[[ Inside the Developers' Heads ]]

  • #1
    Inside the Developers' Head
    A Journey to Understand the Design Decisions behind D3

    This is a "beta" thread. It's an experiment to check if some people would be interested in reading my thoughts (before I post them on other places). And see if we can discuss some beaten horses again nearly a year after the release.

    This is quite a long text, and I really don't expect that everyone will read all of it. And apologies in advance if at any moment you feel like you're wasting your time...

    The purpose of this multi-part essay is to deeply analyse how some of the core systems and features of Diablo 3 work, and most importantly try to undestand what was the thought process of the developers that have lead them to make the current game-defining decisions.

    I’m also going to analyse the problems separately. It’s not uncommon to see someone putting all the issues in the same basket (skill balance, stats system, AHs, drops, randomization), and that makes it even harder to pinpoint a solution to each of them.

    Always considering the more common feedback from the playerbase, to better comprehend how most players feel about these choices, and most importantly debunk some of the misconceptions regarding these systems and how they affect the gameplay.

    All that to improve the reader’s understanding of the current situation of the game, what can and should be changed to improve the experience. So the players can provide a much clearer and focused feedback to the developers.

    A change that could, and should, considerably hasten the modifications needed to make the game a much better experience – which I’m quite sure we all want.

    Part I – The Core Game Systems (Items & Stats)

    This introduction is aimed mostly at people who don’t understand how your character damage and Effective HP are calculated in D3.

    For the character sheet damage, essentially the game takes your Weapon Base Damage (which is random, having a minimum and maximum value), uses its base attackspeed to determine a Damage/Second parameter, and then applies all of the offensive bonuses in a certain order. These bonuses are your Main Class Stat (Str, Dex or Int), flat damage modifiers (present in Rubies, Mojos, Sources and Jewelry), % bonus to elemental damage (scheduled to change), bonus to critical hit chance, critical hit damage and attackspeed.

    For the effective HP, which is essentially how much damage you can take considering the raw damage from monsters: the game takes you Vitality stat as the base, multiplies it by 35 (at level 60), then applies all Life% bonuses. The raw damage dealt to that number is then reduced by Armor and Resistances, and it’s not uncommon for this reduction to reach 85% nowadays, meaning that your effective HP (with 35k Health) can quite easily surpass 175-200 thousand HP (and not the 35k it shows on your health globe).

    The Lack of Choice or Customization (aka "Everyone’s the Same")
    One of the more common complaints from the players is how shallow both the Stats and the Item Affix systems are in Diablo 3. A lot of players say that the way the game is currently set, all of us want a combination of preset stats on our items, essentially removing the choice component of the equation.

    It is said that we all want items with a big bonus to our class Main Stat, and then a combination of other offensive and defensive stats (depending on gear slot) – these are our primary stats.

    Every other item affix (pickup radius, magic find, specific resistances, life per second, thorns, gold find, bonus to skills) is secondary. It’s hard to value them, to factor them into the equation, because they don’t increase our general offensive power (only specific skills) or our general defensive power (only specific resistances); also many of these are utility stats, like pickup radius or magic find, and some are outright too weak for the current “metagame” (I’ll elaborate on those much later).

    In this context, every item that does not have a combination of a few of the more important (henceforth called primary) affixes, either DPS or EHP related depending on the gear slot, is deemed “useless” by the players.

    And that’s it not incorrect...

    ... but it’s not necessarily bad either, and I shall explain. Calm down, don’t kill me!

    A Different Perspective
    The reason I say that’s not necessarily bad, from a customization standpoint, is because we have so much power to determine our character stats at any point in time.

    Imagine that they gave us this “slider” system, where we are free to slide our stats all the way from the Offense spectrum to the Defense spectrum. This is both our “Stats” system reimagined, as well as our stat respec system.

    It’s mostly a Binary System, that’s why it seems so simple and not deep enough. These (henceforth called) Primary stats were designed to either give you offensive or defensive Power.

    An example: if for any reason we “feel” (in fighting) that our character is too frail, we can swap a piece of gear (say a Ring with average damage, mainstat and Crit Chance/Crit Dmg) that gives us a ton of offensive stats in favour of defensive ones. Imagine a ring with +75 Resist All, 280 Armor, 170 Vitality, 400 Life on Hit and bonus Fire Resistance.

    And there goes the slider slightly (heavily?) in favour of defense. We can keep doing this in other slots, trading stats and fine tuning offense/defense, until we reach an acceptable point for the “difficulty” we’re facing. And suddenly that Fire Chains or Molten affix that was destroying us before would be very manageable.

    This stat system (in particular) isn’t a way to customize what you’re going to do in the game, or how you fight the enemies, but instead it’s a way of saying how effective you are at either doing damage or taking it.

    The whole Offense vs Defense might seem very 2 dimensional, but then again isn’t everything in an action focused game? Isn’t it all about either attacking or defending yourself?

    “But I can’t have a crazy build or specific traits! I FEEL like everyone else, and that sucks!!!”

    From my point of view, that’s a task majorly left for Active/Passive skills (which can definitely improve with some much needed skill balance) and “unique” affixes on Legendaries (which can be improved as well).

    Also, that’s where those secondary stats come in too.

    Imagine two Wizards with the same Skill build (and overall similar offense/defense). The 1st Wizard has 5 gear pieces with Arcane Resistance rolls. The 2nd Wizard has 5 gear pieces with Pickup Radius. The 1st will have a much easier time going through scissoring Arcane Beams. But in a desperate situation against a Reflect Damage Elite, where you’ve just killed an enemy and you need that health globe asap, the second Wizard is going to have a much easier time.

    That right there is a meaningful gameplay difference. It actually plays differently during the battle (and I can’t emphasize those words enough). The fight, which is the absolute core of Diablo 3, because it’s the one activity we do all the time.

    One of the things that kinda hurt this Secondary Affix system is how you have to stack those Secondary stats in order to feel their effects. That is a necessary evil, though. If we could have +20 pickup radius or +3k Life/Second as a roll on EACH gear piece, we could easily “break” the game’s systems. No amount of development time would be able to create a challenge for someone with 15k+ Life/Second (as an example).

    I don't think you could have that “crazy build” just by spreading stats out on D2, you needed the item/skillbuild support for it. And as far as “item affixes” go, a lot of them were actually useless in that game.

    Now, my personal opinion is that this stats system is a huge improvement from D1/2’s systems!!! You’re absolutely free to disagree, but at least try to understand my perspective.

    “You’re crazy dawg....”
    I’m not :) In Diablo 2 the Stats System was a very deceptive way to “customize” your character. Spreading points out between the stats was allowed, but zero builds that worked past Nightmare/Hell didn’t have very predetermined stat distribution.

    A new player would be left thinking that putting points in Strenght could make his melee damage awesome, because that’s what the game told him. He would put 70+ points in Strenght, thinking that his Barbarian would be crushing things in higher difficulties, and another few points in Energy, thinking how awesome it would be if he could spam that awesome skill he just got.

    Upon reaching Hell, if he didn’t have the “right” active skill, he would face physical immune enemies, not be able to kill them at all and probably be dying in a couple hits. By then, if he wasn’t frustrated and checked the internet for info, with he would realize that it’s better to rely on damage from a good weapon (or a specific skill) and dump all your points into Vitality.

    That’s considered nowadays to be a very bad game design, and for a reason.

    The main point here is how insanely easy it was to break your character in Diablo 2. It wouldn’t be “slightly less effective” in Hell, it would be literally (and now you can actually use the word) useless!
    This may sound awesome for the dedicated player. Hell, being able to find information and being the type of gamer I am (who reads forums/guides and watches videos to get better), I should be mad that they moved away from such system, as I can’t use this “underground” knowledge to show off to other people.

    Instead I’m very happy they moved away from this philosophy. It’s a very archaic gaming mechanism. The D2 stats system was a jurassic system, with a masked complexity. There’s no complexity when 99% of the stat distribution choices are wrong, and just a few actually work.
    I can point at hundreds of profiles all with different stat distribution in D3, and they’re not broken. Some of them deal slightly more damage, some of them survive a bit better, some are better at fighting elites (with massive Bonus to Elite bonuses) by sacrificing some “white mob” slaying power.
    And the whole “noobs should get what they deserve” attitude that we see every now and then. That’s outright disgusting. They already get what they “deserve”: they play a lot less, they’re way behind the item knowledge curve, they don’t know how affix roll systems work, they don’t know what’s the best place to farm, they barely know how to use the AH, they can barely do MP 0-1, most of them haven’t even reached Inferno, or they stopped playing and they’ve now fallen way behind the item-power curve. I can point to 15+ people on my friends list who are that kind of player.

    “Diablo 3 has a much more simple system!!! That’s too much casual appeal!!!”
    Yes, D3’s system is a lot more accessible. It’s easy to determine how powerful you are, AND you can never “break” your character. As long as you improve, and get to know the game better, you can always make sure you haven’t wasted your time. That doesn’t mean it’s not deep, or that there’s no choice to it, as some absolutists (Siths?) will have you believe in every comment they make.

    Unlimited Offense vs Preset Defense (PvE)
    “But we always want a minimum amount of defense and always higher DPS! And thus everyone has the same stats!”

    That’s both true and false at the same time.

    It’s false that everyone (even at the higher gear levels) has the same stats, or even want the same amount of said stats. Some top-lvl players will have 300-500 more Vitality than others (hi Jaetch, hi those on a PvP league) and maybe even a much higher focus on Armor/Life%/Perfect-Resists/LifePerSec. Others will simply try to get as many offensive stats on all possible gear, their Rings and Amulets being a testament to that. Pure trifectas, almost no defensive stats. No vitality if that means they can get 100 more base DPS on their weapon. It’s so easy to see all these players and realize that they have made tons (!) of choices when gearing up. The lack of choice is even further from the truth at any gear level below the highest.

    It’s the “slider” control I mentioned about. People will generally be in the same area, but hardly at the exact same place.

    It’s true, though, that we only need a minimum amount of defensive stats. That’s why most budget guides aim for minimum defensive stats parameter, then all-out DPS (also a philosophy most top-notch players follow).

    But that’s within the nature of the game itself. D3 is mostly a PvE (!!!) Action RPG.
    The developers can only make the Enemies deal so much damage before they start decimating most of the playerbase. That’s very likely the reason why they decided to set a “bar”. A certain level of minimum prerequisites to be able to face a certain difficulty.

    Also, this balance of Offense and Defense (70x30) is probably a conscient decision. The idea behind it being that attacking is almost always more fun (and preferred by most) than defending. Most modern games are moving towards a more aggressive gameplay style instead of passive ones.

    When you're doing something, it's better than just watching and not doing anything.

    And I think they made the correct decision here, because of the role (or lack thereof) Diablo chracters generally play...

    Consequences of Keeping this Diabloish (non-defined role) Feeling
    You see, Diablo 3 is an action “roleplaying” game. But for the most part of it (and the developers stated this way back in development) there are no traditional RPG roles. You don’t have a dedicated healer, you don’t have a dedicated Tank, you don’t have a dedicated DPS.

    This is the “everyone is a DPS dealer” philosophy that you see some people preach. And for the most of it this is a homage to the Diablo franchise. They could have WoWified (or D&Dified) this (non derogatory, I swear), made specific classes/skills and a lot of people would feel a lot more confortable playing public games. They’d feel ok getting items with pure Vitality/Armor/AllRes.

    But since everyone is a DPS dealer, everyone kinda wants to be on the same “Slider Level” – roughly a (70% Offense) vs (30% Defense) balance.

    That annoys a lot of people (mostly those who only played RPGs with traditional roles, including WoW). From their PoV, just because the choice isn’t a clear Tank or Healer or DPS, there’s almost no choice at all.

    Again, I think this is where Active and Passive skills come in. There’s nothing preventing you from going all out defensive on your gear, picking up only group-buffs and crowd control and playing like a Tank. The same way there’s nothing preventing someone from getting absolutely zero defensive stats, and going allout DPS.

    But since it’s not efficient singleplayer-wise, nobody does it. This is a whole different problem that is also being addressed in Patch 1.0.8 – the ineffectiveness of playing in a group.

    They made a conscient decision of making group-play feel “not mandatory”. The Diablo franchise is not an MMORPG (where coop is usually mandatory). You’re not forced to play with others to be effective. But they messed up their own “Developer Slider”. They pushed it too much to the “non coop” side of things, making enemies resistant to Crowd Control and having much more health against a group.

    They thought people would group up and destroy content too easily if they allowed for easier group play. It’s kinda what happened with Athene’s 4 Monk Strategy, that had to be hotfixed otherwise they’d beat the whole game with 0 “farming effort” and just flawless combat, basically bulldozing through content.

    What happened, though, was that the playerbase was just too different! You would join a public game and have a guy with 5k DPS and almost no survivability dragging down 2 top-notch players.

    And without the ability to create “named” public games to give people an idea of the power you wanted to have in your party (or the party you wanted to join), the natural reaction is to leave and go play on your own, where there were zero disadvantages.

    That paired with the fact that is quite normal nowadays to just finish a game and stop playing it (at least 15+ of my friends stopped because of that, they didn’t even get to Inferno or finished it), and we were left alone playing mostly single player.

    Why do We Even Need this Slider System? (important stuff!!!)
    It is debatable whether the traditional Stats System is better than this one. I honestly think it’s a matter of preference, you’ll definitely see both sides have its own adepts.

    From my perspective, though, there’s a very interesting consequence of D3 being the way it currently is: item progression is, from a system standpoint, very meaningful (yes, the AH has hurt this, but that’s another topic/problem). Tieing your character powerto the stats on items makes you value them very much.

    Another great advantage of such approach is that each system has a very clear role in the game (and this is my most compelling argument in defense of the current Stat/Item systems). If they were to mix up the roles of Stats, Items and Skills they would all have overlapping (and repetitive) roles. Much more difficult to balance and tweak, and imho a very bad basis.

    If we didn’t have these item affixes split into Primary and Secondary, we wouldn’t have a way of easily pushing the “power slider” slider to adapt our character as we play. Yes, a manual stat system with permanent choices might feel more compelling at times (instead of giving you that “my character is a chameleon” feeling), but it can also make you easily end up in a dead end, stuck in the game and never able to truly progress.

    That’s also a problem when you consider the “optimal stat builds” that the developers have talked about so much. As soon as there’s an “optimal stat build” to even make your character work, any slight deviation from that is automatically an efficiency loss, and that’s when everyone with similar builds will have the absolute same stats. Which most people did in D2.

    The way I see it, it is their system of choice for “customizing” your character power (but again, not how he uses such power). Since the power slider can only go in two directions, people feel like they can’t make an “item build” that feels unique, and that’s where Secondary affixes and Legendaries with crazy affixes come in (and both could and should be better than what they are currently!).

    The History of D3’s PvE
    Those aforementioned defensive prerequisites were insanely high for each Act of Inferno when the game was released, and a lof of people were left having to “slide” all their item power into defense just to survive. That paired with the way items dropped back then made playing Inferno a “grind” (slowly killing elites with kiting or with 12k DPS Monks/Barbs).

    Despite the fact that it was known beforehand that we would have to dedicate months of farming to be able to slowly progress through Inferno (legit farming, not Gobling/RespChest exploiting), people were still mad at how low their chance of getting a good item was.

    Some people enjoyed the “difficulty”.

    Either the absolute pain that it was to “zerg” elites for minutes, or the fact that it would take 10+ minutes of absolute top-notch micro/kiting to down one of hem. Some enjoyed the fact that playing 500+ hours to gear up was a requirement, as that’s a synonym of hardcore gaming (I agree it is o.O).
    Some just exploited and pretended to be hardcore, and then they complained about how some “exploits” (unintended game mechanics) were removed - and yes we all saw these guys complain and whine (on forums or on vídeos/streams). Aren’t they so good?

    Most average players felt that they were being “robbed” of experiencing part of the game. Because it fels natural to just go forward (instead of backawrd, to farm Hell/Act 1). These same people do not complain that Monster Power 10 is out of their league, because they’re happy they “completed the game”. It’s weird, but easy to understand.

    And despite what some may say Monster Power delivered what it promised. Monster Power 10 was absolutely brutal when it was released. Insanely geared players were barely surviving there, let alone effectively farming it. Even today, you simply cannot do MP10 unless you’re at a very high gear level (even if you’re using the known permadisable build, but skill balance comes later).

    Right now, some people claim it’s too easy, either because they’ve reached near perfect gear or because “there’s too many casuals doing it”. Again, that’s a whole other issue I’ll elaborate later – imho related more to the AH and the lack of a gear sink (or a BoE feature).

    Item Affixes
    For those who don’t know (and I’ll try to be straight to the point), items can only roll a specific set of affixes. You normally can’t roll Attackspeed on a Pants. You can’t roll “average dmg” on a Shield. You can’t roll “critical hit damage” on Boots.

    Some people believe this hurts the “itemization”, because it causes us to only be able to get certain affixes on specific gear slots, and thus making things like Jewelry have a lot more desireable stats than a Bracer, for instance.

    I think the developer team actually discussed this thoroughly, they didn’t just get together one day and said “ok, Shoulder are gonna suck and Amulets are gonna rock!” – I really don’t.
    The way some stats are currently assigned to specific gear slots is supposed to grant some cohesion to what an average player would expect of each slot. As a rule of thumb, Armor should improve your defenses.

    Being able to roll “100 average Fire Damage” on a Pants might seem awesome from an “item finding” standpoint, but it simply doesn’t make much sense. They wanted their gear pieces to have cohesion.
    That’s very likely (again, we’re trying to dig into the developers’ thought process) why we have Pants, Shoulders, Chest Pieces, Belts and other armor pieces with a strong focus on Defense /EHP, and very little available Offensive affixes.

    And why we have weapons as being the most important piece of our DPS puzzle. Because it makes sense. The more powerful the weapon that I have, the more powerful my attacks.
    That in itself isn’t a bad design decision (calm down, I’ll explain further down below).

    “Why have crit-chance on Helms/Bracers then? Why do Gloves have tons of affix variety?”
    Having some variety (like Critical Hit Chance on Helm and Bracers) seemed to be the way of adding another interesting offensive affix to these slots without breaking the “EHP focus” mold. And with so many skills/runes relying on critical hits to have any effect, it seemed like the obvious choice.
    If they simply had these slots able to roll “average damage” and “attackspeed” naturally, suddenly everyone wants 3 out of those 6 affixes to always be offense-focused.

    Also on Gloves, I think the idea is that they are the closest gear slot to your weapon (and rings too), hence having these “channel” a crapload of offensive power seemed like another intentional, and very logic based, choice.

    “So what?”
    So that people think that because these items already have a sort of predefined role, there’s no choice involved.

    The rarity of certain stats aggravates this feeling. Since people can only get CritHit Dmg on their Weapon, Jewelry and Gloves (and Weapons can have by far the most of it – nearly double/triple the other slots), they’re left with the feeling that all these choices are already made for them.

    “How about Weapons? They all NEED to have a socket, and they NEED lifesteal and high base dps!”
    True, that’s not wrong at all. But why do they need a socket? Because a socket means 100% critical hit damage, and since that’s an insanely powerful and rare stat, again there’s very little choice.
    The lack of possible defensive affixes for Weapons isn’t a bad thing imho, though. Weapons should be heavily tied to our offensive capabilities, and while I don’t mind a Legendary Weapon having +200 Res All, I definitely don’t want that to be the norm.

    The huge dependence of your DPS on your base weapon dps makes things like “+% bonus damage” and “+elemental damage” absolutely crucial affix rolls for a weapon to even have a chance or being interesting.

    Weapons are by far the least interesting item right now in D3 (affix-wise), and they’re the most important piece of equipment of our character.

    The choice (as far as Armor is concerned) relies in how hard you wanna push the slider in one direction or the other. Either 200 Int/50 Vit/60 AllRes, or 120 Int/150 Vit/300 Armor. The choice is there, but why doesn’t it feel significant?

    It’s because of the “70% Offense + 30% Defense” dilemma. Since that particular focus is already decided (because of the PvE nature of the game), people are left yet again with a feeling of very little choice.

    Any changes (or suggestions) to itemization should have that in mind. Not breaking the mold they have, because it is very cohesive.

    That’s where Legendaries should step in to make the itemization more interesting by breaking said mold. And they’re headed that direction, at a painfully sluggish pace.
    Where Items Stand in All This
    So, remember where we started off this quest?
    In this context, every item that does not have a combination of a few of the more important (henceforth called primary) affixes, either DPS or EHP related depending on the gear slot, is deemed “useless” by the players.

    We are left with some questions:
    -> Any item that doesn’t have those “primary” stats is instantly trash, then?
    Yes, pretty much, indeed.

    -> Is that a completely bad thing?
    I tried to show how, from my point of view, it isn’t. They promised that the “stats system” was being transferred to items, and that’s precisely what happened.

    It feels bad to get items without any of those Primary stats, without a combination of high rolls of those, but that’s something that would happen whether or not we had such system in place.

    -> Does that make finding those “trash” items a crappy feeling?
    Yes, it does :( I played the game too guys, I know how it feels. I’m not saying you’re wrong for feeling this way.

    -> How do they fix this?
    I can’t imagine an easy way to “fix” this need of primary stat rolls on items.
    They could implement a system that guarantees that items will always have at least 2 of these primary stats, basically removing a little bit of RNG from the rolls. This way you’d always see items that have some of these “slider” elements. I think this would require higher affix “ranges”, though, and much testing/coding.

    What they are planning (for the itemization patch), if I’m not mistaken, is guaranteeing that once we see a certain “affix”, it will roll high enough to be considered useful. I personally don’t like this approach, considering the existence of the AH and no BoE feature.

    But they they could implement a controlled crafting system, in order to guarantee that these “guaranteed high roll” items (even when they’re trash) are taken out of the economy.
    A crafting system that requires say 100 “high Int rolled” items to guarantee that you’ll have a high roll on your crafted item instantly makes these “trash items” have some value.

    That’s, imho, a lot more compelling than simply giving us the recipe with 180-300 Mainstat; and then having to kick the Material Cost and Gold Cost way high to balance this out. It also makes rich players feel like they’re getting “free upgrades” and poor players feel like “hey, another upgrade that’s way out of my league” – which is sort of what happened to the amulet Crafting system. More RNG, and then people spent 15-20 million gold and got nothing.

    Making the crafting system support the item hunt by making it more compelling is to me an absolutely crucial change to improve the current situation of Diablo 3.

    Add to such system a way to influence at least 2-3 of those secondary stats, and suddenly you’d see people searching for those 40-50 “useless” Bracers to create one that they actually like, instead of vendoring everything to use only the AH.

    -> Shouldn’t they make these “secondary” stats as interesting as the primary ones?
    I honestly don’t think so. I believe it’s fine to have these 2 types of affixes. But they could try it.
    The thing is, no matter what they do, with the way the Stat System is setup, and Primary affixes being paramount to defining character power, no amount of change will make people chose a +60 Cold Resist over a +200 MainStat, even if that was like +200 Cold Resist. The difference is they’re going to want those insane Secondary rolls on every item (hurting the item hunt even more with the feeling you’re never going to see lucky rolls on all 6 affix slots).

    That’s not to say some of these don’t need rework to be a little more powerful and have better impact on defining who your character is, so long as the general design phisolophy doesn’t change.

    Wow, are you still with me? And you read all that? I really didn't expect anyone to read all that.

    I'd like to say a big thank you for your patience. I sincerely hope you got anything useful out of all that.

    In case you're willing to discuss a certain point, or want me to elaborate on a given thought, drop a question or counter argument below.
    Ps.: You might wanna check the preliminary F.A.Q. for any questions that aren't related to the topic.

    Let's just try (as a whole) to avoid going too much off-topic. As this is mostly about the Stat system and how it's tied to items/affixes. It doesn't address other problems yet (AH, legendaries, class/skill balance.)
    • Inside-the-Devils-Head
  • #2
    Preliminary FAQ

    What is this huge wall of text about?
    It’s about trying to understand the reasoning behind some of the past and current design decisions on Diablo 3, based on my perpective, and sharing my opinions on these.

    Why should I read this?
    The idea is to help the reader have a very clear view of the main problems of the game (based on the complaints of the community), as well as try to debunk some of the myths surrounding these concerns.

    The ultimate goal, though, is improving the quality of the feedback given by the community, accelerating the changes and upgrading the speed at which the game improves tenfold.

    You think the game is perfect, then?
    No, and boy, is this game flawed! It’s full of things that can improve.

    And I’m sure every single player that “defends Blizzard” or “likes the game” has probably 50+ suggestions to improve the game. They certainly feel frustrated too about many things too.

    So Blizzard is perfect, then? You want us to do their job?
    Blizzard is too slow to make changes for my own taste. They’re better than any other big company, though.

    I do think, however, that we’re part of the reason for such slow changes. The feedback is so varied and it’s filled with so much ignorance and hate speech that I cannot help but think it must be very hard on their end too: having to employ so much manpower in sorting out what most want, and and can and should be done without breaking the game’s current working systems.

    So, you’re just a fanboy trying to shove down your opinions down our throat?
    Absolutely not, sir/madam!

    I’m willing to discuss any ideas that I have shared here, and I would definitely change my personal point of view if such discussion ends up showing that I was wrong (fact-wise).

    What I ask in return is for the reader to try and be as open minded as humanly possible to the ideas presented here.

    Not because I’d have everyone have the same opinion as I do (an opinion being “this system/feature is good/bad”), hell no, that would be awful. But because I’d love to have the players better understand their own feelings about some changes to the franchise, and refine their opinions through such understanding.

    Did you have that much free time to write all this? Wow I feel sorry for you.
    Don’t. All of us do things that we like in our free time. I could read about soccer or music in between my daily activities, but instead logging in on DiabloFans forums to discuss ideas with fellow gamers is one of my choices (not that I don’t have others =P).

    I had to make a 400 mile+ trip this Saturday that took well over 7 hours. Instead of looking at the landscape that I know as the palm of my hand, I decided to see if I could come up with something nice.
    Being a lawyer, writing comes off as a very natural activity to me, and I have a very easy time expressing my ideas.

    Most of the time was probably spent reviewing the content (as I do in my job) to see if the message was given as clearly as possible, and trying to make sure I didn’t sound like a prick who thinks others are ignorants and need to be educated – definitely NOT my intention, and by far the hardest part of writing this. I’m a nice guy, not an asshole :D

    Who the hell are you? Why should I even care about your ideas?
    I have always been a big fan of Blizzard games, and particularly of the Diablo franchise (by far my favorite). My experience and contact with this developer goes all the way back to Rock’n’Roll Racing on the SNES. I have played most of their games quite extensively.

    I’ve also been a moderator in DiabloFans for about 1.5~ years now. Before that I was just your average user that logged in daily hoping to see some news on Diablo 3 and went crazy when anything popped up. I loved discussing ideas and predicting how the game would turn out.

    While I’m not the most active or experienced D3 player you’ll ever meet, I have a lot of contact with forums (official, DFans’ and others), fansites news and articles, as well as streams and youtube videos.

    I do believe this allows me to have this wide overview of the current situation of the game. I have been playing D3 since it came out, and I try to understand the impact of each change made so far, as unbiased and as reasonably as possible. And I enjoy doing it, because I love the idea of always trying to improve and becoming a better gamer.

    I might fail and be dead wrong at that at times. But don’t we all? Isn’t that the very foundation of improving? ;)

    You’re a fanboy and everyone knows D3 was a major failure! Nobody agrees with you! “x” game is better!
    I understand that some people have a strong and well established opinion about these subject matters, and their views are strongly influenced by competing games.

    If that’s the case, and you have already made up your mind, it’s ok. I respect that, and you’re free to believe in whatever you want to.

    I would be very happy, though, if you made an effort to come out of said comfort zone and tried to see things from a new perspective. Sometimes (in our life) a new paradigm is all we need to better understand a problem, and help solve it.

    Again, it’s ok to hold onto your beliefs, and I won’t hold any grudge against people not willing to read all this.

    It is mandatory though, to both sides of the discussion, to be civil and polite, and try to avoid any aggressive attitude towards others (violence generates more violence).

    Why is the First Part so huge? My head hurts…
    At first I wanted to split the Stats System and the Item Affix System into two parts. As I wrote, I noticed how I was mentioning more and more ideas from the other text.

    I then realized these two systems are so intertwined that there’s no use trying to split them up. The merge did create a monstrous text, but then again I knew that only those really curious would read the whole thing.

    I made a decision to not cut any words to make sure I was getting my ideas through as thoroughly and as clear as humanly possible.

    Where’s the other parts?
    They’re already done… I just need to review them.

    I wanted to see how people would react, if they would find this even remotely interesting. If nobody cares, I’m probably not going to release the other parts.

    Why are you even doing this now? The ship has sailed! The playerbase has dwindled and a lot of people won’t read this!
    Even for someone who already likes the game I think this might be an interesting read. As I said, the purpose isn’t to “change the haters minds”, but to provide a new perspective.

    That’s the foundation of making laws in most countries. The initial debating of ideas, and then the different perspectives on an issue, discussing which is the best solution, trying to reach a middle ground, and executing it. Then reassessing the situation once the changes are in place.

    It’s precisely what makes us evolve as a society, and I see no reason to not apply the same principles to games.

    It’s also never too late to improve.

    Sometimes we need to wait for time to pass, and see whether the problems will settle themselves, or the situation will improve.

    When they don’t, that’s the time to step in and do something. That’s what I’m trying to do.
  • #3
    Reserved :ninja:
  • #4
    I +1'd you for the effort, but.....

    #1 - your attitude regarding the game's flaws is too "move along, nothing to see here". There IS something to see there.

    #2 - you seem to reach the conclusion that the only "fix" for the situation is a crafting solution. I have to tell you that, to me, that sucks. After crafting about 200 pieces (yes, I know, not that many), I've realised that crafting in D3 feels (again, to me) a lot like the auction house. Just press a button, pay some gold and mats (which can be bought anyway - except for D.E.) and I know I'm getting (for example) rare shoulders with 6 props, where 1 of those props is already defined. It's just like buying gear: it has zero excitement, and doesn't even come close to watching something drop, picking it up, identifying it and have your mind be blown. I was looking forward to this crafting overhaul, but I was much disappointed by it, so I'm not looking forward to that solution of "more crafting".
  • #5
    +1 to you for reading it, man.

    #1 - not at all. My attitude is "let's focus on providing solutions that don't change the core game mechanics". Because no matter what, they are probably not going to change that - and for a good reason, they have iterated on this for years (unlike what most people seem to think).

    This is just about Stats and Item affixes (why the itemization seems bland). My point being that they're 2-dimensional and simple for a reason. That reason being to fulfill a very specific role - control character power. As should any "stat" system.

    #2 - Take a quick look at these parts again (I said the exact same thing you said):
    That’s, imho, a lot more compelling than simply giving us the recipe with 180-300 Mainstat; and then having to kick the Material Cost and Gold Cost way high to balance this out. It also makes rich players feel like they’re getting “free upgrades” and poor players feel like “hey, another upgrade that’s way out of my league” – which is sort of what happened to the amulet Crafting system. More RNG, and then people spent 15-20 million gold and got nothing.

    Add to such system a way to influence at least 2-3 of those secondary stats..

    I really dislike the current crafting system too. It's too shallow and just another slot machine.

    But a good crafting system is one way to give us an incentive to "hunt" for items constantly. And all kinds of items, not just perfectly rolled ones.

    As I said, this is just about the "shallowness" of the Stats system and Item Affixes (and why they feel boring). I haven't even touched on the AH, or any community proposed solutions to it.
  • #6
    This is my first use of this forum:

    It was indeed a huge wall of text. It was an interesting read, seeing someone trying to defend/rationalize the devs insights and implementation. Unfortunately, at least for me, some of their decisions brake the "RPG" feel of the game. I think D3 was, in a way, designed and done with D2 issues: the plaguing of mass-duping high end intems, broken economy, not newbie friendly char customization and build choices, etc.. But they went overboard.

    . I'm a mostly self-found player. I have 1-2 pieces across all my chars that come from the GAH and I have never used the RM one. But I do think that implementing the A.H. was a necessity to get rid of D2JSP'ers and etc... I welcomed it's implementation because of that. Unfortunately, as a lot of people have stated it devaluated the gear progression and caused all the chagrin we have seen...
    And I don't think we can get rid of it now. At least not the gold one. RMAH is something that I can't defend nor even cope with. Good thing H.C. don't have it.

    I understand your reasons and respect them. But I disagree: I hate the fact that 100% of my power comes from gear, it devaluates the char itself. And paragon isn't too much of a compeling bonus, at least for me. I think this curve needs to be adressed so that gear still holds the majority of power in a char but some of it needs to be drawn back into our chars and made available as improvements to our customization systems or a new customization system; on pair with skill/rune and passives.
  • #7
    On my first post I couldn't incluse this:

    Regarding legendaries I made a post on the general forums with a few ideas and some mock-ups but it got buried underneath the qq and trolling. Check them out:


    I think they may be a good approach..
  • #8
    Quote from Ravlaor
    Unfortunately, at least for me, some of their decisions brake the "RPG" feel of the game.

    I think everyone can agree with that. D3 is a lot more action focused, than RPG focused.

    I understand your reasons and respect them. But I disagree: I hate the fact that 100% of my power comes from gear, it devaluates the char itself.

    Devaluates the power from the skill build and char level, you mean? That's true. And I definitely understand why people dislike that.

    I also understand why from a developer standpoint they wanted to sever that link.

    I think this curve needs to be adressed so that gear still holds the majority of power in a char but some of it needs to be drawn back into our chars and made available as improvements to our customization systems or a new customization system; on pair with skill/rune and passives.

    That's the one thing I don't think they would do even in an expansion because they don't want their "peas mixed with their porridge".
  • #9
    Guess its a good idea to have a thread dedicated to this to atleast try to keep it away from the rest of the threads.
    I forsee alot of work for you tho, gl.
  • #10
    I think this curve needs to be adressed so that gear still holds the majority of power in a char but some of it needs to be drawn back into our chars and made available as improvements to our customization systems or a new customization system; on pair with skill/rune and passives.

    That's the one thing I don't think they would do even in an expansion because they don't want their "peas mixed with their porridge".

    This is something I'm afraid will happens =(. That being said, please take a few mins to look at my legs thread, I posted above.
  • #11
    Well written. I appreciate the effort you put into that. Educating people is often the first step towards reasonable discussion. I have recently returned to the game after a long break and think the game is better. However the fundamental flaw still remains for a person with limited time. It is a far far better use of time to play the AH to improve your gear than it is to play the game.

    Watching the AH gives me a far better opportunity to improve my character. It is slowing down somewhat but not a lot. In a little over a week I quadrupled my DPS and survivability by playing the AH. I am not wearing a single drop. I was for 1 day. I loathe crafting in all games most specifically one with RNG in it. I have not found a good drop to sell yet (something worth over 1 million). I am farming MP5 act 3 solo and in groups with speed. I am only paragon 19 so MF and GF are far from optimal. I stopped playing the day paragons were introduced.

    I like a number of the changes and fixes. I am encouraged by 1.08. However, I do not see a situation where I will be able to play that long before boredom returns. Playing the game needs to be more productive than playing the AH. It is the only solution that will get me to buy an expansion and play the game long term.

    Removing items from circulation is the only solution to me. I know people enjoy the AH. There needs to be a compromise though. The one I have mentioned before is. An item should be allowed to be traded or sold 1 time. After that in should become bind on account. This would allow the developers a way to fix the drops and allow them to become more useful and get items out of the economy.

    An awesome item drops for you that you cannot use you can still sell it or trade for something you can use. I do not want to craft. I want to play for a hour or a few hours at a challenging MP level and have reasonable chance for Item to drop that I can use or sell. I do not need every play session that way but most would be nice. If items stop dropping I can’t use, it should cause me to go up in MP power.

    Facerolling stuff super fast to farm is boring to me. Push me to play smarter, play harder content and REWARD me for my efforts. Right now the best rewards come from playing the AH and it isn’t even close.
  • #12
    @Ravlaor I did. Legendaries and Skill/Class Balance are on the second part of what I wrote. And true that good threads sometimes are lost due to that :(

    I do think however that very complex suggestions (like yours, with dozens of changes and "new" concepts with long descriptions) are a bit hard for the developers to gauge the consequences and implement. Not that I don't like those concepts (those ideas were neat), but there's so much new stuff that I believe they wouldn't use all your idea. Maybe small pieces of it ;)

    Another good point: feedback that's short and to the point is usually a lot easier for the developers to analyse and implement.

    I have all the AH issues and concerns dissected on the last part @magus. I didn't keep it all in one part because this is already huge as is (I even wanted to split the Stats System and Items), and I didn't know how people would react.

    I'll say in advance that I share all those feelings, and to me the AH/RMAH is single handledly the biggest issue they have to solve right now - and probably the hardest to change and please everyone.
  • #13
    Sounds interesting... will finish reading when my boss stops hounding me to finish up my lunch break.
    Blizzard Entertainment - Diablo III Community MVP
  • #14
    Quote from maka

    #1 - your attitude regarding the game's flaws is too "move along, nothing to see here".

    I'd like to come back to this and say that if at any moment I conveyed that attitude or intention, I probably messed up (having just quickly reviewed the text, and only once) :(

    I'm sure I can improve it, though. That's why I'm looking for feedback from others :)
  • #15
    You get +1 just for the time and effort involved. Whether or not I agree with your opinions I happen to greatly respect the detail and concern you took for expressing them in a manner that's not only communicative, but intelligent.

    I think that most people who give feedback (myself included) would find that their feedback is better-received if it was put together in a manner that more intimately embraced a degree of drafting, proofreading, editing, and revising. I know some of my favorite suggestions were such simply because of how they were presented - the Talisman thing and the revamped "home screen" thread as direct examples.

    For the next few months (until we have something more-concrete about itemization changes) we'll all be somewhat on pins and needles. It's certainly one of the most important patches that D3 will see and I know we all want them to get it right. That doesn't help us, the players, with our anxiety in the meantime, though!
    p407 :: 86.3k EK :: 2.40m TK
    Planet Express <PlanEx>
    (V) (°,,°) (V)
  • #16
    Very much enjoyed reading this.

    It is hard for me to comment on the item affixes without talking about the combat system of creatures but I'll give it a failing attempt.

    - I believe immunities were a horrible part of Diablo 2. But elemental damage and resistances would help add flavor to the game. In PoE cold can slow / freeze, lightning can shock stack crit, and fire can leave a burning DoT. All of which can be balanced to not be a simple on and off mechanic and give gear added stats effects from it. They are way to generous with resist to all as well.

    - I forget what STR/DEX/INT do in D3. From memory they are the exact same thing depending on which class you use? If that is the case why didn't they further stream line this into "POWER". Or just remove the stat completely and go off physical, lightning, fire, and cold damage. From memory items have zero requirements other than level which means at 60 no goals have to be met in order to make a piece of gear fit.

    - Item enhancement (crafting). I think PoE nailed this and it really shows in races. The good players can adapt with horrible RNG on the fly because of the crafting system yet it is easy enough that new players can fix that horrible RNG roll on an item.

    - Sockets and Runes. Being able to customize your abilities should have some thought to it. Runes could exist that enhance the skills by perhaps adding a % chance to stun to Bash.

    - Skill tree. D2's skill tree was horrible but it did give you an attachment to the character. I think a balance could have been struck between the fast food style config and a level of commitment that D2 players enjoyed. Runes in gear sockets would have fit in well with this I think. Without a system of give and take you might as well be playing a FPS.

    - MP10. I like this system because it allows end game at your own pace. I don't remember Hell being as brutal as Inferno pre-nerf but I don't remember a lot about D2 these days. I was half way through Act 3 pre-nerf and post nerf it was face roll for me all the way to 1 shotting Diablo. While I didn't complain about Inferno being a grind or challenge initially, in hindsight I think 3 difficulties and then MP10 would have been better for the game.

    I agree with you that new players shouldn't be able to make completely broken builds. Right now can beat Diablo (the boss) naked (demon hunter) and the entire game in blues (defensive barb and probably whirlwind barb). I think room exists to make mistakes in building your character.
    Path of Exile - CleavieWonder (Elemental Cleave)
  • #17
    Quote from shaggy

    You get +1 just for the time and effort involved.

    Time that would be spent looking at trees, and cars, and trucks :D I used to like car trips.
    This was pretty much effortless to me. The biggest effort comes from you guys reading it ;)

    I know some of my favorite suggestions were such simply because of how they were presented - the Talisman thing and the revamped "home screen" thread as direct examples.

    Those were awesome. And Blizzard has improved SC2's homescreen by a ton, I'm sure they can do the same to D3.

    It's certainly one of the most important patches that D3 will see and I know we all want them to get it right. That doesn't help us, the players, with our anxiety in the meantime, though!

    They're so sloooow :(
  • #18
    Great read! It was well written and interesting.
    Make your peace...Quickly!
  • #19
    Quote from Zero(pS)

    Quote from maka

    #1 - your attitude regarding the game's flaws is too "move along, nothing to see here".

    I'd like to come back to this and say that if at any moment I conveyed that attitude or intention, I probably messed up (having just quickly reviewed the text, and only once) :(

    I'm sure I can improve it, though. That's why I'm looking for feedback from others :)

    It might just be the way you present advantages vs. disadvantages. When these are mostly delivered in the "Yeah, this and this was bad, BUT..." form, it comes across as if you're dismissing the flaws because it 'overall works out'.

    It might be just me, though. And it's not important, really.
  • #20
    Quote from CodeRedLin

    But elemental damage and resistances would help add flavor to the game.

    Indeed, I always expected D3 to have White mobs that would have specific elements too (and not just specific elite affixes), and that we would have to juggle individual resistances around

    I forget what STR/DEX/INT do in D3. From memory they are the exact same thing depending on which class you use? If that is the case why didn't they further stream line this into "POWER".

    They have a "cohesion" and lore element to them too. A Barbarian is a "mighty" warrior, that's why his "Strenght" is his main characteristic.

    Gameplay-wise, they work the same as the Secondary stats I mentioned on the OP. Arguably they're too weak at that role, but they have a purpose.

    I think PoE nailed this and it really shows in races.

    I also think it's a better system than what D3 currently has.
  • To post a comment, please or register a new account.
Posts Quoted:
Clear All Quotes