What Made D2's Itemization so good?

  • #1
    I am currently making a game (check it out here: http://www.diablofans.com/topic/101941-an-arpg-i-made/) and was researching what made Diablo 2's itemization so amazing.

    I couldn't find a large amount of opinions or data that could reveal anything new to me. I would really like to know what makes items awesome in D2 so that I can apply those techniques to my game.

    I have searched far and wide and cannot get a very long and elaborate answer. Sorry if I seem like a leech for game design ideas, but I just want more of an overall general philosophy on what makes a good itemization system.
  • #2
    Stat requirements - do you want a characters stats to affect the items they are able to equip?
    Level requirement - do you want a characters level to affect when they can equip the item
    Item Quality- do you want all items to be able to roll a specific quality and will you have a unique version of the item?
    Attributes given - what kind attributes can the items have in your game? Can a helms defense be enhanced by a modifier?
    Attribute rolls - Will the helms defense roll be able to high or low?
    Aesthetics - Will an item catch the players eye when on the floor or equipped by another player?

    The above are a few very basic things to consider about items inside of D2. To drill down into the nitty gritty parts of items a good way is to compare D2 and D3.

    D2 and D3 differ drastically on how they handle items and that is because of the top point, stat requirements.

    Due to the removal of the mechanic stat allocation, items could no longer have stat requirements, which means that items in D3 carry purely numerical advantages over one another and the only boundary to equip said item is a level requirement which becomes defunct at level cap.

    Level cap is something also different about D2 and D3, whilst there was a hard cap for D2, many items were scattered among different character levels and people very rarely reached the hard cap, a question the developers must of asked themselves is does this add more flavor or does it provide just another annoying roadblock?

    We see that there is no boundaries to equip an item outside of character class in D3 and we are left with the question: are boundaries fun?

    When we consider stat allocation in conjunction with stat requirements on items, you start to see how customization of your characters stats start to weave themselves into not only a numerical advantage such as having more strength to do more damage but allowing you to equip heavier swords/armors.

    This translates into aesthetics, if i can assign points on my character, I can equip a different sword type and therefore have a different look, meaning your investment into a stat has changed the way your character looks in the world, and adds more weight to your decision.

    We then consider the inability for the majority of Diablo 2s lifespan to reset stats, thus meaning when you place points into strength to put that sword or armor on you're stuck with it, adding more weight to your decision.

    It is shown that items become an embodiment of your decisions and ultimately your character reflects all your cumulative decisions. I can't honestly say Diablo 2 did a tremendous job of this but the concept was there and it added a bit of "heart" to items.

    Other games have also used this concept of weaving stats and items together to create a very deep sense of game play, a few examples would be: Baldurs Gate, Icewind Dale, Dungeon Siege 1, the best to show this concept in my opinion however is Dark Souls.

    I'm not going to say which is better or worse, because sometimes boundaries piss people off, having the freedom of item choice in D3 is nice, stats became less of a choice and more of "dump loads into str and X and the rest in vit" in D2 which means that sometimes a player could become disenchanted with the system and just outright annoyed by it.

    The cruel reality is of all this is you just can't please everyone and as a developer it winds me up so much and is something I eventually had to accept, there will always be people who dislike the games i craft and people who want to man hug IRL.

    I wish you luck in development of your game :)
  • #3
    I'm not going to say which is better or worse, because sometimes boundaries piss people off, having the freedom of item choice in D3 is nice, stats became less of a choice and more of "dump loads into str and X and the rest in vit" in D2 which means that sometimes a player could become disenchanted with the system and just outright annoyed by it.


    Do you want me to share with you what i used to do to newbies who dump all points into vitality in PvP ?

    I have heard this argument many times, the thing is the options where there and available, though it was always nice to opimise vitality, dumping down everything into vitality can severely limits your pvp strategies and increase the number of builds that counter you.
  • #4
    D2's itemization WASN'T good. You'll get people that argued for pvp you had to max certain stats or you were dead (like hit recovery) and for PVE (like FCR and lifesteal ect), but that didn't actually make D2's itemization 'good'.

    The EXACT same problems plagued D3 as in D2; Only a handful of certain items were good, because they had all the right stats on them. Almost all builds of the same class used the same items, and the rest were left in the dust because of how bad they were.

    BUT, the reason you're going to see people rage at me for even mentioning that D2's itemization was horrible, is because it gave the illusion that it was at least all right, because even though you had like I said before a handful of items that were by far the best, you *could* use almost any item you wanted and still be successful. That's not because of good itemization, that's because by the time you were level 85 or around there, you out-leveled the game by so much that you could roflstomp hell mode with relative ease using whatever combination of gear you wanted.

    Because D3 has inferno mode, every monster out levels you and we don't have broken affixes like crushing blow, skills like sorc's static, the game is actually hard. Because of how hard D3 is (compared to D2), it forces people to actually try and stack both DPS increasing gear and EHP increases, which with the current state of gear makes it near impossible to FIND all the gear you need, thus, bad itemization.

    Now I'm a die hard D2 fan, but at least I can sit back and look at exactly what was going on. *queue up people raging*
    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChB2_IPc-HVXbi0jS1Riljg
    ^ YouTube.Com/IceBleuGaming ! It's a thing! Check it oooout!
  • #5
    D2's itemization WASN'T good. You'll get people that argued for pvp you had to max certain stats or you were dead (like hit recovery) and for PVE (like FCR and lifesteal ect), but that didn't actually make D2's itemization 'good'.



    Your argument disapprove your statement

    You had to care about many hardcaps if you wanted to be above the avarage joe, and often reaching those hardcaps was impossible unless you have those perfectly rolled gosu items. Players had to be very clever about how they build their characters according to what they have available in order to opimise their strategy

    Obviously i am referring to PvP since PvM was ez mode faceroll

    The difference of miscalculating your resist by 5 (lets say 195 instead of 200 overstack) could be the difference of you getting one shot and corpse raped instead of killing the bullies

    I can give you such example for every possible utility or defensive stat in D2, you had to be very careful and knowledgeble about what you were doing and it used to be rewarding.

    many typos edited
  • #6
    1. the items looked Awesome both when equipped and in your inventory IMO diablo 3 items look average in inventory.

    2. There were many low level unique's and sets which were easy to acquire.

    3. Items you found in normal and nightmare still had the potential to be useful and usable in Hell difficulty.

    2 + 3 meant that progression through the difficulties was smooth, farming nightmare was a Viable way to progress to hell.

    4. Damage was not absolutely determined by your gear and stats, In diablo 3 the problems which Bleu mentioned above are accentuated because of the gear and main stat dependence.

    5. Etheral items + self repair mod.

    6. Huge variety of Socketables.

    Note many of these D2 strengths/D3 critques are adressed in some way by ROS/ next patch
  • #7
    ah nevermind
  • #8
    Nothing really.

    Maybe the lack of good (A)RPGs back then with lore-related items that had unique effects on your character? A novelty feature has quite some power the first time we see it. See how big the fuss is about levolution on BF4.
  • #9
    Quote from Vanhyo

    D2's itemization WASN'T good. You'll get people that argued for pvp you had to max certain stats or you were dead (like hit recovery) and for PVE (like FCR and lifesteal ect), but that didn't actually make D2's itemization 'good'.



    Your argument disapprove your statement

    You had to care about many hardcaps if you wanted to be above the avarage joe, and often reaching those hardcaps was impossible unless you have those perfectly rolled gosu items. Players had to be very clever about how they build their characters according to what they have available in order to opimise their strategy

    Obviously i am referring to PvP since PvM was ez mode faceroll

    The difference of miscalculating your resist by 5 (lets say 195 instead of 200 overstack) could be the difference of you getting one shot and corpse raped instead of killing the bullies

    I can give you such example for every possible utility or defensive stat in D2, you had to be very careful and knowledgeble about what you were doing and it used to be rewarding.

    many typos edited


    I think it was a minority of people that played d2, who were actually aware of all those defensive hardcaps.

    To me, it's bad itemization if you can get a new shield which has 10% higher FHR than your old shield, and have that 10% FHR be absolutely worthless because you fall 2% short of the next harcap, which you had to look up on the internet.

    I definately see the appeal for hardcore PvP'ers who loved to min/max and get all the right caps, but for most people, it was simply meaningless to have it that way. And to be honest those hardcaps most of the time were in place due to technical limitations and not due to outright design decisions.
  • #10
    Quote from Bleu42

    it gave the illusion that it was at least all right, because even though you had like I said before a handful of items that were by far the best, you *could* use almost any item you wanted and still be successful.

    Because D3 has inferno mode, every monster out levels you and we don't have broken affixes like crushing blow, skills like sorc's static, the game is actually hard. Because of how hard D3 is (compared to D2), it forces people to actually try and stack both DPS increasing gear and EHP increases, which with the current state of gear makes it near impossible to FIND all the gear you need, thus, bad itemization.


    I concur in part as I said in my previous post D2 didn't do a great job, the issue is that in a game with numerical numbers on weaponry and armor there will always be gosu items that are head and shoulders above the crop, keeping the thread at the level of a designer, we must think how do you tackle such a problem.

    Blizzard has adopted the idea that in RoS legendary items change how the core foundation of how abilities work, this mimics skill runes to a degree and places them onto items, so that players with a preference to an ability will naturally flow towards a particular item. D2 approached this in a different way and gave the ability to trade skills between classes through items, or to change how your character worked fundamentally, Enigma in D2 for example, both are actually quite similar in concept.

    Inferno mode, I'm sorry to say also provides the illusion of difficulty, you must raise your numerical to beat the monsters numerical, which is quite empty when you think about it and frustrating because as you put, to get said numerical high enough is extremely difficult, but that is not measured by skill or player ability, it's measured by how much gold you have to buy an item or luck on finding, which is where you reach the other fundamental flaw Blizzard are trying to address which is finding the item yourself to push that numerical upwards.

    D2 also suffered with this to a lesser degree, but was never properly highlighted to more seasoned players as there was not really a reason outside of a pvp environment to become a numerical beast.

    Which brings me back to what i said previously, the concept of stats go hand in hand with items and was the core point i was trying to make, this was a game play element, and adding weight to player decision gave a sense of game play, achievement and creation, this is something truly hard to capture because it can't be displayed as a value on the screen, its an emotion the player experiences.

    I think removing stat allocation made items that little bit more empty and lost a little bit of their "character", combine that with other factors such as the AH throwing items at people and your previous comment about inferno, you get really items that feel empty and are at the end of the day just a bunch of numbers.

    At the risk of going off on a tangent, the more i think about this the more i realize how detrimental the ability to re-spec a character is to the game (D2) as a whole, the gravity of investing a character point was a big deal, I'm actually starting to understand how Runic Games design Torchlight and what an elegant solution the "undo last few points" is.


    I'm thinking how do you create a fine line between the easy ride D2 gave you and the numerical difficulty d3 requires to be overcome, Blizzards answer to this is to offer game modes it appears, neph trials is a horde mode, an endurance test and I'm sure we'll see others down the line, these modes allow people to measure how strong their character is and act as a way to relieve pressure on the primary game mode (beat shit up).

    @Vanhyo

    Now, you're seeing it from you're own perspective, not as general population player or as you would call "newbies", these important caps that you care about, don't even exist to these people, their decisions were made based off item requirements and what is fun, when they've played the game for a bit longer and realise half their characters have a similar build (and it did happen) they become disillusioned and think "why bother investing points" and this was the thought process behind the removal of stat allocation from D3.

    That does not however mean I agree with removal of stat allocation. :)

    Hmmm, I've been writing this post for over an hour, I'll muse upon this subject more tomorrow.
  • #11
    I believe one of the things that made itemization in D2 better than D3's was that all classes had the same resource system :mana. This is something I think is crucial for a successful ARPG - what we have now to me feels like an import of WoW class mechanics in a Diablo game. Things like this are why you see many items are not accessible/desired by other classes because it only does somethin like "on cricical hit refunds X fury/spirit/etc." leaving all other classes out of the picture.

    Whereas in D2 it would be as simple as "3% mana stolen per hit" where its much more likely that all classes could find such an item useful. Having to rely on solely gear rather than character stat distribution for character customization or to acquire a certain playstyle build also plays in to this. Items are the sole generator of one class becoming different from the rest, and even then players are very limited in that regard as the game is currently - and it probably won't make you "efficient" to play like that. Where in previous iterations yes good items helped you get your identity but you didn't solely rely on that - you had many castable and passive skills that played into this.

    Anyway the more I think about D3 the more I ask my self "what's the point?", In diablo 2 it was all about fun for me; I'd farm for gear and when I couldn't find what I wanted I could at least find things to trade for them. Then when I'd get them I'd hit the PvP games and have hours upon hours of fun. Now what.. we're all farming and using the AH for.. efficiency at killing the computer AI? There's nothing appealing about that, everyone's just standing around looking at everyone to see who does the most DPS. I can't even remember if there was a type of "inspect" in D2.. I kind of remember having to open trade and show items to see what we were using but maybe my memory is foggy on that but I think I prefer that instead of just knowing what we're all using.. takes the mystery out of things.
  • #12
    Inferno mode, I'm sorry to say also provides the illusion of difficulty, you must raise your numerical to beat the monsters numerical, which is quite empty when you think about it and frustrating because as you put, to get said numerical high enough is extremely difficult, but that is not measured by skill or player ability, it's measured by how much gold you have to buy an item or luck on finding, which is where you reach the other fundamental flaw Blizzard are trying to address which is finding the item yourself to push that numerical upwards.


    I don't like inferno as well, it only serves to increase the inflation and 4 difficulties is really annoying to go through
  • #13
    I liked the relation of unique to rare items in D2.
    Usually, uniques were better, which made them more valuable, but yellows could be better, so you still wanted to pick them up. Also, uniques felt unique in that they all had a different feel to them and usually unique attributes. In addition, a lot of uniques opened up new build possibilities. This, along with their attributes not being that variable (no random additional attributes, which few exceptions), gave uniques a sort of identity.
  • #14
    - highrunes. They are so rare, everytime I killed a pack I anticipated a possible rune drop. In 1.13 they changed the color of runes to orange, so basically everytime I see an orange item on the floor it's somehow exciting because it's a really good feeling to actually find a highrune. In Diablo 3 I don't have this feeling at all because legendaries suck anyway and rares just drop all the time.

    - the item properties. In general you can say, phyiscal/melee dps go for totally different affixes than casters. In the end, both pairs of affixes result in the same, which is more damage, but it still makes it more interesting to have those different item types. Casters mostly go for +Skills, Faster Cast and stuff like that, while melees can increase their damage by a lot of other ways. Either increased attack speed, +max dmg or %damage and also +Skills provide a minor dmg increase. For physical dps, the main stat (str for barb, dex for ama) are a lot more valueable. Furthermore, there are a lot survivability affixes. Resistances, Faster Hit Recovery, Cannot be Frozen, Armor or %damage reduce. Resistances have caps. The player chooses on which items he wants to have resistance and can go for all-offensive stats on the other items. There is just no default pattern for items like in Diablo 3 with mainstat + vita + chc/chd/ias + resi, which makes loot a lot more interesting. There were just a lot more affixes that were actually interesting and viable.

    - Runewords. Those were a brilliant idea considering it made every white item potentially useful in an interesting way, even the ones from normal difficulty. In RoS, Blizzards plans to make white items useful as well, but if not done right, it will end like the crafting we had in classic Diablo 3. You just pick up everything and salvage it or whatever you will do with white items.

    - The amount of loot. That was a big problem I had with Diablo 3 loot from the beginning. You just picked up everything with ilvl 62 or 63 (now even more since everything on mp1+ rolls 63 affixes), except for slots with BoA items maybe. There is no real thinking involved in this. In Diablo 2, you knew which base items you wanted. You didn't just pick up everything, there were specific items that were worth picking up, like rare rings, amulets and boots. And when you planned to build a runeword, you were looking for a specific base item and didn't just pick up every white item or feed it to your Puzzle Ring's goblin (stupid idea imo)...

    - Longevity of items. The best spot to find one of the best rings in the game was Act 1 Nightmare, the Stone of Jordan. It was a level 29 item and still almost every caster that didn't go for 140+ Faster Cast Speed used at least one of them. The high-end loot didn't drop in A5 hell only. The low level uniques also dropped in hell, so nobody had to go back and kill trivial stuff. It also made creating new characters interesting (considering you didn't get rushed). You could equip your high-end gear while levelling.



    What I think is wrong about Diablo 3 loot and their design philosophy on this is, they think legendaries should be used to make skills more interesting. In my opinion, there is something really wrong if you need to equip items that enhance a specific skill before that skill is even viable at all. And I think this is what will become even worse when they announced that legendaries shall become "build changers".
  • #15
    http://blynkdontbyte.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/infographic.jpg

    Think this picture describes a lot.
  • #16
    Quote from Kapaya

    http://blynkdontbyte...infographic.jpg

    Think this picture describes a lot.


    It doesn't matter how often this picture gets posted, it still doesn't make it true. This picture does not take a fair and objective approach to compare D2 vs D3 itemization, this picture just shows how nostalgia and narrow-minded views deceive people's mind. Besides, the picture helps OP absolutely zero in his game design.
  • #17
    It wasn't the itemization as much as the system/attribute requirements.

    D2 and D3 has drastically different ways of approaching the two subjects. And anyone who played both of these, will know of this. D3 has static skills unlocked at X level, where as of D2 had levling up of skills and skill increases on gear.

    And to be frank, i thought the itemization in D2 was bad. Because you could grind whatever you were grinding unitl your eyes would bleed - the amount of low level crap you would have surmounted to would be insane.

    Account for the amount of Isenharts you would get compared to say a good unique or whatever. It's the same deal in D3 - the difference being that in D3 you can salvage the item, in D2 - you put it on a alt and had it be good for the current level it was for.

    Also, the high level rune talk is countradictionary. You can get excited about a rune drop, but not about a legendary - it's literally the same principle. You get a orange item, it CAN be awesome - but it's likely bad. Runes to me were these end-game never aquired goals ; given that i didn't grind for 300 hours just for runes.

    My 2 cents - tl;dr - Different systems, i prefer D3 to D2, both have flaws.
    http://www.youtube.com/user/CrazyPoochification - Let's Play of Eastern Sun/Other stuff
  • #18
    Quote from Bagstone

    It doesn't matter how often this picture gets posted, it still doesn't make it true. This picture does not take a fair and objective approach to compare D2 vs D3 itemization, this picture just shows how nostalgia and narrow-minded views deceive people's mind. Besides, the picture helps OP absolutely zero in his game design.


    I am not going to discuss the truth of the picture with you, but I think it's unfair to say every positive aspect of Diablo 2 brought up by someone is nostalgia. That's just not true. If someone has played Diablo 3 and really doesn't get immersed by it due to crappy loot, he should have the right to point out what is missing IN HIS OPINION. Just because you don't share the same views, it's not nostalgia only. That's like saying every positive aspect of Diablo 3 brought up is fanboyism.
  • #19
    I think a strong indicator that D2's itemization was better was the fact that people didn't throw a god damn fit about how bad it sucked.

    We could argue in frantic circles all day about the technicals, the why's and if's and but's ........people loved D2 itemization and the only complaints I ever heard about them was that there were too few BiS selections of Uniques/RW's.
    BurningRope#1322
  • #20
    Quote from ruksak

    I think a strong indicator that D2's itemization was better was the fact that people didn't throw a god damn fit about how bad it sucked.

    We could argue in frantic circles all day about the technicals, the why's and if's and but's ........people loved D2 itemization and the only complaints I ever heard about them was that there were too few BiS selections of Uniques/RW's.


    As already mentioned, the game was easy and it had no AH economy. These are much bigger factors than item lovers will give credit for.
  • To post a comment, please or register a new account.
Posts Quoted:
Reply
Clear All Quotes