Skill trees vs Runes. 3 years of analysis.

General Discussion
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05/23/2016 10:07 AMPosted by Rashiel
@hackuseme

Diablo 3 had quite fast gameplay already from the start. Most builds at that time were encouraging faster gameplay. This was more apperant when the first paragon system was introduced. Sure D3 had a rough start, not saying against that, but that was mainly due to having a heavy focus on the RMAH, which affected the game experiance.

I am fully aware that the first D3 idea was scrapped, but neither me or you know why to the full extent, since only a sample of the information has been released. A lot of the stuff that has been brought to the game was planned for a much earlier stage, which they said themselves, but they were having trouble applying it when the game was released.

We can always guess that they couldn't make a skilltree work, maybe the paragon system was planned beforehand so they were taking that into consideration, who knows really except them.

Of course it makes balancing much easier, and that may be the biggest reason they went with the rune system instead.

Also look at the game with a testing phase, in which they added a lot of QoL changes over the years, trying out some, maybe tweaking them a bit. In the end, they are trying to figure out what works and what doesn't.


No, D3 was not fast paced when it was released. People weren't blitzing and blazing through Inferno. They were kiting for their lives especially against elites and when it came to bosses they had to worry about rage timers. That's on top of the fact that run speed and movement skills were far more limited. One need only Youtube 2012 game play to look at how much slower the game was.

Not that this being slower was bad. If anything it was more exciting because a person wasn't blinded by all the effects and big numbers. However, the theory that Blizzard didn't use skill trees because of the pace of the game being faster is absolutely absurd.

Also, Paragon was not planned before release. The devs explicitly stated in the patch summary they came up with the idea to help resolve player frustration over the lack of end-game progression and rewards as if the system doesn't scream band-aid by itself. In other words Blizzard was so clueless about D3 they didn't even get leveling and progression right.

The skill/rune system was no different. It was a mistake they've been trying to roll back for several years now by baking more complex skill synergies and functionality into items.

As I said earlier the thing about D2 skill trees isn't the format itself, which certainly has flaws. It is the fact that it provided a mechanism by which players allocated power within some sort of branching pathways. Newer games have since found a way to provide this mechanism without the same pitfalls of D2's trees. D3 skill/rune system doesn't have this mechanism. Players don't define the DNA of their character by deciding what strengths it will pursue. All of that gets dictated to the player in D3 just like it does in WoW because the game is clearly a WoW clone right down to the massively bloated numbers.

05/23/2016 11:21 AMPosted by Ganelon
You can blame the Blizz board directing the devs to create the game according to psychologists. They started that crap back in WoW development. Hence the pastel colors that WoW uses.

I love taking time to theorize/min/max without even killing one mob. That is gone in D3.

Now I am dependent on the rng of drops for the right combination of stats. Then I get to click whack a mole until I get "one" stat rerolled. Nothing better than seeing the weighted system of the stats on the item to further frustrate players. Them docs said it promotes gaming. Sorry but no...if anything I just leave the game a few years earlier than if I had more control over my build.

Gave POE 4 months. RNG wrapped in RNG does not work. Turnover is quiet high in those types of games. Spend an obscene amount of time farming materials and using them all up and getting nothing in return is not a recipe for long term gaming.


If I were to grade Blizzard on their use of psychology in the design of their games I would probably give them a D- at best. The massive subscriber loss in WoW and the long time struggles and frustrations with D3 stem directly from their lack of care regarding character theory and gamer psychology models. For example, in Bartle's Taxonomy one of the major groups is called "Killers", which as it sounds are the ones that find PvP and entrepreneurship in trade appealing.

Blizzard's real success now comes from using the equity in their brand, reputation, and platform to expose their products to a bigger consumer base. This means both hardcore and causal players on everything from PC to mobile.

As for PoE it certainly has way more RNG than most ARPGs, but a big part of the learning curve in that game involves understanding what is most efficient so that you never rely on RNG. The difference between someone who has just basic knowledge of the game vs someone who knows a lot about the ins and outs of wealth generation is huge.
...
Just to add to the fact that skill trees have actual choice:

there's the problem with the lack of significance of damage types, which Diablo II solved better in TWO ways.

Example skills just to illustrate a point:

Ray of Frost.
Ray of Fire.
Disintegration Ray.

...

IF monster types, archetypes and monster classes were affected differently by damage types, three identical skills dealing different damage types would FEEL different.

Like:
Cold: Resisted by undead and some elemental beasts and water based reptiles.
Fire: Generally effective against everything not demonic
Disintegration ray: Effective against everything not heavily armored

And suddenly, they FEEL very different versus completely generic mobs without any resistances.

The second way damage types can feel different is having different modes of operation:
Cold pierces resistances.
Fire deals more damage.
Disintegration, arcane, scales in damage over time.
05/23/2016 02:54 PMPosted by Hackuseme
05/23/2016 10:07 AMPosted by Rashiel
@hackuseme

Diablo 3 had quite fast gameplay already from the start. Most builds at that time were encouraging faster gameplay. This was more apperant when the first paragon system was introduced. Sure D3 had a rough start, not saying against that, but that was mainly due to having a heavy focus on the RMAH, which affected the game experiance.

I am fully aware that the first D3 idea was scrapped, but neither me or you know why to the full extent, since only a sample of the information has been released. A lot of the stuff that has been brought to the game was planned for a much earlier stage, which they said themselves, but they were having trouble applying it when the game was released.

We can always guess that they couldn't make a skilltree work, maybe the paragon system was planned beforehand so they were taking that into consideration, who knows really except them.

Of course it makes balancing much easier, and that may be the biggest reason they went with the rune system instead.

Also look at the game with a testing phase, in which they added a lot of QoL changes over the years, trying out some, maybe tweaking them a bit. In the end, they are trying to figure out what works and what doesn't.


No, D3 was not fast paced when it was released. People weren't blitzing and blazing through Inferno. They were kiting for their lives especially against elites and when it came to bosses they had to worry about rage timers. That's on top of the fact that run speed and movement skills were far more limited. One need only Youtube 2012 game play to look at how much slower the game was.

Not that this being slower was bad. If anything it was more exciting because a person wasn't blinded by all the effects and big numbers. However, the theory that Blizzard didn't use skill trees because of the pace of the game being faster is absolutely absurd.

Also, Paragon was not planned before release. The devs explicitly stated in the patch summary they came up with the idea to help resolve player frustration over the lack of end-game progression and rewards as if the system doesn't scream band-aid by itself. In other words Blizzard was so clueless about D3 they didn't even get leveling and progression right.

The skill/rune system was no different. It was a mistake they've been trying to roll back for several years now by baking more complex skill synergies and functionality into items.

As I said earlier the thing about D2 skill trees isn't the format itself, which certainly has flaws. It is the fact that it provided a mechanism by which players allocated power within some sort of branching pathways. Newer games have since found a way to provide this mechanism without the same pitfalls of D2's trees. D3 skill/rune system doesn't have this mechanism. Players don't define the DNA of their character by deciding what strengths it will pursue. All of that gets dictated to the player in D3 just like it does in WoW because the game is clearly a WoW clone right down to the massively bloated numbers.

05/23/2016 11:21 AMPosted by Ganelon
You can blame the Blizz board directing the devs to create the game according to psychologists. They started that crap back in WoW development. Hence the pastel colors that WoW uses.

I love taking time to theorize/min/max without even killing one mob. That is gone in D3.

Now I am dependent on the rng of drops for the right combination of stats. Then I get to click whack a mole until I get "one" stat rerolled. Nothing better than seeing the weighted system of the stats on the item to further frustrate players. Them docs said it promotes gaming. Sorry but no...if anything I just leave the game a few years earlier than if I had more control over my build.

Gave POE 4 months. RNG wrapped in RNG does not work. Turnover is quiet high in those types of games. Spend an obscene amount of time farming materials and using them all up and getting nothing in return is not a recipe for long term gaming.


If I were to grade Blizzard on their use of psychology in the design of their games I would probably give them a D- at best. The massive subscriber loss in WoW and the long time struggles and frustrations with D3 stem directly from their lack of care regarding character theory and gamer psychology models. For example, in Bartle's Taxonomy one of the major groups is called "Killers", which as it sounds are the ones that find PvP and entrepreneurship in trade appealing.

Blizzard's real success now comes from using the equity in their brand, reputation, and platform to expose their products to a bigger consumer base. This means both hardcore and causal players on everything from PC to mobile.

As for PoE it certainly has way more RNG than most ARPGs, but a big part of the learning curve in that game involves understanding what is most efficient so that you never rely on RNG. The difference between someone who has just basic knowledge of the game vs someone who knows a lot about the ins and outs of wealth generation is huge.


You can know everything about a game and be more efficient but that does not make you exempt from RNG. You will just gather the materials needed for more tries quicker but then again when did pulling a slot machine lever become the game of choice for gamers?
05/23/2016 03:18 PMPosted by Frostraven
The second way damage types can feel different is having different modes of operation:
Cold pierces resistances.
Fire deals more damage.
Disintegration, arcane, scales in damage over time.


yep. I love it when the devs summarize how people will only pick frost because it slows, or they will only pick the one that does more damage, so they just disposed of the different elements different effects fully........

It's like well for gods sake you guys.....if you don't give players a reason to go for more than one thing through out there game, then they will only go for one thing...
its just a self fulfilling prophecy that your game will not strive to excel....and sure enough.....now that the different elements are just a different colour? nobody cares anymore....they stack trifecta and thats the end of it...

so to watch them sheepishly try to worm elemental damage back into the game right around the time of the expansion....it was laughable really........
05/23/2016 03:40 PMPosted by Ganelon
You can know everything about a game and be more efficient but that does not make you exempt from RNG. You will just gather the materials needed for more tries quicker but then again when did pulling a slot machine lever become the game of choice for gamers?


The fact you view it like a slot machine highlights what I'm talking about. RNG is not all the same and it is not the same gamble over and over like slots. It's a sum game where the more a player knows the more value they can derive from trade and drops while at the same time they aren't prone to wasting wealth on inefficient gambling.

Think of it more like poker. The deal of the cards is just as random as slots and yet the degree of difference between an amateur gambling blindly vs an informed professional is massive.
The 6 PC Sets are the branches of D3's skill tree and gem ranks are the skill points by which we modify and improve the branch we've chosen.
05/23/2016 08:33 PMPosted by RedCell
The 6 PC Sets are the branches of D3's skill tree and gem ranks are the skill points by which we modify and improve the branch we've chosen.


Which is incredibly sad, because they took all these years and all this time and all that money to purge D2's skill tree/synergy system from the game and replace it with what you describe as barely an equal amount of tinkering and tailoring with sets etc. And it only finally fell into the shape you describe after the bloody RoS Expansion and who knows how many notable content patches....and we have to ignore the sets in D2, and the forward thinking gem/jewel/rune/charm socketing system....on top of the old trees...

What they were supposed to do was completely steamroll Diablo 2, the same way D2 steamrolled Diablo 1.

They did not. Not by a long shot.
I believe the Skill Runes are fine, for the most part.

But it would be nice if non-runed skills were just as viable and competitive as their runed variants. For example, Elemental Arrow. I love how the basic Elemental Arrow looks, but once you are able to rune it, you immediately stop using it.

Instead of 300% damage, making it 450%, and the runes would drop it down to 300% normal, while still retaining the extra benefits of the rune.
hackuseme speaks a lot of sense and some others here.

D3's rune system was a tragic fail, on so many levels, and I can de-bunk so many different reasons they gave for not having a skill tree, in the end it's all tragic BS that leads to more casualization so it appeals to more players, crossed with having consoles in mind just to milk that little bit more cash out of the diablo name.
To be fair, while different times to maximize a skills effectiveness in character development was important for character development, simply having monster resistances and unique damage attributes would've helped the rune system immensely.'

So would also not spreading the runes all over the place in damage types, allowing more core skills to represent their damage type's special attributes.

Fire: Ignite on critical hits
Cold: Always slow, depending on damage dealt compared to maximum health, and pierces resistances
Lightning: High damage range
Arcane: Stacking debuff
Poison: Prevents healing and lowers melee damage
Physical: Stuns depending on damage dealt compared to current health...

Then add monster resistances:
Cold: Resisted by undead and some elemental beasts and water based reptiles.
Fire: Generally effective against everything not demonic
Arcane: Effective against undead and demons
Physical piercing: Pierces armor
Physical blunt: Greater chance to stun, ignores low % of armor
Physical slashing: Causes bleeding on critical hits
What i don't get about skill-trees:

If i want to play a build with "hydras":

- whats the point of spending skill points for a theoretical "snake" skill just to advance to hydras ?
- whats the point of spending 1-9 points on hydras (if 10 is max) if i need hydras maxed out anyway ?
- whats the point of resetting my skill tree if i found a "Staff of Snakes" instead a "Staff of Hydras" ?
- whats the difference between spending 10 Points on Hydras (skill-tree) plus a "+5" Weapon compared to Hydra (skill-rune) in general and a "+15" Weapon ?
- what was the point in d2 to have a weak character because you had to hold back skill points to invest them in a higher tier. ?
- whats the point of distributing skill-points every time if i want to quickly test a new/fun build for a few hours ?
- whats the point of distributing skill-points every time if i want to change just 1 skill in my current build ?

d3's (unbalanced) skill-rune system is not perfect at all. Especially the environment around it does contradict it to a certain point. But in the end most of the players want to play a specific build. In D3 you just choose the skills and farm for items (or the other way around). In D2 you did practically the same thing by spending your points on some "gating" skills and finally maxing out your desired skill ... but in a unnecessary complicated way.

A skill-rune design is by far the better solution if it is properly implemented.
05/24/2016 05:30 AMPosted by QuadWord
What i don't get about skill-trees:If i want to play a build with "hydras":- whats the point of spending skill points for a theoretical "snake" skill just to advance to hydras ?- whats the point of spending 1-9 points on hydras (if 10 is max) if i need hydras maxed out anyway ?- whats the point of resetting my skill tree if i found a "Staff of Snakes" instead a "Staff of Hydras" ?- whats the difference between spending 10 Points on Hydras (skill-tree) plus a "+5" Weapon compared to Hydra (skill-rune) in general and a "+15" Weapon ?- what was the point in d2 to have a weak character because you had to hold back skill points to invest them in a higher tier. ?- whats the point of distributing skill-points every time if i want to quickly test a new/fun build for a few hours ?- whats the point of distributing skill-points every time if i want to change just 1 skill in my current build ?d3's (unbalanced) skill-rune system is not perfect at all. Especially the environment around it does contradict it to a certain point. But in the end most of the players want to play a specific build. In D3 you just choose the skills and farm for items (or the other way around). In D2 you did practically the same thing by spending your points on some "gating" skills and finally maxing out your desired skill ... but in a unnecessary complicated way. A skill-rune design is by far the better solution if it is properly implemented.


This is so facepalm it's painful. Please read some previous comments in response to the nonsense you've just posted and it shall answer why the rune system is -not- the superior of the 2 (unless you're a casual with not much intelligence then you would fine the rune system vastly superior due to no permanence/consequences)
05/24/2016 05:57 AMPosted by pawlie
This is so facepalm it's painful. Please read some previous comments in response to the nonsense you've just posted and it shall answer why the rune system is -not- the superior of the 2 (unless you're a casual with not much intelligence then you would fine the rune system vastly superior due to no permanence/consequences)


The original plan for D3 was to have thousands of different builds. There was no room for permanence/consequences. The whole design of D3 is about hack&slay, experimenting with builds and get into action with friends ... and not RPG. After 3+ years of D3 you either like the arcade style or you move on to other games.

Maybe you just chose to play the wrong game.
05/24/2016 05:30 AMPosted by QuadWord
What i don't get about skill-trees:

If i want to play a build with "hydras":

- whats the point of spending skill points for a theoretical "snake" skill just to advance to hydras ?
- whats the point of spending 1-9 points on hydras (if 10 is max) if i need hydras maxed out anyway ?
- whats the point of resetting my skill tree if i found a "Staff of Snakes" instead a "Staff of Hydras" ?
- whats the difference between spending 10 Points on Hydras (skill-tree) plus a "+5" Weapon compared to Hydra (skill-rune) in general and a "+15" Weapon ?
- what was the point in d2 to have a weak character because you had to hold back skill points to invest them in a higher tier. ?
- whats the point of distributing skill-points every time if i want to quickly test a new/fun build for a few hours ?
- whats the point of distributing skill-points every time if i want to change just 1 skill in my current build ?

d3's (unbalanced) skill-rune system is not perfect at all. Especially the environment around it does contradict it to a certain point. But in the end most of the players want to play a specific build. In D3 you just choose the skills and farm for items (or the other way around). In D2 you did practically the same thing by spending your points on some "gating" skills and finally maxing out your desired skill ... but in a unnecessary complicated way.

A skill-rune design is by far the better solution if it is properly implemented.


when you ask "what is the point" of adding in all these points, the point will be "only what the devs make of it". hopefully they make it something big instead of something minuscule and boring yes?

The point of growing a skill via through points or through use or through quest leveling or any "growth" related system one can dream up is whatever the developers creativity can put forth as a notable result.

This can range from adding little chunks of damage, changing the look of the spell changing any residual effects that the skill gains of provides or god only knows what else...let your mind wander. many minds have been wandering for decades now...

So.....I could blather on for pages and pages given enough time about potential outcomes and possibilities, about what the skills you ask about could potentially become, how they could be experienced by players, but rather than do that, I can summarize the whole general philosophy,

If you are in a room and you ask "what is the point" of adding this thing or that or giving points or spending points or choosing between a staff of snakes or a staff of hydra....well....you are not potentially creating a bigger better roleplaying game. You are destroying one, or aborting one before it is even born.

The very nature of your questioning has no choice but to suppress the very essence of roleplaying games outright, when you say "unnecessary complicated". Roleplaying games do not exist without this necessary complication. All they do at their most basic foundational core is take an idea and expand upon it.

The moment you have a new sword that does 2 damage instead of 1, you are cautiously stepping into that world of complication, that in COUNTLESS other games does not exist. And you either cannot wait to do it, and are super excited about what the future holds, wondering rabidly what the next sword or 2 might look like, or the whole idea repulses you or is not interesting at all, as is the case with video game fans who do not dabble in RPGs at all, who probably outnumber us 10 to 1.

If I were in some dream like scenario of actually creating a game like this, one even remotely associated with Diablo 3, or RPGS at all, and you were a co-worker of mine and you asked the questions you stated above,

I would reply, if you do not seem interested in spending points for a theoretical snake skill to advance it, spending MORE points to make it bigger and stronger, resetting a cluster of assigned stats to optimize the performance of the skill as it is related to a new powerful weapon, wondering the difference between points here and points there when intuitively that difference is what we are about to make of it, not to even mention the difference between the above mentioned weapons alone, the idea of maintaining a level of weakness in one field or in one area of specialization in order to purposefully invest in something in your future, question the idea of commitment to a character when what you seem to be after is a "creative sandbox mode with everything at your disposal at once, instantly, and forever, and for the love of all that is good and holy, you seem uninterested or even annoyed at the idea of resetting a skill tree....

I would ask you why are you even in this room? The things you ask about were not created by accident, nor are they unwanted side effects or video game programming. These systems are grown upwards and outwards, and have been growing and shifting and creeping and evolving since before we were born, on purpose.

Why are you even here, if you feel that these ideas growing and shifting and becoming larger more detail rich versions of themselves, is not something that brings us all together that we all enjoy because rather than sigh in defeat at every question all lined up we cant wait to answer them and write stories about them and twist those ideas together and stretch them apart to see what it all becomes?

Why are you here in this room trying to create a roleplaying game with us when every thing that you should be interested in clicking and learning about and thinking about and figuring out, thanks to their differences and their inherent features that require more thought and more engagement from the players, instead of less, you only despise and want removed?

Why are you here? The worst answer you could possibly give is that you are here because you hope to deliver your simplified sped up dynamic console-action related version of a roleplaying game where instead of being careful and examining the organic nature of a character and its long term struggle to become more powerful, the whole experience is boiled down to resemble an arcade game with mega powerups and timed dungeons and a reward structure that can be summarized on the side of the wooden cabinet.

And that's the answer Jay Wilson and Josh Mosquiera gave, and their direction of the game was placed up on an ivory pedestal and that's the game we got.

And that's what is so tragic. Because at the very essence of your questioning and their vision, the game does not ask "what more can I become?"

it asks "what details and features can we remove, and what can we ignore and what can we delete?" and it answers with no grace whatsoever. it just removes and deletes and reduces and purges. and then because it appeals to a FAR wider player base that does not care about the expansion or enrichment of their experience, they DEFEND what the game has become, something they themselves enjoy: A far more simplified and stripped down edition of itself.

It's disgusting really....
I am still here because i like D3 like it is (minus the balancing issues). I don't expect them to change key-elements after 3+ years.

There is no point arguing how cool it would be if your motorcycle would have 4 tires, a few doors and a roof ... if you really want to drive a car then you bought the wrong vehicle.

Why are you here ? It sounds like you are tired of the current game and want the devs to change it slowly into another game ... thats not going to happen.
That´s really a kid´s post.
Do you realise how many "if --> then"s Blizzard would have to consider? A poison burping fire bat, an ice crapping fire hydra, a fire trail pulling whirlwind barb, a multishot scattering lightnings... and so on.
Just why? What would this add to the game? i´d be happy enough if we could somehow change the element of a rune so we could define the elemental % on our skills better.
wow shurgosa, so much truth, and yet the fanboys will still downvote that very well constructed (and truth) post.
05/24/2016 06:13 AMPosted by QuadWord
The original plan for D3 was to have thousands of different builds. There was no room for permanence/consequences. The whole design of D3 is about hack&slay, experimenting with builds and get into action with friends ... and not RPG. After 3+ years of D3 you either like the arcade style or you move on to other games.Maybe you just chose to play the wrong game.


Now, using your reply back to you.

Has D3 got thousands and thousands of builds? Has it got more end-game builds than D2?

What 'experimentation' do you get to do? your told what to play by the sets

I didn't play this for 3+ years, it was nowhere near good enough to warrant that playtime or in-depth enough to keep my attention. I chose NOT to play the wrong game, and I'm here as I have nothing better to do at work and I'm a passionate fan to the FRANCHISE (not this game), as well as just amusing myself watching the devs attempt to fix this mess
pawlie, the only fanboys here are you and shurgosa (and those other trolls)

this obviously isnt the game for you thus its better for everyone if you would just leave the game and the forums for good
05/24/2016 07:11 AMPosted by pawlie


Has D3 got thousands and thousands of builds? Has it got more end-game builds than D2?
yes, it does

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