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Buffs, procs, and auras.

Discussion in 'Diablo 3 General Discussion' started by cacophony, Mar 20, 2011. | Replies: 24 | Views: 3012

  1. cacophony

    cacophony IncGamers Member

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    Buffs, procs, and auras.

    So going over the Twitter madness over Revenge on the front page, I started mulling over buffs, auras, and other kinds of positive, indirect skills player characters have used over the years in Diablo and other games. There are several types we've seen thus far, and I wanted to know which ones were the most interesting to people here. Let's look at the types.

    Type A: Long duration, short/no cooldown, persistent buff. Possible secondary effects.
    -These are your Chilling Armor spells, and Barbarian Warcries. You'll always have them active in any situation. D2's UI never let you know when they were about to fall off, which was annoying.
    -Monk/Paladin/Druid auras fall into this category, although they are generally mutually exclusive; the strategy comes into which aura to use in which situations. Given the 7 skill limit, most monks probably won't have more than one or two.
    -Assassins also had persistent, always want them buffs, but were also mutually exclusive (couldn't use Burst of Speed and Fade at the same time).

    Type B: Long duration, short/no cooldown, absorption buff. Possible secondary effects.
    -Bone Armor and Cyclone Armor. Buffs that you'd want to keep up all of the time, but couldn't due to monster interaction.
    -This can also include proc armors that have limited charges; Lightning Shield in WoW can be "used up" when something hits the Shaman enough times.
    -In WoW, absorption mechanics (Death Knight Blood shields, Priest shields) are on timers and have cooldowns. From what I've seen in the PvP videos, Wizard Diamond Skin also is on a timer and has a cooldown. More on this below.

    Type C: Short duration, noticeable cooldown. Generally, the duration is shorter than the cooldown; the buff is designed to fall off.
    -"Oh crap" buttons defensively, or "I have to go to the bathroom so let's kill everything in this room NOW" buttons offensively.
    -Examples: Ignore Pain (defensive), Bloodlust from WoW (offensive), Sprint (either; running away or catching a runner).
    -These can generally be much more powerful than Type A or Type B, b/c they are designed to never be up 100% of the time. Damage absorption may have crossed that threshold, especially in PvP.

    Type D: Active skills which can only be used after procs or other conditions. May or may not have a cooldown.
    -The Revenge skill which started this whole discussion.
    -Very tactical, but needs special care and polish to make it work; good UI elements to let the player know it triggers are critical. Also, a timer to give the player a chance to push the appropriate button is almost mandatory.

    So which kinds of proc skills/buffs do you guys prefer? Which are most fun?
  2. Sass

    Sass IncGamers Member

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    Re: Buffs, procs, and auras.

    Type A: always active, mutual exclusive buffs.
  3. treader

    treader IncGamers Member

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    Re: Buffs, procs, and auras.

    Type A

    Hate those buffs that last 10 seconds and have 30 minutes cooldown no matter how powerful it is.
  4. Flux

    Flux Administrator

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    Re: Buffs, procs, and auras.

    This is a completely non-commital reply, but when the question is this general, I have to go with all of the above. I want there to be a variety of different types of bonuses, procs, auras, shouts, etc. As seems appropriate for each skill or character.

    Once we know about more specifics it'll be fun to debate how they work or how they should/could work.
  5. AxeX

    AxeX IncGamers Member

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    Re: Buffs, procs, and auras.

    I like the different strategies that can be used with skills that use method C, but as Flux said, a mixture of all of the above is usually best.

    Also, Flux, why is it that I'm redirected to a D2 forum thread when I vote in a thread poll? And is it being fixed?
  6. cacophony

    cacophony IncGamers Member

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    Re: Buffs, procs, and auras.

    I agree completely that there are going to be multiple kinds and types. I just wanted to get a gauge on what style of buffs people found fun. I think the new seven skill limit really magnifies this; you only get to pick seven skills, so you should be sure all seven of them are fun and interesting to use.


  7. TheMythe

    TheMythe Diablo: IncGamers Member

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    Re: Buffs, procs, and auras.

    @AxeX: It is a Known forumbug which cannot be resolved. The easy work-around is: Vote -> Backspace -> F5.

    OT: I'm still missing the 'All of the above' option....


  8. Moonfrost

    Moonfrost IncGamers Member

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    Re: Buffs, procs, and auras.

    It's a matter of preference, it doesn't say picking one automatically removes all the others from the game. Anyway, here are my thoughts:

    Type A is basically a passive buff in disguise; it lasts for a long time but you still need to refresh it occasionally. It's one of the most boring types of buffs imaginable because, psychologically, the player gets used to the buff always being up, so whenever it wears off, it naturally annoys them. Logically, when buffs last this long, they might as well be completely passive, but no; the designers didn't have the courtesy of sparing you the annoyance of refreshing the buff every few minutes.

    Type B is only slightly better because once again the player gets used to the buff constantly being up, so refreshing it because something of a compulsory action in the end. I say "slightly better" because it still requires more player input than A, which makes it more tolerable, but ultimately these skills are better off with a longer cooldown, so the player can focus on using other, more interesting skills in combat.

    Type C is once again better than the previous type, as these skills can no longer be depended on due to their short duration/long cooldown. They add a bit of strategy and complexity to gameplay, which is a good thing. The player tends to save these for critical moments, as they should - "popping cooldowns" whenever possible is inefficient, so it's a way for the good players to distinguish themselves from the rest.

    Type D is by far the best because its conditional, reactive nature adds further complexity to gameplay. It adds the element of randomness to skill usage and that's very important as it breaks up the typical skill rotations that tend to make combat boring. The key to making a good, conditional skill is making sure it triggers often enough for the player to benefit from it, but not so often that they start to depend on it. It's a very fine balance. Granted, these skills work best as a complement to the other types of skills - you need some go-to skills before you can add conditional ones - but other than that they're the most interesting ones from a gameplay PoV.

    So yeah, D.
  9. Yersinia Pestis

    Yersinia Pestis IncGamers Member

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    Re: Buffs, procs, and auras.

    Out of the above, C seems the best to me.
    We only have 7 active skills, and something that is always on is not really an active skill to me, so for me it would seem as if I would waste one of my few skill slots for something that should be a passive.
    C is fare more interactive and therefor wothy as an active skill ;)

    I kind of agree with Moonfrost on Type D. Those skills CAN be very good, but it is very hard to design/balance/whatever. And I think as long as they don't figure out a good way to integrate those skills they shouldn't touch them.
  10. Bad Ash

    Bad Ash IncGamers Site Pal

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    Re: Buffs, procs, and auras.

    I seem to like always on buffs personally, but it takes away the reasoning for why its a skill. It should just be a passive ability if its always on. Short and powerful emergency buffs could be fun but could just lead to running around waiting for it to stop the cooldown in emergency situations
  11. Sass

    Sass IncGamers Member

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    Re: Buffs, procs, and auras.

    One of the focuses of this category (which others don't post about as well) is the mutually exclusive part. It does act passively, but you have to select and activate it rather than it actually be on. When you get used to them, you never worry about running out. You not only are familiar with duration, but accustomed to the subtle differences added that indicate its presence.

    What separates them from a passive is that you have to chose between one or more other buffs in the same category and manually swap between them for different situations. I'd certainly like to have all of them active at once (imagine every aura!), but it becomes a choice of trade-offs / niches (vigor to move, fanaticism to attack).


  12. konfeta

    konfeta IncGamers Member

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    Re: Buffs, procs, and auras.

    Would only be a result in Hardcore, I think. Time wasted waiting for a cooldown skill is time not spent on slaughtering monsters.

    Ideally, I think that buffs should mostly be scaled like Ground Stomp or Frost Nova. I.E. a cooldown that prevents from keeping the always up (lolpassive masquerading as an active), but not as absurdly long as the WoW ones.

    "Passives as actives" buffs are only interesting when you have an incentive and ability to switch between them rapidly, sort of like stances. Which I don't think Diablo 3 supports well at all. Closest thing is monk with Auras and their activation effect, however...
    1. Monk is already busy concentrating on chaining combo moves.
    2. Auras cost Spirit, which means he can't really juggle them except after a period of farming up the resource.

    Though, perhaps a melee Wizard would have incentive to switch between defense and offense (Ice and Storm Armors), but, I can think of a number of much more useful skills to keep on a Wizard already. Baggage of having a 7 skill limit.
  13. Doppel

    Doppel Banned

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    Re: Buffs, procs, and auras.

    I completely agree with this. :thumbup: (no sarcasm this time)
    And passive "buffs" are nothing but passive "skills" really, as you don't do anything else then just pour points into said skill for it to take effect.

    Apart from that all possibilities could offer interesting gameplay, although i'm also really not a fan of having to cycle through skills just so i'm buffed up at all times for when the game actually gets interesting (fighting monsters). Even worse are really short duration buffs (with a relative long duration cooldown) which are exceptionally powerfull (ie. god mode for x seconds), because such design is ridiculously detrimental to how you play the game (namely not engaging monsters when the buff isn't on and running through everything like a headless chicken when the buff is on).


  14. cacophony

    cacophony IncGamers Member

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    Re: Buffs, procs, and auras.

    This makes more sense when you don't have a skill limit. When you're capped at seven skills, you really need to think about whether you should take two mutually exclusive buffs; you might be better off picking your most used one, and trying to get the other effect or benefit from some other skill/rune/trait combo. In that scenario, your buff is no longer a choice anymore; it's always on all over again. The Monk auras try to get around this by having big flashy on-cast effects; this gives you incentive to push the button. But I really doubt a monk will have more than two in any given build; eating up almost half your skill allotment for buffs seems excessive.


  15. Sass

    Sass IncGamers Member

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    Re: Buffs, procs, and auras.

    Well, you asked preference, and it reflects that even in the skill limit portion. I've never agreed with only 7 skills.
  16. cacophony

    cacophony IncGamers Member

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    Re: Buffs, procs, and auras.

    I'm bumping this poll b/c Blizzard is still tinkering w/ Mantras, more than 6 months later, and they still haven't figured out how they want to handle them. So, I ask again; what kind of buffs do people like to use?

    Interestingly enough, the tweet/skill that started this discussion (the Barbarian's Revenge) seems to be where it was originally; a reactive skill that only is available after getting hit. Gone is the pure passive proc they claimed they were looking into.
  17. vileguy

    vileguy IncGamers Member

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    Re: Buffs, procs, and auras.

    I like always on buffs as they are basically passives that change your build or playstyle, and short buffs can be okay but I'd say only defensive abilities, usually stuff with a cooldown. I really hate stuff like the battle rage and wrath of the berserker debuffs that last a really short time. They'd make me feel so rushed and I hate having to micromanage my character like that.
  18. LprMan

    LprMan IncGamers Member

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    Re: Buffs, procs, and auras.

    Either this: Type A: always active, mutual exclusive buffs.
    Or this: Type C: Short duration, noticeable cooldown.

    Type C would be the best when properly balanced. If the buff in incredibly powerful with a huge cooldown, I can see people avoid using it as long as possible. If the cooldown is relatively short, players might just wait until the CD is over before battling again, which sucks.

    I'd also like to be able to make perfectly viable characters without resorting to buffs. Buff skills have a bad habit of becoming mandatory...
  19. Elfik

    Elfik IncGamers Member

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    Re: Buffs, procs, and auras.

    I agree with Moonfrost, konfeta, etc. that Type A is a passive in disguise, and with the 6 skill limit, it's completely brainless. I think the high votes in that area stem from other game mechanics like auras in Diablo 2.

    I don't think Diablo 3 has any real Type B that you want active all the time absorbing damage. I think that it's just a variation on Type A, for example energy armour adds defense so that "absorbs" a percentage of damage.

    If something absorbs all damage, like diamond skin, having it always would be broken. I know you said monster interaction prevents this, but then that's poor skill design. Skills that absorb all incoming damage should have cooldowns, and that puts them into Type C.

    Type C is just the type of active skill which requires an active decision.

    Type D requires active decisions once the skill procs, so that's fun too, but a lot less common than Type C.

    Also, as a workaround to the cooldowns, you can take 2-5 Type C buffs and alternate between them in a timely manner.
  20. cacophony

    cacophony IncGamers Member

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    Re: Buffs, procs, and auras.

    Did anyone go to Blizzcon and play level 60 arena? How did the big cooldown spells feel (Wizard Archon and Barbarian Wrath of the Berserker)? Since the cooldown doesn't reset on death, you get a max of 5 uses of those skills (base). It seems like they were big and powerful, and changed the fight (both for the team using the skill and the opponent).

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