the acquisition of runes, in my mind - I think Blizzard really screwed up in giving them out as they do in the new beta), but you don't want hurdles so high that it becomes frustrating. Respec cost might make sense as a hurdle too - increase its cost based upon how many times you change up skills. Whatever.

    But it's a joke to suggest that you should be locked into a decision because you didn't do some internet research as to what the most optimal abilities are.
  • #7
    Hardcore is really the only logical reason to have two characters of the same class. If you want to get really weird about things, maybe a 3rd specifically for MFing, since let's face it, clicking all the buttons and scrolling through the list with the current skill UI anytime you want to MF and then swapping your gear is a pain in the ass -- especially for people like me that sometimes just randomly in the middle of question feel like doing something else and going to MF for 10 games and then back to the quest line.
  • #8
    Quote from lorien1973

    I'm still wondering if there will be any point of rolling a 2nd character of the same class. Personally I thought that was a big appeal of D2. At least we get unique names......errr..or not.

    Curious why you'd bother? Seriously. At level 60, you are still playing the level 1 content, only more difficult. You get the story (I presume) and everything else that goes with it. It's just at your presumed skill level. I really don't get the fascination of rolling the same class a second time just to see a different skill. Then again, when I played WoW, people I knew had like 1 druids, 3 warriors, 2 paladins, 4 mages, and a priest. And I'm like...Why?

    Makes a lot more sense just to let you respec into it somehow and continue at your skill level.

    I actually re-started skyrim 7 times because I dorked up some points in my build and I'm kinda anal about that kind of stuff. It got stupid and repetitive - and I loved that game to death. But running away from the dragon, bleak falls barrow etc got old. Really quick.

    I like having the ability to mess around. Imagine going thru 60 levels of leveling and finding out that your build can't survive the hardest difficulty? Egads, that'd suck. Wouldn't make me play thru again, that's for sure. It'd make me shelve the game. Probably the reason I quit playing Dark Souls, too. Dorked up some points early on and didn't get my +1 estus flask (got 5 humanity instead - somehow) and never enjoyed the game the same after. It was just too tedious to start it all over. Wasn't difficult, just tedious.

    I imagine accidentally picking corpse spiders at level 27 (let's pretend you earned at this level) instead of wall of zombies or whatever. And realizing it's a bad choice. That'd suck really really hard. A game shouldn't require preplanning to play it; or internet research to find out what works best for you. Life lets you make mistakes, why not this?

    It's just not conducive to getting people to play your game. You want hurdles (which should the acquisition of runes, in my mind - I think Blizzard really screwed up in giving them out as they do in the new beta), but you don't want hurdles so high that it becomes frustrating. Respec cost might make sense as a hurdle too - increase its cost based upon how many times you change up skills. Whatever.

    But it's a joke to suggest that you should be locked into a decision because you didn't do some internet research as to what the most optimal abilities are.


    I don't disagree with your points. You bring up very valid issues when you have a system the forces you to reroll to play another build. Of course you could take it even farther and just have 1 class in stead of 5 classes and have blizzard let you choose to specialize in a wizard /barb etc but let you reroll spec whenever you feel like. Is that an improvement? I think there has to be some sort of inbetween where your not permalocked into a build but at the same time there is at least some cost to changing builds. If there is no investment in a character it begins to feel a bit shallow in my opinion. Who knows maybe once I play the game I'll end up enjoying the fluidity of being able to change skills on a whim whenever I choose.
  • #9
    Of course you could take it even farther and just have 1 class in stead of 5 classes and have blizzard let you choose to specialize in a wizard /barb etc but let you reroll spec whenever you feel like. Is that an improvement?

    Not for this game, no. I loved this concept in Skyrim/KoA (even though KoA kinda sucked) - and hope more games follow suit.

    But at the start of this game, you have different explained origins for each hero class. So it makes sense that they'd start with differing abilities. If you were just some town schlub who picked up a sword and started whacking zombies, then sure...a system to let you change class entirely would be pretty sweet. Then again, if you are level 60, I'm not sure you'd be overly successul respecing from Barbarian to Wizard - the play styles would be totally different. And at the highest difficulty is probably not a good time to learn the ropes.
  • #10
    Quote from lorien1973

    But at the start of this game, you have different explained origins for each hero class. So it makes sense that they'd start with differing abilities. If you were just some town schlub who picked up a sword and started whacking zombies, then sure...a system to let you change class entirely would be pretty sweet. Then again, if you are level 60, I'm not sure you'd be overly successul respecing from Barbarian to Wizard - the play styles would be totally different. And at the highest difficulty is probably not a good time to learn the ropes.


    Heh, good points. I think until recently, when Blizzard decided to change the item affix's back to a more class specific itemization, it might have been possible to change specs without too much difficulty (thank god they changed that). Also I agree that the background story for each character class is important in telling the tale of diablo and thus free spec wouldn't work. It was more my point that some amount of permenance is fun. I'm not a believer yet in their systems. We'll see I guess.
  • #11
    I don't think the change in runes lowered the customization. IT's not like you were custom, because you had the lvl7 rune, but because you use a specific gear with specific rune effect, and you still have that, it's just easy to reach. As for gear, with so much affixes and dyes and gems, I wish you luck, if you will find 2 chars with the same stuff even after years of gameplay, even without checking their skillbuild, I will buy a pack of beer for you.
  • #12
    Dont forget achivements, I dont care if another barb is using same skills or even exactly the same equipment as I do. Im on my achivement hunt (kill 1000000000000000000000000 monster or something) wich will make this game so much more fun than the others. All stat record and achivements will give back alot to us that are playing Diablo for years :)

    I know I wont be unique, and I could care less!
  • #13
    Most of the time I spent playing D2 went towards getting the best gear to support my build and to be among the "best". I loved playing the barb and tried just about every viable build there was, including a few that just weren't very good. I'd also remake a character if I thought I put one point too few into vitality, but that took just a few hours. So really, the skills and builds had nothing to do with why I played for so long -- I did it because I loved the game and because there was always some item I wanted to get.

    The skill customization available to us in D3 is going to be a blast. You could create another character of the same class just to intentionally play it different from the last time. Just because the freedom to do something exists doesn't mean you have to; try playing without skill swapping, or without using runes, or whatever you want. There's plenty of fun to be had without the restrictions enforced upon us in D2.
  • #14
    6 out of 110 skiills + 3 out of 20 Passive
    I think that says it all.
    One is never hurt by being given additional choices, only by taking them away.
    A QUADRILLION MAGIC FIND is worthless if you can't kill shit!
  • #15
    I believe that having achievements stating your progress through the game (act V inferno complete, etc) will add flavor to your specific character. Being the ultimate demonslaying badass with pimp gear and the skills to clear inferno like a boss with bling achievements to compliment will be unique.

    I don't care if some sap is using the exact same skills or items similar to mine (random is random) especially if I use my skills better, use better skills at the right time, have a better understanding of the game mechanics as to survive longer.

    Plus hardcore characters. The wannabes can try to copy and emulate but when push comes to shove the big boys will be playing in hardcore inferno and nothing less.
  • #16
    I have got a BRILLIANT idea. Every time someone comes up with a unique build, they get a "Special Snowflake" Achievement. (Obviously once you get the achievement you can't get it again)

    Problem

    Solved!
    One is never hurt by being given additional choices, only by taking them away.
    A QUADRILLION MAGIC FIND is worthless if you can't kill shit!
  • #17
    I really don't mind if someone else has my exact same character build. Let the clone wars begin :)
  • #18
    Quote from lorien1973

    I imagine accidentally picking corpse spiders at level 27 (let's pretend you earned at this level) instead of wall of zombies or whatever. And realizing it's a bad choice. That'd suck really really hard. A game shouldn't require preplanning to play it; or internet research to find out what works best for you. Life lets you make mistakes, why not this?


    Life let you make mistakes but not so often let you correct them, even less so without some penalty.
    But this is a game and not real life so let's put that aside.

    About games and preplanning: Chess require preplanning, football requires preplanning, rugby requires preplanning, volley requires preplanning, card games require preplanning....maybe heads or tails does not require preplanning and some other games based on sheer luck...

    I'm a bit worried about replayability because, to me, planning a build and try it out in the game is a great part of the fun.
    Being able to swap skills freely somewhat reduce my share of fun, it feels like cheating (to me)

    I understand the reasons behind their choices, just those reasons lead in a direction I don't like much (yet....maybe once I play the game I'll change my mind)

    Quote from lorien1973

    But it's a joke to suggest that you should be locked into a decision because you didn't do some internet research as to what the most optimal abilities are.


    Some people like to try it out without internet research and also enjoy risking to end up at level 60 with a not viable build.
    To me part of the fun is the feeling I get when I beat the game with a preplanned build of my own, doing so would mean I've seen through it and got the skill to do it with the least amount of flaws.
    It may seem strange to you but it's similar to Hardcore where you don't have the chance to make fatal mistakes.


    Back on topic: items drop so that's not "real" customization (you cannot freely pick up a choice, you have to be lucky first).
    Crafting may help somewhat, since you can choose the pool of stats on your items, still it requires some luck.
    But items will add variety to the game.
  • #19
    Quote from jaclashflash

    I have got a BRILLIANT idea. Every time someone comes up with a unique build, they get a "Special Snowflake" Achievement. (Obviously once you get the achievement you can't get it again)
    Problem
    Solved!


    Haha. Ok that made me laugh. As others have said true uniqueness is never attainable in a game where there are limited permutations of skills. That being said I think people like to feel that they bring something different to the table when dispatching Diablos hordes otherwise we wouldn't be asking for so many permutations of skills and gear. Its interesting to see that most people here dont feel the loss of having defined builds or builds that require some sort of investment (gold, time etc). Obviously Blizzard has made the right decision and maybe I have to be a little more open to the new design.
  • #20
    Quote from en4cr

    1. That when another Wizard/Barb/ or whatever shows up in the game, that we are not both employing the same skills and strategies when taking down mobs. (Maybe that's not a big deal to most people)

    2. I feel inspired to have more than one character of the same class. (Again is that something that most people would like?)



    Hi there!

    The first point you mention was not given in Diablo 2 aswell so it should'nt be a problem in Diablo 3, either :)

    You second point however sure will change in Diablo 3 since a second character of the same class in the same
    game mode (sc/hc) will not be needed unless you want a male and a female barb for some weird reason ;)

    Since I will play hardcore this won't affect me much: Starting the same class multiple times and trying out new builds was a huge part of my Diablo 2 life :D

    Greetings
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