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  1. #1
    IncGamers Member Frostlion's Avatar
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    +skill items afer all?

    Before the finalization of the new rune system, Blizzard stated a number of times that they were not planning to add any +skills items to the game. With this new system though, might they not change their mind after all and include some '+1 to specific skill' items after all?

    These are the three main reasons I think this would make sense:

    1. Runed skills have at most the power of their level 4 runes from before the redesign of the skill system. However, the design, animations and balancing had been done up to level 7 runes. That means they have three levels of skill upgrades just ready and waiting to be used. If a +1 skills could only spawn on three item types (amulets, gloves and chest armor for example), it would be impossible to get over +3 to a skill and they wouldn't even need any extra design. What we would get though, is all the coolest skills we saw in earlier builds, like a magic missile with 6 projectiles instead of just 3.
    2. With the boost only improving one specific skill (or even one specific runed version of one specific skill), it would make the item hunt a lot more complex and interesting, because finding items with just the right +skills on top of other modifiers would be a big challenge. Also, specific +skills on unique and set items, could give them a lot more flavor and personality (as well as value). Imagine a Bul Kathos's Wedding Band that would boost life stealing skills, or a Magefist that would boost a number of runed skills that increase your casting speed.
    3. Finally, one of the biggest things people have worried about is build permanence and the ease of swapping out skills. This setup would still give you all the experimentation you could want while leveling and it would still give you a lot more flexibility in end-game than Diablo 2. But it would also give some build permanence for the very top end of the game, with your item setup not just being tailored to your skills, but actually making those specific skills stronger.


    Of course there's a more practical reason for suspecting this too: unique items seem to be the final thing Blizzard is still working on and the thing they were most worried about after their original design was burned at the stakes upon first reveal. So they clearly have some last minute work to do there and they're pretty worried about making the items more interesting and memorable. Wouldn't this be a sensible explanation for the lateness. After all, this would mean they weren't able to finalize things until after the rune redesign was completely done. And it would explain why Blizzard was so happy with this final simplified and item-less rune system: they knew the cool top tier skills would still find their way back into the game through item affixes.

    So, what do you think? Plausible theory or total insanity?




  2. #2
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    Re: +skill items afer all?

    + skill affixes are in..but according datamined informations, these are not increasing rune effects.. (like numbers of projectiles or something like that)..but more general stats for skills ...like increasing damage, lowering cooldown, decreasing resource cost, increasing crit chance...etc.. It may change till release of course..but for now..it works like that.



  3. #3
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    Re: +skill items afer all?

    I believe that the devs have HINTED that +skill items will return, but they haven't openly confirmed it yet.

    1. Yes
    2. Absolutely
    3. More yes



  4. #4
    IncGamers Member RAMailley's Avatar
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    Re: +skill items afer all?

    I'm going to have to burst your bubble a bit.

    Adding something like an extra bounce to Fire Bomb doesn't require any additional work from the animators. Once you know it's going to bonce, setting it up for additional bounces is fairly trivial. So, a lot of skills, unless their graphics change significantly as you level them (which I don't recall happening), don't have much extra animation work behind them on this front. However, Blizzard develops interatively, so there is likely a lot of extra stuff lying around. Still, I don't think this is a reason to change skill systems around.

    The same goes for balancing. The game is still undergoing balance and will be for some time. Using the argument that, 'they've put a lot of work into it so they must use it somewhere!' isn't really going to work. I doubt most of those skills were really that balanced anyway. Some seem nearly impossible to balance properly.

    And again, the same goes for design imo.

    But, all that being said, it looks like we will see modifiers like -0.1s cooldown on [SKILL]. Or -3 spirit cost on [SKILL]. So in that way, we will have some control over what skills we specialize in. And although they will remain functionally the same, if you want to focus on one skill and find all the gear to lower its CD, then by all means...

    I think that's how it will work anyway.



  5. #5
    IncGamers Member Wildmoon's Avatar
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    Re: +skill items afer all?

    I think they only said that there won't be affix that will add skill from other classes not +skill modifier.



  6. #6
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    Re: +skill items afer all?

    Initially they said they won't have +specific skills, as skills don't have levels, but I suppose that once they realized they don't really have a lot of affixes, they decided to put them back in. Of course that decision isn't even final, but from random blue posts it seems like it's pretty close to being final. What kind of skill-specific bonuses will there be? God knows...

    In any case, I think this is a very bad idea. Items that boost skills like cleave, hammer of the ancients, electrocute, etc will be much much more desireable than items that boost stuff like regenge, earthquake, mantras, wizard armors, caltrops etc. This will create even more "must have X stat for this item to be any good", which is a real problem when it comes to item balance and variety. They already created this problem with extremely powerful primary stats and extremely useless non-primary stats (for example, items must have str and must not have int/dex for them to be considered as "good for a barb"), and +damage on rings seems like another problematic must-have stat, while health/gold pickup radius seems rather useless (at least so far).

    Having skill-specific affixes will really make you have to have items with those specific stats for you to seriously consider them as a viable end-game item. Of course unless the stats suck, in which case you won't bother.

    Another problem it can cause, is that you might go with a build you don't like just because you happened to come across an item that boosts it, while the item that boosts the build you do like is super-expensive because you're obviously not the only one liking this build. While I like the idea of different builds having slightly different stat preferences, I don't like them having completely different stat preferences. The former makes you think a little about what items to use, and slightly better items with stats that are slightly less useful might still be worthwhile. The latter, on the other hand, makes it pretty obvious which items are awesome and which are useless.




  7. #7
    IncGamers Member Frostlion's Avatar
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    Re: +skill items afer all?

    Nice to see that discussion on this forum is still high-quality, there's some really good points being made. And I'm very curious how the datamined information will match what we see in the final game - and for unique/set items specifically.


    RAMailley, you mention that some of the rune leveling doesn't take that much work. While I certainly agree for specific examples, I was thinking more about the scope of the thing. It may well be possible for one specific rune level to be done in, say, 20 minutes. That would five you time to copy one extra part of the animation, repeat the sound effect, add in an icon in the skill interface, check for typos etc. However, there are 5 classes, with about 25 skills per class, with 5 runes per skill, with 7 levels per rune, which comes out to 5 x 25 x 5 x7 = 4375 rune effects. Even at just 20 minutes per effect, that's still 1460 hours of work, or close to a FTE.

    That said, I would certainly agree that Blizzard won't keep something in just because it took a lot of time. That's the whole point of their iterative process after all; it's not just adding what works better, but also removing what was not a success. What I am talking about here though, is keeping the part that was a success from the old rune system: skills becoming, looking and feeling more interesting in end-game. I'm not arguing a 6-projectile magic missile takes a lot of time to make, I'm arguing a 6-projectile magic missile is awesome. And Blizzard knows this, from fan reactions to videos, from comments in interviews and from their own play experience. And that is why it would make sense to include it.



    galzohar, you bring up some very good concerns. I have a few points to temper your worries somewhat, but even so, you might be right about '+specific skills' being a bad idea. But as for the tempering:

    Certain +skills may certainly be more popular than others, but the idea of the skill design is that - unlike in Diablo 2 - all skills are viable and can lead to good builds. To look at the first three of your examples:
    - For Revenge, the Vengeance is Mine and Provocation runes, which heal you, could be well worth upgrading for some hardcore builds. The Best Served Cold could be quite valuable boosted for crit-focussed builds.
    - Boosts to Earthquake may be extremely valuable for PvP builds that combine it with slows and snares.
    - Wind through the Reeds increases you movement speed with Mantra of Evasion, a number of farming builds may like to see that boosted. Increased reflection boosts to Mantra of Retribution from Retaliation and Indignation would also be quite powerful in PvP. And so on for other mantras.

    If your point is that not all skills will be equally worth boosting, then you're obviously right. What I am saying though, is that I expect to see a far greater variety of skills used in end-game (even for min-maxing), than we ever saw in Diablo 2. And this would also lead to a greater variety of item affixes being valuable.
    In fact, if I remember correctly, most 'must have X stat' items from Diablo 2 were actually things like +2 to all skills (or maybe +3 to lightning/combat/summoning) on amulets and circlets; 200%+ damage on weapons; sockets on armor, shields and circlets. In short, things that were actually valuable because they were so broadly valuable. While items like Ormus' Robes, that actually gave you +3 to one specific skill, didn't have 'must have X' so much as 'Oh wow, this has X, awesome, I'm in luck!' with weird skills actually giving you an incentive to try other builds.

    As I said though, you might be right about these +skills being a bad idea, and that is for the same balance reasons that RAMailley, mentioned: this will only work if a '+1 to skill X' is not too powerful. If just one of these boosts trumps 2 or 3 other good stats, you will certainly get all problems you describe. If it's a tricky balance though, where +skill, +damage and +attribute (for example), each give you a comparable boost, it will not be as much of a problem. Even more so if you can only get one (or two) of those three on any one item. (as it worked with charms in Diablo 2, where you couldn't have both +1 to skill tree and +15 all res on a grand charm).

    I agree with your worries on these earlier points and think they might be a serious reason to reconsider +skill affixes, but I don't agree on your final point. You're saying that you might be pushed to use skills that are not your favorite because of item drops. In my experience from Diablo 2 though, that's actually a good thing! I believe there is always a balance between how much you want power and how much you want your perfect build. And in fact, as often as not, my drops on character #1 would shape my decision on what kind of character do build next. Surely we all know the feeling of "I just got a Titan's revenge, I should build a javazon around that" or "I just completed Trang-Oul's, let's make a necro and turn into a Vampire!" And I had some of my best times trying these characters that would never have been my first choice except for these items.
    At the end of the day though, you always have a choice of what items to use and what spec to play. With the RMAH, some items may be more expensive, but at least you are guaranteed there is instant supply with fairly stable prices. And if you love a build, saving up and working hard to finally get that item you always wanted can actually make it more rewarding when you finally get there.




  8. #8
    IncGamers Member cozmiccc's Avatar
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    Re: +skill items afer all?

    It's not a matter that the extra effect take that much work, because most of these animations are ALREADY done. It is at the last minute (End of 2011) that Blizzard finally decide to pull off the ranked rune and instead give them all the middle-level effect. From various Blizzcon demo we can see Witch Doctor shooting 6 poison dart at once, Wizard splitting his magic missile into 6 bolt, and Barbarian in pvp throwing 6 ancient spear to pull enemy to him.

    So that got me wondering too... What the heck happened to these animation assets? It's already done so what will Blizzard do with it? My only guess is either it's in the game unlocked by special affix in magic item or legendary, or they have the plan to implement it later in an expansion or content patch (possibly together with Mystic or PvP)



  9. #9
    IncGamers Member RazeBarb's Avatar
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    Re: +skill items afer all?

    Quote Originally Posted by cozmiccc View Post
    So that got me wondering too... What the heck happened to these animation assets? It's already done so what will Blizzard do with it? My only guess is either it's in the game unlocked by special affix in magic item or legendary, or they have the plan to implement it later in an expansion or content patch (possibly together with Mystic or PvP)
    Yeah, they probably won't let these things go to waste. But I guess right now they don't know what to do with it or how to make it feel good. Just like the Mystic.



  10. #10
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    Re: +skill items afer all?

    Galzohar, keep in mind nothing is final here... but once again..according some datamining it seems that + skill affixes roll which skills they will boost..so it's not like "this legendary weapon has + 2 to cleave" but it's like "this legendary has 1-2 + (1-2) Barbarian specific skill affixes"
    hopefully it's making sense.



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