Diablo® III

Design a Legendary - A list of game changing affixes

Hello, Jambre here. This will be a thorough (and long) post so prepare yourself!

After watching the twizzcast stream about the legendary design process, I got to thinking about possible affixes the community weapon could have. By the end of the stream, Travis and John made it clear that the legendary item effect they want would ideally meet the following requirements:

-Little to no new artwork or development time required
-Build changing
-Changes/relies on a (perhaps underutilized) game mechanic
-Synergizes with builds and other items
-Not a boring non-choice like a straight up damage buff, or a cast on effect (poison nova etc.)
-Perhaps an emphasis on spell casting to suit the character of Mephisto
-The affix should be offensively orientated
-The affix should not be too complicated


When coming up with some of the following ideas, I always kept these concepts in mind, trying to meet them as best I could.

In each affix I will give a brief description (Like what you'll see on the item itself) then go into further detail about what it actually does and why it will be interesting. Not every affix will be appropriate for the weapon, but perhaps they will be interesting enough to be made into future items,

Mirror Attacks - Some of your attacks will be mirrored behind you

There are different ways to implement this affix. You could have it so that it only mirrors projectiles (when you fire a projectile in front, it fires an identical projectile behind you in the opposite direction) i.e. arcane orb, magic missle, poison dart etc. You also could have it mirror some of your melee attacks like bash, fists of thunder, etc. behind you. Some skills will not work mechanically with this effect, mostly area of effect skills such as rend or cast on point spells such as meteor. There will be no animation for the attacks behind you, so melee skills might feel clunky. I would not be surprised to see this only affect fired projectiles if it were implemented.

Mechanically, battles will have you more in the fray between monsters, trying to line up multiple hits to maximize your damage output. It would definitely spring up new build ideas and would be very fun to play. Because of the awesome nature of this affix, it would probably require some balance in the form of a damage reduction.


Your projectiles have a chance to ricochet off targets

This is an affix which I feel is going to be in the game at some point. Similar to Buriza's pierce effect, this will instead cause any projectiles which hit a target to bounce off in a random direction and cause damage to other enemies and possibly proc another ricochet.
Adds a nice mechanically based damage boost to your attacks, where players who can position themselves well on the battlefield are rewarded the most.


Increased projectile speed/slowed projectile speed.

While this may look rather useless on first glance there are some mechanics which will benefit greatly from this. Starting with the slow speed, attacks like Living lightning, tornados or ball lightning will benefit from the slower speed as they will hit a monster more times as they pass through. This means that with each cast you are doing more damage and procing more often.
With faster attacks will come an increased range of attack and farming speed. Being able to attack from further distance and with a faster projectile will increase your survivability. Proc effects like freezing, slow or stun will happen slightly faster after each cast, making kiting much easier. Also when it comes to killing trash mobs (especially 1 shotting), faster projectiles will deal out your damage for each attack faster, allowing your farm speed to increase.


Skills charges - Your non-primary attacks store one charge, all charges are all released on your next primary attack. There is a cooldown on this effect.

This is one that I think if done right, can be absolutely awesome. A deciding factor when making a build is ensuring you can deal the most damage per attack turn. Passive skills and skills like explosive blast or fan of knives, which do not require a cast animation to use are optimal to supplement your main attack. This is why skills like meteor and arcane orb don't go well together as you have to cast them one after another. Imagine how devastating it would be to be able to cast meteor, arcane orb and blizzard all at the same time?

The way this would work is that, as long as the effect is not on cooldown, casting any of your skills will not cast the attack, but instead make it into a charge with no casting animation. Then, when you use your primary attack it will release all spell charges in a blaze of destruction. A cooldown is absolutely essential on this effect, as without it you could just hold down mouse 1, and spam all other attacks with no casting animation. With the cooldown, this will allow for insane burst damage. This will be particularly highlighted in between fights, where you can cast all spells as you're moving between mobs and unleash them all when you reach your next set of targets. Also when kiting in dangerous areas, you can focus on avoiding damage, charging up your spells and releasing them in one attack instead of multiple hazardous attempts. It will be somewhat balanced mechanically in that in between attacks you will be likely stuck with many skills that cannot be cast at the same time, making your dps be lower than average for an extended duration, but incredibly high in short bursts.
This item definitely fits the theme of destructive spell-master. Although awesome, I worry that explaining the concept will be tough on the item itself, and may be confusing for many players.


Earning a toast bonus (massacre, survial, scenary destruction etc.) causes your next attack to be supercharged, dealing increased damage and casting all attacks on your skill-bar at once.

This affix rewards you for earning any toast bonuses by giving you a massively damaging attack. This of course can snowball as your next attack is likely to cause a massacre or many monsters to die with one blow

Using a potion releases all your attacks with increased damage the lower your health is prior to use.

Turning your enemies strength against them. As they damage you, you hold off until just the right moment to spring the counter. Feels very good with the theme of hatred. Adds a dynamic to potion use where it will be riskier to hold off on its use, but far more rewarding if you do.


Potion cooldown reduced by X%

Allows you to use potions more often, combined with the new legendary potions could allow for interesting sustained buffs as well as the inherent life heal. I also suspect that we see more items with legendary affixes that proc on potion use in the future, making a reduced cool down very appealing.


Don't get hit - Hitting enemies increases your damage by X%. This can stack. Taking damage resets the stacks to zero.

A challenging but rewarding affix. Nostalgic feelings towards D3 launch inferno where getting hit was not an option. This adds a nice mechanic to your fights, where avoiding attacks not only decreases the damage you are taking, but also improves the efficiency at which you kill. Emphasis on CC type skills and careful ranged combat is key for builds which utilize this item. Not too useful for melee characters.


Elemental Proliferation - Damage you deal with one element lowers the damage you deal with that element, but raises the damage you deal with all other elements. This effect lasts X seconds.

Inspired by Edgar Allen. If you deal cold damage, cold damage is debuffed, but all other elements are buffed. After X seconds the cooldown is reset, and the next type of damage you deal will proc the effect again. If you specialize in arcane damage, having one attack that deals cold can be incredibly beneficial to your overall dps output. This is particularly useful for damaging type auras like Ice armour - frozen storm, or Mantra of conviction - submission where you are likely to be dealing a low but constant source of a particular damage.


Resource spenders occasionally grant you the resource cost instead of spending it.

Not a massively interesting mechanic, but it'll be always nice when you're running low on resource. You cast your last ditch meteor and suddenly you've gained resource instead.


Attacks have a chance to summon a random shadow clone to fight for you (The same as the ones in the diablo fight).

In tune with the summon style of Uber Mephisto. This allows a random class to join the fight with you for a few seconds, gaining the benefit of their CC skills and damage. Who wouldn't want one of these guys helping out every so often? Perhaps this would be used later on for a Diablo themed weapon instead, given that the clones are associated with his fight.


Your pets will occasionally cast some of your spells

Pretty self explanatory. Enhances pet-based builds, which have become a focus point of viability in the expansion it seems. Many players love pet based builds, and this will definitely add a feel of awesome power to them. Pets such as zombie dogs or fetishes will have a lower proc rate than say gargantuan as there are simply more of them. By having more pets, you limit the number of skills on your toolbar, thus limit the amount of skills your pets can use. Finding the right balance between number of pets and number of free skills can be key.


Bleed mechanics

Could possibly include: Bleed restoring resource, Bleed spreading to nearby enemies, for every nearby enemy who is bleeding, your attack speed is increased, bleed damage heals you. Bleed slowing enemies. Bleed damage has a chance to create open wounds on the enemy, causing the enemy to lost a % of its life per second while the bleed effect happens (similar to crushing blow).

Thematically this works well with the idea of the Lord of hatred, gaining power based on the suffering of your enemies. Bleed itself is an underutilized item affix, and one that is ignored for its negligible damage. By implementing a weapon which causes all sorts of nasty effects with bleed, it will spring much greater item diversity and give new value to a boring affix.


Vitality is now replaced as your primary stat/Vitality is now a primary stat

This is one that will change the way you gear your character. Instead of massing int/str/dex you are free to re-roll those slots for different item affixes. A very powerful item indeed. Undecided whether making vitality an additional primary stat or replacing it as your primary stat is better, that would be up to the balance team. This would be interesting for monk/DH users, who often complain that dodge chance is a lot worse than armour/all res. A problem for this would be that, due to smart drops, int/str/dex is very likely to roll on almost all your items, whereas vitality is somewhat rarer, meaning that gearing up could be a pain.


I hope you guys enjoyed this post, I put a lot of effort into it. Hopefully you guys will draw some inspiration from it and come up with some more diverse Legendary affix ideas, or perhaps Travis or John will read over it and will like some of the ideas.

The community legendary idea is great, and it really needs some success with its first iteration so hopefully in the future we will have much more community involvement in the design of the game.

Feel free to critique or add some of your own ideas down below!

Cheers.
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There is potential with the bleed effect, (definitively under utilized) and I think it fits thematically. Even something as simple as, Your bleed spreads to other enemies, would be neat because it would simply get people to search out bleed on their gear, though that's not hugely game changing it is something. Course, bleed, right now is a stat no one likes due to bad scaling, but if they could fix it, this affix could work out well.

Thanks for sharing, this entire design a legendary thing had kind of fallen by the wayside since the beta/PTR announcement, not that that's surprising or there's anything wrong with that...

Would like to expand on some of these ideas, but I'm short on time, so have a bump either way.
Edited by Ignatius#1870 on 12/16/2013 5:56 PM PST
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I play a Demon Hunter, therefore non of this will apply to me. Thanks Blizz!!!
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12/16/2013 05:57 PMPosted by ArkAngel
I play a Demon Hunter, therefore non of this will apply to me. Thanks Blizz!!!
A lot of these can work on DH. Which ones WOULDN'T work in your mind?
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There is potential with the bleed effect, (definitively under utilized) and I think it fits thematically. Even something as simple as, Your bleed spreads to other enemies, would be neat because it would simply get people to search out bleed on their gear, though that's not hugely game changing it is something. Course, bleed, right now is a stat no one likes due to bad scaling, but if they could fix it, this affix could work out well.

Thanks for sharing, this entire design a legendary thing had kind of fallen by the wayside since the beta/PTR announcement, not that that's surprising or there's anything wrong with that...

Would like to expand on some of these ideas, but I'm short on time, so have a bump either way.


Could not agree more, I think it's very important to get some involvement back in with this competition. As it's success will be super important for the implementation of these types of competitions in the future.
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Posts: 2
12/17/2013 12:03 AMPosted by SuboXone
I play a Demon Hunter, therefore non of this will apply to me. Thanks Blizz!!!
A lot of these can work on DH. Which ones WOULDN'T work in your mind?


The legendary is a sword and since 80% of DH-skills require a bow...
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