Diablo® III

Character Development biggest offender, not Drop Rates.

I genuinely don't know why people were so hellbent on fixing "drop rates" when the bulk of the issue stems from a lack of permanence and replayability due to a lack of incentive to EVER "reroll" a character. Your character is flavorless and bland despite the inherent art and gameplay design underlying it. Sure, Witch Doctors have a good aesthetic to them, and sure, Crusaders are "knights in battle-scarred armor", but they're all the same from a gameplay standpoint.

I have a Witch Doctor, he's like all Witch Doctors.
I have a Barbarian, he's like all Barbarians.
I have a Wizard, he's like all Wizards.

There is no feature outside of the gear you are wearing and skills you are temporarily using to distinguish your character from someone else's. You are just another generic, meaningless max level character with any and all skills available to you. You might as well start at maximum level for all the meaningful character development decisions you're actually making along the way. Your character's power is determined not by what skills you decide to use or what build you choose to put together but on whether or not you find X or Y Legendary which will enable a certain build to work. You are bound by your drops, not your own character development choices.

In Diablo 2, all characters of a given class were generic in their early levels, and very much so. Then, as they progressed, they also developed unique traits. Some Barbarians became shout-oriented, some would decide to use throwing weapons and specialize heavily into it, while others would Whirlwind their way to overpoweredness. Even characters with suboptimal, simply flavorful specializations were played a lot.

In Diablo III, this flavor is lost. Your character can do it all. He can be good, bad, godly, mediocre, and do all of this within 15 minutes. All you have to do is click a few buttons here and there, and there you have it. There is absolutely no sense of permanence and no sense of uniqueness put into character development, and I am absolutely saddened by it.

With the advent of the expansion, the opportunity was ripe for such a change to character development philosophy. Maybe a feature could've been implemented to create a hybrid form of talent trees, whereby you could select only a few specific skills in each "category" of the default non-Elective Mode, or maybe a feature in which you could allocate a skill in a permanent fashion to unlock a cosmetic change to a given animation.

Or even a Synergy for each skill only accessible by permanently allocating that skill to your bar, I don't know. I have as many ideas as the next guy, and they're not all perfect, but they can't possibly be worse as far as character development than the current approach.

Let's not even talk about the fact that Wizards are carrying around massive Axes and Swords for DPS purposes (whose idiotic idea was this, by the way?), crushing flavor right out of the a class-based characters system. My naked Wizard can't kill a Normal difficulty Zombie with a Meteor, but the moment he decides to wield any rusty old sword, he turns into a slaughter machine.

The game isn't just about "endgame", because there isn't any of it. There is no PvP and no incentive to reroll. All we have is farming. Farming, farming, farming. More farming. Even Diablo II players didn't play to farm. They might've had an MF character for the sake of grinding boss runs, and they would do it for a few hours on end every other day (or even everyday, for some), but the bulk of your playerbase was rerolling constantly.

Start a Javazon, get her some decent gear. Get bored? Roll another Javazon, with Poison this time. Or maybe a Bowazon. Or a really straightforward Amazon with a thousand passives and heavy Deadly Strike/Open Wounds. You know what gives the game replayability? The fact that you're actually looking forward to leveling a new character, with new skills, using different items.

The drop rate for Titan's Revenge and/or Thunderstroke in Diablo II wasn't that high. In fact, it wasn't good at all. But you know what? It didn't matter one bit, because when you had it, it was valuable and it served a specific purpose for a specific character. It gave the item a personality because it filled a specific niche for the character it was going to.

You didn't sit on this one character pooping out different specializations on a whim, swapping items that suddenly become optimal for him, not remotely having invested any thought in its development and itemization goals as you leveled up. The "open-ended" skill system in Diablo 3 doesn't lend itself AT ALL to feelings of attachment to your characters. And yes, you ought to feel committed to your characters before you feel committed to your items.

It's mind-boggling that we're using the current system in a multiplayer game, and more so with all the potential that's there as far as gameplay goes. A stellar interface, amazing freaking responsiveness. This game has it all engine-wise, but it's lost all its flavor. All of it.

Anyway...

I am sorry for those people who think the "worst" about Diablo III is the fact that drop rates are low. Legendaries in Reaper of Souls are at least flavorful, and very much so. They just don't feel rewarding, because your character is just another piece of generic pixels, and you feel dissatisfied with the drop rates because playing has become no more than a never-ending farming run.

Enjoyment is absolutely nonexistent outside of your slot machine luck, so you feel like "winning" more often is the way to go. It really isn't. If your characters were meaningful, each and every one of them, you would focus on that more so than looking forward to that next orange light beam shooting up.
Edited by Noxious#1589 on 3/2/2014 6:19 PM PST
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i never really thought of this

nice read, needs tldr though
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that sure is a good point, but the game has too many flaws as it is, and with the upcoming patchs and ROS launch, i dont think they will focus this line of develpment, ever.
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01/23/2014 10:46 AMPosted by Nulaya
i never really thought of this

nice read, needs tldr though


I don't blame you for not thinking of it; rational, logical threads like this rarely stay on the first page for long before they get buried by the babies' posts.
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One issue does not exclude another.

The lack of meaningful character development is an issue. A fairly big one.
People can never get the sense of building a cold wizard or a fire wizard. A choice that defines the character, its strengths and its weaknesses. A choice that directly influences all aspects of the gameplay with the character.
Instead you just have a generic moldable wizard.

But droprates as an issue is not diminished by all those other issues that currently exists in D3.
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I have been saying this since Beta. Too bad there are a lot of console kiddies that want the game to stay easy mode.
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90 Human Monk
5040
Haven't Played D3 in ages but remember the dumbing down of builds being discussed off and on since the beginning. I realized that most games were being dumbed down under the rubric "made more accessible". I believe that character progression through skill/ability progression (or simply possibility) is probably a good thing but not anything that should occur instead of a revamping of the loot system.

When I played my first experience was 'ok this is an arpg about smashing zombies and finding awesome loot, where's the loot'. Reward for play is probably the largest problem in the D3 universe, well, at least it was when I quit.

I'm actually pretty excited about the removal of the AH's and revamping of the loot system. They might be intending to move reward in-game. And, it's not about "drop rates". It actually has nothing to do with drop rates. They upped the drop rates before I quit and, because of the loose rolls, just gave me more trash to take to the dump. It's about the loot system. The loot system should provide for character progression and there should be that occasional OMG moment. It's a balance, you don't want the big rock candy mountain and you don't want a loot wasteland. Maybe they'll be able to dial it in in 2.0.
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I do think that leveling is somewhat of a strong point in this game, but it's been completely de-emphasized in favor of just doing whatever it takes to get to max level and farming the highest difficulty as fast as possible. A ladder system would partially solve this - you wouldn't have the permanence you're seeking but it would be a reason to reroll which I think is sorely needed.

I also think the problem is not necessarily inherent to the skill system. It's a problem with the skills. If there were many viable options for different builds/runes (and quality gear to accentuate those builds), you would see character permanence and individuality occur organically - you could still change your skills at any time, but ideally your gear setup would mean you would need to spend time acquiring gear that makes a different build equally as good as your current one. Unfortunately, it feels like many runes/skills are simply not as good as others, and so even if you had all of your gear slots focused on improving it you're still worse off than using the "good" skills.

And of course the other side of the coin is that, many players don't want to have to start a new character to try a different build. This is the bane of the hardcore player's existence but, I don't want to put 50 hours into a char and then discover I built it wrong or its totally gimped end game, etc, then I have to go do it again.

TL;DR /shrug. Meh
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I don't disagree that character development in D3 is lacking, but your title is flawed. Character development and drop rates are both problems.
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I agree with this as well, but I can only imagine how difficult it is to come up with a solution to this issue. Most people would argue that casual players wouldn't have the time to start a brand new character just to play it differently. In fact, most people would feel incredibly punished if they threw a point into a skill and be disappointed after using it. I feel this way playing Marvel Heroes (which uses a D2-like skill tree) all the time, but of course they have skill reset potions.


  • Maybe they could create an entirely new mode where players are forced to stick with a build they come up with. Kind of like how Hardcore mode is, but obviously different.
  • Maybe use the Path of Exile system where you're allowed to take a few points back?


I don't think this "issue" will ever be addressed, but it's a fun discussion regardless.
Edited by x4ryuusei#1906 on 1/23/2014 12:30 PM PST
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To the OP

The game's design is for people to actually farm items to farm some more. When you get to torment/Inferno, you are essentially done leveling or building or character's abilities. When you get to inferno/torment, every class is identical, there is nothing to separate us; IDENTICAL

When you are upgrading, every class is looking for the same items with same affixes/attributes
-CHC, CHD, IAS, Primary Stat, Resist, HP

The problem is, every class, there are about 2 items per slot that offer this in great quantity. It's why everyone is identical.

Blizzard has to stop upgrading items and start creating items that offer different type of play style. Let people become unique with VARIOUS different built paths that not only include different abilities, but items which promote this.

The fact that with the expansion coming, all Bliz did was upgrade HP/Dmg of mobs and items (through those stats mentioned above). Guess what, all those horrible build, abilities, and ideas are still bad.
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01/23/2014 12:29 PMPosted by Ryuusei


I don't think this "issue" will ever be addressed, but it's a fun discussion regardless.


Same here, I'm tired of giving thought to this when the essential core structure of the game is designed for casuals. There's no skill whatsoever. No meaningful choices to make.
Edited by Achie#1222 on 1/23/2014 12:51 PM PST
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I have a Witch Doctor, he's like all Witch Doctors.
I have a Barbarian, he's like all Barbarians.
I have a Wizard, he's like all Wizards.


You know when you are not creative and copy everyone else your characters will be the same as theirs. There is a guy that plays D3. He is on youtube as "holy hermit" Google him and you can see there is diversity if you take time to play the game with some thought.

This permanence thing about D2 is a joke. All it took is a token of absolution in lod. That bowazon, zavazon no mater they were still max the skill, max it's synergies listed in the skills tool tips .I guess that was the attraction of the D2 skill tree it spoon fed you and if you followed the formula you got a faceroll character.

Build a hammerdin you max four skills and use two 95% of the time I guess that was the attraction of the D2 skill tree

You say
You didn't sit on this one character pooping out different specializations on a whim, swapping items that suddenly become optimal for him, not remotely having invested any thought in its development and itemization goals as you leveled up.


Yet all you're characters are like everyone else. The problem is you did not put any thought into the builds. Water always follows the easiest path, sadly many D3 players are like that.

The ability to change builds wither it is thru a dynamic system like D3 uses or the D2 system with a token of absolution is the same. Also you are talking lod over D3, come back when you can talk lod ans ros. Play the ptr there are several ways I can go with my lvl 51 wd.
Edited by DeadRu#1893 on 1/23/2014 12:54 PM PST
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What if they made it so Paragon Points could not be refunded for your individual characters? They would have to somewhat revamp the system because if I'm correct, you can eventually max every tab right? They'd also have to add more meaningful choices to it.

It'd be some sort of a pseudo-D2 stat system, but it could work. If you want to do a different Paragon build, you'd have to make a new character.
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That's one of the main issues since day one. It's somehow funny that anyone assumes paragon 2.0 will make your char anything else but just as dull and un-unique as it's always been.

I mean, it took them 2 years to implent access to all waypoints, call it "open world" and package it into "adventure mode" as if this was anything special, and sell it as one of the main features of the xpac.

But that's only one of several things that seem so laughable that it may as well be a bad doku-soap.

I've recently just been picking up D2 again, as well as it's mod Median:XL and I can almost predict, that they will, in the next expansion, introduce 15% of how much you could play a role with an character (remember, this is an action-ROLE-PLAYING-game?) and 10% of the itemization that is already existant in other games, and sell it.

Things like "- x% enemy resistances" (if there was something like resistances in the game - wait, hold on - that's what they've planned for the second xpac!), ignore target defense, -x% target defense, - x monster defense per hit, absorb XY, reflect x% damage, slow target, attack rating, etc.

what about a handcrossbow with 5% chance to cast mirror image on hit, or a barbarian 2hand weapon with 5% chance to cast a bubble when struck?

A 35% chance that leap heals you for 40% over 4 seconds when landing.

I mean common, you don't even have to be THAT creative - many concepts and ideas are already there!

What makes an unique item unique? Is it that 1 or 2 additional affix? Where are the uniques that have 8,9 or 10 affixes on them? How odd and restrictive is it to not only have a handful of affixes on items with only a few handful of affixes available AT ALL?

All vanilla (I'll see how RoS turns out after it has been out for a few months or a year, according to player feedback) has been nothing but uninspired and dull in terms of itemization, and loot 2.0 is not reaching MUCH further here.

Character customization is left out COMPLETLY again (taking Paragon 2.0 in consideration here too. Just as itemization, uninspired and dull).

Atleast we have waypoints across all acts now and legendaries do a bit more than just being mandatory by having the biggest stat-boost of all items, which MAY be fun if the stats themselves were interesting and diversified, which they aren't.

End of rent. Resumeè: If you want proper character customization (and itemization in that case) and as consequence character progression/development and replay value, you better pick up another game or a game of the diablo sequels (if you're not yet introduced to them, diablo is a game from the late 90's that has one sequel, diablo 2 and diablo2:LoD as expansion. It has been told that a sequel should've been unleashed, but turned out to be a fart in the air. I'm ultra-dramatic here yes.. but.. The End.)
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Google him and you can see there is diversity if you take time to play the game with some thought.

This permanence thing about D2 is a joke. All it took is a token of absolution in lod. That sain bowazon, zavazon no mater they were still max the skill, max it's synergies listed in the skills tool tips


1) No one says you cant be creative. But there is still no sense of crating a specific character. No sense of making a choice on what defines its being. It can all be redone in a moment.

2) I'm rarely on the D2 defense force, but respec tokens in D2 game was like 9 years into its lifetime? It surely is not what most people remember as Diablo 2.
Synergies was a seriously terrible design concept in D2, but even that was years into D2s lifetime.
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I agree OP, I also said this when i played the D3 beta. I didn't like how the game just granted me skills at certain levels. I wanted a tree, i wanted to be able to work towards a skill, i wanted to be able to develop a skill to be stronger then the rest.
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01/23/2014 01:00 PMPosted by Shadout

Synergies was a seriously terrible design concept in D2, but even that was years into D2s lifetime.


What was so bad about synergies?
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