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Huge Stat changes

Discussion in 'Diablo 3 General Discussion' started by cacophony, Dec 20, 2010. | Replies: 257 | Views: 11705

  1. cacophony

    cacophony IncGamers Member

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    Huge Stat changes

    http://diablo.incgamers.com/blog/comments/huge-attribute-changes-in-diablo-iii/

    Still digesting. Will update thread when I get my opinions sorted out.


    Not too long ago we decided to make some changes to how our core player character attributes work. We wanted to share with all of you what problems we ran into, how we want to fix them, and what our new attributes are.

    This is a fairly info-heavy write up and takes into account that you’re well versed in core attributes of Diablo II, as well as what has been previously shown in Diablo III. If you’re not, you’ll still get some good information, just keep in mind that this isn’t intended as a comprehensive guide, but a design-heavy explanation for those already following the game very closely. (And if you’re one of those people you just got real excited.)


    Attribute Problems

    Damage increase confusion:
    Willpower increased damage for casters (wizard, witch doctor), and Strength increased damage for weapon users (monk, barb, demon hunter). This is inherently confusing, because many monk abilities, and some barb abilities, look like spells, and the demon hunter seems like she should be affected by Dexterity instead of Strength - - at least logically.

    Build diversity:
    It’s always been our goal that the core attributes were valuable for all classes in an effort to encourage a broad set of builds. The method we used for this, and the attributes we chose, accomplished this goal under the hood (more or less), but perception was that certain attributes were much more desirable depending on your class. Ultimately the split of damage between willpower and strength meant that despite those abilities having secondary functions that were useful, most ignored the stat that did not apply to their class for damage purposes. This meant each class really only had three attributes they cared about, at best, which was a bit narrow.

    Resource (Fury/Mana/Spirit/etc.) tuning and progression:
    Diablo is a progression focused game, all about getting more powerful. This makes us want to design systems like resources to scale over time. However, we had no resource attribute. So as a player if you are frustrated by the amount of resource available to you, there wasn’t an obvious enough and analog enough method for making your situation better. Regardless of Diablo II balance issues (i.e. energy not being effective relative to other stats, mostly due to mana steal), if you wanted more mana you knew that energy was the place to fix this. Without something like this resources are difficult to tune, especially given that our goal is to tune them so that it’s a nice progression from start to end.

    So, to solve these issues we’re changing our core attributes from Strength, Dexterity, Vitality, and Willpower to:

    Attack: Increases damage
    - This stat will be a universal damage increasing stat for all classes to prevent confusion about what you should increase to do more damage.
    - We realize that ‘Attack’ is less flavorful than ‘Strength’ and ‘Willpower’, but we feel the pros of understanding clearly how to build your character outweigh that con.
    - This stat has no secondary effects.

    Precision: Increases critical chance
    - This will be tuned to be comparable in power to Attack increases for the most part.
    - So why have Precision? Mainly so we can play into it with affixes, runes, and traits. Linking effects to crits gives us another hook for designing skills and gives the player options to create ‘crit builds’ that play different than normal attack builds. Examples of the kind of crit effects we ‘could’ do (not saying we are, these are examples):
    - - Cleave crits cause monsters to explode and do damage to those around them.
    - - Lifesteal could be an ‘on crit only’ affix.
    - This is a more finesse stat, and we’re fine with that. Most people will want Attack by default, but they won’t mind getting precision.
    - This stat has no secondary effect.

    Vitality: Increases health
    - And it’s staying that way!
    - This stat has no secondary effect (seeing the pattern here?).

    Defense: Decreases all damage taken
    - This stat is separate from armor and resistances, each of which effects different damage types. This stat effects ‘all’ damage.
    - This stat will allow players to control incoming damage rather than increasing health capacity, which is useful to reduce the need for health globes and pots, and allows players to double down on defense for survival focused builds.
    - This stat is also useful for PVP, and likely will be valued in the arenas, but isn’t tuned to be a ‘PVP’ only stat.
    - This stat has no secondary effects.

    Willpower: Affects resource in class-specific ways
    - The effects of this stat will change from class to class. It will be our goal to make it roughly equivalently valuable across classes and versus other attributes.
    - Basically this stat will give you more access to whatever restricts your resource by default: capacity, regen rate, degeneration rate, generation rate, etc.

    This will change and affect several item affixes, but specifically we’ll be making the following changes to address issues with casters under-valuing gear (more below in Q&A), and to clear out attributes that are going away:
    - Removing +spell damage affixes
    - Adding Bonus % damage for wizard skills (wizard only)
    - Adding Bonus % damage for witch doctor skills (witch doctor only)
    - Removing Strength
    - Removing Dexterity


    Q&A

    Q: Why do none of the core stats have secondary effects?
    A: To focus their intent, making them simple and straightforward to understand. Your core attributes boil down to: damage, crit, health, damage mitigation, and resource.

    Q: Since the attributes mostly only have one effect why not name them for that effect? Why not have ‘Damage’, ‘Crit Chance’, ‘Health’, etc.?
    A: The main reason is so that we can value the attributes against one another. If you see one item with +15 health and another item with +3 Damage, and those are both core attributes, the general assumption is that the health is the better choice, because the number is bigger. But that may not be the case. By having representational core attributes we can play with the math under the hood so that +3 Vitality is roughly equal to +3 Attack, which makes assessing loot more straight forward.

    Also, because common terms like ‘damage’ and ‘health’ are used in a variety of ways, re-using them for core attributes is potentially more confusing than going with symbolic attributes.

    And finally, it sounds cooler to make a ‘Vitality’ barbarian than a ‘Health’ barbarian. wink

    Q: Why is +spell damage going away as an affix?
    A: Same reason we combined Strength and Willpower into Attack, it was inherently confusing as an attribute.

    Q: Why add wizard and witch doctor only damage increase affixes?
    A: Casters who don’t rely on weapons need a reason to care about their weapons. The monk, barb, and demon hunter all have the DPS stat that has a big impact on their damage. This was the purpose of +spell damage, so without it the wizard and witch doctor will be missing a damage modifier stat to make up for their lack of need for weapon DPS. We’re adding these stats as weapon focused affixes that will make wizard’s and witch doctor’s care about their weapons. This specifically addresses issues that Diablo II had where some classes could more effectively stack magic find gear than others without hurting their damage output or survivability.

    This is one of many, many possible solutions we considered. This one ultimately felt the cleanest and most straightforward.

    Q: How will items work that get these new wizard and witch doctor affixes? Will only class specific items get them? In general what’s the philosophy behind class specific items?
    A: It is not our intent that classes always use their class specific items, specifically in the weapon department. But, class specific items will be predictable sources for stats good for your class, as we’ll restrict them to only carry affixes your class could want.

    However, all affixes you could want will still appear on any weapon your class can use. So Wizards can get swords with ‘+% to Wizard Skills’. Such items will be more rare, so more melee oriented classes aren’t always getting their weapons ruined by wizard only stats, but it will happen.

    Q: But I hate getting items that say ‘Wizard Only’, or ‘Witch Doctor Only’ on them when I could have used them otherwise!
    A: Please re-phrase in the form of a question. wink

    Nobody likes getting items that aren’t for them, but it’s the core of the game. Lots of class specific, weird, or flat out crappy items drop in Diablo. That’s part of what makes the really good items, good. Yes, seeing ‘this item is not for you’ effectively written on an item sucks, but it’s a con worth the pro of the class balance it promotes.

    Q: Isn’t this a big scary change to make so late in development?
    A: It’s not as scary as it sounds, assuming you, gentle reader, aren’t frightened. smile The core of game balance is going to happen approaching the final stages of development. Most of this is a re-structuring of how things work, not a reinvention, so impact is somewhat predictable. Many of these changes actually make the balance process easier and more straightforward. We had also already been planning to go over, tune, or improve many of the parts and pieces that this change affects.

    Don’t misunderstand, this is a fairly big change, but it’s work worth doing for the most important reason of all: we believe it will make the game better.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2010
  2. Panopticon

    Panopticon IncGamers Member

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    Re: Huge Stat changes

    I just dislike how the + damage attribute is simply called "attack". Hopefully that will get fleshed out and change. Otherwise, after my knee jerk reaction to them changing the beloved str/dex/vit, I don't see a problem with it. But people WILL freak out like the sky is falling none the less...

    Also, Bash stated they changed it up because it was too confusing. Yet we can't even spent attribute points anyways...so this is more for loot, and IMO wasn't a needed change. In D2 it wasn't that people were confused on what the attributes did, but rather they didn't KNOW what exactly they did because there was no transparency.
  3. cacophony

    cacophony IncGamers Member

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    Re: Huge Stat changes

    Yeah, the "attack" thing is really goofy. Sounds like everybody is going to be running around w/ almost identical armor, and only the weapons will vary (wizard weapons, doctor weapons, crossbows and melee weapons). So who WON'T have a bunch of attack on their gear? Which big nuke (two handed weapons, big slow spells, etc) build won't have a bunch of precision? Which PvP build/hardcore build won't have a ton of vitality/defense? As for willpower, I look at that as an almost "hit cap" style attribute. You figure out how much resource/regen/whatever you'll need to do what you want to do, get enough willpower for that, and keep on stacking your attack and precision.

    I dunno, this is one of the times where you look at the WoW attribute system, and it just blows D2 out of the water, especially WoW's current iteration. Granted, the randomness of loot thing isn't there, but the actual attributes and what they do, class to class, build to build, is easy to understand and straight forward. The secondary attributes (crit, hit, haste) are where the Math-Fu and tweaking comes in the most.

    I'm just of the frame of mind that not every class/build needs to benefit immensely from every single core stat. Maybe allow the mystic or blacksmith to "tinker" w/ gear, where you can remove some affixes and add some different ones (at cost, can't be a 1 to 1 trade off). We'll see. Gut reaction is negative, want to see some actual loot and damage/skill calculations (plus traits) before I really make up my mind.

    The wizard/doctor thing is really dumb, though.
  4. yovargas

    yovargas IncGamers Member

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    Re: Huge Stat changes

    Sounds great to me - but it also makes the auto-attribute points distribution seem even more unnecessary to me. This should fix some of the reasons they felt that was necessary.
  5. permaximum

    permaximum Banned

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    Re: Huge Stat changes

    For Willpower
    It will fail.

    Identical-looking, completely-predicted chars there will be. Diablo-randomness talking are we?
  6. yovargas

    yovargas IncGamers Member

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    Re: Huge Stat changes

    Also, the sky will fall and dogs and cats living together.
  7. Bandreus

    Bandreus IncGamers Member

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    Re: Huge Stat changes

    I will say, this is not that THAT much of a huge change. Yeah, they slightly changed how some numbers will affect the game. But, I guess, people will just freak out and go "OMG, yah guys are taking STR out of Diablo??? No way! This is no Diablo anymore, they're ruining the game" etc. etc.

    I'm not that much impressed by this change. Seems a good one to me, we'll see.
  8. Wolfpaq777

    Wolfpaq777 Well-Known Member

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    Re: Huge Stat changes

    Extremely disappointed. A huge part of how appealing game is how awesome characters, items, and stats sound. Pumping strength as a barbarian, awesome. Pumping willpower as a wizard, awesome. Pumping attack as a barbarian and attack as a wizard is just lame.

    So what if a few barbarian attacks sound like spells, then put a freaking category on the tooltip that says Type: Spell. Give us some incentive to go off and make willpower barb variants.

    Finally we get some real information and it is disappointing =/ Really Blizzard we aren't idiots. There is nothing confusing about having stats with more than 1 effect. That's called complexity. It's a big part of what makes games good. Forcing wizards and witch doctors to stack a class item only stat is hokey as all hell. It's bad enough that they took stat point allocation out of our hands, now they are making the stats themselves bland and uninteresting. Really Bash, it sounds cooler to make a ‘Vitality’ barbarian than a ‘Health’ barbarian? Well how cool does it sound to make an "Attack Wizard"? Awful, just awful. Sounds like a dog breed. Zero coolness factor.

    Changing 'attack' to 'power' would be a step in the right direction for reclaiming the cool sounding stats factor.

    The one saving grace of that post:
    So cool that this is making it back!
  9. tcpgeest

    tcpgeest IncGamers Member

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    Re: Huge Stat changes

    People are so reading this in the wrong way..

    Good change is good.

    And another thing, who the hell cares about how they name it. They could name it gummy bear poop for all I care.
    The most important thing is they have a good system that works. And improves gameplay.

    Stupids.
  10. Wolfpaq777

    Wolfpaq777 Well-Known Member

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    Re: Huge Stat changes

    I care. Blizzard cares:

    I know people like you would be totally fine with the class names being classone classtwo classthree and the skill names being classoneskillone classoneskilltwo, etc, but some of us like the immersing experience of having cleverly named classes, items, skills, etc in our games. There is nothing clever or immersing about the word "attack". It is boring, and actually an incorrect nomenclature for what is actually being accomplished by the stat. Not to mention the definitive connotation of physical violence associated with the word attack (not just from the real world, both the stats attack rating from D2 and attack power from WoW were both specifically physical dps only stats) making the stat sound ridiculously awful when associated with any caster class.



  11. yovargas

    yovargas IncGamers Member

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    Re: Huge Stat changes

    The "Bonus % damage for wizard/witch doctor skills" is a tad disappointing but I expected it. It's an inelegant but probably necessary solution to a tricky problem.

    Otherwise, it just sounds like they're working on making each attribute intuitive, meaningful, and valuable. (AKA What they weren't in D2.) I'm glad. (But may I suggest "Offense" instead of "Attack"?)
  12. Mizantrop

    Mizantrop IncGamers Member

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    Re: Huge Stat changes

    I don't worry too much about this change "ruinning" or dumbing down the gameplay for D3. Play testing will take care of that.

    I do see this change as an excuse to delay the game past Q4 2011, so Blizzard won't have to confirm the leak :crazyeyes:
  13. fmulder

    fmulder Site Contributor

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    Re: Huge Stat changes


    I certainly hope that's not the case :nervous:


  14. cacophony

    cacophony IncGamers Member

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    Re: Huge Stat changes

    Okay, let's back out a bit. Let's try a general philosophical poll on attributes. If you were a developer, how would you design attributes?

    A: all attributes are relatively equally useful to all classes at roughly the same rate. This is what their current design is leaning towards. (Barbs and wizards and DH's etc all want all attributes, w/ slight tweaks here or there).

    B: every class can use an attribute, but some classes use them a lot more than others. This means attributes have secondary effects that everyone can use, but each class gets primary effects (damage) from only one attribute. For instance, strength gives everyone a little armor, but only the barb gets damage from it. Everyone gets a little health regen/better globe regen from willpower, but only wizards and doctors get damage from it, etc. Everyone gets a little crit from dex, but only hunters and monks get raw damage from it.

    C: the WoW system, pure tailored attributes. Spell casters get NOTHING from strength or agility, and get a bunch of power from intellect, and mana regen from spirit. Rogues and hunters get damage from agility, but nothing from strength or the caster stats. Hybrids choose which stats do what when they specialize (a healing or spell damage shaman will get damage from intellect, while a melee shaman gets damage from agility; this is done through the new talent tree system they use).

    All of these systems still have room for secondary stats (attack or cast rate, crit rate, crit damage bonus, hit rating, block rating, etc). B and C are how you use core attributes to differentiate the classes from each other, while you use the secondary stats to flavor your individual build.

    For A, honestly, there's not much in the cores. Maybe tanks, hardcore or PvP builds focus more on the vitality or defense, but otherwise, you just go for attack and that's about it. Each class/build might have resource requirements, but you gear to that "cap," and call it a day. There's still going to be a lot of flavor coming from the secondary stats, which is great. But the core stats are absolutely homogenized to hell and gone. Very disappointing.
  15. Leugi

    Leugi IncGamers Member

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    Re: Huge Stat changes

    In a way... well it does break down what one is used on most RPGs...

    Most of the times what differentiates a Rogue from a Mage, and a Mage from a Warrior is the main attribute... So, this homogenization is quite strange for an RPG...

    So... What will flavor each class? The spells? The items?... It's going to be interesting, that's for sure...

    But, the name of Attack should eagerly be changed, y'know for a bit of awesomeness, hehe...
  16. pcguy

    pcguy IncGamers Member

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    Re: Huge Stat changes

    Why are you leaving out precision and willpower? They are also related to a character's offensive capability. Also, I have a feeling that if you focused only on attack, you would die too easily without support from allies.

    This post doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever. If the itemization is set so that the "cap" is very difficult to reach, then a character who gears to the "cap" may have difficulty in finding room for other, equally important attributes. You wouldn't be able to just gear to a cap and call it a day, because it would leave you weak in other areas.

    ---
    Also, I think something people aren't taking into account is that stat growth for each class is different. Different classes will have difficulty reaching certain breakpoints for attributes.

    Scenario: Attributes on one set of items equippable only by Barbs may be valuable to a Wizard, making that Wizard seek out items which mimic those which have attributes which are commonly found on Barb items. This certainly makes the item game more dynamic, in terms of which classes will need which attributes, which builds will need which attributes, and what equipment they will have to find in order to obtain a comfortable amount of that attribute. --An exception would be builds may itemize themselves vastly differently than the norm for their class.

    Either way I slice it, I can still see an incredible amount of diversity in the reworked system. I feel we have lost nothing.


    Last edited: Dec 21, 2010
  17. Sass

    Sass IncGamers Member

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    Re: Huge Stat changes

    @ first quote, that was his point. HC wouldn't do that, but SC will.
  18. yovargas

    yovargas IncGamers Member

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    Re: Huge Stat changes

    If they:
    1) balance the game so that defense is truly necessary and valuable to do well and
    2) balance the resource so that you are always wanting more
    then this system will give you far more variety amongst builds than you standard D2-esque system does. It's all about balancing - here's hoping they pull it off.
  19. ShadoutMapes

    ShadoutMapes IncGamers Member

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    Re: Huge Stat changes

    Attack sounds a bit silly, and still melee oriented. Beside that I certainly understand why merging str and willpower was a good thing.
    A very simple 'solution' could be to simply alter the name depending on class. So Attack would be Strength, and have that name on all items etc, when playing as a barbarian, and named Willpower on a Wizard etc. Though I guess it might add confusion for people comparing gear or talking about stats...

    I dont like the new willpower stat much though. Energy was useless in Diablo 2 as you had enough mana in late game anyway. So Blizz got the great idea of different ressource systems which supposedly would be somewhat constant (= you couldn't improve them much except a little bit through traits).
    This would make it easier to balance the resource systems and thus easier to make the game challenging. By opening up for manually improving the resource you have, I'm a bit afraid we might get back to the Diablo 2 issue, just in a slightly different way (having an attribute that is suddenly useful, but can result in the resource system being broken like mana was it in D2).

    I guess I should have faith in their ability to balance it, I just don't see the need for such an attribute, as it could do way more harm to the game than good :)

    Last but not least, while its not news, crit having different effects on different skills sounds great! That one could easily be the most interesting attribute.
  20. cacophony

    cacophony IncGamers Member

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    Re: Huge Stat changes

    It's part of the cookie cutter planning stage. You look at your skills, how much they cost, and try to estimate how long an average fight might last. Therefore, you estimate how much resource you'll need for an average fight, and, if you use that amount of resource in a fight, how much downtime you'll have before you can get that amount of resource again for another fight. Then, you calculate how much willpower you will need to have a) enough resource for an average fight (w/ a little buffer for emergencies, or bosses or whatever), and b) how much willpower you will need to regenerate enough resource in you average downtime (basically, how long it'll take you to run from one fight to the next, on average, you should regenerate the same amount of resource you just spent).

    Once you hit that number, any more willpower is overkill. It won't be as effective as adding more attack. If everything is dying before you can use up your resources, then you have extra resources that you don't actually need. Adding more attack is way more beneficial than adding more willpower at this point.

    Defense and Vitality are "to taste" based on your skill set (someone w/ an extra defense or escape skill might sacrifice some defensive gear for extra offensive gear) and your focus (PvP and HC will want a lot more defense than your average SC monster fighter).


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