Prepare for a VERY long read with no TLDR. If you wish to skip through to the “best” stuff just browse the post for whichever bold section interests you. I definitely recommend checking out each proposed system.
My name is Gosu, not really but let’s go with that. I am a hardcore gamer of 20 odd years with a wealth of experience under my belt. I estimate my number of games completed at over 1000(what one thousand?!) and I enjoy games of ALL genres. Shooters, RPG’s, JRPG’s, action/adventure, puzzle, platformers, MMO’s, MOBA’s, indie games of all types, ARPG’s, racing games, fighting games, rhythm games…the list goes on.
The point is, I feel that I’ve learned just about all there is to know about what makes games fun and why. And yes, I am well aware that different people enjoy games for different reasons.
In this guide, I will discuss EVERY major problem that exists in Diablo 3, why they are problems, how to fix them, and why the fixes will work. This post took me the better part of 3 weeks and nearly 100 hours to write. I pray to the gamer gods that it does not fall on deaf ears and that it somehow finds its way into the hands of people who can use it to make a difference. Getting a Blue to respond by informing me that the post has been passed on would make it all worth it. Of course, engaging in an open discussion with a CM would be the bee’s knees.
Before I start, I also want it to be known that I enjoy Diablo 3 and I don’t feel it is a bad game in the slightest. Quite the opposite actually, I think it is a fine and enjoyable game. I do, however feel that it falls quite short of its potential. I have a 60 of every class, a paragon 100 Barb(amazing accomplishment right?), and nearly 1100 hours of playtime to go off of. I have a massive passion for this game and I could not have written this compendium otherwise.
Please know I do not claim that all of my suggestions and examples are fool proof, 100% balanced where numbers are concerned or even FULLY fleshed out. They are simply a foundation for what I feel this game should strive for in order to achieve epic greatness.
So let’s start with a generalized list of D3’s largest problems.
• Auction House
• Class Balance and Build Variety
• Aesthetics Customization
• Social Features
• End Game and Incentive to Play
• Multiplayer/Group Play
Quite a long list no? All of these things need vast improvements unfortunately, though some require less attention than others. Enough delay, let’s get started!
By challenge, I don’t just mean the difficulty in killing random monsters. Challenge is about much more than how long it takes to kill something or how many times you die before you can do it. As far as THAT kind of challenge is concerned, the monster power system was a fine step in the right direction for the game.
However, I feel that Diablo 3 is almost void of the kind of challenge that gives players a great satisfaction for having overcome. The Belial boss encounter in vanilla Inferno is a perfect example of this kind of challenge. For a game that plays off of one’s ability to click, there sure is a lack of challenge associated with that clicking. Belial was a great encounter because it forced you to pay attention and take very precise click-focused actions in order to succeed. This kind of challenge is almost completely non-existent in the game at this point.
So what is the solution? Unfortunately it isn’t a quick fix and I don’t think it will help any to go into a long list of ideas. To put it simply, the game needs more moments of challenge that aren’t simply based on how much HP a monster has or how much damage it does. Use environmental hazards that deal a percentage of non-mitigatable damage to your health pool, give monsters abilities that are VERY obvious but will take you down to 1hp or outright kill you if you’re being neglegent, have monsters that use timers in interesting ways (how about a demon that summons pulsating orbs that explode into zig-zagging rays of instant death that must be avoided if you don’t kill the orb before it goes off).
These are the kind of challenges that can’t simply be negated with gear. They don’t need to be overly difficult, but they could certainly serve to force players to think and act instead of overcoming the obstacle with gold/money. Gear should ALWAYS make things easier, but I definitely don’t believe that it should allow you to avoid every single challenge the game throws at you.
As it stands now, the majority of monster abilities in D3 are nearly impossible to avoid with any consistency. This style of damage dealing forces players into figuring out ways to permanently avoid the challenge instead of overcoming it in a fun way. Mortars, molten, electric, plagued…most people just stand in all this stuff because it’s either too difficult or too time consuming/inefficient to avoid. Also, a truly challenging obstacle needs to grant players with rewards that reflect said difficulty. These challenges aren’t any fun if they present themselves in the game without rest. Spread them out and make them different, interesting and varied, while rewarding players accordingly.
As a side note, certain challenges introduced into the game need to be made easier/more fun when playing with a group of players, this is the kind of thing that helps to incentivize group play. It’s fun to overcome challenges with friends, the current game does not facilitate this outside of Uber Bosses.
Give us repeatable quests that require large amounts of demonic essences and other resources to activate. These quests could involve challenges that are almost impossible by yourself but get significantly easier with more players. They could involve things like multiple spawn points where something needs to be protected. You can try covering them all by yourself and it’s certainly possible, but how much more fun would it be to get a team for that kind of thing? YOU COVER TOP SPAWN, I GOT BOTTOM, JERRY CATCHES THE LEAKS, OH NO, JERRY’S DOWN, LAY SOME TRAPS AND GO REZ HIS A**! Have the reward be a guaranteed legendary/set piece and a pile higher tier’d gems. Now ask yourself, is a challenge like that incentive to play? More on this specific topic near the end of this post.
Arguably D3’s biggest problem. Every single patch has been focused on fixing a leak that will never stop so long as the foundation it’s built upon continues to remain in use. I’m sorry to say it, but Diablo 3’s itemization is not good. Not very good at all. So why exactly isn’t it good and what effect does it have on players and the game as a whole?
Diablo 3’s poor itemization stems from a few key areas.
• Incredibly limited number of interesting, unique and build diversity-promoting affixes
• Poor weapon system
• Over population of items in general, particularly useless ones
• Poor Legendary/Set Piece item system
• Poor arrangement of affixes
Now what do these problems result in?
• Limited item-oriented build diversity
• A bore-fest of ID’ing items, 99% of which are going to be barely vendor worthy
• A large number of best in slot items that have no place in a game that purportedly encourages build diversity and revolves around a randomized item hunt
• A clear cut path to the end of the road for all item slots (Everyone knows what the best item looks like for every item slot for every class, regardless of spec) with extremely limited exceptions
• Reliance on the Auction House for upgrades
Let’s discuss each point above.
I think that one of the biggest problems with itemization is the complete lack of interesting affixes. Where actual stats are concerned on armor, all damage comes from main stat, crit chance, crit damage and attack speed (and occasionaly +min-max dmg). All of these stats increase damage in very similar ways with little influence on how you actually play the game due to the fact that they are all available in quantity and quality that make selecting and identifying optimal values easy. Never have I ever chosen one item over another by comparing actual CONTENT of the offensive stats as opposed to the damage boost that one gives me over the other (with the rare exception of fulfilling minimum requirements for crit chance and attack speed). Obviously there are extreme scenarios in which this could occur, and it is also worth mentioning that much of that lack of choice comes from poor build diversity as much as it does poor itemization.
The same thing goes for defensive stats. There is a flat recommended value for every defensive stat for every class with little to no difference between specs. There is an EXTREMELY limited number of efficient and fun builds that require a special item affix that is at least slightly difficult to achieve.
So basically, items play a terrifyingly tiny role in promoting build diversity due to the fact that both offensive and defensive affixes are extremely limited in number and creativity, making them quite easy to plan for and acquire where needed.
So how do we fix this? I have two specific solutions and several small suggestions that should improve the item system tremendously. First let’s start with the “small suggestions”.
• Remove all boring and useless affixes from the game, or at least the higher tier’d items. Health globe/potion restoration amount, thorns (I don’t feel that thorns is right for this game at all, not even if it was significantly buffed. If a number of skills were altered for each class to promote FUN thorns builds, then perhaps I would change my mind), life after kill, ignores durability loss (why is this stat still in the game?), level requirement reduction, immobilize, fear, blind, freeze (fear is annoying and pointless in all situations and immobilize, blind and freeze are all too similar to their counterparts. Also their maximum value on most items is absurdly low, making it almost impossible to create a build around) and last and certainly least, bleed dmg proc chance(this is the only one that is arguably worse than ignores durability loss. I am actually embarrassed for Blizzard that this is still in the game in its current state).
• Remove all class specific affixes. Don’t worry, I have a solution for this that I will detail a little further down in the post.
• Greatly increase the number of interesting affixes! Here are some suggestions to get the dev team started. While most of these suggestions are for Rare item affixes, some of them may be better suited for legendary items.
Note: I am aware that some of these suggestions sound like they should be among the passive abilities found on each class, but I am absolutely certain that introducing some of these basic combat alterations as item affixes can only result in gameplay that is MORE fun and a build diversity that is infinitely higher.
Chance on skill use your next skill does % more dmg
Chance on skill use your next skill costs no resources
Chance on monster death to increase your movespeed
Chance on skill use to cast a second, identical skill for free, instantly
%of your combined or highest resists added as physical damage
Increase the damage of channeled skills by %
AOE damage increased by X%
Single target damage increased by X%
% of non-critical damage dealt lingers on targets for X seconds (a better version of bleed)
Damage taken reflected for X% weapon damage(alternative to thorns?)
Reduce all damage taken by X%
Targets hit with non critical damage restore X% max resources
+X% All resistances/armor/main stat for 5 seconds after kill
% of damage taken added to your own for X seconds
Non-critical damage you deal receives X% life steal
Critical hits have X% chance to spawn health globe
X% chance to instantly slay non-elite enemies
X% of max resource restored when you are hit
% of gold picked up added to armor for X seconds
% of single target damage dealt explodes around you in a X yard radius
Resource generation skills generate X% more resources
Run speed cap increased by X%
% increase to main stat (int, dex, str)
+Chance to Dodge
+Nephalem Power points. (Explained a just a little further down)
Does anyone realize how many builds can be created from proper utilization of some of these affixes? I’m so sick of shooting for the same stats with every class, especially considering that these stats play such a miniscule, if non-existent role in deciding my character’s build.
NOTE: I came up with those ideas in about 15 minutes. I’m sure that a table full of developers can come up with more/better ideas than that. DO IT!
One important thing to remember when looking at improving itemization is the aspect of choice. One of D3’s major itemization issues is the fact that no one rich enough ever has to choose between anything on each piece of gear. There is a clear BiS piece that makes choosing easy. The fact that I immediately know the value of every single thing I identify is a major sign of poor itemization. There need to be enough offensive and defensive affixes that are able to appear on ALL items so that a player will always have to say, “do I want this or do I want this?”…regardless of the depths of their wallets. The fact that there are barely 6 useful affixes and a maximum of 6 affix slots on items means that people almost never have to choose! Poor people have to make more choices, but even they know exactly what SHOULD be on each piece. Also, gearing out players in beefy gear is pretty cheap nowadays due to inflation and overpopulation of items that all shoot towards the same set of affixes. Soon even poor players will have it easy(BoA crafting anyone? ).
I look forward to a day where I have to inspect someone for a good 20 minutes before I have an idea of how they’ve chosen their gear and how it allows them to play the game. Hell, I look forward to the day where I don’t know EXACTLY how a person plays the game after inspecting them for 3 seconds.
Before I move any further, I’d like to discuss the first major system proposal I have for Diablo 3. I call it the Nephalem Power stat system.
SYSTEM PROPOSAL #1: NEPHALEM POWER STAT SYSTEM
This system serves to improve the game in several ways.
• Supports the removal of class specific affixes on items (with the exception of legendaries. I feel that some legendaries should offer interesting class bonuses, especially where set piece bonuses are involved)
• Promotes item and build diversity as well as vastly improves itemization overall
• Gives players another layer of potentially DEEP and rewarding customization
• Brings back a version of the popular skill tree sytesm
Class specific affixes just don’t belong on most items, ESPECIALLY rares. They’re always there when you don’t want them to be and they’re never there when you would pay out the butt to have them. Then when they finally do show up, their values are so low that it basically defeats the purpose. Either that or the wrong class affix shows up. Why do you think no one picks up rare class specific items???
So here’s how it works. Items will now drop with the potential of rolling the “Nephalem Power” affix. Like all other affixes, this affix rolls a certain value. For the sake of explanation, let’s say that value is between 1-5 depending on the item. Once equipped, your character will now be able to “spend” these points in a new pseudo-skill tree system. Unequiping items will simply remove the last points you placed in the tree equal to the number of points you just removed(is that overly hard to program?lol)This “skill tree” will have a variety of options to put points into, each one affecting the character in ways that were previously sought out on class specific affixes on certain items. Here’s a few examples for each class just to give you a better idea of what I’m talking about. This list is nowhere near final, as the final list would contain many more options that focused on individual skills, much like many of the class specific affixes you see today (-5 hatred cost to Impale, for example).
Increases fury regeneration by X. 0/10 points
Increases Bleed Damage by X. 0/5 points
Increases Lifesteal by 0.2%. 0/15 points
Increases Max Fury by X. 0/10 points
Decreases Fury cost of all skills by X%. 0/15 points
Decreases Cooldowns of WoTB, CotA and Earthquake by 4 seconds. 0/20 points
Arcane Power regeneration increased by X. 0/10 points
Critical hits restore X Arcane Power. 0/10 points
Max Arcane Power increased by X. 0/10 points
Increase Hydra spawn cap by 1. 0/6 points (max of 3 extra)
Increase Lifesteal by 0.4%. 0/15 points
Decreases cost of all skills by X%. 0/15 points
Channeled Skills Decrease Damage taken by X every X seconds up to X amount. 0/10 points.
Two different armor skills may be active at once. Requires 15 points.
Increases Mana regeneration by X. 0/10 points
Increases lifesteal by 0.4%. 0/15 points
Increases Max Mana by X. 0/10 points
Pets Deal X% more damage. 0/15 points
Increase Max Number of Zombie Dogs by 1. 0/6 points (max of 3 extra)
All Spirit Skill damage increased by X%. 0/10 points
Decreases cost of all skills by X%. 0/15 points
X% Chance for a slain pet to revive automatically. 0/10 points
Increases Spirit Regeneration by X. 0/10
Increases lifesteal by 0.3%. 0/15 points
Increases Max Spirit by X. 0/10 points
X healing per spirit spent. 0/15 points
Lowers Cooldown of 7-sided Strike by X seconds. 0/10 points
Two different Mantras may be active at once. Requires 15 points.
Spirit Generators get X% improved base spirit generation. 0/10 points.
Breath of Heaven radius and power increased by X%. 0/10 points
Increases Hatred Regeneration by X. 0/10 points
Increases Discipline Regeneration by 0.2. 0/10 points
Increases Lifesteal by 0.4%. 0/15 points
Increases Max Discipline by X. 0/10 points
Increases Max hatred by X. 0/10 points
Decrease Hatred cost of all skills by X. 0/10 points
Pet and Sentry Damage increased by X. 0/5 points
Vault resource cost increased to 25 and changed to Hatred. Requires 12 points
Movespeed increased by X% for 3 seconds when hit. 0/10 points
All traps restore X Hatred and X discipline when triggered. 0/4 points
While some of these values and suggestions are obviously not 100% balanced, you should still get the point I’m trying to make by now. There is an extreme lack of customization present in the game right now and I strongly believe that this can help to alleviate that. I also think that class specific affixes are the bane of existence on rare items and many legendaries. They are almost always either a waste of a slot or missing in action when you REALLY want them to be there. This system puts the power in the player’s hands while also forcing them to make important choices. This system should also increase build variety tenfold if incorporated properly. I also think it would be cool to grant players points while they level up Paragon. Perhaps 2 points every 10 levels or 1 point every 5?
For those of you who are thinking, “yeah but then everyone will just stack Nephalem Power Points because the bonuses are so good”. NOT TRUE! You only think this because you are familiar with Diablo 3’s current itemization. Give a player several reasons to feel that they’d rather have another affix on a certain piece of gear than more NP points and you avoid the issue entirely. That is a large part of the reason why new and powerful affixes need to be incorporated so badly. It’s definitely true that NP points offer more variety being that they are condensed into one affix but this is okay because variety is the main goal of proper itemization, even if a large chunk of it comes from one affix. I also believe that creating a new gem that gives NP points would be a positive step in relieving many players of feeling like they absolutely have to have NP on all of their gear. In reality though, NP will only be as powerful as the numbers that represent the bonuses. Also, I propose another system further on down this post that will also help to avoid the problem of people feeling the need to use NP points over anything else. REMEMBER, IF PLAYER’S ALWAYS FEEL LIKE THEY’RE MISSING OUT ON SOMETHING AWESOME AND HAVE TOO MANY CHOICES, REGARDLESS OF WHAT STATS THEY’VE CHOSEN, THEN D3’S ITEMIZATION WILL HAVE OFFICIALLY ACHIEVED EXCELLENCE!
So now let’s cover the rest of the bullet points for itemization issues in D3.
Poor Weapon System:
I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this section because I don’t have a clear solution for the problem, nor do I feel the problem is very large in comparison to some of the other problems discussed in this very long post.
Basically, the different weapon types have almost no differences in how they affect your gameplay. Other than a couple passives and slight variations in attack speed, there is almost no difference between weapon types. My most immediate recommendation would be to add a guaranteed affix to each weapon type that causes the weapons to stand out from each other a bit. EXAMPLES YOU SAY!?
1h Axe: 40% Increased Bleed Damage. Critical hits have a chance to cause instant death to non elite monsters
1h Mace: 10% Increase to Str, Dex and Int. Enemy deaths cause bone shrapnel to be hurled in all directions causing 30% weapon dmg to enemies hit.
1h Spear: Increase range of all projectile skills by 35%. Projectile skill damage increased by 25%
I’m definitely not claiming the above examples to be suitable or balanced, I’m simply trying to illustrate the suggestion.
Before I move on to the next bullet point, I’d like to make a specific mention of the tragedy that is the Demon Hunter weapon fiasco. There is literally only 1 weapon in the game that DH’s should be using. Everyone knows what it is and every sane DH seeks one. This is an absolute travesty that needs to be addressed immediately. Make 1h xbows and 2h bows suitable alternatives to 2h xbows and introduce an alternative to the all-powerful Manticore. Start by fixing that stupid passive. I also suggest introducing another set of ranged weapons into the game. Moving on…
Over Population of Items:
Items are overpopulated, pure and simple. Too many whites, too many blues, too many rares, yet still not enough legendaries. No one with any sensibilities picks up ANY equippable items other than rare 1h weapons, gloves, pants, rings, ammies and shoulders. That is what, 1% of the total item pool? People are asking for an “ID all” button because everyone is sick of ID’ing 50 items every 10 minutes. Imagine how many they’d have to ID if they picked up more than just the items I listed above.
Nobody wants to pick up THOUSANDS of useless items. The fact is, the average item is just too awful. This is a large contributor to the feeling of helplessness that comes with playing this game and always leads players to relying on the Auction House. When you have to ID 500 items before you find one worth selling and then start the process all over again, you begin to feel desperation and a sense that your luck is just worse than everyone else’. NO ONE wants to spend that much time sorting through that much junk. The only reason we do it AT ALL is so that we can scrounge up enough savings to enlist the help of the AH. We don’t do it cause it’s fun, we do it because we have no other choice.
The sheer amount of junk sorting in this game is just ridiculous. The first step to solving this problem is to decrease the number of overall items dropped and increase the minimum power of items. Unfortunately, this problem cannot be fully understood until we shed light on Auction House problems and some of the more general problems with itemization in this game.
The problem with the Auction House is more complicated than anyone seems to understand. Perhaps someone has nailed it, but I’ve yet to see it. The problem that everyone has with the Auction House is actually the result of several combined problems.
• The Auction House makes buying and selling too easy and systematic.
• The Auction House displays the best items the game has to offer, which actually decreases the enjoyment of the item hunt. This problem is actually caused by poor itemization, but is exacerbated by the AH.
• The Auction House is interpreted as a fully necessary source for the majority of your upgrades. Again, this problem is caused by poor itemization. Unfortunately, Blizzard is trying to patch this leak with BoA items. I don’t believe that BoA items in general will harm the game, but I do believe that the over implementation of them could cause serious damage to both the item hunt as well as the fun that can come with trading and scrounging for upgrades amongst the community. I don’t think the current BoA system will harm the game in any meaningful way.
The Auction House being too easy and systematic is actually a major problem, but not in and of itself. This problem is the result of so many factors of poor itemization. Without an auction house to facilitate such quick and simple means of spending and acquiring gold and items, players wouldn’t be complaining for the same reasons.
In optimal conditions, players who are constantly finding items that present them with the problem of choice do not feel the need to flock to the AH right away. There is very little sense of experimentation in this game when considering how well the game COULD support such experimentation. Players all shoot for builds of maximum efficiency because they need the gold earned in order to make further upgrades to their character’s killing capabilities(among other reasons). It’s quite an unfortunate cycle. The AH isn’t just mandatory because of the lack of powerful items being found, it’s mandatory because everyone knows exactly what should be on every single item and the AH makes finding that item a breeze. Powerful items are relative, but it’s the manner in which they exist in the current iteration of this game that caused such outrage towards the auction house.
Playing “for fun” can only be possible when a state of strong efficiency can be reached within the build you have chosen. This is just a fact for the majority of players, the evidence is everywhere. Most players just can’t have fun when they know that their build is fun to play but absolutely CRUSHING their efficiency. However, having fun is certainly possible when your build supports different types of efficiency. Unfortunately, this game does not support many different types of efficiency at the moment. Again, this problem stems from itemization, poor class balance, a lack of proper content and several other, more minor, foundations. I’ll get into this more a little later though.
For the auction house to work the way it should work, itemization needs to reach a point where choosing between items is very difficult. A player needs to have a wide variety of VERY different builds available to them as well as a wealth of items that make choosing that build even more difficult. This is just not the case…not even close. 95% of the choices in this game are super easy.
The auction house will never work the way it could (and should) until itemization is remedied to the point where players are constantly bombarded with gear choices. Gear doesn’t have to be powerful in the sense that most players see it as today in order to promote a choice. Gear simply has to offer you something that you can utilize in various ways. For this to work without JUST buffing the rate at which players find “powerful” items, it is crucial to remember that a gear choice CANNOT simply mean an increase to your unbuffed DPS or resistances/armor (as it does now). A gear choice must reflect an enormous number of things.
• Kill style(Range single target, melee single target, R-AOE, M-AOE, AOE projectile, POI-AOE, etc.)
• Kill speed/power(speed at which you kill different amounts and types of enemies. Relates to your DPS, move speed and skill choices)
• Kill style and speed in relation to defensive power required to execute your preference for each
• Kill style and speed in relation to how quickly you move from group to group(downtime in between groups)
• Kill choice variety (how many variations of killing in one build exist for you)
• Situational kill choice variety (same as above but with circumstantial focus)
• Regard to resources while factoring in personal preference of big spending with strong regeneration or small spending with a focus on spending efficiency or some variety outside or inbetween(Resources play a MAJOR role in builds. This game does not take advantage of giving players the options to utilize resources in a variety of interesting ways)
• The effectiveness of damage types on varying levels of monster HP and Power
• Efficient life return
• Circumstantial life return
• Effective Health Pool
…just to name a few. As I mentioned above, I will cover this topic in greater detail further down the post.
To sum things up; the auction house is not the source of this game’s problems as so many people would have you think. While the AH certainly does introduce some questionable gameplay factors into an ARPG such as Diablo 3, I believe that, with proper itemization, the AH will do much more good than harm(I don’t even feel the AH is really doing harm to the game per se. Poor itemization and build variety is making the AH look far worse than it is). I believe that strong itemization and build variety will remove a great deal of the necessity in using the AH that players currently feel. Unfortunately, so long as the AH is the easiest method of acquiring upgrades for the majority of players in the majority of circumstances(and selecting those upgrades is equally easy), it will be looked poorly upon.
I want to be clear that I don’t believe BoA items and crafting should be the sole fix for this issue. Players need to be able to discover their own upgrades and options via looting them on a somewhat regular basis, even at the higher gear levels. As I’ve stated several times by now, this will never occur while build diversity, character customization, and interesting items are lacking or non-existent.
Moving on to the next bullet point…you tired of reading yet?
Poor Legendary/Set Piece System:
This is a pretty controversial topic. From what I can see, developers seem to believe that they vastly improved the game with their changes to legendary items in patch 1.04. I absolutely agree that the game was improved, however I think the amount of improvement is FAR less than they, and many other people believe. The majority of improvement that came from the legendary change was the removal of legacy legendary items from the game. They were embarrassing in how poorly they were designed. Unfortunately, certain areas of the game were actually made worse by the implementation of the new legendaries.
Original legendary items were literally the most unbelievably and horribly obvious development mistake in Diablo 3 (in my eyes). They were (and still are in MANY cases) so god awful, that I still cannot believe they made it into the game. I’m trying to keep this post as constructive as possible, but I’m having a hard time refraining from speaking my mind about the state of legacy, and many non-legacy legendary items. They carry with them some very serious and unfortuntae implications of Blizzard’s ability to make good design decisions for this game.
As with all the other bullet points, the problem with legendaries is a multi-faceted one.
• Most legendaries are still 100% useless to any player with more than 500,000 gold to their name
• The role that legendaries should play in this game is not clear, nor do they seem to be supported by a system that works for what I am assuming is the dev’s goal for legendaries
• Legendary items are too common if they’re supposed to be items that contain guaranteed extreme power (which they aren’t even close to accomplishing), but WAY too uncommon if they’re supposed to be anything else.
• Legendary items are boring. The mildly interesting and unique affixes present on some of them are grossly underpowered, they don’t play any role in promoting build diversity and they are present only on the items that no one wants.
• Most set piece bonuses are plain and boring to the point of frustration. Powerful they might be in some cases, but interesting and fun this does not make them.
I believe the current legendary item economy is the result of rushed implementation (even though the dev team had years to perfect them). The role that legendaries play in this game is nothing more than a tiny number of clear BiS items, should they roll a certain and obvious combination of affixes. Mempo with crit = BiS all classes all builds. Lacuni Prowlers with crit+mainstat and vit or AR = BiS all classes all builds. Vile Wards with high main stat and vit = BiS all classes all builds (at least before the implementation of BoA shoulders, which, with a lot of luck, can be as good as Vile Wards).
The fact that I was even able to name ONE item that is BiS for all classes and all builds is an absolute abomination. What is the one thing that makes 2/3 of those items BiS???? I bet it’s something really cool… Nope, it’s attack speed.
The dev team needs to realize that giving an item attack speed that can’t usually roll attack speed does not make for an interesting and fun legendary item. It can absolutely make for a powerful one, which is totally okay. I don’t have a problem with these items existing. My problem lies with the fact that there are zero alternatives. Why are 99% of sub ilvl63 legendaries utterly useless??? Why does Inna’s 3p set bonus increase spirit regen by 0.33? Why is a 2 socket Manticore the ONLY viable weapon for Demon Hunters? All of these questions have the same answer; poor itemization.
So how do we fix legendaries? Again, not a super simple or super fast fix. The answer itself, however, is quite simple:
More unique affixes, less of an all-encompassing power gap between 2 different rolls of the same legendary, more variation and much higher quantity. The majority of legendary power should come from affixes that don’t appear on other gear lots. This doesn’t mean that you should just throw attack speed on everything. Get creative and give legendary items some interesting and unique powers.
I am under the impression that the devs are afraid of making items too powerful in interesting ways. Everyone familiar with frostburn gauntlets? (yeah I bet you are) Why can’t these gloves roll 40%+ increased frost damage??? Would that make them so good that more than 1% of players would say, “OMG SO STRONK I NEED THOSE GLOVES”? I seriously doubt it. And why can’t they roll ANY other useful stats?
What about that ring that sucks life from surrounding enemies. Why can’t it suck like 3k life per second? It’s not so much as to make you invincible, but at least you’d notice it.
Or what about Slorak’s Madness Wand? Why can’t this wand be an item version of the Wizard passive Unstable Anomaly with like a 5 or 10 min CD? And why can’t this wand roll any combination of the offensive stats it needs to in order to be considered powerful?
Why can’t unique legendary affixes do anything that would actually affect the way we play and/or build our characters? I think it would be awesome to have a build or even a branch of builds that can revolve entirely around one item. That doesn’t mean that said build would have to be the most uber powerful thing ever, but there’s nothing wrong with it being powerful enough that it inspires some people to do it. Allowing items to play large roles in influencing builds is literally the most time-efficient thing the dev team can do considering the extent to which the game would improve as a result. You’re literally multiplying the effectiveness of the systems you already have in place via clever methods of itemization.
Bottom line: Legendaries are still too boring, too weak overall and too uncommon considering their current role in this iteration of the game. Get some fun affixes in there that carry some ACTUAL formidable power with them. How about a sword that has a chance on hit (with internal CD) to burn bright in your character’s hands while sending waves of force out in front of you dealing a % of weapon dmg and increasing all Holy damage taken by those enemies by 50% for 8 seconds. I bet all of you can come up with some pretty sweet weapon procs or interesting armor effects, why can’t the devs?
Alright, let’s quickly cover the last bullet point so we can move on to the next subject.
Poor Arrangement of Affixes:
This one is mostly the result of a lack of available and desirable affixes as well as many of the other factors listed in the last hundred paragraphs. Basically, the fact that certain affixes can only appear on certain pieces of gear on top of the fact that these affixes are REQUIRED for max efficiency, means that players, AGAIN, have a completely clear cut path towards their end item goals. Get the quinfecta’s where they can be and get the other 4 good stats on pieces the quinfecta’s don’t appear on. For every one of these select few affixes that an item is missing, it gets significantly worse. Do the devs realize this major issue?
This is bad bad bad. I’m not saying that attack speed and crit should be able to roll on every single item in the game(although I do believe they should be able to roll on MOST items, just at lesser values than they do now). That problem is, AGAIN, that there are no suitable alternatives. So again we have an issue that is built on the poor foundation that is Diablo 3’s itemization, customization and build variety.
Players would not seek out the same stats on every item if the best and ONLY way to efficiency wasn’t pure dps with a minimum requirement for survival given the MP level.
Players would not seek out the same stats on every item if they could use OTHER interesting stats to support different methods of efficiency and power.
Players would not seek out the same stats on every item if they could get those stats, or stats that fill a similar role, on other items and instead use those particular affix slots for another means of build support.
Players would not seek out the same stats on every item if class balance supported a wide variety of efficient builds based on an enormous variety of stat collections and allocations.
And finally, players would not seek out the same stats on every item if there existed legendary items that could introduce special affixes to the game that PROPERLY supported the use of non-conventional stats and/or skills.
So how do we solve this problem of clear cut stat hunting that seems to work for every class and every build? We use the same solutions that I spoke about throughout this post thus far. However, I have another system proposal that I feel could help tremendously in improving itemization, particularly where this specific problem of affix arrangement is concerned.
PRIME POWER LOOT SYSTEM PROPOSAL:
The prime power loot system is a system that attempts to achieve the following.
• Improve overall itemization
• Improve the enjoyment players receive during the loot hunt
• VASTLY Improve item-oriented build variety
• Improve player ability to FIND their own gear
• Alleviate the issue of players always having a clear cut path where desired stats are concerned
The system introduces a new kind of loot into the game. Any piece of loot from Uncommong (blue) to Legendary (orange/brown) can roll as a “Prime” piece of loot. So what designates a prime piece of loot? A prime piece of loot is a piece of loot that has rolled one or more affixes that rolled higher than what is normally allowed on a given item. Basically, these affixes roll like normal then a multiplier is applied to that roll, resulting in a new and higher value.
This prime loot drop would be indicated by a unique graphical effect that is visible on said loot the moment it hits the ground, much like the beam of light that shoots up from a legendary/set item. So let’s compare 2 pieces of identical loot, one is a prime piece, the other is not.
NON-PRIME PIECE: Rare shoulders
+300 Life regen
+40 All resists
+7 yards increased pickup radius
Normally, most players would look at this piece of loot and say, “that’s not terrible, but it’s definitely not going to make me rich and I already have a pair of Vile Wards that are a lot better”. Even a somewhat cheap pair of Vile Wards or a nice crafted pair of BoA Archon shoulders could beat it quite easily. Now let’s look at the prime piece of loot.
PRIME PIECE: Rare shoulders
+900 Life regen (3x Prime multiplier)
+40 All resists
+14 yards increased pickup radius (2x Prime multiplier)
What exactly happened? The piece of loot still isn’t ideal given the fact that the current itemization and class balance system supports pure DPS and standardized minimum requirements of defense for efficiency, but even with those poor foundations we are currently playing with, we now have an item that no one would deem as “total crap”. 900 life regen on one piece of gear is nothing to scoff at, and +14 yards increased pickup radius might be WELL worth the slight loss in DPS and EHP to many people.
Some of you might say, well that’s nothing but an artificial/arbitrary inflation of common stats. Well, that’s not too far off from what the system is, but let me tell you why it’s so much more than that and why I KNOW it would work so well.
First of all, this system cannot thrive to its full potential if incorporated into the current itemization system that is present in the game. As I’ve said many times by now, there needs to be a much larger variety of choice in affixes as well as proper character balance and customization options to support such items.
To illustrate how this system works, I’m going to go over each bullet point that I listed above and HOW this system accomplishes those points.
Very general. This system improves itemization because it takes uninteresting affixes or uninteresting values of those affixes and transforms them into something interesting because of the potential values it can create. It also allows players the opportunity to fill whatever requirements they’ve set for themselves on an item that could have never previously accomplished this. I don’t believe that a player should have to find the max amount of life regen that any item can attain and then find it on every single item that it can appear on before you can create a build from it or even get any noticeable benefit from it.
300 life regen isn’t interesting, nor can any builds or play styles stem from it. 900 life regen, on the other hand, can be quite powerful when paired with only a couple items similar to it(as opposed to requiring a full set of near max rolls of the stat). Here’s another example.
NON-PRIME PIECE: Rare Fist Weapon (MONK)
55% Crit Damage
Not super fancy or appealing. Not terrible either, but probably wouldn’t net u very much on the AH or serve you very well in your travels.
PRIME PIECE: Rare Fist Weapon (MONK)
55% Crit Damage
852 Strength (3x Prime multiplier)
All of a sudden, this weapon is looking far more interesting than it could have ever looked before and it only took ONE prime affix. 852 Strength equates to 852 armor. That is a TON of damage mitigation to be gained from a weapon, something previously thought to be almost a non-source of significant or even minor mitigation. One could even say that such a high amount of armor might give you the opportunity to sacrifice defensive stats on other pieces of gear for something more fun or even change up your build a bit. Hell, you could probably easily make up for whatever DPS loss you’d receive by taking this weapon over a slightly more offensive one just by swapping around some armor. Also keep in mind that this weapon only rolled one prime affix, imagine what it’d look like had it rolled more than that.
So I know what you’re thinking. Won’t this system just beef up everyone and eventually cause people to go back to hunting the perfect stats, except this time with “Prime” rolls? The answer to that question is a VERY partial, “Yes”, but let me elaborate.
First of all, a good itemization system doesn’t have any “perfect” stats. Secondly, prime rolls are not so common as to make such item hunting an easy task. Let’s say that 1 in 100 items roll a prime affix. Let’s say that 1 in 1000 items roll 2 prime affixes. This system actually significantly DECREASES the likeliness of finding a top tier’d item(at least what would become the top tier). However, you no longer need to find top tier items in order to gear yourself out without the help of the AH. On top of that, these new prime items give players the chance to stack some crazy high amounts of certain stats that were previously considered subpar or even useless. 5k life regen could be attained without an insane amount of effort. Maybe then you could forego LoH on your Monk entirely? That means you have completely discarded what was previously considered almost MANDATORY for the majority of Monks. Now you can use that slot for something that YOU find more interesting and fun. Look at it objectively and in the big picture and you will see the myriad of awesome implications this system can foster.
Rare 1h Axe
78% crit dmg
Most of us will never see an item this powerful. Now what are the odds of rolling this item the 100 times it will take before it rolls ONE prime affix(and that’s assuming that 1 in 100 items roll a prime affix). What about rolling it 1000 times?(for 2 prime affixes) Obviously such an item would be revered among the entire Diablo 3 community for its sheer godliness, but would it be common AT ALL? HELL no. Those are the kind of items you only hear about in legends. They are the kinds of items that make you say, maybe one day I’ll hit the royal jackpot and find that item that is miles above the next best one. That is what the prime loot system can offer.
However, this system will absolutely result in an inflation of base power across the board. The reason being; it wouldn’t be insanely difficult to find subpar items that happened to roll one or two prime affixes, POTENTIALLY turning them into very powerful items. It’s still very rare, especially considering the fact that the affix needs to roll high in the first place BEFORE the multiplier of the Prime Affix is applied AND you need to hope that the prime multiplier was applied to the affix you want it to be on. Either way, it’s going to happen semi-frequently considering how many items are looted each day.
So yes, the average player will become stronger, except this time they can accomplish it with literally ONLY the items they’ve found. To compensate for this rise in overall power, I would recommend that higher monster power levels have their difficulties increased while lower monster power levels remain mostly unchanged.
I think that higher monster power levels should only be blown through effortlessly by the most insanely well geared of players (top 0.001%). Frankly, I think monster power 10 is way too easy. My Barb is worth between 1.5-2.5 billion and he can absolutely steam roll it. I do NOT consider myself in the very top tier of well geared players…not even close.
I think this one is pretty obvious. It’s fun to see something shiny appear out of the pile of trash we all trek through. Unfortunately, I don’t think that this feeling occurs enough. One might say, “yeah but if the feeling occurs more often than it won’t be as good when it DOES occur”. That’s actually not entirely true. That feeling comes from seeing something that COULD be awesome. Unfortunately, the current state of legendaries is the only place where this feeling can currently come from and due to the enormous difference in power that a given legendary can roll, this feeling is usually non-existent. Am I excited when I see Vile Wards drop? Not really…They could roll BiS or they could also roll to be barely worth the brimstone I’ll receive for salvaging them. Am I excited to see an un ID’d Mempo of Twlight drop? I wouldn’t know, in my 1000+ hours of playing and near 60,000 elite kills I’ve never seen one…
The prime loot system works a similar way, except finding a prime piece of loot should be as common a feeling as intended. Since they will be somewhat common, you don’t have to suffer the feeling of, “there goes another useless legendary”. Prime items can be something very unique; something you can’t find on ANY other item. That alone promotes a feeling of excitement when seeing one drop, even if it is just a tiny feeling. You don’t know what you’re getting AT ALL when you see it drop, but you know it can range from total crap to the best item that will ever drop in the game, ever. Legendary items have no place instilling that exact kind of feeling. Legendaries should make you feel that what you are about to see is almost certainly special. So basically, prime loot takes the current place of legendaries where feelings of excitement are concerned(except that prime loot is actually interesting and common), while legendaries need to take a general step forward in getting you excited.
Then there’s the fact that a prime piece of loot could potentially be something unbelievably godly(even when compared to the best items available today). Is that not enough incentive to hunt? Imagine finding a prime piece legendary
Overall, prime loot should drastically improve the excitement of the loot hunt.
Improved Item-Oriented Build Diversity:
As I briefly mentioned not too far above, there is no fun in having to find an entire set of gear that rolled very high values of a certain affix (as well as other useful stats) in order to create a build around it. The prime loot system creates the potential for very specialized pieces of loot dropping. Your gear should now stand out significantly from that of others. No longer will everyone’s chest piece consist of tons of vitality, 3 sockets, main stat and AR. Maybe now you will see things like…
BillyBarb’s Rare Chest Armor
+521 Strength (3xPrime Roll)
+6 yards increased pickup radius
+61 All resist
3.2% of gold picked up added to armor for 8 seconds
+8 Nephalem Power Points (2xPrime Roll)
Sure, there’s no sockets or vitality or extra armor, but are you telling me you wouldn’t have to give this item more than a fair chance? I don’t know about you guys, but I’m getting excited just imagining these changes being implemented. The game I envision is one that all my friends would return to and I could play for…evv…er (In Sandlot kid’s voice).
Just for fun, let’s compare the above item to someone else’s choice for their chest piece armor.
SallySue’s Rare Chest Armor
+211 All resists(3xPrime Roll)
+1300 Life regen(3xPrime Roll)
Max Run Speed Cap increased by 8%
3 open sockets
Pretty sick defensive chest, no? I dare say sick enough that you could probably forgo some defensive focus on numerous other items that you were previously required to invest in. Now they’re free for you to experiment with. Keep in mind, NEITHER of these pieces of armor would be considered awesome pieces of loot in the SLIGHTEST without those prime rolls(aside from the fact that I inserted some of my new affix ideas onto them, which would obviously make current players feel excitement in seeing them). It is the Prime system that makes those pieces of gear stand out and look fun, interesting and unique. ONE MORE example just for extra funsies.
MarkyMonk’s Rare Chest Armor
+288 Dexterity (2xPrime Roll)
+644 Armor (2xPrime Roll)
+5 Nephalem Power Points
1.6% of Max resources restored when you are hit
2 Empty Sockets
Is anyone starting to understand how much fun itemization COULD be in this game?
One thing I’ve always believed in is that stacking tons of defense with defensive stats should make you literally invincible on any monster power level, while stacking tons of offense and ignoring defense should make you a DPS monster that can only survive a few, if any hits. I don’t really feel that the D3 dev team has succeeded in this. I mean…the current item and skill system doesn’t even really allow for this tactic in essence. It’s fairly easy to focus on offense and squeeze in enough defense to survive, on any piece of gear. A large chunk of players still use a variety of defensive skills because the gear that could make up for using said skill without taking massive hits to efficiency just doesn’t exist in ANY form. Meanwhile, the top geared players just focus on offensive stats while meeting minimum requirements for defense. The ability to play the way you REALLY want to, while remaining even a little bit efficient is literally almost impossible.
What if players could build purely offensive SKILLS using some powerful defensive armor? Or how about the exact opposite? Why can’t players focus heavily on defensive skills while gearing for offensive armor? The answer is simple, the gear to support these kinds of play styles and builds doesn’t exist(on top of the fact that skills/runes just aren’t very well balanced at the moment). The regularity and value in which the key affixes can appear on loot is far too systematic. The very fact that so many KEY affixes exist to begin with is enormously detrimental to the item game in D3. The best and only truly efficient way to play this game is to focus heavily on offensive skills and gear while attempting to meet a minimum requirement for defense that happens to be nearly identical for all classes and builds.
So what happens when some rich guy takes advantage of this system by buying himself 3 godly pieces of defensive gear so that he doesn’t have to worry about defense on the rest of his gear? Again the answer is simple. As I mentioned above, higher MP levels would need to be made more difficult just as a starting point to this solution. There is going to be a significant increase in power among the more wealthy players. The rest of the solution comes from proper itemization and class balance that makes a player constantly ask themselves, “what stat/skill should I use?”. If players are bombarded with different alternatives to efficiency, then the situation of the guy who only looks at fulfilling OBVIOUS minimum defense requirements (AR,Vit,Armor,etc.) while pursuing equally obvious maximums of offenseive stats(IAS,CC,CD,Main Stat, min-max dmg) should only occur in the rarest of occasions, if at all. It’s also important to remember that finding 3 pieces of loot that are godly enough to fulfill your entire defensive “requirement” is not going to be an easy task for ANYONE. I know it’s a complicated theory, but I promise that if you look into it deeply enough, you will see that it has amazing potential.
I feel very strongly that this system, on top of the other changes I’ve mentioned, would VASTLY increase player enjoyment in looting and analyzing items as well as allowing them to create interesting and unique builds that are inspired from the items in their inventory.
Improves Player’s Ability to Find Their Own Loot:
This one is pretty obvious. When you’re constantly finding interesting pieces of gear presenting you with a wide variety of options, you no longer need to focus on obtaining a certain value of a limited number of KEY stats that makes the item hunt very difficult and drawn out and makes the player feel quite unlucky.
The fact that any player who has more than 100 hours invested in the game can glance at ANY item for less than a second and know, INSTANTLY whether or not it is good, is just a very sad thing. I guarantee that this system, on top of the improved affixes I spoke about, will make even the most hardened D3 vets have to REALLY THINK about a great number of the items they’re ID’ing.
Alleviates the issue of players always having a clear cut path where desired stats are concerned:
This pretty much sums up improving itemization in general. No one wants to know right from the getgo EXACTLY what they should be looking for, regardless of their build/class and EXACTLY how much they need of it.
PHEW! That was long winded. Onto the next section!
CLASS BALANCE AND VARIETY:
The amount of input I have on this subject is enormous. I’m fairly certain that I could fill 100 pages on the subject, but I’ll try and keep it as short as possible. Sadly, this is another area in the game that falls quite short of its potential. All one needs to do to get a look at where build diversity stands is to head on over to Diablo.somepage.com. Hell, you don’t even need to go that far, just log into the game and try creating a build that looks fun then see how well you do with it in comparison to whatever build you’ve been told to use. Let’s take it yet another step further. Log into the game, pick a skill at random then pick a rune at random. Now answer this question, is that run unbelievably terrible, all things considered?
Realistically, the answer is probably, ”Yes”. Literally the MAJORITY of skills and their rune variants are STILL utterly useless in nearly all aspects of the game. I actually wrote up a detailed thread about this in the not too distant past, but it went by without much notice much like most well-constructed and heavily detailed threads on these forums.
In it, I listed a great number of skills and runes that less than 1% of the Diablo population use. I also gave explanations as to why those skills are so terrible and lacking creativity as well as possible solutions for each.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t think that listing every single useless skill/rune, explaining why it’s useless and proposing suggestions for them is the right thing to do in this case. All that matters is that the dev team acknowledges that most runes are useless and, for the most part, go entirely unused by the playerbase. Not only are a great number of them useless, but an equal number are severely lacking in creativity and fun factor. It pains me to say it because, regardless of what many of you might think, I have great respect for the D3 dev team.
Before I go any further, I feel it necessary to give what I think should be the driving philosophy behind balancing skills and runes. Firstly, one must understand the difference between supplemental/substitution skills and foundation skills. Supplemental and substitution skills are skills that are very difficult or impossible to create a build around. They are skills that can be swapped freely into or out of a build in order to supplement it. Changing these supplemental skills around does not actually change the way you play the game or use the build, they are simply substitutions of each other. Without supplemental skills, the game could potentially become too complicated. Unfortunately, the current ratio of supplemental vs fundamental skills is very bad.
A good example would be the WW/Sprint Barb build. Let’s take a quick look at using Rend vs Warcry for “life support”. Each of these skills serve MOSTLY the same purpose. Neither skill SIGNIFICANTLY changes the foundation or play style of the build. Rend is used to get some extra dmg out, especially on elites, which in turn takes advantage of your HP replenishment via lifesteal, while Warcry serves to give more of a passive boost to your overall defenses as well as acting as a supplemental Fury boost when you need to keep your sprints going. Neither skill changes the build in any meaningful ways. I’ve used both of them on a great number of occasions on all levels of Monster Power only to find that there is almost no difference in efficiency between the two.
Keep in mind these are 2 COMPLETELY different skills we’re comparing. I can’t even begin to illustrate the absurd similarities in swapping out different runes of certain skills. That can literally make zero difference in how you play. Also know that Rend is not ALWAYS a supplemental skill, it just so happens to be one in this case. Anyway, these skills are supplemental to this build in that they just don’t have any REAL effect on how you play the game. You’re still sprinting and spinning 95% of the time, regardless of which skill you pick.
Foundational skills are skills that actually significantly alter the way you kill monsters, defend yourself and move through the game. Sprint is a foundation skill in this case because swapping it with something else would completely change the way that build behaves. It doesn’t mean that Sprint can’t also serve as a supplemental skill to other builds, it just means that its presence is much greater in your overall play style for this particular build.
One quick note: Passive skills should ALL be capable of serving as foundational skills. While certain builds might be able to use certain passives to supplement them, the majority of passive skills should focus on changing the way players play the game
I find these explanations necessary in understanding my philosophy because I believe that the majority of skills and their runes should be “Foundation” skills. Again, that doesn’t mean that they SHOULDN’T be able to behave as supplemental skills in certain circumstances, it just means that their effects should be distinguished enough that swapping them with ALMOST any other skill should result in at least a somewhat significant change in the way you can play the game. Unfortunately, the vast majority of skills in this game are almost PURELY supplemental. Each class has a very limited number of foundational skills and that is the MAIN reason why build diversity is so limited in this game.
Blizzard needs to understand that, in the current version of Diablo 3, a build does not consist of ONE set of skills/runes. A build in Diablo 3 is a small set of foundation skills and runes PLUS every single supplemental/substitution skill that can be applied to that build. I’ve played at least 8 variations of the WW/Sprint build, yet all of them still consist of 95% sprinting and spinning. As far as I’m concerned, they are all the same build. You can’t say Diablo 3 has millions of potential builds when in reality there are a small fraction of that amount due to the fact that foundational skills create builds, while the buttload of supplemental skills existent in the game do just that, supplement them. We need roughly 70%+ foundation skills/runes and 30% or fewer supplemental skills/runes, not the extreme opposite, like we have now. Without that ratio, Diablo 3 will never attain the level of customization it should have. Also, it’s very important to remember that the majority of BOTH foundation and supplemental skills currently found in the game are just not good enough to warrant using in any situation.
The reality of the situation is that the dev team needs to pull out all the stops for this one. Get creative and fun with the runes. When creating a foundation skill, ask yourselves, “Can this rune support an entire build based on its creativity and multiple applications? Can it support several builds?”. If the answer is no, then scrap the idea. Every single foundation skill should say, “Hey, I’m a ton of fun and you can use me like this and this and this and I’ll make this easier and this more fun, etc.” Even supplemental skills should have meaningful impacts on the way you play the game. They don’t have to alter your build completely, but they should still count for something.
Skills need to scream out at people. Choosing between skills should be like someone being offered their choice of flying super cars from someone who traveled back in time to give them away. The decision should be a painful one because you don’t know which way to have fun first. Unfortunately, this is just lightyears away from the current skill system.
For the sake of proving a point, I’m going to pick 3 random skills/runes and show you how utterly useless they are in all situations. I know I said I wouldn’t, but I just can’t help myself.
Leap/Toppling Impact: Send enemies hurtling away from where you land. Honestly, what is the point of this skill??? Literally the only application I can think of where it might be even the tiniest bit useful is if an ally is being attacked in a PVP match, then you jump in to knock them out of the way. Unfortunately, you deal crap damage, no stuns and no slows, and I’m sure the knockback won’t do a whole lot to the attacker. Does anyone over at Blizzard think this is a fun and build-inspiring rune? Can anyone even think of a way to use it as a supplemental skill?
Lightning Fist/Static Thunder: Your primary target is charged with static electricity for 5 seconds and takes 37% weapon damage as lightning when you attack other enemies with Fists of Thunder………………………………REALLY!?!?! For a skill that forces players into complex attack patterns and required continued use in order to even gain the “benefit” of the rune, it sure is an overwhelmingly terrible payout. Try bumping the skill up to 180% weapon dmg or have it increase up to a cap, then allow it to affect every one of your previous targets for a duration and maybe we can give it another look (though it would still be vastly inferior to thunderclap).
Magic Missile/Attunement: Whenever Magic Missile hits a target you gain 4 Arcane Power. Does this one even need an explanation? We’re talking about BARELY negligible AP return on a low dmg skill that goes below unthinkably abysmal with any attack speed below 3.0, which most people cannot attain. Why not give the skill 15ap return per hit, or have it increase your AP regen on hit by 3AP per second for 6 seconds, stacking up to 5 times? Doesn’t that sound a lot more fun and creative? Now you’ve got a skill that can get you some AP back in a flash, even with slower attack speeds. Shouldn’t that be the overall goal of a skill that can literally serve no other purpose? I mean who is going to use a single target, 125% weapon dmg skill for half a second more than what’s necessary? Give it a purpose and some incentive. Why is that so difficult? So what if people are running around spamming meteor with arcane missiles in between. Isn’t that the point? Is that even imbalanced? You’re still gonna kill stuff faster in Archon. Blizzard is just so terrified of giving skills actual power and I really can’t figure out why. No one is going to care if you have to nerf one of their skills when they have 1000 other awesome ones to choose from.
Before reading any further, know that the suggestions for skills and runes that I list were conceived in a VERY short period of time. The numbers are obviously not going to reflect a system of perfect balance. Also, some of them are arguably more suited as passive abilities. However, I think that it is VERY important that active skills play just as great a role (if not more so) as passives in altering the fundamental way you play the game. Creativity and well-placed, balanced complexity can thrive almost anywhere in a class’s arsenal. I think you’ll all see what I mean as you read on.
Now I’m going to do a little rundown for each class that explains where I feel they stand now and where I feel they should stand, as well as a few simple suggestions for reaching that point.
Barbs are powerful, no doubt(at least in comparison to other classes). This is due almost solely because of the uber powerful WW/Sprint build on top of the fact that barbs can achieve 12% lifesteal if they feel the need. But where do barbs stand in terms of build variety and fun factor? Frankly, I think they stand about where every other class stands; they’re miles away from where they could be.
Every single thing a Barb does relies on one simple skill. That skill is called Battle Rage: Into the Fray. Without this skill, we cannot hope to create any truly efficient builds. This is a VERY big problem. In fact, this problem actually does a fine job of bringing to light the biggest problem with the barb class. That problem is fury generation!
Every single barb fury generator offers a tiny fraction of sustained fury return that Into the Fray can offer. Not only that, but Into the Fray can give you this fury back ON THE MOVE. If this skill and the Barb class in general had been developed properly, Into the Fray would be nothing more than a means of obtaining more fury than anyone actually needs in almost any situation(among other methods). Fortunately, there’s actually a very simple fix for this problem: Drastically increase the fury generation of other skills and give Barbs some alternative methods for generating fury. Barb skills don’t do such absurd amounts of damage that it would be unreasonable to grant them better and more varied means of acquiring fury. Calm down all you Barb haters, I’m going to cover your class too.
I think that perhaps the developers are overly concerned with creating a distinction between classes via resource generation and expenditure. Honestly, I don’t think that design philosophy can lead to anywhere good considering how this game currently plays. Either give every class multiple, powerful options of generating resources, thereby drawing “unwanted” similarities between them, or go back to the drawing board and change the way each class uses their abilities. When you have a game where almost every active skill consumes resources and those resources do not differ from each other significantly, you’re going to find yourself in a tough spot should you attempt to hold onto some flawed design philosophy you conjured up a long time ago. None of the class resource systems are more than a tiny bit different from the next. This fact has inherent implications where giving players resource generation options are concerned. Frankly, I don’t think people should care about such a tiny discrepancy between classes as to prohibit a successful process of evolution for this game. Classes can be widely separated by their abilities to the point where the means of resource generation and expenditure should not be of such great concern. Do not let this flawed design philosophy continue to stifle the progress of this game.
Just because you give every class the ability to increase their passive resource generation, does not mean that EVERY person is going to choose to do so in the exact same way. Only faulty development decisions would inspire such a thing. Some people might prefer to have situational burst generation via skills (like the example I gave with Arcane Missile), while others might enjoy a mild combination of both. It needs to be our choice and the important thing to remember is that we need to be presented with that choice. Not only that, but we need to be presented with a variety of choices, all of which have great potentials for efficiency when used in conjunction with intelligent builds and proper gearing. Maybe barbs should have significantly larger fury pools? Such a thing could certainly inspire different preferences for generation and expenditure considering the Barb’s arsenal of abilities.
Unfortunately, Into the Fray just makes nearly every alternative seem terrible. Give Barbs some suitable alternatives! While you’re at it, please make shouts other than Impunity strong. Put some creativity into your rune ideas! I cannot understand why so many runes are so boring!
Warcry/One shot Wonder:
While Warcry is active, killing an enemy in one hit increases your damage by 15% for 10 seconds. This effect stacks up to 5 times. Each skill use that fails to one shot all enemies it hits will decrease the duration by 2 seconds.
Or you could do something like, the buff only lasts 4-6 seconds but when it runs out it just removes one stack until you’re down to nothing. Sounds fun to me /shrug
That skill could actually be REALLY cool and promote a ton of new foundations for builds. Hammer of the Ancients, Leap (if it did more dmg, had no CD and COST fury, which it should), rend, furious charge, earthquake, weapon throw, revenge and seismic slam could all take big advantage of this skill in TONS of ways. Maybe you could get your full buff right away by using earthquake on a group of mobs then leap or sprint around seismic slamming everything until you need a refresh. Oops, some things survived and your buff is about to wear off. NP, go HotA some little scorpion in the face. Or maybe you’d rather get stacks slowly while trying to maintain max stacks at all times by HotA’ing frequently while tossing some Lacerate rune rends and furious charges around to dish out some big damage while avoiding the removal of your buff duration at all costs. That’s of course assuming that furious charge be altered in its functionality and damage, which I strongly believe it should be. Or maybe you could get your stacks up with any number of skills then the moment you hit max, unleash Call of the Ancients (which counts as one skill and wouldn’t lower your stack count unless it failed to kill something) and blow through the bad guys with whatever dmg skills you want, while your Call of the Ancients is doing an extra 75% dmg. Again, that’s of course assuming that CotA’s ridiculous 2 min CD is changed.
I look forward to a day where I can leap around (without such a long cooldown) and smash things with waves of destructive force. Make this happen Blizzard. None of us want to spin for the rest of our lives. Neither Leap nor Furious Charge should have cooldowns longer than 5 seconds(if at all). Change their mechanics so that they cost fury to use. A 15 second CD, poor excuse for a fury generator is no one’s idea of fun. Being able to Leap and Charge all over the place isn’t even overpowered if you give it some real objective thought. Besides, most people won’t be able to leap and charge all over the place if their fury costs are at acceptable levels. But hey, if people want to gear and spec for that kind of gameplay, why should anyone stop them? I guarantee that WW/Sprint build will still be competitive in efficiency, if not still the best. Also, you guys need to seriously rethink the 2 minute cooldown system. None of those skills are worth even CLOSE to what a 2 minute CD skill should grant. Thrive on Chaos is the only reason people use WotB. TBH, I don’t really feel that a 2 minute CD skill belongs in this game at all.
Just for fun, here’s an example of what I think a Leap Rune should look like.
Leap – Fatal Tremor:
Fury Cost: 70. Damage from this skill cannot generate fury.
Release a flurry of tremors at the point of impact that spread to enemies within 18 yards dealing 90% weapon damage. Tremors can ricochet up to 3 times to nearby enemies, increasing the damage by 50% per enemy. You are stunned for 2 seconds upon landing.
This skill is almost identical to the Echo Slam ultimate skill of Earthshaker from DotA. It’s super fun to use and its power increases depending on the number of nearby enemies. Pair it with a Blink Dagger and you can have all sorts of fun. I think the Leap factor would serve as a fine substitution for the Blink Dagger in this instance . I dunno about you guys, but I think this skill sounds fun to use, powerful when used wisely and it could definitely inspire a number of fun and interesting builds. Can’t you just imagine landing in a one-knee kneeling position watching your waves of force obliterate nearby enemies?
One more thing I want to insist on. Change the way fury is handled in the game via major buffs to fury generators as well as more ways to generate fury via passives and my proposed Nephalem Power Point System, then make leap and charge cost fury instead of grant it and remove the cooldowns on both. Also, let ancient spear pull in EVERYTHING with Grappling Hooks rune. If not everything, at least 10 monsters. Who cares if it’s really strong? It’s got a CD. I really get the feeling that so many of these skills were designed with PVP priorities in mind and I think that’s just a terrible idea. Who cares if barbs are leaping and charging all over the place, that’s fun and there’s no reason that other classes shouldn’t be able to do it in their own ways as well. You want some good advice in balancing classes? Take the WW/Sprint build then give every single class at least 200 builds that can compete with it in efficiency if played and geared for correctly. Honestly, I don’t think that’s an overly difficult task. I’m 100% certain I could do it.
Note: I could give a TON of fun suggestions for skills/runes for the Barb as I have quite a bit of experience with one. I am, however trying to prevent this post from reaching 100 pages. If anyone wants me to post some of the ideas I have, please let me know.
I so badly wanted a wizard to be my main when I logged in on the night/morning of May 15th 2012. Unfortunately, the class, like all the others, is just so friggen far away from what it could and should be. The Wizard does not feel like a master of the elements. Even on MP0, my 120k dps Wizard struggles to use any skills not associated with some variation of the CM build, a focus on defensive abilities, or a variation of the Archon build.
I wanted to unleash a torrent of arcane beams and missiles(Was so excited to be able to put points into missile spread so I could throw out like 10 missiles at once if I wanted…Nephalem Power System anyone???). I wanted to rain down meteors of pure destructive force on big groups of baddies. I wanted to teleport all over the place like it was going out of style. I wanted to summon a small army of Hydra’s to light up the battlefield. I wanted to marvel at the sheer color and destruction being emitted from my hands. Ask yourselves honestly, can the Wizard do ANY of this?
Before I go any further, I must ask one question: Why on SANCTUARY does Meteor, a very high cost and delayed skill, deal almost one third the damage of the Monk’s instant cast, near spammable (with the rune) AOE Wave of Light skill? I get it; meteor has the advantage of range. Seriously though, that’s the only advantage, and it’s a very slight one at that. This skill leads my brain into so many disappointed questions involving this game. I used to think, maybe I can make a Wizard that uses Meteor in such a way where it acts as an ENORMOUS damage nuke that will need some AP recovery time on my part, or maybe I can build a Wizard with tons of AP regen and extra Max AP so that I can just spam it everywhere and use other skills when using Meteor isn’t optimal! Neither of these things is fun or efficient, if even possible, in the current iteration of the game.
Also, good lord are the meteor runes boring. Allow me to give a few examples of what a Meteor Rune should look like.
Global Killer: Initial Impact delay increased to 3 seconds, damage increased to 1200% weapon damage and radius increased by 75%. The energy required to summon this monster decreases your movement and attack speed by 40% for 6 seconds after casting and Meteor cost increased to 100 AP. (Could also do something like, decrease your passive AP regen by 80% for 6 seconds or something)
Arcane Impact: Every enemy struck by Meteor restores 8 AP, increases the damage of your next Meteor, Wave of Force or Blizzard cast by 5% and increases all damage you take by 5% for 8 seconds. Dmg dealt and taken stacks up to 40 times(200%). Casting Wave of Force or Blizzard will remove the buff and debuff.
Note: The above skill is a perfect example of why it is a GOOD thing to have some complexity and creativity in common runes as opposed to passives. It may be a little wordy, but its behavior is actually very intuitive. If you want to spam the skill, you take a lot of extra dmg in exchange for the benefits. You use WoF or Blizzard and you clense yourself of the skill entirely. It’s not hard to figure out and it could potentially be an awesome skill, promoting a ton of build possibilities.
Comet: Frozen comet strikes the ground dealing 580% weapon damage and releasing a slow shockwave of frost that spreads out to a radius of 25 yards over 4 seconds. Enemies caught in the shockwave are slowed and take 30% additional damage for 6 seconds. If struck by the shockwave, you and your allies receive the opposite effect for 6 seconds. This rune gives Meteor a cooldown of 18 seconds.
Now let me give you an explanation on why each of the above skills is so superior in fun, build diversity promotion and awesomeness to what is currently in the game. Those of you who say, “these runes are too complicated”, I really don’t know what to tell you. Games like this are fun when you have to use your brain once in a while. You can figure it out, it’s not THAT hard. I don’t think it’s hard at all, personally. Not EVERY skill needs to be complicated, but would you rather have a game that’s more complicated and 100x more fun, or a game like the one we have now that requires very little thought? Sorry dev’s, but it’s true… I could say a lot about this subject but I don’t really want to get into it. This game is rife with overly simple skills and runes. No one is going to quit the game because they don’t understand some of the runes.
The big bang of meteor runes. Massive damage in a larger area but at a heavy cost. Virtually unspammable due to the high AP cost as well as the danger it puts you in by slowing your movement and attack speed. This rune makes the skill fun and interesting because it distinguishes it heavily from the other runes and it opens up a number of potential builds and uses. The big dmg and big radius make it a great room clearer so long as it kills every major threat, but using it against elites on higher MP levels might not be a good idea due to the fact that you’ll take a significant slow from the effort of casting. That is unless you are playing in a group and you’ve managed to collect considerable gear that supports “spamming” of the skill (tons of Nephalem Power points placed into AP regen and Max AP). You could also use it in combination with skills that don’t suffer from having slow attack speed, like Blizzard. Or perhaps as a last ditch effort or an attempt to finish off an elite. So there’s multiple uses depending on the scenario, they’re all unique in their use and they all have the potential for great efficiency. Maybe you can get around the slow by using teleport or crowd control effectively? Maybe you can just forget about the slow and crawl through each area as a slow yet apocalyptic bringer of death? Could be a great 2h build. Or maybe stick to the fast 1h/source build and use Arcane Missile to get AP back fast and keep throwin out meteors. See what I mean? EFFICIENT CHOICES!
So many potential uses on this one. Maybe you just want to have it as that skill that returns some much needed AP in emergency situations while dealing some decent AOE dmg, or maybe you want to use it more regularly because you’re a HUGE AP spender? You could also use it to hammer elites on higher MP lvl’s due to the fact that it’s spammable if you hit enough targets and damage increases as you rack up stacks. You can also use it as a primer for Blizzard and Wave of Force rotations. Each scenario places you in different levels of danger as the higher your stacks get, the more damage you deal AND take. While getting to the max of 40 stacks might allow you to deal enormous AOE damage, you better hope there’s a tank in your group or your defenses can hold through the extra 200% dmg you’ll be taking.
Very cool looking and, again, serves multiple purposes. This could be one of those skills that you cast only when you need it to provide some slow in a large area as well as some solid, supplemental instant dmg in a smaller AOE. It could also serve as the starter skill for the onslaught you’re about to unleash, given that it allows you to deal 30% extra damage to any enemies it hits. You could also choose to use it as support skill for the benefits it can offer to you and your allies. You can’t spam it like blizzard, so it’s more situational and has a higher AP cost, but you also get a longer and broader slow with it on top of having enemies it touches take 30% extra dmg for 6 seconds. This could be a great group skill as well as a skill that could support a number of interesting builds, including a variation of CM builds. Stack this baby with some heavy defense, slow bubble with dmg increase and ray of frost with sleet storm and you could deal some heavy stationary damage and slows. Hell, you could just take this skill for the buffs it can give to your allies should you cast it on top of them. Also, wouldn’t it be cool to use this skill in a PVP team deathmatch game? Just cast it on top of your barb ally and watch everyone run away from the pursuing shockwave, only to have them be yanked into it by your barb buddy.
Current comet rune is boring. Stop giving every rune JUST slows, stuns, altered dmg amounts or decreased resource cost to try and separate them and make them fun. That’s not enough and it never will be. It’s WAY too simple and lacking any semblance of creativity or thought provocation. Skills should be interesting and unique to the point that when people see you use them they think, “I wonder how THAT PERSON chose to make use of that skill”, not, “That skill kinda sucks, how the hell did they make it even a little bit useful, or are they just bad enough that they don’t realize that it’s terrible?” It is absolutely imperative that some skills remain simple, as having too many complex skills would not only be a balance nightmare, but it would also cause skills to clash too much. Like I said earlier in this post, I think the balance should be roughly 70% foundation skills and 30% supplemental skills. Supplemental skills are all fairly straightforward while foundation skills are more complex(though they don’t ALL have to be). It may look like I’m for ALL SKILLS being complex, but that’s only because those are the ones I’m giving as examples. Most of the skills I’m suggesting are on the foundation complex side. NOT ALL SKILLS NEED TO BE LIKE THE ONES I’M SUGGESTING!
So yeah, Wizards and all other classes will benefit tremendously from a major overhaul of the majority of their skill runes as well as the incorporation of the systems I’ve proposed. Remember, if a rune doesn’t make you think, “that looks really fun, cool and interesting, I gotta try that out”, then you need to go back to the drawing board. And despite what the devs might think, when less than 1% of players are using a skill/rune, chances are that skill/rune NEEDS to be looked at and changed. I can’t count the number of times I received a new rune while leveling up, with EVERY class, only to be extremely disappointed by how plain, boring and bad it was.
It’s tough to say, but I think that the Monk class is perhaps the furthest away from what it could be. This is a class that is supposed to demonstrate lightning fast martial arts skills, quick dashing to and from enemies and immense holy powers. Unfortunately, the current state of this class is a Thunderclapping, lightning-tornado spawning and somewhat clunky feeling dude/lass with beads around his/her neck.
Let’s do a quick rundown of Monk skills that had great potential for turning the class into what it should be, but failed in doing so and why. Then I’ll give a couple examples/suggestions on how I think it should be fixed.
• Master of Martial Arts
• Quick movements and overall Speed
• Holy Powers
Monk healing skills consist of breath of heaven and all its runes, serenity with peaceful repose rune and inner sanctuary with safe haven rune. I suppose you could also include Mantra of Healing, but that skill is so incredibly terrible that it’s not even worth mentioning IMO.
Breath of heaven isn’t a terrible skill per se, but it definitely isn’t anywhere near capable of what it should be. The fact that the heal radius is SO tiny begs the question as to why it even has an AOE element to begin with, while the actual amount healed is barely noticeable to anyone with more than 25k HP. Why is Blizzard so afraid to make this heal an actual heal? You don’t HAVE to get this skill, lifesteal and life on hit work just fine for keeping monks alive. A monk that picks a skill whose major purpose is healing should get a solid amount of healing out of it. Doesn’t that make sense? Picking this heal should mean that perhaps you can cut back on some lifesteal and/or loh (and life gained per spirit spent if the Nephalem Power Point system I proposed is implemented). This just isn’t the case. Skills should have ACTUAL impact on your characters! Monks only use this skill, for the most part, for the damage increase received from Blazing Wrath. Maybe it has saved some lives in Hardcore, but I can’t imagine it happening often considering how much more healing you get just from hitting monsters and getting LoH and lifsteal returns.
So how do we fix it? Give breath of heaven a heal over time effect by default, make it targetable or have a much larger AOE so you can effectively heal allies if that’s your style. It’s okay to have powerful skills so long as there are other powerful skills to dissuade you from focusing on only a few and the game difficulty is balanced around these skills.
Right now, I feel like many of the skills in this game were inspired by either a version of the game that is far separated from what we are playing now, or VERY circumstantial PVP play. 8k dmg healed every 15 seconds is not strong by any stretch of the imagination. TBH, instant heals don’t quite make much sense in this game. Damage is, for the most part, very spikey and inconsistent. Use the suggestions I listed above, and improve on the creativity and fun factor of most of this skill’s runes, and you should have yourselves a fun and interesting healing skill.
As for inner sanctuary and serenity, the same thing applies. The healing elements are far worse than even breath of heaven. Why give serenity such a weak healing element when any non-idiotic monk knows to just keep punching whatever is in front of them and their lifesteal/loh will heal them to full in seconds? You can gain a lot more healing back from the 1 extra second of invulnerability you get from Ascension even if your gear is bad. This effectively makes Peaceful Repose a 100% useless rune. Inner Sanctuary makes little sense as a skill in this game. Personally, I don’t think it has a place in the game so long as any further iterations of the skill bare any semblance to the current version. Why does Blizzard find it necessary to grant melee characters so many abilities that push enemies away from you? Melee classes almost never want enemies to be pushed away from them. We get heals from killing and having to chase down enemies that we, ourselves pushed away is just the furthest thing from efficient and fun.
The desire to push or keep enemies away from you, as a melee class, is incredibly rare and circumstantial.
So what about feeling like a “Master of Martial Arts”? Monk skills are punches and kicks and dashes, so why don’t I feel like Bruce Lee? The answer is a pretty simple one; because almost every Monk spends the vast majority of their time performing one or two sets of character animations. Fists of Thunder/Thunderclap is just so much better than all the other options, it plays a very large hand in crippling the desired feel of the class. Unfortunately, the solution for this problem is a slightly difficult one.
Blizzard once expressed that they felt many Monk skills needed work in the way they behaved and that they would try to refrain from simply boosting dmg numbers. Then, we got patch 1.07 and that seems to have gone out the window. However, I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and just assume that the skills that received flat damage buffs did not fall under the skills they referred to when suggesting that certain Monk skills needed more than just a damage buff.
Anyway… I have several general suggestions on how to improve the martial arts feeling of the Monk Class as well as a couple more specific suggestions/ideas. There was actually a VERY long and well-written thread detailing almost every Monk skill and rune and how to fix them. Unfortunately, I read it a couple months ago and I have no idea how to find it again.
Firstly, we need to address Fists of Thunder and its alternatives. As we all know, FoT/Thunderclap is just vastly superior to all other rune variants of all other spirit generators in just about every situation. There’s really only 3 ways to fix this, either nerf FoT so that it is in line with the other generators, significantly buff and alter the function of every other generator, or change the behavior and/or strength of the Monk’s mobility skills. I’m going to go with a combination of the last two for a variety of reasons that should be apparent to any reader who has made it this far into the post. The main mobility tool I think absolutely needs to be altered is Dashing Strike, but I’ll get into that a little further down.
So how exactly do we place spirit generators in a more balanced line?
My first suggestion is to give the BASIC Fists of Thunder skill a short range teleport and allow all runes to hit in a VERY small AOE at the point of impact. Aside from MASSIVE rebalancing efforts, this is really the only way to make other FoT runes appealing. Here’s a couple of quick suggestions for FoT Runes.
Fists of Thunder/Holy Distance:
Every yard traveled using Fists of Thunder’s teleport grants you 0.5 spirit (placeholder number, stop judging me)
Fists of Thunder/Divine Arrival:
Teleporting a distance of 15 yards or more using Fists of Thunder will result in a 12 yard AOE explosion for 175% weapon damage at the point of arrival.
Fists of Thunder/Speed of Light:
Teleport function removed. Every third hit of fists of thunder increases your movespeed by 6% and dodge chance by 3% for 8 seconds. Maximum of 5 stacks. (I’m aware there is a Way of the Hundred Fists rune similar to this, but it’s also proc’d in a much different way and it requires fairly constant use to keep the buff up, something I think needs altering)
The next step is to give players incentive to use the other generators. The only way to do this is to grant them benefits that offer the same or a greater level of efficiency. Fists of Thunder is efficient because it’s the fastest attacking spirit generator, it hits multiple targets spawning more tornadoes and the instant teleport can’t be beaten for moving from place to place(unless of course you’re using the Tempest Rush Paragon lvling build).
Give deadly reach stronger BASE spirit generation, damage and further reach. Here’s a couple of rune examples that might give players incentive to take it over FoT.
Deadly Reach/Strike from Beyond – Better version:
Every enemy hit by the third strike grants 6 spirit and 5% increased armor for 15 seconds. Maximum of 10 stacks.
The spirit generation of the current Strike from Beyond just isn’t good enough or interesting enough to make the skill stand out. Also, too many procs rely on crits. This rune also combines a more interesting and thought/play-provoking version of the Keen Eye rune
Deadly Reach/Searing Dash:
The third strike of Deadly Reach is replaced by a 25 yard Dash that damages all enemies you pass through for 290% weapon damage and leaves a trail of holy fire on the ground that deals 200% weapon damage over 3 seconds. Dash can only occur once every 4 seconds.
On to Crippling Wave.
Increase base damage and spirit generation. I also think that instead of the third strike dazing enemies, it should act as a miniature cyclone strike. If not that, then something more creative. Maybe have it make all enemies in a 20 yard radius take extra dmg for 5-10 seconds(looking at you breaking wave…10% for 3 seconds is terrible). Here’s a couple more rune examples.
Crippling Wave/Final Strike:
The third strike teleports you to your destination up to 35 yards away, unleashing an AOE wave that deals 240% weapon damage and pulls in targets within 15 yards. (the pull effect could be minor in comparison to cyclone strike)
Crippling Wave/Cheap Trick:
If the third strike hits 3 or more enemies the spirit cost of your next 2 abilities is reduced by 40% and your movespeed is increased by 25% for 2 seconds.
Crippling Wave/Holy Spam:
Every enemy hit by the third strike decreases your remaining cooldown durations by 5% of their current values. Maximum of 50% removal. (could also be a flat value for seconds removal. Maybe -0.5 seconds per enemy hit?)
Finally, what do we do with Way of a Hundred Fists?
Rune idea: Something that makes the skill cost spirit to use, is channeled and the longer you channel it the more damage it does and the cooler the animations get. Stacks could slowly dissipate between use. Kind of like the disintegrate rune, except you don’t have to start over every time you break the channel.
Perhaps give the BASE skill some sort of proc mechanic. The skill is separated from other generators in that a lot of hits occur from one “use”. Take advantage of this discrepancy.
I don’t think I need to give any more specific examples for spirit generators at this point. I’m sure you guys see where I’m going.
Onto the other skills!
Seven Sided Strike. Honestly, I think this might be the coolest skill in the game. Unfortunately, we can only use it twice per minute. I think the dev team needs to take this particular skill and get very creative with the runes. Fulminating Onslaught and Sudden Assault are the only interesting runes IMO. I also think that the basic CD and spirit cost mechanic should be altered so that the skill can be used more often but at a greater cost. Cooldowns have proven to be a less than favorable mechanic for limiting abusive styles of gameplay in Diablo 3. I think some clever mechanics could alter this unfortunate path. Let me give you an example!(NOT ANOTHER ONE)
Seven Sided Strike: Costs 80% of your current spirit. Minimum of 100 spirit required.
Note: I think perhaps that current damage dealt is too high to support this new version of the skill. I’m not even sure it could work if the rest of my ideas were implemented…numbers might have to be swapped a little. Maybe 90% of your spirit and minimum of 130 spirit required? Pretty sure that could work(though might be going a little bit overboard. A SUPER focus on spirit generation gear and skills could potentially allow this skill to be used once every 5-6 seconds, but that’s about ALL you’d be casting due to the %based spirit cost and I can’t see that being super efficient on anything but heavy damage dealing elite packs on high monster power lvls. Regardless, it’s still got some potential use and could be fun to try a build with. Certain runes could give cooldowns to the skill and/or change it to a flat spirit cost. Either way, I definitely think the skill would work a LOT better as a big spirit spender/emergency HP return skill without a cooldown. It’s a lot more fun to have to prepare yourself to use something efficiently instead of being forced to wait to use it, then just using it the moment it comes off CD. That kind of preparation isn’t fun or exciting in most cases.
Wave of Light: This skill is actually in a fairly good place since patch 1.07, all things considered. Some of the runes are a tad boring and don’t do enough to separate themselves from the pack, but there’s a couple nice options in there.
Exploding Palm: Roughly in the same position as wave of light. The skill has its uses and has seen vast improvements. Again though, a few of the runes could use some readjustments to support a wider variety of potential uses.
Mantras: Literally, almost every single mantra base skill and rune variant is incredibly plain, boring and underpowered. Mantras need a TON of work. Mantras are literally just boring, active versions of passive skills. Almost none of them affect the way you actually play the game. This is one area in particular for the Monk where devs need to get a LOT more creative. See above examples.
The last monk skill I’d like to cover is Dashing Strike. The idea that I have for this skill, if implemented, would literally force me to pick a Monk as my main and level him up to paragon 100 ASAP. It’s that awesome.
Allow me to introduce the new and VASTLY improved Dashing Strike.
Spirit Cost 25. Each repeated cast increases spirit cost by 50%. 16 second Cooldown.
Dash a distance of 35 yards damaging enemies you pass through for 150% weapon damage. Can be used repeatedly within 2 seconds of previous cast, increasing the speed and damage by 20% per cast. Cooldown activates if skill isn’t cast within 2 seconds of previous cast.
Basically, this turns the skill into a manual version of seven sided strike without the invulnerability, except with TONS of potential uses. Escape tool, closing tool, standard AOE dmg tool, cleanup tool, overall mobility tool, or even heavy damage tool, to name a few. I want to play the game with this skill SO BADLY. It just seems like it would be awesome. Numbers could probably be tweaked a little to avoid it being too powerful, but you get the idea. Here’s some rune ideas that increase the awesomeness to another level!
Can’t Catch Me: Increases allotted activation time of repeated casts to 4 seconds (from 2). Decreases base spirit cost to 15.
Explosive Pivot: Increases base damage to 220% and releases an explosion of holy light at the point of arrival that deals 140% weapon damage to all enemies within 10 yards.
Invigoration: Spirit cost removed. Gain 8 spirit per target hit. Maximum of 2 repeated casts allowed. Cooldown reduced to 10 seconds.
Dimensional Rift: Gain 45% damage reduction while traveling through dashes and for 3 seconds afterwards
Speed Demon: Base cooldown decreased to 9 seconds. First dash is maximum speed. Targets hit are rooted for 2 seconds.
Is it just me or does this skill and its runes sound fricken awesome???? Honestly, I think this skill and every single one of its runes sounds infinitely more fun than ANYTHING that currently exists in the game. Maybe you don’t agree, but can you honestly tell me that you wouldn’t love to try it out? Every rune is interesting and unique, they change up the way you can play the game regardless of what your accompanying skills are, they have the potential for TONS of efficient applications and it gives the Monk that feeling of speed and skill that it so desperately needs. The only downside to the skill is that it looks like so much fun and has so many uses, that if it were implemented into the current game, I guarantee 95%+ of Monks would use it.
One more thing about Monks before I move on: stop trying to fix Lashing Tail Kick by buffing the damage. The skill is inherently flawed in its mechanic. As I stated already, melee classes do not want to PUSH mobs away from them regularly. I don’t care how much damage it does, if it’s kicking monsters away then you’re just purposefully wasting time. If I were a D3 dev, I would turn lashing tail kick into a special, combo type debuffing tool(at least the base skill and some of the runes). Have it be a combo based spirit spender that debuffs in fun and interesting ways. Not only will this give the Monk incentive to use it, but it will help greatly in promoting build variety AND it will assist tremendously in giving the Monk the martial arts combat feel that it so badly needs. If you play a Monk, do yourself a favor and give this section a quick re-read. Now answer me this; do you want to play my version of the Monk? I don’t know about you guys, but dashing through baddies and throwin punches and kicks all over the place sounds like a lot more fun to me than thunderclapping till my eyes bleed. It can be done people! It can be done without crippling efficiency. This is what we all thought the Monk was going to be during the game’s development. How did it fall so far away?
Well that’s about all I’ve got for the Monk. On to the next class!
To be honest, I actually think the Demon Hunter is in the all-around best spot where class balance and build diversity is concerned. There is a significantly greater spread of use across their skills than other classes(Wizard is close, but mostly due to the fact that there are so many supplemental skills to the Perma Archon and CM builds).
I believe the DH possesses a greater discrepancy in play style between efficient builds than any other class. I also believe there to be a greater number of potential builds with strong efficiency than any other class. Having said that, I also believe that there is still a TON of room for improvement. As I briefly mentioned earlier, the DH suffers tremendously from a major issue in weapon diversity and power. All DH’s are almost forced to use Manticores as every alternative diminishes efficiency significantly. This issue obviously comes from poor itemization, though I definitely believe that class balance plays an equally significant role. The archery passive is used by over 80% of players. This is VERY BAD. The current state of itemization and DH class balance forces this passive onto players, as the 2h xbow bonus is just too strong to ignore. 1hxbow bonus isn’t bad, but it makes dual wielding xbows almost pointless.
Frankly, I don’t think passives like this one belong in the game at all. The bonuses all increase damage in the same way. They are literally just adding stats that already exist in the game, much like the Barb passive Ruthless. How did it happen that such boring passive skills were allowed into the game? At what point did someone say, “I think we should have this skill increase your crit chance and crit damage”, then everyone else said, “yeah that sounds pretty good”? Didn’t anyone speak up and say, “that’s really boring guys, we can do a lot better than that”?
It’s things like this that make me wonder whether or not Blizzard is taking any pride in their work. I really do have great respect for Blizzard but so many of their design choices for this game have left me scratching my head and wondering how it was possible that everyone agreed so many of these things were good ideas. Not only are they not good ideas, an enormous number of them are very bad ones.
Custom Engineering – Why it’s bad: There’s almost no reason as to why anyone would want any of these skills to last longer. This game isn’t about sitting in the same spot forever. You move fast and furiously and the last thing you want to do is sit around to try and take advantage of a useless passive ability like this one. Increasing the maximum number of sentries and spike traps is a good addition, but nowhere near enough to make it desirable.
Cull the Weak – Why it’s bad: Not only is the damage increase negligible, but the demon hunter doesn’t have any easy, efficient and consistent means of slowing a significant number of the enemies you encounter. Traps are fine at slowing, but their positioning is very limited. Having to place a trap and then wait for enemies to spring it before you can take advantage of this skill just kills any chance it had at being efficient. This skill could only work in the current version of the game if the damage buff was something closer to 35% or if there were easier ways of applying slows to the things that you hit. Even then, the passive is still a little boring, but at least it could change up the way you play some.
Hot Pursuit – Why it’s bad: I don’t quite understand this one. Why encourage the neglect of hatred expenditure? Hatred is how you deal damage, for the most part, so in what way is it fun to prohibit this? No one wants to waste time looking like a fool by using ONLY hatred generators. Not only that but the bonus you get if you do manage to successfully cripple your damage output, could NEVER make up for the loss in efficiency. 15% extra movespeed, even over the cap, is just not that special, nor does it change the way you play the game in anything but a negative way.
Brooding – Why it’s bad: You gain 1% of your max life per second. Did you know that this skill used to be worse? Lol
Grenadier – Why it’s bad: It’s bad because grenades aren’t really good at all and 2 extra hatred generation is just abysmal. This is another perfect example of Blizzard demonstrating their fear of creating powerful skills. They seem to think that this skill with 5 extra generation, instead of 2, would just throw the entire game out of whack or something. I’m constantly boggled by it. Cluster Arrow reduction is good, but not near good enough and still too straightforward and boring. 450% weapon damage on death is utterly stupid. I don’t think that statement needs explanation.
Ballistics – Why it’s bad: Damage from rockets increased by 50%. I literally couldn’t help but shake my head in shame as I typed that out. You guys must have been brain fried from putting in overtime or something while working on many of these skills. I really can’t think of another reason how they made it to release, let alone how they continue to exist almost a year into release. You cannot promote build diversity by introducing a mechanic, then introducing a passive that makes that mechanic not suck as much. Mechanics need to be good in the first place, while passives make them MORE appealing and interesting. Do you honestly think that any DH cares about the current state of rocket damage? Lol
Numbing Traps - Why it’s bad: It’s bad because it’s essentially a passive that supports a type of CM Wizard style tanking. The debuff duration is just too short to be useful for the majority of situations. I suppose this could work to decrease the damage of Uber Bosses, but I fail to see how that makes the game more fun/exciting, or how it makes a player think. Overly limited and situational damage decrease is just not my idea of fun, and apparently there are millions of people who agree. Also, like many skills, there are just much better alternatives.
Thrill of the Hunt – Why it’s bad: This skill has absolutely no purpose outside of a PVP environment and even there it’s not very strong. Scrap this awful skill.
Every single one of those passives has a sickeningly low use across all players (less than 3% for all but custom engineering). Not only that, but they are all utterly terrible and boring.
So aside from some boring/imbalanced passives, what else is wrong with the Demon Hunter?
• Almost every single player uses Preperation, Shadow Power with Bloom rune and Vault\
• Shadow Power with Bloom is literally a requirement for efficient play(unless you’re farming on MP0 with big DPS and a strictly speedy build)
• Hungering Arrow remains the best hatred generator by a significant amount
• A large number of big hatred spenders lack the power and creativity required to make them appealing.
• Rapid Fire is a channeled skill. Channeled skills on ranged classes need to be MUCH more powerful to be worth using. I’m talking about increasing power by as much as a factor of 5. The fact that you are utterly susceptible to incoming damage and are not allowed to move AT ALL means that the benefits from the skill should be tremendous to compensate.
• The class suffers from an extreme case of “Kill everything before it touches you”. Taking the desired stats down from their already abysmal number to an even more abysmal number makes the gearing process incredibly straightforward and boring. It also cripples the game’s ability to meet its maximum potential, but I’ve already covered that sufficiently.
Shadow Power absolutely needs to have the reduced damage taken mechanic for every single rune. This has been suggested a million times by a million people yet, for some reason, Blizzard refuses to make it happen. I feel this is another perfect example of Blizzard sticking to their guns when it is most inappropriate. Blizzard, you can make shadow power a universal damage dampener! It’s okay! Nothing bad can come of it so long as you balance other skills to be competitive, as well as fix itemization. Classes can have multiple, powerful means of damage mitigation. So long as they all make you play in different and enjoyable ways, there is nothing wrong with it!
I’m fairly certain that Blizzard is unwilling to accept that SO many skills are nowhere near what they should be. It is for this reason, among others, that a significant number of changes to skills have not reflected an understanding of what makes a skill fun and/or good. I believe that the above, suggested change to shadow power has not occurred because Blizzard is unwilling to accept that so many other skills are in such a poor place. How many times since release has Blizzard buffed skills only to see their use remain incredibly low? I’m sorry, but I don’t think that the people behind skills are very good at their jobs. They don’t seem to have an understanding of how to properly balance skills or make them fun, awesome, unique and appealing. A very small percentage of skills in this game fall under those categories. The abundance of evidence for these statements is literally incontrovertible.
From what I can see, Blizzard thinks, “Class balance is in a pretty decent place overall and if we buff shadow power, all that would do is make it too desirable!”. In reality, shadow power Bloom is a perfectly acceptable skill, while the majority of other defensive DH skills are just miles beneath it in SO many ways. In reality, most skills and runes are a fraction of what they could be. In reality, the majority of skills and runes in this game are actually pretty boring and ineffective. This isn’t just my reality, this is the reality that millions of gamers have identified. This is the reality that Blizzard needs to accept if they want to turn Diablo 3 into the game it deserves to be.
Please take a moment to think about all that you’ve read so far in this post. Now ask yourself objectively, do you feel that you and your friends would like to play this version of the game? Does it sound far more fun and challenging? Do you think these changes would help significantly in transforming Diablo 3 into the game it should be? Ask yourself the same question once you finish reading the entire thing.
Hungering Arrow Spray of Teeth is actually a pretty well rounded rune. It’s one of the few runes in the game that I actually wouldn’t really alter in my version. It doesn’t significantly change the way you play the game in comparison to some other skills and runes that I’ve suggested, but it does have enough of an impact on your build’s foundation that choosing it will usually force you into pairing it with abilities that take the function of the skill into consideration. So long as the skill has potential for efficiency and offers competitive advantages, it is a perfectly acceptable ability. Not every skill needs to have a complex function behind it. Promoting new builds via the consideration of supplemental abilities to improve upon the functionality of a foundation skill such as Hungering Arrow Spray of Teeth is perfectly okay in moderation. I am absolutely an advocate of simplicity where it can exist without significantly diminishing the potential quality of one or more aspects of the game.
Unfortunately, I can’t really say the same for the rest of the hungering arrow runes. For the most part, they’re pretty bland and underpowered. They also fail to separate themselves significantly, or even slightly, from the alternatives. Devouring arrow is the only exception here. Let me tell you why!
Hungering Arrow is the skill you pick when you want a hatred generator that focuses on exceptional single target damage. Spray of teeth is the rune you pick when you want to increase that single target damage potential as well as give the skill a little bit of AOE utility. That rune supports that style of play well enough. Devouring arrow, on the other hand, needs to support its function better. Devouring arrow is the skill you pick when you want a hatred generator that reigns supreme as purely single target damage. I don’t feel that the skill accomplishes this very well. The math for the comparison of these skills shows us that devouring arrow is only SLIGHTLY better than spray of teeth for single target damage. In a world where Diablo 3 runes are perfectly balanced, the introduction of this rune would tear that world asunder. This is why we can’t have nice things.
You can’t have two runes that accomplish the same thing almost equally well when one of those runes is specifically designed to accomplish it better! That’s just so ridiculous….lol. I’m aware that spray of teeth requires a solid amount of crit to be comparable with Devouring Arrow in single target damage, but I’m also aware that I wrote a very long post on itemization (see above) that explains why this critical hit rate is VERY easy to achieve. In a world that makes sense, Devouring arrow would see a pretty significant increase in power. The skill should stand out as the champion of single target damage hatred generators. It shouldn’t have you questioning whether or not it’s superior to a rune that wasn’t designed for the fulfillment you’re looking to meet. Makes sense right?
A large number of Demon Hunter hatred spender skills and their associated runes are very boring and lacking in creativity. Allow me to give you an example.
Multishot/Fire at Will: Reduces cost to 15 hatred and changes damage to lightning damage.
A very simple alteration of the skill. I’m not exactly against it, though I do think it could be a LITTLE more interesting. The most significant function of this rune is to allow you to fire the skill off at a near constant rate.
Multishot/Full Broadside: Increases damage to 215% weapon damage.
A slightly less impactful alteration to the skill. Unfortunately, the largest function of this rune actually accomplishes nearly the exact same thing as the above rune. The ONLY objectives for each rune are to clear a group or groups of monsters as quickly as possible, or to deal out as much AOE damage in the shortest possible amount of time.
So what is the biggest difference between the two skills?
Fire at will forces you to spend more time casting the skill while putting out more damage per hatred spent, while full broadside allows you to put out slightly more damage in the same amount of time, except that you will run out of hatred sooner. But here’s the funny part…The fact that fire at will forces you to cast more often in order to meet the damage output of full broadsides means that you spend more time “per area” clearing monsters(unless everything is dying in one shot). Keep in mind that this statement only applies to moments that are spent using multishot. Full broadside, on the other hand, kills the monsters in these areas faster, except NOW you’re spending a little more time recovering hatred(the comparisons of amount of time spent recovering is fairly dependent on several factors including your DPS, hatred generator and the monster power level you’re playing at. However, the main point still stands). So not only do these runes serve almost identical purposes, but they practically share identical drawbacks as well! These two runes actually serve as perfect examples of why simply being given choices is not enough. If those choices are only difficult to make because the outcome of each is so similar to the other, then you are literally defeating the purpose of even having to choose.
The main point is that these runes have almost no discernable or meaningful differences between them. I have used both EXTENSIVELY and I can say with utmost certainty that, regardless of your other skills, swapping between full broadside and fire at will makes almost no difference. Full broadside does more damage but requires you to use hatred generators more often, while fire at will allows you to spend more time spamming the skill.
“But you said that runes that make you play differently are a good thing! One rune makes you stand around and shoot the same skill while the other rune makes you have to use your generators more often!”
You are very observant! This is true. HOWEVER, you must consider the fact that multishot is an extremely foundational skill. If multishot is a part of your build and you aren’t using it CONSTANTLY then you are most likely wasting that skill slot. The skill is so useful, so often that there is absolutely no reason to use another skill in its place(given your build) whenever possible. It’s one of the best AOE skills, if not the best, in the game.
So basically, each rune forces you to focus on the same objective; that objective being the ability to use multishot as often as possible. Therefore, while your playstyle has been altered in some way, the vast majority of it remains the exact same between the two runes. Even if these runes existed in their current form inside MY version of the game, they would still stifle the potential fun you could have. I know this example is getting a little long winded, but I really believe that it is crucial in understanding what I feel is the correct philosophy for class balance.
Imagine my version of the game; one that has a few hatred generators that exceed at generating hatred back very quickly in different ways. Then imagine that you decide to test the differences between full broadside and fire at will just like we are now. While full broadside now has the advantage, it’s still only a very slight one due to the fact that there is such a tiny difference between the two FUNDAMENTAL skills. The damage difference and mechanics between the two skills just doesn’t really have any significance in how you play the game
Like so many other Diablo 3 problems, this one is very multi-faceted. It’s not solely the fault of the rune for enforcing such a boring objective. The rune is just a proponent.
The fact that these runes are so similar has created this unfortunate situation. No one would feel the need to fire off ONE SKILL as often as possible if that skill (or some other skill) gave you incentive to play at a more complex and entertaining level. If every 3 shots of multishot made your next 2 NON-multishot abilities deal more damage, then you’d be using multishot a helluva lot less. I’m not saying that’s a good solution, I’m just saying that these are the kinds of situations we find ourselves in when so many runes are too simple, too boring, or too weak(or all 3). Now please allow me to show you how I would design these runes, and how they would create a FUN and different way of playing.
Fire at Will:
Hatred cost reduced to 20. Whenever you hit 8 or more enemies with one shot, your hatred regeneration is increased by 18 for 5 seconds.
This skill is now interesting because it is much more properly situational and its potential power varies based on what monster power you play at, your DPS, how wisely you use it and how well you pair it with other fundamental skills. The skill will still be very powerful at low monster power levels as it can clear rooms fairly quickly. However, the uptime of the buff will be significantly lower than if you were using it on monsters with a ton of HP which means that you may not be taking full advantage of the skill. The rune makes sense in this way because it basically allows you to fire any skill “at will” so long as you have lots of enemies in your face to keep the buff up. Otherwise, the buff will serve more as a semi-frequent “refill” of whatever hatred you’ve spent. It could support SUPER heavy hatred spending builds, or you could just use it as people use it now; a way to keep moving and firing multishot without having to stop often for hatred regeneration. Either way, the skill now promotes the use of other skills or, if you prefer, the continued spamming of multishot.
Max range increased by 30%. Enemies within 12 yards of you that are hit by multishot take 845% weapon damage and are knocked back. Enemies further than 12 yards take 490% weapon damage and are slowed by 60% for 3 seconds. Hatred cost increased to 60.
See what we have here? Full broadside now costs 3x more hatred than fire at will. Not only that, the mechanics of each support several entirely different styles of play. While one can be, well…fired at will or used as a primer for an onslaught of more hatred-heavy skills, full broadside now serves an entirely different purpose. Full broadside is the skill you use when you’re not afraid to get in close and take risks for a TON of damage, or if you prefer to play it safe, the skill now offers very strong damage and a slow to enemies at a greater distance. The skill makes sense this way because it’s supposed to be a very powerful shot, hence the reason it hurts more at closer range and travels further than it did before. It’s fun though because taking advantage of one benefit can often mean missing out on the other unless you’re very skilled at positioning. AMG IMPORTANT CHOICES!!!
So what about other big hatred spenders? I’m not going to go into detail with them, but I essentially feel the same way about them as I do with the majority of skills in this game; they aren’t creative or particularly fun, nor do they inspire any interesting builds. Cluster arrow, fan of knives, variations of elemental arrow, rapid fire and chakram could all be so much cooler.
Rapid fire has such awesome potential that I almost want to write 5 more pages on how to make it cool. I won’t, but in return you(Blizzard) have to promise me that you will make it cool and worth using.
That’s really all I care to say about the Demon Hunter at this point. I could go on and on but I’ve already done that so let’s just continue.
To be honest, I just don’t have very much experience playing a witch doctor, nor do I read enough about them to understand a whole lot about the core problems of their skills and gearing issues.
One thing I do know is that, like every other class, there is a TON of under utilized skills. The witch doctor suffers from an insane number of skills that have absurdly long cooldowns. As I said before, 2 minute cooldowns have absolutely no place in this game.
Anyone want to guess what else this class suffers from? That’s right boys and girls, lack of creativity. Wall of Zombies, Fetish Army, Big Bad voodoo, Mass Confusion…these skills and more all have so much potential to be stupidly fun and awesome, yet almost every single rune for every single skill in that list is a depressing let down considering what it could have been. Anyone want to see a few of the things I’d do to make them awesome? Too bad cause I’m gonna show you anyway.
Let’s start with Wall of Zombies. I actually think that the Dead Rush and Pile on runes are quite creative and interesting. The problem is that the cooldown of this skill makes every single rune for it useless. This is another instance where I feel that a greater mana cost or some other form of limitation would be far more suitable than a cooldown. Cooldowns are just evil little nuisances when they fall upon such a great number of your fun skill choices.
As indicated in many of my skill suggestions, I absolutely believe that skills that carry heavy amounts of power should have drawbacks. Unfortunately, I think that Blizzard has tried to impose cooldowns to serve as ALL of these drawbacks almost solely because it’s a simple mechanic that is almost universally understood. While universally understood it might be, it is also almost universally despised, especially in such great numbers. Cooldowns are incredibly over-used in in this game. It’s okay to give certain skills other forms of drawbacks like forcing you to take more damage or slowing your movespeed or halting your resource regeneration. It’s just like the “Global Killer” meteor rune I used as an example for the Wizard. Casting such a massive spell takes a toll on poor little wizzy poo, but that toll doesn’t ALWAYS have to come in the form of a stupid, boring cooldown! Get creative with the drawbacks as well as the benefits and even more builds will rise as a result!
For the love of all that is holy, please brush aside this notion that players will quit a game because they don’t fully understand certain things about it on their first 20 hours of play. Ask me how many of my friends don’t play Diablo 3 because they thought it was too complicated. Go on, I’ll wait. Now ask me how many of them don’t play anymore because they think itemization is bad, class balance is bad, end game content is bad, there’s no PVP and there’s almost no reason to play with friends. The answer is a shocking 100%.
Enough delay, here’s some more examples.
Wall of Zombies BASE SKILL:
Cost: 415 mana. Decreases mana regeneration by 40% for 4 seconds.
Raise a line of zombies from the ground that attacks nearby enemies for 700% weapon damage over 6 seconds.
Wall of Zombies - Zombie Apocalypse:
Decreases mana cost to 285, decreases mana regeneration debuff to 25% for 4 seconds. Every active wall of zombies increases the damage you deal and take by 15%. Maximum of 3 walls.
This rune is fun for a few reasons and supports a number of different builds and play styles. You could simply use it as a way to throw up a zombie wall without having to worry about losing a lot of mana and regen, or you could use it in more of a spamfest way to trap groups of monsters and deal some solid damage.. You could also use it to effectively barricade yourself from an oncoming attack while you try and regen some hp or mana. This is the skill you pick if you want to pretend that you’re a “Waller” elite without losing a ton of mana and regen.
Wall of Zombies – Great Balls of Fire:
Increases damage done to nearby enemies to 1280% weapon damage over 5 seconds. Zombies will also hurl globs of flaming flesh at enemies and your petsbetween 10 and 45 yards away from the wall. Flaming flesh globs deal 240% weapon damage in a small AOE and restore 3% maximum HP per hit. Pets hit with flesh globs deal 400% poison damage to enemies over 5 seconds in a small AOE.
The big, single cast damage rune. Lots of practical uses though fairly situational. Use it to get the most possible damage on a single cast to nearby enemies, or simply cast at a distance from targets to take advantage of the ranged, damage dealing, HP-restoring flesh globs. Perhaps you’ve got an army of pets that you’d like to buff with flaming zombie flesh? The skill requires a superior attention to positioning as there are several different advantages you can benefit from if you know how to place the wall and where to stand relative to it.
Wall of Zombies – Bulldoze:
Zombie wall rises up and pushes all enemies it comes in contact with forward a maximum distance of 30 yards dealing 300% weapon damage along the way. If the zombie wall pushes enemies into a wall or object, those enemies will be crushed for 590% weapon damage and be stunned for 4 seconds.
I’d love to give this rune a try. The idea of squashing bad guys between a wall of zombies and a wall of stone just sounds like a lot of fun to me. The rune is definitely more suited for indoor areas, though I think some interesting programming could turn this skill into one of the coolest skills in the game. What if you could summon 2 walls headed in opposite directions, eventually leading to the squashing of anything between them? Either way, the skill could definitely be a powerful addition to several efficient builds.
Instead of going into a ton of further examples I’m just going to give a quick rundown of how I feel a few skills need to be adjusted to be fun, build promoting and competitive.
I think perhaps that the very idea of this skill prohibits it from being able to exist without a cooldown of some kind. 2 minutes, however, is just FAR too long. Reduce the cooldown to something between 25-45 seconds. Decrease the duration of the army to 10-15 seconds. Increase the damage each fetish does.
Runes could do things like, remove the cooldown completely but force the skill to require 100% of your mana to cast with a minimum of 900 mana required. Or maybe something that causes fetish hits to restore a percent of your mana per each enemy hit and mark targets with a debuff that makes them take extra dmg depending on how many fetishes hit the same target (Makes the skill restore solid mana vs big groups of monsters or put a good damage taking debuff on small groups of monsters.). Or maybe a rune where fetishes reduce the cooldown of all skills for every enemy they slay?
People really only use this skill for Paranoia rune. Lower the cooldown to something closer to 30 seconds and give the base skill a chance to enslave the confused units to fight for you until they die. This could be one of the skills that Witch Docs pick when they want an army by their side. One rune idea is to give enslaved enemies a chance to transform into demons of immense strength that just ravage your enemies for a limited time. Maybe the chance could be based on a number of gear stats? Or maybe the demon spawn could be guaranteed but its damage is based on some interesting stat mechanic? Either way, this skill needs a LOT more incentive and a much shorter cooldown. PLEASE STOP GIVING ALL SKILL RUNES THE SAME SET OF BENEFITS! (Slightly increased dmg, stuns, slows, decreased cooldown, etc.). These are such boring methods of design, especially considering the fact that each rune has only ONE of these very small benefits, for the most part.
Big Bad Voodoo:
This skill isn’t bad but, again, most of the people using it are only using it for one rune; Slam Dance. Decrease the cooldown massively, decrease the duration SLIGHTLY and give the benefits more interesting and creative properties. Don’t you know what happens to skills when you give them such long, unavoidable cooldowns? You turn them into STRICTLY supplemental skills! A skill cannot promote build diversity very well, if at all, if it has an uptime of 10%. A skill like big bad voodoo has potential to be a really cool, fundamental skill. Make it happen!
The last thing I want to say regarding the witch doctor is that I think this class needs a lot more variety in the way players utilize the Mana resource. I think that, if players want to, they should be able to gear and spec their WD in such a way that makes it literally impossible to run out of mana, at the cost of giving up a number of other benefits. Similarly, I think that WD’s should be able to go the opposite route while still being capable of running many different, efficient builds. Some people like to spam stuff, other people like to take less spazzy and more methodical steps towards victory. Make the choice ours and make it a choice that is fun to choose!
I’m getting so sick of reading all the naysayers sharing their flawed logic on why class balance actually DOES exists and that there’s simply always going to be a BEST SPEC for certain types of play no matter what the devs do. While there is SOME truth to this opinion, it is just nowhere near reality. There absolutely is a small amount of build diversity in this game. Unfortunately, the vast majority of it revolves around substituting supplemental skills which results in little to no difference in the way you’re actually playing the game. If this game were designed properly, each class should be able to choose from at least several hundred specs of equal or similar efficiency where kill speed and clear rates are concerned. All of these specs would be played in ways that differ from each other greatly. Not only that, but changing up monster power would open up an entirely new set of efficient builds. Some skills would hold out better on monsters that don’t die right away, while other skills would shine in situations where you just want to blow right through things and run like Forest Gump. You say this type of build diversity isn’t possible? I say that you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Not only is it possible, it’s not overly difficult to achieve.
Just take some of the suggestions I made regarding itemization and class balance. Can you imagine yourselves playing this version of the game? Can you imagine yourselves hunting for Prime loot, messing with your Nephalem Power points, playing around with affixes like, “damage you take is added to your own for X seconds” or, “Resource generation skills generate X% more resources”. What about some of the Runes I’ve listed. Wouldn’t you like to give those a try? This game NEEDS to make players feel truly awesome because they were able to take the skills they love and find a way to create a fun and efficient build out of them. Having 3-5 builds that are INFINITELY better than every other build does not make for a fun game. This does not have to be Diablo 3’s fate! Just remember that even a superb system of class balance and build diversity cannot prosper fully without a very strong itemization system to support it. I pray to the High Heavens that one day I will play a version of Diablo 3 where LITERALLY EVERY SINGLE new player I do ubers with doesn’t look and play EXACTLY like the guy who came before him. Please Blizzard, recognize your failures where they occurred and start taking REAL steps towards repair. The patches have been nice, for the most part, but they still demonstrate an extreme lack of recognition of the VERY poor state of itemization and class balance/build diversity in this game.
This post is turning out to be longer than I wanted it to so I’m going to start cutting certain things short.
Crafting is not in a good place. The newest BoA system made several improvements to crafting, however most of those improvements have nothing to do with the fact that the armor crafted is BoA…lol The system was improved because Blizzard finally implemented a reagent into the game that makes sense. Demonic Essences are a wonderful idea with lots of potential. Funnily enough, I wrote a long post telling Blizzard to do almost this exact thing at least 8 months ago. In fact, I did the same thing for the monster power system and a version of the uber boss system, though I personally feel that my “uber boss system” was more interesting. I also wrote a great number of posts detailing the need for systems such as the Paragon system that would allow players to bypass the need for magic and gold find on gear. I’ve always felt that gear stats should focus on things that are combat oriented, IE: the way you play the game. Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked. Believe me or don’t believe me, that’s not what this post is about.
For crafting to reach its potential, several things need to happen. The first and most important thing that needs to happen is the full utilization of Demonic Essences or a system similar to them. Current Legendary Crafting recipes are an absolute disaster. They are GROSSLY underpowered and unbelievably rare. In my 1000+ hours of playing I’ve found only one legendary recipe. It was on my VERY first playthrough at about level 16…
Legendary recipes should have to be purchased with a combination of Demonic Essences and a number of other things. Then, Blizzard needs to get creative with how these recipes are utilized. Perhaps the base recipe nets lower quality versions of the legendary, while upgrading the recipe with more demonic essences or gold or whatever, will increase its base power. Hell, take it one step further. Allow for massive customization in the way guaranteed affixes appear on the legendaries you craft. Maybe have one Legendary recipe that has a system of customization to it where you have to accomplish certain milestones and collection marathons in order to apply certain affixes to the item.
This system could result in a meta game that allows players to separate themselves from other players in what they are capable or “good” at crafting. Maybe BigBarbBob is known as the best movespeed boot crafter? I heard he can guarantee movespeed, movespeed cap increase, main stat, Nephalem Power and your choice of vitality or % of damage taken added to your own for X seconds. I heard that TinaTightPants can make 8 affix helms with the potential for 2 sockets. That takes like 400 hours to achieve! E-fame goes a long way in games like Diablo. It’s fun in a special kind of way to be known as someone who accomplished something difficult in a game. I don’t feel this game supports that desire enough.
The point is, crafting needs to be a system that has the potential for great benefits so long as the right amount of work is put into it. Crafting good items shouldn’t just be based on how many times you can craft the thing before you get lucky. It’s not exactly fun to just sit there and craft 500 amulets till you roll a good one. Crafting could be so much more interesting and dynamic and involved!
Allow us to reroll affixes on items or add additional affixes. The cost should be great, but that’s why the crafting system exists! Crafting can support players who want to find their own gear in more ways than simply BoA items. There are so many potential resource sinks. I’d be more than happy to sink millions of gold into an item that was missing one key affix I want. Let me put in some demonic essences, firey brimstones and millions of gold so that I can reroll it a few times and try my luck.
Considering how long this game was in development and how close the dev team was to the WoW dev team, I’m fairly surprised at the limited amount of customization available. I don’t really care whether or not I can adjust my character’s face or hair, but I DO care what I look like when running around and killing bad guys. Don’t get me wrong, there are some cool looking armor sets in this game. Unfortunately, there is no transmogrification available and getting from 1-60 takes half a day or less if you know what you’re doing. So basically, a lot of the armor models come and go, never to return.
Not only that, but the poor legendary item system has practically forced every person of a single class to look almost exactly the same. D3 devs had a long time to prepare for this so I’m quite disappointed that it happened anyway. Why are dyes even available on the AH? The dye system had SO MUCH potential. I was expecting some kind of super rare crafted dyes with particle effects and glows and hues, etc. Hell, we don’t even have any dark dyes, let alone the would-be awesome dyes I just listed. Why is the darkest version of every dye still WAY too brightly colored?
If you’re thinking that these problems are dismal in comparison to the ones I’ve outlined in this post so far, you’d be absolutely right. Therefore, I’m going to end this here by saying one more thing.
Give us some more ways to distinguish ourselves between other players. Proper itemization and class balance will play a large role in achieving this, but a better dye system and something akin to transmogrification will seal the deal.
With how HUGE social media is today, how did Blizzard screw the pooch SO BADLY with this version of Battle.net? This is pretty much a unanimously agreed upon failure. Unfortunately, Blizzard has done almost nothing since the release of Starcraft 2 to remedy this situation. I still have no desire to play drop in games and even if I wanted to, there’s absolutely no way to distinguish one game from another in any sort of systematic or meaningful way.
Showing off your character is a chore, chat channels are a bore and completely uncustomizable and new and exciting social features are completely non-existent. There is literally NO semblance of community within the game of Diablo 3 or Starcraft 2. I often feel like I’m the only one in the world playing the game. There’s not even guild support….how was this allowed to happen? Lol
I’m really quite bewildered by this one. Blizzard, you desperately need to hire some new people to lead your company in a direction where it can profit from proper development and incorporation of game-improving social features. Since I don’t have much of a passion for this type of problem, I’m going to end this section here. I don’t have solutions for everything. If you want some good ideas, spend some more time on fansite forums.
To be perfectly honest, I don’t really care all that much about PVP. However, I DO think that this game has the potential to introduce some super fun PVP gameplay. For that reason, I’m going to explain my position on PVP and offer a few basic solutions for the current PVP dilemma.
To be honest, I’m actually quite shocked that the D3 dev team couldn’t think of a way to incorporate Team Deathmatch in a way that made it fun, appealing, rewarding and long lasting. I’m equally shocked that they decided to postpone or possibly even cancel its implementation. I understand that perhaps Team Deathmatch doesn’t meat Blizzard’s standards for quality, but I also believe that they are forgetting some very important factors.
Team Deathmatch never had to be perfect upon release. It didn’t even have to be particularly “good”. Don’t you (Blizzard) understand that players just want an organized system of team PVP? PVP is voluntary. You don’t HAVE to play it to make progress in the game. Therefore, the ONLY factor to consider when implementing a BASIC PVP system is whether or not players who WANT to PVP will enjoy it. They don’t have to love it and they don’t have to play it for years to come, though this should be the ultimate goal of the system. All that matters is whether or not the people who want it will have the option to play it!
Obviously you want to implement a system that is mind-blowingly awesome, but in this particular instance, that isn’t a REQUIREMENT for implementation. Get the system in the game THEN worry about how to make it the best it can be. Optimally, you obviously want the system to be awesome before you implement it, but that just isn’t entirely necessary in this instance. This is probably the only circumstance where I feel that such implementation is acceptable. If the system doesn’t affect the main focus of the game(PVE) then worry about making it awesome after players have the chance to get their hands on it. Don’t you think you can learn anything from millions of people testing the system that you currently have developed?
If you’re dead set on waiting till it’s awesome before you implement it, here’s some suggestions on how to make Team Deathmatch appealing to players.
Give players who participate in PVP matches a magic/gold find buff that persists for a duration. Perhaps the buff works in stacks like nephalem valor? Winning the game, getting the most kills, collecting the most health orbs or absorbing the most damage could all grant bonuses to players at the end of the game. Not only would this system give players who aren’t PVP lovers incentive to play it, but it also creates a situation where those players don’t feel like they’re wasting potential farming time to take a break and get some PVP action in. It doesn’t have to be the most efficient way to farm, but it could be a strong enough bonus that people would appreciate it.
Give players experience awards for accomplishing some of the things I mentioned above. Maybe the winning team gains a percentage of their current experience bar based on their current paragon level? Perhaps players who are already Paragon 100 could be rewarded with a BoA item that can be given to your other characters who can then activate it to gain the same experience boost?
Give players something to loot at the end of the game. Maybe achieving certain goals in a match results in a chest spawning at the end of the game? Obviously these kinds of rewards would have to be incorporated in such a way where players couldn’t abuse them to gain easy loot. You also don’t want to create a situation where PVP’ing becomes the best way at acquiring power in the game, though I really don’t think that’s a difficult thing to avoid. Maybe only matchmaking games could offer certain rewards while pre-arranged PVP would offer different sets of rewards?
Give players the chance to bet before a match. It could be anything from gold to experience to gear. Would this be considered illegal since items have actual monetary value in this game? Probably…but it’s fun to dream.
Give players some cool aesthetic options that can only be acquired from achieving certain PVP goals. These things could include new wings(similar to the CE ones), new dyes, special dyes that you apply to weapons that make them glow or have cool graphical effects when attacking or killing enemies, or maybe even the ability to transform the look of your gear? Maybe meeting these PVP goals could earn you new, PVP-only additions to your transmogrification options?(if it were to be implemented) That way, PVP players could distinguish themselves in a way from others. It shouldn’t make them more powerful, as this isn’t a PVP focused game, but at least it could make them stand out in a special way and give PVE players incentive to try out some PVP.
Is this enough ideas yet? I feel like some of these are so obvious and would work with absolute certainty… I thought of these in about 10 minutes, so there would probably have to be a lot of fine tuning and some modifications, but I definitely can’t find any reason as to why they couldn’t be implemented in some way.
Are those ideas not enough incentive and reward to players? Being a mostly non PVP players myself, I can say that I would DEFINITELY play a solid amount of PVP to earn some of those perks.
As for whether or not the team deathmatch system is fun enough, aside from whatever perks and rewards it could offer, that’s a whole other story. I could go on and on with a TON of fun PVP ideas that could work in this game, but I’m not getting paid for this and my passion for this game only takes me so far.
Okay…I’ll give you ONE idea.
Supreme Nephalem Mode:
You queue up for this mode as either a “soldier” or as the “supreme nephalem”. The soldiers are a team of 3-6 players who band together to fight the dreaded supreme nephalem. The supreme nephalem is just a player who has had his offensive and defensive stats increased by massive amounts that depend on the number of soldiers he/she is facing(obviously the damage increase would have to be minimal in comparison to the other stats. You don’t want to run into a situation where the Supreme Nephalem is just wiping the floor with everyone instantly). The supreme nephalem would also gain bonuses to movespeed and CC resistance.
The supreme nephalem can only gain back HP by killing soldiers. Both the soldiers and the supreme nephalem will have access to a few extra tools that, when used wisely, can help them to achieve victory. This is where Blizzard could get super creative. I only just thought of this idea, so here’s a couple things I think could be cool.
Perhaps soldiers could have access to certain environmental hazard “triggers” that can gain them the upper hand if used at the right moment. Maybe the supreme nephalem could activate one of 3 special, uber powerful skills that only exists in the realm of Supreme Nephalem Mode. These skills could become active upon killing a certain number of soldiers or sustaining a certain amount of damage, or both! The game could start with a timer of 5 minutes. If the soldiers don’t kill the supreme nephalem in that time, they lose!
Winners could be rewarded with a variety of things(see above suggestions).\
This mode could be really cool because of the infinite potential it has in promoting new build ideas. Maybe you go in with a team of super defensive healers, but what’s this? Your supreme nephalem opponent uses SUPER bursty single target damage skills that make healing almost impossible. I just feel that this mode, if implemented properly, could benefit the game enormously in a numbers of ways. Who wouldn’t want to play the role of Act Boss? Who wouldn’t want to get an army of players and go up against said player-controlled act boss? Sounds like a ton of fun to me.
Again, I literally came up with this idea in about 15 minutes. Obviously with more time it could be improved upon greatly.
Onto the next topic…
END GAME AND INCENTIVE TO PLAY:
While I strongly believe that many of the suggestions I’ve made in this post will greatly increase the desire that players have to continue playing, I also think that there exists a fundamental flaw Diablo 3 that is prohibiting it from achieving true longevity. So why exactly does there seem to be such a high rate of quitting in Diablo 3?
This problem stems from one, single issue: goals. People who play games set different goals for themselves. Upon meeting these goals, the average player will almost always loose a significant amount of interest in the game. Some people create their own “abstract” goals, while other people tend to strive for the more “clear cut” goals that were intentionally presented and promoted by the developers. A good example of an abstract goal in Diablo 3 would be to kill all the uber bosses on MP10, or to achieve 200,000 DPS with a certain character. A good example of a clear cut goal would be reaching Paragon 100 or clearing the game on inferno by yourself.
Abstract goals differ from player to player and will almost always instill less desire to play than a clear cut, purposefully designed goal. It’s just not usually as much fun completing somewhat arbitrary goals as it is trying to complete goals that you know a LOT of people are adamantly trying to accomplish. While this doesn’t hold true for EVERYONE, it is without a doubt a pattern that has demonstrated its existence time and time again. Some people undoubtedly get more enjoyment from creating and reaching their own set of abstract goals.
I know a LOT of players who reached paragon 100, only to quit almost immediately afterwards. Some players will stick around to accomplish their own set of goals, but the realization of their lack of significance or the boredom they experience while trying to get there will often halt their progress quickly.
The current version of Diablo 3 has set a standard of goals that can simply never succeed in keeping a significant number of players hooked on the game. While the devs have made a little progress in this area, the current focus of the game is still the item hunt. You play the game to gear up your player so that you can play the same content and gear up your character more efficiently. What happens when you succeed in doing that? You just keep on doing it! There’s never any actual POINT to this repeating goal. For the sake of illustrating the problem, let’s compare this game to WoW real quick.
In WoW, you put in effort to gear your character for a number of important reasons. Some people do it for their guild so they can meet the necessary power requirements of the newest raid instance. Some people do it so they can stand out in PVP. Hell, some people do it just to show off. I remember enjoying myself quite a bit strolling around in Ironforge back in Vanilla WoW with a full set of epics while 99.99% of Mages on the server were still stuck in Magister’s rares.
So why can’t Diablo match this type of enjoyment? Well for one; the social aspect of this game is too lacking to support that kind of “struttery”. More importantly, there is no actual, meaningful reason to put effort into the game past a certain point. The enjoyment of the CURRENT item hunt and the core gameplay can only keep players interested for so long. So how do we give Diablo 3 players objectives that can stand the test of time? The answer is actually a simple one, though the design and implementation is a bit more difficult.
First, we need to understand that the item hunt and all around enjoyment of playing the game will serve as little more than proponents in achieving the desired end result. No one wants to accomplish the goals a game has to offer if the journey there isn’t an enjoyable one. Enough delay, here’s a few suggestions for creating long-lasting and enjoyable goals that don’t end in such a way where the majority of players no longer feel desire to play the game should they “finish”.
Endless Monster Power System:
Endless Monster Power is a new monster power level that behaves in a very unique manner. A game started with endless monster power starts you off on a level of difficulty identical to Monster Power 0. For every monster you kill, the difficulty of the game will increase slightly, as will your magic find, gold find, experience gain and demonic essence drop rate. You may only begin a new endless monster power game at the first quest of Act 1. While playing, the game keeps track of your monster kill %. This counter will tell you and other players what % of existing monsters you killed in each Act. Obviously, the more you killed the more difficult it will be. If you kill the vast majority of monsters on your first playthrough of the game(95%+) then the difficulty of monsters by the end of Act 4 should be similar to that of Monster Power 10.
Basically, you progress through the game just like you did the first time you played Diablo 3. Whenever you finish the game, you start over just like you did when moving from normal to nightmare difficulty. Completing the game will automatically bump up the difficulty to what it would have been should you have managed to kill 100% of the monsters in your entire previous playthrough. This, on top of the % of monsters killed during your playthrough, will ensure that players who simply find ways to run through and skip everything don’t receive any praise from the community. Did I mention this is a ranked ladder system? Should you choose to start over, your progress will be save and you may resume play at any time from the furthest point you reached.
This system would have to be balanced carefully to function in a fun way. I think that monster damage should scale very slowly while monster HP should scale at a steady rate. It’s a lot more fun to unleash a storm of damage on tanky monsters than it is to die in one hit from everything and anything that hits you. Granted, players who manage to make it far enough into this system (maybe their 15th playthrough?) will eventually face this challenge no matter how well-geared they are. At this point, it’s likely that a single zombie could have upwards of 200 million HP and dish out damage that even the hardiest of players would fear to face. The rewards for slaying such a zombie could be immense. Perhaps by this point your magic/gold find has reached 2500%? You’d be more or less guaranteed to get one or more legendaries from every elite pack you kill, though killing them could take you quite a while.
This system would be fun for a number of reasons. Players love never ending challenges, people love showing their worth on ranked ladders and such incredible monster power would undoubtedly inspire some very interesting builds to handle the damage load and put out a steady stream of DEEPS. This kind of system could serve as the REASON that you farm the “regular” game for uber powerful gear. You do it so you can progress further in your endless monster power game! It’s also a great way for players to show off how much free time they have! It’s not an end all, be all solution, it’s just a start on the right track.
Also, I should mention that this system proposal has a lot of potential for good ideas. I literally thought of it while writing this post, so I’m sure that it has a TON of room to improve.
Endless Dungeon System:
This one has been brought up too many times to count. Personally I think that the endless monster power system I proposed has greater potential in a lot of ways, but I can definitely understand how something like an endless dungeon could be really cool. I think Blizzard is also hesitant to incorporate something like this because they want players to play the actual game instead of focusing the majority of their efforts in an endless dungeon(another reason why endless monster power system is a good idea).
I think the major difference between the endless monster power system and the endless dungeon system is that I don’t believe the endless dungeon system should save your progress. The whole point of an endless dungeon system is to see how far you can get either before you die or before you get bored and decide to quit.
If players want an endless dungeon so badly, which seems to be the case, then give it to them in a way that is interesting. Spawn random events on each floor with a Boss at the end. Reward players in interesting and unique ways that make the endless dungeon appealing enough to play but not so appealing that players feel forced to participate. Make the dungeon very multiplayer friendly. Perhaps the damage of enemies is decreased per player on your team, while the rewards are increased. This kind of mode would undoubtedly be more fun with a group of friends (at least to most people). Players who brave the dungeon alone could be granted with their own special rewards.
Perhaps every Wednesday could be endless dungeon day, where the rewards are greater and the top contenders of certain brackets can earn additional rewards? WHAT!?! SOCIAL EVENTS/FEATURES!?!?
The rest of my ideas need also be applied to the multiplayer section of this post(found below). Before I move on though, I want to make it clear that PVP is another area that can greatly contribute to introducing never ending goals into Diablo 3. This is part of the reason that I’m so astonished at Blizzard’s choice to withhold it from the players. Showing off your power and wiping the floor with opponents is more than enough reason to spend time item hunting. It’s a goal that has the potential to never end. Those are the kinds of goals that keep people playing!
Multiplayer, if it were designed properly, should serve as an ENORMOUS source of incentive to play the game. Playing with friends, whether it be in casual environments or in situations where having friends present makes a certain set of goals easier, can be a LOT of fun. Unfortunately, uber bosses are literally the ONLY system in the game that properly supports this kind of enjoyable multiplayer environment.
The majority of players don’t choose to play by themselves because they’re loners. They play by themselves because their priorities lie in enjoying the game to its fullest. Since the current version of this game has a strong focus on farming efficiency and that maximum efficiency is achieved by soloing most of the content, players have made the unfortunate decision to play by themselves. Unfortunately, this system results in an undesired preponderance of player motives that only serve to distance the game from its true potential. While I think it would be a mistake to attempt to remove efficiency as a motivating factor in Diablo 3, I also think that applying the suggestions I’ve mentioned in this post will help greatly in creating variety in that desired state of efficiency.
When efficiency can exist in varieties that differentiate from each other in meaningful ways(game foundation) the systems that branch from and support this foundation can flourish properly. Remember that in order for this game to prosper, efficiency and play style should not be encouraged into mutual independence. Efficiency will always boil down to how many quality items you can collect in a given amount of time, but the means of achieving said items in efficient ways can and should vary in a TON of ways! Non-PVP multiplayer will NEVER come anywhere near its potential so long as fails in offering players a CHANCE to prosper in some way that solo play cannot offer more efficiently. This isn’t to say that the solution is as simple as jacking up everyone’s gold/magic find in a given multiplayer group, though.
I do, however believe that certain systems and portions of the game should give players incentive to attempt in a multiplayer setting. I think that bosses in particular should receive hefty buffs when fought in a multiplayer group. Said bosses should have their rewards GREATLY increased when killed in a group. Perhaps every player present from the start to the end of the kill results in a certain number of demonic essences dropping. Maybe blacksmithing and jewelcrafting plans have an increased chance to drop in multiplayer games. Maybe higher tiered gems have a chance at dropping in multiplayer games.
Obviously there are going to be players who try to take advantage of these benefits by joining public games and either not pulling their weight or being vastly undergeared considering the content being tackled, but hey, that’s why a vote kick option is so important. No matter what you do, public games are always going to come with certain risks and drawbacks.
Now I’m going to explain a few systems that I think could help to further incentivize multiplayer. The first system is one that applies to single player as well, but I think that it could gain some extra benefit from multiplayer functionality.
Nephalem Herritage System:
The nephalem heritage system is fairly simple addition to the basic combat system of Diablo 3. The system is composed of a “power meter” that gets filled from a variety of ways. The meter could be raised from long monster kill streaks, killing a bunch of monsters in one blow, healing through damage, absorbing damage, dealing damage, reviving fallen allies, slaying elites, etc. When the meter is full, one of 3 class specific, nephalem heritage skills can be unleashed. These skills have immense power and can turn a dire situation into a laughable one. Obviously such power would be a rare treat. I estimate that even players who spec to take advantage of these nephalem powers as often as possible can only activate them once every 15 minutes or so (playing solo). Let me give you a few examples.
Wizard NH(Nephalem Herritage) skill #1:
All damage you deal restores a portion of you and all your ally’s resource pools within 100 yards for 30 seconds. Also, your critical strikes have a chance to reduce the duration of you and your ally’s cooldowns. This skill could restore said resources based on the amount of damage you put out relative to your actual character DPS value.
Wizard NH skill #2:
Release an immense explosion of arcane energy that deals 5000% weapon damage to all monsters within 70 yards, increases you and your ally’s critical strike chance by 25% and forces all enemies to take 40% additional damage for 15 seconds.
Barbarian NH skill #1:
You and your allies take 50% reduced damage and gain 35% movespeed for 20 seconds. All damage you take heals your allies.
Barbarian NH skill #2:
Imbues you with the power of the Ancients. For 25 seconds your max fury is increased by 200, your fury regeneration is increased by 30 per second and your attacks have a chance to increase all damage that you and your allies deal by 3%. Stacks up to 100 times.
Demon Hunter NH Skill #1:
You and all your allies gain 50% increased move speed, unit walking, 45% max HP and leave trails of demonic energy in your wake that deal 2500% weapon damage over 5 seconds. This effect lasts 15 seconds.
Witch Doctor NH Skill #1:
Summons a spirit God that casts all the same spells you do for double the damage, increases your mana regeneration by 200% and gives allies who die a 100% chance to revive on death, granting them 2 seconds of invulnerability upon revival. Effect lasts 20 seconds.
Witch Doctor NH Skill #2:
Unleashes a torrent of spirit pulses in all directions that damage all enemies they pass through for 2500% weapon damage. Allies hit by the spirit pulses gain invulnerability to physical attacks, 15% increased attack speed and 3% lifesteal per spirit pulse for 15 seconds. Maximum of 3 spirit pulses are absorbed by allies who come into contact with them. The same enemy cannot be hit by more than 3 spirit pulses.
Monk NH Skill #1:
All of your cooldowns are removed, you gain 200% more spirit from generators and all spirit spent heals allies within 100 yards for 150hp per spirit. Effect lasts 20 seconds.
Monk NH Skill #2:
Your allies receive 100% of your armor, Max HP, resistances and 30% of your critical strike chance for 20 seconds. 10% of all damage dealt during this time is released in a 50 yard AOE explosion around the Monk when the duration ends.
The system could work in such a way so that the meter is shared by the entire party in a multiplayer game but only one person can take advantage of it. To be honest, I think this system would work best if only paragon100 players could activate NH skills, though there are definitely some potential drawbacks of that plan. For one, I think that the paragon system already takes too much incentive away from players to play any of their characters other than the MAIN paragon lvling one. Secondly, I think that some players might not be too thrilled to learn that Paragon100 players gain yet another advantage over them, especially considering it’s such a cool gameplay mechanic. Maybe players could unlock one new NH skill every 30 levels?
Here’s how it would go down in a party of 4 with a full meter. Party leader is offered the chance to activate his NH skill, he clicks one of 2 buttons or hits one of two hotkeys. The first button/hotkey activates the skill, the 2nd one passes the choice down to the next person in the party. Perhaps there is a better way to allow this to happen during a game, but I don’t really feel like solving that puzzle at the moment.
The system is fun because it offers players a rare occasion to unleash an insane amount of power that looks really cool and can give you and your allies a significant boost. Some of the abilities could be balanced so that they work much better in a group, while others might be more preferable for solo play. Multiplayer makes the system more fun because you are all working towards filling your meter. That means that you can witness this power that much more often and take pleasure in knowing that your group is one of pure awesomeness. Again, there would definitely be some kinks to work out and some ideas to throw around that could improve upon the system, but overall I think it could be a very fun addition to the game.
Onto the next suggestion.
Battle Scenarios are specialized, goal-oriented instances that are suited for multiplayer. It’s quite simple really; you pay your way in(maybe with demonic essences, keys, gold, etc.), ready up with the group, then the scenario begins.
Protect the X:
Waves of enemies swarm you from multiple spawn points. Your job is to simply protect whatever it is that Blizzard thinks suits the game. Maybe it’s a statue, maybe it’s a war general, maybe it’s an ancient treasure chest filled with goodies. Players can be rewarded based on how well they protected X, how well they managed to avoid dying and a number of other factors including Monster Power level. Perhaps killing a wave immediately spawns the next wave, meaning that players who managed to finish quickly will earn extra rewards. Maybe you can do something to spawn all the waves at once for super rewards!
It’s a fun way to work together and accomplish a goal as a unit.
Race to the X:
You and your allies rush down a linear pathway fighting through physical barriers and hordes of monsters and mini bosses. Every time you reach a barrier you must burn through it before time runs out. Monsters will spawn at certain HP intervals of the barrier, meaning you will have to be careful with how fast you burn it down if you don’t want to be swarmed by monsters. Or maybe your team could be affected by a debuff at each interval. If you burn it down too quick, the debuffs could stack. Completely destroying the barrier increases your remaining time. Mini bosses could greet you every few barriers giving you the option to kill them for extra goodies or bypass them to save on time.
If you run out of time or everyone dies then you start over. Rewards are based on how quickly you made it through, number of deaths, monster power level, number of mini bosses killed, etc. You are only rewarded if you make it to the end.
I’m sure that some of you can think of some great ideas that could be added to this list of “Battle Scenarios”. Due to motivational factors, my suggestions for them stops here.
Torchlight 2 Style Dungeons:
If there is one thing I took away from my time with Torchlight 2, it was their brilliant idea for “purchased”, affixed instances. Once you complete the game, you can purchase dungeon portals from a vendor. These instances have different qualities that make playing them fun and interesting. Some of them have increased magic find at the cost of increased monster damage, while others might increase certain types of damage you deal or give you extra movespeed. There’s a couple floors to fight through then a boss at the end. I did quite a few of them and found them to be quite enjoyable. I think that with a little tuning and a few good ideas, they could be even better.
Have players pay in gems, demonic essences, brimstones, gold, etc. It’s a terrific all around resource sink and it’s the perfect opportunity to get together with a few friends to take down the boss inside. Perhaps the instance could offer greater rewards depending on how many players you bring along with you?
I think that all of these multiplayer suggestions I’ve given should reward players in interesting ways. Maybe players could find some higher tier’d gems or be rewarded with those “experience consumables” that I mentioned in a previous section. Maybe certain instances can be purchased for a hefty fee that give you a guaranteed legendary at the end.
Guess what everyone…………THIS IS THE END OF THE POST!!!!
I hope you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read. Please do me a quick favor by asking yourself one simple question: Do I want to play Gosu’s version of this game? If the answer is yes then please leave your constructive comments below, make sure to keep the thread active and up-vote it. With your help, Diablo 3 can become the game it was meant to be.
I got through a large chunk of this. If you really want to see discussion, I suggest breaking this down into a series of smaller posts, posted at regular intervals. I'm happy to discuss and offer feedback on a number of things here, but it's too difficult to do this all at once.
Overall, I completely agree that the goal of itemization should've been to enable lots of builds, rather than enabling "Build Wot Kills Quick." Is the point always going to be efficiency? Sure, so long as the point is to farm the easiest yet most rewarding content with ever-increasing speed. But you can change both of those relatively easily and make the game more fun. Then again, lots of people farmed D2 for 10 years while I got bored of farming after about 18 months, so what do I know?
One thing that I didn't see mentioned anywhere that I think warrants integration into your giant screed: passives should not be lame, boring stat boosts, but things that completely change how you play the game. In other words, your clicking behavior should change radically depending on the passives you pick, instead of passives just being generic boosts to your otherwise-unchanged build. Right now, I think the only such passives are ones focused on cooldown reduction, but I think every single passive should dramatically change the way you engage monsters, whether it interfaces directly with itemization or not.
I completely agree about the passives. There is mention of this in several areas of the post. Passives are "foundational" skills, and foundational skills need to change the way you play the game.
As far as breaking this into multiple sections goes, I've been doing that since D3's release. I decided to finally consolidate it all into one clear post. I'm not as interested in engaging in discussions as I am people just reading it and supporting it so that it can make it into the right hands and hopefully have an impact on the game.
I dont want the PoE style where you basically spread out stats and other stuff in a huge tree. It looks like you have a ton of customization but in the end you realize that all you got is 120% more claw dmg. 5% life steal, 250dex, 100 int, and 50 str, some evation and +70% life. They all very generic and there are only a few passives that actually change the way you play.
What I want is more stuff like Critical mass (although it should have been centered around a type of elemental dmg instead of crits), fetish psychopaths, No escape, Berserker Rage, Brawler, Custom Engineering and Combination strike. All of these passives actually change the way you play your character. But there are not nearly enough of them, we need like 10 -15 of these to each class.
My suggestion is to remove all the generic/boring passive like 50% more armor, or 15% higher dmg to some other system like the talisman or whatever. And then introduce more game changing passives to the current passive system. What I want is typically. Cool effects on single target kills, effects boosting normal hits, effects boosting crit hits, effects depending on how far away you are from monsters, trading dmg/defence for speed, boosts for avoiding dmg, Bonis for how long you channel skills, trade the ability to crit for chance to add bleed, etc etc.
Agreed. Passives did not receive their own section in my guide, but they are mentioned a few times. I think perhaps I'll add something about passives to the guide as I seem to be getting a lot of responses about them.
I read most of it (skimmed some parts I'm less interested in) and I think a lot of the ideas are great. And not afraid to be big changes; that seems to be the problem holding back Bliz in the patches; every skill rune update is like 11% more damage that seems taken from a spreadsheet. Nothing makes big changes that would actually differentiate play styles or allow players to make big choices and changes.
It's hard to fix just one thing since everything is interconnected. For instance, removing varied monster resistances and immunities led to weapon/spell damage types meaning nothing. Pre-game we all thought something like the different Hydra runes would be awesome since you'd vary them by the enemy's resistance, or by your other gear (say you had +50% fire damage from item mods). Instead the damage types of Hydra (and everything else) are irrelevant and all choices are made by total DPS with maybe once in a while some other slight consideration like width of AoE or stun potential.
On your whole guide, I think it's too long for its own good. Not that some parts should be deleted, but that it needs to be in separate thematic posts. Currently there's no way to focus conversation on any one part since it covers dozens of good topics. Probably you did it all in one to combat the spammy nature of the B.net forums, but that's not necessary on a fansite where the cream rises to the top and we can sticky things really worth viewing. I'd suggest breaking it up into 5 or 6 different posts -- items, skills, multiplayer, etc. As it is I fear the potential for conversation and debate about anything in it is hurt by the sheer size of it.