Another Blue Defense of Max Clvl 60


Bashiok made some spirited replies to a big “Clvl 60 in D3 sux” thread in the WoW forums, and though we’ve pretty well kicked this dead horse to pieces, let’s saddle up for another round! Since it’s long and familiar, I’ve included some of Bashiok’s best comments from the post below. Click through to read the whole thing, including the OP’s argument.

Leveling was the least important part of Diablo II. Well, aside from gold. I’m sorry but even though you may have had fun grinding to 99 for absolutely no reason, we don’t think it’s a fun mechanic to encourage. …But guess what, achievements reach that same goal, and can actually have some meaning. What if after leveling 10 characters to 60 you get a unique item? Or dye color? Or title? Or glow? Or anything.

…Diablo is about the items. Diablo has also historically had an end-game of essentially running the same bosses over and over to pull the loot-lever. That’s something we intend to change.

…Achieving level 99 was a status symbol that you played more than other people. Not that you were better, more skilled, or had some secret build (I will concede that doing so in HC invalidates some of this). It was simply a mark of time investment. And we’ll have those. What that mark of time investment shouldn’t be though is something that trickles down and messes with all of the sub systems that have to be paced along that leveling curve. Itemization, skill systems, runes, gems… you name it.

…Character levels are an extremely powerful reward system. They deliver a very clear and understandable system of character power increase to pretty much everyone, no matter their game experience. The issue with Diablo II is that those levels were devalued by picking a really high number no one would probably ever hit (of course they did). Because of that each level was less important, less powerful, and less impactful. …Imagine there’s a pie. A delicious pie of player power. You start to slice up that pie into the number of levels in the game. The more levels, the thinner the slice, the thinner the slice the less each slice means.

As we heard here and in many previous posts on the topic, the main arguments for the change to Clvl 60 in D3 are that the DiabloWikiend game experience is mostly about ph4t l3wt, and that the endless level grind was fairly boring in Diablo 2 since it pretty much boiled down to a ranking of people who had put in the most hours on one character (with some DiabloWikiHardcore exceptions). That sort of e-peen display will still be possible (and even e-peenier) in D3 thanks to achievements, but there’s much more to the end game than just playing the same char over and over again

Additionally, with fewer levels each level up can be enhanced in importance, making each skill point more valuable. In D3, the skill points you gain even in the last levels will still be valuable, rather than just gaining you like 0.2% more damage by taking you from level 16 to level 17 in your 3rd synergy.

The one thing D3’s end game fun seems to be missing, (from what little we’ve heard so far) is something to acknowledge playing the same character a great deal. Sure, if that’s your best Magic Find char then you’ll reward yourself with loot, but some people don’t want to make twenty different Clvl 60 chars. They want to make one Clvl 500 char, or the equivalent thereof.

This issue came up in On the Drawing Board #13, and lots of commenters were in favor of the possibility of endless experience gain. Not endless levels, but whatever the top level was, why couldn’t a char just keep gaining experience beyond that? It’s your favorite character, they’ve got your best items, a bunch of them are DiabloWikiBoE so you can’t trade them or use them anywhere else, and you just really enjoy playing that char. Why not have some metric to measure how long you’ve done so?

So, how are you guys feeling about the Clvl 60 limit and Diablo III’s end game plans? The last few times this issue came up, most of the commenters seemed to agree with Bashiok’s positions in today’s post. But opinions change. Also, remember to click through to read all of the new blue comments on this issue; not just the excerpts above.

Here’s the full post. Bashiok’s replies are in blue.

Diablo 2 was great because of the 99 level cap.

99 wasn’t even close to the level you needed to be to do everything in the game (about lvl73 was the sweet spot.

99 was something for those insane %!***@@s to strive for. Having a 99 hardcore character meant you were awesome (and we were, hell yea we were).

No items in game required 99 (closest was 95) and each level just got a little bit of a boost to the character, a little bit more of an edge over players lower level.

This new model of “lets make it just like an mmo” is going to ruin the whole reason to play the game. Every person is going to have to be max level to play end game stuff which means that max level will mean exactly what it means in wow…nothing. Leveling will be the least important part of the game.

I know you think that “raises the level cap” is a great bullet point for all the expansions you plan to sell for this game but no one gives a crap what the level cap is if everyone is going to reach it (and have to reach it).

Finding a group of players from private baalrun channels and doing 10 hours straight of baal runs, racing to get into each next run (not too fast, a “doesn’t exist” could screw you out of your spot) is awesome fun. There will be no grinding end game because there will be no leveling.

You just….beat the game, and that’s not diablo style. That’s not fun.
Alright, let’s get this going. .
.
This new model of “lets make it just like an mmo”
What does level 60 have to do with MMO’s? Are you saying no RPG’s or even action RPG’s have proposed different level caps than 99? How about the original Diablo? The level cap was 50.

is going to ruin the whole reason to play the game.
The entire reason to play Diablo II was not to hit a meaningless cap of 99 that took months and months of nonstop grinding.

Every person is going to have to be max level to play end game stuff which means that max level will mean exactly what it means in wow…nothing. Leveling will be the least important part of the game.
It always was. Leveling was the least important part of Diablo II. Well, aside from gold. I’m sorry but even though you may have had fun grinding to 99 for absolutely no reason, we don’t think it’s a fun mechanic to encourage. Actually I take that back, there was a reason. Your e-peen showed you had a ton of time to play the game non-stop for months and months to reach an arbitrary cap which provided you no benefit. But guess what, achievements reach that same goal, and can actually have some meaning. What if after leveling 10 characters to 60 you get a unique item? Or dye color? Or title? Or glow? Or anything.

You just….beat the game, and that’s not diablo style. That’s not fun.
Diablo is about the items. Diablo has also historically had an end-game of essentially running the same bosses over and over to pull the loot-lever. That’s something we intend to change.

Now, I will not argue that what you found fun was grinding to 99, but I will argue that what you were doing had any meaning beyond reaching a long-term goal that took a lot of time investment. Achieving level 99 was a status symbol that you played more than other people. Not that you were better, more skilled, or had some secret build (I will concede that doing so in HC invalidates some of this). It was simply a mark of time investment. And we’ll have those. What that mark of time investment shouldn’t be though is something that trickles down and messes with all of the sub systems that have to be paced along that leveling curve. Itemization, skill systems, runes, gems… you name it.

Wow Bash, you pretty much personally insulted the OP by saying he has no life outside of Diablo. I understand you take your job seriously but I think you should take some of your colleagues’ advice and walk outside and take a breather before posting while angry or riled up.

Quite right, although have you ever played to 99? Depending on which patch it was after, doing nothing but playing Diablo to hit 99 isn’t far off.

Ok let me take another stab at explaining…

Character levels are an extremely powerful reward system. They deliver a very clear and understandable system of character power increase to pretty much everyone, no matter their game experience. The issue with Diablo II is that those levels were devalued by picking a really high number no one would probably ever hit (of course they did). Because of that each level was less important, less powerful, and less impactful. This was offset somewhat by devaluing levels in the later game, but in any case it made each level less meaningful. Imagine there’s a pie. A delicious pie of player power. You start to slice up that pie into the number of levels in the game. The more levels, the thinner the slice, the thinner the slice the less each slice means.

That’s the main point, although there are many sub points that have great benefits. I’ve talked about this ad-nauseum on the battle.net forums which is why I think reading anything now gets to me a bit because it reminds me that no matter how I work not everyone is going to read what I’ve said before, and thus the endless cycle of re-repeating myself continues.

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