Gear Based Difficulty & Drop Ranges

Items and Crafting
Posted in general, was not even visible on page 1 when I went back after posting. the TLDR is that the game's difficulty curve is off thanks to the gear drop range being too wide.

It seems to be fairly clear that players first crow about how easy Diablo is as they wade through Normal beating down foes, before progressing to Nightmare and seeing that things are a little tougher, but not unmanageable.
Then there are players who claim late Hell and Inferno are far too difficult, and farming is largely unrewarding.

A few things I've noticed throughout the game:

1 You never see gear drop that is higher level than your character
2 You routinely see gear drop that is many levels lower than your character
3 good rolls on lower level gear will serve you well for a long time

1 is a good thing. You shouldn't need to be finding gear that is better than your character can use, even if you'll "grow into it". Gear should scale appropriately with level so that there isn't a big jump between two levels necessitating a player collecting gear for future use in that way.
2 and 3 are pretty common concepts. You expect to see a range of gear drop for your character, some useful, most not. This is natural because you're always equipping the best gear you can, so the more gear you get, the harder it will be to find a drop that is in that top % of possible gear.
The question becomes, how wide a range of gear is appropriate?

I believe Normal difficulty can be deemed "easy" by a lot of players because the gear range is huge, and subsequently the difficulty has to account for such a wide range of gear. If you subsist only on drops, by Act II you're level 20 and probably still wearing one or two of the guaranteed rares you got from the Act I bosses. If you got lucky with some blues, it will feel fairly easy. If you got dud rares and have had trouble getting decent drops, you might be having a few difficulties.

Then again, you can go on AH and buy gear for your level. Suddenly everything is dead simple. This is because if the difficulty was tuned so that you actually needed halfway decent gear at the level you're on now, you'd need to farm all the time to keep updating your gear.

What happens at the higher difficulties is that suddenly the enemies start getting tuned up higher and higher, so that the above situation gets closer to the truth. Meanwhile the gear range remains the same. So you're farming, trying to get that higher % of gear, and being swamped in gear several levels below you. They might be good rolls, but if they're not better than what you have, they get junked or sold on AH, to players a few levels below who can snap them up because everyone is collecting a ton of gold while they farm.

I would have thought narrowing the gear range and providing a steadier increase in difficulty would have been a better idea. If instead of holding on to a well rolled level 20 rare for the next 15 levels, you only hold on to it for about 5, because after that it's just not good enough anymore, and besides which you're now seeing blues that are better. So maybe you farm for a while, looking for that well rolled new item, and press onward.

I don't have a huge issue with the current design, but I think the difficulty curve is skewed because of it.
You're comparing good roll level X gear with bad roll level X+10 or so gear, right?
And the problem is that very often the good roll level X gear will be better?
Personally, I feel like that's a good thing. Allows more randomization, and more excitement with getting gear.

You shouldn't ever be using bad rolls anyway, so a good comparison would be a good roll level X gear with good roll level X+10 gear in which case the latter will almost always win.

Heck, when I was going from 51-60 I must've changed my weapon at least 5 or 6 times, always upgrading to a much better version. For instance, a good lv51 weapon has 280 dps. A good lv56 weapon has 400 dps. See how big a difference those 4 levels make?
You're comparing good roll level X gear with bad roll level X+10 or so gear, right?
And the problem is that very often the good roll level X gear will be better?

Not exactly.
Well, actually, yes, but the important part is the X+10.
If it's X+5, as in your example, that's a great thing. It's nice and tight, yet each step up makes a noticeable difference.
I would expect a bit of an overlap in gear values, so that say, a bad rolled level 40 weapon would have damage and attribute ranges that would allows a good rolled level 32 to be on par with it, and a good rolled 40 to be on par with a bad rolled 48.

Instead, it's possible to roll up level 18 gear that is still better than level 32 gear. Sure, a good rolled level 32 is better, but it means that the difficulty has to account for a giant range of possible gear. If you have all good rolled 32s, you'll breeze through.
If instead you had tighter gear ranges, you have less of that because you can be sure about what gear people should have when going into an area.
Oh, I see what you mean. So, basically, due to gear, at each particular level your strength can vary a great deal. Yes, that's definitely true. Not sure why that's bad though.
It's bad because in the early game you'll tend to be overpowered (because a good drop will be viable for 15 levels of gameplay from the time you get it) while in the late game you hit a brick wall (because you're supposed to need the highest level gear but you'll still be getting all kinds of stuff that will never be viable).

If it's tightened up, suddenly you need to farm a bit in each act in each difficulty, instead of breezing through the early difficulties and hitting a wall in the later ones. I'd say it's working as intended, but I think they could have gated it a bit better.
05/20/2012 06:52 PMPosted by Fugue
You never see gear drop that is higher level than your character

not true, have had items that i couldnt use due to level drop for me.
Actually i believe the level of gear allowed to drop is based on the level range each quest area have. To see this ranges go to the public game menu where you can click on every quest and see the level range. If you progress faster than recommended/expected you will start seeing some of this.

Join the Conversation

Return to Forum