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I originally wrote this for another topic but felt that I'd covered enough that it might be nice for some exposure and feedback and a chance at getting the attention of the blues as well as the new director. These are just some of my ideas that will return the depth (and RPG elements) to D3 that will bring it more in line with what the core fans of the old Diablo games were expecting.
The original topic I wrote this for:
First off: Attributes
This is the first major issue. Rather than fixing attributes so that manual stat placement was a meaningful investment in your character and build they stripped it entirely. I'd restore manual placement with leveling (and quest rewards!!!) and redo attributes so that it would actually work:
The damage significance of the primary stats for classes would drop significantly. The damage bonus is completely overwhelming compared to the defensive bonus and since most players favor offense to defense the off stats are not desired. Reducing the weight of the damage bonus would make it less desirable to stack pure damage and instead balance the other stats.
Strength: increased melee weapon damage, increased armor, increased attack speed (this adds an offensive incentive for non-melee characters and yet still makes it the stat that melee characters would want to lean towards even though the melee weapon damage bonus is significantly reduced)
Dex: increased ranged (physical) weapon damage, increased dodge, increased crit (again both and offensive and defensive bonus for non-ranged characters while still making ranged characters tend towards it)
Vit: Increased HP. Honestly, I don't think anything else is needed here. Even in D2 vitality was highly valued and that's all it really did (lol stamina recovery :P)
Int: increased elemental damage (weapon/spells), increased all resist, increased crit damage (naturally makes caster/elemental focused characters have larger crits and better resistance to the elements while, again, giving an offensive and defensive bonus to other characters)
Additional note: remove "physical resistance" and replace with physical damage reduction (not included in "all resist" - only available on items (rarely)). This change is needed to balance all resist so that it doesn't have the odd stacking issue with armor. The two should be distinct each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Currently there is little choice involved because of how they stack for physical damage.
I'll repeat, the damage bonuses would be reduced so that they are not the primary reason for choosing stats as characters tend to overemphasize raw damage. The inclusion of the damage will still tend to make players lean towards one stat type when trying to optimize a particular build but there will still be incentive to balance against other stats.
Finally, the most important change to make the stat system balanced: diminishing returns. Single stat stacking should not be desirable. There should be trade-offs in stat choice (and by extension gear choice) and adding diminishing returns will aid in this effort. Diminishing returns naturally make it so that all stats are desirable because an individual stat will inevitably face a turning point where others will be more desirable. The diminishing effect doesn't even need to be very strong to have an impact. (This also has the desirable effect of preventing stat stacking by gear from overwhelming the decision to balance against other affixes as turned out to be a problem in TL2).
Now, to really make things work another problem has to be solved. That would be the one of the insane stat ramp built into the game. Without this change some crazy tree would need to be built to distribute stats as you'd need about 5 per level at low levels and hundreds per level near level 60 and it completely breaks the game balance. I've detailed the problem in a past post if you'd like more detail:
Changing this would essentially just increase the relative significance of each individual stat point but smooth out the distribution of the points. You could get 5-10 stat points per level and that would still be meaningful at the end game. All gear attribute affixes would merely require an appropriate scaling reduction to bring it in line with the new system. For example 200 of an attribute now could just be retuned as 10 after my changes. This seems like a lot but all of the numbers (player/monster stats, the values of the individual attributes, etc.) would be scaled accordingly so the current gear would still be useful after the changes.
It would bring the system more in line with the way it was in D2. This is for a good reason: the value of attributes does not diminish significantly over the life of the game. Why do this? This way an item found at level 40 isn't just a pile of scrap when you hit level 45. Items will retain their value for a longer period of time so that players aren't forced to the AH every few levels to replace their gear.
(I know: gasp! Blizzard would never ruin their RMAH profits! The fact of the matter is that the D2 itemization supported insane amounts of outside RM trading so there is no reason why D3 had to move towards this stupid stat ramp to try to force people into it. The reality is that if items are fun/powerful and people want to find them because they are cool there will always be a subset of people who are willing to buy them instead. If you make an entertaining item system that people want to explore then RMAH profits will follow regardless.)
I'd also reduce the probability of new gear rolling with attributes as I feel that attributes are simply a boring focus of itemization. Attributes should be more an element of your character than an element of the items you wear. Finding an item with +strength just isn't as fun as finding one with more fun affixes like damage reduction, resistances, %chance to cast X, etc.
In addition to the change to change to all resist I mentioned before, I would also reduce the probability of finding all resist on gear as it completely diminishes the value of the individual resists. By reducing its emphasis (in part by cutting the value of all resist that can roll) the individual resists become more valuable and will take up a more prominent role to fill in for the reduced prominence of attributes. Much like in D2, a great set of gear will balance individual resists across the pieces to maintain a balance across each type.
I'd consider modifying the numbers behind resists to implement a soft-cap mechanism. Balancing resists around the hard cap in D2 was a fascinating challenge in optimization. I'd like to bring that back but eliminate the disappointment when going over the cap. A soft cap would entail a point to aim for but still offer some return if you happen to go past it because of the particulars of your gear at that moment in time.
Accomplishing this would essentially involve increasing the value of the initial X amount of resist and then diminishing it to the current returns beyond that point. This means that players wouldn't need nearly as much resist as they do now to reach the cap. This is partly to offset the reduced significance of all resist and partly to open up more affix slots for other options. I want to get away from players stacking only the same few affixes per slot. The cap will make it undesirable to have resist everywhere you can get it. Instead you can get increased pickup radius or other auxiliary affixes without feeling sub-optimal. (Ok, there will still be other affixes you'd prefer but it won't feel as bad getting a piece without a resist if you are already at the cap).
I think I talked about that enough.
Next up: Skills
The first and most important change in making this work is the removal of weapon DPS as being directly linked with skill damage. This is just a plague upon the game through both how it affects skill balance and how it limits skill choices. However, the link between weapon damage and skills won't be completely removed. Many melee and ranged skills would still be dependent on weapon damage but many nonsensical ones would be disconnected.
Why do this? I would think the answer should be obvious but for one it will allow the reitemization of class specific items for casters to be more unique and meaningful so that we don't have Wizards and WDs running around with immersion-breaking, massive two-handed swords. Most importantly, it will enable weapons with sub-par DPS to hold some sort of value as not all builds will be as dependent on it as others. For example, Earthquake wouldn't be dependent on weapon damage so an Earthquake barb wouldn't care how strong the weapon itself is because the other affixes would be more important. And with that massive hint my next change:
The complete removal of skill cooldowns. These simply don't belong in a fast-paced ARPG. In a game about quickly cutting through hordes of demons I can't afford to wait around for my cooldown to be up. It only serves to reduce the fun of the game. There is no need to balance around cooldowns. Skills have resource costs for a reason. I would make them meaningful. If you want to build a barb that generates insane amounts of fury so that you can spam Earthquake... DO IT!
Some powerful skills might require retuning how they work or cutting their damage to balance the loss of the cooldown but there's no reason why there needed to be massively OP skills that you simply couldn't use very often. It's an arbitrary restriction which might have worked if we had enough spamable skills to make up for it but the reality is that the number of build-centric skills is limited so it really limits the number of unique playable options. Nearly every player of a particular class is forced into using a skill form a small selection because of these limits and that really cuts down on diversity.
In part, the removal of weapon DPS from directly impacting skills will help with this balance because although Earthquake will be spam-able powering it up will require alternate means than simply equipping a massive 1k DPS weapon. And that brings me to my next point:
Yes that's right, I want them back. See the thing is skill trees aren't actually required for this to be a meaningful system. In fact, skill points don't even need to be awarded with character levels. It would be entirely possible to implement skill points only through items or as special quest rewards or as a part of the paragon system. But I wouldn't go that far. I think it would still be nice to have as a part of leveling up. My point is that the system doesn't need be complex or difficult to balance to be meaningful. Even something as simple as 5% damage increase per point would still provide players with a way to invest in a certain play style or make a build work that wouldn't otherwise be possible.
More importantly, skill points bring back incredible depth to itemization. Class specific gear rolling with plus skill points to particular skills adds a lot of variety to items and diversifies the pool from items can be fun even if they aren't an upgrade to you in particular. The AH enables such diversity in items without feeling like a lottery. The problem is that characters are all funneled down the same path. Who cares if items can roll with every different affix when you can go to the AH, sell the items with the particular skill boost items you have so that you can buy an item with the skill boost you want. That's the whole goal of trading, to move good items from the hands of those who can't make use of them to the hands that will make use of them. Currently the market is built on moving items below a players gear level to the hands of a player where it is above their current gear level. There needs to be variety not a quality magnitude.
So a basic system for skill points might work out like this:
- 1 skill point awarded every 4 levels
- Skills can have a maximum of 5 skill points as designated from level ups
- This enables a player to invest in maximizing 3 skills or more evenly distributing across all six skills.
- Skill points award by quests/paragon would be bonus points and could be placed anywhere without restriction
- Every 10 Paragon levels awards a skill point
- Every 5 skill points in a skill provides an auxiliary bonus (extra projectile, longer range, reduced resource cost, etc.)
This last point is what enables really unique builds. The Earthquake barb for example might be dependent on getting 5/10 skill points for a resource cost reduction so that the skill is more spamable.
Oh and before anyone asks, yes skill points from level-ups could be respeced but at a gold fee that increases with level/number of points. This serves as an added gold sink and encourages investment in your build. The cost doesn't need to be too high because investment in gear for your build will also serve to limit the FOTM mentality of some cookie-cutters. And it will still allow players to make small tweaks to their build without a hefty price.
I'd like to reiterate that skill points appearing as affixes on gear would be a major itemization benefit of the system. It enables further depth in character development through gear and ties your build to your gear than is currently possible. Gear you find might not be good for you but it may fetch a nice price on the AH from someone looking for a particular skill point bonus.
This is getting quite long so I'll finish with:
Miscellaneous item changes
This is probably more of a summary than additional details. Itemization changes include the removal of physical resistance from the all resistance attribute, the reduced significance of all resist, the increased significance of individual resists in comparison, the soft capping of resistances, the reduced probability of rolling attributes, and the addition of skill points to affix rolls.
The sum total of these effects is to add a lot of variety to gear choices. Less significant is stacking attributes and all resist and increased thought will go into choosing gear with appropriate resists and skill points that accommodate your desired build. The greater variety of affixes and removal of the overpowered affixes like attributes and all resist will drive a more balanced economy that is no longer focused on a narrow set of affixes that every character of every class chases.
Other additions not mentioned previously include %elemental damage affixes that are currently limited to a few legendary items. These could provide the primary damage boosts for casters or elemental focused non-caster classes. An Earthquake barb might strive for a good deal of %fire damage and would have little need for a high damage weapon. A %fire damage boosting ax would be really nice for him even with low damage. Items like this don't exist currently and even if they did high weapon DPS would still be a requirement for it to hold any value.
I'll add more when I find the desire to write up the additional points. I had been thinking of doing a complete write up to address my disappointments with the core systems for a while so this thread is likely to see more changes.
Things I haven't addressed that I may get around to (I'll add/subtract from this list as needed): passive skills, skill balance/rune effects, elite/boss farming, NV, paragon, waypoints, PvP and crafting (see post #42 for relevant reference)
Edited by steveman0#1968 on 1/20/2013 3:02 PM PST
dude all they have to do is just give us this game
Indeed. I still look back on that with the fondest of memories. I fell in love with D3 because of videos like that one. I saw so much of D2 in it. What I have done with this post is to articulate the specific changes I feel will return that feeling to the game. The mechanics of the current game tell a different story that what we have in that video.
I've felt since I quit the game that the only way to bring it in line with the past games would be to make radical changes. The past patches have demonstrated that they weren't willing to invest the time or effort to make it happen. The change in director suggests that Blizzard is willing to make more radical changes so I felt now is the time to propose them.
How so? Nothing I've suggested actually requires much effort to change. Most of it is spreadsheet type recalculations. Only the skill point system requires any UI changes. A good designer could work out most of the architectural details in a week. Implementation shouldn't take long for an organized team. Remember, LoD was released a year after D2. Just because the current team was abysmally slow doesn't mean a new director with the right focus couldn't do it. So much time was wasted on reiteration when a director with a strong vision could just do what is necessary.
Edited by steveman0#1968 on 1/20/2013 12:12 PM PST
Your skill changes would require months of work. I don't think you understand just how much work it would take to code it in, make it work, bug test it, balance it, etc. You're essentially asking Diablo Dev team to redo the skill system, something that they aren't willing to do.
Remaking major game systems requires testing and rebalancing which would take at least months, your predictions are completely off. These changes would also be coupled with gear changes and even if your effectiveness in-game would not be significantly changed human irrationality would make sure that another round of people would quit because of it. People should get a reality check and stop calling for complete redesigns of established systems, chance of these things being notably altered is near zero. Next time try to extend existing systems.Your post lacks one thing - realism.
Edited by Elexar#2219 on 1/20/2013 12:18 PM PST
The attributes system is the core flaw IMO. You point out what is wrong with it pretty well but fixing this issue is not possible without remaking the entire system. This kind of change is impossible because the entire game is built off this flawed core attribute system. This game will get much better over time (maybe a long time) but they cant really change the core of it like that, they can only make changes that help the existing system work better.
Not really. The main systems framework already exists. Balancing numbers can be done fairly easily by a team that is familiar with the framework. The iteration is done so it's just a matter of sitting down and doing the math. Granted it would take a lot of time if the team is incapable of doing math but I think more highly of most designers than that. The dev team fell into an iteration rut due to the leadership. I presume a new leader can get them out of that and on track again.
Remaking major game systems requires testing and rebalancing which would take at least months, your predictions are completely off. These changes would also be coupled with gear changes and even if your effectiveness in-game would not be significantly changed human irrationality would make sure that another round of people would quit because of it. People should get a reality check and stop calling for complete redesigns of established systems, chance of these things being notably altered is near zero. Next time try to extend existing systems.
Running some numbers doesn't take very long unless you are incompetent with math. Add to the fact that they have the PTR and the fine tuning can be done pretty easily. There is a lot of value in the PTR if the devs are willing to open up communications and make use of all the feedback they can get from it. Forum polls could go a long way to balance numbers on the PTR.
If they aren't willing to fix the core problems then they might as well give up and move on to their next game. It is a waste of time to continue development if they aren't willing to address the main problems. Why try to decorate a pile of crap? If the game is to live up to its heritage it will need to make radical changes. We don't need a defeatist director, we need someone who is willing to step up to the plate and to think bigger.
Edited by steveman0#1968 on 1/20/2013 12:36 PM PST
You're very niavee if you think it's just THAT easy. It's not. It's not just a matter of adding some numbers and doing some match.
You want Skill points back? Ok. So let's see, scrape the entire current skill system, because the skill point system won't work with it currently because of the rune system. So now, the skill system has to be redesigned with skill point system in mind. Say hello to months of design, balancing, bug testing, tweaking, etc.
When you can admit that what you are proposing would take months upon months of work instead of just easily dismissing it as "numbers & math", then maybe you can be seen as intelligent. Right now, you're showing yourself as someone who is niavee who hasn't a clue as to how designing a system to replace the current system works.
You are suggesting the equivalent of them making diablo4 in a few patches.
BTW your ideas are good and your game would be a better game but it just isnt going to happen. Its way to late for that.
Edited by Dirk#1799 on 1/20/2013 12:36 PM PST
They don't need to scrap anything. The current skills, animations, runes don't need to change. The only thing that needs to change are the equations. Surely they already have entire descriptions for these, charts, graphs, numbers, etc. in place in the initial design. They even have a great deal of time and experience to know what the numbers need to be to work well. All they have to do is retune the equations to remove the %weapon DPS element from it. Point fitting alone would solve that problem and adjustments could fine tune it.
(EDIT: funny point, before everything was scaled to %weapon DPS they actually had skills scaling to level so they even have a basis to refer to.)
Seeing as I've designed game systems and math to make it work I know what goes into it and I know a framework for an entirely new game can be built in a day and can be fine tuned to work well within a week. D3 has more going for it than what I've worked on but I know that an entire team could accomplish the same thing with proper leadership in a reasonable time frame. I feel that they haven't managed to do so up until now because they lacked that leadership. It is why I feel a new director could accomplish these goals in a fair time frame.
Besides even if it does take until the expansion it is still worth the effort. These core issues must be fixed for the game to live on.
You are suggesting the equivalent of them making diablo4 in a few patches.
You drastically underestimate how much of the dev time goes towards building the initial game framework/engine/graphics/etc. compared to how much time is spent balancing the numbers. The vast majority of the time is spent building the foundations. Consider, runes as items were scrapped not more than a few months before release and they redesigned the entire system accordingly.
I just hope we don't get a new director who thinks the same. If they are just going to quit trying then they shouldn't waste any time and money on it. If it's too late to fix it then don't fix it but stop patching and move on to something better. They already have a good engine though so it seems like a colossal waste of money not to fix it. They could still take the game very far with expansions. If they don't address these core problems I won't be buying the expansions and I expect many others think similarly.
Edited by steveman0#1968 on 1/20/2013 12:57 PM PST
Ok, then please direct me to games that you've designed so I can look them over. I would love to see what type of games you've designed. Oh wait, you edon't have any games that you can show me? Then don't come in here, say that you've designed game systems and such when you aren't prepared to show them. It's clear you haven't a clue as to what you are talking about.
You think every game designer has to be some big AAA publisher to know how to do math for game systems? You come across pretty ignorant with this post.
Nope, I don't. You said you've done some games, well give me names of them so then I can look. If you're going to make such a claim, prepare to back it up.
I don't publish my work. I make more than enough money as an engineer to spend time marketing game systems I design. Just because I can do it doesn't mean I try to make a name for myself by it. It's a hobby not a job for me.
Good post. I read that entire wall o text and agree with it. I also agree that they need to make radical changes and I don't care how long it takes. I haven't played since a month after release and I don't plan on it until it gets a good overhaul. Here's hoping that the new director does what needs to be done but I won't hold my breath. I have a feeling they'll just make this the shiniest turd anyone has ever seen.
So you claim to know about design, but can't provide proof of said claim.
Yup, just as I figured. You're niavee and haven't a clue as to how anything works.
Come back when you can prove yourself.
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