Let me start by saying I have followed the previously mentioned points rather closely and have discussed them in-depth with friends but have yet to post on this forum (I also do not have the beta, but my friend does). Until very recently my thoughts were in-line with many of the RPGrandparents here. However, I entertained the possibility that it’s time to move passed the ARPG’s of old and explore what Blizz has been saying about moving forward. After some exploration I agree that ARPG’s were “broken” in the sense that they were backwards; your character used to dictate your actions, rather than the way (I now think) it should be. Your actions should dictate your character.
This seems to be the direction that Blizz is moving; however, I feel the current character is lacking synergy in D3. What I mean by synergy is how importantly different aspects of a character relate to each other, and how all aspects together create a cohesive character.
Let’s use a Barbarian as an example under the current system:
You choose skills that fit how you want to play. As you progress you will hunt for items to complete your character with regard to the skills you chose. As a barbarian you will probably aim for items that give you maximum strength (in lieu of other attributes) due to the damage and armor benefits. We have yet to see if dexterity (dodge), intelligence (resistances), vitality (health), and other modifiers will play a meaningful role over strength with regard to the Barbarian later in the game.
The character synergy is as follows ( diagram: http://picturepush.com/public/7661214 ):
*Actively, means it is a user choice; passively, means it applies via game mechanics
- Runes actively influence (mouse) skills
- Skills actively influence stats (many skills do +armor and +damage)
- Stats passively influence skills (damage applies to +%damage in skills)
- Attributes passively influence stats (strength increases damage for barbarians)
- Gear actively influences attributes and stats (+strength and +damage)
Since attributes only passively influence stats, and gear actively influences attributes and stats, you could remove (or hide) attributes altogether with minimal changes to the current system (e.g. change all gear to do respective stat increases instead). I feel this represents a problem with low character synergy. Now, imagine the following addition:
- Skills actively influence attributes. Direct damage skills would give +strength, evasive skills would give +dexterity, etc.
- Runes actively influence attributes. They would modify the +attribute type or amount on the skill
- Attributes passively influence gear (gear has attribute requirements)
These synergies would make attributes have a meaningful role in the cohesiveness of the character. The character flow would now go like this:
You choose skills and runes to compliment they way you would like to play. Your level and build determines your attributes (offensive builds would have more strength, evasive builds would have more dexterity, etc). Your attributes would determine what gear you can wear (due to requirements) at your level.
This could be done in such a way that you would not be restricted from wearing any individual piece of equipment. For example, if you wanted to wear a plate as a wizard, you may have to wait 3 levels (until you naturally have enough strength), or you would change a rune/skill to one that gives you more strength, or you would put on a pair of +strength boots, so you could wear the plate now.
A specific example could be: you are a wizard and you have a plate that gives +100 int with 10k defense, but it requires 50 strength more than you have. You also have a plate +50 int with 6k defense, that you can wear. Now you could wear +50 strength boots (instead of +50 int boots), and wear the better plate. You could also change "evasive" (+50 dexterity) skill to "damage" (+50 strength) skill, and wear it with no other equipment changes.
I think the addition of these synergies would give your character a more in-depth and cohesive feel and promote a better role-playing experience.
Currently attributes and stats are basically the same. So currently we could ignore attributes if items added the direct stat (+ barbarian damage and +defence instead of +strength).
This means the total makeup of a character comes down to chosen skills and items. The way these two aspects currently interact doesn't make the character feel “whole”.
Have some skills do +attributes and items have attribute requirements. This would give attributes meaning and help relate decision making on items to builds.
Edit: Changed the TL;DR to a better explanation