We want to compete, it's huma...err Nephalem nature. Not only do we want to compete against others but we want to challenge ourselves. Besides completing the hardest difficulty, comparing player stats, or earning Paragon levels there's nothing really at all used to compare our characters in game. Even Paragon levels can't be used to judge a players skill level, it's basically just an indication of time played. We're instead left to visit third-party sites like diabloprogress or YouTube to see where we rank amongst Diablo III's playerbase. It's these sites where we find people competing for the highest dps/stats, experience earned per hour, or even Uber boss kill times. I've even personally watched popular streamers hold competitions going head to head in a legendary hunt race, and it was actually rather enjoyable. Why don't we have the ability to do this in Diablo III? Why exactly are we staying up all hours of the night hunting for loot if we can't do anything with it? Some people might argue there was nothing to do with the gear we found in in Diablo II either, but remember this is the sequel. Gamers have different standards today, especially when it comes to games that are exclusively online.
With that said I think I've found the solution, and it's nothing we haven't seen before.
Nephalem Trials aren't exactly a new concept. Blizzard first mentioned them at Gamescom and has since mentioned them many times as we've been nearing closer to the release of Reaper of Souls. It really saddened me when we got news of the feature being delayed.
Nephalem Trials are indeed still alive in some form, but they will not be added with the launch of Reaper of Souls. We absolutely love the idea behind the Trials (challenge-based systems can be so much fun), but before we implement them we want to make sure they have a strong underlying reward structure and tracking system. That kind of hook is important for a system like this and we didn’t want to add in Nephalem Trials to the game without it.
Oh really a "reward structure and tracking system"... My gut feeling tells me there's a reason why both Nephalem Trials and Ladders (never announced but hinted at) are both being delayed. The simple reason being that Blizzard wants these two features to be connected in order to create a new ranking and seasonal ladder system.
You have to admit that Blizzard is pretty damn good when it comes to creating rankings, ratings, or other systems which let players compete against each other either directly or indirectly. We've seen this demonstrated in World of Warcraft with its pvp arena, server first achievements and challenge modes. Starcraft's success and popularity is widely recognized as being directly related to its ranked system and ladder, did you see the competition at Blizzcon!? Even their new free to play game Hearthstone has a pretty good ranking system being added to it and most likely their newly announced Heroes of the Storm will follow suit. Diablo III is pretty much the only current Blizzard title that doesn't have any way for players to test themselves or compete against other players, I think it's about time we get something similar.
What better way to test your survivability and killing speed then a trial made of an endless horde of demons. Play too defensive and you'll be eventually overrun, play too offensive and you'll quickly find yourself taking a dirt nap. Find the perfect balance in gear, manage your cool-downs, and hone your strategies either alone or in group play.
Each new wave is released at an increasingly faster rate, with each being stronger than the previous. Killing a wave earns players a higher score. The trial ends only when every Nephalem falls. Will you be forever remembered as the Nephalem champion that held his ground the longest against the burning hells?
Perhaps to even compensate for situations where a player might only have a limited amount of playtime, certain checkpoints could be reached letting players pickup where they left off and continue their progress at a later time.
Inspired by World of Warcraft's challenge mode players test their efficiency to earn honors for the fastest run. Players compete against each other by clearing every monster in the dungeon. Players can even help their time by earning bonuses by opening chests throughout the dungeon.
To allow this to be a fair competition, every season will have a different map with a predetermined number tile sets, monsters, chests, and champions. A map's layout should still be randomized each time to ensure every attempt is slightly different and allows for a player's dungeon navigation skills are also a determining factor. Players will need to discover new builds and try different gear combinations to compete for the top rank.
Race against time to kill as many of the devious little creatures as possible found randomly scattered throughout a dungeon.
There are many types of treasure goblins in Diablo III, they could possibly be even be worth different point values in this trial.
Rankings & Ladders
This isn't going to be the conventional ladder Diablo players are used to. Game time shouldn't be the main contributing factor when competing for top spot in a ladder. With the shift to skill based challenges, players with varying degrees of playtime will all be able to compete for top rankings. Advantages will still be present for players with more playtime in the form of getting their hands on more legendary items or earning a higher Paragon level to use in Nephalem Trials but at least time will no longer be the only decider.
Your highest score from each Nephalem Trial will be used to determine your overall "Nephalem Score" (yeah, yeah, I know another usage of the word Nephalem). There will still be individual ladders for each trial which would offer special rewards but the most prestigious honor would go to the players with the highest overall Nephalem Scores.
It would be impossible to balance classes so probably the best solution would be to have separate rankings for each class.
There could also be separate ladders depending on if you chose to play in groups with 2-4 friends. You might not be able to get a team rating, but you would still earn individual scores for your chosen class based on 2 player, 3 player, or 4 player games.
Seasons don't have to mean wiping every character completely and starting from scratch. One of my most disliked features regarding ladders in Diablo II was when it came time for a ladder reset. I really enjoyed a fresh new competition but I didn't like losing my character's progress in terms of all the the gear I've worked hard to obtain in the process. Sure he was only moved to non-ladder but more than likely I would never touch him again. I could see how it may have been necessary in Diablo II due to inflation caused by trading and bots but that shouldn't be the case in Reaper of Souls where, it feels strange saying it, but there isn't going to be an economy anymore. With the introduction of BoA items and increased protection against dupes and bots it should be safe to not have to do a complete wipe. The introduction of shared Paragon levels is also another key reason why I feel it would be a pretty big disappointment if we were required to start from nothing. It would basically make the system we waited so long for pointless.
A season in Diablo III could simply mean resetting everyone's Nephalem Score back to zero and introducing new Nephalem Trial maps, monsters, and rewards. Blizzard could even introduce new types of trials in later seasons but that might be pushing things. There's already the great feature to create randomized dungeons, it would be as simple as Blizzard creating one new randomized dungeon for each trial when a new season is released. New combinations of maps and monsters should allow players to come up with unique builds, item combinations and strategies every season to compete for the honor of being ranked the top Nephalem of their chosen class.
Rewards don't have to be given to just the top players in each class. It could work in a very similar manor as how Blizzard implemented WoW's PvP rewards or the Challenge Mode transmogrification gear where players need a certain rank in order to purchase cosmetic options such as new banners (improve these!), transmogrification gear or even perhaps cool new wings.
Save some unique rewards to hand out to the top ranked Nephalem of each class and ladder every season and you'd see people never getting bored.
Reaper of Souls adds so many improvements to the game but I believe in order to give some much needed improvements to the overall longevity of the game there needs to be a way to compete against one another. We might not be seeing any PvP introduced in the near future but there are definitely many options to implement competition based on the great PvE elements we already see in game.
Feel free to discuss other possible options for Nephalem Trials below, I know there were many types in some of the datamined information we've already seen but I'd love to hear your thoughts on new types they could implement.
Very nicely done, I absolutely agree we need some sort of ladder / rankings in order to 'compete' with each other. You also bring up very good points about the old school ladder wipes. I'd much rather have just the timed / kills / survival rankings reset and different maps introduced in every 'season', while still being able to hold on to the shared paragon bonus and all the gear that I've found.
Oh wow! I literally just posted pretty much the exact same thing here Monstrosity: http://www.diablofan...I'm starting to think that you and I are sharing some type of cosmic wavelength. Love the thread!
Just read your thread as well, very similiar thoughts Great to see other fans with the same thoughts on how to improve the game.
Great topic! Thanks for your brilliant ideas MrMonstrosity. I am not much of a PVP player. but competing in PVE content and showing off your skills is something I do like. I've a background with top lvl raiding in WoW and it was always so amazing when you got a server first kill on a very difficult boss. I really think the reward system you had in mind is the way to go here; some cool transmogs to pimp out your character and show off your prowess.
Add mounts. Remove numbers. Remove monsters. Remove gear. Ride around empty Sanctuary on your BoA Purple Unicorn!
But seriously, this game has no "runs" and is therefore dead except to those who bought it in the last 6 months. There is no incentive to upgrade aside from self esteem as there is no challenge and no requirement to work as a team. Remember those Baal runs? Remember gathering a team to take down the Ancients? Remember having a game list so you had the freedom to decide what you wanted out a particular game session? Well, too bad. Blizzard said F you, go upgrade and try to farm some self esteem. *bing* Ah there we go, now I feel good about myself again, I found my umpteenth Legendary this game! Hey do you want to use it? AW too bad you weren't here when it dropped. Commas? Wha,t is a comma and whe,re do it are be for the use, of?,
Sucks. Sorry for the mini-rage but hell, this game is dead so why not? All my chars have been donated to other people so they too can draw the conclusion that its not the finding gear that's the problem, its the whole damn PoS game. Have fun!
Blizzard has already said countless times that "Endless Horde" mode has problems. In that, as the mobs get harder and harder, eventually they will one-shot you. So when you play endless horde, it will basically go "I'm awesome. I'm awesome. I'm awesome. I GOT CHEAPSHOT BY A SKELETON ARCHER ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SCREEN. $%@!". Granted the entire point is that, at some point, you will be overwhelmed and die. But dying from one-shots just isn't fun. With the exception of the occasional boss mechanic, Blizzard is usually not in the habit of one-shoting properly geared and spec'ed players at *any* difficulty level. (Diablo 3 Inferno 1.0 being a notable exception which was heavily patched into the current system we have now specifically because of the one-shot problem.) Also, not sure an endless horde mode that basically guarantees an eventual death will go over well with the hardcore crowd.
But I like the basics of time attack mode. Though, I think time attack leader boards would need to be reset weekly and possibly maps changed daily to keep it fresh.
True. The original post only uses the term "stronger" which is rather ambiguous. They could cap the damage and a) increase the monster health and/or change the monster attack pattern. However, I'm not certain that those two things by themselves would guarantee increasing difficulty. High health monsters can be kited and different attack patterns may be more or less difficult to different classes.
More than likely this would turn into a "enrage timer" type of scenario, where you can't kill a wave of high health mobs before the next wave spawns and eventually you're so surrounded by mobs that you can't even kite them and you die. That's certainly more appealing of a scenario than being one-shot. One downside is that certain classes and class mechanics would have more natural advantages in a soft enrage setting. Thus, some classes/builds would never want to compete as they would never be able to top the leader boards. (As one example, I'm thinking of classes with the ability to become immune to damage plus cooldown reductions versus class(es) without a damage immunity spell. I seem to remember Barbs getting the short end of the stick very early in 1.0 Diablo 3 but I could be misremembering.)