Without Ladder Resets, D3 Replayability is Doomed.

  • #1
    I posted this on the official forums, but since stuff flys by there so fast, i figured i'd post here as well to get some feedback.

    ==


    I, like many of you, am super excited and thrilled for D3 to be out. However, I think there is a pretty big flaw that has been seemingly overlooked regarding zero ladder resets and a RMAH. While I hope I'm wrong about this, I'm fairly certain that won't be the case unless something is done to address this
    issue sooner than later. Forewarning, this is going to be epically long. I’m not writing this to complain, I’m writing this because I see a pretty big issue with the longevity of D3 as a whole. Please read the whole thing first and really think about the outcomes before commenting. I’d love to get feedback on this 
    Overall, there are three big issues I see that are going to kill the replayability / longevity of Diablo 3.


    1 – Lack of ladder Resets.
    Without ladder resets, items will become virtually "worthless" over time. Yes, there are rares and uniques that have "perfect" affixes/prefixes and will have a .0001% chance to drop/be crafted-- but inevitably with millions of people farming the same content daily, these "best" items will drop and eventually flood the market over a few months’ time. True, there also are "regions" which help to break up the potential (3-4 million eventually each region?) players; but still, even having a few million people linked in to each auction house will eventually flood it. It's not like people are limited to 10-20k players per server like in WoW. Not having any sort of item purge or reset is just a disaster waiting to happen.
    Even more so, items can be resold over and over again. There is no "bind" on equip type items. Sure, there are going to be those "unidentified" pieces that can only be sold as such once, but that is only going to account for a small % of the market; especially a few months after release. Why would you want to buy an unidentified item for $1 (or say, 10k gold equivalent), when you can have perfect stats for $2? No ladder resets also means that characters never become outdated (baring that an expansion IS NOT released). Along these lines, unless a bnet account gets completely banned, or someone never wants to touch Diablo 3 again, a person could log in whenever they want and have those items be right back in the market or back on top. Items will essentially stay in circulation forever.
    Furthermore, you have the inevitable botters. Anyone who has played D2 knows that bots are rampant everywhere in that game. The Diablo series is the perfect environment for a botter – having their own instanced version of the game where no one can report you is a godsend. Sure, you have Warden; but obviously, programmers can bypass this security relatively easily. Most botting players banned in WoW (given they were using a good bot) were direct results of player reports – something you won’t have in D3 unless someone is deliberately botting/hacking in a public game. Automated software that can sit and farm 24/7 is going to create a flood of items.

    2 –RMAH.
    To make matters worse, you have the RMAH. I understand why Blizzard is doing it; to take a chunk of the hundreds of thousands of dollars being made by 3rd party sites each month via Diablo 2 still today (which will be millions in D3), and this was only a fraction of the D2 community. While I hate knowing someone can buy their way through the game or buy their way to an upper hand, I can live with this. What is going to ruin this concept is what I stated above with over-abundance and never expiring items.
    I think it’s a fair assumption to say that most underestimate how much a “public” and “safe” way to purchase in game items will affect the economy. Obviously, there are 3rd party sites in D2 in which you can purchase items. The majority of D2 players think of them as nothing more as spam and probably wonder who in their right mind would spend money to purchase D2 items. As I mentioned, these sites make upwards of 100k a month still (I’ll find the source later), so obviously people are still using them. I have done so in the past myself. It comes down to the shift of time and wealth. When I was younger, I had tons of downtime to simply farm for and item hours on end; but not much spending cash. Fast forward to today – I have way less time but way more money to spend. What’s spending $20 bucks to save myself 10 hours of farming?
    A big issue people have using these 3rd party sites is two-fold. 1) Due to spam bots, people do not realize these are legit sites that exist. They just think they are Trojan/virus filled URLs on the web. 2) They have a hard time trusting a shady site with their money in fear that they will get ripped off. Again, having a Blizzard backed, Paypal supported upfront auction house gives visibility to literally everyone in the game and enough trust to know they are actually getting the item they paid for. It’s a nice piece of mind.
    From a selling perspective, this gives everyone a chance to make some money and thus further reinforces the probable crippled economy. Sure, a lot of the older crowd probably won’t bother selling items outside of the few first months because it’s simply not worth two hours to them to make $5 bucks. However, $5 bucks to a 14 year old is a different story. When D2 first launched, I sold quite a bit on Ebay; as did many others. Making $30 dollars in a week was drinking money, so I had no problem investing my time. However, eBay soon put a stop to this, cutting off a secure buyer-seller shop. This prevented most sellers at the time from perusing this revenue stream further. I, along with most, couldn’t be bothered to make a site and SEO it to the top of 100 other ones – not to mention set up those oh so awesome spam bots. With D3, it bridges this gap, allowing a super easy and little effort way to sell whatever you want. You will now not only have your typical farmers flooding the market, but you also have an additional group pushing items out and undercutting.
    Many will argue that Hardcore mode will be an obvious solution here. Unfortunately, it is not. Yes, it helps greatly that when people die their corpses will not be lootable and they will lose items forever. Again however, people are still going to inevitably be able to purchase items from 3rd party sites or other various user trading forums. Without a ladder reset in hardcore, content will slowly become somewhat trivial due to “gear” curve. Notice I say somewhat, since apparently inferno will always be a challenge regardless of gear. Either way, Hardcore too, will be affected.

    3- Lack of new content.
    Blizzard has already stated outside of balancing, bug fixes, and a pvp patch there would be not content patches. Obviously, this does not include potential expansions, which at the very earliest is a year and a half away (this is probably being generous). That leaves us with at minimum a year and a half of items that will not change, and be the same for existing content. While there are decently big gaps in content with WoW, you have the BoP items and BoE items that help greatly. You want the best items in the game? You have to go do instances and earn them. You want to buy a top tier item? Great, equip it and it’s off the AH forever. This obviously is not the case in D3.

    So where am I getting at with this?
    The main issues outlined above will kill replayability for many people, including myself in a few ways.

    1- Being able to create an ultimate character for pennies. Again, it sucks knowing that someone can buy their way through a game with very little effort. It’s hard to say when or how much, but I forsee in a few months of AH saturation, you will be able to purchase and make a new character for relatively cheap, that tears through PVE content. I remember when D2 used to take long delays between ladder resets, you could buy a full “hammerdin” kit off eBay for a mere $15-20 bucks, which included the best and most optimal items in the game.
    As mentioned, while this will be much more prevalent in Softcore, it still will rear its ugly head in hardcore too as well. Thankfully, you will have items disappearing from the game when people die; which will help a little, but not entirely eliminate the problem. Granted, users will be forced to use 3rd party sites to purchase items, but you can guarantee that people are going to be doing this and pimping their characters out. People spend $100
    dollars in a night of drinking, what’s to stop them from spending $20-$50 on a D3 character?

    2- No racing, no “be the best” experiences. This more so ties to the lack of ladder resets. I think everyone can agree, a big rush is when ladders are reset. It was always fun to grab a few buddies and start out zeroed out with everyone else. Having a barb in rare leather gloves and boots and a weak rare sword until level 50 put the challenge back in the game – especially hardcore. You had to be careful with what you did, work together as a team and really be ready for anything. With D3, that will never happen outside of the May 15th launch and future expansions. The older the game becomes the more the AH will be saturated with epic items and the easier it will be to obtain those said items, with both money or in game gold. That initial rush will never be felt again for a long time.

    3- From a selling standpoint, unless you are botting or selling hardcore items, in a few months it will be pointless for most to sell for cash on the AH. I know this somewhat contradicts what I said above; but I’m speaking more from a majority player base perspective. Why would I want to take the sword that took me 10 hours to farm and craft and make .25 cent profit (since there are 50 other of the same on the AH)? Margins for both the seller (and Blizzard for that matter), are going to become smaller and smaller especially with Blizzard/paypal fees – eventually not even being worth the time and effort.

    AH under-cutting, ESPECIALLY by “Chinese” farmers/botters is going to run rampant because of this. It’s going to be a Walmart style system (unless they figure out a way to deal with bots), focusing on quantity instead of quality. This will force all “average Joe’s” out of the market, since they won’t/can’t compete with the rock bottom prices set.I know this isn’t an exact comparison, but take WoW for example. Players used to sell gold. Many players, used to sell gold. You could at one point get $100 bucks for 1k gold. Eventually, that price went down to $50 for 1k, then $20, then $10, until now where it’s literally .50 cents per 1k. Yes, it’s easier to obtain gold now, but it’s just not worth the time, effort, or risk anymore. The profit margins are just too small.

    4- I’m sure many will argue that you could simply not use real money on the auction house, but you have to think of the big picture as well. Unless you decide to get a dedicated group together to party all the time, or fly solo, you most likely will run in to a good chunk of the community who will have done the above and purchase items. Having some barbarian running around one-shotting content while you tag along behind unable to get even a chance to attack will ruin anyone’s gameplay experience. So again, unless you manage to isolate yourself completely, you will most likely be effected by this whether you think so or not.
    In conclusion, I still think Diablo 3 will be a great game, but I think that the longevity and replayability of is going to be nowhere near that of D2 and/or even WoW, due to those games actually having built in fallbacks to prevent a crippled economy. In D2, you have ladder resets every few months, resetting the economy. In WoW, you have BoP, BoE, and constant new content, making once epic items obsolete. From all that I’ve read thus far and seen, it doesn’t look like there is ANYTHING in place to prevent this from happening in D3.

    So, how to fix this?
    -Ladder resets. This, I think, is the best choice. Not only will it reset the economy (although it will never be the same as the weeks following May 15th), but it will add some excitement later down the road for creating new characters.
    -BoP/BoE items
    -Item deterioration
    -Items can only be sold X times on AH
    -Item sacrifices for new, not tradable items (kind of like SoJs in D2)

    Thoughts? Ideas?

    -Kallell
  • #2
    You'll see more expansion content with D3 than you did with D2.

    The RMAH gives Blizzard a defined source of revenue to fun continued development work on addition content. A ladder system or reset isn't needed.
  • #3
    Quote from kallell

    silly ranting rabble of foretold assumed 100% future telling

    -Kallell


    Ladder only applied to hardcore, not softcore, nothing changed there, there is no RMAH in hardcore....
    Blizzard "claims" hardcore won't likely beat inferno... even if that is remotely true the economy will be just fine considering everyone will be losing their items.
    You seem to be basing all your assumptions on previous markets that have been in standing for 8+ years. Don't think that will apply in D3 "classic".
    Gold buying has little relevance to this series compared to WoW, if there is a large influx of gold the ratio to convert gold to money would simply be applied, it's called an exchange rate.

    EDIT: There were resets in D2 because everyone duped items / Bots. Until bots can handle the content and dupes become apparent there is no need for these resets. It's not like you can tele to end boss games and spam one spell... bots aren't going to be farming shit for awhile.
    Playing Diablo since 97. I know nothing and having nothing good to say, I be a troll.
  • #4
    Quote from Beechsack

    You'll see more expansion content with D3 than you did with D2.

    The RMAH gives Blizzard a defined source of revenue to fun continued development work on addition content. A ladder system or reset isn't needed.


    That may be true, but margins for blizzard are going to grow smaller and smaller, and eventually become less and less of those transactions once people start to stop trying to sell via the AH since profits are so minute.
  • #5
    I share your concerns, however, I remain hopeful that Blizzard REALLY thought things through with their decision of implementing a RMAH and made some of the conclusions you made... together with ways to resolve the issues observed.

    However, that is entirely dependent on whether Blizzard is aiming for short-term monetary gain, in which case the longevity of the game will play out like you described and won't be very long lived at all (matter of perception), or long-term monetary gain in which case they will address the issues of value depreciation.

    Time will tell, until then... nice compilation/suggestions.
  • #6
    Blizzard confirmed they will add more content to the game in the way of items, in addition to future expansions. By the time this might actually become an issue, the next expansion will be out. It's really not an issue, nor something they are incapable of planning for.
  • #7
    Quote from kallell

    That may be true, but margins for blizzard are going to grow smaller and smaller, and eventually become less and less of those transactions once people start to stop trying to sell via the AH since profits are so minute.


    There is no significant margin on a RMAH transaction. Blizzard gets a piece of the sale, and it effectively costs them nothing to do it. As long as RMAH sales occur, Blizzard makes money.
  • #8
    Here is an idea, instead of HYPOTHESISING about replayability from the beta, wait till the game comes out. First off we got ten characters, about half soft and half hard. Four difficulties with the last one taking a while for your average gamer. If he/she can make it. Multiple deaths that will occur during hardcore. Achievements. Recipes to collect. Gems to build up. Money to make off of the RMAH. Though that will probably be low amounts. Like at most of $30 bucks a month. And finally, many, many, MANY legendary items to collect just for fun. That is multiple reasons to keep play and many of them wont be completed within a month. And frankly, I don't see a Hardcore character making it to even Hell right off the bat. I expect many deaths for everyone within the first month.
    I don't always burn. But when I do, I use hellfire.
  • #9
    Quote from Slayerviper

    Quote from kallell

    silly ranting rabble of foretold assumed 100% future telling

    -Kallell


    Ladder only applied to hardcore, not softcore, nothing changed there, there is no RMAH in hardcore....
    Blizzard "claims" hardcore won't likely beat inferno... even if that is remotely true the economy will be just fine considering everyone will be losing their items.
    You seem to be basing all your assumptions on previous markets that have been in standing for 8+ years. Don't think that will apply in D3 "classic".
    Gold buying has little relevance to this series compared to WoW, if there is a large influx of gold the ratio to convert gold to money would simply be applied, it's called an exchange rate.

    EDIT: There were resets in D2 because everyone duped items / Bots. Until bots can handle the content and dupes become apparent there is no need for these resets. It's not like you can tele to end boss games and spam one spell... bots aren't going to be farming shit for awhile.


    I'm not ENTIRELY sure, but the way I remember it there was a ladder for softcore as well... so I'm not sure what you're saying here. I agree that a ladder reset won't really be necessary in the case of hardcore, but I do feel that a ladder reset or similar measures would have to be done in order to ensure item value doesn't depreciate to absolute fucking junk. Unless of course they intend to be spitting out constant patches/expansion packs that devaluate items by adding new ones as opposed to over-supply.
  • #10
    Quote from Dirge


    I'm not ENTIRELY sure, but the way I remember it there was a ladder for softcore as well... so I'm not sure what you're saying here. I agree that a ladder reset won't really be necessary in the case of hardcore, but I do feel that a ladder reset or similar measures would have to be done in order to insure item value doesn't depreciate to absolute fucking junk. Unless of course they intend to be spitting out constant patches/expansion packs that devaluate items by adding new ones as opposed to over-supply.


    I like the fact that everyone assumes all endgame items will drop like candy. Legit finding anything in D2 was nearly impossible, until dupes and bots become a problem there will be no devalue of items.
    Playing Diablo since 97. I know nothing and having nothing good to say, I be a troll.
  • #11
    Quote from Slayerviper

    Quote from kallell

    silly ranting rabble of foretold assumed 100% future telling

    -Kallell


    Ladder only applied to hardcore, not softcore, nothing changed there, there is no RMAH in hardcore....
    Blizzard "claims" hardcore won't likely beat inferno... even if that is remotely true the economy will be just fine considering everyone will be losing their items.
    You seem to be basing all your assumptions on previous markets that have been in standing for 8+ years. Don't think that will apply in D3 "classic".
    Gold buying has little relevance to this series compared to WoW, if there is a large influx of gold the ratio to convert gold to money would simply be applied, it's called an exchange rate.

    EDIT: There were resets in D2 because everyone duped items / Bots. Until bots can handle the content and dupes become apparent there is no need for these resets. It's not like you can tele to end boss games and spam one spell... bots aren't going to be farming shit for awhile.


    It was a suggestion, not saying they have to do it. Relax before you jump off the deep end. While i think that inferno on HC will be hard, im pretty sure that twitter quote was more of a PR thing than the actual case. We will see though.
  • #12
    Quote from kallell


    It was a suggestion, not saying they have to do it. Relax before you jump off the deep end. While i think that inferno on HC will be hard, im pretty sure that twitter quote was more of a PR thing than the actual case. We will see though.


    Sorry I'm having a bad day, that and I'm tired of seeing points that the AH/RMAH is the fail of this game when there is 0% chance to predict anything in the market since WoW can't be used as a comparison, and D2 was riddled with fake shit.
    Playing Diablo since 97. I know nothing and having nothing good to say, I be a troll.
  • #13
    Yes ladder resets introduced a new reason to level a character from level 1, but the more important thing that they did was they reset the items as well.

    D3 still has this in the item sense. Because legendary matts are needed for crafting, this (while not as full spectrum as a total reset) very much helps balance the economy, mostly because only the highest end and hardest to find items won't be salvaged (probably). The highest end and hardest to find will be EXTREMELY hard to find, as stated by Blizzard. Even after years only a handful of people will have the *best* items in the game, so there's no risk of over saturation there.

    *pats on back* don't worry bud, I think we'll be fine.
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChB2_IPc-HVXbi0jS1Riljg
    ^ YouTube.Com/IceBleuGaming ! It's a thing! Check it oooout!
  • #14
    You can't reset the ladder with the rmah. Not to be care bear or so but when the items are bought with money from the real world blizzard can't really introduce a system to wipe what people have payed for over the last "ladder season". Even if they were to do this I'm pretty sure that it would violate some laws in several countries and would also make less people actually want to use the rmah meaning blizzard would lose money that way.
    BoP/BoE is a wow thing and doesn't work when drops are this random allthough BoE could work with some items allthough it would basicly make some items cost insane amounts that they wouldn't really be worth. The main reason BoP wouldn't work is how random item drops are meaning you could end up with a full gear set for your wizzard on a barbarian. Imagine BoP in wow where you couldn't trade or assign raid loot cause thats what it would be like in d3 with BoP.
    All in all the systems you are suggesting sure might fix some of the problems you describe but it isn't what makes Diablo be Diablo and in reality the only problem with the ladder system from d2 is that it can't realistically be done when you take the rmah into account and how the level curve work (many people mention the ladder to reset items but it was more to give people a way to be the first to hit 99 which a lot of people wouldn't do).

    A more notable thing is that blizzard have changed quite a bit since d2 and they aren't happy just making money once then supporting the game indefinitely for no return. Sure they won't be super greedy but this means they will probably do more than just the one expansion d2 had adding more classes. Also They have several things they had to cut for release so it wouldn't sunrise me that they have pretty extensive update plans beside their expansions for systems they would like introduced or events.

    On the note that wow have more replayability you should really reconsider it. Wow have hardly any replayability beside the chill aspect that is levelling which many people hate and wouldn't do again unless they need a new class maxed out. Dungeons in wow have no real replayability they are just a way of gearing up and if it wasn't for gear the large part of wow players wouldn't even play the game. I was always a progression over gear so I didn't care much for the clears that did nothing but gear up people and that's really what most people that say wow have replayability is thinking about. That and the small amount of players wanting to farm old content for pets.

    Edit : also why the fuck would it make a game better just because every so often all your progress was wiped. Having to do the same thing over and over again just because your progress gets deleted isn't replayability thats just a matter of you liking to play the game from scratch over and over again. I never played ladder cause I didn't bother with that whole concept and I'm not taking anything away from people who did but if you need this you can just aswell delete your own character and try to get gear again without the rmah if you need to do that
  • #15
    Quote from Slayerviper

    Quote from Dirge

    I'm not ENTIRELY sure, but the way I remember it there was a ladder for softcore as well... so I'm not sure what you're saying here. I agree that a ladder reset won't really be necessary in the case of hardcore, but I do feel that a ladder reset or similar measures would have to be done in order to insure item value doesn't depreciate to absolute fucking junk. Unless of course they intend to be spitting out constant patches/expansion packs that devaluate items by adding new ones as opposed to over-supply.


    I like the fact that everyone assumes all endgame items will drop like candy. Legit finding anything in D2 was nearly impossible, until dupes and bots become a problem there will be no devalue of items.


    I'm not saying amazing items are going to drop like bird poo and I imagine the value depreciation process to take a while.

    Maybe we're just used to Diablo 2's longevity... still standing after more than 10 years. However, I would say that the item depreciation process has completed its cycle there, but that's due to bots etc etc.

    We'll see I suppose.
  • #16
    I sometimes ask myself if people even remember the old days of Diablo 2. The first ladder reset was on July 7 2004, 3 years after LoD came out. There are many reasons why you won't have a ladder reset early after a finished product (early can even mean a year).
    A big point is that for a lot of people one year is really much. I think you underestimate the number of casual players, playing maybe 2 or 3 times a week but still playing on after normal. For these people a new game like Diablo 3 really takes a while to fully "complete" it (meaning playing several characters on max level and equip a few of them).
    Your example of WoW and BoP/BoE items really bugs me. Items in WoW are much, much, much easier to get. Even the best items in the highest tier raid only need a few weeks before they are aquired (granted, a full bis set takes more than that, but the possibility of getting bis items is still much higher). In Diablo you can spend months before getting a really perfect item, especially since the best of the best items are non-crafted rare drops. Of course you can buy items to clear inferno, but these are still not the best items you can have for your character, thus real perfectionists will need a much longer time to gear their character out. There is a well known D2 trade forum with a hall of fame. The chars there are geared out over several ladder seasons (some even 1-2 years), something you could not establish in only a few months.
    All in all I think you are really exaggerating. New games have a much higher replayability than games you played already for several years, like D2. And we should not forget that a new addon only needs 1-1,5 years until it gets released.
  • #17
    If Blizzard is telling the truth, even with the best gear in the game you still won't be able to 2-shot anything in Inferno. Especially with a full game.
  • #18
    I'll be totally honest.

    If I play D3 for two years, I'll be happy and feel like I got my money's worth. If I happen to make my $60 back selling stuff , even better.

    Replayability over a 10 year horizon doesn't concern most people who will play this game.
  • #19
    I completely agree with Slayerviper.

    Without duping/bots in Diablo 2... finding most of the best items in the game took a very, very long time. You could farm things like Shako, Stormshield, Viperskin, etc. pretty easy. But if you wanted something like Crown of Ages it would take a very, very long time... even if you had good MF gear.

    Then we get into the idea of how easy it became to farm in Diablo 2. But the reason it became so easy was everyone had great gear because of the bots/duping.

    I think they've thought this through. It's going to be damn hard to find the "best items", especially when they want to make rares have more potential... and even if the economy does start to get bogged down, they can adjust drop rates/add new items to the game.
  • #20
    Quote from Anduryondon

    I sometimes ask myself if people even remember the old days of Diablo 2. The first ladder reset was on July 7 2004, 3 years after LoD came out. There are many reasons why you won't have a ladder reset early after a finished product (early can even mean a year).
    A big point is that for a lot of people one year is really much. I think you underestimate the number of casual players, playing maybe 2 or 3 times a week but still playing on after normal. For these people a new game like Diablo 3 really takes a while to fully "complete" it (meaning playing several characters on max level and equip a few of them).
    Your example of WoW and BoP/BoE items really bugs me. Items in WoW are much, much, much easier to get. Even the best items in the highest tier raid only need a few weeks before they are aquired (granted, a full bis set takes more than that, but the possibility of getting bis items is still much higher). In Diablo you can spend months before getting a really perfect item, especially since the best of the best items are non-crafted rare drops. Of course you can buy items to clear inferno, but these are still not the best items you can have for your character, thus real perfectionists will need a much longer time to gear their character out. There is a well known D2 trade forum with a hall of fame. The chars there are geared out over several ladder seasons (some even 1-2 years), something you could not establish in only a few months.
    All in all I think you are really exaggerating. New games have a much higher replayability than games you played already for several years, like D2. And we should not forget that a new addon only needs 1-1,5 years until it gets released.


    D2/D3 items might be much more harder to get now, but instead of only having saying 50k per realm fighitng for items now (possibly 200k in diablos peak per realm? Idk), you will have literally millions doing it now. It's just a matter quantity getting those items. As a whole, you yourself might not be very lucky and could spend days farming an item, but that doesnt mean the rest of the region is the same. Eventually, with bots as well as random drops, you will see those "rare" items become pretty abundant on the ah in a few months.
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