Diablo® III

the itemization problem and a proposed solution

I'm fairly new to Diablo 3, finished Inferno for the 1st time yesterday, but even so I've noticed the problem with items of which so many complain in the forum. Dont take me wrong for the rest of the post, I'm loving this game, but I do see how it could be better.

Basically everything I (and everyone else) get is worthless even selling; the blues I don't even look at the stats anymore, just salvage (and I imagine at some point I wont even pick); the yellows I can count on my fingers how many I used/sold, most are salvaged too; I still didnt find 20 legendaries in the whole story of my account, so I wont say anything about them "without data".

Thinking about this, I tried to figure out why is everything so bad. My first thought was the obvious "blizzard wants us to use the AH as much as possible", and it's possibly right, most my items I got looking for "underpriced" stuff at AH. But thinking a little harder I came up with another reason, might be right or not, I'm looking for opinions, and proposing a solution to the problem as I see it.

What happens with itemization in D3 is: there are too many "must-haves". Even before I reached 60 I felt it: all my barbarian's slots should have strenght, vitality and all resist, all possible slots should also have the maximum number of sockets, life steal/on hit, damage, movement speed, critical chance and critical damage; if I don't get all these things I die. Often. Period.

And having too many must-haves is bad because, if our items can have a limited number of affixes, what is left to choose? Take rings for example: put socket, critical chance, strenght, vitality, damage, all resist. Filled all 6 possible affixes, and didn't even ran out the must-haves list. You see what I mean? There's no space to choose something just because I like it, much less for trivialities. This makes the items that have that list of stats good, and everything else trash by definition.

Now just to make it clear: I'm NOT asking for a 7th, 8th and 9th affix slots on items. I think it would hurt the itemization rather than solve it, it would only extend the list of must-haves and widen the abyss between the good and the trash items. No, I propose something potentially better, if well developed (although I'm pretty sure many will be pissed, at least at first).

Limited stat stacking. It's like in D&D, where you can't have the same stat in 2 items, only the larger counts; but obviously it can't be so restrict here. I'm thinking in something like this:

- a stat that appears in very few slots (like Life steal, +damage, Arcane power on crit, etc) can be stacked in as many items as you can (after all, you wont stack it in more than 2 or 3 items);
- a stat that appears in some but not all slots (like crit chance) can be stacked in 4 items; if you have 5 or more, only the 4 highest ones count;
- a stat that appears in anything (like strenght) can be stacked in 6 slots; if you have 7 or more, only the 6 highest ones count;
- you can have sockets in all possible slots (weapon, chest, pants, rings, helm and amulet), and the stats from the gems you put in them stack indefinitely (just the way it is now);
- obviously, the game would show you, highlighting in red for example, which affixes in your items are being wasted.

This system may look very limiting, and it is, but if you think twice you'll see the huge amount of CHOICES it gives. And the reason is very simple: if, for example, you already stacked vitality on 6 items, you have a free affix in all other slots to use in other stuff; something marginally useful like dexterity for barbs, feed your greed with magic/gold find, a petty comfort like pick up radius, or even something truely useful that you didn't dare picking because it would make you sacrifice a must-have, like a specific skill enhancement.

Taking the math a little further: we have 12 item slots (with 2-handed weapon) and up to 6 affixes in each, so it's 72 affixes in total. following the proposed system with a barb as example, I could use 6 for strenght, 6 vor vitality, 6 for all resist, 4 for crit chance, 4 for crit damage, 4 for armor, 2 to life steal (weapon and belt), 4 for +damage (weapon, rings and amulet), 1 for movement speed (boots), 7 for the sockets. I spent 44 affixes, ran out the must-have list, and there are still 28 free affixes to choose whatever I like, from skill enhancements to pick up radius.

With a system like this, it would be harder to be perfectly geared; after all, you are forced into a greater variety of stats that would need to be perfectly tought in order to not overstack any. On the other hand, it would be easier to be acceptablly geared; after all, you wouldn't need to fill absolutely all your affix spaces with the same stats.

Another advantage, this one I think would please EVERYONE, is that it would cheapen the items that are currently considered perfect, while also giving value to less-than-perfect items. "these boots are almost perfect, but they have intelligence instead of strenght... it's ok, I can have strenght somewhere else, I don't need strenght in absolutely all my items, just in 6 of them."

Finally, choosing your items would require a little more brains, which would be a welcome change for some, and mortal boredom to others. "if I change this item, I gain in stats A and B, but I overstack stat C...".

Such a huge change would be hard to make, but I really think this is worthy a test (internal at least). It would require rebalancing the whole game (imagine playing with crit chance capped around 40% because you can't stack it in more than 4 items, it would need to retune all crit based builds... and so on). I don't think it can be done in a simple patch, but in the first expansion maybe. [hopeful thoughts]

Now, your opinions. I'm foreseing pissed people making enraged comments, so I'll (probably uselessly) ask: if you disagree, no need to enrage. Just say what you disagree with (I said a lot here), how you disagree, why you disagree, it's a lot more productive. I know how to deal with people that disagree with me, at worst we will have different opinions forever, but it's not impossible for you to convince me I'm wrong and change my point of view with logic. And if you have an alternative solution, it's welcome too. It's a forum of discussion, not a fish market.
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I like your concept of proposing limits. This game felt very awkward when I first started playing. I found that I wasn't changing my gear choices I was just getting more of the same stats.

Limits are good within reason.

Limited stat stacking. It's like in D&D, where you can't have the same stat in 2 items, only the larger counts; but obviously it can't be so restrict here.

I think they would have to add a ton of stats to the game in order to move forward with something like this.
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What you're proposing is already in place..
From rough memory of my Barb gear, you can only get lifesteal on weapons and IK belt. Not all items can roll everything.
Also, itemization is changed when you consider EHP. You don't need to stack vit, AR, etc on every piece of gear. I mix it with STR, and one or two of the others depending on what piece it is, and my EHP. It works tremendously. Sure I could try to get all affixes perfect with all those, but it would cost too much and isn't necessary. This leaves room for other stuff like gold find, magic find, whatever you want.

Also, sometimes, items like Inna's Temperence that is not a Barb item can have a greater affect on gameplay. That's evidence that itemization isn't always strict.
Edited by Havok#1810 on 2/7/2013 10:43 PM PST
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I understand why you say it's already in place quoting life steal, but obviously they didint take the idea deep enough, or perfect things wouldnt feel like must-haves and less-than-perfect wouldn't feel like trash. we all can see this effect by the prices at AH, a ring with str, vit, socket, all resist, crit chance and damage costs a lot, loose 1 or 2 of these stats and can be worthy less than 50k.

also, they used this idea by making some affixes only appear in some slots (again, life steal in weapon and belt). what I'm proposing is, even if it appears in, let's say, 8 slots, you can't stack all 8, you can 4, as in the example I gave above. In spite of being limiting, I really think it would do good to itemization, it would get rid of the notion of "perfect items", because any flaw the item has can be compensated in another item.

it would also possibly slow down the "crit fest", I mean, it's a little absurd that most my hits are crits, and even more absurd that 90% of my damage output is in my crits so large is the multiplier.
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