The Immortal Words of Old School (Itemization)

General Discussion
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Highly Rated
For a real quick introduction; I consider myself a very passionate Diablo fan. To prove it, the best man’s speech at my wedding began by telling hundreds of people that I really like Diablo… The best part about being a Diablo fan is the fact that Blizzard continues to passionately support their games and listen to fan feedback, no matter how negative it is. I think this is the underlining reason that you are even here reading this forum post and I am even posting it. Though, I am an avid fan of this game, I do not shy away from critiquing it. Since the beginning, I have enjoyed the content but have been very aware of all the flaws we have encountered. Tonight I found it more entertaining to get drunk and right this post rather than play the game. I really hope I can get a +1 like post from you guys. Please do so, if you agree that the following details should be acknowledged by Blizzard or at least give me feedback on how you see it differently. I have been building this up for a long time and have done my best to condense it to an easy to read format.


The Problem – (Optimal Item Stats)

The Solution – (Quick Summary)

Part 1 – (Linking Worthless Stats)
Part 2 – (Promoting Limited Stats)
Part 3 – (Expanding Main Stats)

(Conclusion) & (Similar Topic List)


The Problem – Optimal Item Stats
Diablo 3 is a game where 100% of your characters customization comes from your gear. In order to improve your character you must stack a very constricted set of item stats. I call these and will refer to them as Optimal Item Stats.

Optimal Item Stats: The only stats worth striving for are:
(1) Crit, (2) Attack Speed (nerfed), and your characters (3) Primary Stat for Damage.
(1) All Res, (2) Armor, and (3) Vitality for Defense.
(1) Life on Hit and (2) Life Steal for Life Return or get it from a Heal Skill.

You can see Blizzard’s design philosophy here with a quote from Jay Wilson, The Game Director:

“There might be some optimal builds but we are interested in all the viable builds”

In my opinion, with the games current state, no build is viable or optimal anymore; the characters gear measures how optimal they are. This is not a bad thing but a shallow fundamental for this game. The more of these optimal item stats a player stacks the better the character is on the imaginary ladder. All other item stats, indirectly, will make your character weaker because these are areas where more optimal stats could be added. Currently, itemization is robotic and does not reward thought or creativity. The true quality of a character is completely based on this very linear progression. These stats have become more expensive on the auction house and have resulted in pushing players apart in terms of quality. It becomes a game where anyone, can switch to any build, at any time, and be better, based on this narrow itemization focus and zero commitment.

Optimal item stats have become required and destroyed what it means to be viable. Customization should be a way for your character to stand out from the crowd, not be measured against it. I think this will take away from the challenges of PVP when it comes out and emphasize the problem.
Highly Rated
The Solution – Summary
There is so much potential with this games current structure. I think adding balance to the current item stat structure will bring back what it means to be viable. I am going to focus on a solution to the problem I stated above by showing EXAMPLES of three different ways to change the current functionality of item stats, by using current mechanics that already exist and emphasizing them. Item stats need to be a way to customize your character, stand out from the crowd, and shine at a particular skill or build!

Part 1 – Linking Worthless Stats :
The entire item stat structure needs to be able to compete on the same level as optimal item stats. Below are EXAMPLES of how linking worthless item stats such as (1) Pickup Radius, (2) Thorns, and (3) Added Health from Globes to specific skills will make them feel optimal!

Part 2 – Promoting Limited Stats :
There are a few limited item stats that could easily compete with optimal stats if players were able to stack more of it. Below are EXAMPLES of how promoting limited item stats such as (1) Blocking, (2) Damage to Specific Skills, and (3) Elemental Skills Deal More Damage will make them feel optimal!

Part 3 – Expanding Main Stats :
Nothing can compete with the primary stat of a character. This itemizations focus pigeon-holds players to a certain play-style. What if you could choose your own main stat to focus on, and still get the offensive and defensive benefits? Below is an EXAMPLE of one way to balance the requirement of a single primary stat, give the player the option to choose their own play-style, and revolutionize itemization!

These are three different types of EXAMPLES that will make build diversity actually feel original rather than being called original based on statistics. Feeling original means that you feel your character is “the best” at what it does. No one can switch to your build and accomplish what you can do because your current gear is in alignment with your build and play-style. You will feel ownership of your build and be able to customize it with creativity. You will find items that make you want to start a new character, rather than just equipping the item you found. Simple changes like these will bring viability back to the game and add end game. I think it will bring more of a balance to the auction house in terms of item prices instead of garabage stats ruining otherwise amazing items. The following itemization changes will make true heroes emerge and they will keep coming back for more!
Highly Rated
The Solution – Linking Worthless Stats

(1) Pickup Radius
Rework the “Pickup Radius” stat to link to area of effect skills, for ALL classes. That’s right, just like the Witch Doctor passives “Gravel Injustice” and “Circle of Life.” It can be balanced by giving a.o.e. skills a minimal radius so these skills are still viable with zero Pickup Radius and coefficients can be utilized to determine how much a skill is affected, per yard of Pickup Radius (similar to proc coefficients that determine how often a skill ticks). It doesn’t have to be yard for yard… A change like this will make “Pickup Radius” a viable item stat.

EXAMPLES of class a.o.e. skills that could link to Pickup Radius:

Barbarian: Seismic Slam, Ground Stomp, Leap, Over Power, Threatening Shout, War Cry, Earthquake

Demon Hunter: Bola Shot, Grenades, Caltrops, Spike Trap, Fan of Knives, Sentry, Strafe, Rain of Vengeance

Monk: Crippling Wave, Blinding Flash, Inner Sanctuary, Exploding Palm, Sweeping Winds, Cyclone Strike, Mantras

Witch Doctor: Fire Bomb, Grasp of the Dead, Horrify, Soul Harvest, Sacrifice, Mass Confusion, Explosive Beast, Acid Cloud, Big Bad Voodoo

Wizard: Arcane Orb, Arcane Torrent, Sleet Storm, Frost Nova, Slow Time, Diamond Shards, Wave of Force, Meteor, Blizzard, Explosive Blast

(2) Thorns
It is not viable to try and stack the “Thorns” stat because it is only effective against melee monster you encounter. “Thorns” could be reworked to return damage to ALL attacks. That’s right, just like the monster affix, “Reflect Damage”. This way it will be effective against all the enemies you encounter. Certain classes currently have a passive that increase the effectiveness of the “Thorns” stat. This is a great incentive to promote build diversity and add customization. Every class should have a passive like this and those that don’t should have a passive reworked that links to the “Thorns” stat. A change like this would make “Thorns” a viable item stat.

EXAMPLES of current thorn passives and passives that could be reworked:

Barbarian: Tough as Nails

Demon Hunter: Rework - Cull of the Weak (add thorns damage slows enemies for x seconds)

Monk: Rework - Sixth Sense (add dodged attacks deal 100% thorns damage)

Witch Doctor: Fierce Loyalty

Wizard: Rework - Illusionist (add Illusions get 100% benefits of your thorns)

(3) Added Health from Globes
Healing is a huge part of this game and nothing is more unreliable than waiting for a health globe to drop. This was great early on but it is a complicated end game mechanic. No one can plow through Inferno content without managing life return. Right now there are options such as life on hit, life on kill, % life steal, etc... Every class needs to heal from the damage they take and the healing skill effectiveness needs to be manageable for ALL classes. The “Added Health from Globes” stat could be reworked to link to healing skills for ALL classes which would increase the effectiveness of the healing ability of that skill. That’s right, just like how they linked “Added Health from Globes” to increase the effectiveness of the Health Potion. This can be balanced with coefficients to give it a nice feel. A change like this would make “Added Health from Globes” a viable item stat.

EXAMPLES of healing skills from each class that could be linked to Added Health from Globes:

Barbarian: Triumph, Blood Lust, Ignorance is Bliss, Dread Spear, Dreadnaught, Revel, Invigorate, Pound of Flesh, Inspiring Presence, Bloodthirst

Demon Hunter: Bounty Hunter, Nether Tentacles, Shadow Power, Battle Scars, Death Toll, Aid Station, Maelstrom, Brooding

Monk: Breath of Heaven, Peaceful Repose, Safe Haven, Soothing Breeze, Mantra of Healing, Reclamation, Transcendence

Witch Doctor: Vampire Bats, Consuming Spirit, Leeching Beasts, Healing Journey, Hedge Magic, Siphon, For the Master, Phlebotomize, Ghost Trance

Wizard: Healing Blades, Blood Magic, Vigoron, Galvanizing Ward, Unstable Anomaly (someone is lacking healing skills)
Highly Rated
The Solution – Promoting Limited Stats
Give the player the option to commit to a build that would return greater results. Promoting the following types of stats would simply be a viable alternative to the Optimal Item Stats. These types of choices will result in players branching out from one another. This adds end game!

(1) Blocking
Allow stats like “Block Chance”, “Block Rate”, and “Block Amount” to roll on all item types and not just a shield. That’s right, just like it does on “Helm of Command” and “Justice Lantern”! Shields are barley used and if they are, it’s usually for the armor bonus. Blocking has turned into one of the most underwhelming abilities, and consequently the shield has turned into one of the most underused items, because it can’t compete with the source, mojo, quivers, or duel wielding. Allow blocking to roll on ALL items to make blocking a viable defensive mechanic and compete with optimal stats like Armor and All Res. This could even be taken a step further and have blocking trigger skills similar to critical hitting.

EXAMPLES of limited defensive stats:

“Block Chance”, “Block Rate”, and “Block Amount”

(2) Adds Damage to Specific Skills
Feeling like your character is the best at what it does is a staple for customization. It’s all about, standing out and feeling better than the person next to you in a particular area. Right now, it’s only based on optimal item stats. Players are better or worse than you, and that’s it. Now I want to emphasize something that already exists in this game but is only hit the tip of the iceberg.

The item stat like “Adds Damage to Specific Skills” (or increases crit chance... or reduces cooldowns...) would change everything if players were able to stack it. Currently you would be lucky to find this item stat for a favorite skill, if it even existed... It’s only available to roll on one or two of your items, if any. Allow these stats to roll on ALL items, for ALL skills, for ALL classes! This stat could compete on the same level with Crit and Primary Stats in terms of damage. This could revolutionize the way we stack damage in Diablo that would give a sense of originality. Imagine stacking this with your favorite skill and blowing everyone else out the water in that specific area.
(this post is a great perspective to the above paragraph if you wish to dig deeper)

This section may seem like it’s counterproductive to character adaptability because it may require one to re-gear in order to completely change builds. I don’t think this will be an issue because everything in Diablo 3 actually supports this type of itemization. There is still the option of switching between rune abilities while still receiving specfic skill bonuses and re-gearing is easier than ever with the convenience of the Auction House. Above all else, there would still be other options available to advance your characters.

I think this would bring the community together. One would value their teammate for outshining them in specific areas, rather than comparing a teammate to one’s self and labeling them as better or worse, and consequently feeling less efficient by playing with a group (nerfing wont fix this). Players will no longer be measured in terms of how many optimal stats they stack, but in terms of identity, commitment, and creativity. This would not only balance item stats, but also level the playing field. I believe the following itemization suggestions should be available to those who wish to seek it.

EXAMPLES of limited damage stats:

Demon Hunter: % Damage to Grenades
Wizard: Reduce Cooldown of Wave of Force
Monk: Increased Crit Chance of Tempest Rush
Witch Doctor: % Damage to Fetish Army
Barbarian: Reduce Cooldown of Call of the Ancients etc…

(3) Elemental Skills Deal More Damage
Similar to the above; allow “Elemental Skills Deal more Damage” to roll on all the items and not just certain legendary items. That’s right, just like it does on Mage Fist, Maximus, Win Khim Lau, etc… This is very similar to the “Adds Damage to Specific Skill” stat but it would affect multiple skills and promote themed builds for those who wish to seek it.

EXAMPLES of limited damage stats:

Fire skills deal % more damage, Lightning skills deal % more damage, Poison skills deal % more damage, Holy skills deal % more damage, Arcane skills deal % more damage, Cold skills deal % more damage, Physical skills deal % more damage

Follow Up: On Elemental Damage ( )
I ran a test and simply made a post quoting Blizzards philosophy on elemental damage types and tracked the feedback. I found that 25+ prefer dynamic elemental damage types to be added back to the game while around 3 or so are happy with DPS being the only priority when it comes to customizing a character. I think if they brought dynamic elemental damage back and took some time to balance it properly it would make the above item stats really shine! Elemental damage types leaves a lot to be desired because it is obvious that it existed at one point and was removed from the game without considering itemization and realizing its importance.
Highly Rated
The Solution – Expanding Main Stats
I am going to give credit for this section to a post I recently read a few days ago about giving main stats secondary abilities which it got me thinking. Here is the post: ( ).

We already know Strength is linked to Armor, Intelligence is linked to All Res, and Dexterity is linked to Dodge. Barbarians go after Strength, Wizards and Witch Doctors go after Intelligence, and Monks and Demon Hunters go after Dexterity. The OP, in the post I linked above, gave main stats a secondary ability. I think this is a great idea. It promotes more customization, creativity, and gives ignored main stats more of a viable purpose. I am going to take this a step further and say; what if we could receive a damage boost from all main stats and not just the characters Primary stat?

This can be balanced a number of different ways. It would give players the option to choose their own play style and not be pigeon-held to a class specific play style. The fact that all classes would be able to choose their own main/primary stat would give class wide balance to the game. This would address the current imbalance issue that some players have with Dexterity (dodge being inferior to all res and armor). This would also fix the itemization issue of class specific items rolling the wrong main/primary stats or class specific affixes rolling in conjunction with the wrong main/primary stats.

EXAMPLES of primary stat changes:

Intelligence Damage Benefit: Peirce the enemy’s resistance & reduces cool downs.
Dexterity Damage Benefit: Increase movement and attack speed.
Strength Damage Benefit: Raw damage boost & increased crowd control chance.
Highly Rated
I generally migrate toward a less popular play style or prefer viable builds over optimal builds. I thought that’s what this game was all about. I have played Diablo since Diablo 1 released and this game has truly defined me as a gamer. I enjoy Online Poker, Monopoly with my child, and Diablo 3 to relax after a hard day’s work because I think it’s awesome to build a sense of wealth and have fun at the same time. I have always found a way to have fun in the Diablo series by doing something unorthodox and making it awesome with itemization until I realized Diablo 3 simply doesn’t support that. I played a blocking Fire Druid (with a 160/60 and fire facets), a Poison Necro (with engima and insane fast cast), and Aura-dins (with crazy auras from gear) in Diablo 2. This is the main reason for my post because something fundamentally is missing from Diablo 3 because I can’t accomplish this type of fun, no matter how hard I try. I have tried to make a Fire Which Doctor, a Gold Find Speed Monk, and an Engineer Demon Hunter. I have tried to go for those fun stats on legendary items and failed because they are horrible. Now I find myself regearing, giving in, and replacing the fun items that supported fun play styles and getting boring optimal item stat gear that support all play styles. I am going to leave it at that.

Follow Up: Conclusion
If Diablo was set up in such a manner, and the above itemization changes were implemented, I predict you would start to see amazing builds emerge from the items we find. There would be a complete shift in ones interpretation of drops, from finding almost nothing but vendor trash, ALL the time, to a more extended range of viable and optimal items. There would be more build specific types of items as well as items with a focus on adaptability. One players trash would be another players treasure. Prices in the auction house would start to balance because the community wouldn’t be chasing after the same piece of gear. The gap between lower end and higher end players would start to condense. Things like build creativity, teamwork, and the actual skill of players would start to outweigh the power of optimal item stats.

i.e. #1
Please try and picture an actual "scale balance" with a blank label on each end which defines a Diablo 3 character. With itemization at its current state those two blanks say GOOD and BAD. I think the itemization changes I am suggesting would replace those two words with UNORTHODOX and WELL BALANCED. I think this would make PVP extreamly more intriguing.

i.e. #2
Please try and picture an imaginary PvP ranking system where a character gets rated on a scale of 1 to 10 in terms of quality. With itemization at its current state a 3 player free-for-all would look something like this: 3 vs 4 vs 8 (obvious pvp results). I think the itemization changes I am suggesting would make those ratings look more like this: 2/3/10 vs 3/6/8 vs 7/7/7 (unknown & exciting pvp results).

Please like and support this post even if it requires you to log in. It’s your support that will push this read into a lead developers lap and we might find some of the fundamental itemization changes we are looking for. I think these forums are the first step to get our ideas heard. Never give up!

I leave you with the Immortal Words of this Old Schoooooool Report. Thanks for taking the time to read.


Itemization Similar Topic List (on going):
I am going to keep a running list going of similar post that I think are in alignment with this post that have great ideas to help improve this game. If you have a similar topic that you would like me to add please let me know.
Immortal Words of Old School Pt 2 (Auction House):
The Salvation of Diablo 3: A Guide by Gosu:


Mutiplayer Balance:
Fixing Multiplayer Reboot - skill and system changes:
Improving Storm Armor Rune Scramble for co-op:
New Mockup (Diablo Fans):

Item Stat Balance:
"Life on Kill" Balance:
"Thorns" Balance:
Archon's Thorns Suggestion (1:13 - 1:33):
"Ignore Durability Loss" Balance:
Movement Speed:
Skill Affix Build Potential:
Dear Director: returning the depth to Diablo (elemental dmg bonus):
Clear On Why Item Suck:
Limiting Item Stats:
Buffing useless prefixes:

Items & Crafting:
Viable Items & Crafting Idea:
New Legendary Items:
More Items Like 300th Spear:
16 Years in Sanctuary (on RNG):

Worthless Item Stats:
Fixing Useless Stats:
Kripparrian on Worthless Item Stats:
Optimal Iteme Affix Combos:
The Brick Wall:
Diablo III Loot Infographic:
Very valid points +1

However, i feel the scope of the changes suggested here is too big to be done in a patch. Its probably gonna change the entire game mechanics, break people's existing gear, the current AH economy will go completely haywire. Moreover the monsters' reponse to these changes also would need to be carefully calibrated. Basically a LOT of chaos will ensue if all these changes are implemented. I feel its not going to happen in a patch, or anytime soon. The game is still reeling under the shock-waves 1.0.5 sent with the loot changes and intro of monster power system.

This is prolly the content for a expansion if it is ever accepeted by devs.
Very good ideas.
Thanks for the support

Very valid points +1

However, i feel the scope of the changes suggested here is too big to be done in a patch. Its probably gonna change the entire game mechanics, break people's existing gear, the current AH economy will go completely haywire. Moreover the monsters' reponse to these changes also would need to be carefully calibrated. Basically a LOT of chaos will ensue if all these changes are implemented. I feel its not going to happen in a patch, or anytime soon. The game is still reeling under the shock-waves 1.0.5 sent with the loot changes and intro of monster power system.

This is prolly the content for a expansion if it is ever accepeted by devs.

I am not a game developer but I tried to focus on changes that don’t change the entire game mechanics but use mechanics that already exist. It may seem "too big" but the changes I am emphasizing in post 4 and 5 are very simple if you think about it. I am not pushing for a nerf to any existing gear but pushing to buff worthless stats. I don’t think this will break anyone's current build but maybe inspire them to replace some pieces of gear or skills and it would reward them for doing so. I also trust the auction house economy will balance it self out. This is driven by the players, not the items. I don’t think any more chaos would ensue from these changes than from the changes in the past patches.

With that said I think post 4 and 5 are "patch" type changes. Regarding post 6, I would have to agree with you. These types of changes would be more suited for an expansion. I will add this logic to the post above. Thanks for your feedback.
+1 for a excellent, well reasoned ideas.

+1000 for grammar and formatting. It's rare these days to read well-parsed text.
I read it all and I really liked it all ;] I think the linking/synergizing underused stats to skills would be a great improvement to the item system. Things like that are really what gives theorycrafters alot to work with.

I personally tried the 0 cooldown wall of zombies - pile on build and loved it, played around with a 2atk/sec 0mp cost arcane torrent+ wizspike/stormcrow/hellfire ring proc build, and a burning axe of sankis ww volcanic eruption earthquake/wotb/cota build(obviously mp0 playthroughs), but with the game at its current state these stranger builds can easily and inexpensively clear inferno. However, for the life of me I couldn't build anything wonky that could key/organ farm mp7-8 as well as the standard barb.

Obviously in D2 we favored specific builds for certain things, farming speed sorcs/hammerdins, ubers smiterdins/frenzybarbs, but with the lack of character recreation and the constant praise to build diversity, I think alot of the item improvements mentioned in this post would promote build diversity towards.. hate to say it.. end game objectives(farming/leveling/ubers), as well as removing the feeling of being pigeonholed to stacking mainstat/vit/ar/cc/etc.
I read it all and I'm actually a little impressed by how sensible these ideas really are. They have a certain logic to them that feels natural to the game and not as random as some of the other awkward suggestions floating around these forums..

On point!.. Hope to see changes like these in the future gg..
Thanks for the nice feedback. Really glad to see people agree with this and are taking the time to read it. Its pretty easy to take 1 look at the length and press the back button. Free bumps are appreciated.
It is a very wonderful concept, too wonderful in fact, i doubt the Community Managers could not relay your concept to the developers.

Their E-Peen is too big.

Careful now. You might get a Facebook reply from someone.......
Nice read, but like someone else stated before me, a bit too much for a patch.

Unlike other suggestions, your points would need a rework of the game at its core, they're not very easy changes.

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