US’s First Hardcore Paragon 100 Speaks


Long time site member and author of this fantastically useful Hardcore Barbarian guide, AlexanderBarin recently dinged to the very top, as the US Realm’s first Hardcore Paragon level 100. You can see 60/100 Barbarian here and his 60/100 Barbarian here, and it’s interesting to compare to top Softcore Barbs; you don’t see a lot of those with 93k life and a shield.

To commemorate his achievement Alex not only posted pictures, but a mighty article with numerous excellent suggestions for improving the game. The full thing is very worth a read, but I wanted to excerpt his main game change arguments, since I think most of them are quite worthwhile. These are just the main points; see his article for full details on all of these, along with specific suggestions for Hardcore and more.

1.Too many skills and runes are inferior to others.

  • Too many skills lack the “wow” factor. It’s time to buff them. Hard. Very hard.
  • You know who feels like a god right now? WW/Tornado/Perma WOTB barb. It’s time to make every skill so good, it will make the players feel like a god. Of death.
  • 2. Too many items are instantly inferior to others.

  • Worst offenders here are helms and weapons. Sockets make or break helms and weapons.
  • One suggestion: allow jeweler to add a socket to a piece of gear in exchange for one of the mods.
  • Buff weapon Gems. Emeralds are insanely overpowered compared to others.
  • Too many legendaries are best in slot now. The only rares worth IDing right now, IMO, are the amulets and 1h weapons. These can potentially sell for a ton. For all other slots, there are far better legendaries.
  • Solution: greatly buff the range of rare stats, such that there is a small chance they are actually a bit better than legendary. The cost of this is being lucky enough to find such a rare, and also spending time IDing all of them.
  • Please do something about the 2handers situation. They are still awful. The only 2h weapon worth using is Skorn.
  • 3. Too many legendaries still lack the “wow” factor and don’t allow to build around them.

    4. The legendary drop rate is fine, but the feeling of it isn’t.

  • The dry streaks between legendaries are murder.
  • Solution? Leave 60+ legendary drop rate where it’s at. But also allow below-60 legendaries to drop as well. (In Inferno.)
  • 5. Speaking of low level legendaries…

  • Buff em. Buff em hard. Think Leoric’s Signet. Crap stats, people use it.
  • How about a lvl 30 helm that adds 50% movement speed and has 0 stats. How about a shield that generates 1% MF per second up to 200% above the cap?
  • 6. Add an official ladder scoreboard and make it sortable by various factors.

    7. Balance out the acts in farming power

  • Why is Alkaizer run so popular? Because everything else is so bad in comparison!
  • 8. Promote options in farming

  • The time investment per run should promise more statistical loot, but the difference should not be as large as it is right now.
  • Right now, if you run 2min Azmo, you’re going to get crap. If you run 1 hour act clear you will also get crap comparing to 10min efficient area clear. Let’s balance that.
  • 9. Add a non-ring reward for Uber-ubers.

  • So how about, 4th portal, with ubers that make people poop the pants. Those who actually manage to do it, get a non-slot reward, something as powerful as D2 charms that really has no substitute?
  • 10. Crafting.

  • It’s horrible, and useless. You know it, I know it, we all know it. Let’s fix it.
  • I think most of those are excellent suggestions, and I think Bliz would probably agree and that they’ve got many of them in mind for patches or D3X. Most of the great item stuff we remember from D2 came out in D2X or in patches afterwards; the problem is that D2X was released just a year after D2C, back in 2001. Blizzard is much slower on expansions these days (*cough*SC2*cough*), people are less patient these days, and there are a lot more gaming options out there now than in 2001. Fans aren’t going to wait years for needed feature improvements; not after it took 5 months after launch to get the game up to a good quality in v1.05.

    The good news is that many of these fixes shouldn’t be that hard to implement; better stats on gems, added socket from an NPC, tweaks to item drop formulas and item stat ranges, etc. It just remains for the devs to find the will.



    Full text of his post, from the forum thread:

    General thoughts and suggestions
    1.Too many skills and runes are inferior to others.

    Too many skills lack the “wow” factor. It’s time to buff them. Hard. Very hard.
    I’m talking Stomp that pulls the entire screen of monsters. I’m talking demoralizing cry that makes every monster do 90% less dmg. I’m talking Call of the Ancients adds who follow you permanently, not for 20 seconds.

    Skills can’t just be buffed a bit like they were in the previous patch. Skills need to be so bloody good, players will be torn between using them. It should be a heartbreaking choice between giving up one godlike skill for another.

    Regardless of difficulty (MP), the player should feel like a GOD, not some puny mortal stomping 3 spiders.

    You know who feels like a god right now? WW/Tornado/Perma WOTB barb. It’s time to make every skill so good, it will make the players feel like a god. Of death.

    2. Too many items are instantly inferior to others.
    Worst offenders here are helms and weapons. Sockets make or break helms and weapons.
    I don’t know how to easily fix this without going into Expansion territory, but it needs to be done.
    One suggestion: allow jeweler to add a socket to a piece of gear in exchange for one of the mods. Another suggestion: allow adding “small” sockets, which only allow Perfect Stars in. 10% isn’t such a big difference.
    Give players more choices in selecting their gear, don’t pidgeonhole them into a single gear setup.

    Oh and buff weapon Gems. Emeralds are insanely overpowered compared to others. Topaz could become a new defensive gem, with for example 300 AR. 300AR or 100% Crit dmg – that’ll make people think. Rubies needs to be buffed 10-20x in order to become as viable as emerald in terms of dmg. Perhaps even make rubies add IAs or Crit.

    Lastly, too many legendaries are best in slot now. The only rares worth IDing right now, IMO, are the amulets and 1h weapons. These can potentially sell for a ton. For all other slots, there are far better legendaries.
    e.g. Shoulders = Vile Ward, Boots = ik/zuni, helm = mempo/ik, etc.

    Solution: greatly buff the range of rare stats, such that there is a small chance they are actually a bit better than legendary. The cost of this is being lucky enough to find such a rare, and also spending time IDing all of them. TLDR: top rare is better than legendary, but is also more “rare” than legendary.

    Finally, please do something about the 2handers situation. They are still awful. The only 2h weapon worth using is Skorn.

    3. Too many legendaries still lack the “wow” factor and don’t allow to build around them
    I mean, cmon, Tasker and Theo’s? Ice Climbers are hot, but they are just stats. I love minmaxing, but honestly, the only time I felt excited was when I got the 5 piece bonus of IK and saw that my rage no longer degenerates.

    Blizzard, you’ve got to go back to D2X on this. Look at how gamechanging some legendaries were (despite not being all that powerful stat-wise). No suggestions here, because it’s just something to work through.

    4. The legendary drop rate is fine, but the feeling of it isn’t.
    The dry streaks between legendaries are murder. Players who aren’t 90+ Paragon won’t understand this, probably, but it’s absolutely morale-demolishing to experience this at max MF. In the long run, the drop rates are fine, so we can’t just ask to buff them.

    Solution? Leave 60+ legendary drop rate where it’s at. But also allow below-60 legendaries to drop as well. The emotional beauty of D2 drops was that top uniques were very few and you’d spend years hunting for a zod. But compensating for that was RAIN of colorful loot. Yes, most of it was Sigon and isenhart breastplates, but that excited players. It inspired them to start new charaters using this low-level loot. It gave morale. Next time a legendary helm drops, I’ll get excited wondering if it’s mempo. If I have to wait a day or two for another legendary helm, I’ll probably shoot myself. But if I get another one within the next 30min and it turns out to be some lvl 20 helm, I’ll still retain that thrill of the hunt.

    5. Speaking of low level legendaries…
    Buff em. Buff em hard. Think Leoric’s Signet. Crap stats, people use it. How about a lvl 30 helm that adds 50% movement speed and has 0 stats. How about a shield that generates 1% MF per second up to 200% above the cap?

    Get people excited about lower level legendaries. Otherwise, noone even cares about them.

    6. Add an official ladder scoreboard and make it sortable by various factors.

    Take a look at diabloprogress. Why not do the same officially? Competition inspires action. Go beyond paragon level. How about # of Inferno MP10 elite kills? # of legendary drops? Doesn’t take much.

    7. Balance out the acts in farming power

    Why is Alkaizer run so popular? Because everything else is so bad in comparison! What’s the main fun of Diablo games? Decimating humongous crowds of monsters. Solution is simple: make every area as good for farming as Alkaizer areas.

    8. Promote options in farming

    Right now, best way to farm is 10 min alkaizer run. That’s cool. But what if I don’t feel like doing that and only want to kill Azmodan in 120 seconds? i’ll get crap. I should be able to get a little less loot in 5 Azmodans than in an average 10min Alk run. That’s called options. Go beyond that. What if I want to spend an hour to clear full act and kill Azmodan with a stack of 30 NV? I should get, maybe, an almost guaranteed legendary?

    The time investment per run should promise more statistical loot, but the difference should not be as large as it is right now. Right now, if you run 2min Azmo, you’re going to get crap. If you run 1 hour act clear you will also get crap comparing to 10min efficient area clear. Let’s balance that.

    Oh, and open up the acts, please. Also, don’t despawn bosses if the selected quest is further than the boss.

    Give us reasons to kill bosses. How about Maghda sometimes drops top gems? Or Siegebreaker sometimes drops a material required for socketing. Or Diablo drops guaranteed lvl 63 legendary at 50 NV?

    9. Add a non-ring reward for Uber-ubers.

    I’m talking something as powerful as D2 ubers, something that doesn’t take a ring slot (hint, hellfire rings aren’t that good if you don’t need the 35% exp bonus. A trifecta stat ring bought on AH is far better and easier to get).

    So how about, 4th portal, with ubers that make people poop the pants. Those who actually manage to do it, get a non-slot reward, something as powerful as D2 charms that really has no substitute?

    10. Crafting.

    It’s horrible, and useless. You know it, I know it, we all know it. Let’s fix it.

    Hardcore-related suggestions

    1. Make us fear for our life again.
    Right now, top level characters have almost no way to die except by DC.
    In d2, there were scary places/monsters that made even top players fear for their lives.
    Add those places/monsters in, add in rewards for fighting those monsters, thanks.

    2. Do something about DCs, please, please, please. If something is going to destroy the HC community, it’s the DCs
    The best, non-exploitable solution is auto pause upon lack of communication between client and server.
    This cannot be exploited in a bad situation, this won’t work 100% of the time, and it’s the best solution we can get. Please consider it.

    3. Allow sparring modes as well to-death modes in HC PVP.
    I guarantee that almost noone will risk their 200 hour+ character in PVP if it’s to death only. Back in D2, people carefully sparred with shields on and insta-quit if their health got low. I think in HC, there should be an option, where the loser just goes on their knees and begs for mercy (and perhaps drops a bit of gold to bargain for their life). There should also be a to-the-death mode for those who want to put it all on the line. Another option is that the winner cuts off the loser’s ear in the sparring mode. You can lose max of 2 ears, after which you have to pay large sums of gold or gear for your life.

    As always, options are great.

    Subjective suggestions I feel would make the game better
    1. Add in game-naming system for public games, like in D2
    2. Add in D2-like visual channels for people to hang out and show off their profiles/characters
    3. Open up the PK mode, like in D2. Allow players to create public games with PK option unchecked (and make PKing disabled by default), if they do not wish to deal with PKs.
    4. Increase player limit to 8 or even 10 players.
    5. Don’t force players into a party.
    6. Allow players to gain bonus exp if they are not grouped in a multiplayer game (like in D2)
    7. Provide incentives for starting new characters. Hellforge, bonus items on first boss kills, imbue, socketing, etc, did wonders to give incentives for players to roll new characters.

    Overall, I feel like D3 is in a great place, but not quite there to become a truly timeless game. I think the beauty of D2 was that a player had so many options of what to do any given moment, and could wake up every morning with ideas of what to do next, how to challenge themselves or others. D3 is rather limited and more narrow right now. There is basically this: play 5 classes to 60, choose your favorite, and play it to Paragon 100 while minmaxing your stats. Nothing wrong with this, but more options would do wonders for the longevity of player’s experience. Hopefully, this is a direction blizzard would take.

    In my perfect world, I’d log in to Diablo and have a myriad of options of what I can do. For example:

    -Grind more Paragon on my fav hero
    -Check ladder and see who has top MP10 elite kills, try and beat them
    -Start up a new character with friends, play iron man or rush to a Hellforge-like 1-time reward quest
    -Start up a low level dueler character
    -Create a PK-allowed game.. with my anti-PKer, and act as bait
    -go search for PK-allowed games and PK there
    -Duel in the arena
    -Play the AH
    -hang out in the channel while showing off my awesome looking character
    -Go craft or gamble stats on my items in some fashion
    -Grind some keys for the Uber ubers
    -do quick MF runs
    -do average MF runs
    -do very very long MF runs
    -Play arena FFA last man standing tournament
    -etc!

    There’s a ton of feedback in the forum thread already, so get in on that or add your thoughts here.

    Tagged As: | Categories: Diabloii.Net Columns, Hardcore, Paragon

    Comments

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    1. Man, this guy should be paid for pointing so many viable solutions. He would be a good tester for PvP.

      But the way the game goes, it would take years to have some of those changes… sadly.

      • In all honesty, I didn’t expect so much support for my thread. I thought it’d be gone unnoticed within an hour, but hey, it resonated with the people, and that’s great, I think Blizzard will take at least a few things into consideration (and of course still do it their way, in their due time!)

    2. Only 275 hours played? wowee… I got 378 on my DH and I’m only paragon 70

    3. Some very good suggestions here.

    4. Blizzard knows best. OPINION INVALIDATED!

    5. Congratulations AlexanderBarin! And some excellent suggestions in that thread of yours, hoping (in vain?) that the devs will pick up on it.

    6. I don’t get the comment about ‘fear for your life.’. He has a barb with 93k hp and shield, naturally he is going to rarely feel threatened. Hardcore gameplay has always been about overgearing content to make it risk free, barring lag spikes.

      There are things that will still kill his barb if he is careless – lunatic ambushes, arcane sentry, sequential frozen orbs, volley of hammer wind ups from berserkers, herald of pestilence, etc.

      • Absolutely nothing I’ve played with in lower MP can bring me even below 80%, unless I stand still and even then my 11.5k dps enchantress and her pet Maximus demon can kill entire boss packs.

        Of course, I will get hurt a bit more if I play higher MP, but there is absolutely no point for me to do so. The reward is minimal, and the HP scaling is so high that my 116k dps can barely dent anything. In the same time I can do 1 MP5 run, I can do 3-4MP0 runs. Reward just isn’t there.

        I believe that there should be areas/monsters at every MP that will challenge even tankiest of characters… for appropriate reward.

        Yes, they could add MP11 where every elite pack drops a guaranteed 63 legendary and monsters do 500% more dmg, that would work. But I think even adding scary monsters like there were in D2 would be cool too, as long as the reward is there.

        • The challenges are there, hardcore players simply have no motivation to risk their character. If you grind to 100 paragon at mp0 with a follower that can kill those elites and enough life regen to be invincible, then complain about challenge, I think there is something wrong with you. Why are you playing this game?

          Should they stop awarding xp at higher paragon if your mp setting is too low? IE – level 90+ experience is zero everywhere except mp10??

          • Wow that came off a little harsh, but I can’t edit.

            Hardcore risks are way higher than softcore risks – that is the very premise of hardcore. What you are saying is that hardcore mode should have a different reward system – better loot than softcore. This isn’t going to happen.

            Hardcore risk/reward has always been way off in diablo. It can’t be balanced because every minute you play increases the amount you lose if you were to die. Softcore, you lose a xouple minutes. The risk is always the same and minimal.

            As a consequence, hardcore players laugh at ‘how easy’ and ‘boring’ the game is. That is a direct result of a game mode that so severely punishes death. You build your character to shrug off any threat and grind the easiest areas that still provide a non-negigible reward.

            Win d2, would you level a hardcore character by doing nihlathak runs? No, unless you had specific counters to render viper poison clouds negligible and rest in piece affixes, thus removing all challenge.

    7. Actually AlexanderBarin is the Americas first Paragon 100, not US. He’s Canadian, eh? πŸ˜‰

    8. I find it interesting that he also doesn’t use Leap as standard escape skill. I’m using Ground Stomp/Wrenching Smash (in combination with Rend/Blood Lust & Revenge/Provocation) which works great, too.

      • None of the most powerful Barbs even bother with escape skills anymore. Permanent WotB and uber gear makes them too strong to fear death from anything. At worst they might move out of some Fire Chains/Molten/Plagued type pit, but with WotB they can not be stunned or slowed or otherwise inconvenienced by anything other than Waller.

        • The use/need of escape skills totally depends on monster power (and the enhanced damage of the monsters).

          • Since I played with a shield, I didn’t have full-time WOTB upkeep. Probably close to 25% only. However, due to how tanky my character is, even if I get frozen in 2-3x desecration, I didn’t really feel anything for the 4 seconds it lasted.

    9. Players should play.

      Designers should design.

      Too many players have no clue. Perhaps this champion is an exception, but he doesn’t work for Blizzard either.

      • Designers should play too and besides, as the designers tell us, they were all players before they got paid to be designers.

      • And haters should?

        Player feedback is important to designers IMO.

      • and botters should bot

        no, wait, that’s not right

        well, its probably just as correct as “designers should design”

        I mean, designers should base gameplay on theories and guesses, right ?
        not by actually playing the game and testing their designs out.

    10. I don’t play D3 anymore, but just wanted to say grats to AB on this crazy hard achieve! Props to your hardcore skills, my friend.

    11. Agreeing with pretty much everything.

      To this day I still don’t understand how in-game ladders with lots of different ladders to check out, weren’t planned from the very moment they started thinking about D3. They could have ladders for just about anything, from serious to silly stuff.

      • Everyone wanted stats and rankings, but prior to paragon there was no point in level rankings, since everyone was 60. (Though we’d still have enjoyed stats for kills, sorted by difficulty, boss kills, etc.)

        More fundamentally, Blizzard seems to have developed a fundamental prejudice against transparency in stats. In D2 and SC1 and War2 and older games, you saw stats and win/loss records, etc. These days it’s all matchmaking and hidden player rankings in SC2 and coming in D3 PvP. Why… no idea.

        • Everyone wants to be Usain Bolt and brag about it …

          Simple.

          Showing your ranking of being a loser is not good.

          And frankly 99.9999% of us are losers anyway.

          Because there is always a bigger fish.

    12. Why does he use Call of the Ancients over Wrath of the Berserker considering the temporary, life-saving immunities the latter offers?

    13. Grats AlexanderBarin!

      You know…it’s cool for you to have opinions and all, but do you think Blizzard should be listening to your opinions first or of those that quit/didn’t play so long?

    14. Im suprised he doesnt talk about how bad maps are. Do everything he said and fix maps and ill start playing again.

      • In all honesty I’m fine with the maps. There is a nice mix of linear maps (e.g. bridge in A3) and maze maps. I think that’s cool. If every map was a Fields of Misery, I think I’d get a little mad.

        What I would love for them to do would be to add more random encounters to the maps, including some that are so rare, you’d need to hunt for them for awhile. But that’s more of an enhancement, not a fix.

    15. wow, that is great. it’s even cooler that he’s not a WW barb!

    16. I think the iteration process is taking up so much time to release updates.

      They try one thing, it feel’s iffy, scrap it, try sometime else, and so on for months. I doubt blizz north had iteration in mind when developing d2x. They probably had a vision in mind and they just did it, screw anyone who complains. It’s like art. Nobody tells the artist how to create.

      There’s also a certain ideology they are trying to adhere to, mentioned by flux: ‘fundamental prejudice against transparency in stats’, streamlining and simplicity, perfection. Perfection is boring (striving for perfect balance comes to mind).

    17. Unfortunately, the fantastically useful Hardcore Barbarian guide is a dead link. If anyone has the real deal, I’d love to read it.

      Thanks.

    18. If rares were tweaked to be better than legendaries then we would be back to pre 1.0.4. Top quality rares already roll better than legendaries. Buffing this further would be a disaster. There are over 4 million players playing D3. Even small tweaks will cause top quality rares to flood the market.

      Needless to say, most items have to be inferior, that is what makes “superior” items superior, by definition. Besides, there are smarter ways to balance the economy and transform the game.

      I think a better solution is to copy D2’s item system – junk is grey, whites are useful for crafting/socketing (phase blades and beserker axes for example), ethereal items, reduce the drop rate of rares (as suggested), increase socket limit per item and add crafting recipes like socketing, item skin changes and upping.

      Then all they need to do is add runes as items instead of this stupid crap about runes as skill modifiers. Oh and add jewels again. And a skill tree.

    19. There is something he touched on that I’ve been thinking since back when legendaries were inferior to rares and that was to make legendaries in a way so that they only have one or two stats but make them absolutely supercharged. His example was a helm with 50% movement speed and nothing else. Maybe a weapon with no other stats barring insane dps, or having ordinary dps but massive damage per hit or something.

      The whole idea of making legendaries have a heap of properties to me dilutes the power of it. Although it does give you a lot of properties, it also makes them the only choice to go for. I’d say give rares lots of properties and choices. Give legendaries only a couple of properties at most but make them insane. This gives players a choice of which direction they want to go in. It will also still make rares valuable.

      • I’m all for buffing legendaries, but buffs to damage and stats won’t work. Almost all DPS is modified by weapon damage, so an ultra-high DPS weapon with one huge primary stat (such as dex) would be superior to almost everything else.*

        There is a better way to make legendaries useful without having to remove the “junk” stats from them…

        As mentioned, almost all DPS is modified by weapon DMG. This was not the case in D2, where a sorc’s DPS was modified by skills, for eaxmple. Balancing skills with attributes is what made D2 so great.

        There needs to be more build diversity in D3, so why not fix both issues at once by reworking skills to make better use of attributes?

        * Stacking crit to increase DPS is a good example. High crit builds should be an option, not the only way to achieve high DPS.

    20. A lot of good ideas, I would also hope for a PVM survival arena. That or make more events/tactics for enemies to make them more threatening.

      As for legendary items. I agree that a lot of them need to be buffed or changed to be made better.

      Also allow all legendary items to drop in all difficulties with relative affixes, rolls on affixes, armor, damage, and ilvl. What does this do? Add far more diversity in this game and you can see far more different gear builds.

    21. This guy is awesome; for what he achieved in D3, and [possibly] more importantly, his feedback regarding the game as seen above.

      Blizzard could learn a lot. No more BS baby steps. Like, for example, when they made 2-handers “better” in the previous patch. No, they are still f’ing garbage. How can they not see this?

    22. I found it hard to take this guy seriously when his opening “suggestions” were to make the barb an utterly invincible pet class, with all content trivialized at every level for every player.

      Blizzard should have completely destroyed the dual-WW garbage spec months ago. Making everything else that mind-rendingly boring and homogenous too is NOT the solution.

      The demands seem vast and contradictory, or counterproductive. Make me feel like a god of death, but put in really hard stuff that threatens me. Rewrite the entire server structure. Put 10 players on a screen (seriously??).

      • He’s a player, with LOTS of time on his hands.

        Nothing to see here really.

        “Hi, I play WOW and I am a Deadly Gladiator…” or “Hi I am a Barbarian lvl 1000+ in D3” … when someone like that enters your store, go 2 steps aside and knot politely , then think “Get a life dude”.

        The fact he wants an endless Paragon level already explains it all.

        Good Darkmetre, you actualy READ the silly things he proposes.

        Good day, I am a player and I can live without playing video games now and then…

      • Bonus points for perception Darkmere!

        He contradicts himself throughout his article. He is obviously a good player, but I hope he never gets a job as a proddy.

    23. He missed one, remove all resistance from items, too much focus on that stat means 90% of items are rubbish.

      captcha: bond, james bond

    24. Almost 8 months later and they are still taking feedback to fix game issues. I guess that tells why I haven’t played in quite awhile now. Grats on the paragon level!

    25. “1. Make us fear for our life again”

      That’s a strange suggestion considering every single idea before it was to make the game easier.

    26. I’m 100% sure that many of these changes will be addressed in 2013 making everyone’s gear totally worthless yet again. They just LOVE doing that. No money sink in the game at all so their only solution is to stealth wipe all characters gear. It’s the ignorant man’s way of doing a ladder reset.

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