"Thanks for the thread and I wanted to say I do appreciate the time and effort and ideas being put in to coming up with solutions for topics that are important to you. I want to try to put the idea of auto attribute allocation, the topic of this thread, in a potentially different light though. Potentially.
It seems there are really only a few core problems for those that do take issue with auto attributes when you boil it down. The loss of a customization option and the ability to create builds for characters that are apart from the norm - or even just kind of crazy and experimental. Some other issues could be a loss of a “leveling achievement” and also just the classic RPG design of manually spending points on base stats. Sort of a nostalgia issue, but still valid in its own right.
So I’ll sort of tackle these each on their own and then hopefully give you some things to think about.
First is the loss of customization, and I’ve mentioned before that we don’t think it will be an issue, but let me elaborate a bit more. With the current skill system, runes, and item affixes, as well as other unmentionables, there’s not going to be any issue with not having enough customization. If there is, bottom line, we’ll add more. We’re not going to release a game we’re not happy with, and a lack of character customization options would make us unhappy. But, even right now we have a lot more variety and ability to customize a character than Diablo II had. I’m going to come back to some of this later because we’d like your help.
Somewhat similarly is being able to create “off-spec” builds, or characters that aren’t just cookie cutter ideals of the class you’re playing. This is important to the game, and we will ensure that it doesn't get "tuned out" of the game. Most importantly though being able to manually spend attributes does not make this a possibility. Which is to say that us automatically assigning attributes does not take away the ability to make these types of characters, at all. Manual attributes were not what made them possible in Diablo II. The ability to make these types of characters relies solely on the complexity and diversity of the the options available to steer your character, and not that they come in the form of a "+" button.
The loss of a feeling of a leveling achievement is actually something we recognize and intend to address.
The nostalgia of simply having points, and spending them on base stats is probably the most difficult. Liking something because it’s familiar is difficult to argue with, but it’s also probably the easiest to overcome. Since we can’t force your memories out of you, we just have to make the best game we can and hope you realize that manual attribute assignment isn’t the best, most engaging or entertaining form of character customization possible, and that we’re offering an even deeper and richer game without those buttons. Or you’ll just forget you even cared because you're playing Diablo III and it's totally kick ass... one or the other.
Back to the part where I said we’d like your help. We want a lot of items in the game, and with that we want to have a lot of affixes. The largest pool of character-focusing mojo is coming from your items, so we plan to have a very diverse selection. While we have been and continue to come up with as many affixes as we can we’d like some help from you guys in coming up with more. We have some pretty crazy stuff already but I don’t want to influence your creativity - plus when it’s one we already have and it goes in to the game you can tell all your friends it was your idea. So if you'd like somewhere to focus your creative energy, this is the place.
That aside I know I missed some specific concerns and points, so any follow up questions are welcome. Being Friday I’ll try to get to some today but they may have to wait until next week."