Last week Blizzard replied to questions about the goal of Greater Rifts and how they are balanced. Here’s the meat of last week’s address: Today he returned to that thread and added a couple of replies about what sort of changes we might see for the future of Greater Rifts. Greater Rift Changes Coming: Less […]
Creating good random map generators is a difficult task in video games, and something we’ve seen done with relative success in all of the Diablo games. Diablo 1 had four dungeon types with quite different maps for each area, though all were just big squares with different arrangements of the pieces within them. (The Hellfire […]
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Diablo 3 ROS MVP critiquesPosted 20 Jan 2014 by
Any Forum MVP is entitled to their own opinion, and they earn the green text via recommendations and Blizzard’s observations. However 90% of the time MVP’s have a tendency to err on the side of “fanboyism”, not to say that’s a bad thing, but they in large have a proclivity to have a more level head and sense of patience. That being said, the current patch seems to have stirred the pot in both regular players and MVP’s alike. This has spurned a large amount of valid criticism and pre-order cancelations. While the cancelation may be premature the critique certainly is not.
The critique after the bump!
Drothvader took to the forums first in his post, and while he can be critical at times usually it’s directed and dare I say hopeful? This time was different. Grab a drink this might take a bit
Now, I say all of this with no ill will towards anyone. I don’t mean to cause any unrest, or upset people, but I feel what I have to say has to be said for the future of Reaper of Souls.
I speak for nobody but myself, and I am being absolutely 100% truthful when I say that I am disappointed with Reaper of Souls since the Friends and Family push ended. I spoke so highly of the development of Diablo III and how many amazing improvements were coming down the pipeline, but I fear I might have spoken too soon.
There are some really great and amazing features that have come out in the last push. One of them being able see what type of elemental damage each skill does instead of having to guess. That is a very welcomed addition. Even then, there are a lot of great things this expansion adds which are Rifts and Bounties.
Rifts have so much amazing potential that I feel is absolutely wasted. The core design behind them is great. I love being able to play randomized dungeons with randomized enemies. But even after a while, that can get boring and stale. Not quite as stale as it would be if you were doing something like CotA runs, but still it gets pretty monotonous after a while. Then there’s literally no incentive to finish the dungeons which makes them feel unpolished and bland. On top of that, they’re no more rewarding than a bounty run anyway which makes them even more underwhelming. All of that said though, I still welcome rifts anyway.
I was so excited when I played the Friends and Family push. Sure, there were quite a few bugs that still needed ironed out, but overall the progression felt good. It felt natural… Now, the droprates on Legendaries might have been a little too high, but it didn’t need adjusted much. Maybe 1/2 or 1/3 of what they were during the F&F.
Now when I play I don’t have that feeling of the next greatest drop being around the corner… I have this feeling that I am never going to be able to find anything worthwhile. Also, given the fact that Legendaries almost never drop, any that does isn’t worth using because I was able to find a better rare in the meantime thanks to Enchanting. Now every time I am even lucky enough to find one, I have to think to myself “Is it really worth making a 10% or even higher concession in DPS just so shrines last 5 times longer?” More often than not, that answer is no. So now when I do find a Legendary, it has to be more powerful than the rare I had obtained…
These droprates are awful. So awful in fact that the BoA model is no longer justifiable which is a complete shame given how hard I fought for BoA. I was among the first, if not the very first who publicly advocated on a consistent basis that the top end of gear needed to be BoA. I know this model can and will work, but not like this.
Now I see even in the latest push the droprates were still not raised… The justification for this being that gambling can now produce a Legendary.
So you’re forcing 2 things upon the playerbase now.
1) In order to enjoy anything remotely close to a good droprate you have to buy RoS.
2) Bounties are THE MOST important thing you can do in game… again…
Since shards don’t increase past expert, what motivation would there be to even play past expert in the first place?
You have such an amazing base for a game, but it is a continual disappointment given how little consideration there is for psychologically motivating a player to continue playing your game.
Someone almost 2 years ago gave this analogy (I believe it was Wyatt) and I feel it is very appropriate. Keep in mind I’m paraphrasing from memory as I cannot remember where I read it.
If you feed the Monkey too much juice, it will become fat and lethargic.
However, if you feed the Monkey too little juice, it will starve to death.
The thing you want to do in this case is to feed the Monkey (IE players) enough to not make them fat, but also keep them from feeling starved.
You have very consistently been given feedback that the droprates are not high enough to justify playing the game. Perhaps this is what you’re testing for? How much you can starve the players of drops until they just throw in the towel and quit your game?
With the game as it is now and your justification for low droprates being that you can gamble for them, I would not expect this game to last more than just a few months. As I said, with droprates as low as they are now, there is absolutely no justification for BoA. In addition, elites only drop between 1 – 3 pieces of gear whereas before they used to drop between 3 – 5… If you kept the same roll chance for a Legendary, you have nearly HALVED the droprate on Legendaries… You guys need to look at the whole picture with your changes. If you keep changing 1091823098 variables at once without seeing how each one interacts with each other, you’re not gathering any meaningful data. With all of these changes happening at once, it’s like all of the time spent researching droprates was wasted.
In addition to all of that, when you changed the damage output of some spells, you justified it by reducing the chance to find Health Potions and Health Globes… So now it feels even WORSE because I have less healing coming in and I will at some point be forced to buy potions because they don’t drop enough to sustain my inventory. This is yet another situation where the pendulum has swung in the complete opposite direction.
I advocated for BoA for so long because I wanted a game that was rewarding, but wasn’t influenced by a global market. Right now it seems the game is catering towards those who dedicate their whole life to this game and given that’s what, about 0.1% of your playerbase do you really expect the game to succeed like that?
Players who play this game 10+ hours a day for a year will NEVER be satisfied with whatever model you put forth. You should make your game more enjoyable for the other 99.9% of the playerbase. You know, the ones who will actually refer their friends and say “Hey, come play this great game with me!”
As it stands right now, even though I preordered my physical CE the very first day that gamestop was taking preorders I am contemplating cancelling and applying that money elsewhere.
You have a chance to redeem this title, and I feel like you’re squandering it…
Now as I said, I say none of this with ill will towards anyone. I say this because if all of this is left unsaid the game might be doomed to the same failures it made with Vanilla. Please, do not repeat the mistakes of the past. Stop trying to artificially extend the life of the game by giving us this masochistic grind for the sake of having a grind. Instead, give us reasons to play the game multiple times like you would in a ladder.
RoS is probably your last chance before the rest of your playerbase jumps ship. Now that you’ve upset all types of players with RoS (Those who traded and those who enjoy finding stuff on their own) if you don’t get it right with RoS it may not be recoverable.
I’ll try and force myself to test RoS for a little bit longer, but any hope I have of the game getting better is dwindling.
I hope what I have said doesn’t strike a nerve, because this is more of a plea. Please save RoS.
The long and short of it is that this current patch fails to capitalize on the excitement for an expansion. The F&F beta was riddled with bugs but by in large was a great experience. Each subsequent patch has diminished on that experience and failed to capitalize on the gains made by the new additions. This is merely anecdotal as TheTias quickly followed up on Droth’s post with his own opus.
As much as it pains me to say this, and I really wanted to never get to this point, Drothvader’s post is really only the tip of the iceberg with regard to the problems RoS has right now. He’s already covered the drop rate issues and the sustainability of BoA, so I have no need to expound upon that too much, but there are several other issues that threaten to just destroy RoS outright if they aren’t addressed. I’ll go over those in this post.
Monster Scaling…or is it Monsters on a Scale?
This has been an issue ever since D3 launched, and continues to be an issue now. Originally monster HP in D3v was too high and their damage just obliterated anybody that wasn’t in a tank build with nothing but regeneration and mitigation affixes across all of their gear. This was Inferno 1.0 and less than a handful of builds were even viable past Act 1, leaving few players to legitimately get anywhere, and that was only if they got lucky with the drops. Even fewer players got past Act 1 without cheesing Tyrael or abusing some other mechanic. But no matter what players did, monsters did damage in the range of 200k-400k damage per attack in Inferno 1.0.
Enter patch 1.0.5 and Monster Power. Inferno had been toned down, and the developers stated MP3 would be the equivalant of the “original” Inferno (that proved not to be true in the end). Players had hoped Monster Power would implement a sliding difficulty system, hopefully with more intelligent gameplay as difficulty levels progressed. Instead, they were met with more and more absurd scaling in both monster damage and monster HP, but especially with monster HP. Pre-Inferno MP10 wasn’t completely off the wall, but it was still more than one would expect. In fact, at 400% HP, it was equivalant to /players 7 in Diablo 2: LoD.
However, Inferno was another matter entirely. It took only MP4 to break that barrier at 454% HP. MP10 jumped to a massively, humongous, whoppingly ludicrous 3439% HP. Yikes. So instead of many builds really being able to take on MP10 and kill things within any reaonable timeframe, only a few could. A very few. For everybody else it was an insanely long war of attrition just taking down trash monsters. Sadly, trash monsters would become the mainstay of what was killed as time progressed, but that will be mentioned later in the post.
Enter: Reaper of Souls. Monsters past LV 10 have more HP than monsters at LV 30 on Live. Starting at LV 40 it gets progressively worse, where monsters leave MP3 HP totals from Inferno in the dust. Yes, monsters at LV 40 going up to LV 50 have more HP than those found on Live in Inferno MP3. On Normal difficulty. We haven’t even gotten to the higher difficulties yet. At LV 50, Normal difficulty trash monsters have well over 100k HP. Their elite brethren have 300k-450k HP.
As we get closer and closer to the LV 60-70 range, monsters leave even MP10 in the dust. At LV 70, Belial on Torment 6 has 44,000,000,000 HP. Yes, billions. To give you a perspective on that, the highest HP total MP10 monsters had roughly 330 million HP. So figure scaling roughly fifteen times greater than MP10 ever gave us. White “trash” monsters have 300 million HP each. And we see people asking for higher monster density for some reason. Trash monsters in MP10 had roughly 2-3 million HP. So for those we’re talking a 100x increase. Given that our weapon DPS is only a bit less than double what it was in D3v (using the currently instated weapon DPS nerfs coming out of the FaF beta period), that’s just insane. And the gear we have can’t even support our playing in anything higher than T2 or T3 except for a few rather broken builds right now.
Affixes and Six Degrees of Separation (of Primary and Secondary affixes)
Originally, there were no Primary or Secondary affixes. They were all just grouped together and one had to hope that the affixes they wanted rolled on the item in question. Now they are clearly separated into two tiers, but there’s a problem. Previously, all six of the potential affix slots could roll any of primary or what are now secondary affixes. In RoS, only four primary affixes can roll except on specific legendary items.
Now, the devs gave us more affixes to play with, but they also made getting certain things like mitigation stats or affixes harder if we want to maintain damage, and vice versa if we want to maintain survivability. Because healing affixes are Primary affixes (outside of health globe bonuses) and armor and all resist (AR) are both Primary affixes, those take up very valuable slots. It’s even more aggravating for armor since the baseline armor values for items have not improved going from LV 60 to LV 70 items. This is critical since it is now virtually impossible to maintain anywhere near the golden 10:1 Armor to AR ratio for mitigation and still have any room for damage affixes. And you need that armor, since too little vs. AR and each point of AR suffers diminishing returns on an exponentially sliding scale because the other half of the multiplier (armor) isn’t increasing. Good luck getting your damage affixes when you have to build for such high Toughness now.
Resistances are now also counted among the very aggravating affixes to get too. Single resists and AR cannot roll on the same item anymore. And what’s worse, you cannot change single resists to AR. Single resists are a Secondary affix, and AR is a Primary affix, and you cannot exchange a Primary for a Secondary affix. This for Monks has made One With Everything (OWE) all but mandatory unless the player just decides to go AR on all pieces that can roll it. So that’s another hit to our mitigation.
The loss of Life Steal was welcome initially, but that quickly turned sour when the scaling of the monster damage was realized. It didn’t take players long to run into sustainability issues with regard to healing vs. damage intake. And with unavoidable damage being a rather significant portion of our damage intake now, this is a huge problem. Life on Hit (LoH) relies on a proc coefficient built into every skill. And each skill has a different coefficient. So most of the time, you aren’t even getting the full effect of LoH, which even at a 1.0 coefficient (100% effectiveness per hit), it isn’t keeping up at all with incoming damage.
So we gear for Life Regeneration (LR). This gives us consistent, if not timely, healing. And in concert with LoH should have sufficed for our needs. Unfortunately that has proven to also not be the case. Even with some players reaching 50k LoH, damage comes in far too quickly to heal, forcing the player to pray that life giving health globes drop, and drop soon.
Since LoH and LR together aren’t enough to mitigate the incoming damage enough to help us survive, the three classes with Life per Resource Spent (LpRS), the Barbarian, Crusader, and Monk, had to add that to their gear to survive. So yet another Primary affix slot taken on weapons and helms. Unfortunately that got nerfed too much too. It produced a yo-yo effect much like LS does on Live, but it sustained us and was necessary really since monster damage and unavoidable damage combined for a lethal combination that the two previous affixes were found to be insufficient for. Sadly, LpRS is now pathetic and if we have any resource reduction affixes on our gear, is even less effective since the resources spent directly correlates to HP healed.
So instead of engaging combat where we…engage the enemy, we hit and run now. A lot. Too much in fact. It’s maddening to constantly have to run. Not even in D2/Hell was it this bad.
The Elephant in the Room, or RoS is a Republican
Usually when things get out of control with scaling, it can be traced back to a very few, or even one source. Such is the case here in RoS, and anybody playing D3v will understand why. Critical Hit Damage (CHD).
A preface here: Total damage is as follows: Weapon damage * Mainstat multiplier * CHD * APS = DPS.
Now, you’ll notice how each of those multiplies off of the others. It is not linear. It’s not even logarithmic. It’s almost exponential. If you have a weapon damage of 100, a mainstat of 3000, and a CHD stat of 400 your damage looks like so at 1.0 APS: 100 * 30.00 * (1 + 4.00) = 15,000. If you have 1.5 APS, that becomes 22,500 DPS. From a weapon with 100 damage. That’s a factor of 225x weapon damage there.
So when we have that kind of damage output, guess what happens to monster HP? Yup, you guessed it, it has to scale just as absurdly. That’s how we ended up with MP10 values like 3439% HP.
In RoS, it gets worse. So much worse that even Normal monsters have way more HP than on Live. In fact, LV 60 gear would have trouble downing some LV 50 monsters in a reasonable amount of time. Many players on the PTR have encountered this already. It’s worse as you get into the RoS level range of 61-70. Much worse. And bosses are downright sadistic in the amount of HP they have.
And all of this is because our damage system is entirely multiplicative. And the primary culprit is CHD. It’s what makes sockets mandatory on weapons, and even more so in RoS since weapons no longer roll CHD at all, even though armor does.
This should have been made 100% baseline with no CHD affix in the game. With that kind of setup, scaling is brought down tremendously. And if mainstat’s interaction with weapon damage were normalized instead of being purely multiplicative, scaling could be even further lowered to finally come down to a sane amount.
Affixes 2: Electric Boogaloo
Legendaries and Sets have been designed with one purpose in mind in RoS: To trump everything else. Legendaries do this with “unique” affixes that are “game changing”. And since the developers are insistent that we only seek Legendary and Set items as our ultimate prize, they also for some inexplicable reason retain their ability to roll certain affixes out of slot.
Examples of this are: Resource regeneration, Movement Speed, and Attack Speed. Notable culprits? The Witching Hour, Lacuni Prowlers, Stone of Jordan.
Utility affixes such as those that help us get around or that allow us to have better sustainability only show up on Legendaries outside of the two usual slots, which are class specific weapons and helms. And note that only class specific applies here. Regular versions of items in those slots cannot roll these affixes. And rare items cannot roll them at all out of their normal slots, so no rare ring can roll Spirit Regeneration for example.
This leads to many players keeping their LV 60 Legendaries well into LV 70 because if they didn’t, their build would be broken because the affixes aren’t there on rare gear and may not even be there on Legendary gear in the new versions out at LV 70. This is the primary reason rares cannot compete with Legendaries at all. Being locked out of these rather necessary affixes damages their power capability significantly.
But then there’s the flip side: We’ve got Legendaries that are rolling worse stats and affixes than the rares they’re supposed to replace. This is especially true of the crafted Legendaries and Set items, which almost always roll worse than the rare of the same slot does. This leads to things like what Drothvader and I have both experienced, which is finding a Legendary that can beat the rare in the same slot is very difficult. And with the drop rates the way they are, next to impossible.
So this little conundrum creates an artificial brick wall for player progression when it doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t). And it’s a primary culprit in keeping builds alive in RoS sans Legendaries, as well as forcing Legendaries to be the only endgame in town.
It truly is a contradictory system.
Movement Speed, Where Art Thou, or Snail Males and Females: Part Deux
Why is it that in RoS we’re still running around so slowly it’s like trying to move through frozen molasses during winter? The movement speed cap remains the same. The movement speed limitations on gear remain the same. Yet monsters move faster than ever before. Getting around the zones feels like a slog and generally speaking is very unpleasant. Why else do you think the Steed is mandatory on the Crusader, Vault is mandatory on Demon Hunters, Teleport is mandatory on Wizards, and things like Tempest Rush feel mandatory on Monks and other classes?
If a fourteen year old game like Diablo 2 could handle some really fast run speeds, why the hell are we stuck with such slow moving characters?
Crowd Control, or Can You Just Pepper Spray Me and Get It Overwith?
Diablo is built on RNG. It’s at the heart of the game. Unfortunately, so too is its arch nemesis, Mr. Binary in RoS.
So many CC affixes I don’t even know where to start. And they now come in single, double, and triple decker portions on the elites (and uniques). These are the affixes that basically take skill out of the equation by causing partial or total loss of character control. And they’re around every corner in RoS.
Most classes have at least one “escape” ability to get them out of being CC’d, but they’re almost all on fairly long cooldowns, and only a scant few are spammable, and even then only with very broken set item bonuses such as the Demon Hunter’s original Natalyas set pieces that allow Discipline to essentially regenerate quickly enough to be virtually unlimited. Unfortunately for the players, however, monsters are not limited by resources, and apparently not even really by cooldowns.
On my DH, I’ve run into monsters that have three CC affixes such as Waller/Jailer/Vortex and those alone have been able to chain CC me for upwards of 60-120 seconds at a time (yes, without smoke screen on my bar, it’s constant CC all the time). Now let’s add in some monsters that have innate CC such as knockback, a stun, or a snare. Those aren’t on cooldowns and you can be hit with them repeatedly by multiple monsters. A pack of Armaddons even without CC affixes can decimate your character via repeated stuns alone. Remember, your escape abilities are on cooldowns. Use it, and if you’re CC’d again, sucks to be you.
And this situation isn’t the exception to the rule in RoS, it is the norm. I feel like every time I turn around I’m going to be CC’d to death. If it doesn’t have a snare, it has a root. If it doesn’t have a root, it has a stun. If it doesn’t have a stun, it has a knockback. If it doesn’t have a knockback it sucks me in. If it doesn’t suck me in, it fears me.
And then there’s the problem of CC affixes triggering from other affixes’ damage. I’ve been feared and knocked back countless times from being hit by mortar, thunderstorm, or any other damaging affix.
As if that weren’t enough…
Stuck Between a Hard Rock Cafe and Melrose Place
Unavoidable damage. Nearly every game has at least some of this. Most use it sparingly. Some use it liberally, but usually only if there are a great many ways to deal with it. RoS uses it like a Louisianna swamp rat does BBQ sauce on his gator fixin’s. It’s literally eveywhere.
From being CC’d to monsters with innate CC and/or the ability to charge you from offscreen to deliver that damage, you’ll run into it all the time. But the worst is the new damage components attached to the now infamous CC affixes.
Thunderstorm is virtually unavoidable for the first hit, though it doesn’t “chase” you as of the current patch. Unfortunately for melee that’s not much consolation since they’re usually locked in place when attacking and movement speed being what it is means we’re still going to get hit more often than not by Thunderstorm’s subsequent strikes. This affix also triggers certain CC affixes such as Knockback and Nightmarish.
Vortex, Jailer, Wormhole now have damage components when they affect your character. For the latter two, your character being hit with the affix or moving into the wormhole damages you in addition to the CC imposed upon you. For Vortex, even the act of the Vortex damages you, even if no other monster is in range to hit you with anything. You can block the CC mostly by terrain with Vortex, but not the damage component.
But now even Frozen has a damage component attached to it. I tested it on Live today to make sure, and it has no damage component. However, in RoS, as of this patch, as the frozen crystal grows in size, the area indicated on the ground as the “final” explosion radius also ticks for sizeable damage about three times per second. So even if you manage to avoid being frozen, you’re going to take damage no matter what unless you can also avoid even the final exploision radius/area altogether. So that counts as yet another form of unavoidable damage too.
So you have constant CC, damage components attached to that CC, and together they make for one hell of a gigantic gear check. Not a skill check. Not an awareness check. A gear check. And that’s sadly what most of RoS boils down to – pure gear checks galore.
Witch…crafting, or Salem Vi
Along with some very dismal drop rates for legendaries, the crafting materials also suffer maladies as well. Rares are so abundant that Veiled Crystals and Iridescent Tears rain from the sky. But the magic components Exquisite Essence and Arcane Dust? Those are found at less than a 1:10 ratio vs. their rare contemporaries, and that’s assuming you pick every last one of them up. Unfortunately for us, the recent halving of magic reagent crafting materials didn’t exactly do much to put a dent into that problem given they’re also required to reroll affixes on items.
As for the crafting itself, the results are anything but good. In fact, the crafted Legendary items almost always roll worse than whatever rare item you might be wearing at the time. They also suffer from the exact same RNG with regard to affix combinations that rares do, and they don’t even come with a unique affix like “real” Legendaries do.
If you factor all of that in along with the time it takes to find the necessary Legendary crafting materials and common (white) items, some of which still don’t seem to be in the game or are impossible to get to drop *cough*Ascended Quivers*cough*, the crafting system is an abysmal failure. You’re better off using your blood shards to gamble for good rares.
Or at least you were…
What Should Have Stayed in Vegas…Didn’t
So the Legendary drop rates are abysmal. We get that. We’ve known it for some time now. So have the developers. So what do they do to counter it? Do they increase the drop rates to a sane level? Nope. Do they add in some sort of RNG protection against repeated bad luck/dry spells? Eh…no. So what was put in?
Gambling for Legendaries.
Previously Kadala, the Blood Shard gambling vendor only gave out magic or rare items (usually the latter past LV 10 and the former from LV 1-9). Now she can generate Legendaries as well, though it’s unclear if she can generate low level Legendaries properly.
It used to be that we’d do bounties for caches to find Legendaries. Originally we found them in Rifts back in the FaF beta. Now all I hear is “just do bounties to get blood shards and gamble for legs. It’s better than anything else to find them!”
So the drop rates weren’t brought up as Drothvader mentioned, and we got this instead. Forget slaying monsters for your loot, we’ll just visit the vendor instead. How…dull. In a game that’s supposed to be about finding your loot by slaying hordes of demons and whatnot, this has to be about as anti-clamactic as it gets. I used to think the Horadric Caches were a bad idea, but those are diamonds in the rough compared to this farce.
There’s A Bounty Out…On You
Right now, Nephalem Rifts are about as unrewarding as it gets. You kill hordes of monsters, but they aren’t dropping anything. So you kill the bosses, only to find that like the Greater Horadric Caches that used to be awarded for downing said bosses, don’t drop Legendaries. Like ever. And now the Blood Shards are gone as rewards too, so you can forget that being an avenue toward progression if you prefer doing Rifts.
Not that you can really do that many Rifts in the first place since the keystones only drop from a fully completed set of five bounties. Bounties are also the only place to get Blood Shards. You can’t get them in Campaign mode, or in Rifts. Bosses don’t drop them. So if you want to gamble for that Legendary or just some rares that you need to shore up your lacking gear, it’s Bounties or Bust.
These have become the most important tasks to do in the game. You can’t do much of anything else in RoS without first doing Bounties. Rifts are tied directly to how many bounty sets you complete. Gambling is tied to the bounties. Gold is tied to the bounties (as they are worth infinitely more than monster drops are on any difficulty). Your whole freaking livelihood in the game is tied to bounties.
So much for variety in playstyles. Or choice.
Watch Out For That…(THUD) Brick Wall (OW!)
In the FaF beta, magic, rare, and Legendary/Set items would roll at the level of the character when they dropped. Now only Legendary and Set items do so. The rest? They are now tied once again to the Live version of Diablo 3’s “block” system. I call it the “level block tiering system”.
So what is this tiering system? It’s where items of a given type, class, or slot will drop only at specific levels. In between those levels the items will drop only from the last tier you reached. So if an item drops at LV 15, 22, 28, 34, 40, and 50 and your character is at LV 33 when they get that item type to drop, they’ll get an item from LV 28 instead of LV 33 if it is a magic or rare item.
What this does is create several “brick walls” along the way as you level up, since monsters are scaling along with your character as you level up, but the items that drop do not unless they’re Legendaries. But remember, those hardly drop now at all. This becomes very noticeable once you hit LV 40 going all the way to LV 70 due to the monsters scaling exponentially, yet your gear isn’t improving anywhere near enough to keep up because in most cases items are dropping at levels well below what you need them to be at.
And so you hit “brick walls” where you can’t easily progress because monsters are scaled too high for your gear, but you can’t get better gear until a certain level past where you are currently at. It’s putting the cart before the horse, and the cart is kicking the horse in the head. This is a very unnatural progression curve, and such stumbling blocks (and I use that term very liberally here) really kill a player’s momentum when leveling. We see a sort of similar occurence at LV 70 due to the disparity between rares and Legendary/Set items as well, so these “brick walls” aren’t limited solely to leveling characters.
Salvage Rights…Or Is It Salvage Rites?
Let’s face it. RoS has some quality of life issues. High up on that list is the chore known as Salvaging. Despite the “less is more” intent behind Loot 2.0, we find ourselves salvaging more now than we ever did on Live. And we have to go back to town to do so. This has the unwanted effect of breaking up combat on a very consistent basis. Far more so than any of the devs would lead us to believe. In a group, this becomes beyond frustrating as not everybody’s inventory fills up at the same time, and in the current splitfarming environment, you’re “on the clock” against other players, meaning going back and forth between town and battlefield is precious wasted time wasted.
We’ve been asking for a means to salvage on the go for a long time now during the beta and yet we still have to go back and forth to do so. I have eleven thousand Veiled Crystals, and various other materials gathered from salvaging. Let’s assume I have 20 1×2 item spaces available in my inventory on average. That’s 11,000 ÷ 20 = 550 trips back and forth just to salvage. Now even assuming all items I get are 1×1 in size, that’s 225 trips back to town to salvage.
That’s ridiculous. And I need to salvage, since certain materials are in such short supply that I have to constantly pick up their associated items and salvage them.
A Salvage and Salvage All button would be nice in our inventory windows please. Salvage All would work on all items of a specific rarity except Legendary items (for what I hope are obvious reasons). This would greatly lessen the time spent dealing with these items. And if you couple this with the idea to make all crafting materials other than gems into UI resources, we free up inventory space as well in our stash, whcih allows us to hold more of those annoyingly difficult to find white/common items used for Legendary/Set crafting.
Throughout the beta thus far, the development cycle and methodology has just completely baffled us. There isn’t a single soul out there that understands why we’re seeing such awful changes to the game that seem to defy all amounts of feedback we give to the developers. It’s like they either have their own vision and are just ignoring us, or are being ultra selective about who they listen to and/or taking their data and suggestions from those people that cheated their way to the top via exploits and thus were already considered skewed data at best.
We see threads asking for feedback, only to find that the feedback requested is for a tiny subset of the subject matter (e.g. feedback requested for Ubers…in Torment only) or we give feedback on our own and see it go by the wayside. And the result is what we have now – a broken game that is both unrewarding and fast becoming a repeat of history past, right down to how feedback was handled the first time around two years ago.
In all Diablo games prior to RoS, including Diablo 3 Vanilla itself, we’ve had the ability to farm for our alts, be it low level gear, mid level gear, or max level gear. Unfortunately, RoS/Loot 2.0 takes that completely away from us.
Monsters, as you know, now scale with our characters. As such, we have precious little time to get any legendaries or even really good rares within a specific level range as we level up. And once we’re past that leven range, we’re screwed because we cannot turn off the monster scaling at all. Nor can we select a monster level for us to fight against to farm that gear from. So now we’re forced to just basically find our drops from…waaaaaaaait for it….Kadala. Yes, the infamous Vegas bunny girl has surfaced again to serve up our uh….needs.
I’m beginning to wonder just who those blood shards are coming from. Could it be us players after we’ve gouged our eyes out in total frustration from lack of fun? Nah, that couldn’t be…..
Get Smart Drops The Ball
The Smart Drop system. Sounds cool. Feels cool when you’re looking for upgrades for the character you’re currently playing. However, much like the Smart Heals in WoW, they’re actually really dumb and are ultimately more harm than good in the long run.
You see, along with the inability to farm for alts at lower levels, you also have difficulty farming for them at high level too because Smart Drops also mean class specific affixes and class specific gear being the norm. So if you want STR gear for your Barbarian or Crusader and you’re plalying a Monk or DH, good luck.
But there’s another annoying fly in the soup: getting gear for your follower. Unless your follower happens to use the same primary stat as your currently played character, you’ll need to switch to a class that matches that primary stat and farm their gear that way. Assuming you have such a character/class available at the level required. Here the Smart Drop system rears its head and blocks your efforts. As an example, it took me nine hours of continuous farming on my DH and Monk to find two measly INT rings for my follower. Nine hours. For two rings.
So we’ve yet another system whose intent is good, but whose implementation destroys more than it improves.
Group Play, or Doing the Banana Split…farming
This one is a biggie. And it’s going to hit a lot of players where it hurts. What is it? Splitfarming.
What is splitfarming? It’s taking each individual member of a group and having them each do separate bounties in Adventure Mode. This maximizes reward intake and is far more efficient than solo play, or even group play where the group members stick together to tackle the tasks and monsters.
This is efficient, but extremely taxing on the player. Not only are you now playing “against the clock” with regard to the other members of your group, you are facing monsters that have scaled up due to multiple players being in the same game, only you don’t have your group members to help you. You’re on your own killing the monsters solo. This means that you are effectively taking on monsters that are as powerful as they would be in a solo game of a full difficulty tier higher than what you’re playing on with the group. And because you aren’t taking on those monsters together, kill speed drops drastically per player (yet still manages to be more efficient than any other method, which should be a huge honkin’ red flag with a skull and crossbones on it to the developers.)
The net effect of this is that a player that could handle say, Expert dificulty solo, ends up feeling like they’re weak and not of much use to the group if playing on that same difficulty and splitfarming. As mentioned before they’re on the clock since there are now other impatient players in the game with them. But their killing speed is greatly reduced because they’re facing monsters that are stronger than they would be in a solo game, yet they’re going it…solo due to the nature of splitfarming. And because this is so efficient, it’s deemed mandatory to get anywhere near a reasonable amount of good loot.
But there’s another snag holding back group play, and that’s the Smart Drop system. In a solo game, Smart Drops make sense as you’re the only one playing. But in a group game, that same system brings along a very bothersome side effect: Stacking the same class is the most efficient way to get chances at loot that any of the group members can use and provides the best opportunity cost of all of the setups possible. And since you can only trade with people that are in your group, most want to be in groups that are made up of the same class to maximize their chances at loot. Whoops.
I had the recent experience this morning of being in a group with Starbird on Expert. My monk can barely kill things on Normal at a decent clip with her TR build, and wasn’t even going to attempt to touch Expert, so I brought in my DH, with about 790k DPS. Funny thing is, she’s stuck on Normal too because kill times are just too low on higher difficulties due to the monster scaling despite that DPS unless I use some pretty broken builds. I don’t like playing builds I don’t like just to be efficient. Unfortunately, I pretty much have to in a group. In this morning’s group, for every one bounty I completed, the other group members completed four to five bounties. I felt weak. I felt like I was holding the group back. They tried to tell me it was OK and just to stick with it as I was still helping them. But it made me feel miserable. So miserable that I actually told Starbird that I was dropping from the group after just one game because I hated how it made me feel to be so craptacular vs. the rest of my team.
I’d have felt a lot better in a “real” group play setting where we helped each other take down the monsters together, but with splitfarming, the group dynamic was such that there was no room for joy at all. I just finally decided to go solo and play by myself since group play was so hellish for me. Starbird told me to switch to one of the more broken builds for my DH, but I told him I tried it already and hated its playstyle. If playing a build you hate is the only way to feel even halfway decent about your contribution to the group, then the mechanics involved as created by the developers with regard to group play are a total failure and at that point we might as well just be given an offline mode for all the good online does us.
In closing, I’m sad to say that the group play dynamic (or lack thereof) was the final straw for me. I never thought I’d actually get to the point I’m at now, given how enthusiastic I was going into the beta, but after experiencing the god awful group play this morning I’d finally had enough and cancelled my RoS CE preorder. And because of that, even if I were to reorder later (or even now), I likely wouldn’t get one even if I wanted to, which sadly at this point I couldn’t care less if I did. The game in its current state is beyond redemption. It’s beyond ridiculous. Frankly, as far as I’m concerned, barring a miracle, it’s beyond hope.
I did not think it possible to make the game any worse than what we have on Live. Boy, was I wrong about that. The game had such good beginnings in the FaF beta, but for some reason or another the developers have driven it downhill, and into a lake for it to sink unceremoniously into the depths of time. I do not see RoS being viable past a month, maybe two at the outset in its current state. And while I’ll continue to test the beta, the level of dreariness that this game has brought to me has caused me to all but completely lose faith that it will be what it was supposed to be: a resurrection of the once glorious Diablo franchise.
I truly wish I didn’t feel this way. It’s an awful thing to have to say to any of you, but the culmination of flaws in both design and intent is what you see today. And the evidence speaks for itself.
To the developers: If you have any semblance of a desire to make this game great, you’ll have to work hard to convince me and many others, because right now, we’re not seeing it. We want to see it. We want to have a kickass game that lasts for years. We want to say we’re proud to play the game you worked so hard on.
I can’t say that right now.
Edit: Pics or it didn’t happen:
Original Amazon order: http://imageshack.com/a/img163/9440/to6n.png
Images edited to remove my name or other personal information.
There are a lot of points there, and if you’ve made it down to this point in the article I’m impressed. Overall it is a very thorough critique, well thought out and well argued. There are only 10 weeks until ROS ships and that’s not a lot of time to fix everything.I am still hopeful to see a lot of this stuff change, and have no intention of canceling my order, but I can agree the current iteration is far from perfect. I like Droth had the most fun in the F&F and found myself losing many hours of sleep to play. In the past few weeks it’s been quite the opposite, with my play very limited as there is a since of futility in it. The MVP title is a small acknowledgement of people’s passion for Blizzard’s games, by in large they are optimistic bunch, but this outpouring should serve as canary in a coal mine for Blizzard as their opinions are indicative of a much larger base.
What are your thoughts on this batch of info?