And not a whole lot of people seem to care all that much. No, seriously: I haven’t seen a QQ thread on this yet, and that really surprises me given the nature of the internet. In all seriousness, let’s take a closer look at why Blizzard decided this was a better move than the traditional model.
If you’re not sure quite what I’m talking about, go take a look at the calculators
for each class. You’ll notice that regardless of your class, if you’re doing damage, it’s based on attack power. Traditionally, in Diablo II
, the damage of the Sorceress
and the other classes was based on arbitrary base values that scaled with skill point allocation. For example, Icebolt
has a base cold damage of 3-5, and as you allocate points there’s a simple (albeit arbitrary) formula to curve it. (See The Arreat Summit
for greater detail).
Now, before you yell bloody murder, allow me to explain why this move is both insane and brilliant
. And no, it’s not because I’m a fanboy.
Firstly, it’s very simple and straight-forward. We all know Blizzard loves to make game mechanics and features as straight-forward as possible (this is a positive thing, by the way).
Secondly and more importantly, balancing items against skills across all classes is far and away easier. Let me give you an example of what I mean: If skill ‘A’ from the Demon Hunter
does 120% attack power and skill ‘B’ from the Barbarian
does 145% attack power, regardless of what item I throw on them, the comparability of the two skills is straight-forward. Now, skill ‘A’ and ‘B’ are two completely different skills with different cooldowns and there’s a whole lot of other factors that go into balancing them (i. e. weapon speed), but we can at least be sure with a brief look at the attack power what the differences are.
Thirdly, it streamlines the idea that, regardless of your class, your weapon is your most important tool against Diablo’s minions. I think that’s pretty compelling. And, there are plenty of non-weapon items in the beta that increase attack (which overall makes you do more damage).
Finally, one of the cruxes of the ol’ Diablo II model which Diablo III has attempted to solve is that if you wanted to increase the damage of one of your abilities as a Sorceress, you had to resort to finding certain really hard-to-find attributes like +1 to skill points and +% to fire damage (which, I theorize, is why there were a plethora of these ‘fringe’ attributes by Diablo II’s downturn). There was no in-game item attribute that increased spell damage across the board and that’s what I think the goal here is for Diablo III.*
To be fair, the penalty for this new model is fairly obvious: Why in the world would wielding a sword increase the Wizard's ability to conjure fire lasers? Also, I think we as gamers are accustomed to seeing the 'elemental class' with some staff or wand, but those items are still viable. But in the end, Blizzard decided that such a minor dissociation from the norm was worth a lifetime of consistently simple gameplay mechanics.
*On a side note, I hate to rat on one of the greatest games of all time (Diablo 2), but let’s turn off our hindsight goggles.