Blizzard on Planned Item and Witch Doctor Improvements


Besides his giant reply to Gosu’s uber list of game issues and fixes, D3 dev Travis Day hit a big Witch Doctor improvements thread and added few specifics with a lot of general sympathy and hope for the future. He did the same for an Items thread as well; here’s the highlight of the WD thread; click through to read them both in their entirety.

My Witch Doctor is probably my character I have the most fun with but there are certainly abilities I have plans to improve. For example I have always really enjoyed damage over time based characters and was pretty disappointed when I tried to build my WD around that idea. Locust Swarm is pretty fun and I liked using it but it was hard to justify giving it a place in my build. Haunt is in the same boat but I think Haunts problems are very clear and easily addressed in a future update.

Also, I put a lot of the ideas in this thread into my current list of ideas for improving the WD so I’m here to do more than just give you guys a pat on the back. The ideas and suggestions in this thread are great and community input is sincerely appreciated. You will absolutely see some of these ideas down the road and when you do you will be able to take pride in knowing that these were your ideas and they were awesome.

The full Witch Doctor thread:

Very nice compilation of thoughts and a lot of really good ideas in here. Class and ability balance is something that we constantly strive to improve and while the Witch Doctor is in a better place than some classes as far as skill diversity is concerned there is always room to polish things up further.

This is a great list and I love to see the community come together and put forth ideas and solutions to the things that they feel need attention. Keep coming up with ways you want to see us improve the game and the classes we all love and we will keep reading… even if you never see me… because I’m a ninja.

Thank you for your acknowledgement that we exist. I hope you do not mistake the fact that just because Witch Doctor’s have the most build diversity, there is still dramatic room for improvement within the class. Some scalability mechanics have also been concern that has been addressed and ideas expressed.
Travis Day: You are correct, there is always room for improvement. My Witch Doctor is probably my character I have the most fun with but there are certainly abilities I have plans to improve. For example I have always really enjoyed damage over time based characters and was pretty disappointed when I tried to build my WD around that idea. Locust Swarm is pretty fun and I liked using it but it was hard to justify giving it a place in my build. Haunt is in the same boat but I think Haunts problems are very clear and easily addressed in a future update.

Also, I put a lot of the ideas in this thread into my current list of ideas for improving the WD so I’m here to do more than just give you guys a pat on the back. The ideas and suggestions in this thread are great and community input is sincerely appreciated. You will absolutely see some of these ideas down the road and when you do you will be able to take pride in knowing that these were your ideas and they were awesome.

And the thread about items, with more promises of a better day.

This is a great and constructive thread which brings up both a lot of good ideas and valid points. Items is a topic of conversation on a daily basis, we talk about where they are currently, where we want them to be, and how to get them there. Some of the future changes involve making item affixes that aren’t currently good into something that at least some players are really excited to see. A good example of this is Pickup Radius and Witch Doctors. Sure not everyone wants a lot of Pickup Radius on their gear but there are some specs of WD that love it and want as much as possible and we want to expand that idea further. Thorns is a good example of a stat that, at its core has potential, but in reality falls short. While we plan to improve thorns by allowing a players primary stat to increase its damage, we have other plans that help further embrace thorns for specific classes and specs.

Increasing the availability of skill specific affixes and school damage affixes is also something we plan on doing. They have the potential to open up more fun and varied character builds as well as simply giving players another way to improve abilities they enjoy. An example that has worked previously is Zombie Dogs and Sacrifice using Zombie Dog cooldown items, Wall of Zombies cooldown items with Pile On, and Hammer of Ancients with cost reduction items. We like that these builds exist and want to open up even more builds by virtue of expanding the availability of these affixes.

We want items to make you feel more powerful but more importantly we want players to feel like items can be game changers. We want players to find items and think to themselves “whoa I wanna try making a spec for this item” or “oh man I’m totally gonna level a Monk to use this thing”. Improving the overall feel of the Diablo item game is something that is incredibly important to us and is receiving a lot of attention from our development team because it’s important to you all as well.

Incidentally, apologies that our blue tracker is down (not loading new posts) during this spate of Blue activity. The tracker is being redesigned and should return to functionality in the near future, making the new Blizzard posts much easier to read for everyone.

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, Items, Witch Doctor

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  1. Did the part about improving pick up radius, yes, pick up radius, deflate anyone else’s hopes that the devs actually “get it”?

    • Yeah that was pretty disheartening to hear as a hardcore WD. Pickup radius is a horribly boring stat to build around. It’s pretty retarded to try and pump people up about that stat so obviously this particular guy just doesn’t “get it” and is living in some kind of bubble.

  2. They’re admitting they have no idea what they’re doing and have to steal ideas from the community.

    Jesus Christ someone please just take Blizzard out behind the barn.

  3. What do you mean? Grave Injustice and Gruesome Feast are rather meh on their own but when synergized with pick up radius it becomes an amazing build.

    The blue comment isn’t really about pick-up radius getting buffed, it’s about gearing item affixes and abilities/passives so that players have numerous such item affix/skill combinations to build towards. Which is exactly what the game needs imo, desirable affixes which can be used to supplement certain passives/abilities and bam! effective build achieved.

    • *Meant to address steve, these forums are lol sometimes

    • I’m not sure what their complaint is, but I know I don’t want to automatically pick up health potions for one thing

      I hate running around sucking up health globes when I don’t need them

      I like to save them for, you know, when I’m actually low on health

      Grave Injustice would be better as an aura separate from health/gold pick up

      of course, it’s been a long time since I’ve played so things may be different now

      • and by the way that issue you are mentioning could be easily fixed.

        UH OH BLIZZARD easy fix… Here it is. Game detects you are at 100% life. Does not pick up the health globe. Want to get even better? Slider in options menu saying “Pick up health globes under what % life”. Of course that would require “complex coding a serious tech investment and 3 months” so don’t hold your breath.

        Oh no wait nevermind they already shot the idea down. Their reason? “Well we can’t do that because…. WHAT IF YOUR GROUP NEEDS HEALTH?!” You mean my non existant group because you don’t promote multiplayer games? Yeah I’m sure you’re real concerned guys… :/

        I literally LOL’d out of my chair when I read that one.

  4. lol, looking at the items part, they are doing (or saying that they are) what they should have done when they started to make the game: Think the core mechanics through.

    I can fully blame Blizzard for my decision never ever to preorder a game anymore.

  5. I think that during development Jay just threatened to sit on anyone on the team who had a valid suggestion when it came to itemization, now tat he is sitting on another team of developers, these guys can finally breathe.

  6. Firstly pick up radius is an amazing affix! if geared correctly. It is incredible what difference it can have on many factors for the WD… I know I play SC but that gives me the “flexibility” to test the affix at it’s highest potential. It is def a gear dependent stat but I argue it has the power to take your average WD and allow them to up the monster power higher than they would normally paired with gruesome feasts… IT can then take your top end WD and make them godly. Some may argue that feasts doesn’t work on higher Mpl and I used to think this but I have learn’t to love this passive and believe its almost one of the most amazing passives a WD has.

    The WD has the ability to gain over 50 yards p/u which if you don’t know that’s the entire screen. This means more gold than any other class can collect. The thing that makes the affix truly amazing is its game mechanics paired with Gruesome feasts. Stacking p/u allows a kite doctor to stay alive longer, a tank doctor to not have to move to heal as some mob dies further away. The better your char gets the better this affix gets. I play mp7 and up with g feasts and I can def say I noticed the difference when I swapped my vile wards with p/u for the new crafts. What people don’t realize is that every globe is not just regained mana, health or damage but also resist all. Resist all that scales with our class because our main stat is inherent to resist all. At my level 3200int each globe is effectively giving me 32 resist all which can in some cases be game changer for farming elites and trash. the higher the p/u the more stacks i have refreshed. The damage gained from this mechanic scales really well. P/u is shared between your party members so if one person has it everyone benefits from it allowing a group to progress higher mpl by indirectly buffing fellow WD or healing melee.

    This is a different dynamic that was not in d2 that i congratulate them on.

    Blizzard after 900 hours of play on this class I have to say you have done a wonderful job with this class. In my opinion is your most successful class. Build diversity here is amazing and i know in the future a few of the tweaks will only make it better.

    Just in case anyone is curious, i change my build for different things.

    feel free to look me up send me a tell in game and i’ll help anyone =)

    Morkai#1419

    Can’t wait for the soul harvest changes to mana.

  7. My most resonating thought after several recent blue posts is: It’s unbelievable how much damage the Bashiok-style of communication has done over the past, what, 7 years?
    I really have a different feel when the opening sentence of the blue post is: “This is a great and constructive thread which brings up both a lot of good ideas and valid points.”
    Maybe in 20 months D3 will be my game of choice again. I can’t believe that a small indi studio from Australia made a game that makes D3 look like utter crap.

    • Woooooaaaaah don’t be hating on Australia! We have some of the most amazing talent in the Digital world and still expanding!

      Aussie Aussie Aussie!!!

      • Sorry for being an ignorant ass. Plus, I did not mean to hate anybody. I love both Aussis and Newzealanders (have friends in both places). What I meant is that I usually don’t play video games made in Australia or New Zealand:) And POE is pretty awesome.

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