7 Slots for 6 Skills?

With the recent systems update, many have been concerned that the dedicated potion button was a decrease in the total amount of active skills. While it may look like that at first glance, we see that we still have 4 skills that are on the hotbar bound (by default) to numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4. The fifth and sixth skills are for your left and right mouse buttons – RMB and LMB respectively. By simply dedicating the 5th hotbar skill we did not see a fall in the number of DiabloWikiskills we can use, but a removal of the option to have an extra slot with the same skill active.

DiabloWikiBashiok explains that having a quick-swap feature for a 7th skill is still on the “to-do” list for development. While he originally spoke incorrectly about this already being a feature, it provides some light for those that hope to have the option of using a basic attack or else having a quick-swap feature for your build.

The full exchange was the following:

    I don’t care about the push-back, I am happy they are making the game better, but how is taking away another skill button making this game any better?

    This is really simplifying the game and taking away synergies and player skill. When you only have the option to use so few of your skills and considering how some are on a long cooldown you’ll just end up spamming one or two keys and occasionally using #3 and #4…. please, dont make diablo 3 like league of legends =[ This might work well for your console project, but for a pc it is just disgusting to me.

    Is anyone else here a little miffed about the constant reduction of skills?

1, 2, 3, 4, LMB, RMB, alt-RMB.

7 slots.

(Pro tip: press the X key to swap to your alt-RMB. The X key can be rebound to something else too.)

    So no TAB swap?
    AKA Skills 1&2 on mouse button 1 & 2, hold TAB and get skills 3 & 4 on same mouse buttons?
    (I thought this was the case?)

No, it used to work that the alt-RMB ability would swap in when you hit TAB. Which can still be the case, you’d just rebind the X key to TAB.

    That is actually a decrease. Normally i would agree with all of you that this isnt a problem. However it is unfortunatly. There are certain skills/passives that directly correlate with a basic attack which ISNT counted as a skill. The problem here is that you cannot do a basic attack now and have 6 skills at the same time.

    Simply looking at the screenshots in the system changes picture will give you an idea. There were 7 boxes in the current d3 beta that were full customization. Now there is only 6 boxes in the new iteration. Why any of you would say this is an improvement is beyond me.

    You guys are basically arguing against a system that was never a problem to begin with that they have now forced and locked you into a certain system.

In play testing higher levels we just haven’t found any use for normal attacks for any of the builds we’ve been using. There’s always a skill that’s zero cost and usually builds resource or is just out and out better than a normal attack. Which doesn’t mean a build doesn’t exist, but since you still have 7 available slots if you want to keep normal attack on your LMB, you can still do that.

I just checked, and this option is not available. Do you promise it will be on release? 🙂

Eek, right, it’s still on the to-do list. I refuse to make any promises. 🙂

Based on the exchange we can infer that we might, with “no promises,” see a 7th skill-switching ability for your mouse. This poses a few problems for the development team, though, and it illuminates the web of compromised skills/systems when something as small as this changes. If we are to assume that basic attacks at higher levels are negligible, we can infer that we will also never take a DiabloWikipassive skill tied to your basic attack after level 30. This would be in direct contradiction to their desire to make all passives “awesome” and worth taking.

It calls into question the necessity of a basic attack in the first place. From the first minute of playing the beta, we are given one skill that is spammable and of greater power/utility than your basic attack. With the current hero architecture constructed around the idea of “generators” and “spenders,” where does your basic attack ever seem like a viable option for demon slaying? To me, it doesn’t. The only times I recall using my basic attack constantly was in the first patch of beta before the overhaul of the DiabloWikiDemon Hunter DiabloWikiresources and skill order.

As some have suggested, why don’t we just remove the basic attack? Well, at this point, that suggestion doesn’t seem all that bad. While Bashiok given a nod to the possibility of a fun/viable build that incorporates your basic attack, I can’t say with any degree of certainty that any people would consistently use it. The main existence, for me at least, would simply to be that I know it’s there if I want it. We’ll be able to test out the new hotbar soon(tm) and experience it for ourselves.

But what do you all think? Do you want a basic attack? Have you been planning builds that have incorporated it along with the complementing passive? Would it be considered “dumbing down the game” if they did remove it?

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, Diablo 3 Beta, Resources, Skills


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  1. Yep, Christmas 2012 sounds more right by the second…

  2. not dumbing down the game, they already did that honestly by making it not a viable attack because it generates no resources for any class… Useless !! Spells > basic attack.. 8)

    • Really? It used to generate hate for the demon hunter. Was that changed?

      • It was, Thul. And again, it would only generate hatred if you took the Passive (and making it desirable in the first place). In that sense, we as Demon Hunters would really be the only basic-attack viable class. (At least as far as we knew with the information we had).

        You can still take that passive, but with this change I doubt we’ll see that passive turn up with the release because what would be the point? Guided Arrow does enough generation on its own now and I’d gladly take the hit in DPS for the utility of it. The only thing I can see such a passive being useful would be for melee DH’s.

        • @Nizaris. That’s not really true. Take the Barb as an example: he earns fury whenever he is hit, also Weapon Master (lvl 13 passive) lets you generate 1 fury per hit when wielding a mighty weapon, while Unforgiving (lvl 30 passive) lets you generate 1 fury every each 2 seconds (and stops futy degeneration too), making normal attack slightly more viable for this class.

          Also, Wiz’ Arcane Power and WD’s Mana regen over time, although these two classes are much less likely to just engage close-quarters combat on a melee weapon.

          The only class (as long as I’m aware of) which can only generate resource via skills is the Monk. Spirit generators are key to their viability.

          Anyway, since the itemization process is not done yet, we don’t really know if additional resource generation for every class might come in the form of item mods, making normal-attack viability for all classes much more likely.

          • I see you didn’t catch that I was referring to Demon Hunters.

            Also, with Weapon Master, it is with any hit. So if you goal is to be efficient, you’d always want to use cleave because you’d hit multiple enemies with a single swing. See what I mean?

            It would never be in your interest to have your basic attack.

  3. So it sounds like no one there has tried a melee DH then because I haven’t seen a single such proposed build that didn’t use basic attack + Fundamentals passive.

    • This, I think is the main argument to keep such passives – to open up possibilities of other builds. And as such, it makes sense to keep them. I’m just surprised that nobody has tried these whacky builds other than the Battle Mage.

    • Pretty much. Internal testers are not reliable if they missed such obvious build concepts. Hopefully Bashiok has read the rest of the responses in that thread and brought it to developers attention so they gobsmack the testers.
      If anything, I think that ideally, the WD should get a similiar passive as well.

    • I tried in the beta but it was mostly impossible from what I was doing.

  4. Having a 7th skill slot that you have to swap into the RMB slot to use is clunky and overly complex.  If it were simply a 7th skill hotkey, that’d be fine, but I’d rather not have to swap it in, hit the RMB, and swap it back out.  Why require 3 button-presses when it could be just one?

    • It allows you to keep you fingers closer to the left side of the keyboard (easy access to 1-6 keys and all the keys close to tab); and there is a difference between a hotkey and a mouse button as the triggers for the skill.

      • What is the difference between a key and a mouse button?  I haven’t had a chance to play the beta, and that’s one detail I haven’t heard mentioned.

        Also, all the hotkeys keys can be rebound I expect I’ll end up rebinding everything to my extra mouse buttons and keys near the left “home row”.

    • I actually really like it – especially if its optional. It provides a lot of utility for you. I prefer using the mouse than I do using a hotbar.

      If I could map skill swapping to the F-keys like I did in Diablo 2, I would. You’re able to react much more efficiently if you’re dedicating your actions to a single hand – this is especially the case for things like PvP.

      • If it’s optional, great, but the way they’re talking, the only way to access that 7th hotkey is by swapping it in, which I find incredibly awkward.

        I personally find that I can react more quickly with everything bound to a single key press.  Especially after you re-bind the hotkeys so that your fingers can be waiting on the buttons.  Swapping a skill in and out is an extra complication I’d rather not deal with.

        • I find it awkward to aim with your mouse and activate your skill with a hotkey – especially if you plan on spamming it. This comes down to user preference, but pure efficiency caters to a single location for skills.

          For me, the hotbar is a good visual indication for cooldowns and good for buff activation or other long cooldown skills.

  5. Melee Wizards that use Magic Weapon will also require the basic attack.

  6. “There’s always a skill that’s zero cost and usually builds resource or is just out and out better than a normal attack” the WD says hi >.>

  7. [quote] Hety
    A, B, X, Y, Left Trigger, Right Trigger….

    I see what you did here. [/quote]

    This was my thought as soon as I read the article. How convenient that the new system matches a console controller perfectly. Looks like we might be getting a dumb’d down PORT after all…. 👿

    • i don’t really buy that argument. i’m a playstation guy so i’ll use it’s buttons because i’m more familiar with them. square, circle, triangle, X, L1, L2, L3, R1, R2, R3, 4 directions on the D-pad, select, start…..
      I don’t really see them using select of start but that still leaves 10 buttons +4 on the D-pad if it was used. Please stop trying to push weak connections that aren’t there.

      • Lowest common denominator. If there are only 6 buttons on one platform, they will build for that and worry about what to do with any spares on other platforms later.

      • Only square, circle, triangle, X, L1 and R1 are the primary buttons – it’s known for every console games designer…

  8. It seems like the problem is that they haven’t made basic attacks viable, which is a shame.  I don’t know why they haven’t added rune effects that trigger on basic attack or modify it.  Wizard’s Magic Weapon is the only one, I think, and it actually seems like a unique and interesting skill.  

    There are a few passive skills that promote basic attacks, but not many.

  9. Why take normal attacks out? They’ve already done all the animations and coding for it. It’s the kind of thing that maybe very few people will use, but the ones who want to try something like whatever D3’s equivalent of Beyond Naked Mage builds is will appreciate it being left in, and it doesn’t hurt anyone in the meantime.

  10. Why don’t they just let us bind 7 or 8 hotkeys? It sounds completely whacko and counter intuitive to have an alternate mouse button.

    Also, I loathe having skills on the number keys, especially for PvP. Let me customize 🙂

  11. When did we go from having 6 active skills back to 7 active skills…?

  12. Despite auto-attack being inferior to skills in most cases, there are situations where auto-attack is highly useful. Example, if I take Strafe+Indigo = Equilibrium (huge increase in attack speed), and I take Fundamentals passive, I get huge attack speed bonus from Equilibrium, double damage and extra resource from Fundamentals, So, I do think auto-attack should be left in the game, if for nothing then to increase build diversity.

    • Using Equilibrium + Basic Attack with Fundamentals passive, as you described it, does seem like it would be tight. However, this is not possible, as Strafe and Equilibrium do not buff your Basic Attack; Strafe and its runed cousins are instead themselves attacks, as I understand it, and the Fundamentals passive would not affect them.

      Regardless, Blizz should either implement the option of having the Basic attack in one of your 7 slots along with your 6 active skills (as is “on the to-do list”), or they should just remove/change all the passives that affect the basic attack, and perhaps also remove the basic attack altogether, and perhaps not. I think they should just leave it in, but it won’t really affect my enjoyment of the game either way.

  13. Or, y´know, they could give us both, skill ready for swapping on the left of the action bar, and dedicated potion button on the right of the action bar.

  14. I don’t plan on doing any crazy melee builds of ranged classes, or ranged builds of melee classes. So personally, I can’t ever see myself using a basic attack. Therefore I would not care or probably even notice if they removed it from the game.

    As a side note, I DO have a Wizard build (on the skill calculator) that uses the passive “Virtuoso” but this is not for the 100% increase to basic attack. It is purely for the “successful wand attacks generate 15 arcane power and heal you for 1% max life” and I only have that as an option if I end up using a wand for my primary main hand weapon AND am having issues generating AP. Otherwise I would switch it out for something more useful/fun.

  15. theyre doing all these updates for the console.  by removing one extra hotkey, this allows town portal and identify – which are now basically skills/spells – to be hotkeyed most probably to the dpad. this would make it easier to cast town portals on console, through the press of a button. as consoles have a really awkward way of moving the cursor, going into a menu and pressing on the portal would be pretty tedious. blizzard used to be my favourite game developers, along with valve. they used to make passionate pc games suiting to the needs of their audience. now all blizzard are are just greedy assholes, trying to get as much money as possible in as many ways possible – which includes disregarding US. the people who made them who they are, and the people who loved and played their games.  im thinking torchlight 2 might be better than this now..

  16. Like I mentioned months ago, the controls are being dumbed down to map perfectly to a console control pad. This also explains why they removed scrolls of identify. With a console controller you’d have to move the cursor to the scroll to activate it, then over to the item to identify it.

    There’s also another problem. I use scrolls of companion far more often than potions. I never planned to have potions in my action bars either. Where the hell am I going to put the scrolls now that they took away one action bar slot.

    All these console compromises are being made at the expense of the PC gaming experience and are getting quite annoying.

  17. Have to agree. Sounds like they are making these changes for the console and applying them to the pc. Looks like they sold their souls the console gods!

  18. They’re fine with a skill-swap feature while a weapon-swap feature is too confusing? 🙄

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