First, a disclaimer. I primarily play monk, so my knowledge of other classes is limited. Apologies if I get something wrong, and apologies for the monk-slant to the thread. Hopefully everyone can envision the changes for their own characters.
Second, this post only involves loot and anything related to loot. There are other things the game needs fixed, but we're not addressing them here.
Part 1: What is wrong
Before we address how we fix loot in Diablo, we first need to understand what is wrong. There are three major topics in my mind:
Affixes: There are two issues with affixes:
1. There is a huge discrepancy between "good" affixes (CC%, CD%, LS, socket, etc) and "bad" affixes (+radius, +globe, etc), such that if an item does not have the required "good" affxies it is rendered vendor trash. It's fine for some affixes to be better than others, but the degree that they are currently different is too large. You can't afford to have a "bad" affix on your item since it will drastically reduce your damage or survivability.
2. There is no synergy between the affixes on an item and the player's skills. Most skills either are entirely unaffected by what items you wear (for instance, defensive cooldowns or CC abilities), or entirely based on your total weapon damage, which is a conglomeration of the "good" affixes. All "bad" affixes have no effect on skills, and even the "good" affixes are just clumped together into that all-holy weapon damage. The only synergistic affix is crit chance, where some skills are proc'd off of crits, but CC% is so important enough in weapon damage that you never worry that you are sacrificing something by stacking it to maximize your skills.
One of the great things about D2 was that the items would directly affect your skills in unique ways, such that if you got one of those coveted items you would consider rebuilding your character AROUND that item. In D3, there is no item that, if you got, would you think to build a character specifically for that item. The bare minimum is one hander vs two hander, which is so basic it is laughable.
Legendaries: Ah legendaries, the things that make and break the game. Again, there are two issues with legendaries in my mind:
1. Too many have no chance to be good. This is most prevalent with weapons. Look at "max" legendaries like Wizardspike or Sky Splitter. Wizardspike has no CD, no socket, no LS, and no random magical property. Sky Splitter is the same, but with one random. Even if you pulled the unlikely "perfect" roll, it's still going to struggle to compete with a legendary like Echoing Fury, let alone some rares.
2. They just aren't interesting. I was very disappointed when Blizz went through and "revamped" the legendaries to make them really unique, but in the end they just added odd little effects that are cute, but don't affect gameplay. The only "interesting" legendaries are ones like Lacuni's or Witching Hour, where you get affixes that don't normally appear on the item with a lot of variability in the random affixes. However, none of these make your character more interesting to play, they just make him do more damage.
Auction House: Ah the AH, the real curse of Diablo. The issue is quite simple. It is so much easier finding upgrades in the AH versus finding them out killing monsters. Excluding craftables, I am currently wearing only two items I actually found, and the rest was all picked up from the AH, all but one was for under 2 million (the other was 8 million). I'm not sure why I play exactly, since I haven't found an upgrade in over a month, other than to get to paragon 100..
We can't remove the AH, because, honestly, it's not going. Nor can we increase drop rates, since upping drop rates only makes items even more easy to get in the AH. In my mind, we need to make items drop in-game that cannot be pulled from the AH, and must be easily able to compete for BiS. Things brings us to part 2...
Part 2: How to fix
The following are my suggestions/ideas on how to fix the problem. First, I didn't want overly complex solutions, or solutions that overhaul one or more major aspects of Diablo (something I felt Monstrous went too far on). Simple solutions are better than complex solutions.
Second, I am ignoring/assuming that the changes Blizzard has already hinted at (such as making legendaries drop at all levels), are in place, so I won't address those. These are in addition to whatever has been pseudo-but-not-officially-announced. Anyway, let's get to the good stuff:
1. Synergize the weaker affixes: Blizzard has already stated they are looking at thorns and making it scale to damage. Fine, but you're only making it more useful, but it still has no effect on skills. To make the lesser stats more important, they need to directly affect the skills that I use. Try these on for size:
- +Health Globe is replaced by an affix +Healing %. +Healing % increases the amount healed from all sources by x%. This not only affects health gained from health globes, life regen and life steal, but also from skills, such as Breath of Heaven, Bloodthirst, Brooding, etc.
- +Pickup Radius is replaced by an affix +Aura, which now affects AoE-type skills (not a big fan of the name "Aura", but for lack of a better term, let's go with it). AoE skills, such as explosions, mantras, Sweeping Wind, etc are all increased by your Aura rating. Obviously it would factored/scaled down per skill (a screen-wide Sweeping Wind would be a bit much), but the point is, the aura directly affects HOW your skills work, which is something no affix does currently (they just affect skill's output). Think of how you might want itemize your gear if you could make your Exploding Palm's explosion radius 2 or 3 times larger.
2. Enhance class-specific items/+Skill affixes: I look at a class specific item, and really, I don't see it as something "better" for my class, but just something another class can't use. I'm not at all excited when I see a spirit stone drop, for instance, as it most likely is useless. Only the barbarian, with LS on a belt, has something special in their class-specific item.
Now, let's harken back to D2, which had a slew of +skill type affixes. Those were always interesting and added a cool flavors to the game. They actually would cause you to rethink your character and try different builds. Many items had 3 or more of these affixes on one item. So, I propose:
- All class-specific items get one or more +skill affixes for free (i.e., does no use up an affix slot). To be clear, by +skill, I mean stuff like the existing "increases damage of <skill> by x%". Now, I'm looking for spirit stones, since I have a chance to boost one of my skills without sacrificing other affixes that I want. It now causes more build diversity, as you're likely using items with +skills that you may not otherwise have used.
- Add a slew more +skill affixes. If we're allowing 2 or 3 of these skill affixes per item, then if only the big skills have +skills it decreases any chance of variety. We need to add ones for virtually all skills, such as increasing Breath of Heaven range/healing, or Serenity's duration, etc.
These changes make it very similar to D2 items, where it wasn't just how much damage you did, but also what +skills you had on your items. You could create builds and characters around just the right combination of +skill items.
3. Make all Legendaries able to roll BiS-type numbers: Quite a simple change, really. Give all legendaries enough random affixes such that they COULD be a MP8-10-worthy item, but obviously if they rolled the right affixes. So, give Wizardspike and Skysplitter +3 random affixes, to use my example above. It's frustrating enough to find legendaries, but it's even more frustrating to see one on the ground and already know it's a brimstone.
Furthermore, the most "interesting" legendaries are the ones with the most variety due to affixes. We need to get rid of what I call "binary" legendaries, which are ones with one random affix. They then just turn into "did it roll the 'good' affix or not?", which is not fun or interesting at all. Compare that to Lacuni's or Nat's ring, which has high amounts of variability and all sorts of shades between bad and godly.
4. Make Legendaries legendary, and synergize with other stats: The core change to legendaries. Make every legendary have not just something unique, but even better, gameplay-changing. Really, here your imagination can go wild, for instance:
- You are enveloped in a shield that provides immunity to one type of elemental damage. The immunity randomly changes every 4 seconds (wouldn't that be appropriate on Mara's Kaleidoscope?)
- Whenever your deal/take damage, you have a small chance to proc a random shrine effect on yourself for a minute. Can only occur every 120 seconds.
Really, I'm sure the community can come up with hundreds of these (Monstrous had a few good ones in his post, such as increasing cold damage by 5% of cold resist). I can list them as they come in if there is demand. The point is to not have "sissy" procs like a poison nova, or a minion that does no damage, and actually have procs that change how I play or gear my character.
And it is here that you can also boost the importance of the lesser affixes. Try these on for size:
- Slows enemies within your radius/aura by 20%
- Your aura damages enemies within it for 20% of your weapon damage
- Your damage is increased for every monster in your aura (Monstrous's idea)
- Your life regen also damages monsters in your aura for the amount healed
- When you pick up a health globe, the globe explodes, damaging nearby enemies for 3 times the amount healed
- Whenever you take damage, thorns now damages all enemies around you
- Whenever you take damage, you have a chance to be enveloped in a shield equal to the amount reflected by thorns
- All resists are equal to your highest resist (Yes, OWE for everyone. OWE is one of the most fun skills to gear for, as when you happen to get a godly drop with one resist, you have to think about regarding for that resist. Really, one of the most interesting gearing choices I've dealt with in the game).
The point being is that here is where you can really synergize the lesser stats. Creating Passives or skills that rely on a lesser stat probably won't be used at all, as the skill slots are too important to give one up to lesser stats. However, you can add them to legendaries to really make some interesting build/gearing choices.
5 Reduce the influence of the AH: Hellforged: I made this suggestion in a separate post, but I am repeating it here. You can make all of the above changes, make amazing legendaries, affixes, etc. but if you don't address the problem of the AH, the game is still a waste. If we're never going to be able to find upgrades in game, where's the excitement and the "just one more, I know it'll drop for me this time" feeling that D2 had?
There's two ways to solve it. One is to just make all legendaries BoA and increase their drop rate. That would effectively kill the AH for major upgrades, but I have a feeling that the community might resist that (personally I'd like it, but I know I'm just one opinion).
The other solution is to allow for Legendaries to be designated as "Hellforged". Whenever a legendary drops, it has a 10% chance to be flagged as Hellforged. Hellforged items have all of its stats boosted 25%, can roll one more affix, but is BoA (obviously the numbers can be worked to whatever makes sense). Now we all have something to LOOK for, something that make us drool and get real excited about when it drops. We have something to be PROUD of when we wear it, since only I found it, and only I can wear it. The thrill of the hunt is back, as everyone looks for one of these bad boys.
This now means the AH is what is should be, a place to find upgrades to fill in holes while you search for the real deal. And they'll be rare enough that it should take a long time for people to really fill out their gear with a good Hellforged set. Hellforged can also have special effects (flames, etc) and stuff to really make it shine and stand out.
6 Other smaller changes
- Borrow the idea from the WKL and add a regularly appearing affix "Increases Lighting/Fire/etc damage by x%". First, finding affixes like these, again, might change how you build your character. Second, it also affects weapon elemental damage type, not only decreasing the value of "black" weapons, but also giving importance to elemental damage on weapons, which is something the game is lacking
- Increase the MF/GF cap to 350%. Why? We all know the intent behind paragon levels, which is to remove the need to stack MF at the cost of output to find gear. I agree with that, but I wonder if it went just a hair too far, where MF is useless at PG 100. With a 50% MF room, you still need to at least think about gearing a little MF, and adds more gearing choices and thought to the game at high levels, instead of damage, damage and more damage.