Diablo® III

Game Designer's Take on D3s loot system Take2

05/31/2012 12:32 PMPosted by Bloodba7h
1) If supply keeps going up but demand stays more or less stable, then prices will actually deflate and things will become mega cheap. The amount of gold in the game is less than the amount of items in the game so you're seeing it now and eventually the market will just 'crash' more or less.

If that was true it would mean that the current distribution of levels will remain the same over time (unlikely - things will spread out more, changing the demand structure until it is more evenly spread), and it would also mean that the best way to get items is to farm them, rather than gather the gold to buy them. If the best way to get items is, as claimed, to use the AH to buy them, then prices will inflate until it is on par with at least one of the other sources.

05/31/2012 12:32 PMPosted by Bloodba7h
2) Some legendary items can be good. That doesn't make the fact that most of them aren't more comforting. When finding an obscenely rare and different item the level of excitement you get from it should be also obscene but what we're finding is that as we find these items we are actually more disappointed. This is because of two things: Legendary items are much too hard to find for their level of quality, and Legendary items are not focused or different enough to be distinctive from the rares and magic items that we're currently using.

I agree that it would be more fun if the legendaries just did unique things, but I dispute the argument about their quality - they are better than an average rare of the same level. If you find a legendary you can't use, that sucks, but that's Diablo - you go sell it and buy something you like. I see plenty of legendaries with powerful stats on the AH.

Also, I think finding a cool item that works for your build at a price you can afford on the AH will also be a fun way to get more items. If it wasn't, I doubt you'd see as many people using it. I certainly have fun doing it, and had plenty of fun hopping into trade rooms to find cool stuff in D2.
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Currencies are never flawless - not in real life either(inflation anyone?) and without it only bartering would be possible.

But that gave me an idea:

Bartering is the most AWESOME thing ever. Sure it's slow and thats why we invented a medium for that(The mesopotamians invented money and Diablo 2 players invented Stone of Jordans). Trading items directly adds a new meta game that is surely more fun than AH.

There should be a "rogue encampment" where more than 4 players could join and try to barter their latest loot.

I know the above doesn't really fix anything and I should probably just go back and play Diablo 2 instead. Interesting read though. Hope Blizzard listens!
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Yamahako, what an awesomely thought out and well written post. That being said, I wanted to provide a suggestion yesterday that might help solve one of the issues that was being debated, but it got lost somewhere on page 15 of the long list of replies, so I thought I would bring it up for some light and debate.

To deal with AH "churn" from people buying items form the AH, and then reselling them there while also adding new items, how about creating an item sink? I keep seeing suggestions of "soulbound" items, but, personally, I don't like that as it doesn't feel natural or like Diablo in any way. It also reduces the value of Auction House purchases since there is no resale value for items. How about adding benefit to anything that you wouldn't equip yourself by giving them another use in the game. Say a way to break down items that nets more benefit for your gear.

I propose a scheme for upgrading equipped items by sacrificing other items. Maybe this is something that we could attach as an idea for the Mystic that was removed during the development cycle. Basically, you would pick an item to sacrifice to upgrade an equipped item. The ilvl, affixes, and anything else important to the gear's stats could be used to roll for a stat on the piece of gear that you want to enhance. If my equipped gear doesn't have certain stats present on the sacrificed item, make those stats either ineligible for rolling or, better yet, ADD another affix to the equipped item with the random stat picked off of the sacrificed item. I would think that you would want to limit the number of total affixes that can be added by quality of the item, but this would give you the opportunity to customize those randomly dropped pieces. Sacrificing a legendary item should give you a bigger bonus than sacrificing a blue of the same ilvl because legendaries have larger stat budgets.

Just a thought. Item inflation is currently dealt with by limiting the number of AH listings to 10, but that feels extremely artificial for one thing, and this would actually create another market for items - selling those extremely rare items that have really high stat values on only a few stats (so you KNOW which stats are going to be upgraded on your item). This would create a nice item sink (and potentially a gold sink as well), all while being extremely rewarding to the player.
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Posts: 1,116
Now I think about your scenario. I've had a lot of stuff drop in my playing so far (over 100 hours played), and I've tried to sell stuff (mostly on the first few days to see how it worked). But rather than an Item that I've been dreaming of, I get gold. And then I take my gold shopping. Well.. I could have farmed gold. And I wouldn't have had to wait 2 days to get it. And the experience leaves me feeling flat. Even if I got some premium piece of farming equipment that was worth millions of gold on the auction house - that's still just a large quantity of gold. In this way the AH does facilitate trading more easily than it was in D2 - but the item hunt experience (which even the trading in D2 had to some extent) it does not reinforce.

I think I might of misspoke. When I said the AH added an additional form of gratification, I meant in addition to finding the "item of your dreams", not instead of.

So in the scenario above, you kill a boss with 5 stacks of NV and any combination of the following can happen:
1) You find nothing of use
2) You find an item to sell on the AH
3) You find an item to replace what you are currently wearing

So in D2, you only had options 1 and 3, but in D3 you have all three options. It's not like if you took away the option of the AH, then you'd magically get option 3. Option 2 would turn into option 1 without the AH.

It's all a mental state imo, and it's just the way you look at it. So it's all a means to an end, and the end result is always "Farming" whether it be for items, or gold (by selling items) or both. The end goal is getting that next upgrade, and the elation you may get from seeing an awesome item drop that just isn't for you is that you know with little effort on the AH it can lead to that "dream item". So now instead of only getting "high" from seeing the BiS for your character drop, you can also get high from seeing BiS for another character drop, or get high from seeing several "not bad" items drop that can lead to your next "BiS".

Regardless of how you get your BiS item, you still have to kill tons of baddies to do it. I guess the debate could stem from gratification from having that item drop vs the gratification from all the activities leading up to it via other means.
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Mb its not the loot drops but the stats on the loot that should be addressed. It could be the reason buying stuff and selling it on Ah seems bad because all it really is,

search: vitality = 150
search:strength = 150
search:all resistance= 70
result: 2mil,2mil,2mil,4mil,5mil,20mil

k logging out for now be back later...
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I agree with all of the points made by the OP, and I think its terrible that D3 is damaged so badly by such a flaw.

Sadly, I don't think the flaw is an accident.
I can't believe that Blizzard, with all of the past experience with economics in games (WoW AH for example) would screw up this badly and drive people towards the AH by accident. I think this was an intentional thing, designed to drive people to use the AH, particularly the real money AH. While they might claim the the real money AH was intended solely to help prevent 3rd party sales of gear or gold, I have no doubt that Blizzard will directly profit from the RMAH. Hell, I'd even bet the idea for the RMAH started out noble enough, but some suit decided that they should try to make some cash off of it all at the same time.

Whether it's in a form of a 'transaction fee' for selling the items themselves, or some sort of fee that is charged for putting money into your account to use in the RMAH. Most likely, when players 'cash out' with their real cash, blizzard will see a portion of that either through a direct fee, or a kickback from whatever service they partner with to handle the transactions.

While I can't blame Blizzard for trying to make money (they are a company after all), I personally don't care for their methods, nor the fact that they basically cannibalized an otherwise amazing game series to do it.
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100 Dwarf Warrior
Posts: 23

The first post is part of a much longer post I was intending to write - and the level cap is a big part of that other post (on character customization in general).

I understand the mechanics behind wanting to set a level cap - you want to control player power and require a fixed quantity of gear in order to progress through the game. Allowing people to improve their power in a way that circumvents gear means that, ultimately, a player can bypass gear checks with grinding out levels.

The philosophy behind the leveling system (since there's no choices for a player to make with regards to personal player advancement - all players without skills equipped and with no gear equipped are identical in power at a given level) seems to be giving characters something new each level. So if a player would never reach level 99 - then there's a lot of things the player will never see - and thus it was wasted design effort.

However... people like to level characters. People like seeing the number get as high as it can go. The sheer amount of dedication it took to reach level 99 in D2 required a huge amount of effort and time. That effort could be expressed nearly anywhere in the game - so on any kind of runs - if you showed nothing for your efforts at least you could say you picked up some XP.

Having a higher level cap (even if there were no additional skills and runes to unlock), could possibly take some of the sting out of back farming Hell difficulty as the Devs suggest is the intended path of progression. So while you don't need to be over level 60, at least you can be gaining small incremental power boosts as you back farm (separate from gear). And it would be gained from killing monsters (fun!).

So I believe the level 60 level cap hurts the feeling of forward progressing when back farming is required. It removes a secondary extreme long term goal from the game - which will likely hurt the games longevity.

There's a lot more I could say about the character customization system in general, but I think its outside of the scope of this thread - heh.

Thank you for replying!

While I agree that this issue is off-topic, I'd like to quickly share some opinion and ideas on the matter (in case you decide to write about it on the future, some of those ideas could prove to be useful).

In fact I'm outright stealing it from Torchlight 1. I haven't played the second game, so I don't know if it still applies. But in TL1 you have two sources of "experience points": basic Experience and Fame. The player would be awarded fame only after killing special monsters (like elites and bosses). Fame "levels" would then be translated into skill points (normal Experience = stats + skill).

I think D3 could use something similar after lvl 60, with Fame being earned after Boss and Elite kills and translated into small improvement to chosen stats/skills (maybe use it to purchase "Trophies/Relics" that stays in your inventory like D2 charms). That way you don't exclude more casual players of all the content unlock (skills), and offer something other than equipment to be grinded end-game.
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I have to agree with the OP 100%. Thank you for writing it, I hope it gets recognition.

Another option is a flat wipe reset ala D2 ( I suggest this with a 250hr + played WD in act 3 inferno)
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Posts: 1,116
You're talking weeks of suck, and you may always suck because Act 1 gear isn't really good enough for Act 1. People with certain classes, certain builds (mostly now nerfed) and certainly dedication/skill tricks are why Inferno is playable for most of us. Because we're all using gear we couldn't get on our own.

Go farm hell for 40 hours and go to Inferno and use only the gear you got from hell on Act 1. You'll be tore up. You'll probably about 15-20k HP's, 100 resists and do about 5k dmg.
Farm it for 80 hours. You'll be tore up. You'll probably about 15-20k HP's, 100 resists and do about 5k dmg.
Farm it for 120 hours. You'll be tore up. You'll probably about 15-20k HP's, 100 resists and do about 5k dmg.

This also isn't true. I can straight tank Act I champion and Rare packs as a monk and I'm in all Act I or lower gear. all my runes are offensive too.

I think there's a misconception about the ilevel of the gear and it's effectiveness.

Having the right RNG on stats and RNG on affixs is what matters, not the ilvl.

The ONLY thing Act III and Act IV provides us with that provide a huge boost are high level weapons.

Really you could own up in Act I inferno with all level 55 gear if it had the right RNG and affixes.

Also I got a 632 dps 1h with dex and vit from warden yesterday. Not even close to the best, but definitely good enough to farm Act I and even start Act II.

I feel bad now as this is neither here nor there and not the point of this thread.
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Posts: 36
Legendary items should be on a par with a good rare, but a much-better-than-average or perfect rare should be better.

Why? Simply so everyone doesn't end up walking around in the same gear set. If you can ever point to a legendary and say unequivocally that it is the 'best-in-slot', then the loot system is dead. There should never, ever be the one best item to equip your character with.

I like you ideas about making the blacksmith provide more bang for your investment, as something certainly needs to be done to make the guy worth using. The things that he makes for you should be potentially on a par with what you can find in the world (or buy from the AH).
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The loot

Legendary items should be on a par with a good rare, but a much-better-than-average or perfect rare should be better.

Why? Simply so everyone doesn't end up walking around in the same gear set. If you can ever point to a legendary and say unequivocally that it is the 'best-in-slot', then the loot system is dead. There should never, ever be the one best item to equip your character with.

I like you ideas about making the blacksmith provide more bang for your investment, as something certainly needs to be done to make the guy worth using. The things that he makes for you should be potentially on a par with what you can find in the world (or buy from the AH).

Though the game is still young and the item pool is still shallow, the best-in-slot items are plain to see. They're rares with the same stats you're using now, just more of them. :(

This isn't fun.
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Great post with a lot of great suggestions, but there's one thing that bothers me: I don't understand when people say it's only fun finding good loot for your own character. Personally I get enjoyment when I find loot that's good for any class because I know I can use the AH to effectively trade it for an item that is good for my class. That said, I agree there should be a better option than the AH for people who (unlike me) don't enjoy using it. Also I agree the AH is over saturated with good cheap, gear, at least at the lower levels.

I believe a big problem with the AH that I think wasn't stated in the original post is infinite gear recycling of level <60 gear. As people level up they just resell any equipment they've outgrown. This happens over and over and causes prices for low level gear to plummet due to increased supply. I don't think bind on pickup is a good solution, it's just not the Diablo way. Rather, in addition to an increase in AH fees, I'd like to see stuff degrade a bit every time it's sold on the AH. Something like it loses 10% of all stats, or 10% of its max durability down to a minimum of 5 or 10. This way the AH is still useful, but alternative options become more attractive because no one wants to see their super awesome gear get weaker.
Edited by alcapwned#1107 on 5/31/2012 2:18 PM PDT
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Felt I had to post even though I never do and most of the stuff to read on these forums is adolescent arguing.

Great post. I read it all while at work. This for the most part sums up how I feel about the system so far. Excellent suggestions to remedy it. Love the inclusion of psychology and economics.

Games are not just games. They are a part of giant corporate money makers. There is way more psychology involved in designing a game then some of these (less helpful) posters realize.

I've probably got just over a 100 hours in. 60 Monk in Inferno and working on a Wizard. There are flaws in the system and the only logical explanation for their implementation I can think of is Blizzard planning to make money in the long term.

Would read again.
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Perhaps instead of watching a progress bar scroll by when identifying rare drops, a mini-game from the likes of Fallout/Bioshock/Deus Ex/System Shock/Mass Effect/etc could allow the player to have an active part in improving the odds that the rare drop would better suit them, just by letting the player influence a fraction of a multiplier based on their performance in the mini-game. If they completed the mini-game without faults in a low amount of time, let the item be a little bit better than if they just randomly guessed and clicked around for a solution in the minigame.
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81 Troll Mage
Posts: 11
I just wanted to quickly comment on how awesome these two threads are and request you continue adding your "Reply" links to your first post. It makes it a lot easier to keep up with the thread for someone who cant be here to check the post through the whole ride.

thanks a bunch, and ABSOLUTELY AWESOME IDEAS. +soooo many for OP.
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Posts: 36
Though the game is still young and the item pool is still shallow, the best-in-slot items are plain to see. They're rares with the same stats you're using now, just more of them. :(

This isn't fun.

It's far more fun to be out in the game playing for drops (or plowing a bunch your mats into a worthwhile blacksmith slot machine) than it is just to be able to say, "I'll be out to get an Azurewrath (for example) from the AH today, because everything else is rubbish."
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Posts: 313
OP, very nice post and a worthwhile read. It's refreshing to have some well-reasoned, credible commentary on the state of a game that has the potential to be utterly awesome.

But currently isn't, much due to the reasons you outlined.

That said, my 2c:

-we all agree that the problem with legendaries is they're underpowered compared to rares and magics, but I think the best fix for this is to add unique mods that occur only on legendaries. I won't bother to outline ideas for new item mods as they've been discussed exhaustively on these forums. Blizz should've known from the get-go that the hunt for uniques in D2 had much to do with creating specialized builds around.

Fixing mods and restoring the hierarchy of magic>rare>set/legendary would be a huge step in the right direction.
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Great post.
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