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Update: The core concept of this post has been fully addressed by Blizzard in the Itemization developer's blog, it seems like our incredible quantity of feedback has given the developers a clear perspective as to what is needed to heal this amazing game. Good job everyone who gave feedback and supported this post!
In retrospect, we essentially revisited the updates that occurred and tried to coordinate exactly the root of what was causing the game to destablize and fragmentize.
Though, this post is headed with the idea that they are making mistakes in their game decisions partially due to listening to us, what I really mean is that, they listened to the wrong crowd, or they misunderstood what we were truly asking for, the original experience some of us may still remember.
And now that these changes have been implemented, it has been clear that the main playerbase wanted something different than what was done, so I've taken my time to clearly illustrate the areas of interest I believe the majority of the players truly share:
Diablo III is doomed to lose its popularity because of several key fundamental mistakes in their overall decision-making throughout their progression to improve the game, all they have done is make it dramatically worse. While they implemented several new aspects to the game forward from Diablo II that may work well without these fundamental flaws in the new game distinctly different from the last game.
The video has a 50% resemblance of Diablo II, basically with buffed up graphics. The actual skills graphical effects were much more stylish and unique, like the Witch Doctor's old horrify (13:40), boss fatalities (18:00), sacrifice explosion (13:10), real bloom (10:26), unique game mechanics like the Witch Doctor giving his pets the locust cloud (12:32), and a demonstration of a balanced loot system: the boss took what seemed like 5 minutes to kill because of the action-packed fight, the boss ripping the barbarian's head off (if they could have made the knock-back animation look real with temporary ragdoll physics that would've been even more insane, lol), and it drops just one blue item (18:30).
And on top of that, the Barbarian and Witch Doctor's equipment at whatever level they were at, already looked much more detailed and powerful than the maximum level armor we have now... how did the gear's graphics get downgraded to the way it is now?
If they made all the fixes and balances to the game now, but had similar graphics to back then, as well as balanced drop rates, this game would probably be the most popular RPG game right now, hands down.
If you watched that video, you will notice the comments illustrated how much more they were looking forward to that version's graphics than it actually turned out.
Kids will be kids, everyone complains they don't get enough drops. But just because of this they don't necessarily know the solution. Many of them suggested that they increased the drop rate, more drops! But the knowledgeable people that understand the true way to make a game work would know that the people that were disappointed actually meant more better drops... this idea is properly illustrated with a correlated dot graph of item usability vs. value progression (http://i46.tinypic.com/21aygiq.jpg) in topic discussed below.
And since the new Diablo Developers have attained the new ability to listen to the community, overwhelming support from the community drove the developers to take a step they did not even ask where could lead. Clearly, the developers at Blizzard North, who created Diablo II, maximized their success without support from the community, but rather, creating the perfect community by using the correct outlook as to how to bring players together to enjoy a game that is balanced.
If you were to ask any ordinary player if they would rather have a treasure chest full of fool's gold or a chest of mainly good quality goods that work decent, but a couple of significantly 'unique' and 'special' items (magical), the choice is more obvious. Back in the old Diablo days, magical items were worthy already, while legendaries were considered godly. This created a balanced and enjoyable system where players were pleased constantly, but sometimes struck with immense joy by finding something special.
After discussing how there are too many useless drops, I want to explain how the way items roll and the types of rolls they have affect the fact that nearly every item is useless except for a select few, the elites.
Referring back to Diablo II, we had a more effective system of budgeting items. This created a balanced progression of an item's quality. This intelligent algorithm created items that actually made sense to better boost a player's ability. Thinking about it realistically, if a weapon maker were to create a worthy weapon they would want features to it that made it sharper and more powerful. The system should imitate this, creating items gradually more and more useful.
If you were to correlated dot graph of item usability vs. value progression of Diablo II with III, I suspect you would probably see the value of the items plateau at the highest value, while there isn't progression leading up to it, everything else is on the bottom cause they are useless. While the old system would generate a balanced curve up to the elite items, allowing players to actively upgrade their gear one drop after another, rather than relying on identifying hundreds if not thousands of 100% useless items, then finding one that made them a billionaire*.
*This game isn't a lottery, it's a game. You're supposed to have fun all the way to the top, not grind like a slave until you find one good "opportunity".
Another key factor to the suppression of this game is the completely mindless RNG that is creating the drops. Yes, we want RNG, but we want RNG to work in a way that benefits us to a degree.
The RNG could be set as the determinant factor that makes it roll a combo of useful rolls, and the game will understand what a useful roll is in combination with another one. Also, being able to eliminate as many useless affixes and at least make all of them somewhat worthy, and especially more worthy in conjunction with another.
This is similar to the budgeting system like Diablo II, they could always just use Diablo II's system, but this system I believe would sustain as well as it yields results congruent with the other system.
Essentially, you would have a chance to roll a combo of stats that work with each other. Like say a weapon is named for its life leeching ability, then it would have life steal along with bleed and even with life on hit.
Which brings a point of why they have this unique naming system back in the game before this, the names represented properly the actual potential of the item, the only difference is the scale of how good it is. Nearly every item should be at least somewhat useful or make sense, instead of just a complete mix of randomness, causing 90% of items to be complete trash.
The amount of times it can combo should be directly based off the type of item:
Currently, the Auction House is still an experiment in progress, it has shown both signs of success and failure. The main aspect of failure comes with the large scale of useless goods coming from the loot table, however, there are many fundamental flaws in this system which many players that are knowledgeable can take advantage of the new players.
The system is disjointed, before the Auction House, you had to chat in-game with players and barter for items you wanted. But with the chat system a separate thing to the Auction House window, it disintegrates the personal interaction between the buyer and the seller, which allows for potential miscommunication, the key to scamming or an imbalanced trade forum.
If players were given a combined ability to chat with players that are also using the Auction House interface, they can price check, look for items, advertise their offers on the Auction House with more ease and essentially add a healthy dose of player interaction through playing the Auction House. This is the next step I believe they need to take in order to maximize the Auction House's potential, also patching up points that players can take advantage of, creating a balanced system.
This feature eliminates those points, if no player posted an item for the wrong price and there was a virtual environment for players to properly investigate their item of interest whether it be their item or one they want, snipers and flippers would generally not exist because everything is sold at a fair price.
Note that all of these tools are available to us within the Auction House to be perfectly safe and never be taken advantage of. But as I have stated, the information you must learn is scattered in a disjointed manner. Many of us have fallen or made our mistakes and learned from them, many of us were careful and never made mistakes, but even so, eliminating the potential for mistakes is what should eventually happen.
In fact the truth is, the system is so horribly dysfunctional, that the idea of this system has become to take advantage of new players, resulting in pretty much exactly what the player base's drop. This is due to the fact that players that are new need to learn to sell and buy items, they do it wrong initially, immediately for the experienced people to take advantage of them, essentially stealing and enslaving the general public of new players, to farm for them, win a jackpot but not even know it, and give the money to the people that know how to take advantage of the system.
Many people could make their first and only mistake, quitting right afterwards. But honestly, how could you even know you made a mistake if you never knew you sold it for the wrong price? Only until you try and resell your item and lose half of your wealth or something, or see your old item put back up for a higher price.
Many of my friends never played because they never wanted to learn how to use the Auction House. Who wants to learn to read prices and compare them? It's like going to a supermarket without any true price tags... and we're here to play a game.
With a balanced system items will be quickly influxed in and out of the system, as they are fairly priced, there can be a range for bartering and of course the point of an auction itself.
Due to how the loot table has been created, it has along with it brought along a phenomenon to the players, that's leeching the life out of new and poor players alike, being all sucked to the hands of the elitest players.
Livestreamers, a prime example of a scam running outside of the AH, only possible due to the item market. They reap off the newbies that view their channel, successful Livestreamers run a scamming pyramid scheme to take their viewers gold in-game and essentially real life by asking for donations. But donations are donated and therefore can't be considered malicious, but when you trick players to benefit them, like doing fake giveaways of items that are of no worth, just cause they are Legendary, then buying unidentified Legendaries cheap from the group of inexperienced viewers who think they are establishing a personal relationship with the streamer when they are just being ripped off.
One instance of a well-known streamer buying UNID'd Echoing Furies for like 13M or something, turns around and IDs like 6 out of 20 of them being worth 100-300M. You may say, well these people sold them to make a quick cash, but they are being robbed out of their idea that they can slowly progress up the ladder if they sell it for less gold than it could be, than if they just found a completely useless Legendary if they ID'd it. Which they would actually be able to do if the loot was balanced, items semi-worthy would be at a reasonable price on the AH... but there's just a huge gap or jump from mediocre items to actually good items right now.
The system is broken to make you think that way. It's because they have found so many useless ones before they began selling them off UNID'd, when the truth is you have to ID those highest tier Legendaries because they are the single doorway for you to become a part or get closer to being elite due to the broken loot table. If it were balanced, no one would consider selling off their Legendary UNID'd, or if they did, it would certainly be worth it's price.
So, the newbs sell off their elitehood, making the one that's already elite even more elite. They spent like 260m for 20 EFs 13M ea, and made over 500M profit. By having this flaw in the system where players are being confused just by the mere fact that Legendaries are not even Legendary, players commonly make mistakes of selling off UNID, when in a working system they should never have to.
To effectively prove my point, I'll do some 'pseudo'mathematics. 6/20 EF was ~200M per, 6 players out of 20 would have become rich, but in actuality, EFs are rare so they have a huge chance of being extremely good, one of the only items you really have a reason to ID. So, if EFs are rare, how rare? Out of how many people did 20 EFs come from?
Say (x amount of) 100,000. 20/(x) (:1/5,000) is a small percentage, doesn't sound too imbalanced right? Well, now look at it like this. The elites, being the streamers or players who monopolize the UNID market, since they have enough funds from the past, presumably by slowly scamming their viewers in the past... bought 20 EFs from the (x) 100,000 that had to farm to find them.
So, they essentially took advantage of (x) 100,000 people. That's the power of raking in the benefits based on something that you wouldn't have been able to accomplish yourself. And so suddenly, they have 20 EFs, just because they had a large enough audience to sell them these.
Now, am I saying that they are stealing items? No. They paid a considerable amount of cash for those UNIDs, but regardless, like I explained above, the system is what allowed them to do this, because of the effect of useless drops has on the general playerbase. Had it been balanced, they wouldn't have had such a huge range in advantage, because most players would know to never sell of their UNID. They do it because they are desperate for cash.
But of course, being a popular streamer is what makes it so much more effective, it's like having an advertisement campaign. Without it, players would have a much harder time finding such good UNID deals in order to profit exponentially from. In the general market, the UNID price is probably more fair. Regardless, this effect is only occurring due to the imbalanced drop table.
Yes, had one person kept 1 EF, they may not have gotten anything, but the chances are in your favor, if you do get it, you win the game once in for all, nearly, considering you don't get scammed right after by using the AH.
The fact that players can consolidate their chance by buying multiple UNIDs gives them the edge over all others that farm individually, it is effectively more worth it to just buy UNIDs that can actually roll well with cash you got from a drop, because the amount you spend, if you spend it on the right type of UNID, will most likely yield you a profit due to the instability of the drop table.
The only trick with it is you need a lot of money first, and the problem is no one but the top 5% that got lucky, botted, cheated, or used the RMAH have that money, and since the drop table is made in a way that makes players want to sell their items UNID, the people that have generated enough money can now do this sort of consolidation and make way more money in a way shorter time than had they farmed those UNIDs themselves. They could either partake in this, buying of UNIDs, or they could play the AH. But in the end, it's all taking advantage of other people in order to become the best. This couldn't happen if the system was balanced.
To sum it all up, these philosophical outlooks may change the game for sustainability. Currently, the game has been placed in a coffin due to its unsustainability. It's ready to be buried, they are just trying to get as many people to donate to its cause before they bury it...
Essentially, currently everyone wants to sell of their junk because they are deprived of worth because all they find is useless items. Yes, they will get items in the AH, but many won't even sell. If items were balanced, items would be circulating through it like no other (now).
If the loot table was balanced, players would constantly be selling off their items since they're replaced by new items, and since their old items were actually useful, they will slowly generate income to buy the next good thing, and slowly rank up. And since people rank up, they feel worthy, this makes them tell their friends, and more people start to play again (had they had a balanced system from the beginning, then all the players that just got the game would still be playing now, progressing).
Rather than now, more and more players are leaving than more people are joining, what you're left with are the old items trying to be resold in the AH, and every once in awhile a good item either being put at a correct price or put up by some noob that didn't know how to use the AH and underprices it where the bots and pro's immediately buy it and reap in more profits. This system is degenerative... players will leave and leave until there are only the best ones left, but since no one plays, everything they have become worthless as well.
The AH could have been successful, and will be if properly adjusted, but currently it's running out of fuel, they are just cashing in the last remaining customers by making them use the AH as much as they can, for nothing.
Once the loot table is balanced by establishing a unique system of RNG that creates items in consideration of what players would like, you can know that you're players are generally successful and this leads to them being able to take down more challenging foes, making the gameplay richer and more intense.
If the drop table is how it is now, I bet we would be able to actually beat the old Inferno, which was actually a good way to set the difficulty, actually making it hard. The only reason it didn't work out that way before was because the drop table before and still now, is just horrible and just makes only select players elite over everyone else. And once an elite group has been established, the pyramid scheme will arise, and everyone will be essentially enslaved, farming for the rich to reap in all the best items and monopolize the system.
They claim this game has millions of builds, but what they forget to mention is that 99% of them don't work, so you only end up using one build. What they need is to buff every skill, so they all are useful in some way, they have been doing that, but very hesitantly over time, which you can't blame, but changes effect the players too. Nerfs because a skill is overpowered make player's items specialized in that build lose value, the only way you can neutralize the overpowered"ness" is by buffing other skills and making them useful... they don't seem to be too focused on changing the methodology of how a skill works, in order for players to achieve a specialization in their ability.
Each skill needs to do one thing and one thing well. It is hard for me to elaborate or describe this because it would require me to come up with actual skill effects, but what I am pinpointing is that current skills are either weak and don't do as much as one particular skill that seems to do it all, or one particular rune on a skill. The more variety that actually is effective the more true diversity.
Going back to the topic of the original Diablo build that was shown in the trailer, how the graphics were oriented/styled; don't confuse me with meaning that PoE is better than Diablo III and ought to be the DIII at all. But the style of PoE and the Diablo III build in the trailer looked similar to DII, but the current DIII along with the version shown in the video have much smoother, more pleasing animations, and an aw-stucking physics system than verses PoE, what I find PoE lacks. It allows for the realism of the brute carnage that you witness at the very beginning of the video fighting ghouls. That is why I think if they should have trended more towards how they made the graphics shown in that build of the game it would've been a lot more resembling DII.
And of course, Diablo III is true to its playstyle that I still love, but its changed a philosophy in how the game works that really undercuts the rest of the game functionalities.
Some of you that have posted mentioned PoE saying that it still has that style of customization and diversity, however, I think they have taken the proper step of completely reworking how the game is thought out, and therefore not at all like DII. DIII captures the major essence of the old game, but the change in how you progress through the game because of the drops has ruined the experience for all of us.
The graphics in the build shown in the video above I would say is far more similar to DII and PoE. The more reflective textures on the models as I would describe it give it more of a shine and I think people would appreciate that over a dull blurred color.
If you want to take another look at how the game could look, take a look at DarkD3. However, I wouldn't recommend using it just because whether it's bannable or not is unclear (please don't bring up this topic, we're not discussing whether it is here).
I think many people would definitely have enjoyed a mix of the graphics of the earlier DIII build with DarkD3 (especially the old DII text) and perhaps elements of PoE (which is just a copy of DII, a bit polished, but still not as good as DIII's animations, imo... while of course gameplay wise it's a completely new realm).
Though I don't play that game either because I don't have the beta or I've actually been caught up getting far in DIII hoping that Blizzard will come around eventually, which they still can, I think that there is a region of players that DIII misses by having the graphics very much different than it was back in DII.
I want to cover this section using a good strategy, the strategy that is usually enclosed, but why should it be when we have this open forum of players from all over the world? The players, I mind you, the ones that play the game.
After going through the majority of the posts and picking out ones that clearly understood what these posts conceptually idealized, this is what they have to say about the system, pretty much a summary of the discerning populace of this game.
We can really see in general the direction we need to head by reading each of the player's thinking after they tried the product. We want to play the game, but the game is not balanced in a way the rewards the people that ought to be rewarded. When we can all progress on a comfortable curve and enjoy our journey through the game, that's the best game one could hope for.
From what it seems like there are two central issues in the game that I have addressed in the post, and something you also have to keep an eye on that was well represented by what one of them had to say.
I'll just begin with, budgeting.
Now that I have pretty much covered the majority of the game's design and what I think most of us would agree to be areas that can be tweaked and adjusted to better match the original design philosophy of the original game that set its mark in the gaming industry. These next two topics are dealing with areas of expansion.
I don't want to delve into it myself because then I would be developing the game for them, so I'll ask, knowing that these are very realistically necessary areas of improvement for the game, what would you like to be done in terms of these two routes of expanding the game to its maximum potential?
Post what you think!
Post your own ideas!
Edited by Sol#1257 on 4/9/2013 1:37 AM PDT
Because "kids" are Blizzards target new market. They are easily satisfied with pretty graphics mindless action. They also like to argue about who has the highest number(ie damage).
Instead of saying D3 failed, its more accurate to assume D3 sold out. Any random person can pick up the game and as long as they have the patience/real cash they can become "L33t".
True game is trivial with so many good legs. They also nerfed it for all the babies crying multiple times and about to nerf RD the last hard affix cos of listening to 'us'. Wish they stopped listening game was perfect in 1.0.2 IMHO and rares and even blues still had value. Now we dont even pick em up. Market is destroyed for anything not BiS which is a hand full of legs rolled right.
Edited by Aimless#1700 on 1/20/2013 9:54 PM PST
Where Diablo is heading...
If that's how Diablo II was then i want THAT in D3. I can't play D3 any more. I just tried today, and i poofed out before finishing half my run. 99.9% (literally) of loot being utterly worthless is too much. You can't sell it, you can't use it, why the hell am i playing this then lol. I'll keep a look out to see if the 1.07 is worth playing, or if it's just another Hellfire ring situation. (Having to craft dozens, and dozens of items just to get a "good" one.
Edited by ILLMINDedOn3#1662 on 1/20/2013 10:06 PM PST
So much hate... But Blizzard will continue to side with the majority, in this case the "kids". Happens in WoW, happens here. Now if you want an easy children game, go buy a Blizzard game.
You fail to mention that the problem in this game is not the quantity of the drops or the quality of the drops. The drops themselves are faulted. Good drops are depending on stacking luck; geting the multiple correct prefix and getting high rolls for them. Theres no weapon proficiency, elemental damage doesn't matter, and rarity doesn't guarantee better rolls. Essentially (and ideally), everyone wants the SAME item. Another example of a core failure.
More loot equals better loot. If instead of get one lottery ticket, you get ten every purchase, the odds of wining the lottery is increased significantly. But the payout is also similarly divided by the increased number of winners.
What was a $250 dollar item is now vendor trash. The benchmark on what is good keeps rising regardless if they give more loot or better loot. So no, drops are fine, itemization is the problem.
I didnt say i didnt. I'm just pointing out Blizzard can easily ignore the "more drops" pleas but they didnt because of their current policy of making money is more important than making a great game.
no one actually said they wanted MORE drops, they've all said they want better drops.
of course the current drop system is set up in such a way that it was simpler for blizz to just increase the drop rate with the assumption that more drops would mean people had more of a chance to find that good roll. unfortunately good rolls are so astronomically unlikely that it's made things worse.
they brought this on themselves
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