Diablo® III

Getting clear on why items suck (long)

Very good post. Lots of interesting ideas to add longevity to Diablo III. You should apply for that Game Design position that Blizzard posted recently.
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Yeah. As I said, it may be right that some sort of caps work the best. I just hope there is another way. And as bad a word that it is, nerfs may be necessary to achieve balance. When they nerfed ias, crit/cd was already more powerful than ias, people were just not aware of it yet. Now there is no other stat that compares, and builds have been catered to high crit, not just for damage but for procs. Caps or nerfs, any adjustment to crit is going to be painful and cause an uproar. But alas, something should be done.

I certainly don't suggest that caps and sharp diminishing returns are the only solutions here - I merely cite those as obvious examples that people will be familiar with and that were present in D2. But we do need something that allows items lacking the best affixes to nonetheless be useful as something other than a placeholder for better items. In one way or another, nerfing will happen, though just a straight nerf to crit damage or any other stats wouldn't solve anything.

A cd cap seems the least harmful, and would open up a lot. The only thing I worry about is going down a road of too many caps, in which every build just stats up to each cap, and diversity is even less rather than more.

Implementing caps and calling it a day would solve little, or possibly nothing. Caps permit viability of diverse sets of stats, but diverse stats is another thing this game lacks.

Balancing could still be tough though. If we traded a bit of power from crafted items for a bit more control in outcome over time, with gear saturation, crafting would likely again become obsolete.

That's alright, though - it doesn't need to be in balance with loot from other sources at all levels of gear. I see it mostly as something to utilize in the process of putting together a kit, not necessarily a source of ultimate endgame gear. In fact, this already applies to crafting in general (though not after the next patch).
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You look at what the game is and search for an itemization to fit it.

This goes as follows: The game has a huge item-inflation and offers the most profits Loot- and XP-wise with low-difficulty speed runs.
So naturally the only thing players will look for is killspeed after a bare minimum of survivability.
Here you can change the itemization, the items, the skills in which way you can imagine, in the end all players will still look for the exact same thing.
To be fair: it's this way in every RPG I know, but with the AH in place it somehow matters way WAY more than it did for example in D2.

Now look at it in a different perspective: see what the itemization is, and look for game-changes to fit it.

If you disregard killspeed there are a TON of fun skills and items to choose from and the itemization doesn't look so bad.
So scaling Loot and XP on time-investment would be a thing to consider. There would be a huge diversity in skills and items if a pack you take 10min to kill would drop the same as 10 packs you need 1min to kill. Of course there had to be some measures to see if it is a fight or if a tanky barb with crazy lifereg lets himself hit an hour while beeing afk.
This way all the bonuses from higher MP's would really be effective and if you'd rather do the hard stuff you wouldn't feel like you wasted time.

maybe you see other solutions to the problem, but trying to fit a versatile itemization to a game where killspeed is all that matters and pack abilitys that can be 95% ignored (with the exception of RD, and even that gets nerfed) seems kinda hopeless to me.
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01/27/2013 06:25 PMPosted by Buchsbaum
maybe you see other solutions to the problem, but trying to fit a versatile itemization to a game where killspeed is all that matters and pack abilitys that can be 95% ignored (with the exception of RD, and even that gets nerfed) seems kinda hopeless to me.

Interesting point. What kind of changes to the game that still fit the Diablo theme could overcome this though?

PvP will certainly bring some different defensive items up in value that were previously worth very little. Other than that the main things I can see is a return to pre 1.03 like settings, where glass cannons vs tank builds were both options. Or, some sort of challenge modes that are sometimes suggested in the forums. While some sound interesting, those do not seem very Diablo-like and more like SC custom games.

It would be hard to get people off the speed route, as speed = rewards. Perhaps one route would be to equate speed in different loot runs with certain items, as in those that gives bonus vs demons. That is most effective in act 4, and works pretty well in act 3. It could get a lot more creative than that, with certain bonus catered to certain monster types (perhaps elemental weakness). Then there could be sets to max speed in act 4 (after they make it viable to farm) vs sets that max speed in act 1. A pretty limited idea that probably few min/maxers would bother with, but a start. I would be interested in more ideas that could change the "one set to speed farm" gear mentality.

The only fly in that ointment is Blizzard continuing shift to the attitude of keep it as simple as possible at all costs. I really think this attitude is just hurting the game.
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Hey I really like this post! I feel like it's also worth mentioning about the scaling of items and player stats. Diablo 2 has a much smaller scale than D3/WoW, so you don't find yourself replacing a level 54 item with a level 57 item etc etc...

As per this post a while back: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/6758676320?page=7#137
There are a few Problems that become clearer when you directly compare D2 loot from D3 loot.

A lvl 81 Unique weapon in D2 vs. a lvl 39 unique
For example.... take The Grandfather in D2 with an average dmg of 196.75 when used as a barb 1 hander, and an attack speed of 1.56aps. That makes it a 307dps weapon.
Headstriker, a nice lvl 39 1 hander, had an average dmg of 87.5, and an attack speed of 1.66aps which makes it a 145.25 dps weapon.
In D3. Lets be fair and use percentage here (42 out of 99 levels would be 25 lvls in a 60 lvl system, so compare a 60 and a 35)
Devil Tongue on average will have 853 dps (lvl 60)
Wildwood on average will have 72.55 dps (lvl 37)
The difference in D2 between top tier and midlevel is a 211% increase in base weapon DPS.
The difference in D3 between top tier and midlevel is a 1175%
See the issue?

P.s. there's many good posts in that thread by Carson#1774 that nail the issues.
Edited by Onetwo#1132 on 1/27/2013 10:28 PM PST
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Regarding why people feel the AH is a design mistake - the drop rates, that is, the standardized Diablo 3 drop rates (overall) are based on an auction house trading system instead of the trade/barter system in Diablo 2. As such, just finding loot that is an upgrade for you is a real problem for people, and I'm talking even leveling up. The entire drop rate mechanism is designed to drive you into the AH at some point, which will vary depending on the player's tenacity/patience.

The problem here is not one of loot quality, but sufficient quantity, especially during leveling up, to find upgrades that actually feel like (and are) upgrades. Nephalem Valor is a royally misguided crutch, and only works for players at max level, which is the exact opposite of the way it needs to work (assuming we maintain D3's abysmal loot distribution scenario as is). In Diablo 2, rares were relatively...rare, and uniques, while rare were still found a whole freaking lot more than in Diablo 3.

During my level up process on my first Monk, I didn't find a single legendary until LV 53 in Hell. And of the few rares that did drop (remember, no NV until LV 60), only a single one was even an upgrade at the time.

There is also the problem of item relevancy even during leveling up. That is, most rares and legendaries are still ten levels past their relevancy at the location in the game where they drop. This is a big problem. Because of this, unless you buy the (also misguided) "Reduces Level Requirement by XX" items from the AH or farm them on a max level character of your own, you ultimately feel weaker as you level rather than stronger. That's one of the biggest letdowns in the entire game. Items that drop two full acts past where they're needed and useful for are utter garbage. This major problem is the main factor driving people to the AH system, because natural progression during leveling up happens so rarely that it just feels awful, and the sad part is that this is how the game was intentionally designed.

The loot quality doesn't need to be increased, and in reality the iLV 63+ enhanced jewelery and new Archon rare level set pieces for crafting in the next patch should have been tied to either questlines or new sub-areas within each act for players to farm. With that in mind, when I say the loot quality doesn't need to be increased, that is the overall available max loot quality. What does need to be changed is when many of these affixes roll. Can you complete Hell with a 200 DPS weapon? Sure. Are you going to have enjoyed your playing time while doing so? Almost assuredly not. I should know - I didn't have the gold on my Wizard, who was my first LV 60, to buy things from the AH the first go-around so I had to gear up naturally. Suffice it to say I did not enjoy elite packs taking damn near as long as a full-on World of Warcraft raid boss to down with such pitiful equipment.

To add to the above mix of grossly unworthy loot for when you get it, the RNG is stacked against you to roll certain affixes more often than others to the point where getting a halfway viable item on your own just takes way, way too long. Even farming using a midrange paragon level character, getting gear for my alts has been....well, let's just say at this point I'm just running certain areas in certain difficulties for certain items in the hopes that I can find something that sells for a lot of gold (or money) and then use those funds to get my alt their gear before continuing to level up.

The reality in D3 isn't that the items in and of themselves suck, it's where the items drop (relevancy during leveling) and remarkably rare occurence of even a halfway decent roll that combine to make the drops suck, in addition to the OP's points outlined above. I can virtually guarantee if we had more low/mid level legendaries and set items (sets especially) with diverse characteristics and Diablo 2's drop rates for all items in general, much of the item suck complaints would vanish overnight. I shouldn't be halfway through Hell before I see my first Legendary, and in my case specifically, four months into the game before I even saw my first set item. Yes, I didn't get my first set item until September last year. All in all I've seen three set items so far, and I can actually name them right off the top of my head: Blackthorne's Medal [Legacy], Tal Rasha's Allegience, and Shen'Long's Relentless Assault [No Socket]. Pretty pathetic, no?

I suspect that the problem with the item relevancy during leveling has to do with the fact that the item drop areas were really designed around the old Diablo 2 Normal, Nightmare, and Hell sequence, but Diablo 3 also has Inferno, meaning that the item "squish" was made much worse and thus what would have been relatively OK placement of item drops in a three tiered difficulty design becomes an abysmal range in a four tier difficulty design structure. The plain truth is that Inferno should have been Hard Mode+, available once meeting certain extra criteria after defeating Hell, not the way it is all strung together now.

It's going to take a massive rewrite of item affix range rolls, drop locations, and addition of items to really fix Diablo 3's loot problems. I hope the developers realize this instead of continuing the WoW raid tier type increases we're starting to see happen on a regular basis.

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Edited by TheTias#1192 on 1/27/2013 11:34 PM PST
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Your entire post is both very smart and very true. Your analysis is spot on.

The only problem is that fixing all of this will require a deep and complete revamp of the itemization system, something that has probably been through years of development, iteration and re-iteration. Even though "I" as a player, see the full value of doing such a rework, as a dev and a company you see things from behind the curtain.

The harsh reality is that this fix really is all that D3 needs. It doesn't need a new story, the removal of AH, better lobby interface or offline play. It needs exactly what you describe, and the game will instantly go from 3.8 to 7+ on metacritic, and be a worthy successor.

But of course, as much as blizzards states that they will continue to work on D3 to make it awesome, they are doing easy patchwork sollution, rather than grabbing the bull by the horns. Why? Because it requires years of development to do just that, and by the time it is finished the xpac is already underway, probably (hopefully) with all of the above.
What we are witnessing is a stalling tactic, with juuust enough meat and carrot on a stick to keep us playing (Paragon, pvp, hellfire ring, balance changes),
Edited by Cavemandiary#2580 on 1/28/2013 12:39 AM PST
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Posts: 121
Adding caps to stats correctly would do anything but further limit diversity and creativity with builds.

In D2, you chose which caps you intended to hit when designing a set of gear. Certain stats, like resistances for example, were almost always a priority, but others, like chance to block or faster hit recovery or faster cast rate, were just available choices, and I say choices because hitting the cap on every stat was impossible. The addition of choices like this would surely make gearing more interesting.
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Agree in all your points OP.

About this:

01/26/2013 11:06 AMPosted by Saigyouji
Don't use the AH. You don't need to, and the game's far more enjoyable without it.

I do guess wouldn't be a solution.

I mean it's there, practically the whole game and itemization have been designed around it, to force you to use it. This was another big mistake. If not, at least, they would have worked better on social aspect (lobby etc.) giving back the list of named room to join and to trade with people. Bartering was another key of this franchise that they missed completely in Diablo 3, and i guess all of us know why; because the RMAH.
Edited by Kajuan#2923 on 1/28/2013 3:35 AM PST
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One very big issue with this game that could actually help remedy the issue of caps (and which I haven't heard any discussion of myself) is the issue of which affixes roll on which types of items.

Currently, items basically serve to fill up a certain slot with a good roll of the same things. Attack speed, crit, crit dmg, etc.

Well, why should I be looking for a chest armor that increases my attack speed? I have one, but why does even an set or unique chest piece improve my damage at all? It's a piece of armor. If its properties focused on different kinds of protection exclusively (with the exception of giving primary stats, perhaps) then it would actually feel like it was chosen to be a piece of armor and not a pseudo-weapon.

Same thing for pants. Why do my Inna's pants improve my attack speed and critical hit? (Granted they are the only ones that can and it's only a 1% crit chance, but you can bet that 1% crit chance combined with attack speed makes them a very popular item among many classes). They're pants. Even unique pants should focus on movement/armor.

The way I see it, we should have an itemization system that treats items not as placeholders for affixes but as actual items that do what they appear to. Here's a possible example schema:

Helm Rolls:
Minor Protective Properties/Armor
Magic Find
Pickup Distance
Bonuses to Ranged Skills/Range of Skills

Shoulder Rolls:
Minor Protective Properties
Minor Attack Speed

Amulet Rolls:
Anything, since it's a magic amulet, but leans towards magical properties like fear/freeze/bleed/etc curses on hit or other odd properties.

Chest Rolls:
Armor/Major Protective Properties
Vitality Preference
Reflect Damage
Magic Find

Arm Rolls:
Attack Speed
Minor Armor/Protection
Minor Crit Chance/Dmg.

Glove Rolls:
Minor Attack Speed
Crit Chance/Dmg
Minor Armor/Protection
Pickup Radius
Bonuses to Melee Skills
Magic Find

Ring Rolls:
Similar to amulet since it's a magic ring and you could expect anything from it.

Belt Rolls:
Minor Move Speed
Minor Protection
Stats, preferring Vitality
Magic Find

Pants Rolls:
Major Move Speed
Armor/Protective Properties

Boot Rolls:
Major Move Speed
More Affixes That do Things to the Ground
Transport Ability Bonuses (Giving Abilities From Other Classes, even)
Bonuses to Kicking Skills

Weapon Rolls:
Stats but NO Vitality
Life Steal/Resource Leech/LoH
Special Hit Affixes (chance to do x on hit)
Class-specific skill bonuses on class-specific weapons only.
Attack Speed
Critical Hit Buffs
Elemental Damage

Shield Rolls:
Massive Armor
Major Bock%
Major Resistance/Protective Affixes
Reflect Damage%/Thorns

If we had a system like this, items would feel far more like what they are supposed to be and we'd also not be looking for ridiculous damage from things like a helmet or chest piece. Damage should be centered on the hands and damage affixes should reduce in strength as they move away from the hands until they have no chance of rolling. Similarly, vitality and protection should center on the chest (and shield) and be reduced as the item moves away from there. Movement should be in the legs and near the legs only.

And, most importantly, it needs to hold true across all the legendaries too.

Put interesting affixes on them for sure but don't put interesting DAMAGE on a chest piece. Put interesting protection there.
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01/26/2013 11:06 AMPosted by Saigyouji
But more importantly, the fact that crafting is 100% randomized is a design flaw. Given the extreme inherent randomness of dropped loot, it seems odd to implement a form of crafting which just gives you more 100% randomness.

I've thought about this as to how this would work in real life. It would be like taking eggs, onion and bacon out of the fridge, cooking it, and only once out of every 20 times ending up with an omelet.

Haedrig must not know what the fack he is doing.

01/26/2013 11:06 AMPosted by Saigyouji
In D2 getting new/better gear could fundamentally change the way your character operated. It could turn a barbarian into a werewolf, a necromancer into an undead caster with the fireball spell, or less dramatically, it could give you an aura, make you entirely immune to freeze, allow you to leech life off of enemies you normally couldn't, give you new spells, etc. This is almost completely missing in D3.

This is my #1 with this game. I figured that B would take this direction with the "instantly customizable gameplay" they suggest with the lack of skill tree and such. They had the opportunity to heavily diversify play mechanics, and only got it halfway there, and not the good half. I mean, it is now 2013. Why are there not thousands of insanely different Legendaries.
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You're forgetting that there's an expansion. They need to make sure it's worth buying.

D2 classic vs. the expansion is like night and day.

You should also play hardcore. Yea, your characters are going to die, but itemization for the most part is the least of your concerns.
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Excellent post

More people should like this as Itemisation is the single biggest problem currently left in the game

Agree with all the points

Also agree with the "power curve" commentary in point 1 and that it is not really an issue anymore - but I do think it used to be an issue and Blizz has fixed it.

The relative quality of dropped gear and AH gear will always be stable (as the OP described) but the relative quality of the gear relative to the content difficulty isn't always stable.

At launch Inferno was so unbalanced that most people needed to be much further up the power curve to handle inferno. Between inferno nerfs and drop rate buffs, you can handle inferno with a much lower gear quality (which works fine for current format).

So that one is fixed - but all the others - let's keep this visible for the Blues when they come back from Vegas.
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Great post, I agree with most of the topics, I hope it gains the visibility it deserves.
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Constructive or not, it's getting pretty redundant at this point. Just move on to a new game and stop posting about fixing items when the game is flawed beyond just items to begin with. The priority has always been the game itself, namely the skill system.
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01/28/2013 02:42 PMPosted by JayUltimatum
Constructive or not, it's getting pretty redundant at this point. Just move on to a new game and stop posting about fixing items when the game is flawed beyond just items to begin with. The priority has always been the game itself, namely the skill system.

Disagree with this

Itemisation can be revamped massively in the expansion

I personally don't have too much of a problem with the skill system - I just think the itemisation and damage mechanics are not compatible with the RNG model they have currently.

Read all of the OP - it's super thoughtful
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Itemisation is also the one area where there is near universal player consensus that it is flawed.

For every person saying they want permanent skill points, there are people saying they like the flexibility of not having permanent skill options.

But there isn't a single voice out there saying "they really nailed itemisation - wouldn't really change that"
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