BlizzCon Question Resurfaces, Sees Internal Consideration

(Source) The Diablo III Open Q&A panel at this year's BlizzCon was a steady flow of Diablo feedback and query, but not everyone walked away completely satisfied with team responses. A fan recently brought up a clearer and more in-depth version of his Wizard petition hastily sputtered at the panel stage just last weekend, but with better results:

We encourage you to read the full post here. For simplicity and brevity, much of the technical post was stripped from the following quotation.

Regarding the - Wizard Wizard and certain gameplay mechanics that interact with weapon speed, self-proclaimed BlizzCon Question Asker Guy asked, "Given the math and change to weapon speeds affecting cast speed, is there anything you were doing to make faster weapons have more incentive to using them [...] [b]is this an intentional design, and slower weapons of equal DPS are just always better[/b] [...], or is this still something that you're looking into and need to work on?"

Bashiok's response on Technical Designer Wyatt Cheng's behalf is a book in itself, but here's the highlights. I tried to bold the parts that are particularly important and remove the somewhat less helpful (though no less interesting) bits:

Official Blizzard Quote:

[...]Your build absolutely matters. Some builds may be well designed to favor 2-handers, and some may favor 1-handers. So, the general statement of "the correct weapon depends on your build" overrides everything else I write.

Additionally, two general rules of Diablo weapon speeds still apply: spilled damage matters, and speed matters for combat effectiveness. [...] When a monster has only 150 health, who really cares that you hit it for 300 damage instead of 200 damage?[/b] Either way it's dead. And if it's dead with a faster weapon, that means you can get to the next monster faster. [b]This means that a weapon with a 1.3-second speed that can one-shot enemies actually has a 30% killing throughput increase over a weapon with a 1.0 speed.[/b]

[...]For those who are insistent on maximizing theoretical DPS and AP usage, we've decided to cover you, anyways.

First, all things being equal, 2-handers do more damage than 1-handers. This is pretty obvious, but I want to confirm and validate this. The reason it's important to call this out is that all the calculations assume "for any 2 items of the same DPS". [b]But that's not a great starting point, because for any two comparable items at any given level, 2-handers do at least 15% more damage than 1-handers, and in many cases 20-25% more. [/b]

To put it another way, many of the posts in the linked thread make an assumption that two weapons have equal DPS. This assumption is flawed. What you really want to ask is, "for the theoretically best 2-hander in the entire world (even though I'll never get one)" vs. "the theoretically best 1-hander in the entire world (even though I'll never get one)."

However, [b]what you choose to put in your off-hand, should you choose to wield one, matters.[/b]

[b]First, no matter WHAT you use, you are getting a bunch of extra stats.[/b] In addition to DPS from Attack and Precision, you're getting whatever other item stats are on your offhand. So you're trading off a theoretical Arcane power efficiency boost for the stats of an offhand.

[b]Furthermore, if you use a shield, you're getting a big armor boost.[/b] If you haven't played Diablo in a while, people easily forget, but a lot of Sorceress players used a shield in Diablo II. For some players there is a "fantasy" of "I don't need a shield 'cause I don't plan on getting hit." The reality is that we don't let you get away with that in Diablo. You get hit. We don't have heal, tank and DPS roles in Diablo, so everybody in Diablo eventually takes damage.

[b]Additionally, if you choose to use an orb, every Wizard - Orb Orb (and - Witch Doctor Witch Doctor - Mojo Mojo) comes with +damage on it.[/b] So, if your mainhand does 8-10 damage at 1.4-second speed, and your orb adds 3-4 damage, then that means you're doing 11-14 damage at 1.4 speed. [b]In many cases, the orb plus the stats on the orb completely closes the 15-25% DPS gap between 2-handers and 1-handers.[/b]

Add on top of that +dmg from your rings and amulets, and currently with internal tuning numbers (this may not be how we ship), but 1-handers and offhand out-DPS 2-handers almost all of the time. [b]It takes a luckily-rolled 2-hander to out-DPS most 1-hand and offhand setups if you can also spare some +damage on your rings and amulets.[/b]

[b]Finally, fast weapons are better at fishing for procs.[/b] Diablo has lots of very cool proc effects. Chance to gain Arcane Power on critical hit. Chance to summon a fetish on spell cast passive on the Witch Doctor. Faster and more frequent casts means more opportunities to fish for procs.

If you procured a case of TLDR Syndrome while reading over that abbreviated version of a very elaborate response, Wyatt's argument basically came down to this:

Official Blizzard Quote:

[b]Currently, for internal testing of Inferno mode, the 1-hander and Wizard Orb combination is overwhelmingly better.[/b] You get more damage, better mobility, more stats, and more proc fishing. [b]2-handers get you better Arcane Power efficiency.[/b] If anything, I'm worried that 2-handers are too weak. The most likely solution on this front is to reduce the amount of +damage found on rings and amulets to reel in the damage advantage of 1H+Orb. However, the value of Arcane Power efficiency varies the more you have to run and move. If you're running and moving constantly, then AP efficiency lets you drop big bombs like - Meteor Meteor and - Hydra Hydra when you finally get to stand still. Since the amount of running and moving varies from situation to situation, I'm actually fairly happy with where things are.

Additionally, to balance the exceptions to the rule that Wyatt so thoroughly attempted to explain, there is also incentive to adjust - Disintegrate Disintegrate and - Arcane Torrent Arcane Torrent AP consumption rates in ratio with the other Wizard skills, although Wyatt confessed that this inconsistency may not be "cool" when considering uniformity across the Wizard spells. This may translate into "breaking the rules" with other current iterations of skills in regards to AP-burning, since we were reminded at the beginning of Wyatt's response that nothing is set in stone.

Do you think that more tweaking is needed to reward players that choose fast weapons, or is Wyatt's response reasonable and accurate with your knowledge of current gameplay mechanics? Will augmentative gear like jewelry, as well as logical considerations like movement limitations, offset the choice between weapon types faced by said players?

*Note: Posted this from my phone. Forgive any glaring mistakes :P


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