Diablo III Catch-All

emyln wrote:
Shadout wrote:

Although I'm glad skill trees are gone. Not so much when it comes to respeccing and lack of build commitment.

And there is an engine to encourage build commitment in the game. Remember that killing uniques/elites packs now grants increased stacking MF% when you kill a boss. This bonus is removed if you switch out your skills among other things but persists through death.

So I'm not seeing a downside. If you want to skill switch with every mob you encounter, then do so at the cost of not getting the MF% bonus. And if you commit to a build, then you get a benefit when you finally reach the boss. Additionally, people are now encouraged to complete areas instead of making a beeline to the boss.

So rather than punish you for changing, they reward you for not changing. I like that. Even if I know the difference is mostly psychological, it still sounds more appealing that way.

emyln wrote:

And there is an engine to encourage build commitment in the game. Remember that killing uniques/elites packs now grants increased stacking MF% when you kill a boss.

This only kicks in at level 60, which according to Blizzard should take three playthroughs into the game. If the other information they've provided is correct, that's about 60 hours in.

Shadout wrote:

It seems to me like Bashiok mostly builds straw-men to attack in these posts or reach flawed conclusions.

For me it's very clever marketing. People are parroting those same arguments in all sorts of different forums.

The bottom-line for Blizzard is that the more the game is about the gear, the more money they make. The easier the game and its economy is to control and predict, the more money they make.

Everyone goes on about Bashiok's line about the illusion of choice in Diablo II, but exactly the same thing has happened in Diablo III. The one thing that determines your success in the game is the gear, and your gear is entirely determined by Blizzard.

They control exactly what drops you get, exactly when you can get them, and likely have predicted exactly how much damage you can do with each skill given the best possible gear at level x.

Note also that while they have been secretive about all sorts of things, they released the full skill trees + runes to the community well in advance. It's a very good way of filtering out "overpowered" builds or unintended combos well in advance of release, which would otherwise disrupt the in-game economy.

Bashiok wrote:

It makes me sad seeing someone put off the game entirely because they want that + button, and anything but that is wrong, but ... ashamedly I also am at a loss of how to counter that way of thinking.

I think this (and the entire paragraph that contains it) is his best point, amongst many great points. The immediate reaction most people have to change of any kind is "DO NOT WANT", and as he says you can't counter that thought process, especially when all you have is a very limited view of the entire product in question.

I think it's asinine in the first place to have expected this game to be Diablo 2.5. Blizzard has a history of doing radical changes to their games with each numeric revision, and they are almost universally met with criticism at first (remember Warcraft 3 anybody?) and then praised for being innovative when people get the final product. So to go into Diablo 3 thinking "oh boy, this is going to be more Diablo 2" is ignoring a humongous pile of precedent set by Blizzard, and thus to complain about the game not being Diablo 2 is to intentionally ignore that same precedent.

If you want to assign your own attribute points, then by all means go play Diablo 2, or Torchlight. I also want to add that there's nothing wrong with wanting to assign your own points, rather than have a built-in game optimizer do it for you, but to claim that the game is worse for not having it is absolutely premature.

EDIT: I also want to ask a clarifying question - If what Bashiok is doing is making a straw man argument, then please clarify what the root problem is with not being able to assign your own skill points?

You know, Caddrel, I can't tell if you're happy or unhappy about the stuff you're posting. You seem to be offended that Blizzard wants to make a game that people will play for a long time because they'll make more money if that happens. Isn't that ok? Isn't that sort of the point, both for gamers and for game creators?

Chumpy_McChump wrote:

You know, Caddrel, I can't tell if you're happy or unhappy about the stuff you're posting

I'm not sure I agree with all the design decisions Blizzard makes, but I think it's important not to overlook the financial impacts their game design decisions have had.

Will post more soon, but about to start a game of Dota 2.

Chumpy_McChump wrote:

You know, Caddrel, I can't tell if you're happy or unhappy about the stuff you're posting. You seem to be offended that Blizzard wants to make a game that people will play for a long time because they'll make more money if that happens. Isn't that ok? Isn't that sort of the point, both for gamers and for game creators?

The way I interpret it is similar to how I interpret how Battlefield3 has turned out. Potentially the gameplay is designed to follow business interests, they can take a slice of gear sold through the RMAH so gear is what's important.

emyln wrote:
Caddrel wrote:

Everyone goes on about Bashiok's line about the illusion of choice in Diablo II, but exactly the same thing has happened in Diablo III. The one thing that determines your success in the game is the gear, and your gear is entirely determined by Blizzard.

I have to seriously disagree with you on this. While it is true that gear is king in any diablo game (its a given), there is no illusion about choice in Diablo 3. Below are 2 builds using the exact same skills but with different runes and I think they play slightly differently.

Point being that just because you pick the same skills as another person, the chances of all your skills and runes being the same is very very small. That's the choice that Blizzard is about, that's the customization Bashiok is referring to. The number of viable builds using this new system is a huge part of customization in D3.

Wizard with Magic Missile (Build 1)

Wizard with Magic Missile (Build 2)

This... Actually makes me really excited. We could see potentially very different character builds, and it looks like the system is designed so that you really can't too horribly screw up a build. I'm failing to find a problem with this.

Caddrel wrote:

Everyone goes on about Bashiok's line about the illusion of choice in Diablo II, but exactly the same thing has happened in Diablo III. The one thing that determines your success in the game is the gear, and your gear is entirely determined by Blizzard.

I have to seriously disagree with you on this. While it is true that gear is king in any diablo game (its a given), there is no illusion about choice in Diablo 3. Below are 2 builds using the exact same skills but with different runes and I think they play slightly differently.

Point being that just because you pick the same skills as another person, the chances of all your skills and runes being the same is very very small. That's the choice that Blizzard is about, that's the customization Bashiok is referring to. The number of viable builds using this new system is a huge part of customization and choice in D3.

Wizard with Magic Missile (Build 1)

Wizard with Magic Missile (Build 2)

shoptroll wrote:
Scratched wrote:

Potentially the gameplay is designed to follow business interests, they can take a slice of gear sold through the RMAH so gear is what's important.

Good points.

Additionally, don't forget the eBay factor. Blizzard is not the first company to do a real-money AH, Everquest 2 did it first specifically to combat the eBay sellers. Sony gave them a mechanism to do what they were going to do anyway (and couldn't be stopped from doing), and got to take a cut in the process. I think this is another big factor in Blizzard doing the same thing for Diablo 3, especially given what you pointed out about the myriad issues D1 and D2 had surrounding items and various trading/selling markets.

At least this time things won't be valued in terms of other in-game items (god damn Stones of Jordan...)

Scratched wrote:

Potentially the gameplay is designed to follow business interests, they can take a slice of gear sold through the RMAH so gear is what's important.

I still think the auction house is just an evolution of where they were already heading with D3. I mean, after the amount of headaches they had with cheats, hacks, and dupes in D1 and D2 it's not terribly surprising that they went for the option of forcing everyone to play on the Realms. Diablo II encouraged realms play anyways by providing content like exclusive runewords and the ladder. Then we had Starcraft II which operated as a great way to test consumer reaction to the move. Once they knew they could force people online without much blowback I think the RMAH came about as a "hey, now that we've got everyone online and we have access to a billing subsystem with battle.net 2.0 what else can we do?" question.

Bascially everything is intertwined, to the point where I don't think it makes a huge difference about what elements informed other elements of the design. We can spend days going back and forth arguing over whether or not Diablo is intrinsically loot focused or if that was a change due to the auction house.

EDIT:

emyln wrote:

Point being that just because you pick the same skills as another person, the chances of all your skills and runes being the same is very very small. That's the choice that Blizzard is about, that's the customization Bashiok is referring to. The number of viable builds using this new system is a huge part of customization in D3.

The thing I'm noticing is that skill trees aren't really trees in Diablo II. They're forks with 3 paths per tab. You can't hop from branch to branch very easily, and they're incredibly linear branches if memory serves (I'm too lazy to check Arreat Summit right now).

D3 looks more like a pyramid or funnel, but inverted. You start with a small set of options and the decision space blossoms out from that starting point with the added skills and the variations provided by the runes. Not to mention the fact you have a limited number of slots you can allocate.

Building a class at the high end is going to feel very similar to making a team in pokemon or building a deck in a CCG. Somewhere out there, I think the ArenaNet guys are smiling.

Caddrel wrote:

For me it's very clever marketing. People are parroting those same arguments in all sorts of different forums.

The bottom-line for Blizzard is that the more the game is about the gear, the more money they make. The easier the game and its economy is to control and predict, the more money they make.

This strikes me as very cynical, but I get the resistance to having the rug pulled out from under me on one of my favourite franchises. However from what I've read, the RMAH seems like a very ineffective money making machine.

Of course, I don't doubt that could change post-release.

Chump wrote:

However from what I've read, the RMAH seems like a very ineffective money making machine.

I didn't get a chance to play with it during the stress test last weekend, but it sounds very akin to the Mann Co store in TF2. If you want a specific item that badly you have the option of paying money instead of playing the loot drop slot machine*. It's going to be interesting to watch but unless Blizzard is stocking it with loot (the main difference with the Mann Co store) I don't think it's going to have a huge impact on the game or their bottom line *shrug*

* Which people were already doing in D2 in the back alleys using eBay and other sites. Now we've got a secure method of ensuring you don't get screwed over by xxxgoldfarmerxxx69 and Blizzard-Activision gets a cut of the payment instead of eBay.

The RMAH as has probably been pointed out before, is Bliz just taking what was there already, item trading for cash, and putting it under their roof. The bit I think you need to be careful about is that the people who design the game are the same people who are presented with a way to make cash that depends on how the game is designed.

It would be neat to be able to sell some stuff on the RMAH and pool enough money to pay for one of those special edition flying mounts. (not that I'd want flying mounts in d3...)

What are you talking about? Of course D3 has mounts.

IMAGE(http://www.thatvideogameblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/02/cropped.jpg)

Caddrel wrote:
Shadout wrote:

It seems to me like Bashiok mostly builds straw-men to attack in these posts or reach flawed conclusions.

For me it's very clever marketing. People are parroting those same arguments in all sorts of different forums.

The bottom-line for Blizzard is that the more the game is about the gear, the more money they make. The easier the game and its economy is to control and predict, the more money they make.

Everyone goes on about Bashiok's line about the illusion of choice in Diablo II, but exactly the same thing has happened in Diablo III. The one thing that determines your success in the game is the gear, and your gear is entirely determined by Blizzard.

They control exactly what drops you get, exactly when you can get them, and likely have predicted exactly how much damage you can do with each skill given the best possible gear at level x.

Note also that while they have been secretive about all sorts of things, they released the full skill trees + runes to the community well in advance. It's a very good way of filtering out "overpowered" builds or unintended combos well in advance of release, which would otherwise disrupt the in-game economy.

This has been the point of the Diablo and Diablo 2 and now 3. If it was just for story telling they wouldnt have had added the additional levels to redo a story that you just finished. People that assumed this wasnt the case are just deluding themselves. It's gear, gear, cows, and some more gear.

Then to think that they haven't done the calculations that you mentioned is silly too. Of course they have! The whole point of the game is figuring out or 'proving' their calculations.

emyln wrote:
Caddrel wrote:

Everyone goes on about Bashiok's line about the illusion of choice in Diablo II, but exactly the same thing has happened in Diablo III. The one thing that determines your success in the game is the gear, and your gear is entirely determined by Blizzard.

I have to seriously disagree with you on this. While it is true that gear is king in any diablo game (its a given), there is no illusion about choice in Diablo 3. Below are 2 builds using the exact same skills but with different runes and I think they play slightly differently.

Point being that just because you pick the same skills as another person, the chances of all your skills and runes being the same is very very small. That's the choice that Blizzard is about, that's the customization Bashiok is referring to. The number of viable builds using this new system is a huge part of customization and choice in D3

The point I was making was about the number of effective skill choices, rather than simply the variety of skill choices.

If all skill builds are equally effective, then choosing your build is a moot point anyway; all you're doing is choosing what spell effects you're using. What actually determines your effectiveness is what gear you have.

If all skills builds aren't equally effective, then as the difficulty gets harder those will become preferred by players who don't want to spend x extra days grinding for loot.

While there may be 57 trillion billion different combinations (or whatever the true number is), what we don't know is how many will be effective when/if the difficulty ramps up.

In Inferno difficulty, Blizzard have stated they expect people to have to grind for weeks or months to get the gear required for defeating it.

It took about 20 minutes for me to form all that logic into a (hopefully) coherent post.

shoptroll wrote:
Chump wrote:

However from what I've read, the RMAH seems like a very ineffective money making machine.

I didn't get a chance to play with it during the stress test last weekend, but it sounds very akin to the Mann Co store in TF2. If you want a specific item that badly you have the option of paying money instead of playing the loot drop slot machine*. It's going to be interesting to watch but unless Blizzard is stocking it with loot (the main difference with the Mann Co store) I don't think it's going to have a huge impact on the game or their bottom line *shrug*

* Which people were already doing in D2 in the back alleys using eBay and other sites. Now we've got a secure method of ensuring you don't get screwed over by xxxgoldfarmerxxx69 and Blizzard-Activision gets a cut of the payment instead of eBay.

Ineffective? I have a couple of close friends that took the funds gained between D2 and MTG tournaments/trading and paid about 75%-80% of their Freshman/Junior years of college. They're both wishing they had the time now like they did back then because they know that the potential to make money is there.

If all skill builds are equally effective, then choosing your build is a moot point anyway; all you're doing is choosing what spell effects you're using.

That is a logical fallacy. A corpse spider and firebat witch doctor can be as effective as a chakram and elemental arrow demon hunter. Choosing one over the other is hardly moot.

Likewise a hungering arrow and hailstorm of arrows demon hunter can play very similar to a electrocute and arcane barrage wizard. Yet one is more effective against physical resistant monsters and the other is the same amount effective except against elemental resistant monsters. How is choosing one over the other moot?

It seems there is the same difference between = and == in d3 character builds as there is in programming.

Caddrel wrote:

If all skills builds aren't equally effective, then as the difficulty gets harder those will become preferred by players who don't want to spend x extra days grinding for loot.

While there may be 57 trillion billion different combinations (or whatever the true number is), what we don't know is how many will be effective when/if the difficulty ramps up.

This was probably the case with Diablo II as well at the start. It's a new game, it's going to take a while for people to figure out the optimals.

I don't think anyone has ever said that you can pull 6 random skills out of a hat and have a competent build. There's going to be some combinations that don't gel as well as others. This might not have been stated by the devs, but I think it's been implied. Certain situations call for different skill and you have to factor in personal preferences that mesh better with a player's playstyle.

Something about your argument makes me think that you're conflating a couple of issues, but I can't put my finger on what exactly makes me think that. Or maybe it would help if we actually had some real examples to talk about instead of vague hypotheticals.

In Inferno difficulty, Blizzard have stated they expect people to have to grind for weeks or months to get the gear required for defeating it.

So they're pitting you against overwhelming forces. Is that a huge problem? I know from the stress test that the Skeleton King fight was a pretty drawn out affair compared to the same point in Diablo II. The bosses in this game are probably going to be significantly trickier to deal with than in previous games (most likely due to Blizzard's years of experience designing raid bosses for WoW which they didn't have for D1/D2).

shoptroll wrote:

I don't think anyone has ever said that you can pull 6 random skills out of a hat and have a competent build. There's going to be some combinations that don't gel as well as others. This might not have been stated by the devs, but I think it's been implied. Certain situations call for different skill and you have to factor in personal preferences that mesh better with a player's playstyle.

Thirteenth wrote:

Has this been posted yet? Hope it adds to the difficulty conversation.

They address it around minute 10.

shoptroll wrote:

Something about your argument makes me think that you're conflating a couple of issues, but I can't put my finger on what exactly makes me think that. Or maybe it would help if we actually had some real examples to talk about instead of vague hypotheticals.

One hole is that even if skills don't matter in terms of effectiveness, who cares anyway? You can choose from loads of fun skills, and the game is about collecting gear anyway. Skills are just fun toys you get to play with while you collect gear.

And in Diablo III, that would just mean there are a lot of fun toys.

Another hole is that even if all skills are equally effective, the different builds still play very differently. While the game doesn't have the micro of Starcraft II or Dota 2, not every game needs to be like that.

Just to make it clear (because I think fang got the wrong end of the stick) I'm not saying that skills are necessarily equally effective; I'm making conditional statements.

Everything will be a lot clearer a week or two after the game has released, for certain.

Caddrel wrote:

And in Diablo III, that would just mean there are a lot of fun toys.

+1 to this. I was having a blast this weekend just roundhouse kicking hordes of zombies and skeletons and sending to mobs flying everywhere. A lot more satisfying than bashing things with a D2 Barbarian

fangblackbone wrote:

That is a logical fallacy.

I think you may have got the wrong end of the stick with my post. It was a conditional statement, I wasn't saying all builds are equally effective. Or even that all builds weren't equally effective.

Or maybe you just didn't see what I meant by effective. The logic definitely stands up in the context of the argument I was making.

Oh, oh, are we sharing builds?

Here's mine.

The idea is to keep all the cooldown skills on cooldown, generate ridiculous mana with Vision Quest, and burn the sh*t out of enemies with Clouds of Bats and Piercing the Veil.
- Spiritual Attunement's extra mana pool absorbs the overhead cost to cast the cooldown skills.
- Widowmakers acts as ranged needs and safety net for mana dry situations.
- Hedge Magic reduces enemy damage over time and provides occasional heal to the otherwise vulnerable Witch Doctor.
- Swallow Your Soul further bolsters damage and gains some more mana along the way.
- Dead Rush adds additional burst damage in fights.
- Gargantuan is the choice of least evil amongst Voodoo skills. It doesn't really go with the build, but at least provides both persistent effect and cooldown. I went with Bruiser for further damage mitigation.

I think you may have got the wrong end of the stick with my post.

It could be. There is just a decade long history of this discussion since Everquest where people lamented class balance would ruin class identity. There was a train of thought that equal power meant no diversity and no "meaningful choice". I have never subscribed to that philosophy.

Here is an example:

A dot and life tapping necro vs. a nuking and healing druid vs. a heal procing aura battle cleric

A necro has a 100 damage dot and can cast 4 life taps for 25 over 30 seconds. So that is 200 damage and 100 healing in 30 seconds. The druid can cast 7 nukes for 29 in 28 seconds and can heal for 95 on a 2 second cast. So that druid is doing 203 damage and 95 healing in 30 seconds. The cleric hits for 24 every 3.5 seconds and procs a 30 heal 3-4 times a fight. So the cleric does 192 damage and 90-120 healing in 30 seconds.

To me, this is an example of how you can have only a subtle +/-5% difference in net effectiveness or power but clear diverse choices in playstyle.

fangblackbone wrote:
I think you may have got the wrong end of the stick with my post.

It could be. There is just a decade long history of this discussion since Everquest where people lamented class balance would ruin class identity. There was a train of thought that equal power meant no diversity and no "meaningful choice". I have never subscribed to that philosophy.

Here is an example:

A dot and life tapping necro vs. a nuking and healing druid vs. a heal procing aura battle cleric

A necro has a 100 damage dot and can cast 4 life taps for 25 over 30 seconds. So that is 200 damage and 100 healing in 30 seconds. The druid can cast 7 nukes for 29 in 28 seconds and can heal for 95 on a 2 second cast. So that druid is doing 203 damage and 95 healing in 30 seconds. The cleric hits for 24 every 3.5 seconds and procs a 30 heal 3-4 times a fight. So the cleric does 192 damage and 90-120 healing in 30 seconds.

To me, this is an example of how you can have only a subtle +/-5% difference in net effectiveness or power but clear diverse choices in playstyle.

j

See this is where diablo has always been different and part of its charm. Where MMOs are always looking for and relying on the 'best' build. Diablo is about the end result. There's a 100 different ways to get there. Which one you choose is a matter a preference. If it works it works...

Caddrel wrote:

Blizzard representatives have been protesting for a long time, in all sorts of forums, about how incredibly difficult the game gets in the later stages. That kind of thing makes me more suspicious, not less, particularly due to their design focus on making the game accessible to as wide a variety of builds as possible.

If the game is made so anyone can complete it on any build, then someone with an "optimal" build will sail through. If the game is made so only certain builds are viable, then people with their own personal builds are going to have to spend ages grinding better equipment to progress through the game with their build.

They've also not let anyone outside Blizzard play the game at later difficulties, to my knowledge.

I see what you're trying to get at. Essentially, Blizzard has placed itself between a rock and a hard place. In other words, between ensuring a wide variety of similarly "viable" builds and maintaining a certain level of difficulty for all those builds. It's a reasonable ground for suspicion, I share that suspicion, but the devil is in the details. The fact of the matter is we just don't know how many viable builds there are, how effective they may be while compared to one another, and how much challenge the game will grant to each of those builds. I hope to be pleasantly surprised.

We can speculate and discuss personal standards before obtaining those information, though. I think that's fair. But these will have to be matters of personal opinion, in no possible way truly objective debates. So a potential debate we might have is how "similarly effective" must all builds be in comparison to one another in order for the design to be acceptable. Can there be an optimal build that is more efficient (more progression achieved over time and energy spent) than other builds that are merely viable? Is a 5% more efficient optimal build acceptable? How about 20%? Should all builds be viable, or just some? What does "viable" mean? Being able to completely go through Inferno? Is a build that finishes Inferno after spending 200 hrs, versus an average of 30 hours across all possible builds, viable?

fangblackbone wrote:

There is just a decade long history of this discussion since Everquest where people lamented class balance would ruin class identity. There was a train of thought that equal power meant no diversity and no "meaningful choice". I have never subscribed to that philosophy.

Ah, very interesting post.

I think I should have worded what I said a bit better, as I was mainly responding to what the previous poster had said before me. Maybe a better way of putting it is, "If all skill builds are equally effective, then items are the math and skills are the flavour." It was mainly a discussion on the importance put on gear in progressing through the game, and the importance of gear to your strength of a character.