Diablo® III

Fixit #1 - The Missing End-game

The three biggest flaws I see in Diablo III are bland skills, poor loot itemisation and a missing end-game.

With a recent suggestion from Blizzard for ongoing ideas, I'd thought I'd post my view on how to fix the third of these flaws.

The Missing End-game

It's been a long acknowledged paradigm that players will consume content faster than developers can generate it. However, this is only really true when we talk about static content, and it's a realisation that is commonly addressed in other ARPG's now.

To provide end-game PvE content that can be generated faster than players consume it, you need to design randomised end-game content.

One of the design flaws in the current iteration of the Diablo series was to forgo the sort of dungeon randomisation that earlier entries in the series were known for and that are common in modern ARPG's. It's likely too late to correct this flaw, however, the following system could still be put in place to ensure that the generation of end-game PvE content always equals its rate of consumption.

Obtaining the random end-game scrolls

A new drop could be added to Inferno, a "dungeon portal scroll". The scroll, as the name implies would allow a one-time access to a single dungeon level, similar to the current system in place for the Hellfire rings.

A newly dropped scroll would have only one attribute, that being the name of the dungeon floor to which it grants access, for example "Keeps Level 2". This would be your standard "Keeps Level 2" layout, with the exception that there would be in lieu of an entrance and exit, a portal in point and portal out point. Thus the scroll grants access to one specific level of one dungeon only.

The scroll would not be bound in any way and could be traded on the Auction House.

Boosting the random end-game scrolls

Having obtained a scroll, the scroll could be enchanted (making use of one of the artisans), with a chance to add a random property either making the dungeon more or less valuable. For example, below is a short list of potential suffixes that could be used (only the positive ones are mentioned, but you could see easily how negative suffixes could be generated).

Positive:

* 20% increased gold drop
* 20% increased magic find
* 20% decreased mob speed
* 20% decreased mob damage
* treasure goblin added
* 20% increased legendary drops
* 20% decreased melee damage
* 20% decreased ranged damage

Each enchant of the scroll would require a certain amount of money or ingredients, and the scroll could be endlessly enchanted (with an increase in cost to each enchant - this providing a useful gold sink for the game). Similar to current loot itemisation, suffixes could be doubled up (for example 40% increased gold).

Like the initially dropped scrolls, these scrolls could be at any time traded (to be sure, certain AH upgrades would be required to handle these transactions). Indeed there could be developed a vibrant market for end-game scroll trading, and if the range of suffixes is made suitably expansive enough, you could see scrolls with certain suffixes becoming preferred for certain classes even (consider the value Monks or Barbs would place in reduced melee damage dungeons for example).

Using the end-game scrolls

Scrolls could be activated at a main town in the appropriate act, and could be used in public games as well as private ones.

Thus teams of players could work together to construct through team effort a suitably tricked out dungeon scroll that they all partake of together.

The scrolls could be activated and used on any MP level.

Conclusions

While this system would work better with genuinely randomised dungeon maps, the proposal above makes use of the current static dungeons, only modifying certain global properties (such as drop rates or damage levels). While not trying to underestimate the volume of work described in this proposal, using current static dungeons would at least greatly reduce that development time.

Without a system like this, the game will always suffer from an asymmetry between the rate that players consume content, and the rate at which that content can be generated.

I take no credit at all for this idea, because systems like this are becoming much more common in ARPG's these days, indeed are used by ARPG's competing directly in the market even as I write this post.
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90 Pandaren Monk
2590
Posts: 162
seems like a less ambitious version of POE end game still they need to do something soon on the end game front maybe they could do this as a stepping stone towards a better system for the expansion
Edited by Scarletmoon#6881 on 1/19/2013 3:09 AM PST
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01/19/2013 03:09 AMPosted by Pandamonkguy
seems like a less ambitious version of POE end game still they need to do something soon on the end game front maybe they could do this as a stepping stone towards a better system for the expansion


Well, I was trying to avoid naming other ARPG's because that always takes threads off on a different, and rarely useful tangent... lol, but yeah, it is one of the ARPG's making use of systems like this to ensure players have something to do once the statically generate content has been depleted.

I agree also, it's a stepping stone, designed that way deliberately, to account for the games current lack of genuinely randomised dungeons, so it would instead just pick one of the already existing dungeon levels.
Edited by Hawkeye#1335 on 1/19/2013 3:41 AM PST
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I like the idea unfortunately I don't see Blizzard using such a big endgame system from another game. Hopefully i'm wrong because something like this would be a huge improvement.

While the map could be "dungeon keep 2" i'd like the monsters to be random from all 4 acts, maybe a side dungeon in it with an act mini-boss + resplendent chest.

Each scroll enchant could give +1 positive and +1 negative attribute such as:

Enchant #1- +100%GF; +20% damage taken
Enchant #2- +100%MF; +20% monster movement speed
Enchant #3- +50%EXP; -10% resource regeneration

The portal can be open for 30 seconds and then close for good, no going back to town or dying.
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I think improving the UI is the most important. The reason it's soooo hard to find a good item is bc only the best items are considered valuable. If they released a ladder items would be good and valuable. Checkout the hardcore economy. It's stable and strong. The UI needs to be fixed more than anything.
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I like the idea unfortunately I don't see Blizzard using such a big endgame system from another game. Hopefully i'm wrong because something like this would be a huge improvement.


Well, this sort of end-game system is neither patented nor particularly new (it's been done for some years now).

So we can hope that we get something like this, something that will build into the game more than endless Act 3 runs.

01/19/2013 07:45 AMPosted by dellamorte
While the map could be "dungeon keep 2" i'd like the monsters to be random from all 4 acts, maybe a side dungeon in it with an act mini-boss + resplendent chest.


To be sure that would add to the variety, but also to the development time I'd suspect.
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Missing end-game? Really?

- 5 classes to play to MP10 solo
- 10 character slots to max out to paragon 100 via XP Farming
- Key Farming and Uber farming
- PvP (dueling now and more in the future)
- Repeat any of the above with self-found gear only
- Repeat any of the above with non-staple build setups and or gear setups
- Repeat any of the above on Hardcore

This isn't an MMO.
The amount of end-game material given to us prior to an expansion is HUGE.
Sure it would be fun to have even more but what's been given for only the vanilla game purchase is not only fair, but will take most players YEARS to accomplish.
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One statement I’ve seen over and over on these forums and elsewhere are proposals for “easy” fixes and overarching assumptions about how long implementation for a variety of changes “should” take.

The reality is, game development is a hugely iterative and time-consuming process, with many people involved along the way. Design takes time, Coding takes time, art takes time, QA takes time: you name it. There are also multiple steps in the pipeline for each and every proposed change and bug fix, no matter how minor, and what issues are being worked on in what order and by who can and do change as new matters arise. Sometimes extra testing is also needed for bugs that come back broken and need to be retested, because we didn't want them to go live with a bad fix.

While there may indeed be a list of known issues and bugs that run alongside some patches, for every one you are aware of, there can be dozens or hundreds being worked on behind-the-scenes that you likely never be aware of. We do things just as quickly as we can, but even then, it’s a process that takes time.


I do believe Blizzard is in fact suggesting that the community keep the ideas going. That's what this post is about.
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Missing end-game? Really?

- 5 classes to play to MP10 solo
- 10 character slots to max out to paragon 100 via XP Farming
- Key Farming and Uber farming
- PvP (dueling now and more in the future)
- Repeat any of the above with self-found gear only
- Repeat any of the above with non-staple build setups and or gear setups
- Repeat any of the above on Hardcore

This isn't an MMO.
The amount of end-game material given to us prior to an expansion is HUGE.
Sure it would be fun to have even more but what's been given for only the vanilla game purchase is not only fair, but will take most players YEARS to accomplish.


You fail to see the point of this post, and it's highlighted by the very items you listed. So, let's go through them.


- 5 classes to play to MP10 sol
- 10 character slots to max out to paragon 100 via XP Farming


It's the very same content, over, and over, and over again. It's only minimally randomised. This idea is trying to fix that. I would also point out that not everyone is keen on both hardcore and softcore, so for many players that'll be only 5 character slots.


- Key Farming and Uber farming


Again, the same content, over and over. I've made now 14 Hellfire rings (all of them crap), and it stopped being "new" I think after about the third one.


- PvP (dueling now and more in the future)


Quite apart from the rapid onset boredom associated with one second duels, this particular post isn't addressing PvP issues in the game, it's looking at fixing the lack of PvE content.


- Repeat any of the above with self-found gear only


With, yet again, the same content, only slower this time.


- Repeat any of the above with non-staple build setups and or gear setups


Do we even have non-staple build setups or gear setups? The vacuous loot and skill itemisation of this game is a subject for a different FixIt post, but even if that weren't a glaring issue, it would still be, the same content, over and over again.


- Repeat any of the above on Hardcore


I'd happily play Hardcore with an offline mode, but in lieu of that this is a repeat of an earlier point you made.


This isn't an MMO.


Despite the best efforts of the developers to the contrary, I agree with you on this. Indeed, it is the very lack of regular PvE content releases that this sort of system could help. It is after all, a long time between expansions (the first D3 expansion isn't likely to be released until sometime in 2014 I'd bet).


The amount of end-game material given to us prior to an expansion is HUGE.


Well, we'll have to agree to disagree here. This game is currently lacking in almost any sort of long-term viable end-game longevity - indeed, Blizzard themselves in a post only a few months ago acknowledged as much.


Sure it would be fun to have even more but what's been given for only the vanilla game purchase is not only fair, but will take most players YEARS to accomplish.


It might take years (depending on play time per day) to level one of each class, in both softcore and hardcore to paragon 100, but honestly, how many players are even likely to do that. How many will get bored long before even approaching that goal, given that it would mean an almost incalculable number of runs, on non-randomised massively repeated content.

Don't get me wrong, all my counter-points to your arguments are put with all due respect and courtesy, but I don't think that the game can retain much of any playerbase with the current, very limited, and essentially static content.

Nor do I suggest that this change is a trivial one that could be knocked out in a weekends coding effort. Despite tweaking the system to account for D3's current flaws, it would still be a major content patch, taking months to produce, and weeks of further PTR testing before it could be released. Even if Blizzard decided to do this - right now - I would be surprised if it could be done in less than three months and more likely six.

All that said however, my opinion (and I can hardly state any other) is that the end-game in D3 right now is seriously lacking, and is manifestly insufficient to keep anything but a fraction of the playerbase going until the next expansion, sometime in 2014.
Edited by Hawkeye#1335 on 1/19/2013 3:45 PM PST
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