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Wyatt Cheng on Diablo 3 Combat and Healing Changes

Posted 28 Sep 2013 by

Wyatt Cheng followed up yesterday’s article about the Pace of Diablo 3 Combat with a couple of detailed replies, answering various player questions/concerns and sharing more about the Diablo 3 combat and healing changes we’re going to see in Reaper of Souls.

Hi guys, I’ve seen some great feedback so far. Let me answer a few questions and address some concerns.

Regarding the existing monster affixes. We’ll be keeping an eye on these. For example, DiabloWikiReflects Damage internally has been changed to a flat amount rather than a percentage. I don’t know if it’s going to ship this way but that’s the current internal version.

If we don’t want a game defined by one-shot deaths, then we can’t have damage that is defined by its burstiness. Some people have suggested that the solution to making the game more tactical is to make all mechanics 100% avoidable. This sounds good on paper but unfortunately doesn’t address one-shot deaths. What we want to do is avoid the extremes. Maybe in one case you can avoid all of the damage, but in another case “good play” means you avoid half of the damage. Having a broad spectrum of attacks with varying degrees of avoidability means both combat decisions and gear matter.

Click through for much more from this long and info-rich post.

There have been some concerns that we’ll swing back to the extremes of hyper-defensives builds such as when the game first came out. This is not the intention. As DrothVader pointed out, there’s a middle ground here where you’re able to gear and play offensively, but you still have to concern yourself with the dangerous affixes and other mechanics.

A clarification: When I said “After we pull in the rate of healing, next we analyze the patterns in which monsters deal damage” I meant those as steps in the development process. Sorry for the confusion. I didn’t mean for a moment that we were going to release in between those two steps. As TheTruth posits, this is an iterative process. There are actually MANY steps involved, those are just the first two. We’re changing a lot of things and we’ll do a lot of testing of the whole package before putting it all live.

I also share ComposMentis’ concerns that although we’re trying to adjust how combat feels, we should make sure the result isn’t a game that feels slow. Diablo is still an action RPG. As Bomdanil says, there’s still a lot of room to “hack and slash through endless piles of monsters”. Creating room for players to mitigate incoming damage through smart play is not mutually exclusive with being able to blow them up at a fast pace. A few people have jumped to the conclusion that tactical = slow, or created a false dilemna between “fast paced action RPG” and “strategic prolonged tactical combat”. There are more possibilities than this. The goal is a game where the combat can still be very fast, and you are mowing down enemies, but you also get to make quick decisions about when to use a CC ability, when to pop a defensive ability or who to prioritize as a target. These are tactical decisions that don’t detract from a fast pace.

I want to thank everybody for the really solid and constructive discussion. It’s good to see so many thoughtful posts. I can’t realistically respond to everything (such as the suggested modified damage model or some of the potion ideas) but I do appreciate that so many people put effort into stating their reasons and opinions clearly.

With the new emphasis on life on hit to stay alive, any word of returning some nerfed proc coefficients …
Wyatt Cheng: We’ll be doing a detailed tuning pass on all DiabloWikiproc coefficients so DiabloWikiLife On Hit and other effects work reliably across all skills. No single skill becomes the mandatory “go-to” because it’s the only one that provides enough LoH to survive. Similarly we will ensure no skill’s proc coefficient is too low to sustain you.

Rather than looking at things as buffs and nerfs to proc coefficients, think of it as the proc coefficients of skills being on equal footing with one another and the damage and healing of monsters is tuned against this baseline.

This all comes in a suite with other game changes, so even with the detail we’ve seen from the datamined skills and items, we players are evaluating it with very incomplete insight. One thing to note on the early stuff; as far as we can tell especially from the skill changes, DiabloWikiLife Steal is going to be almost eliminated in Reaper of Souls. Almost all skills that provide it are changing to LoH, or Life % of total, or Life from Spirit/Fury spent, or flat bonuses modified by your DiabloWikiHGHB, or etc. Presumably Life Steal will not be found on items any more either… which goes nicely with their changing Reflects Damage to a flat value rather than a % based as we see today.

Thoughts on the other changes hinted at by Wyatt’s communications? Part One from him was here, if you missed it.


Tagged As: | Categories: Bosses, Items, Loot 2.0, Reaper of Souls, Wyatt Cheng