Diablo® III

Character Customization Explained - Updated!!

*I wrote this thread right around New Year's. Many players enjoyed reading it so I have updated/bumped it to include the recent changes.*

***Update 5/14***
Featured on kotaku, neato! http://kotaku.com/5909541/the-dumbing-down-of-diablo-iii

***Update 4/22***
Jay Wilson is the lead developer for Diablo 3. Here are his statements regarding some of the changes.

Skill points: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVTVMqtmxPU

Manual Stat allocation: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuKvxab1kBk&feature=relmfu

Diablo 3 is too easy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzhoGX_7uFY&feature=related
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This thread will attempt to address some of the differences between Diablo II and Diablo III. I have seen quite a few threads expressing distress at the lack of player customization on their character. I will examine the core of D2 customization and compare it with its corresponding D3 system so that players may gain understanding of the differences between the two.

Before a discussion of the differences between the two can take place, you have to understand one very important thing. Customization has been largely exported to crafting/items. The player inventory may now house the majority of character customization. Whether or not this is an improvement is up for debate. However, it cannot be argued that it is less player customization, that’s empirically false. It is however, MUCH different, therefore the controversy. This thread contains a side by side of some of the major game systems from each game.

Enjoy!

I. Character Stat Points – Now gems/itemization
  • 1a. Strength(D2) vs. Strength(D3)
  • 1b. Dexterity(D2) vs. Dexterity(D3)
  • 1c. Vitality(D2) vs. Vitality(D3)
  • 1d. Energy(D2) vs. Intelligence
  • 1e. Armor, resistances, and dodge
  • 1f. The primary stat system
    • 2. Gemcrafting, the replacement of stat allocation
      3. Itemization, the extension of stat allocation
      4. Player choice on stats
      5. Stat Points – Conclusion

    II. Skills – Now Runes
      1. Skill Viability
      2. Skill Damage
      3. Skill Diversity
      4. Skill Points
      5. Skills – Conclusion

    III. Runewords - Now Blacksmithing
      1. The effect of runes (D2)
      2. The effect of blacksmithing
      3. Item drop frequency/usefulness
      4. Player customization improvements
      5. Currency and crafting
      6. Blacksmithing - Conclusion

    IV. Game Accessibility, Scalability, Simplification
      1. Accessibility

  • 1a. Stat point allocation
  • 1b. Crafting
  • 1c. Skill System
  • 1d. Accessibility – Conclusions
    • 2. Scalability

  • 2a. Level Cap
  • 2b. Skills
  • 2c. Scalability – Conclusions
    • 3. Simplification

  • 3a. Stat Points
  • 3b. Trading
  • 3c. Simplification – Conclusions
    • 4. Ease of use – Concluded

    V. Auction house, gold currency versus bartering, magic find
      1. Auction house
      2. Gold currency vs. bartering
      3. Magic Find
      4. D3 Economics – Conclusion

    VI. Conclusions
    Edited by Dontinquire#1455 on 5/14/2012 2:14 PM PDT
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    I. Character Stat Points – Now gems/Enchants

    ***Update 4/24*** The gem section is pending a rewrite once the final attributes of gems are known.

    Stat points were the invisible difference between you and another player. The D2 stats were Strength, Dexterity, Vitality, Energy. The new stats are Strength, Dexterity, Vitality, and Intelligence. I will make a brief side by side, then get into the new primary stat system.
    *Note* Primary stat simply means that for the associated class every 1 point in the stat is equal to 1% increase in damage for that class. Example: 35 Strength would give +35% damage to a barbarian and no damage bonus to all other character classes wearing the same exact item.

    1a. Strength(D2) vs. Strength(D3)

    Strength added base physical damage. It was also required to equip most items. Typically it was used to meet these item requirements then disregarded. Additionally, you (the player) never knew for all your spreadsheets and abacuses exactly how much damage it was actually giving you. It also placed artificial barriers on gear usage. A distinct issue was that lower level gear gave fewer bonuses so that by the time you were a high level, you may get more item bonuses and want to reduce the amount of points you put into it (in D2 pre 1.12 you cannot). It was not useful for non-melee characters other than to wear gear and it was especially punishing because you overspend points on it at lower levels.

    Strength is now the primary stat for barbarians. Strength in D3 no longer restricts characters from equipping items (as items have no stat requirements). This is an excellent change as caster classes who want to wear sacred armor no longer need to sacrifice 150+ vitality points. It also provides armor to any class that wears gear with +strength modifiers. The benefits here are obvious, barbarians are primarily melee and so they will need more damage reduction to survive. Casters will land more blows while melee monsters distract/stun you. In D2 strength was required to equip higher armor value items but that was such a restrictive system they’ve just removed the middleman (item requirements). Now strength directly adds the armor value! This means that Barbarians will have naturally higher melee sustainability. Not only that but it is now very viable for all classes (especially that melee wizard you’ve been eyeballing).

    1b. Dexterity(D2) vs. Dexterity(D3)

    Dexterity was a very complicated player stat. It added damage (more ranged than melee), chance to block, armor, and chance to hit monsters with melee. It is also required to equip certain items. This provides several severe design flaws. For one, dexterity has too many uses, it is confusing as to how much you may eventually need. Secondly, it inherently punishes non-caster classes (miss chance for melee, making them more heavily stat dependent). Inevitably this crushed melee balance in hell difficulty and made melee classes very heavily gear dependent (in contrast to casters who could spend 0 in the stat and not suffer). Finally it had the same problem as strength. The longer you played, the more your gear gave, the less hard points you wanted, or you have to hoard. Not typically useful for casters.

    Dexterity is now the primary stat for Demon Hunters and Monks. It’s important to note that in D3, some of the functions of dexterity were removed, others were relocated. The largest change (for melee and ranged characters) is 100% hit! This is certainly a welcome change for anyone who played a melee character. The armor component was relocated to strength. The chance to block has been removed and added to itemization/skills. Dexterity adds +dodge for all classes. The amount added is easily calculated/viewed simply by highlighting the stat in your character screen. This is a much better alternative to hit recovery/block speed. Ranged characters would naturally have a higher propensity to dodge than to block so its defensive elements aren’t wasted on someone with a bow.

    This also means a tank witch doctor is possible. You can itemize dexterity and strength to avoid and mitigate damage as opposed to stacking offensive stats. How about that melee/tank wizard? Stack up that dodge and say hello build diversity!

    1c. Vitality(D2) vs. Vitality(D3)

    Vitality is a stat that was and is “working as intended”. The difference between adding vitality in D2 and D3 is that you have new options for your stats now. Previously it was all vitality since the other stats didn’t benefit casters and gear bonuses largely outweighed natural point allocation anyway. A great example of this issue is the Breath of the Dying runeword. 30 to all attributes, this was 120 stat points on 1 item slot. You are only allotted 540 points at level 99 with max quests completed. If 1 item slot can give 20% of that, the points lose value quickly. Vitality was and is working properly and now it is easier to calculate. It adds 10 points of health for every 1 point invested. It is viable for all classes.

    1d. Energy(D2) vs. Intelligence(D3)

    Energy had one benefit, it increased your mana pool. It was largely unused for a variety of reasons. *Edit* It added mana regeneration but was not unilateral across all classes. This is another partially punishing stat. Some classes only gained 1 mana per point, others gained 2. Calculating a quantifiable regen bonus would have been impossible using only in game methods. Secondly, potions and leech invalidated most of its usefulness. Had it added magic damage, the player builds would likely have changed drastically. Rather than keeping the stat and adding a damage component, it was simply phased out entirely. There was an attempt to replace it that was removed in late 2010.

    Intelligence is now the primary stat for witch doctors and wizards. Wouldn’t you know it they added a damage component! Intelligence adds .1 to all resistances per point you have of the stat *This includes physical resistances*. Naturally a caster is squishy so it makes sense that mitigation is also built directly into their damage. It makes sense that wizards and witch doctors will naturally focus more heavily on resistances and that’s a great reason to make it their primary stat (instead of adding +resistances onto gear with low strength requirements as done in Diablo II, wiz spike, skins anyone?) and bypass the middleman (item requirements). This stat is now viable for all classes and as it gives so much mitigation, may be very desirable even to non-casters.

    1e. Armor, resistances, and dodge

    Resistances give a damage % reduction from monster spell attacks in varying schools of magic. Armor gives an overall damage % reduction from any attack. Dodge gives a % chance to avoid damage altogether. As with D2 these values come primarily straight from gear/skills, not from player leveling bonuses. As the stat system now provides armor/resists/dodge as well as the item system, players will be able to specialize their defenses more easily. This allows players to build characters which are more defensible in certain areas or against certain monsters even as they level. These attributes are viable for all classes which is why they’ve been spread around.

    1f. The primary stat system

    The primary stat system is a change which was introduced in a recent patch to the beta. Now that each skill has been tailor to specific classes what does that mean for me? Primarily it means that you cannot wear the same gear across all characters. If you have a lot of strength gear because you made a high damage barbarian, you can’t place that on a wizard and expect to do a lot of damage. The changes effects are not as apparent in the beta version as defensive stats aren’t necessary in normal mode. Tuning later difficulties likely prompted the changes from previous iterations. Overall it is much likelier to be a better system since it will create gear disparities and encourage trading.

    2. Gemcrafting, the replacement of stat allocation

    *Note 4/21* I am uncertain as to the final modifiers gems will actually provide, this section is due for a rewrite pending finalized gem bonuses. I will note for you that end-game items may give upwards of +200 to a single stat and gems are not needed to give you leverage over your stats.

    Gemcrafting is the new way in which a player may give themselves stat points. It gives the player a choice of which stat to modify, small bonuses are given at a time (4-6 points per level of gem). Gems will drop frequently, be tradable, and provide the same kind of allocation players are wanting. Many people may not understand the mechanic well enough to know that it’s just transferred, not missing.

    As listed on http://us.battle.net/d3/en/item/#filter=jeweler gems may be placed in 4 slots (excluding helms and shields). Shields are not counted as they cannot be used by every single class/spec. Helms are excluded as gems do not give them socket bonuses. If we assume 2-4 sockets in a given slot (on average), we may have anywhere from 7-16 slots to play with at any given time. With an end game gem giving +58 to a particular stat, that’s a whopping potential of 928 stat points. Eat that Diablo II! (This number is based on conjecture and is likely too high). My estimate is 1 socket amulets, 2 socket belts, 2 socket bracers, 6 socket armors at end game (probably around 600 points or so).

    3. Itemization, the extension of stat allocation

    The removal of the mystic does leave some questions to be answered regarding how much control the player will have over their stats. The most likely scenario is that the wide range of enchant values created an absolute balance nightmare. Imagine a rookie player entering inferno with +400% damage (no gems or enchants). Then imagine a pro player entering with some of the bigger enchants and gems. There could be a disparity of 200%, 400%, 1000% damage or health, who knows!?!? Balancing that would be hell, it’s for this reason that the mystic was removed.

    To compensate for that change, consider that players haven’t yet realized how much an effect itemization will have on their customization. Based on preliminary numbers there may be some really high gear bonuses. If a gem adds 58 to a stat, what stops the item itself from adding 58 or more without gems? Some of the data files show +100-200 modifiers for single stats and up to +70 to all stats. The end game items could likely drive stat allocation numbers well over 1,000!

    4. Player choice on stats

    Now that we’ve explained the differences between the stats in D2 and D3, let’s look at the way in which you increase their values. D2 allocated a player 5 stat points for every level they acquired. Some quests also rewarded stat points. Gems gave stat points as well. Gems were largely useless as a source of stat modification. The max level gem only gave +10 to a particular stat, and only to helms or armor. Runes may fill in the gap but they weren’t really used for that purpose.

    D3 takes stat allocation to a whole new level. A lot of players make the argument that they are losing out on the ability to customize their character, let’s take a look at that. What did we lose? If you look at the gem distribution you’ll note that they all add a significant amount to your stats, all the way from 6-58. You’d only need 10 max level gems to have more control over your base stats than a level 99 character in d2. It’s basically Blizzard saying “okay player, instead of spending 5 per level up to 500 points, we’ll give you items which give (instead of 6 levels worth at end-game D2) 20-40 levels worth of stat points as 1 modifier on an item”. There could be an item in Diablo 3 (or multiple items) that give more stat points than the entire level 2-99 bonus (490 points) COMBINED. Now put some gems into it! Now that’s the polar opposite of a “pretty !@#$ty customization system”. The biggest lesson here is that the higher the numbers go (outside of leveling bonuses), the more control a player has over where to spend them.

    Beyond that, the choices for using the stat points are now meaningful. You may note that the end of each section says "this stat is now viable for all classes". It isn’t simply “100 str, 75 dex, 400 vitality, 10 energy”. Now you have to choose, do I want to dish out the damage? Would I rather absorb the damage? Can I just avoid the damage? These are a lot more meaningful choices and they still progress along the same line as leveling. You can also a directly quantifiable return from investing these points. It just might take a little longer to get to the same point in D3 as there’s an item find and gold element to the increase now, instead of a level up curve.

    Honestly this translates to a time commitment anyway so the only real question becomes this: Does it take the same amount of time to earn enough money to add 540 points (via gems and crafting) to a character as it did to hit level 99? That’s the real customization question. In all honesty 540 is worth less in Diablo III since the values will go MUCH higher than D2. 540 might need to be compared to 1,000 or even 1,500+ to get an accurate side by side. Beyond those facts, will it be more fun to run something other than Baal in that timeframe?

    5. Stat Points – Conclusion

    Stat point allocation has not disappeared, it has transferred. Like several other game systems it has become something that you may buy on the auction house. Crafting systems exist to transfer player customization into a marketable form. Gemcrafting is an excellent example of that. You have the potential (with both tradeskills and items combined) to add thousands to any stat of your choosing. Whether or not the player wants to buy the level up or earn it is also a player choice. It must be noted that there are many more options than there were previously. Players cannot logically argue that they have less customization. The real bitterness may come from the fact that many hardcore players just do not want the choice to exist in its current iteration.
    Edited by Dontinquire#1455 on 4/24/2012 3:11 AM PDT
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    II. Skills – Now Runes

    ***Update 4/22*** With the introduction of the new rune UI, many players mistakenly believe that skills are restricted to specific slots. Under the gameplay options menu there is a checkbox for "elective mode" this allows you to assign any skill to any slot on the hotbar.

    Skills were the most visible difference between different characters in D2. Grouping with other players quickly illustrates how they have specialized their character. You’ll know if you grouped with an orb sorc, summon druid, or psn necro. Each class had roughly 30 skills to choose from. Most of the time however, these selections degenerated into a few “cookie cutter” builds. This brings us straight into:

    1. Skill Viability

    The problem with the D2 system for skill points was that a skilled required quite a few points to be viable, anywhere other than normal mode. This was exacerbated with the introduction of “synergies”. These were passive bonuses from putting points into another skill in the same tree. This meant to acquire the most powerful version of a skill, you now had to place not only 20 points in the skill itself but 20 points in 1-4 other skills that added damage or duration! This is the reason for the very low amount of mathematically correct character builds.

    D3 Attempts to solve this problem by simply giving you all the skills of your class while restricting your ability to actually use any more than 6 of them. They also removed flat damage amounts from skills. All skill damage is now based off weapon damage %’s. The result is that even the earliest skills in the game remain quite viable all the way through to the last boss in inferno! This is quite an excellent improvement.

    2. Skill Damage

    Spells originally had set values at each level for how much damage they would do. This follows a traditional action rpg model. D3 hopes to innovate by making all skills; melee, ranged, or magical scale from weapon damage. Scalability is something that Blizzard doesn’t mention but it’s an important design decision they’ve made. When everyone has a skill that does 90% weapon damage, you can just alter the weapons, not the individual skills themselves. Conversely the skill %’s may also be adjusted across the board and still be relatively well balanced. Flat damage runs contrary to expansions, item inflation, and game balance.

    It should be noted that melee abilities were actually based off weapon damage in Diablo II. The problem was the % of weapon damage varied so greatly. A level 1 ability might do 50% of your weapon damage. At level 30 this same skill might do 400% weapon damage, that's a huge range to balance against. Since a fully geared character may have +20 to all skills or more it became impossible to have the end game well balanced. Basically the difficulty had to skyrocket (ubers and pandamoneum Diablo) to keep challenging maximized builds. Basically the balance needs to be easier to maintain since many more builds will likely be viable. How many more builds? Let’s take a look.

    3. Skill Diversity

    Skill diversity is a pretty cut and dry argument. No sensible person could make the argument that D3 contains less diversity. This is both in terms of the animations, ranges of damage types, and utility. The rune system means that each class has roughly 150 different skills, most of them with unique animations. Allowing only 6 at a time is distinct from D2 allowing all skills to be learned at once. The difference here is that while you could theoretically learn all ~30 class skills, the reality is that only the max level ones would be viable. 6 at a time is typically more than any D2 character used anyway. In D3 you’ll start to see a much larger array of abilities used, since so many exist and because the damage scaling makes them all potentially viable.

    4. Skill Points

    The largest controversy of the skill system is the removal of skill points. Players felt that points allowed them to inject their own brand of customization into their character. This was direct opposition to Blizzard customization (the designs of the skills themselves) and allowed a player to decide whether to receive some of the following bonuses: more damage, more duration, less cooldown, higher range, more projectiles. Did you really (as people have said) lose these choices?

    If we look at D3 we’ll notice that runes have all the same bonuses. Runes actually add even more choice to the mix! Runes alter damage types, change animations, create secondary effects, and much more. If you were looking for incremental damage gains like skill points, this is another area where the rune system shines! As you leveled in D2 you had to choose what abilities became more powerful. In Diablo 3 the answer is that the character itself becomes more powerful. As you acquire better items and improve your primary stat and weapon damage, all of your abilities follow suit. Now I can use frozen orb and hydra, still getting max damage from both. How cool would it be to play a sorceress that mastered firewall, blizzard, chain lightning, enchant, and static field all at the same time? That sounds pretty darned fun!

    5. Skills – Conclusion

    The skill system of each game may look different (since you have points in one and points have become primary stats in the other) but they have the same elements. The system in Diablo III really expands these elements so that the runes do much more than a skill point. Incrementing a skill by 1 point in Diablo II may have you noticing a minor difference. Adding a rune let’s everyone see that you’ve increased in power. This, in a way, makes the skill systems power entirely purchasable on the auction house through trading gear and gems. In D2 it was entirely purchasable only after doing thousands of baal runs to hit level 99. Whether you like the new system better than the old, it undoubtedly adds flexibility and customization.
    Edited by Dontinquire#1455 on 4/24/2012 3:10 AM PDT
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    III. Runewords - Now Blacksmithing

    One of the more significant changes to D3 is the frequency with which players acquire gear. In D2 it was largely a search for a few specific items. A HoZ, Shako, pVmagi, Draccs, etc. If you didn’t find items off this very tiny list, you essentially got worthless drops. This meant that even a great player who spent 5 hours playing the game, may receive absolutely nothing for their troubles. This was viewed as a blessing and a curse.

    This is one of the ways that the skill gap came to prominence. There is a big difference between D2 and D3 in this regard. Many hardcore gamers would argue that it separated “casual” players from the more elite. Really it just rewarded people who gave massive time commitments to the game, punishing those who played infrequently. It also heavily favored bots. Arguably it was (hardcore gamers) AWESOME because once every 10 hours it gave an amazing reward. It was also (casual gamers) BORING because many wasted an hour of play and got NOTHING.

    Wait a minute, you said this section was blacksmithing and runewords, all you’re talking about is item drops?!?! It’s not as linear a corollary as say Strength(D2) vs. Strength(D3). Runewords attempted to solve a problem with useless item drops as well as adding item diversity. It’s hard to make a 1 to 1 comparison without understanding what the developers viewed as fundamentally broken about the Diablo II item hunt and how they hoped LoD might address it. But I digress, let’s talk about runes for a bit.

    1. The effect of runes (D2)

    Character customization was greatly improved by the addition of the runes. It allowed 1 player to take a 3 socket item and add 60% attack speed (shael), another player could add 90% magic find (ist). A third player may add 150% damage increase (ohm). Customization was ironically hampered (many runewords were not viable) and expanded (diverse item attributes) by the addition of runes. It was also not effective to stack desired attributes from runes (6 ists in a weapon) since you’d lose out on the other modifiers a runeword would have given (enough +damage to make it usable in hell).

    The rune system was implemented in Diablo 2’s expansion, Lord of Destruction. Runewords were items created from combining a set of runes into a piece of gear to essentially create a player made ‘unique’ item. Gold became overwhelmingly useless with the prominence of duplicated items, and specifically runes as a means of currency. Runewords extracted these new items from the economy as a cost for the artificial crafting system D2 possessed. In a way, runewords were a combat to inflation (note that many more were added in later patches).

    Runewords also allowed players to craft items! This was the foray of the Diablo franchise in the direction of player crafted gear. Runewords gave incremental gear rewards, in the same way that bosses may have provided an incremental item upgrade. They were also quite exciting to make. Due to the partial randomization it was always very exciting to place the last rune and see if you made a great or mediocre item, just like using an ID scroll on a powerful unique item. There’s quite a lot to be said for runes and runewords but I’ll try to stay on common sticking points to prevent a 15 page discourse.

    2. The effect of blacksmithing

    Okay so D2 had runes, what does D3 have? Blacksmithing! The way blacksmithing works is that you may now disenchant unwanted items into materials used to craft new gear. It’s important to understand that runewords (and the item recipes) were largely artificial means of creating player gear. The reason it was artificial? Lack of an independent value assessment material that determines worth – I.E. currency. Without a strong currency economies inevitably collapse to bartering. The blacksmithing is designed head-to-toe with the idea of a working currency and non-barter trade. It’s a massive gold sink, every end game craft costs thousands of gold to make.

    What effect does this have on the game? Instead of a shako being worth a pul rune, it will now be worth 140,000 gold. With the gold being a valuation tool, players will now be able to determine item worth in-game. This is in stark contrast to the previous system where websites and spreadsheets explained everything and new or returning players had no idea what their items were worth. Scamming will drop significantly as a result.

    Blacksmithing will have another predictable in-game effect, the unprecedented prominence of rare items as end game gear. This is largely due to the advent of auction housing as a means of trade. You will find that in D3, most players will use a wide array of rare items. Previously it was mostly runewords and uniques. The longer Diablo III exists, the more rare items will be used. Auctioning allows viable rares to be traded for gold. Blacksmithing = runewords for the entire player base. Imagine if (eventually) every player could create an enigma? Blacksmithing allows that (good or bad).

    3. Item drop frequency/usefulness

    I mentioned in the introduction that you would find useless items in Diablo II. What qualified as a useless item? Any item that could not be traded to another player for something of value was essentially useless. Gold had no value so selling items wasn’t worthwhile. When Blizzard looked back at D2 they saw many hours of player time wasted on looking for high level uniques/rares/runes/sets with everything else being completely disregarded. The new D3 philosophy is that no time investment should be completely useless. Additionally no item should be worthless.

    Item usefulness came in the form of disenchantment and gold carrying real value. Due to the ability to reduce items to raw materials, literally every drop in the game contains value, even if it could not be compared to a gold value. Let’s look at a D2 example. 1 hour of hell mephisto runs. 30 rares, 4 unqiues, 3 set items, all normal mode gear. You may come up with 0 items of any real value. Let’s look at a D3 example. 1 hour of inferno may yield a similar amount of drops but now blue items are counted as well. Even if you had nothing to trade or wear, you disenchant all the items you find and get enough materials to craft something. Of course you could just sell the materials for $$ (legitimately).

    Even if the crafted item fails to prove useful result it let you choose the item slot. It’s still “random” but you choose the slot for that randomness. This is an important distinguishing factor from D2 where you never had control over what slot the gear was for when it dropped. This meant that unique, set, and runeword items all were more inherently valued. As players now have a level of control over item creation, they could spend 10 hours crafting nothing but leggings. Inevitably something more powerful than a set or unique item will emerge. You’ll start to see rares more prominently displayed. If you were a huge fan of runewords it’s even better now because you can craft legendary and set items instead.

    4. Player customization improvements

    Inherently this change (the addition of crafting) adds a very rewarding objective for those who want their character to feel like they customized it. There aren’t many players who will argue that the D2 crafting system was inherently better. Smithing is the obvious area that improved over the previous iterations (runewords and to a much lesser extent orange items). It should be noted for the player who feels like there is less customization that you now have control over what slot will be filled by an item.

    A 10 hour D3 session might yield nothing equippable or even sellable. However it still guarantees that you can go to town, take the materials you earned, and roll 6 different rare shields. When could you ever do that in D2? You might go 10 hours without even seeing a rare shield. It’s not like it would have been useful when you did find it either. In D3 the less effective affixes (looking at you damage taken to mana) have been removed or reworked.

    5. Currency and crafting

    Runes (D2) were not likely intended to become game currency. The drop rate was far too low for them to be reasonably amassed in any quantity. Inevitably they did become game currency due to a broken gold system and because of the prevalence of duping which added many of them to the economy. With gold as a currency, time invested will have a direct correlation to player customization. If you play for x hours you’ll earn x materials/gold and be able to craft y amount of items.

    Crafting heavily values a working currency as well. The ideal is that you can craft items to compensate for what you really needed not actually dropping. Smithing is purchasable customization but not as easily as skills, stat points. Smithing only gives a chance at a good item, not a guarantee. This is arguably the most D2esque of the system reworks. Even if you spend $400 on crafting materials, you might come up with $400 worth of junk! However there are at least tangible rewards based on currency and materials acquired.

    Currency has another effect. It reduces barter trade. Barter trade was the root of all manner of scams. Any non-malicious player will tell you that the bartering needed a rework. When there’s an independent valuation between players (gold) it’s easy to see if you’re getting a fair shake. To this day I have no idea what a mal rune is worth. I can tell you that I traded several of them for things but I couldn’t assign a value directly to those things. The currency is unilaterally a good thing, it incentivizes vendoring, trading, and crafting.

    6. Blacksmithing - Conclusion

    There is an ideal that has taken hold in the modern era of gaming. Blizzard adheres to this ideal. They believe that games which punish their players are just not as fun as games that reward players. This is the main area of debate around D3. It’s simply not that punishing of a game. That’s absolutely correct. This is most evident in the crafting systems, especially blacksmithing. The addition of enchanting materials means that there is no time wasted without some form of progress.

    Overall, blacksmithing looks to be a significant improvement over D2. I don’t know about you but I played for years and never found a single rare armor that was worth anything. Had I been able to craft rare armors instead of just relying on drops I might have found one to my liking. You don’t have to wonder about the iLvl, you already know what you’re getting. It tells you what item slot, how many affixes, and it’s a visibly attainable requirement to achieve. The real question: Even knowing what I am getting, how long will it take to roll a near-perfect rare bow? Will it take as long as it took to find a Windforce in D2? I saw one of those in twelve years. Blacksmithing, like the other two systems I discusses, better or worse, still adds quite a bit more customization than its predecessor.
    Edited by Dontinquire on 2/27/2012 12:16 AM PST
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    IV. Game accessibility, scalability, simplification

    This section of game discussion has several different facets. I will define each of these terms as they pertain to video games (Diablo specifically) before breaking down each element. They are each very important in terms of how effectively a game developer (Blizzard) can communicate information to a player (inside D3). Additionally the make changes much simpler to implement.

    Accessibility – The ease with which a person who has never seen a Diablo game may become immersed into its various systems without becoming confused or needing assistance from sources other than the gameplay itself. Systems – Crafting, Story, Quests, etc.

    Scalability – The ease with which a developer may add new content to a game without destroying systems which are already present. Content – Expansion pack, level cap increase, new items, new areas.

    Simplification – The way in which a developer communicates the way a game system functions to the player AND the ability of a player to understand that information inside of the game itself without requiring help from websites/spreadsheets. Communication – Character sheet, User Interface, Crafting window.

    1. Accessibility

    Accessibility is one of the hotter topics among Diablo players. Many veteran players liked the previous (inaccessible) system. How was D2 inaccessible? Excellent question, let’s look at examples.

    1a. Stat point allocation

    In D2 you were given points every level to allocate however you please. As a brand new player to the game I personally recall placing them everywhere. I had a level 40 barbarian that had equal parts strength, dexterity, vitality, and energy. I also recall deleting that character because it became useless. I didn’t understand their effects, how they benefitted my character, and which ones were best. In D2 there was also a disparity between classes as well. Melee characters received more health from vitality (I never found that out in game). Casters gained more mana from energy. How much per class? Don’t know, had to alt+tab to find out.

    D3 Stat point allocation – In D3 you can go to your character sheet and see EXACTLY what each stat does. I know 1 primary stat = 1% damage. I know 3 vitality = 30 health. It tells me right inside the game. What is even better is that all the classes get automatic allocation to their stats. Many players were adamant that this was a terrible decision. Let’s take a look at it though, due to benefit BIAS (Vitality for a barb > Vitality for a sorceress) it’s clear Blizzard intended barbarians to have more health than sorceresses. With auto-tuned stats, that’s up to them. The player doesn’t get the opportunity to ruin an otherwise excellent character with decisions they make before understanding the mechanics. That is a shining example of accessibility. Let’s take a look at another.

    1b.Crafting
    D2 is another fantastic example of inaccessible. It’s perhaps the best example. First and foremost, the crafting system cannot be understood through gameplay, ever. A persistent player might not ever discover a runeword in their entire D2 experience. No one would discover these horadric cube recipes. Does anyone believe that a new player would eventually put 6 chipped gems and a sword into the cube? Accessibility is all about disseminating information through gameplay. This system fails in every conceivable way. Even when you do look up the recipes, brace yourself, you’re going to be thinking like this:

    … okay I think the mlvl was this… and that mlvl gives a treasure class of this, I need this item… let me check the spreadsheet again… and so my ilvl is probably this… so when I craft “Ilvl has to be calculated: ilvl = int(.5*78) + int(.5*85) = 39 + 42 = 81”. How many suffixes was that again?!??! Oh it had to be bramble mitts…white ones aren’t working!?!? where do… sapphire was it? Oh I needed an amethyst… OH FORGET IT I’LL JUST KILL MEPHISTO SOME MORE.


    How does D3 crafting (purely from an accessibility standpoint) differ? Many ways! For one, the item requirements are simple. Disenchants are as follows: Blue items give x, Yellow items give y, Orange items give z. Want a cool new sword? 10x+2y+z=new sword! That’s some pretty accessible math. Another big point of accessibility for crafting is the lack of a base item (with a pre-determined and invisible item level) to create new gear. The user interface shows you exactly what you need and exactly what you’ll make. You can also track your progress towards the new item just by glancing at your inventory. I think a lot more people are going to be crafting end-game rare/set/legendary items! That seems pretty accessible to me.

    1c. Skill System

    The skill system was not inherently inaccessible by design in D2. D2 had a pretty solid skill system. The skills had icons that more or less explained what they did. The descriptions were succinct, 10-12 damage, costs 8 mana, 12 yard range, available at level 6. The increase in soft levels was indicated by a blue icon instead of white, synergy functions also existed within the tooltip. A new player could pick up the game, gain some skill levels, and be relatively sure what they would do. Why do I mention this in the accessibility section? Hell mode. Hell mode specifically (to a lesser extent, nightmare) was inaccessible. This is largely due to the skill system. New players were unaware that their 20 point frost nova would become completely useless. When they hit that point what happened? Reroll a new character, read more spreadsheets, inaccessible.

    How does D3 combat the problem of skills becoming useless late game? All skills are always useful. That’s a pretty bold design decision to be sure, likely to turn some heads. Players are used to 2 skills being useful (Blizzard, Blessed Hammer) for an entire class. Now all of a sudden… everything is useful!?!? This causes quite a bit of controversy. Adding scalability to the skill system (being discussed further down) really improved the accessibility of late game content to all players. Having all skills without making a new character also greatly aids in this area.

    1d. Accessibility – conclusions

    The biggest complaint I see is from players who like pre-nerf sunwell. The 1% of fanatically hardcore super gamers that could solo uber tristram. Those guys HATE accessibility because it makes distinguishing yourself from the rest of the player base much more difficult if not impossible. Now everyone will have a chance to fight that monster which has 5 damage immunities. Because of a skill system that allows players to experiment, simple to understand crafting, and simple stats. The real distinguishing features then become cosmetic (dyes, runed skills). Those features are accessible to all players, not just a fraction of the population. A portion of the player base disapproves. They are quite vocal.

    2. Scalability

    Scalability is something that rarely gets mentioned. This is interesting because it’s a MAJOR design philosophy which Blizzard is ardently seeking to achieve with this release. I already briefly defined scalability, here are some examples that show it being put into practice. There are a vast multitude of examples beyond these but a forum post cannot contain the entirety of my thoughts on the matter.

    2a. Level Cap

    The level cap is a great example of scalability. There is an important notation that must be made. An ATTAINABLE level cap is scalable. A non-attainable level cap is not scalable. What does that mean? Put simply the D2 level cap was not nearly as scalable as D3. The player level, monster level, and item level were all tied into item drops/crafting/game progression. Making a change to how quickly you level or the max level would require other systems to be changed as well. This makes for a difficult time when releasing expansion packs, new areas, and new recipes. All these systems rely on player level for certain requirements to be met.

    D3 has been designed with growth in mind. The inferno difficulty is the best evidence of this fact. When an expansion comes out and the level cap becomes 80, Blizzard just goes into a “monster level in inferno” spreadsheet, changes 1 value (61->81) and all the monster damage, reaction speed, projectile quantity, level of ability are now end game again. They all tie into level to derive their power. Just like a players auto-stats are tied to their level. A few stat point adjustments can be made behind the scenes (for balance reasons) and the player may never be the wiser.

    Imagine Lord of Destruction raising the level cap to 120. All the monster levels have to be adjusted in various ways, crafting has to be adjusted, loot tables have to be adjusted. It would have been a nightmare and taken a long development time to balance. If D3 got that adjustment it’s much simpler because the crafting is largely outside of leveling and isn’t tied directly to monster drops. The cap is also attainable, meaning a vast majority of players will achieve it. Expansion packs will take less iterative testing because it’s more “drag this slider bar” and less “let’s look at every single monster again”. The inverse being “every single monster that isn’t new, is now useless”. Monster level caps are a very important tool for adjusting their power quickly. If we get to act 3 inferno and x monster is too easy they just slide the level up a notch. There’s quite a bit more to be said about level caps for both players and monsters but know that it’s important that they are attainable rewards.

    2b. Skills

    Skills were not scalable in D2. Skills having their own damage numbers is inherently bad for scaling. If we take LoD as an example you can quickly see why. When the expansion was released several skills went from useless to completely invalid. Even worse than that was punishing the player by giving synergic incentives to actually pump points into these skills. Why did firebolt not work in hell? It wasn’t designed to scale that way. Level 20 firebolt does 60 damage, level 20 fireball does 258. Firebolt is inherently non-viable due to it having low damage. How does d3 address this issue?

    Flat damage has been removed from Diablo 3! Flat damage is one of the largest hurdles for game balance. Everything that is flat has to be looked at again every time you expand the content. Skills are no exception. All damage being based off a weapon (with an attack component) is fantastic for scaling. Did the expansion give monsters 15% more damage? All new weapons now do 15% more damage. The key is that the focus will be on newer content instead of searching for game breaking issues with balance. We can tell at a glance that bola shot (DH) and Frenzy (Barb) should do comparable damage. Weapon upgrades will improve them both equally.

    2c. Scalability – Conclusions

    Keep in mind that skills are not so simple as I am saying, obviously there are individual tweaks required every now and again. The main point is that skill scalability achieves several design goals. It saves Blizzard time. It makes it easier for you to compare one class to another. It centralizes character damage improvements to weapons. Finally it reduces incidence of imbalanced, underused, and broken skills because nothing is flat, 1 change slides everything up the scale with it.

    3. Simplification

    Simplified tooltips are frequently mentioned on the forums. There was quite a bit of pushback from the hardcore player base. Hardcore players want excel spreadsheets, abacuses, and planetary orbits to play a role in their character build. Blizzards design goal in this area is to keep you (the player) inside the game. That’s the driving focus in this area. What do you mean keep me in the game? I mean that off the top of my head I can tell you that the runes to craft chains of honor are Dol+Um+Ber+Ist. Why can I tell you that? Because I alt+tabbed to the arreat summit 10,000 times to look at it. This is not simplified. Simplification ties directly in with accessibility but they aren’t quite the same.

    3a. Stat Points

    I gave quite a lengthy discourse on the difference between stats in D2 and D3. One of the more prominent takeaways from that section is how complicated D2 stats became. Dexterity was the most complicated since it had 5 different effects. The other stats weren’t simple either. Every class gained different amounts of life from vitality and damage from strength. When you tack on stat points as a gear requirement as well it becomes really confusing. Low level characters are punished for overspending points early in the game. Higher level characters are recreated to get those 15 points back.

    How are D3 stats simple? The quickest answer is that they all have only 1 universal effect. Armor, Resists, Life, and dodge. That’s as simple as you can get. Obviously primary stats give damage bonuses too but those are displayed right on the tooltip and they are linear. All classes get 1% damage from 1 point of primary stat. Not only do they only have 1 universal effect but that 1 effect is exactly the same through all classes. 10 life per point of vitality. 1 point of intelligence gives .1 to all resists. It doesn’t take an excel spreadsheet to find out how to get the maximum damage for your character. You just stack primary stat gems, you’ll hit like a mack truck. In D2 you needed Dex for Zon, Strength for Barb, equal strength and dex for asassins. Then stats didn’t even help caster classes, you had to get +skills modifiers! Even when you did get damage bonuses it was significantly less than 1% per point. It was a convoluted mess, thankfully this new system is extremely simple and easy to understand, all within the confines of the game itself.

    3b. Trading

    I will be writing another section that discusses the economy but this merits a bit of a mention here. I wrote quite a bit about skills and stats and very little about trading. One of the major design goals for D3 was to make trading as simple as possible. Previously we had a barter system, my p nagel for your 10 p gems or an ist for a max armor shako. Mid rune for 20 life sc. Any player coming in to the game with the intent of trading would need a 4 hour training course on the intricacies of the D2 economy. How does D3 address this problem?

    The auction house was born. Currency comes about in all modernized societies. Currency allows the buyer to value what they are offering against a neutral party (the currency itself). The auction house facilitates trade even when the player is not online. The problem of D2 spamming for trades or sitting in town with mules will be almost completely nullified. Now if you want to trade an item you just list it on the auction house. Sell item X for Y amount of currency and buy Z item in exchange. You effectively traded with another player. The new system benefits everyone, except maybe scammers. Best of all it’s simple!

    3c. Simplification – Conclusions

    Simplification has been implemented in every game system. Trading, crafting, damage valuation, gems, etc. The prevalent goal is the keep you inside the game. If you need to alt tab and look up a formula or build or trading website then the game isn’t simple enough. Again this frustrates many of the more hardcore players who derive artificial game lengthening from convoluted systems and inefficient design. A small portion of the player base loves confusing implementations. It allows them to create artificial gaps between themselves and other (less studied) players. If you like games that have these gaps, you probably won’t like Diablo 3. Unfortunately for you the vast majority of players hate these gaps. I doubt they will be returning to any Blizzard game anytime soon, especially D3.

    4. Ease of use – Concluded

    There’s a theme these 3 concepts share. The theme is ease of use. Many players pick up a game like D2 and are inevitably put-off because their build didn’t work, they don’t understand how to build a character that will work in hell, the stats gave no explanation of their function, trading for an item you wanted was impossible, and they didn’t feel like reading the arreat summit for an hour a day in their spare time.

    Blizzard wants games that are easy to use. Does this really contrast with traditional gamers wanting difficult games? The type of difficulty Blizzard seeks with D3 is not that of Punch out. They don’t want you to memorize Mike Tyson’s punches because he beat you over and over and over again. If that isn’t the case, what does Blizzard want?

    They want you to be able to craft items without hitting level 85 and farming for 10 hours. They want you to trade without sitting in town for 2 hours in a mule game or buying items on a website. They want you in the action, killing demons, and not doing a book report on their archaic crafting formulae. Some of you may hate it, others may love it. The real question is this: Does ease of use obliterate an otherwise very steep skill curve? It certainly did not with Starcraft 2 and that’s a pretty easy game to use.
    Edited by Dontinquire#1455 on 4/28/2012 2:17 PM PDT
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    V. Auction house, gold currency versus bartering, magic find

    This section will be a succinct look at some of the economic implications in D3, contrasted directly to D2 of course. The first two points, auction house and gold as a currency, differ slightly from magic find because they are new to the franchise. Let’s take a look.

    1. Auction house

    The auction house has far reaching effects on a game. If you are anything like me you love trying to play the market. Buy all of X for 30g apiece, list a few X for 50g apiece, wait 20 minutes for undercutting and relist ALL of X for 40g apiece, MWAHAHA PROFIT! Auction houses are an interesting feature in a game because when implemented properly, they are like a mini game. Some players will devote their entire game session to playing the market to make a tidy profit. What about D3 will the auction house alter?

    In the interests of 1 to 1 comparisons, let’s take a look at Diablo II’s auction house, d2jsp.org. For those of you unfamiliar with this website it was a trade board backed by an artificial currency. It worked pretty much the same as the D3 auction house but it’s a lot less friendly. Players would buy or trade items and services for points. Points were the currency, the tool for ascribing values to items. Runes had a rough market value, as did items, leveling services, uber runs, baal runs, etc. This site was not affiliated with nor supported by Blizzard, they also likely made quite a bit of money just for facilitating transactions between players. Site members could purchase points for real money from the site owner.

    D2jsp suffered from a number of issues. Namely it was an unofficial method for trading items (obviously poor game design). Secondly it was outside the games interface (see the section on simplicity). Thirdly, it left a lot of possibilities open for scammers. Finally, perhaps most importantly, it was inefficient. Even if this site was an officially supported method for trading via currency, the inefficiency made it unappealing to quite a large portion of the player base. You had to research (by reading a bunch of forum posts) which items carried which values, some players wanted a lot more and you still had to haggle. You also had to wait on a player to respond to your inquiry (you might wait 2 weeks to hear from someone or never hear back!). How is D3 different? Let’s look.

    D3 provides a central, in game, gold standard, auction house. Efficiency is inherent! Items you want to buy are given to you instantly, items you want to sell don’t require weeks of forum trolling WTS threads. If you want to know the value of an item, you do a quick search. The search even gives you recent sale prices for that item! How cool is that? No more conjecture, we have hard evidence. Everyone can use it which is a huge plus (many players don’t want to sign up on a forum). One of the really great things it promotes is the buying and selling of rare items. I’d wager that less than 1% of D2 trades involved rare items. I’ll bet that >50% of D3 trades involve rare items. This is really cool because customization (wanting specifically +all stats, +all resists, +MF, +Gold find) is feasible. You may well see Godly rares (which otherwise rot on a mule somewhere) up for grabs! It will certainly be a different experience from the last game.

    2. Gold currency versus bartering

    Many D2 players abstained from the “auction house” system (d2jsp) that the previous game provided. They instead preferred to barter for their items. Based on what we have seen so far of D3, it is likely that bartering will be mostly eliminated from the new game. Let’s talk about what it was and how it may evolve.

    D2 bartering was an in-game system. It was backed by an official blizzard trading post channel and forum. In the early days of D2 (pre-d2jsp) channels and forums were utilized heavily. Some players eventually resorted to making games named and subtitled to describe what they had to offer and what they wanted in return. You may see a title like “WTT dracs” with a subtitle of “lkng4soj+20lfsc+ire”. If you played D2 you can likely translate that mess into actual information and even try to initiate the trade, except the game’s 26 minutes old and the creator left. Whoops!

    Currency based exchanges have drawn no criticism at all. There’s really not a lot to talk about, it’s fairly self-explanatory. Currency is easy, simple, and scalable. It fits all the Blizzard design philosophies. It’s the real money trades that have people up in arms. Real money trades in a video game!?!? It’s new and different. It could be horrible and might be amazing. There’s only room to speculate at this point. Let’s not run off discussing things we don’t yet know. The real question: Who doesn’t want to make a few bucks playing their favorite game?

    3. Magic Find

    There is a lot of controversy surrounding magic find being implemented in D3. Players don’t like the idea that they’ll be carrying someone who does not contribute to the success of a group but still benefits from it. They say it should be removed from the game entirely. Players who oppose this position say magic find does not need to be adjusted or at worst needs to buff group members you have partied by a fraction of the bonus you have. ::Update 4/17:: Magic find now spreads among all party members evenly. Let’s look at implementation in both games.

    How did magic find work in the previous Diablo game? First we need to understand how drop percentages are calculated. Example: Skeleton has a 1% chance to drop a magic item. 100% magic find would double this amount to 2%. Low amounts gave tiny benefit and even high amounts had diminishing returns. Anything over 400ish% tapered off in effectiveness. It was possible in D2 to gear for magic find to the detriment of most other bonuses. A 3 socket helm with full topazes and nothing else or maybe a tarnhelm could theoretically be used. This was a strategy that made some players (who had no end game gear) largely ineffective. They required groups to attain any type of game progression. However, no one complained because all item drops were visible to the entire group. This meant that the fastest click got the gear.

    How would magic find theoretically work in D3? It is likely that it would not cause nearly the issues players have speculated. Due to crafting, currency, and auctioning you’ll get item upgrades much more frequently. In addition to that, useless affixes have been reworked or removed. This makes it more likely to get viable bonuses in addition to magic find when rolling gear. When you think about it, MF is only 1 affix. It wouldn’t gimp a character any more than someone who stacks defense and resistances instead of primary stat and magic find.

    Most of the posts have blown the issue out of proportion. Look at the end game magic finding gear in D2. Skullders Ire, Shako, infinity, and a slew of other great items. Arguing against someone keeping items for MF is like getting mad at people using an amazing rare that happens to have 10 thorns damage on it. 1 affix does not make or break a character or an item. Ultimately magic find is just a footnote in the argument against D3’s altered game systems. Most players in magic find mode tend to make solo games in D2, to guarantee access to anything that drops. In Diablo 3 there will likely be many group magic find games as everyone gets their own drops.

    4. D3 Economics – Conclusion

    Diablo 2 had an economic structure created by video game developers. Diablo 3 has had input from economists, mathematicians, science-types, and so on. No one can make the argument for D2 having a superior economic structure. Players are just not used to an action rpg being so incredibly complex. It’s really unprecedented in this genre. There are other games that have an economic structure similar to D3. They are all MMORPGS. When you think about it in these terms, it’s easy to understand where 7 years of development went. Try to compare the economy of Titan quest, Torchlight, or Dungeon Siege to D3. Interestingly, none of them have one at all. They aren’t even as developed as Diablo 2 on that front.

    Powerful economic tools could either prolong the game experience by having you constantly search for marginal upgrades or shorten it by allowing you to quickly obtain everything you want. The real questions we should be asking: Will an auction house and a sound currency shorten or lengthen the life of the game? If it does shorten the shelf life, will we remember it even more fondly than D2?
    Edited by Dontinquire#1455 on 4/17/2012 7:24 PM PDT
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    This was highly rated even though I put nothing here. I guess I'll just make my estimate for release date highly rated, April 24, 2012. I was wrong )-:
    Edited by Dontinquire on 4/9/2012 8:13 PM PDT
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    VI. Conclusion

    This post was quite the adventure in understanding game design changes. I hope that I’ve helped to inform as many people as possible about why some of the changes have occurred and ultimately that they represent our best interests. I am one of those eager types who followed the development since D3 was announced in the middle of 2008. The wide range of topics I was able to cover came from a memorization of basically every announcement since then compared with my understanding of the D2 game systems and their intended effects. I say intended effects as some of them were implemented for the purpose of ‘x’ but ended up serving a function of ‘y’.

    I said all that to give a disclaimer. Ultimately, while I believe myself to be correct, some of what I discussed is based on my opinion, although I attempted to be as unbiased as possible. If I am being honest, I am one of those “hardcore” types that is used to punishing gameplay. I can beat a lot of those crazy difficulty NES games like battletoads, ninja turtles, double dragon, and punch out. I actually represent the demographic I hope will read this post. What does all that have to do with Diablo? Well let me explain.

    The difficulty from games like those I have described was partially artificial. As much as I’d like to believe I was overcoming a challenge and developing my skills as a player, I think ultimately I just memorized a lot of things very well. As a result (and EXACTLY like D2) I can go back to any of these games and remember >95% of the monsters, level layouts, and attack timings. This mindset of Video Gamer Memory was required to master the games. There’s a flip side of that memorization difficulty coin. Starcraft 2 gives us an excellent example of non-memorization game difficulty. There are multiple strategies you can use to complete a given scenario. The challenge may be different every time you play it. I know it seems like I’m way off topic but this is a mentality that you have to understand before you can realize why players like myself tend to formulate the opinion that “D3 is for casuals”.

    We develop that belief for 2 primary reasons. Reason 1 as already mentioned is artificial difficulty. Artificial difficulty can be sampled very well in a game like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The game is already pretty hard but if you die and use your continues you have to go back to the first level and start all over again. This makes it take a lot longer for players to master the later levels of the game. The later levels are the most difficult and you get less time to spend on them because you’ll die more frequently. It’s punishing because someone who has less time to play will never be able to even experience the late game content. It’s like playing hardcore in D2. This is the reason many players prefer hardcore, it’s what they already expect a game to feel like. If you die, you start all over. It is important to note that most people will never beat that type of game. A large percentage of the audience gives up before completing it or just gets frustrated because they aren’t gaining any tangible reward (other than play experience).

    Reason 2 is the introduction into game development (in general terms) in recent years of incremental reward systems. Incremental reward systems are probably the largest contributing factor to the increasing popularity of video games. Diablo is no exception to this trend. As I’ve already covered in the crafting sections, you’ll be seeing more item upgrades more frequently. There are now checkpoints if you disconnect. D2 if you failed to acquire a waypoint, you started the act over. In D2 the vast majority of items carried no value. The only “attaboy” you received in the late game was the pervasive High rune drop or an elite unique. The average level 85+ character wasted the vast majority of their time in game for no usable rewards.

    Understanding those fundamental design philosophies will help shed some light on D3. Since Blizzard is offering more consistent rewards and removing those artificial difficulty barriers, here is what it will come down to in the end: the player (which it has always come down to). A self-proclaimed “hardcore” gamer will power through all of the new content very quickly. I beat every mission in Starcraft 2 on brutal only 4 days after release. Players who game like that are the most vocal. We beat the game, did everything it had to offer, then came to the forums to talk about it. I believe the real question is ultimately: What percentage of the player base is that dedicated? With Blizzard games I’m sure it’s a much higher % than most companies. We are voracious for content and play games like drug addicts seek a high.

    There is a conclusion that I have reached after considering some of these gamer mentalities. Most people are not like me. Most players won’t sit in front of their computer for 10 hours a day just to play D3 (over a year after release). Most players won’t cut their sleep down to 3 hours a night in order to spend more time item farming. Most players who like video games are quite a bit less dedicated than myself and many others on these forums. I’m okay with that fact. The world doesn’t turn for me, a lot of different personality types will want to enjoy what D3 has to offer.

    Having said all of that, here’s my actual conclusion. I feel (based on the evidence) that D3 will keep me engaged for years to come. I believe that the addition of dyes, runestones, and the range of stats on gear and enchants will mean that the new difficulty is not “clear the ubers” but rather, make the perfect character. I think even someone like me who dedicates countless hours to this game will be, years later, still trying to get those extra 4 points of attack on an enchant, or just one more rank 14 gem. Diablo III is going to exceed my expectations. The beta itself has more depth than the entirety of other games in the genre. I already put 50+ hours into the first 1% of the game, in beta no less! I cannot wait to play the other 99% and my fellow hardcore gamers, I look forward to playing it with you.

    I’ll even include a TL:DR for this 10,000 word post.
    TL:DR You won’t be disappointed.
    Edited by Dontinquire on 2/27/2012 1:15 AM PST
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    This is a good read, when more information is put on display ill gladly thumbs this up. It is about time someone indexed all this information in one location.

    My recommendation would be to update the OP post table of contents with all the sub categories, as it makes it easier to find one particular topic quickly.

    I am glad this thread addresses the stat arguement customization in a fairly neutral way. I still find it ridiculous that people think we lost customization because stat distribution isn't their in the same way d2 had it anymore, when blizzcon 2011 videos and even gameplay elements of Diablo 3 actually support more character customization than d2.

    The argument that d3 has less customization than d2 was an argument that was used by people who didnt understand d3's system to begin with.
    Edited by ACPRO on 12/31/2011 5:28 AM PST
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    THANK YOU for explaining how stats aren't removed but rather transferred. Been trying to explain that from day one on the forums and nobody understood.

    +1
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    12/31/2011 05:40 AMPosted by Giraffasaur
    THANK YOU for explaining how stats aren't removed but rather transferred. Been trying to explain that from day one on the forums and nobody understood.

    I know, right?

    Really, D3 is just vastly superior in pretty much every single way you can think of to D2. D3's systems and features are just all clear improvements.



    @OP: This is a great thread, by the way. I plan on making in-depth threads like this, and guides, sometime after D3 is released and settled.
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    Awesome thread. Thank you OP.
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    This thread needs to become a sticky asap. Good job, OP!
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    12/31/2011 04:55 AMPosted by Dontinquire
    Magic Missle does 110% weapon damage, tier 7 runed Crimson Magic Missle does 143% weapon damage. Each increment of a rune adds roughly 4% weapon damage. Interestingly this feels like a marginal increase (just like a skill point). In a way it’s similar, the difference being that an item changes the damage and not a character specific bonus. This opens the door for a respec system as well, since you may pay a fee and have the rune removed.


    Just a minor edit here. Magic missile does 143% weapon damage with a tier 4 crimson rune.
    http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/wizard#a!!Z
    Edited by ACPRO on 12/31/2011 6:07 AM PST
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    12/31/2011 04:54 AMPosted by Dontinquire
    Energy had one benefit, it increased your mana pool. It was largely unused for a variety of reasons. For one it did not add mana regen (which is odd for a heavily caster oriented stat).

    Actually it did add regen. The larger your mana pool the faster it regenerated.
    Reply Quote
    Energy had one benefit, it increased your mana pool. It was largely unused for a variety of reasons. For one it did not add mana regen (which is odd for a heavily caster oriented stat).

    Actually it did add regen. The larger your mana pool the faster it regenerated.


    No this is not how Diablo II worked. Energy only increased your mana pool. Not your regeneration rate. I have no idea where you got the idea that a larger mana pool means faster regeneration. This is not how it worked.

    There were items and a sorc skill (warmth) which increased mana regeneration along with the paladins meditation, but energy by itself as an attribute did not increase regeneration rate.
    Edited by ACPRO on 12/31/2011 6:13 AM PST
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    No this is not how Diablo II worked. Energy only increased your mana pool. Not your regeneration rate. I have no idea where you got the idea that a larger mana pool means faster regeneration. This is not how it worked.

    There were items and a sorc skill (warmth) which increased mana regeneration along with the paladins meditation, but energy by itself as an attribute did not increase regeneration rate.

    And a larger mana pool =/= more regeneration in diablo II.

    uhh. K.

    Mana_per_sec = MaxMana/120*(1+ManaRegen/100)

    http://diablo.incgamers.com/forums/showthread.php?411480-Calculator-for-mana-regen
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    No this is not how Diablo II worked. Energy only increased your mana pool. Not your regeneration rate. I have no idea where you got the idea that a larger mana pool means faster regeneration. This is not how it worked.

    There were items and a sorc skill (warmth) which increased mana regeneration along with the paladins meditation, but energy by itself as an attribute did not increase regeneration rate.

    And a larger mana pool =/= more regeneration in diablo II.

    uhh. K.

    Mana_per_sec = MaxMana/120*(1+ManaRegen/100)

    http://diablo.incgamers.com/forums/showthread.php?411480-Calculator-for-mana-regen


    Were talking about energy by itself. Energy by itself did not increase regeneration rate.
    Edited by ACPRO on 12/31/2011 6:16 AM PST
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    12/31/2011 06:10 AMPosted by ACPRO
    No this is not how Diablo II worked. Energy only increased your mana pool. Not your regeneration rate. I have no idea where you got the idea that a larger mana pool means faster regeneration.


    I do. http://www.diablowiki.com/Energy

    If you look at how Energy is listed under Diablo II on diablowiki, it's like this:

    Energy - Mana - Mana Regeneration

    diablowiki tries to group *related stats*, even if they're not directly affected by the main stat they're listed under.

    Great thread OP.

    Mana_per_sec = MaxMana/120*(1+ManaRegen/100)

    http://diablo.incgamers.com/forums/showthread.php?411480-Calculator-for-mana-regen


    Were talking about energy by itself. Energy by itself did not increase regeneration rate.


    Yes it did. Energy directly affects Max Mana. Max Mana directly affects Mana per second. Therefore, Energy directly affects Mana per second, if that formula holds true.

    Note - this edit was made after the post below mine. Just clearing that up for other readers.
    Edited by Aegis on 12/31/2011 6:33 AM PST
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    12/31/2011 06:15 AMPosted by Aegis
    No this is not how Diablo II worked. Energy only increased your mana pool. Not your regeneration rate. I have no idea where you got the idea that a larger mana pool means faster regeneration.


    I do. http://www.diablowiki.com/Energy

    If you look at how Energy is listed under Diablo II on diablowiki, it's like this:

    Energy - Mana - Mana Regeneration

    diablowiki tries to group *related stats*, even if they're not directly affected by the main stat they're listed under. common mistake.

    Great thread OP.


    Alright well go with it then.
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