With the patch 1.07, the density has drastically increased. While this has greatly improved the gaming experience by allowing us to explore different acts while remaining efficient, it has put an additional nail to the coffin for single target skills. I’m not here to argue about reducing the density of Decaying Crypt, Oasis or Weeping Hallow. I’m here to propose some changes that might make single target skills (if ever I say spells instead of skill, don’t hate on me... to me, it bowls down to the exact same thing)
Single Target Skills
Most single target (or limited AoE) were already underused prior the patch. Why are single target skills underwhelming? Well, it just happen they are not very useful. They don’t do nearly enough damage for their cost. Since the density is extremely high, you would have ended up doing more damage overall with an AoE skill than a single target. Many players don’t usually do boss during their runs as well. They usually seek areas with the most monsters for maximum efficiency.
Single target skills need to deal A LOT MORE damage. It should be the most efficient way to kill a threatening single target BY FAR.
AoE would still be able to kill single targets, but the difference would be noticeable.
(Random number) Imagine if Impale (currently 265%) did 1060% (4 times higher) Weapon Damage. Impale would become significantly better than any other AoE skills.
With the change to Impale, it is now obvious that it would kill a strong enemy faster than any other AoE skills (I'm not talking about dangerous but squishy enemies). However, even if this happened, it would not be used by many players since single target skill pales in comparison to AoE skills. A mere number increase will not suffice. We need something else.
Threatening Monsters and how to make them worthwhile
The first thing that came to your mind was perhaps Savage Beast in the Fields of Misery. Perhaps it was those damned Trees and their poison. Maybe it was those Demonic Tremor or Golgor in Act 3. Oh yeah, some of you probably thought of Fallen Maniac... but sadly, I am only including Large and Resilient targets.
Why did I name those ones (I didn't mention all of them)? Well, when I was playing with my brother (used to... he's taking a break from the game), he often told me "Oh, ignore those guys (Demonic Tremor). It's not worth your time". I also played in many groups that hated me because I was killing big targets... and I was slowing down the team.
It was true. Demonic Tremor took quite a lot of time to kill (especially if they do their defensive stance). It took time and didn't give that much XP or loots... I could have killed a lot more monsters if I didn't stop to kill them. While I'm not here to tell you how to play the game, it just feels wrong. How could be done to make them more worthwhile to kill? Well, how about we... (all numbers are randomly chosen)
Make them give MORE XP than they do right now. What if they gave 20x more XP than your average weak monster?
Make them drop MORE/BETTER LOOTS? If killing one of them was the equivalent of killing 20 trash mobs. Amongst the white mobs, they would have the highest chance to drop a legendary item.
We can't give increase their reward without making some changes either. We would need to...
Make them stronger. I'm not talking about giving them big damage and call it a day. It could be something more... threatening. For instance, remember the Terror Demon in Act 4? They got a debuff (Terrorize) that reduce your healing effects by 75%. That debuff changes everything and you certainly don't want to have it on you. They could reduce your armor, all resist, your movement speed, reduce your resource regeneration rate, etc. Here's an example that involves buff: Imagine if The Fallen Overseer's (Big one that jumps for a big attack) Warcry buffed nearby Fallen by making them Attack faster, Move Faster, and Take Reduced Damage.
Make them a bit more resilient. With the Single Target skills buff, their HP could be increased slightly to make them the best choice to take them down fast. AoE would still work well against them, but it would take more time.
Those newly buffed "Threatening Monsters" can still be elites or champions. They would be stronger than "regular" packs. Single Target and AoE would both be viable against them depending on the situation. Those packs would give noticeably more XP than regular packs.
Make fewer of them spawn in maps. It is less likely that multiple of them spawn at the same location.
Now that big monsters give significantly more reward for killing them, it might actually be worth your time to kill them. Fewer of them will spawn so you don't need to stop too often to kill them. If anything, you would want to kill them because they could disrupt your gameplay.
Density Change while keeping similar rewards
Some maps should have a high density of monsters. Some maps should have a healthy balance of good density with stronger monster. However, I feel that some maps should have a lower density of monsters --- Fewer but stronger monsters. There're now 3 different types of density for different builds. Builds that revolve around huge density such as WW Barbs or Archon Wiz are most likely going to ignore low density but stronger monster maps while builds that focus more on single targets with limited AoE will more likely choose the low density but stronger monsters. New builds are going to be encouraged. Ideally, they should viable by rewarding similar XP & Loot per time spent.
I'm not exactly sure how this could be done to be honest... How do you choose which maps or dungeon should have lower density or which one should have higher density?
Do you make density random? I mean, they want to randomize monsters eventually so that we may face different monsters in the same area. Should the density be randomized as well? If the monsters "chosen" are more hordish-type, then it is more likely to be a high density map. If the chosen monsters are "lesser in numbers, but stronger", then it is more likely to be a lower density map. If it's a fine balance of both, we would have a middle ground with good density with strong monsters in it. Is this how it should be?
Should the density be predetermined by maps? If I go in the Decaying Crypt, I know I'm going to have a lot of monsters in there. If I got in Weeping Hallow, I know I will have good density there. If I go... uh... in the Highlands, I know I am going to face fewer but stronger monster... Is this how it should work? It's rather complicated.
At the end of the day, I think what this will do is encourage people to have balanced builds. They would most likely choose a single target skill + an AoE skill. Is this really going to create new builds for different style or is it simply creating a new "optimal" builds?
Now, I guess I'll have to ask you guys those questions:
Would you prefers keeping our current maps as it is and simply apply those changes to strong (or more rewarding) monsters (either you ignore them like you do right now, or you pick a strong single target skill to kill them)?
Would you prefer to have different type of maps in which different builds strives (if yes, should they be random or should they be static)?
If Single Target skills were drastically buffed and Big monsters were made much more rewarding, would you choose a Single Target skill to kill them faster or would you simply use your AoE skills to kill them if you need to?