Diablo® III

The Unanswered Question

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100 Dwarf Paladin
12715
Posts: 71
I went through the entire transcript of the reddit dev conversation, and while there were a great many great questions posed and answered, and glib comments made, there was one question that a great deal of the community would love answered.

"tl:dr; Why do ranged do more damage than melee, when melee have much less uptime and much more risk?
Can you please explain/reconcile the disparity between melee and ranged in this game? You've given ranged by far the most DPS, while they're in danger the least. It would seem that since melee are the most at risk, they should have the most reward, DPS wise. Instead, I have to close the gap on my enemies and then do far less damage to them. It's particularly noticeable in group play, where I will be attacking a monster for 30 seconds, until a wizard or DH shows up and drops it in 3. Melee in group play is embarrassing. If you're a good player, you realize you can't do much against the barrage of affixes on elites, so you hang back with the ranged and do nothing. If you're a bad player, you try to kill the elites and die repeatedly. Either way, it's just straight embarrassing to take part in. I've lost in-game friends because they've told me it'd be easier with another class, and they just stop inviting me, or accepting invites.
The affixes on elites also heavily favor range, with most affixes requiring melee to leave DPS range, and simply run around waiting them out. Ranged can still DPS while this is going on. Things like mortar, which are supposed to be a ranged problem, are actually a melee problem too because you have mobs separated and one ends up mortaring right on you. If you try to run out, the others mortar you. Most every affix, save maybe fast and damage reflect, is just as deadly or more deadly for melee.
So much of a melee's passives/skills/runes are set to defensive abilities, that it feels like I'm not actually playing a dynamic class, just trying to throw percentages at an enemy to see if I come out on top.
Even in your recent Patch 1.0.3 preview you say:
"If a monk or barbarian is geared well enough that they can use a heavily offensive build and murder everything in Act I, they should be able to swap to a more defensive build and do okay in Act II. As they gear up they can begin adjusting back to becoming offensive in Act II, at which point they can jump into Act III with a focus on defense, and so on."
Why does melee have to "earn" it's chosen offensive play style, whereas ranged has that option from the start? Why do I have to suffer thru a defensive build that is less fun to play in order to earn an offensive build? You implicitly admit in that post that an offensive build is melee's goal: why do you choose to hinder this goal on Monk and Barb, but not on ranged? And then, when we do get that offensive style, it's still less effective than a ranged class? You give ranged classes great damage avoidance abilities--Mirror Image is particularly ridiculous--but you give melee classes percentage shifters: more dodge, less damage, more armor. And again, I do far less damage than the ranged classes, yet I'm tanking with my face. For one instance, look at the damage difference between say Earth Ally and Venom Hydra. It's also not a good sign when you have to stop and actually calculate if Tyrael is doing more DPS than you.
I just can't reconcile the fact that I take much more abuse, and dish out much less than ranged classes. Can you please explain your thinking behind this decision?"

As a player who has face-ground my way to act 3 inferno on my barb, and has also expereienced the play experience of a demon hunter, I for one would truly, TRULY, appreciate to have this query addressed. Please?
Edited by Olorin#1826 on 6/6/2012 8:49 PM PDT
Well it woudl have taken them the entire session just to go through your one loooong question so i'm glad it wasnt asked.
100 Dwarf Paladin
12715
Posts: 71
In addition, as a barbarian I do not wish to ever truly match the dps of one of this game's ranged classes, for I possess the inherent 30% reduced damage that they do not, but the damage gap, in this writer's opinion, should be closer.
100 Dwarf Paladin
12715
Posts: 71
Actually Topher, it was asked. I just quoted the question from the transcript.
06/06/2012 08:50 PMPosted by Topher
Well it woudl have taken them the entire session just to go through your one loooong question so i'm glad it wasnt asked.


I dont know if you're being sarcastic or not....

Why do ranged do more damage than melee, when melee have much less uptime and much more risk?


That was the question. The rest was an explanation of why it needs answering, elaboration on the insane differences between the melee classes and ranged classes, as well as showing his credentials, thus proving that he does, indeed, have the right to ask the question.
100 Dwarf Paladin
12715
Posts: 71
Exactly Hiero
Community Manager
Posts: 3,109
We thought this was a great question, too. Unfortunately, our developers were unable to address it with as much detail and depth as they wanted before the AMAA ended. They thought it was a really relevant concern, though, so when I brought up the topic again to Wyatt Cheng today, he took some time to write up the following response:

06/06/2012 08:48 PMPosted by Adamant
Can you please explain/reconcile the disparity between melee and ranged in this game?

I'll state up front that I do think there's a disparity between melee and ranged, and I would like to see that closed. I feel like if I talk a lot about thought processes and design philosophy and don't state this up front people will lose the forest for the trees and conclude we think everything is fine. So I'll say it again: melee vs. ranged disparity is not fine, changes are being made, and even if you disagree with the approach outlined below we can hopefully have the common ground that the current situation needs improvement.

It may not look like it on the surface, but a large number of the changes in 1.0.3 are actually targeted at closing the melee/ranged gap. Let me go through some of them.

Hardcore
I'm going to use Hardcore as a starting point. In Hardcore, there's actually a reasonable distribution of classes, and I don't think the melee vs. ranged disparity is as large. There are a lot of Hardcore players of every class in Inferno without a huge disparity. Why is this important? It's because a significant portion of the melee/ranged disparity is related to a ranged character's ability to progress even while dying. A melee player can throw themselves at a monster and die, doing almost no damage to an elite enemy. A ranged player can do a huge amount of damage to an elite enemy, die, respawn, and basically attrition the enemy down with repeated deaths. In the Hardcore environment where a single bad Mortar, Vortex, Jailer, or Reflects Damage will kill a glass cannon-ranged character, the disparity between ranged and melee is an order of magnitude less.

Repair Costs
One of the more controversial changes in 1.0.3 is the increased repair costs. The design intent of these increased repair costs is to make death more meaningful. One of the top arguments we see against the increased repair costs is "I'm already dying dozens of times to make any progress in Inferno. Don't you see this is going to make this impossible?" This concern is most often brought up by ranged glass cannons. Many melee players respond "increased repair costs seem fine" because they haven't been using death-zerging as a tactic. Melee can't easily death-zerg an enemy down, but ranged can. I don't think the answer is to make death-zerging more attractive for melee; I'd rather make death-zerging a less profitable strategy for ranged.

Enemy Health and Damage
We're also looking to adjust the damage and health of enemies in Inferno Acts II, III, and IV. This is another change that is primarily for melee with secondary benefits for ranged. A lot of ranged are building glass cannon with the mentality "well, I'll just try not to get hit at all." So, reducing incoming damage when they weren't taking any before isn't significant for them, whereas reducing incoming damage for the melee is a big deal. For the ranged classes, I'm hoping that the incoming damage reduction will make some survival stats more appealing to ranged classes. While before the damage was so large it just felt pointless to try and mitigate any of it at all, after the change hopefully ranged classes will think "well, if I just put on a modest amount of survivability, I don't get 1-shot, so that's worth it." There are some ranged players who are already doing this -- stacking survivability so they don’t have to endlessly kite -- and it just feels like the minimum amount of survivability to avoid the 1-shot is so large it's unattainable. That's one of the things 1.0.3 seeks to address.

Damage Reduction in Co-op
Another change which is targeted at improving life for melee is the reduction in co-op damage. Again, since many ranged players just build glass cannon and avoid damage completely, they didn't really care if incoming damage went up as other players entered the game, but the melee characters really noticed. It was very easy for your life-on-hit to have you at a steady equilibrium, but as soon as another player entered the game your life-on-hit was no longer covering the incoming damage and death became imminent.

Additional Changes
And finally, there are always minor polish adjustments designed to help melee -- such as the AI on some monsters (BEES!!!) being tweaked to run away less often, which again helps melee more than ranged. I actually spent some extra time the other day to make sure if a Sand Wasp runs away from you, and you start chasing the wasp, it doesn't turn and shoot 4 bees in your face (hopefully that makes 1.0.3). I'm also working with one of our gameplay engineers to make it so if you sidestep the Dark Berserker’s power hit (where he brings his giant mace down), he doesn’t turn to track you as he swings (though that change probably won't make 1.0.3). These kind of AI adjustments are things ranged players don’t even notice, but are huge for melee.

Another adjustment being made is increasing both the maximum range and the dead zone of Mortar. Mortar was specifically designed to be an anti-range affix, but many ranged players would just stand even farther away, whereas melee would sometimes get caught in the cross-fire of two Mortars. Increasing the maximum range and the dead zone helps with both of these.


We'll be including this response in the AMAA transcript, as well (just in case some players don't find this thread).
Well... that's amazing. I'm really looking forward for 103.

You did some mistakes, acknowledged them and went ahead to fix them.

Kudos Blizzard, don't let the QQ demoralize you, they just don't know how to react. You guys are doing a fine job.
Great write up. Thank Wyatt for me and please do more of these sorts of explanations. :)
06/07/2012 04:33 PMPosted by Opellia
I play a DH and I am in Nightmare mode to get to the point I die a lot I m not a super player and to me this feels like your punishing a class that the mechanics are different. If this goes through I will be forced to stop playing because all the enjoyment of this game will collapse and I will quiit, and yeah I know my voice don't count because if I quit you don't care..


I believe the Patch Design thing said repair costs are increasing only at max level.
Repair Costs
One of the more controversial changes in 1.0.3 is the increased repair costs. The design intent of these increased repair costs is to make death more meaningful. One of the top arguments we see against the increased repair costs is "I'm already dying dozens of times to make any progress in Inferno. Don't you see this is going to make this impossible?" This concern is most often brought up by ranged glass cannons. Many melee players respond "increased repair costs seem fine" because they haven't been using death-zerging as a tactic. Melee can't easily death-zerg an enemy down, but ranged can. I don't think the answer is to make death-zerging more attractive for melee; I'd rather make death-zerging a less profitable strategy for ranged.


I play a DH and I am in Nightmare mode to get to the point I die a lot I m not a super player and to me this feels like your punishing a class that the mechanics are different. If this goes through I will be forced to stop playing because all the enjoyment of this game will collapse and I will quiit, and yeah I know my voice don't count because if I quit you don't care..


If you're dying a lot on Nightmare, there's something wrong. Check your gear, and make sure you're fairly up to dat (level 25-30 gear, preferably)
As a demon hunter, I would rather avoid dying than zerging enemies to bring them down but sometimes it is just impossible. Reflect damage and such is a pretty big issue for IMO, but I can play against it by dealing damage slowly trough clutch smoke screens. However I can not do much when the enemy is in a restricted area where there is no room for kiting other than dying over and over. I've also talked to my barbarian friend who plays alot, and he also dislikes the increased death price because even if he has 1000+ resist in everything, he dies alot.
As far as repair costs, for delicate classes there are UNAVOIDABLE deaths. Jailer+desecrate and teleport+firechain are some examples. There is NOTHING player skill wise you can do to avoid these which is already super frustrating. But making that frustrating, unavoidable death cost 5x as much will just add more frustration.
Another thoughtful and well reasoned post by a dev that demonstrates the game is in good hands.
So instead of paying 7k in gold for repairs, I am going to pay 28k in gold? So, 28k times 5 characters is 140k in gold if all of my characters dies one (never repairing between deaths) -OR- if I die 5 times during a game (again, never repairing between deaths). Right now I have barely 150k gold. I don't use the auction house and I can kinda get by as it is but things like gem upgrades are pushing what I am able to spend. It can take me an hour to farm 100k gold. That is if I am lucky enough to not run into elite groups that will pound me (DH) into the ground. How is this a more effective anything, than draining our bank accounts and having us beg for gold?
Repair Costs
One of the more controversial changes in 1.0.3 is the increased repair costs. The design intent of these increased repair costs is to make death more meaningful. One of the top arguments we see against the increased repair costs is "I'm already dying dozens of times to make any progress in Inferno. Don't you see this is going to make this impossible?" This concern is most often brought up by ranged glass cannons. Many melee players respond "increased repair costs seem fine" because they haven't been using death-zerging as a tactic. Melee can't easily death-zerg an enemy down, but ranged can. I don't think the answer is to make death-zerging more attractive for melee; I'd rather make death-zerging a less profitable strategy for ranged.


I play a DH and I am in Nightmare mode to get to the point I die a lot I m not a super player and to me this feels like your punishing a class that the mechanics are different. If this goes through I will be forced to stop playing because all the enjoyment of this game will collapse and I will quiit, and yeah I know my voice don't count because if I quit you don't care..


I believe the repair cost increase only applies to lvl 60+ items. Someone correct me if I'm wrong on that. I just remember reading it.
Great response Wyatt, thanks.
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