I’ve been playing D3 since launch (with the exception of a non-voluntary 3 month break from mid August to mid November) and have been on the whole happy with the game and the direction the developers have been taking it. My experience is that the game has gotten progressively better with each major patch, and I hope to see that trend continue well into the future with patches and expansion packs. Not long after the game's launch, I came up with a few ideas relating to sockets and socketable items, but I never took the time to put them into words and post them. Now that the game has been around for about 7 months and it's a good deal more established, I think now is a good time to put these ideas out there. This ties in fairly closely with the gem idea thread that is floating around GD currently, however I am making this my own thread since I am presenting several ideas and giving (hopefully) well thought out reasons behind each one, and I do not wish to hijack that thread.
This is a very long post, so for those of you who are lazy, I’ll put the TL;DR here at the beginning:
- More gems. Skulls and diamonds would be awesome. Skulls give life steal (weapons), LoH (helms) and armor (armor/other). Diamonds give attack speed (weapons), dodge chance (helms) and all resist (armor/ other)
- Give breaking down items a chance to yield a unique equip socketable glyph giving one of the affixes of the item it came from. Glyphs have a set durability and cannot repaired
- Remove sockets as a random magical affix and allow the jeweler to add sockets for a gold cost, in addition making the socketed item account bound (but still able to be broken down for crafting materials). This allows the socketing system to enable lots of gearing diversity and act as an effective item sink
- Add a 3rd type of socketable items, runes, also unique equip, that give affixes that can’t otherwise be gotten in game. Examples include Pierce Chance, Mulitshot Chance, Chance to Proc D2/LoD skills, Increased chance to spawn health globes
This first point is something I mentioned in the gem ideas thread for 1.10 in the GD forum that seems to be getting a lot of attention lately. I would like to see added to the game skulls and diamonds that give the following stats (at lvl 14/ radiant star level):
Helms: 420 LoH (30/ level)
Weapons: 3.5% Life Steal (0.25%/ level)
Armor/ Other: 140 Armor (10/ level)
Helms: 10% Dodge Chance (starts at 3.5% and adds 0.5%/ level)
Weapons: 14% attack speed (1%/ level)
Armor/ Other: 14 Resist All (1/ level)
The actual values and stats can obviously vary, I’m just presenting numbers and stats that I think would be make them attractive options without being too OP.
With that said, everything that follows are ideas that I’ve had for some time in some form or another, but haven’t seen on the forums. I was away from the game from mid August to mid November of 2012 and I don’t follow much outside of the Wizard forums that closely, so I apologize if these ideas have been presented previously in other places and I missed them. I am simply trying to put forward ideas that I think would improve the game, I am not trying to claim credit for any similar ideas that may have been presented in the past.
My first idea ties in somewhat with the crafting system that has so much potential, but in my opinion has fallen far short of it. I would like to see implemented a chance that whenever an item is broken down, there is a decent chance (say 10-20%) that in addition to the normal crafting materials, the player also gets a socketable item (for the purpose of this post, I'll call them glyphs) that has one of the properties of item that was broken down, with the affix value of the glyph matching that of the destroyed item. So as an example, if a player were to find a 5 property, ilvl 62 Wizard hat in Act 3 Inferno on MP0 with the following properties: Strength/ Intelligence, Cold Resistance, Thorns Damage, Arcane Power on Crit and Gold Find, they could break down said hat and obtain the standard essence and tear, along with a chance at a glyph that grants any of the 5 properties listed above with an endgame value. These glyphs would work like gems in that they would grant the player that affix once socketed in any open socket in the player equipment. They would obviously have to be balanced so that they don't outclass gems in terms of core stats (likely capped at +58 to any core stat), and made unique equip to prevent players from stacking powerful affixes like crit chance, attack speed and life steal to absurd levels. Properly balanced though, I believe this system could allow for a great deal of flexibility when gearing characters, and could be a significant improvement in itemization, especially if this was implemented with some of the additional ideas I detail below.
GLYPHS & THE ECONOMY
I also think this system could be implemented in a way that would help to address another issue that plagues the game in its current state, the stagnant economy. I have no background in economics, so I can only offer a moderately educated opinion on the matter, but I think one of the biggest problems with the current economy is the general lack of effective item sinks, i.e. items that enter the economy never truly leave it. If an item is good enough to be sold on either AH, it'll more than likely get used by the player who bought it until that player either finds or buys an upgrade, at which point it goes back to the AH for another player to buy, or it is vendored or broken down. The issue with this is that the highest level items rarely, if ever, get vendored or broken down, so they never really leave the game. As new items of similar quality are rolled, the quantity of quality items increases, but the demand remains largely the same, which has led to the consistent decline in item prices that we’ve seen after every major content patch.
I think there are two ways that the whole socketing system could be used to address this issue.
The first way to address this would be using the glyph system I introduce above. If glyphs were made with a set durability and unable to be repaired, with a lifespan of maybe 4-7 times the lifespan of an item, it would make them a consumable item and ensure the need for a steady supply of glyphs for players who wish to always have those affixes active. This would in turn create a steady demand for those glyphs, which would in turn create a steady demand for items that could be broken down to obtain those glyphs. This would have the effect of creating a market for 2-3 affix rares and magic items with high end affix rolls as a source of desired glyphs, while leaving the market for high end rares and legendaries largely untouched. It wouldn't make any sense to break down a high end 5-6 affix rare item with say magic find in an attempt to obtain a magic find glyph, you would ideally want to break down a magic item with only the affix you are looking for to obtain that glyph. Coupled with a revamp of the crafting system which has been discussed on many occasions, this system could go a long way towards making many of the currently useless rares and magics useful again.
ECONOMY OF SOCKETS
Making glyphs have a set lifespan would help to stabilize the economy at the low end, but what about the high end? I think the whole socketing system could be redesigned to address that issue. Currently, sockets roll as a random affix on magical items, always counting as one affix, regardless of the number of sockets (i.e. 1 socket on chest armor and 3 sockets on chest armor both count as one magical affix, not 1 and 3 affixes respectively). The developers have stated that their intention behind not allowing sockets to be added to gear in any way was to prevent people from feeling like adding sockets to gear was necessary to be competitive with other players. I understand this design decision and agree with it to an extent, however I feel it hasn’t worked out in practice as well as they hoped, namely with chest armor, pants and helms. Just by taking a look at AH prices for helms, pants and chest armor, we can see that for items with otherwise similar stats, the presence of sockets increases their value greatly, by factors or 10 or more for the GAH (see the end of the post for the items I searched to get support this point, and feel free present credible evidence to the contrary).
SOCKETING & THE DAIBLO 3 ECONOMY
With this information in mind, I think a possible solution to this issue would be to remove sockets entirely as an affix roll and make adding sockets to items an option from the jeweler. I know this has been suggested many times in the past, but why not take it a step further? Why not have adding sockets with the jeweler make the newly socketed item account bound? While recognizing that sockets are going to be a naturally desirable quality on an item, why not allow and even encourage that method of improving items, while at the same time adding another gold sink and a method of removing higher end items from the game economy. If items were made account bound when socketed, it would create a true item sink because those items could not be resold, they could only be given to another character on the same account, vendored or broken down. This should offset the constant influx of high end items and help to bring the supply of good items more in line with the demand, and help to seriously slow the rapid de-valuing of quality items that plagues the game currently. Adjusting the gold cost for socketing could also make it a viable gold sink at both the high and low ends, a cost of 150,000 gold for the 1st socket on an item with the cost tripling for each socket afterwards would mean that it would cost 600k to max out sockets on pants and just under 2 million gold to max out sockets on chest armor.
Furthermore, I think this could be taken even further as a method to stabilize markets for items that currently cannot roll sockets, like gloves, boots, shoulders and belts. I think a lot of customization options could be opened up by allowing the jeweler to socket those items along with items that can already roll sockets. For balancing purposes, if this were implemented, there would need to be limits on the number of gems a person could socket, perhaps capped at 11 (the current maximum number of gems a person can equip not counting Tasker and Theo gloves and Ice Climber boots), with remaining sockets only allowing glyphs or other socketables that would not give main stat or currently existing affixes to prevent certain stats from being stacked to sky-high levels.
The last idea I had to tie together all the systems I’ve described so far is to introduce one more type of unique equip socketable item, lets call them runes, that grant properties that can’t be obtained by any other method. This could include things like pierce chance, multishot chance (chance to cast 2x # of missiles as normal), and proc chances of classic D2/LoD skills (like Bone Spear, Decoy, Frozen Orb, Fist of the Heavens, ect...) among others. This could also be used to introduce all sorts of indirect offensive and defensive effects, like increased chance to spawn health globes, chance to teleport enemy when hit or chance to raise a particular stat on hit/attack. This idea is the one I've given the least thought to, but obviously has the potential to introduce a lot of interesting effects, and I’m curious to see what other properties you the community could dream up for them.
So those are the ideas that I’ve been mulling around for a while. I’d love to hear your thoughts, opinions, critiques and other ideas you may have that could help to improve the socketing/ socketables system as it currently exists. All I ask is that you present any points you wish to make in a calm and civil manner- if you wish to bash the game or the developers there are countless other threads in GD that exist for solely that purpose, take your negativity to one of them and go nuts.
GAH/ RMAH “DATA”
The following items were searched on the GAH and RMAH to support the point that sockets increase the value of an item. Price differences were compared using the lowest buyout at time of writing post, both rares and legendaries were included in searches. Discrepancies in RMAH pricing seemed to be due to the relatively small number of items listed with the given stats and other stats present beyond the 3-4 that were searched for.
Helms (lvl 60 Demon Hunter)
-4.0% Crit Chance
200,000 gold/ $1.25
3,700,000 gold/ $79.99
Chest Armor (lvl 60 Wizard)
100,000 gold/ $5.00
1,000,000 gold/ no armor listed on RMAH with given stats and only 1 socket
1,000,000 gold/ $4.99
1,500,000 gold/ $2.99
Pants (lvl 60 Barbarian)
50,000 gold/ $1.95
999,999 gold/ $ 6.00
2,276,000 gold/ $3.88