Balancing Issues

As it is with many other games, balancing become one of the most important aspects of Diablo III. Will one class be better than the rest or will only a few select skills be used by every player playing that class? Many fans are weary with the idea of Hammerdins and other cookie cutter builds returning. How does a game avoid such fallacies? Bashiok responding to a post asking similar questions.

Official Blizzard Quote:

There are no skill trees any more. Skills are still tiered by when you can buy them (essentially a level requirement) but there aren't any trees, it's one big pool. Before this game even reaches a beta state there will be hundreds of people playing it internally, and most likely there will be builds that are developed during that time. But the game is specifically being designed in a way that skill progression is as much of a choice as possible. There will always be builds determined to be 'the best' as long as there are choices and options. Making every skill and every pathway perfectly equal would mean watering down skills, making bland options, and overall homogenizing the classes and skill abilities. So it's a trick of balancing unique and interesting and fun skills while also ensuring that no matter which ones you pick you're not totally gimped. I also want to point out that skill runes can have a fairly dramatic impact on how skills function (and even look) so builds are further compounded not just by the skills you choose, and itemization and other stats that improve those skills, but skill runes that can potentially change their very behavior. And those changes can range from small things like adding a chance to stun, to very extreme things like causing an AoE knockback, and any creatures knocked back repeat that AoE knockback from where they land, and so on and so forth. So there's quite a bit of room for experimentation if not build potential within all of that.

the first part of his posts gives us just one more cookie crumb on how the new skill system is working. He mentions that while the skill tress are still out, the skill tiers are still in. A certain level must still be hit to acquire a certain skill. Only, instead of splitting up the skills into specific types, all the skills are floating around in one giant pool.

Bashiok then continues to talk about avoiding cookie-cutter builds. The idea of every build being equal is impossible. There will always be a particular build of skill choices that allow for the most damage. To limit players choices is not a good way to avoid this. For example, if a player chooses one skill, they are not allowed to have another. The whole point of abolishing the skill trees is to allow players to choose any combination of skills. So how then do you avoid cookie-cutter builds. Bashiok's answer is with fun and exciting builds. Blizzard is attempting to make different builds for different tastes. While many may choose the most damaging builds, other players may choose builds that are played a little differently. Perhaps the most damaging is not always the most fun build to play.

Bashiok finished his post talking about balancing issues for the game. Not only are they testing out the thousands of possible class builds but they are also aware of the affects of different item customization and skill runes. While we have not gotten too much information on what type of customization different armor and weapon choices allow, Blizzard is testing different stat augmentations with the numerous amounts of builds. Perhaps the biggest and most complicated mechanic added to the balancing troubles are the skill runes. Bashiok commented on the range of these effects from adding a small stun to adding a chained combo stun, AoE, and knock back addition to a skill. With so many different systems all affecting balancing for the game, one can only wish to be one of Blizzard's employees who get to play the game for endless amounts of hours testing the game.


  • #1 losilluminati
    I think it would be fun if the characters had rock/paper/scissors type builds where it would be possible to to make hybrid builds.
  • #2 MasterMorality
    I:m so glad they did away with skill trees. I love just making weird builds that are, potentially, actually very effective. And it should be fun to figure out how different aspects of the item system and weapons and whatnot figure into all of this.
  • #3 Jamoose
  • #4 Musica
    This all sounds good to me. I'm really hoping for lots of opportunities to create more diverse and interesting (maybe even quirkier) builds. Cookie-cutter builds are probably inevitable but Blizzard does seem to be opening the field for more creative but still effective builds to be used.

    The skill tree system does have its charm for me but I'm quite excited about the new system.
  • #5 Stormcat
    I think it will be a lot of fun to make some out-of-the-ordinary builds. I am glad the trees are gone and we can experiment, no longer only this way or that way to have a viable char to kick some bootay.
  • #6 Eldius
    No skill trees? That should prove to be interesting...
  • #7 Huck
    I'm not sure how much of an effect the elimination of skill trees will actually have. Since skills still have a level requirement, it's essentially forcing you to pick lower tiered skills, lest you suck at lower levels. In which case, some early skills may become useless when later skills are available and learned.

    Both the current D2 system and the proposed system are almost exactly alike, with the exception that you don't have to learn prerequisite skills (which saves like, what, a few points total). I wouldn't be too assured that these changes are really all that dramatic.

    I just hope there is a greater variety of equally potent builds.
  • #8 Eskanasi
    Quote from Huck
    (which saves like, what, a few points total)

    Lol believe me, in leveling a char in D2 those few points make a huge difference, especially when you look to see synergies in game and how many of your prereq skills synergise (most don't), and if you had those extra skill points you would not have to lvl as high in order to have a perferctly built char. Those prereqs are important, especially when factoring in all the different skills you want to be able to use on your char and what your end game is gonna be like. Those little points are the bane against which I must level in order to MF with a fully lvled char

    I think this is an interesting development. But I still don't get how it really works.

    And for all you quirky builders out there, try building a suicide necro, where you you socket all of his armour with the 'on-death' (not sure if they stack) rainbow facets, then suicide run bosses. Though I'm not quite sure why it's generally built on a necro char (I know the build's idea without knowing what you level skill-wise). It's works with everything.
  • #9 Zoobi
    The pool instead of trees doesn't really do much at all. They are however trying to make early skills useful into the endgame via runes. Here's hoping it holds true and the early skills are still useful.
  • #10 italofoca
    There are many ways to make low level skills still usefull in later levels. It all depends if the skill will scale or not. In D2 a good part of low level skill were usefull in end game. Summons, passives, support skills (buffs and curses), physical attacks.. Most of then worked fine.
    The real problem was low level magical skill, specially sorc's, druid's and necro's poisons. This happen because the highest level skill allways had a better attack patern and a superior DPS. They can easilly solve this problem by balacing the skills aspects (damage, hitbox, speed/animation, mana cost and special effects). Low level skills should be better in some of those aspects (like mana cost, cooldown and speed) and worst in others (AoE and damage).

    I think this system, at the moment, is not inovative at all. I think they should creat something cooler for skills...
  • #11 luc1027
    Quote from Huck

    I'm not sure how much of an effect the elimination of skill trees will actually have. Since skills still have a level requirement, it's essentially forcing you to pick lower tiered skills...

    ???????? It's exactly the contrary, skills will ONLY have level requirment, SO everyone "smart" will wait to the end to place them points. (I don't know why you think they'll choose the first ? like you said it's will be poor at the end (except if it's an "utility" skill and not a "damage" skill))

    Personnally I don't know why Blizzard said that is hard to balance ??? ehhhh ok...

    The way I would do it :
    Simply with Excel,

    Put all meaningful variables like :

    kind of damage (AoE worth more (Calculate an average of touched monsters))
    attack speed
    range or close (set a value like 1=close and 10 far)
    damage modifiers possibly in relation

    ok it's a first draft, put a fictive weapon's damage in relation of those variables. The best is a end-game weapon, so with % you will see where the problems are (abusive amount of damage or small amount of damage)
    more attack speed, less damage; more AoE, less damage, less range/close, more damage... After having set a variables standard, every class with the same amount of "fictive weapon's damage" must do almost the same damage.

    Preferably every first skill should have a percent modifier in sort to be effective at the end.
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