Discuss Travis Day's comments on sets & build diversity

General Discussion
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Recently Rhykker uploaded a video were he talks about his visit to the Blizzard HQ to attend the D3 Influencer Summit. Rhykker said that Travis Day (one of the lead game designers) mentioned (or at least indirectly implied) that the devs are aware that there isn't much build diversity because builds primarily revolve around 6piece sets and that they would like to open up the game for more player driven character customization.

Here is a link to the part of the video where Rhykker mentions this:
https://youtu.be/WLpEV5I8rqw?t=27m

This is a controversial issue, because in order to give the players more freedom in the way they can build their chars, sets and certain legendaries have to become less powerful and the game needs to be primarily balanced at the level of base skills and runes instead of 6piece sets and their support legendaries, which would be a complete change in the way the game (and especially items) are designed right now and that would most likely p*ss of a part of the player base because they would not be as powerful anymore as they were before.

So, would you support the devs if they would reduce the power and importance of sets to open up more player driven character customization so that we the players can come up with builds on our own OR do you prefer it the way it is, were you have massively overpowered sets but significantly less freedom in the way you build your characters?

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Appendix

Inb4 I want to address two arguments that always come up when this issue is discussed.

The first argument is, that no matter what, there will always be a best build and therefore it does not matter if you keep sets as powerful as they are or nerf them, so everything can stay as it is.

To this I reply that it is correct that there will always be a best or a few best builds, but that this will only become a problem if the best builds are significantly stronger than average builds (which is the situation we currently have with D3, where the best builds are ~2000% stronger than average LoN builds, which are the vast majority of them).

If the best builds are not significantly stronger than average builds, then players will actually play the builds they personally enjoy the most and with which they came up on their own, because they will not fall behind too much in XP progression, loot and power.

The second argument I want to address is, that we already have the LoN rings and therefore we can play whatever we want already.

Well, the issue with LoN is that there are only some very few LoN builds that top the leaderboards, while the vast majority of LoN builds is drastically underpreforming (they are around 2000% less powerful than the best builds), which is a result of the game being balanced around 6piece sets, because some skills get buffed by only one legendary (or even non at all), while other skills get supported by several legendaries. Also, some legendaries buff a skill by up to 800%, while other legendaries only buff a skill by only 100-150%, so it is no wonder that some LoN builds are so much weaker than others.
Highly Rated
I would support a nerf of the game to a state of more diversity and equality between classes, no doubt. Especially if we also got rid of the 20-something useless difficulty levels and GR ranks.

There's no point to x30 or x5 damage multipliers on items, and I miss having other legendary affixes being usable. Shard of Hate to name just one.
I'd actually play again if they did that ultra numbers nerf.

There is no reason to play right now as we are forced into a build.
Power is relative to the opposition.
Cut the infinite scaling, cap everything somewhere, anywhere, crunch the numbers heavily and go from there.
Get mad all you want but the game is a complete joke in its current state.

Let a few people boo-hoo about losing some meaningless numbers floating on the screen and fix the game. It's long, long past due.
04/02/2017 11:03 AMPosted by clueso
Rhykker said that Travis Day (one of the lead game designers) mentioned (or at least indirectly implied) that the devs are aware that there isn't much build diversity because builds primarily revolve around 6piece sets and that they would like to open up the game for more player driven character customization.


Ignoring for a moment that a group of managerial morons in suits make all the boring decisions that cripples games creatively and boils them into predicable profit puddles,

What the devs are "aware" of is irrelevant, to the point of absolute hilarity when you really examine the length of time we have been nudging the elephant in the room, and how fat the elephant truly is.

and im not even going to get into how dumb their little justification happens to be about how sets kill diversity, I dont have the strength to tell the story one more time and I have zero faith that the devs would truly understand it anyways...
We practically begged and pleaded with them to stop balancing skills through set bonuses and crutch legendaries. They wouldn't stop. They kept going and going and going and making it worse every patch. They drove a large chunk of their playerbase away in the process.

It would have been 100x easier for them to go into RoS with that philosophy. Now they would have to re-design 90% of the items in the game... Again.

But hey, the Necromancer will bring a lot of players back, even if only briefly. That would be an ideal time to also release an overhaul of items + skill/rune balance. If they do it right and do it at a time when a decent chunk of players will be returning, they might actually retain some of them for longer than a week per season.
04/02/2017 11:03 AMPosted by clueso
The first argument is, that no matter what, there will always be a best build and therefore it does not matter if you keep sets as powerful as they are or nerf them, so everything can stay as it is.

To this I reply that it is correct that there will always be a best or a few best builds, but that this will only become a problem if the best builds are significantly stronger than average builds (which is the situation we currently have with D3, where the best builds are ~2000% stronger than average LoN builds, which are the vast majority of them).


this is an argument of a brain-dead moron. it gets brought up again and again by random math wizard pro hardcore D3 stream idiots and piles of other people....
again...

and again...and again and again...

so one more time for the dummies;

The moment I mention Rock Paper Scissors the whole argument of mathematical certainty baked into the silly stat system of the game in question is decimated.

OP you would be wise to not agree with the idiots whom insist that this will "always" be the case and "always" use it as an excuse to fluff up mediocrity and sad inaction.

04/02/2017 11:03 AMPosted by clueso
The second argument I want to address is, that we already have the LoN rings and therefore we can play whatever we want already.


This is also the argument of a complete moron. Probably the same ones who still operate under the condition that there are 98 billion possible builds in the game.

your rebuttal is spot on though;

04/02/2017 11:03 AMPosted by clueso
Well, the issue with LoN is that there are only some very few LoN builds that top the leaderboards, while the vast majority of LoN builds is drastically underpreforming


it takes an "idea" (LoN...) and it examines it for "shortcomings" (Under-performance...) .

The next phase is to know the "Shortcomings", and examine the "Cause" (players are funneled into pre-assembled huge damage builds, because all they can do is acquire more damage and acquiring damage is the blatant pathway to reward...)

And this wraps right around to the first argument above....the laughable idea of mathematical certainty is not a math problem it is a DIABLO 3 problem and it is EVERYWHERE in Diablo 3, to the point that it is essentially inescapable.)

it is a sad excuse employed every day by devs too stupid to understand otherwise and embraced by fanboys who are too stupid to care.

the two arguments are just two dirty little hands washing eachother...
All you need to do is remove set items from the game completely, and take the set powers and implement them into a talent tree system.

Then, balance each synergy currently in the game to have a nearly equal ultimate effect. Just making numbers equal does not work, they need to hire people to play the game for them full time as a job, people who can give valuable input on how things are currently balanced, and then make adjustments.
meaningless words
04/02/2017 04:41 PMPosted by Hell
clueso is smart, he's got a clue around here. He agrees with a lot of things I bring up long before they end up being addressed. You on the other hand always wanna dismiss me and end up being proven wrong. You're the moron.


err............I actually agree with you; Clueso is one of the absolutely prominent names left on GD, and I agree with a whole lot of what he says, and I say he is smart...

and I agree with virtually everything you have said in this thread in a pretty big way....did I dismiss you somewhere??

..I uh.. don't think I am a moron tho...certainly not after watching Rhykker stumble over his words and use air quotations to barely hint at what the whole forum has been yelling about since the game was released...lol....
Lets face the issue with the infinite damage scaling are greater rifts and paragon points. The only reason why we see particular set items buffed every season is because they seem to be tied into Haedrig's gift. If you remove GRs or at least remove the scale then we wont have these issues.

Boss fights should be clever not how much damage you can dish out or mitigate. I play Story mode every now and then and actually enjoy it. Why not introduce scaled rifts with progression tied in tactics and builds as opposed to gear?

For example imagine doing a rift where attack speed and crit is important due to a timer. Or another one where fire damage is preferred because of the mobs are vulnerable to them.

These will force people to have specific items and builds.

Until this game has more content than just GRIFTs its mediocre paragon and GR grind and the devs can only keep up by buffing gear.
"There will always be a best" is a bad excuse to not balance things.

First off, like OP said, they aren't even trying when 1 top build is 2000% better than the next. I'm fine with better builds existing, it keeps players searching for loot. And let's face it, most players don't have all the top gear anyway... so it's not just about balance at the very top, it's about balance along the way. If at some points there are certain classes that can outperform others, that's OK, it should swing back and forth, but eventually, every class should have roles to play. And without being identical (like they did to WoW) or else, there's really no reason to have different classes. There should also be diversity within classes, with different mechanics to keep playing interesting and give players options on how to play their chosen class.

Can't be done? It already has been done, in many games in the past. Even by this very company. StarCraft: BroodWar was created by a much smaller team, with less money and less time. Yet, they have 3 very different races that are very balanced. Why? They took the time to make sure that there was diversity, but it worked. At certain points, depending on how you build with what race, on which map, one side might have a slight advantage, but it shifts back and forth if both players are good and in the end, it's usually a balanced match up. And yes, there are actually multiple viable strategies and builds used in competition. Even after over a decade, the game is still evolving in the pro scene, without any recent "balance patches" by blizzard.
Then you look at SC2, their new baby. They micromanaged the heck out of it with balance patches. Either because something was "unfun" (yes, good games should have a learning curve, and when you remove it for the sake of "fun" expect your game to get dull fast!) or because it wasn't "balanced". Yet the game's terrible and boring compared to the original. They balance it based on high-level statistics, such as wins, or what's used the most, not the game mechanics itself.
I remember Hearthstone, when new, was awesome. Then they started nerfing cards just because they were "used too often" instead of figuring out why. Then power creep kicked in to entice people to buy the new cards, and that was the end of a balanced, diverse game...

Not having balance is simply laziness. And it's not just the devs. It's also the community of players who express always feeling entitled to jump right to end-game content, to be able to have an inventory full of primals, to have their crappy build buffed, etc. They aren't even playing for fun, they're playing for their egos. Make the game balanced and fun, without power creeping the heck out of it just to get to a higher # of GR, which has the exact same gameplay anyway, and the rest will sort itself out.

P.S. - I know the BroodWar HD remake is coming out, devs, DO NOT TOUCH THE GAME IN ANY WAY, NOT EVEN FOR YOUR SO-CALLED "BALANCE" OR "NOT FUN" B.S.
As cynical as it may sound, I frankly can't help but expect that "disappointment" with the lack of diversity to be just a PR move. They've demonstrated rather extensively they don't give a damn for actual diversity unless it's confined to these unforgivably restrictive sets, through a variant or two created by them (such as UE grenades with the hellcat waistguard, for instance). However, I suppose even making sets themselves more flexible would be as much as we can expect from this, but I'm not holding my breath expecting any groundbreaking achievements in terms of diversity from this team. They're far too obsessed with control to do this game's inherent flexibility any justice.

It's really sad because sets don't need to be so ridiculously overpowered to be "meaningful". Total ubiquity isn't meaningful. It's just obnoxious and frustrating for those of us who actually like to experiment. Sets are already meaningful because the playstyles they embody are truly unique even before the unwarranted damage/toughness boosts they happen to yield. Some of them are very engaging, but in the end, they all feel like training wheels, and many of us want out of that paradigm. It's actually a very great tool for less creative folks to have some fun without feeling hard-pressed to think too much about how to build a character and still have a great experience, but it's demonstrably detrimental to the inherent flexibility ARPGs have historically thrived on thanks to the ludicrously overtuned performance boosts they yield.

So yeah, I'd wholeheartedly support sets' normalization. LoN shouldn't even need to exist in order to make cohesive combinations of standalone legendaries somewhat useful. Even with the massive boost LoN happens to provide, only a handful of builds are actually able to compete with these sets, which is absolutely absurd considering how much longer it takes to gather a usable array of ancient legendaries in comparison to any of these class sets.

If LoN is to stay, however, I'd like to see the thing be made a baseline property of each and every single standalone legendary item, non-ancients included, in order to spice up the early gearing process a bit, plus freeing up ring slots in the process. It just sucks how even trying to stray away from those sets just feels like a monumental waste of time because whatever you receive through Haedrig's Welfare is going to easily outperform any cohesive combination of legendaries.

This doesn't mean whatever nonsensical build you put together should compete, though. I've seen many people fallaciously claim those of us pushing for expanding diversity just want random incoherent builds to thrive. Just thought I'd point that out before the seemingly inevitable set apologist shows up here.
If we are going to give back build diversity, let's not forget all the nerf's to other things that were part of the game b4 blizzard introduced sets power.

XP gear and Bosses XP (after Boss kill, nice XP gain) were important because the builds were not as powerful as they are now.
04/02/2017 03:15 PMPosted by Shurgosa
and im not even going to get into how dumb their little justification happens to be about how sets kill diversity, I dont have the strength to tell the story one more time and I have zero faith that the devs would truly understand it anyways...


I can paraphrase the story.

Once upon a time, Jay Wilson decided that because D2 had optimal builds via their skill trees and stat allocations, this was evidence that D2 only offered false choice. He then concluded that an improvement upon D2 would be to eliminate stat allocation and skill trees for D3's development.

After players were finally able to log in and play vanilla D3, they found the grind to Inerfno mode to be arduous. These players had significant difficulty progressing in power because now that they had no way to control their character's power progression, due to a lack of skill trees or stat allocations, they were 100% dependent on finding really, really good gear; but, good gear was hard to come by in D3.
):

Thanks to the RMAH, D3 turned into a pay to win loot hunting game, wherein nobody hunted for loot because they could open up their wallets and just buy it outright. So you had two groups of players; there were those who tried to progress through the game normally by playing it, and then there were those who purchased powerful gear from the RMAH and had no reason to hunt for anything.
)':

Along comes RoS, and with it came a new idea to fix this terrible fiasco with D3 loot and player progression. What could have an opportunity to give players some measure of control over their character's power progression was instead squandered on focusing even more power into items; these were specific items called "sets". These new set items served as pseudo-skill trees, buffing skills hand-picked by the devs to outperform all the other skills a character has available. Now we had devs deciding our builds before players even had a chance to play the content. Any idea of emergent gameplay was slaughtered at that moment, and it remains dead to this day.
;-;
Beyond just massive set-based power creep, I think the biggest issue with build diversity in Diablo 3 is its competitive aspect: in a game with no GRift leaderboards, and thereby no incentive to aim for perfectly optimal play, players could still make do with weaker builds they'd personally like, since their endgame would be a matter of fulfilling their own fantasy, rather than simply achieving the highest numbers. Many other ARPGs foster plenty of alternative builds with much less effort, in spite of vast power differences, simply because endgame is about players perfecting their own, custom-made character, instead of competing against each other for optimum DPS, survivability, clear speed, etc.

The sad thing is that, in spite of the game's current lack of build diversity, D3 has more potential for it than practically any other game: as of now, there are over 600 Legendary items, and hundreds of those have unique gameplay effects. With just that and a hypothetical drop rate of 1 Legendary an hour (which may sound tiny to people used to getting showered in loot at higher Torment), that's already 600+ hours just to discover all of the unique items the game has to offer, let alone craft complex and flavorful builds with them. While I personally think part of the solution should be to break up sets into individual Legendaries, I think it would help the game a lot if its atmosphere were more relaxed, and its competitive aspect were let go. Diablo is ultimately a game about fulfilling your fantasy and taking on the armies of Hell the way you see fit, it shouldn't have to be restricted to whatever takes you higher on an arbitrary (and heavily RNG- and grind-dependent) online scoreboard.
Stat squish, o wait that does not work. It is stats period that have messed up itemization, and the shear power that sets give. You have a little wiggle room but not much when it comes to sets and how you set up your action bar.

edit: If you just want to play your own build but want to work within the sets.
A little food for thought.

http://grimdawn.wikia.com/wiki/Item_Sets

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