Wow. There is... a worrying amount of failure in this thread, starting with the original post and going through a lot of the comments.
Last I looked, Diablo 2 was right over there if you wanted to go back to it. Alternatively, Torchlight 2 is like $20 on Steam, so maybe give that a try?
One really fundamental idea that the OP misses, and a lot of the replies miss, is accessibility. Blizzard made it fairly clear during the development phase of Diablo 3 that accessibility was high on their list of priorities, as they wanted as many people as possible to play Diablo 3.
Diablo 2 is not a very accessible game. Even when it came out, it always seemed impenetrable without spending ages reading forum posts or poring over spreadsheets just so you didn't end up with an utterly gimped build.
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:
Not possible. Manual stat placement was never
meaningful. Can never be
meaningful. You will never be able to create a system where one stat isn't preferred over others for each class, and in the end, why not just give that class those stats automatically? Worse, every class will end up with a trash stat that they avoid entirely (and you can run into the current situation Torchlight 2 has, where Vitality is a useless stat for all classes).
No matter what you try and do to mitigate it, you will always end up with players minmaxing to the point where one stat is preferred for each class, and in the end, nobody does anything different.
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)
Nobody will invest in this stat if that's all it does. (Refer to above statement regarding Vitality in Torchlight 2.)
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)
This is a terrible idea, because it forces physical damage classes (Barbarians/Monks/Demon Hunters) to invest in Int when they'd rather be investing in Strength/Dex. You'll end up with those classes avoiding Int entirely and then complaining when they get smashed by elemental damage. The end result will be fixes to the game to resolve the issue, rather than the utopian ideal of Barbarians investing in Int.
No physical class wants to invest in Int. Trust me, I used to be a rogue. :)
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.
Why not just make Armour work this way? Cleaner, neater and less confusing. Accessiblity wins!
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.
No there won't be. Players will figure out that avoiding "secondary" stats is optimal, and they'll complain to Blizzard that the game is badly balanced against their class due to the fact they don't want to invest in those stats, and Blizzard will patch the game to avoid the problem, because Blizzard understands that manual stat assignment isn't fun gameplay.
Only people with unkempt grey beards and a box full of D20s think otherwise. Trust me, I know.
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).
It bothers me a lot that you seem to have played Torchlight 2 without learning any of the other lessons from it.
If you were working towards a game where characters had infinite stat points to assign, then diminishing returns might make sense. On the other hand, if you are going to limit the amount of stat points available, then it's going to be problematic, as players will feel that they're being forced to put points into secondary stats that they see as non-beneficial to their class. Diminishing returns will not make players feel they need to invest in other stats.
Again, it comes down to the problem that manually assigning stats is not fun gameplay, and can never be fun gameplay.
Changing [the stat ramp] 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 have to ask: why do you want Diablo 3 to be Diablo 2? Last I checked, Diablo 2 was still there if you wanted to play it. I honestly found that game to be an impenetrable mess when I tried getting into it a few years ago, and much prefer Diablo 3 because Diablo 3 is actually fun to play.
Also, upgrading gear is kind of a significant aspect of Diablo gameplay, I would have thought. The whole point of the game, really is to get the best gear to kill the monsters to get the best gear to kill the monsters to get... etc etc etc.
Holding onto items, especially when levelling, seems counter to that point. I personally love it when I get a new item and the stat comparison is all in the green and I'm like "woohoo, new boots for me!"
Maybe I'm just easily amused, though.
Also, the Auction House is entirely optional.
You are not, ever, forced to use it. If you'd prefer, there's an in-game trading mechanism you can use to trade with other players (maybe form a group of players you can trust to trade with and do it that way? I don't know).
That said, I consider the AH to be a part of the game (as it was in WoW), and so I'm happy to use it if I feel I need to. I fully understand that I can get loot from monsters, but the AH is there to supplement that if the Random Number Gods aren't in my favour.
(I mostly use the AH as an alternate source of gold, rather than as a gearing mechanism, however.)
(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.)
Wait, you'd prefer to go back to the way item trading worked in Diablo 2? Why even...?
The RMAH is really worth a thread of its own, but I just want to point out that I'd rather use it than have to visit some dodgy forum, pre-arrange a trade with another player, then hope that player shows up in-game, do the trade (using gems or whatever because D2 gold has no meaningful value, in-game or otherwise) and hope I don't get scammed.
Yeah, I'll take the RMAH.
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.
While I agree that fun affixes are cooler than "raw stats", they're not necessarily better. Especially at the endgame, where (well, pre-Paragon levels, I suppose) gear is the only meaningful form of character advancement.
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.
No. No it wasn't. It was tedious and dumb, just like it was in WoW.
I have a better solution: Get rid of elemental resists entirely. They're stupid and only serve to add a fake layer of difficulty in certain pathological circumstances.
(To answer the obvious question, I'd replace them with a magical resist stat or somesuch. It honestly doesn't matter.)
I think I talked about that enough.
Too much, some would say!
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.
No. No no no no no no no no no no. Noooooooooope. Nosiree. No. No.
Up until this point, I was taking your suggestions semi-seriously because I was convinced you might actually have something intelligent to say. After I read this, I honestly realised I was wasting my time, but I'll go through it anyway because I have nothing better to do, apparently.
Fixed-damage skills scale poorly in the endgame. This is something Blizzard learned years ago in WoW, where Rogues ended up stuck with skills that lost power as the tiers progressed because their top damage skills didn't scale with their gear or weapon damage. While it made the class more powerful levelling up, and in the early endgame, once they started moving further along the progression stream, they fell behind in damage because skills didn't scale.
Linking all skill damage to stats/DPS means that you get scaling for free.
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.
This... is your justification for removing damage scaling? Uh... okay then.
I, on the other hand, like
the fact that my Wizard can rock a (statistically appropriate) two-handed sword instead of a staff. She looks totally badarse doing it, too.
Immersion is a subjective thing. I don't find it immersion-breaking at all, to be honest. One thing I love about Diablo 3 is that you can have a sword-and-board Wizard, if you really, really want.
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.
Why not just upgrade the weapon? Farm some gold and buy one off the AH, or just farm elites/champs until one drops? Remember, the whole point of this kind of game is to kill mobs to get loot.
I think a lot of the arguments made about Diablo 3 since the game came out miss this pretty fundamental point. If you want a more structured loot environment, go play WoW or something.
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!
The counter-argument to this is "how is time not a resource you need to manage?" Putting everything on the character resource system wouldn't be very fun, I don't think. Not to mention you'd end up with "two-button spam builds" that, while incredibly powerful, wouldn't be very fun to play.
One of the big discussions going on in the WoW community right now is over skill rotations for certain classes (particularly hunters) and how a "simple" rotation isn't actually that fun. You might think it's really cool to just be able to spam Earthquake and Frenzy or whatever, but what's your left hand going to do? Chat?
Cooldowns force you to apply some strategy to your fights. Diablo 3 would be a lot less fun if you could just rush into battle and mindlessly click things until they explode/fly into the scenery. (You might think that sounds fun, but after 10 minutes you'll wish you had something more to do.)
Maybe if Diablo 3 had a scoring system like, say, the Dodonpachi games or something it could work, but not in the current game.
(Actually, a "bullet hell" ARPG would be a pretty cool idea now that I think about it. Maybe "monster hell" rather than bullet hell, though, but you get the idea. Have massive scoring combos and infinite levels and crazy-overpowered attacks and... wait, where was I?)
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.
Blizzard have stated in the past that the current system actually increases
diversity, rather than cuts it down. It's far harder to make a useless build in D3 than it was in D2, or in WoW, that's for sure. While I agree that cooldowns can feel arbitrary, I'd rather keep them than get rid of them. Maybe they just need some more tuning to feel right.
Yes that's right, I want them back.
Good for you. I don't.
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.
I think this shows just how much you've failed to see the interactions between different systems within the game. You want to decouple weapon damage from skills, and then you want to bring back skill points, but you fail to see that the effects of your skill points can be achieved by... coupling weapon damage to skills.
So rather than let me increase my skill damage by gearing up, you'd prefer it if I manually assigned points to the skills I want to power up?
That sounds even less fun than manual stat assignment.
More importantly, skill points bring back incredible depth to itemization.
No it doesn't.
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.
Actually, it makes loot hunting frustrating as hell. Suddenly you have even less chance of getting an item you want.
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.
The problem is that it also makes the auction house massively harder to use, as you suddenly need to be able to search for a whole bunch more stats on items than current. The current AH search is broken enough as it is, your proposal would make it completely useless.
I also feel you're confusing diversity with complexity. Adding skill points and skill bonuses to items sure will make things more diverse, but it actually makes things more complex. A new player to Diablo 3 would find this system impenetrable (as it is in Diablo 2), and give up after a week.
I can't see Blizzard changing things to make it harder for players to get into the game. I'm pretty sure they like making money a lot and I don't see how this helps them do that. Again, it comes down to accessibility.
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.
This is kind of what Torchlight 2 has now, and... it doesn't really work as well as it should. (Full disclosure: I love Torchlight 2 as well.)
The problem is that you lose build diversity with this setup. You need to create skill trees with lots of "dummy" skills that seem useful but aren't, just so players can figure out which skills are worth investing points into. Ultimately, you'll end up with cookie-cutter builds and... well, you know the rest.
Remember, Blizzard actually removed
this system from WoW because of how poorly it works.
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.
Any cost is too high, really. One of the great strengths of Diablo 3 is that it does encourage build diversity by not requiring you to invest in any particular build. The limitation, of course, is that (on Inferno), you lose Nephilim Valour when you do.
Also, what's so bad about "flavour of the month" builds? Keep in mind that, while anyone can just read up on Noxxic about which build is best, that doesn't necessarily mean that alternative builds are significantly weaker. You can still function in Inferno with most skill/rune combinations.
As long as the build works for you, and functions for you, the current system is actually pretty fine.
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.
I'd like to reiterate that adding skill bonuses to gear simply increases the number of possible gear combinations and dramatically reduces the chance of you getting the item you want, thus forcing you to go to the AH and eliminating most of the fun of looting a boss.
This is getting quite long
4300 words in my reply so far. :/
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.
Let's just get rid of resistance and call it a day.
The sum total of these effects is to add a lot of variety to gear choices.
No, it adds a lot of complexity
to gear choices. Too much complexity, even.
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.
It will also drive more players away from the game due to additional arbitrary complexity.
There are definitely issues with the way gear works at the moment, but I feel your solutions, especially regarding decoupling stats from skills and adding skill points are the wrong way to resolve the problems.
I think the biggest issue here is that you seem to hold Diablo 2 up as the glorious holy standard by which Diablo 3 must be judged. I disagree with this completely. To me, Diablo 2 was an impenetrable mess of a game. I knew going in that, if I didn't make the right stat choices, I'd essentially screwed my character over and would have to re-roll.
That isn't fun. It isn't what I want from a game I paid money for. It's arbitrary and stupid, and I think even Blizzard are willing to admit that there's a huge number of flaws with Diablo 2.
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.
World of Warcraft tried this and it didn't end well. Damage bonuses to specific elements are problematic, especially in a game where you can easily switch around your primary elemental attacks. I've geared my Wizard for, say, Fire damage, but now I want to try electrocuting all the things. Suddenly I have to completely re-gear to be effective.
I think we both come from different perspectives, which is that I love Diablo 3 to bits in its current form
and don't want to see it changed. I was never a fan of Diablo 2 (as I said, I tried it and found it to be entirely impenetrable), and so came into D3 with no real preconceptions (well, I was a heavy WoW player (7 years+) and also loved the original Torchlight). For me, Diablo 3 hit all the right notes. Even in its original form, with all the flaws it had, the game was enjoyable enough
I'm not going to say that there aren't problems with Diablo 3 as it currently stands, because there are. Blizzard know there are and are working to fix them. What's frustrating is watching people on this forum complain about the game by comparing it to Diablo 2. I'm not one to pop any bubbles here, but Diablo 2 has aged poorly and just isn't that fun. If you still like it, then bully for you, but try to stand back and look at it without a decade of nostalgia clouding your vision.
tl;dr: You're wrong, and Diablo 3 is pretty good, currently.
(There's probably a heap of typos and hilarious factual inaccuracies in this post. No guarantees are given that the information is correct, or even that I will agree with it in five minutes.)