I haven't been on these forums in many months, but this thread caught my interest (How could it not?).
After all the times I've seen Jay Wilson bash D2 in his videos promoting D3, and after the Brevik thing we all know about, I'm not sorry to see him go. His arrogance earned him that one, and, "You've been Jay Wilson'd" will probably be in my daily vocabulary for years to come.
Now, Rob Pardo has asked to keep feedback on the game coming. Never mind the irony that many of us have been on these forums since September 2011, where the topic of the day was debating the necessity of character permanence, and the odd Starbird post about such things as game moderation. From then, many people (I want to say "of us" but I haven't been here for so many months, I can't take credit for any feedback given to Blizzard in recent months) have been giving out so many "constructive" feedback threads it's been staggering. Disregarding this irony, here's my 2 cents on how to make D3 better:
I'm of the opinion that D3 should pull a Final Fantasy XIV and completely start over, using D2 as a basis. Before you interject, haters hating on haters, I don't want a clone of D2, but I want to take things that made D2 great and "double them". First start with classes, I think we need to look to the classes of both D1 and D2 for inspiration, let all of them make a come back.
Warrior: Not a Paladin who fights with conviction and faith granting auras and divine strength, not a barbarian that fights for pride, discipline, and endless bloodrage, but that lone fighter from Diablo 1 who etched through the dungeon floor by floor based on pure resolve. Combat mechanics can include counter attacks, buffs which amplify bonuses on player gear (As a tribute to the warrior passive from D1 where he could repair his own gear), etc. The niche I would expect this class to fill is the melee fighter who is a more tactical fighter and grants "adventurer" buffs as opposed to the traditional buffs granted by Paladins / Barbs.
Rogue: Physical / Poison ranged damage dealer, should focus on ranged attacks which apply soft CC, poison debuffs, and have high mobility. Maybe dash kind of like demon hunter. Perhaps the rogue could have a "summon mercenary" skill which summons a lumbering oaf of a hired hand to be a temporary meat shield. The idea of a rogue, in my mind, could be to have a bow / crossbow based damage dealer which does more subtle damage, rather than the amazon's multi shots, explosive shots, elemental shots, etc. Amazon for high AoE, flashy damage, Rogue for more "tactical" play in groups, but more effective against bosses perhaps.
The Sorcerer returned in D2 as the Sorceress to some extent, however I would hope to see more of a D1 themed caster make a comeback. There were some interesting spells I think that didn't make it to D2, if I'm not mistaken, also a big theme of D1 magic was continuously learning new spells through reading books. Perhaps make this caster also a bit more subtle by specializing in enchantments (Like the sorceress but way more effects) positioning magic, like illusions, reflections. I'm thinking the D2 Sorceress could be a spell caster symbolizing pure raw power with the frozen orbs and such, while this D1 caster had to use a bit of guile to survive the dungeon alone.
The D2 classes can return with some changes, but there's lots of D2 tradition to go on there, not to mention the popular addons (Which I haven't got to play yet!) which give a lot more inspiration for new mechanics. I would hope that there can be at least 5 good builds for class, and this would be strengthened by a very good base stat system.
Strength: Strength is requred to wear armor, use melee weapons and bows. Strength ups the damage of melee attacks, and gives all attacks a slight stun starting at very low values and logarithmically approaching, say 1 second for very high endgame values of strength.
This allows melee fighters to jump into a crowd of enemies while having some sense of control over a fight, and the CC might be enough so that a ranged class might want to equip extra just for that extra CC for kiting hordes of enemies! In PvP players wouldn't be chain CC'd by stacking "+ hit recovery" much like in D2. Small amounts would decrease the effect of CC on players substantially.
Dexterity: Required to use bows, increases movement speed and attack speed, logarithmically approaching certain values with end game gear.
Ranged people might easily want this stat but melee / mages might like it as well just for the movement speed quality of life improvements, if nothing else!
Intelligence should raise elemental damage of all abilities, slightly improve mana recharge rate, and improve resistances passively.
Vitality: Health, armor, self explanitory stat really. Build this if you're finding high damage gear, but need a bit of extra survivability while levelling, or if you have deficiencies with some cap or another endgame so that it works for the build you want.
Anyone could use intelligence, as all classes should have access to "some" elemental skills to make "mage" variants of their classes, or passively like rogue poison. The resistances are always nice in a Diablo game and how much / little you want would depend on the gear set up you want to use endgame.
So that is the idea for "some" kind of customizable stat system that I hope doesn't have a "mathematical" best solution regardless of character, because the idea is to modify stats based on play preference. For example a Sorcerer that can spam teleport might not have need for dexterity for movement speed, but to do so they would need many points in teleport, taking away from damaging skills. However this is offset perhaps by the intellect damage bonus. It's late, hopefully someone sees where I'm going with this.
The theme here is character building, stats that improve player quality of life over numbers and formulas that make your numbers bigger (there's gear for that!). The gear, on top of primary stats would have its own set of extra modifiers to make this more fun. Crushing blow is coming back, faster cast rate is coming back, chance to apply curse is coming back, etc.
This game would be designed around single player / local co-op first and fore most. So things like gems / jewels / rune words will be coming back. However, runes can be socketed and unsocketed at will for a gold fee, so no runes are destroyed. This will allow players to combine the runes they find along with gems can be combined over the years they play to finally achieve high level runes without having the gods' luck, or by getting duped ones off the interwebz. Also, since many runewords in D2 were all or nothing for usefulness, and you often had to wait a long time to get that perfect set of runes for your word, I think the runewords should be expanded in such a way that you can have many low level recipes mirroring the potency of unique / set items around that level. That way you can stock pile runes, or stock pile uniques to "twink" your new characters if you find interesting set gear.
I don't know what to do about charms, half of me thinks there should be section in your inventory for charms where charms add unique charm only affixes for extra customization, but the other half liked the strategy of managing them in D2's system alright.
Oh well, the game would be able to be modded anyway so you could mess with your single player / open b.net stuff however you wanted. Ladder would have rules, and yes there would be a ladder. The economy reset is just too good to pass up, since new players don't enter with nothing into a highly inflated economy.
As for the rest of the online stuff, I'd leave that to the online players. I mainly play single player so I'm not passionate about this one way or the other.
So this is the idea for my "perfect" Diablo game, not fully fleshed out or anything, however the main points I want to drive home are: Character building, permanent choices which result in a unique experience when re-playing the same class, open world, good supporting itemization for gear. Once you've done that, you have me hooked on single player for LIFE.
Now for the Blizzard polish: endgame events. These events should be constructed in the event that "optimal" builds are arising in the classes. rather than nerfing / buffing builds immediately, look to seeing what in current endgame farming is helping some builds over others, and if needed put new events to change up the game a bit. If tanky dps are dominating an ubrs farm, put in a speed gauntlet which might slightly favor high mobility people, which drops gear on par with the other event, so that the in between gear can be traded and both builds can feel valuable in the economy. This adds endgame, adds POSITIVE to roll new classes, or re-roll current one to see different events with different builds to be self sufficient if you want, or to keep plugging away at your main build and just trading up for your gear.
Also, endless dungeon / survival mode. They just have to happen.
Now that I'm finished with that, 3 more short things.
This game should NOT be compared to original D2, but to D2 LOD. Arguments to the contrary are getting old, since there is no reason to pretend that D2 LOD never happened. If someone were to go back to playing "D2" what they probably mean is fully patched D2 LOD, so like it or not, that game is D3's biggest competition. (Until TL2 comes out with modding tools... mmmmm modding tools).
Also, "If you like D2, go play D2" arguments are also getting old. Had they not called this game D3, we wouldn't necessarily be comparing this game to D2, save for academic reasons. They used the Diablo IP, they get all consequences this entails. In short, make your own IP, don't hijack ours and tell us to play something else. Secondly, just because people want customizable stats, talents, runewords, etc. back does not mean they want a copy paste of D2, see my above example. Many RPG stat systems can probably be traced back to Dungeons and Dragons, or variations thereof. So customizable stats isn't necessarily D2 nostalgia, but a lament at the loss of "any" RPG mechanics at all in this installment.
Finally, I am in agreement with other posters who have decided to boycott further Blizzard purchases. I'm just a drop in the bucket, I probably don't matter much, but after how shallow of a game D3 turned out to be, I'll not be getting the WoW expansion to play with my friend, (Though I really want to, I like playing WoW with my friends, we had good times) simply out of principle. I'm just stating that, yes, your actions on this game in some cases are affecting and will continue to affect sales of other games. Perhaps do a survey or something to see how big this is and add that weight into your decision on funding the expansion / reboot of the game (whichever direction it goes). You might make more in the long run off future sales by overhauling this game sooner rather than later, though this is just a suggestion based on observation and in no way a "self-entitled" demand.
I'll now bid you farewell and take the advice of the haters-hating-on-haters and refrain from posing for a few months while lurk about and see what updates they do to the game.