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US’s First Hardcore Paragon 100 Speaks

Posted 29 Nov 2012 by

Long time site member and author of this fantastically useful Hardcore Barbarian guide, AlexanderBarin recently dinged to the very top, as the US Realm’s first Hardcore Paragon level 100. You can see 60/100 Barbarian here and his 60/100 Barbarian here, and it’s interesting to compare to top Softcore Barbs; you don’t see a lot of those with 93k life and a shield.

To commemorate his achievement Alex not only posted pictures, but a mighty article with numerous excellent suggestions for improving the game. The full thing is very worth a read, but I wanted to excerpt his main game change arguments, since I think most of them are quite worthwhile. These are just the main points; see his article for full details on all of these, along with specific suggestions for Hardcore and more.

1.Too many skills and runes are inferior to others.

  • Too many skills lack the “wow” factor. It’s time to buff them. Hard. Very hard.
  • You know who feels like a god right now? WW/Tornado/Perma WOTB barb. It’s time to make every skill so good, it will make the players feel like a god. Of death.
  • 2. Too many items are instantly inferior to others.

  • Worst offenders here are helms and weapons. Sockets make or break helms and weapons.
  • One suggestion: allow jeweler to add a socket to a piece of gear in exchange for one of the mods.
  • Buff weapon Gems. Emeralds are insanely overpowered compared to others.
  • Too many legendaries are best in slot now. The only rares worth IDing right now, IMO, are the amulets and 1h weapons. These can potentially sell for a ton. For all other slots, there are far better legendaries.
  • Solution: greatly buff the range of rare stats, such that there is a small chance they are actually a bit better than legendary. The cost of this is being lucky enough to find such a rare, and also spending time IDing all of them.
  • Please do something about the 2handers situation. They are still awful. The only 2h weapon worth using is Skorn.
  • 3. Too many legendaries still lack the “wow” factor and don’t allow to build around them.

    4. The legendary drop rate is fine, but the feeling of it isn’t.

  • The dry streaks between legendaries are murder.
  • Solution? Leave 60+ legendary drop rate where it’s at. But also allow below-60 legendaries to drop as well. (In Inferno.)
  • 5. Speaking of low level legendaries…

  • Buff em. Buff em hard. Think Leoric’s Signet. Crap stats, people use it.
  • How about a lvl 30 helm that adds 50% movement speed and has 0 stats. How about a shield that generates 1% MF per second up to 200% above the cap?
  • 6. Add an official ladder scoreboard and make it sortable by various factors.

    7. Balance out the acts in farming power

  • Why is Alkaizer run so popular? Because everything else is so bad in comparison!
  • 8. Promote options in farming

  • The time investment per run should promise more statistical loot, but the difference should not be as large as it is right now.
  • Right now, if you run 2min Azmo, you’re going to get crap. If you run 1 hour act clear you will also get crap comparing to 10min efficient area clear. Let’s balance that.
  • 9. Add a non-ring reward for Uber-ubers.

  • So how about, 4th portal, with ubers that make people poop the pants. Those who actually manage to do it, get a non-slot reward, something as powerful as D2 charms that really has no substitute?
  • 10. Crafting.

  • It’s horrible, and useless. You know it, I know it, we all know it. Let’s fix it.
  • I think most of those are excellent suggestions, and I think Bliz would probably agree and that they’ve got many of them in mind for patches or D3X. Most of the great item stuff we remember from D2 came out in D2X or in patches afterwards; the problem is that D2X was released just a year after D2C, back in 2001. Blizzard is much slower on expansions these days (*cough*SC2*cough*), people are less patient these days, and there are a lot more gaming options out there now than in 2001. Fans aren’t going to wait years for needed feature improvements; not after it took 5 months after launch to get the game up to a good quality in v1.05.

    The good news is that many of these fixes shouldn’t be that hard to implement; better stats on gems, added socket from an NPC, tweaks to item drop formulas and item stat ranges, etc. It just remains for the devs to find the will.



    Full text of his post, from the forum thread:

    General thoughts and suggestions
    1.Too many skills and runes are inferior to others.

    Too many skills lack the “wow” factor. It’s time to buff them. Hard. Very hard.
    I’m talking Stomp that pulls the entire screen of monsters. I’m talking demoralizing cry that makes every monster do 90% less dmg. I’m talking Call of the Ancients adds who follow you permanently, not for 20 seconds.

    Skills can’t just be buffed a bit like they were in the previous patch. Skills need to be so bloody good, players will be torn between using them. It should be a heartbreaking choice between giving up one godlike skill for another.

    Regardless of difficulty (MP), the player should feel like a GOD, not some puny mortal stomping 3 spiders.

    You know who feels like a god right now? WW/Tornado/Perma WOTB barb. It’s time to make every skill so good, it will make the players feel like a god. Of death.

    2. Too many items are instantly inferior to others.
    Worst offenders here are helms and weapons. Sockets make or break helms and weapons.
    I don’t know how to easily fix this without going into Expansion territory, but it needs to be done.
    One suggestion: allow jeweler to add a socket to a piece of gear in exchange for one of the mods. Another suggestion: allow adding “small” sockets, which only allow Perfect Stars in. 10% isn’t such a big difference.
    Give players more choices in selecting their gear, don’t pidgeonhole them into a single gear setup.

    Oh and buff weapon Gems. Emeralds are insanely overpowered compared to others. Topaz could become a new defensive gem, with for example 300 AR. 300AR or 100% Crit dmg – that’ll make people think. Rubies needs to be buffed 10-20x in order to become as viable as emerald in terms of dmg. Perhaps even make rubies add IAs or Crit.

    Lastly, too many legendaries are best in slot now. The only rares worth IDing right now, IMO, are the amulets and 1h weapons. These can potentially sell for a ton. For all other slots, there are far better legendaries.
    e.g. Shoulders = Vile Ward, Boots = ik/zuni, helm = mempo/ik, etc.

    Solution: greatly buff the range of rare stats, such that there is a small chance they are actually a bit better than legendary. The cost of this is being lucky enough to find such a rare, and also spending time IDing all of them. TLDR: top rare is better than legendary, but is also more “rare” than legendary.

    Finally, please do something about the 2handers situation. They are still awful. The only 2h weapon worth using is Skorn.

    3. Too many legendaries still lack the “wow” factor and don’t allow to build around them
    I mean, cmon, Tasker and Theo’s? Ice Climbers are hot, but they are just stats. I love minmaxing, but honestly, the only time I felt excited was when I got the 5 piece bonus of IK and saw that my rage no longer degenerates.

    Blizzard, you’ve got to go back to D2X on this. Look at how gamechanging some legendaries were (despite not being all that powerful stat-wise). No suggestions here, because it’s just something to work through.

    4. The legendary drop rate is fine, but the feeling of it isn’t.
    The dry streaks between legendaries are murder. Players who aren’t 90+ Paragon won’t understand this, probably, but it’s absolutely morale-demolishing to experience this at max MF. In the long run, the drop rates are fine, so we can’t just ask to buff them.

    Solution? Leave 60+ legendary drop rate where it’s at. But also allow below-60 legendaries to drop as well. The emotional beauty of D2 drops was that top uniques were very few and you’d spend years hunting for a zod. But compensating for that was RAIN of colorful loot. Yes, most of it was Sigon and isenhart breastplates, but that excited players. It inspired them to start new charaters using this low-level loot. It gave morale. Next time a legendary helm drops, I’ll get excited wondering if it’s mempo. If I have to wait a day or two for another legendary helm, I’ll probably shoot myself. But if I get another one within the next 30min and it turns out to be some lvl 20 helm, I’ll still retain that thrill of the hunt.

    5. Speaking of low level legendaries…
    Buff em. Buff em hard. Think Leoric’s Signet. Crap stats, people use it. How about a lvl 30 helm that adds 50% movement speed and has 0 stats. How about a shield that generates 1% MF per second up to 200% above the cap?

    Get people excited about lower level legendaries. Otherwise, noone even cares about them.

    6. Add an official ladder scoreboard and make it sortable by various factors.

    Take a look at diabloprogress. Why not do the same officially? Competition inspires action. Go beyond paragon level. How about # of Inferno MP10 elite kills? # of legendary drops? Doesn’t take much.

    7. Balance out the acts in farming power

    Why is Alkaizer run so popular? Because everything else is so bad in comparison! What’s the main fun of Diablo games? Decimating humongous crowds of monsters. Solution is simple: make every area as good for farming as Alkaizer areas.

    8. Promote options in farming

    Right now, best way to farm is 10 min alkaizer run. That’s cool. But what if I don’t feel like doing that and only want to kill Azmodan in 120 seconds? i’ll get crap. I should be able to get a little less loot in 5 Azmodans than in an average 10min Alk run. That’s called options. Go beyond that. What if I want to spend an hour to clear full act and kill Azmodan with a stack of 30 NV? I should get, maybe, an almost guaranteed legendary?

    The time investment per run should promise more statistical loot, but the difference should not be as large as it is right now. Right now, if you run 2min Azmo, you’re going to get crap. If you run 1 hour act clear you will also get crap comparing to 10min efficient area clear. Let’s balance that.

    Oh, and open up the acts, please. Also, don’t despawn bosses if the selected quest is further than the boss.

    Give us reasons to kill bosses. How about Maghda sometimes drops top gems? Or Siegebreaker sometimes drops a material required for socketing. Or Diablo drops guaranteed lvl 63 legendary at 50 NV?

    9. Add a non-ring reward for Uber-ubers.

    I’m talking something as powerful as D2 ubers, something that doesn’t take a ring slot (hint, hellfire rings aren’t that good if you don’t need the 35% exp bonus. A trifecta stat ring bought on AH is far better and easier to get).

    So how about, 4th portal, with ubers that make people poop the pants. Those who actually manage to do it, get a non-slot reward, something as powerful as D2 charms that really has no substitute?

    10. Crafting.

    It’s horrible, and useless. You know it, I know it, we all know it. Let’s fix it.

    Hardcore-related suggestions

    1. Make us fear for our life again.
    Right now, top level characters have almost no way to die except by DC.
    In d2, there were scary places/monsters that made even top players fear for their lives.
    Add those places/monsters in, add in rewards for fighting those monsters, thanks.

    2. Do something about DCs, please, please, please. If something is going to destroy the HC community, it’s the DCs
    The best, non-exploitable solution is auto pause upon lack of communication between client and server.
    This cannot be exploited in a bad situation, this won’t work 100% of the time, and it’s the best solution we can get. Please consider it.

    3. Allow sparring modes as well to-death modes in HC PVP.
    I guarantee that almost noone will risk their 200 hour+ character in PVP if it’s to death only. Back in D2, people carefully sparred with shields on and insta-quit if their health got low. I think in HC, there should be an option, where the loser just goes on their knees and begs for mercy (and perhaps drops a bit of gold to bargain for their life). There should also be a to-the-death mode for those who want to put it all on the line. Another option is that the winner cuts off the loser’s ear in the sparring mode. You can lose max of 2 ears, after which you have to pay large sums of gold or gear for your life.

    As always, options are great.

    Subjective suggestions I feel would make the game better
    1. Add in game-naming system for public games, like in D2
    2. Add in D2-like visual channels for people to hang out and show off their profiles/characters
    3. Open up the PK mode, like in D2. Allow players to create public games with PK option unchecked (and make PKing disabled by default), if they do not wish to deal with PKs.
    4. Increase player limit to 8 or even 10 players.
    5. Don’t force players into a party.
    6. Allow players to gain bonus exp if they are not grouped in a multiplayer game (like in D2)
    7. Provide incentives for starting new characters. Hellforge, bonus items on first boss kills, imbue, socketing, etc, did wonders to give incentives for players to roll new characters.

    Overall, I feel like D3 is in a great place, but not quite there to become a truly timeless game. I think the beauty of D2 was that a player had so many options of what to do any given moment, and could wake up every morning with ideas of what to do next, how to challenge themselves or others. D3 is rather limited and more narrow right now. There is basically this: play 5 classes to 60, choose your favorite, and play it to Paragon 100 while minmaxing your stats. Nothing wrong with this, but more options would do wonders for the longevity of player’s experience. Hopefully, this is a direction blizzard would take.

    In my perfect world, I’d log in to Diablo and have a myriad of options of what I can do. For example:

    -Grind more Paragon on my fav hero
    -Check ladder and see who has top MP10 elite kills, try and beat them
    -Start up a new character with friends, play iron man or rush to a Hellforge-like 1-time reward quest
    -Start up a low level dueler character
    -Create a PK-allowed game.. with my anti-PKer, and act as bait
    -go search for PK-allowed games and PK there
    -Duel in the arena
    -Play the AH
    -hang out in the channel while showing off my awesome looking character
    -Go craft or gamble stats on my items in some fashion
    -Grind some keys for the Uber ubers
    -do quick MF runs
    -do average MF runs
    -do very very long MF runs
    -Play arena FFA last man standing tournament
    -etc!

    There’s a ton of feedback in the forum thread already, so get in on that or add your thoughts here.


    Tagged As: | Categories: Guest Articles, Hardcore, Paragon