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There is no more Theorycrafting in Diablo 3

Posted 18 Jul 2014 by

play-your-way-thursdayThis week Blizzard changed the name of their “Theorycrafting Thursday” project. It’s now called “Play It Your Way Thursday.” and there’s a short blog post explaining the change. I’ll quote it, but I’m posting it since I think the larger issue is worth debate, which begins after the Blue:

Theorycraft Thursday has been a wonderful experiment and opportunity for us to engage with you, the community, on a personal level. However, after reading through your feedback, we’ve made the decision to change the name of this blog series to Play Your Way Thursday.

So What’s Changed?

You may be wondering how this will affect the content of the newly named blogs. In short, neither the content nor the focus will be changing. You’ll continue to see interesting and innovative builds here, and the emphasis on accessible experimentation will remain.

This series was never intended to focus exclusively on top tier players who live and breathe Torment VI. While efficiency and number crunching are important parts of theorycrafting, they both stem from experimentation and hatching unique or, dare I say, crazy new ideas that take some trial and error to explore. Playing around with those ideas is a lot of fun, even if they don’t work out to be the best. After all, every great build has to start somewhere, so let’s poke around, think outside the box, and share your fun and interesting builds with the world!

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet, and the goal here remains the same. I still want you to send in your builds with your items to show the rest of the community how you play the game. This has been, and surely will continue to be, a fantastically fun feature to write and I look forward to continuing to share it with you all.

This makes me think of an issue we discussed on the last podcast (#144). Namely, that a character with quality gear can use virtually any DiabloWikibuild (or even a semi-random collection of skills) and play smoothly up to about Torment 2. To do T3-T4 requires very good gear AND a good build. To do T5-T6+ requires great gear and using the one or two ideal builds per class. (If there are such builds. Most Wizards and Monks would argue there are currently zero T6 viable builds for them.)

This kind of puts a damper on Theorycrafting, doesn’t it? I mean sure, you can use weird builds and do interesting, novel things in Reaper of Souls and hang with Torment 2ish…but only if you’ve got great gear. And in that great gear, if you were using a better build, you’d be able to do T4 or higher.

It seems like Nevalistis took the “Theorycrafting in Diablo 3″ thing as far as she could, but in a game without meaningful DiabloWikiMagic Find, where all rewards stem from the difficulty level you play on, where the power curve is 95% defined by equipment, and the only thing worth picking up is a legendary item, there’s just not much room for quirky or unusual builds or gear combinations.

Or am I wrong? I’d be happy to be wrong, if someone wants to point out where and why.