Why are sets so important to the devs?

General Discussion
I don't get it.

Everyone asks Why we can't have a diverse pool of endgame builds, and all we get is "That's because we haven't made sets for those builds yet!"

It doesn't make any sense. Builds should be created by the player, not by the developer. What the players are actually asking for is not items that buff their favourite skills, or anything like that, they are asking for the tools to their favourite skills shine.

The first step towards doing this is: Actually improve the power of baseline skills to be in line with each other. Everyone I know complains about Arcane Orb being absolutely dreadful (and they're right). Adding Arcane orb to set bonuses doesn't fix this: It's still bad for everyone that doesn't have that set.

Remaining with my example, think about this: When you last leveled a Wizard, did you start using arcane orb as soon as you unlocked it? The answer is probably no, because it sucks and whatever skills you were using before unlocking it are probably more effective.

There is also the RNG problem: What about people that want to try a build, but can't because they never get the items for it? This problem is only made worse through sets because a streak of luck is needed to get all the required items, rather than just a lucky one-time drop.

So unless the devs want to create a set for every possible combination of skills, their curent philosophy won't work.

My Suggestion:

1. Change the basic power:cost ratio of all skills to be relatively equal to each other. While this goes against my point of higher level skills being useless when you unlock them, this way they at least won't be worse, they'll just not be much better either.

2. Remove sets. Remove paragon bonuses.

3. Move higher tier set bonuses on to legendary items. Some bonuses could be split up. E.G Tal Rasha meteors and resistance boosts could be split into 4 different items for each element, meaning multiple items are still required to have the full power the set originally had, but it mean there are no useless items during the build up.

4. Move lower tier set bonuses on to paragon. E.G Tal Rasha elemental damage. With paragon investment the bonus would start off small, but with higher play time the bonus would start to become noticeable.

Each class bonus would have a maximum cap, just like the current paragon bonuses, but they would hopefully be a lot more interesting.

5. Allow a variety of skills to benefit from the same paragon bonus. The Slow Time set is a silly idea because it requires you to use Slow Time. Slow time could still be one of the skills that uses the bonus, but there are plenty of other long-lasting disables that would also work. Like Blizzard. Or, even, skills from other classes. Paragon bonuses would not need to be restricted to a single class. Taking the example of the Slow Time set effect, Caltrops, Rain of Vengeance, Grasp of the Dead, or Acid Cloud could also benefit from it.

With these steps, items will be less restrictive overall and characterisation will once again be important.
RNG is D3:RoS's endgame; that's the main issue.

The problem is that all the ideas the players and dev's have had must somehow build up enough consideration in the minds of the leads of this game to be allowed to happen.

The solution I'm still working on trying to figure out.
03/26/2015 01:34 PMPosted by JonMcdonald
It doesn't make any sense. Builds should be created by the player, not by the developer. What the players are actually asking for is not items that buff their favourite skills, or anything like that, they are asking for the tools to their favourite skills shine.


Because D3 is not a well crafted game... if you want those features, POE is that way >>>

all you ask for and more is there, just not polished enough and not smooth as D3
blizzard made some standalone legedaries which utilized a whole new exclusive build, but they nerfed it because as they stated "unwanted" e.g. soh/ww, jekangboard/shieldthrow, and so on

so they want people to how they want us to play, thats it
Sets are easier for them to balance. Less work. Also, it allows them to create themed play styles around the different classes.
03/26/2015 02:13 PMPosted by ApacheMaster
Sets are easier for them to balance. Less work. Also, it allows them to create themed play styles around the different classes.


Play style is not something that can be governed by a dev. Playstyle is also more than what skills you decide to use.

As for it being too difficult: They already have most of the framework in place to implement my suggestions, as it is mostly changing the conditions of the effects coming into play rather than changing the effect itself. I don't know how abilities from items are done in Diablo III, but if it's anywhere close to how normal passive skills are done, there shouldn't be much of a problem.
I agree with you. They are making the builds for us, which isn't the right way to go about it. I'm not sure why they think seasons are a good idea either. I'm not too happy with their direction.
Because it's easier to balance a specific wardrobe than several individual pieces that actually open branching (and most likely, unexpected) possibilities. They'd rather have full control of the most powerful builds than providing the necessary tools for players to develop their own.

As an interesting experiment, I'd suggest just for the heck of it to suppress those absurdly overpowered "endgame" sets on the PTR and allow the remaining legendary pieces to be mixed up by the community. There will obviously be always a best way, but without those sets drastically distorting the overall perception of power, I'd wager we'd see a lot of different and relatively balanced builds. Diversity is the lifeblood of any ARPG worth it's name, and these clueless designers are destroying it with those stupidly overpowered sets.
03/26/2015 01:34 PMPosted by JonMcdonald
I don't get it.

Everyone asks Why we can't have a diverse pool of endgame builds, and all we get is "That's because we haven't made sets for those builds yet!"

It doesn't make any sense. Builds should be created by the player, not by the developer. What the players are actually asking for is not items that buff their favourite skills, or anything like that, they are asking for the tools to their favourite skills shine.


I think the problem is, devs are trying to act much like Dungeon Masters, such as how they do in WoW. WoW is all about directed content. They create set amount of content per expansion for the players, then create a new expansion for the consumers to consume. Of course, A-RPG's in it's core is entirely opposed about that. A-RPG's are, by nature, very "sandboxy", a direct opposite to directed content. ARPG's are about finding a fun/cool class that you want to play, finding skill or two wich are fun, and then making a build around them. Diablo 3 doesn't support this at all. Sets are a good example of terrible, directed content, since the developers force you to play a build THEY want you to play. Because of this, there is no innovation that comes to builds whatsoever. Only a small handful of skills are viable at any one time, thanks to sets, wich is truely truely sad.

I guess it has to do with the fact that developers designing Diablo 3 have to justify themselves why they have a job. Forcing themself into designing sets instead of fixing the core underlying issues beneath it(low damage skill, uninteresting runes, etc) allows them to more easily gain regocnition and raise in ranks within the company. "Hey, we made the set wich X players use" must be what these developers can use to show their superiors about their success.

In the end, the developers aren't interested in doing what is a good game for us, if it doesn't help them in advancing their career. If they cannot claim "I made this idea" then it would, presumably, look very bad on their CV. Wich is sad, because there used to be a time when games were made, with love, for other games. Now it's just business, marketed for casuals, etc.

It's also possible that the MMO idea of sets is so tightly integrated into their minds that it's hard for them to let loose. All of them probably play a character in WoW while they design Diablo 3. This is why they their design reflects WoW's high end MMORPG design so much. It is exactly as the Diablo founder Davik Brevik said - the current dev team simply has different (MMORPG) aims, wich has resulted in a different product. The old dev team on D2 absolutely mattered. The current devs team mindset comes from MMORPG's while the former was purely from ARPG's, and those devs are about as detached from the original Diablo 2 experience as they can be.
They're trying too hard to balance the game perfectly. Their first mistake? A timed leaderboard, rather than a leaderboard which just so happens to have time on it.

GRs competition is not healthy when it comes to fun game design, and even though they don't want to balance everything around this, they are doing it anyway.
Longevity.

Needing to get specific items makes the item hunt last longer (that is, getting good rolls of specific items).

If you could just throw any piece of gear on and perform optimally then people would get bored and quit playing like instantly and no gear would matter.
03/26/2015 08:06 PMPosted by Hartagon
If you could just throw any piece of gear on and perform optimally then people would get bored and quit playing like instantly and no gear would matter.


Having no gear matter is better than having only specific pieces matter, because it at least allows for diversity.
They're following the WoW format. You have to collect the latest set to remain relevant. Unless you're a wiz. Then you collect the latest set but will stay irrelevant.

It's sad that this is the direction they've taken.
Sets are important to the devs because it's impossible to balance skills in this game. It's simply not mathematically possible to balance all skills simultaneously, thus allowing any emergent builds to be reasonably equivalent (I can elaborate, if you want). They have come to understand this, so their goal is to design particular builds for each class so they only have a small set of builds per class that they need to balance.

Sets are the method they are using to accomplish this. Sets essentially obligate characters to spec certain skill-sets with obscene bonuses and synergies as incentive. Once you ensure that the build plays a certain way, it become very easy to balance different builds. If, for example, they find that the Furious Charge build relatively outperforms other builds, all they have to do is adjust one or two set bonuses.

If you consider how builds eventually emerged in Diablo 2, you'll see that 2-3 builds rose to the top for each class (with a few more for specialized roles). For example, there was the hammer v. smite paladin, the bonemancer v. fishymancer, the kicker v. the trapasin, and the wind druid v. the mauler. Even though players had over 100 skill points to distribute between 30 skills with up to 20 points each, the proper way to play was to spec into just a couple of builds. The devs of Diablo 3 are attempting to accomplish the same thing. They are designing a small set of builds for each class, making sure that playing each build plays out differently than other builds for that class.

Balancing these designed builds is easy, especially so with timed rifts. You just run the builds through a certain grift level over and over and you measure the time it takes to complete them. Then you calculate the average amount of time each build completes the rift and look for discrepancies. To balance all the builds you just tweak a couple of set bonuses here and there until the average time for rift clears all coalesce. For example, if the Furious Charge build has an average time of 2 minutes less than any other build, you just adjust the set bonus from 500% to 475% until it falls in line with the rest. That's all there is to it.

The pathetic part is that a quick glance at the leaderboards will show that the devs are even failing at that...
03/26/2015 10:07 PMPosted by Langolier
Sets are important to the devs because it's impossible to balance skills in this game. It's simply not mathematically possible to balance all skills simultaneously, thus allowing any emergent builds to be reasonably equivalent (I can elaborate, if you want).


Going by your own example of testing sets in GRifts, surely any emergent build that would involve a new legendary/paragon passive could just be checked in the same way?

Perhaps there would be more combinations to test, especially considering a variety of skills being able to benefit from the same property, but if the 'new' affixes/passives are just recycled from the existing sets it wouldn't be that much of a jump, and for any new affixes/passives that arise afterwards, the framework for testing them would be the same, and the amount of work would only involve time, not effort.
i dont really get the need to ask why. Diablo has been up for a couple of years now and has underwent at least 2 itemization overhaul and it's obvious that ROS has now become the baseline game.

The basic premise of the game for them is the "item-hunt". So from this, all skills are mehh to decent, but if you find the "right items" your character would be great.

'Sets + complimentary legendaries' is the way to go. No amount of reasoning / complaining, however right/ logical, would change this philosophy now...

This is D3 right now. I really dont see any major changes to happen to the system except for qols, new mechanics, new sets, new legendaries.
Set are the cheapest and fast ways to make endgame builds... So it is easy to balance because the builds are predictable, and you can control the amount of viable builds and skills in the game...

I dont like it so much, but with the set around game, if we have one viable set for resource skill and cd damage skills so we will have a lot of diversity in the game in the long run

But in the speed that we are now (faster then in the past, i have to agree, but even now) will take years to accomplish that.

At the same time, even with the window of items we have now, the game is hard to balance, if we only have legendary and a lot of choices, i dont know what will happen at this point

In the end of the day... I WANT A FURNACE!
The design change wouldn't have to be immediate.

If anything, the way new complaints are still arising about itemisation, an expansion would bring another remake of the system anyway.
03/26/2015 10:28 PMPosted by JonMcdonald
Going by your own example of testing sets in GRifts, surely any emergent build that would involve a new legendary/paragon passive could just be checked in the same way?


Yes; it's the same scenario except instead of tuning set bonuses it's tuning the legendary affix/passive. You can't claim it's not something that favors one build because if that is the case, then what do you change? The item itself or the skills? If the skills, which one? If different builds are truly using the item then there is nothing obvious to adjust. If one build is predominant using it, then which of the six skills do you change? When you pick a skill to change, you have to monitor how it affects other builds that use all different skills except for the one skill they have in common.

It's a never-ending problem that you run in circles to solve and yet never come to a solution.

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