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Affixes are what make elites super fun, or often incredibly frustrating. There are actually quite a number of very well done, fun affixes, and only a few that tend to cause the most frustration. Below is a list of what I hope is constructive feedback on the current implementation of Affixes.
Well designed, fun to play against, don't change a thing here!
Arcane Enchanted - Monsters enchanted with Arcane Enchanted trait deal additional arcane damage, have more arcane resistance and have the ability to summon orbs which fire rotating arcane beams.
Notes: Awesome. Huge damage, incredibly dangerous, but there is a clear indication of where they are appearing, and a learn-able pattern to their damage pattern.
Avenger - When a Champion group imbued with Avenger arrives, the death of each group member imbues the remaining Champions with added power as they wreak their frenzied vengeance on the Hero
Notes: Both hilarious and well done. A bomb that slowly grows more noticeable as it prepares to release lethal damage. Exactly how lethal ability should be.
Fire Chains - Champion backs are attached by a fire chain. The Hero suffers damage if he touches or even gets near one of the fire links.
Notes: Scary, but avoidable if you make sure you are attacking from the edge, and not in between mobs. Good positioning and you will take little to no damage from them. Well done.
Frozen - Monster with the Frozen affix can summon frost orbs that grow and eventually explode causing cold damage and applying a Chill and a Freeze debuff. The monster also deals additional cold damage and has more cold resist.
Notes: An excellent ability. Requires players to be mindful of hidden frost orbs and pay attention to positioning to avoid a potentially lethal stun duration. Consider adding a subtle expanding frost animation on the floor so that careful players can determine where safe areas may be.
Health Link - Health Link reduces the amount of damage taken by the champion with that trait by linking his HP to that of all other Health Link champions in the area
Notes: Fun! Mixes it up a bit as single monsters cannot be eliminated to increase chances of survival.
Horde - Horde increases the squad of minions that spawn with a rare monster, crowding the battlefield
Notes: Encourages players to use AOE abilities, and use extra care to avoid being surrounded.
Illusionist - The Illusionist trait imbues a creature with the ability to create dangerous clones of itself
Notes: Similar to Horde, and just as fun.
Knockback - Knockback allows monsters to push back the player a short distance with each connecting blow, whether it be ranged or melee
Notes: Fun yet scary. Being pummeled into a corner or other monsters is a real danger. CC becomes more important as it's vital to control these monsters to prevent them from controlling you.
Missile Dampening - Creatures imbued with the trait generate a reddish sphere around themselves. Any projectile entering this sphere moves 50% slower than normal
Notes: It seems like this would be unfair to ranged heroes, but it surprisingly isn't. The projectiles still move toward their target, albiet more slowly, and the player is forced to think ouside the box with how to aim and when to fire.
Mortar - Monsters with mortar can lob several fireballs that deal splash damage on impact.
Notes: Really test ranged classes ability to fight and dance while testing melee classes ability to dodge and then rapidly close distance. Also encourages melee to keep the enemies grouped up rather than luring one away from the group. (As with many other affixes, this one becomes incredibly frustrating when combined with Jailer, but only because of the way Jailor works should not reflect badly on Mortar which is a well designed ability)
Waller - Monsters with Waller can summon earthen walls between the player and the monster, or sometimes behind the player to prevent escape. Attacks that are unleashed on the barriers are absorbed; they do not get reflected or ricocheted.
Notes: Wallers might seem borderline, because it is possible for them to cast walls on top of each other that completely trap you, but the idea in itself is incredibly fun and good.
Suggested Improvement: Walls just need to be tweaked slightly so that the enemies can't case 3-4 of them in a * shape with your character somehow stuck in zerospace in the center.
Some room for improvement, but not a negative impact on game experience.
Desecrator - A monster with Desecrator trait creates a glowing void zone beneath the targeted Hero that deals damage to any Hero near it.
Notes: No complaints here. Avoidable most of the time, required increased attention to positioning. Only considered frustrating when combined with affixes such as Jailer which have no warning and prevent movement.
Electrified - A monster with the Electrified trait has higher lightning resistance, deals additional lightning damage and discharges sparks across the floor in random directions when stuck. When the monster dies it leaves an electric ball that will continue to generate sparks for a short time
Notes: Not unreasonable. Fun for ranged classes who have to "shoot 'n scoot", but somewhat frustrating for melee classes who don't have much option to maneuver between the bolts.
Suggested Improvement: Consider making a certain amount of damage sustained to cause the monster to glow and then bolts shoot out. This would give melee classes a chance to back up, dodge the bolts, then return to fighting.
Extra Health - This trait bestows the imbued monster with extra HP
Notes: Not unpleasant, but rather boring.
Suggested Improvement: Consider giving monsters a directional shield that reduces damage taken at a 90 degree wedge instead. This would still make them tougher to kill but gives players the option to jump over, circle around, or use an aimed strike to hit from behind. Attacks with stun would also be more valuable against this kind of opponent.
Molten - Monsters that spawn with this trait deal extra fire damage. In addition, they leave trailing pools of lava that deal fire damage over time. Any non-minion monster killed with this trait leaves a time bomb that will explode after 3 seconds, dealing large amounts of fire damage. Molten monsters also have increased fire resistance.
Notes: This is a fairly good affix that only becomes un-fun when combined with Jailer or Vortex.
Suggested Improvement: Consider having damage start lower and increase the longer players remain in lava. You shouldn't be punished heavily for a quick dart across as repositioning is inevitable, but remaining in the lava for an extended period should be discouraged.
Nightmarish - Nightmarish monsters have a chance to fear the player on hit and can be triggered from both melee and ranged attacks
Notes: Not un-fun. However as it stands, ranged Nightmarish monsters tend to just make for a much longer, but not necessarily more interesting fight.
Suggested Improvement: onsider having the monster cast a fear projectile, or display a surging animation before releasing many projectiles or a wave of fear. The player should have some opportunity to try and avoid the fear via skill.
Plagued - Monsters enchanted with Plagued leave pools of poisonous green goo around them for 9 seconds. They deal additional poison damage and have more poison resist.
Notes: Decent ability. Position becomes more important, more so for melee than for ranged attackers.
Reflect Damage - Monsters with Reflect Damage will reflect 10% of the damage they receive back to the attacker.
Notes: Self healing is required to fight this monster, but doesn't feel interactive.
Suggested Improvement: It would be more fun if this was an active shield rather than a passive ability. Players would then have to choose whether they keep trying to kill the monster as quickly as possible, or if they avoid the monster until the shield drops.
Shielding - This trait gives the monster a brief period of invulnerability to all forms of damage.
Notes: Not unreasonable, but not terribly exciting.
Suggested Improvement: It would be more fun if the monsters had one shield that they passed among each other with a clear indication when the shield is being passed. This would ensure that all the monsters don't go invincible at once which stalls the battle, and creates interesting scenarios where the monsters can pass the shield to the lowest HP member.
Vampiric - This trait allows monster to literally feast on the damage they inflict to you by turning it into health for themselves. Life steal amount is 20%.
Notes: Avoidance is more important than mitigation in this scenario.
Vortex - Grants the ability to forcibly pull the player right next to the monster
Notes: This isn't an awful idea for an ability, it just feels unrefined. There doesn't seem to be any player interaction here. There's no warning and nothing you can do to avoid it.
Suggested Improvement: Add a cast time and indicator for where the vortex will strike. Alternately, let the monster plant a vortex on the ground that slowly draws players in but can be struck and destroyed.
Not fun, detracts from fun game experience.
Invulnerable Minions - Monsters imbued with this trait arrive with a squad of indestructible puppet minions and an expanded heath pool
Notes: Incredibly frustrating. Severely detracts from the player's game experience. Diablo is about killing monsters, but you can't kill these ones. They still can kill you however. There's just no fun added here.
Suggested Improvement: Removal. If this must stay then consider making all damage stun the invulnerable minions so that players can at least do something tactical with them.
Jailer - This trait gives monsters the ability to immobilize the Hero in a conjured prison
Notes: Too random for how powerful it is.
Suggested Improvement: Consider making this operate like the bone prisons Diablo casts instead. Alternatively, consider preventing monsters from dealing damage to the player while imprisoned giving the player a moment to think and plan while increasing the likelihood of being surrounded upon exit.
Fast - This makes monsters run, attack and cast magic faster
Notes: Fine on lower difficulties, but far too powerful on Inferno. By the end of the game control and positioning are key. These monsters are nearly impossible to control and kill you twice as fast when you fail to control them.
Suggested Improvement: Consider some kind of trade off such as increased movement speed but needs to "stop and take a breather" at intervals. This rewards players who manage to avoid the monster's aggression successfully with a
Teleporter - Gives the monster the ability to teleport to a nearby location
Notes: Monsters teleport directly on top of you and kill you without warning. There's nothing fun about something so unpredictable.
Suggested Improvement: Adding a cast time with a recognizable animation before the monster teleports possibly with an indicator where they will appear is one solution. Alternately, monsters could have a brief (1-2 seconds) 'cooldown' after teleporting before they will strike giving players and instant to react with a stun or escape ability.
I did not write the descriptions for the Affixes and have no idea if such a list exists in an official capacity. The descriptions in this post are all borrowed from blackrabbit2999's blog. All credit for the descriptions goes to whoever wrote that list be it him or someone else. The feedback and suggestions are my submission.
Edited by SilverSeraph#1630 on 6/18/2012 9:28 PM PDT
This is a great, detailed, well thought out post.
My biggest gripes are the wallers and invulnerables. Like you said, the walls can spam on top of one another or the player, ultimately trapping the player in a glitch-like state. The invulnerable minions are absolutely ridiculous past hell difficulty. It makes it almost impossible to attack the main creature.
Hopefully these are tweaked/removed along with some of the other affixes you mentioned.
Thanks for the feedback.
I think the hope of most players isn't for it to get any easier, but rather for the elites to require split second tactical decisions that reward players for learning how to fight them, instead of just hoping you get lucky with Affixes.
I think the MAIN problem is when unreasonable combinations occur, that are just flat out impossible for a player to overcome. Testing SHOULD have made these combinations apparent to Blizzard pre-release and they could have prevented those combinations from happening, but because their method of tuning Inferno was, "Make it too hard for us internally and then double the difficulty," I really don't think any thought or effort was put into affix combinations being unreasonable.
If I never come upon another champion pack with shielding + vampiric, I will be totally happy. That is the very definition of beating your head against a brick wall.
Agreed, excellent post. I hope Blizzard reads this and takes from it. Some of these affix could be good just were SO poorly implemented and it's really unfortunate, others (invul minions) just straight up cause massive amounts of frustration (I'm sure we've all been there, i sure as hell have). Also I might be wrong but i don't think Thorns is actually an affix, i think it's only reflect damage.
I do think Reflect Damage is incredibly stupid and i have to find myself sitting there unable to act because of it. Like the OP said id like some kind of shield similar to Shielding that let you know when the reflect damage would occur. I'm not entirely sure how the Reflect Damage is calculated but I'm almost positive it's more than 10%, might be 10% in act 1 then it increases, i dunno. I find myself taking very little to no damage in Act 2 and nearly 2 shotting myself in Act 3 so yeah if anyone knows how that works i'd be interested to see the numbers.
I rather champ packs are more like D2, stronger version of their white counterparts.
Uniques (or whatever they are called these days), can have affix like they did in D2, but they should be more believeable.
Having melee monsters like zombies suddenly become a wizard casting lighting lazer & fireball just doesn't make sense.
Imagine if your barb can now teleport & use fireball spell?
I had a rare zombie play handball (or DH-Ball rather) the other day with me as it had both knockback and vortex affixes .... my poor DH was thrown across the screen then immediately pulled back so many times .... was hilarious to watch now that I look back on it but at the time ....
Sorry for bumping an old thread, but this is an excellent post. Very useful.
BTW, is there any list of how to counter some of these affixes. I play a DH and have most trouble with Fast and Teleport affixes. Caltrops seems to have no effect on them. No idea how to deal with them. Any guide for this?
Sorry for bumping an old thread, but this is an excellent post. Very useful.
Evasive fire, SS, Vault with 8 disc rune, Tactical Advantage, mov speed ..
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