Diablo® III

2 major design questions from beta

#1 - Nonskill bar spots
Potions, scrolls?, and regular attack take up space on the ever-coveted action bar/mouse. Now, it's known that the game is meant to be played with 6 active skills and overall we are supplied with 7 spots to place things (5 being on the bar, and 2 for the mouse). That only leaves 1 spot that is unused by active skills by has competition from the multiple actions described above.

What's the deal? Are we going to have to make a choice between auto attack (which the demon hunter and wizard seem to be encouraged to use in their passives) and a healing potion? Obviously the healing potion is a valuable asset to have available in dire situations. And does that just leave scrolls out in the dust? Are there any behind-the-scenes plans to address this issue?


What you place into your various skill slots will vary from player to player and build to build. Depending on your skills you can have both left and right mouse button bound to skills (and pressing 'x' will swap your right-mouse with yet another skill button for a total of 3 mouse binds) and if you don’t have the resources to use the skill, then you’ll normal attack instead until you have the necessary resources to use the skill again. There should be space for, at least, a potion. Diablo III isn't designed with potion spamming in mind anyway, so really, you should have plenty of space on your bars for the elements that will be important to your hero's success.

#2 - Respeccing skills on the fly
The current system of being allowed to change your active (and passive?) skills at absolutely any time without any restrictions or limitations is generally deemed by the community as not the greatest of ideas. If we are free to respec whatever, whenever, then in theory we are granted access to all skills and the 6 cap just becomes an illusion. It also severely encourages the use of 3rd party macros for fast-swapping on the run.


We're currently testing a few different solutions, but I don't have anything specific to report on that front just yet. We're okay with players changing their builds while they're out adventuring, but we're not comfortable with players running around with their skill pane open swapping skills during combat. We'd also rather not have a system which forces players to return to town. We’ve tried it, and it feels really bad. Of course, worse comes to worse and if our attempts to curb use in combat fail, it could very well be what we have to resort to.


I have a suggestion. Keep the current system, I think it is fantastic. I would not have to trot all the way back to town just to change one friggin stupid skill. If you guys can just make skill swapping unavailable in the middle of a fight, that's a great idea. But please, I don't think very many people want to go back to town just to switch a different skill. That would be insanely tedious.
Edited by ConradOrvile on 9/16/2011 5:39 PM PDT
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3. Some sort of cooldown on abilities, when swapped in. This means swapping in combat would be pretty ineffective, as you would be just locking out your abilities for a while. Seems like a decent plan; finding the right amount of time to discourage in combat swapping and encourage out of combat swapping would probably be the key here.


I really like this idea over using a cast time. It still discourages swapping in combat but it also makes swapping some or even all of your skills out of combat. It means that in normal instead of spending 30 seconds casting skill swaps, you spend 5 and can at least run around town or the field while you wait the 30 seconds for your skills to cool down.

A low level character may not even notice the cool down since they'll probably drop it in and spend a bit of time reading the skill or finding the appropriate place to put it in their action bar.


Like this as well. The cooldown time could also be something that changes as you level. At low levels, its very small. At max level, all your abilities are inaccessible for 30+ seconds.
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We're currently testing a few different solutions, but I don't have anything specific to report on that front just yet. We're okay with players changing their builds while they're out adventuring, but we're not comfortable with players running around with their skill pane open swapping skills during combat. We'd also rather not have a system which forces players to return to town. We’ve tried it, and it feels really bad. Of course, worse comes to worse and if our attempts to curb use in combat fail, it could very well be what we have to resort to.


Why not decrease loot drop chance within a certain amount of time of switching skills?

Hits at the very core of what D3 is about, but still allows the player the freedom to do whatever they want, whenever they want.
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We're currently testing a few different solutions, but I don't have anything specific to report on that front just yet. We're okay with players changing their builds while they're out adventuring, but we're not comfortable with players running around with their skill pane open swapping skills during combat. We'd also rather not have a system which forces players to return to town. We’ve tried it, and it feels really bad. Of course, worse comes to worse and if our attempts to curb use in combat fail, it could very well be what we have to resort to.


Why not decrease loot drop chance within a certain amount of time of switching skills?

Hits at the very core of what D3 is about, but still allows the player the freedom to do whatever they want, whenever they want.


"Changing skills provides a Magic Find penalty of X% for Y seconds" I like it :)
Edited by Steveman on 9/16/2011 5:50 PM PDT
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09/16/2011 05:48 PMPosted by Cutwolf
Why not decrease loot drop chance within a certain amount of time of switching skills?


Thats a bit too much I think. I get where you are going, but it is a bit too complicated and would do nothing for PvP.

Goal would be to keep this as simple as possible. Example.. Interruptable Casting time out of combat serves both PvE and PvP issues.
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85 Goblin Death Knight
840
we also do not know if they have decided how runes are going to work have they even said anything on that lately? They want us to experiment with runes as well so things involve making runes a way to lock skills would be kinda awkward. Maybe that route in higher diffuclties when we start getting lv5 or higher runes. They seem to want lower runes changed a lot so we can experiment and see what we want a character runes to be.
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Is that not what they're okay with? They want you to swap skills "while out adventuring."

The only real way to prevent that is to just lock skills outside of town, even if you were to put a cooldown on it, people could just as easily save that cooldown for the boss encounter.

I always interpreted it as them wanting you to be able to try out new skills as you get them, not abuse it for efficient farming.

When you really boil it down, that type of play is the same as D2's prebuffing. You switch all your equipment, cast all your pre-buffs, use item-skills, and then switch everything back to your normal gear. Getting ready to have fun instead of just having fun.

Personally, I don't see that as a wonderful gameplay element, but maybe that's just me.


If people want "get ready to have fun instead of just having fun" then let them, that should be a play style choice. Going through the trouble of stopping to swap gear and runes along with skills etc. is in no way efficient.

But honestly, making it a hassle for the people who simply enjoy being able to swap skills for the sake of an effortless change of combat style without running to town or waiting for a cool down is just silly.
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90 Night Elf Druid
16900

I have a suggestion. Keep the current system, I think it is fantastic. I would not have to trot all the way back to town just to change one friggin stupid skill. If you guys can just make skill swapping unavailable in the middle of a fight, that's a great idea. But please, I don't think very many people want to go back to town just to switch a different skill. That would be insanely tedious.


I feel the same. I would much rather have the ability to switch skills in combat then be expected to stop doing anything for a minute or two because I wanted to change a single ability around. I'm certainly okay with restricting skill swaps in combat, but having silly requirements on skill swapping out of combat really kind of slows the action down in unnatural ways.

When the game is new... or just for new players this is really restrictive and frustrating when you want to play with new abilities. Later on who really wants to stop and stand around for 30 seconds+ to change a skill. If you go the cooldown route I'd much prefer the cooldown only apply to the switched ability and not all of our skills. The idea is to run around mass slaughtering demons, not to stand around in town or cleared areas waiting on cooldowns.
Edited by Treeba on 9/16/2011 5:56 PM PDT
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09/16/2011 05:13 PMPosted by Shaydzi
"This action can not be performed while in combat" The end. Next?
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We're currently testing a few different solutions, but I don't have anything specific to report on that front just yet. We're okay with players changing their builds while they're out adventuring, but we're not comfortable with players running around with their skill pane open swapping skills during combat. We'd also rather not have a system which forces players to return to town. We’ve tried it, and it feels really bad. Of course, worse comes to worse and if our attempts to curb use in combat fail, it could very well be what we have to resort to.


Why are you ok with players changing their skills while adventuring. I can kind of understand in normal difficulty, where players are leveling up and getting new skills and all the runes. But I thought balance was supposed to mean something.

It seems to me there will be serious trouble making the game "balanced" in a way that either doesn't penalize non-skill swapping, or excessively promote skill swapping in the field.

The problem with a mere field swap cast time / cool down is that it does exactly what you guys said you didn't want to do: interrupt the flow of combat.

It would do this because of a few facts: Generally it's more effective to kill bosses / mini bosses with single target attacks, as opposed to AOE attacks. Also, Generally, mobs of monsters die more quickly to AoE attacks than they do to single targets. Sure there will be abberations in both sections, but that doesn't change the point. The point is that in every situation there will be an "optimum" skill set. One that focuses on something necessary for the encounter: mobility, single target damage, aoe, etc.

So, essentially for the game to have any challenge, if in field skill swaps are allowed, then you will be forcing players to switch to the "optimum" build before every zone change / boss encounter. If someone wants to just keep going and keep progressing without stopping, that might not be an option, because after all the encounter is balanced around having an optimum skill set. (If it's not balanced in that way, then on the fly skill swapping would seemingly trivialize the game by letting people walk around with everything optimum in any situation.)

In short, it just seems incredibly short sighted to me, and I think the full ramifications aren't being considered. It's one thing to have the OPTION of changing your spec to try new things out and make different builds. It's a completely different thing to be pushed into changing your spec every encounter so that you can progress through content efficiently.


Why not decrease loot drop chance within a certain amount of time of switching skills?

Hits at the very core of what D3 is about, but still allows the player the freedom to do whatever they want, whenever they want.


I like this idea...
Edited by Ilsa on 9/16/2011 6:00 PM PDT
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85 Human Paladin
10250
I don't know if it's a good idea, if you have the skill pane open, your character is unable to attack/move for a short cooldown you still can swap in combat but it penalize you to perform action for some seconds
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09/16/2011 05:51 PMPosted by Justin
Why not decrease loot drop chance within a certain amount of time of switching skills?


Thats a bit too much I think. I get where you are going, but it is a bit too complicated and would do nothing for PvP.

Goal would be to keep this as simple as possible. Example.. Interruptable Casting time out of combat serves both PvE and PvP issues.


1. How is it complicated? For who? Not following.

2. Cast time makes it so you have to hide in a corner off screen from mobs. All it does is make you run five feet away instead of doing it from 0 feet away. It only superficially addresses the core problem. And really, who wants to sit there looking at a 10+ second cast time? It interrupts the flow of the game.

3. I didn't even know you could skill swap in PvP. I'm of the opinion that you should only be allowed to skill swap between rounds, not in the arena.

I agree that the solution needs to be simple. However, the solution should also not require tediousness or interrupt the flow of the game.

"Swapping your skills decreases magic find by 30% for 5 minutes."
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I have a suggestion. Keep the current system, I think it is fantastic. I would not have to trot all the way back to town just to change one friggin stupid skill. If you guys can just make skill swapping unavailable in the middle of a fight, that's a great idea. But please, I don't think very many people want to go back to town just to switch a different skill. That would be insanely tedious.


I feel the same. I would much rather have the ability to switch skills in combat then be expected to stop doing anything for a minute or two because I wanted to change a single ability around. I'm certainly okay with restricting skill swaps in combat, but having silly requirements on skill swapping out of combat really kind of slows the action down in unnatural ways.

When the game is new... or just for new players this is really restrictive and frustrating when you want to play with new abilities. Later on who really wants to stop and stand around for 30 seconds+ to change a skill. If you go the cooldown route I'd much prefer the cooldown only apply to the switched ability and not all of our skills. The idea is to run around mass slaughtering demons, not to stand around in town or cleared areas waiting on cooldowns.


There is no reason why an exception couldn't be made for normal or characters less than level 30. In fact I fully expect some sort of exception will be made because any restriction would be counter to the design philosophy of the early game.
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They have to balance 2 things with this, remember. (Trend of 2s must be sign of beta in 2 minutes/hours/days/weeks/months/years/decades/centuries/millenia/eons)

1. The forward momentum(I may have confused this in my head for something). Going back to town just ruins it. Another thing, people have said oh no changing it while adventuring. Consider this, Log in, start adventuring, stop adventuring, log out. That's probably what it's going to be like, you'll constantly be adventuring.

2. The ease of checking out new skills and experimenting. There's a reason why there's no penalties right now, and while it's not an effective system, it does have these two points. But still, they want you to be able to try out new things, experiment with different builds, experiment with different runes, and try out a lot of the content that pump all your skill points into one skill does not accomplish.

And since I'm on 2s, I might as well make a second half for a second thing being discussed.

1. What potions were there? Mana potions, antidote potions, stamina potions, rejuve potions.... it basically boils down to health potions. With the health globes, which are a much better solution to having a finite amount of potions, running out, then needing to return to town. You basically have a slot for that a reserve health potion, or an antidote potion. For mana pots, your resources are all going to regenerate pretty fast, and with a lot of plenty and plenty of builds, you aren't going to really run out of resources because of the skills and such Blizzard made. So mana potions are pretty much useless.

2. Scrolls. I can't think of any besides scrolls of town portal and identification, having those on a hotbar... seems kinda unnecessary. No idea what elixirs are, but they're probably in a similar vein as this.
Edited by Psuedonaut on 9/16/2011 6:04 PM PDT
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There are two different sides to the skill swapping issue, in my mind. Everyone is addressing/talking about abuse of swapping in combat.

However, no one is talking about the loss of build identity by having all skills available all the time. I understand that some people like being able to use any skill all the time. But some people, like me, really enjoy building a certain character and having those choices have some semblance of permanence so that they matter.

I stand by my idea of restricting skill swapping after Nightmare mode. Once you beat Diablo in NM, you have to return to an NPC in town to swap skills, and there is a fee each time you swap a skill slot that escalates in cost. By the time you beat NM, you know what each skill does and have a good idea how you want to play that character. According to Blizzard, alot of players don't go past Normal, so it won't even affect the average player, but those of us who continue on into Hell and Inferno will have to make smart choices for our builds.

As it stands now, the "character build" is dead. I know runes will affect this, but it is not a real solution because at some point you will have all the runes you need and players will still swap skills on the fly.. but it will just be more cumbersome.

Bottom Line: I want skill choices to matter. Having all skills available all the time is boring past Norm/NM once you have tried them all out.
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85 Night Elf Druid
8865
It is really good to see blizzard's stance on skill swapping. IMO, it will make the game feel more fun (to play around with different builds), and help to negate any pressure one has to macro other software/hardware to allow on-the-fly skill swapping to be competitive in PvE/PvP/AH. I have an idea to suggest to Blizzard, though I hope they already are hashing something similar out on the table already.

My idea is blueprinted from WoW's dual talent setup. Basically allow people to swap out any given number of builds while out adventuring. Builds in this context would be a complete set of abilities saved as a group. This swap out would only be allowed to happen out of combat and out of the arenas, as well as take 10 seconds to swap (basically how WoW does it). I would suggest allowing people to store or save 5-6 complete builds to foster the fun of playing a variety of builds in different engagements.

As for abilities, those can be changed in and out of the builds only while in town and talking with a 'Build Changer-NPC' (basically like WoW), but this NPC wont charge any resource (gold) for the resetting of builds. This I think will help to encourage the goal of not requiring people to have multiple characters for different builds (since we only have 10 character slots).

As for runes, those will pop out of the ability and back into your bags whenever an ability changes in a build.

Update: After reading some more posts after mine, it probably be best that the multi-build swap system comes into effect when a player reaches level 30. That way they can swap skills while in the flow of the story the first time around as they acquire their new skills in the field and level up.

-cheers :)
Edited by Tesy on 9/16/2011 6:24 PM PDT
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90 Night Elf Druid
16900


There is no reason why an exception couldn't be made for normal or characters less than level 30. In fact I fully expect some sort of exception will be made because any restriction would be counter to the design philosophy of the early game.


Certainly, but what is the reasoning for causing delays for more experienced players because they changed a skill around? I can certainly see the potential for abuse if you're allowed to swap abilities in combat. But is it really worth forcing long pauses on people because they decided to switch a skill out?

I'm not trying to say there shouldn't be restrictions at all, just that I would rather not be forced to stand around because I changed something. Just seems like a silly reason to halt game play, but it is of course just my personal opinion on the matter.

I can see more justification for restrictions in pvp, but fortunately for us Diablo can't QQ on the forums after you kill him =P
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Sounds like the solution is to have "in-combat mode" and "not-in-combat mode"
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We're currently testing a few different solutions, but I don't have anything specific to report on that front just yet. We're okay with players changing their builds while they're out adventuring, but we're not comfortable with players running around with their skill pane open swapping skills during combat. We'd also rather not have a system which forces players to return to town. We’ve tried it, and it feels really bad. Of course, worse comes to worse and if our attempts to curb use in combat fail, it could very well be what we have to resort to.


Why are you ok with players changing their skills while adventuring. I can kind of understand in normal difficulty, where players are leveling up and getting new skills and all the runes. But I thought balance was supposed to mean something.

It seems to me there will be serious trouble making the game "balanced" in a way that either doesn't penalize non-skill swapping, or excessively promote skill swapping in the field.

The problem with a mere field swap cast time / cool down is that it does exactly what you guys said you didn't want to do: interrupt the flow of combat.

It would do this because of a few facts: Generally it's more effective to kill bosses / mini bosses with single target attacks, as opposed to AOE attacks. Also, Generally, mobs of monsters die more quickly to AoE attacks than they do to single targets. Sure there will be abberations in both sections, but that doesn't change the point. The point is that in every situation there will be an "optimum" skill set. One that focuses on something necessary for the encounter: mobility, single target damage, aoe, etc.

So, essentially for the game to have any challenge, if in field skill swaps are allowed, then you will be forcing players to switch to the "optimum" build before every zone change / boss encounter. If someone wants to just keep going and keep progressing without stopping, that might not be an option, because after all the encounter is balanced around having an optimum skill set. (If it's not balanced in that way, then on the fly skill swapping would seemingly trivialize the game by letting people walk around with everything optimum in any situation.)

In short, it just seems incredibly short sighted to me, and I think the full ramifications aren't being considered. It's one thing to have the OPTION of changing your spec to try new things out and make different builds. It's a completely different thing to be pushed into changing your spec every encounter so that you can progress through content efficiently.


Why not decrease loot drop chance within a certain amount of time of switching skills?

Hits at the very core of what D3 is about, but still allows the player the freedom to do whatever they want, whenever they want.


I like this idea...


This.
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