Reddit held a chat for Diablo III where Blizzard developers including Wyatt Cheng and Jay Wilson answered your questions on the feed. Below you’ll find some of the highlights currently covered. Once the full transcript is available we will update the post with the official Q and A. Here are some pertinent points (full transcript after the fold):
- Life Steal will increase.
- Life on hit is proc scalared down for certain skills, whereas Life Steal is not affected by the proc scalar at all.
- Looking at abilities that are over or under-utilized. Would like to buff under-utilized abilities over nerfing. Have not done a true class balance patch yet but improving diversity will come in patch (not patch 1.0.3)
- How often Fleeing monsters flee will be reduced in 1.0.3.
- Shielding monsters will shield less and the health of the monster you can damage (with Invulnerable monsters is being lowered in 1.0.3.
- Guaranteed decent drops on first kills in NM and Hell will be coming but not in 1.0.3.
- Drop rates were carefully tuned for a single player playing through from 1 to 60 without ever using the Auction House.
- 1.0.3 will see a reduction in costs for crafting items from the blacksmith. But crafting isn’t intended to be better than the drops you can get from killing monsters, or maybe even the items you can find on the AH. It is intended to provide you with another outlet for the gold you’re collecting.
- New drop rates will affect Whimshyshire.
- In 1.0.3 level 63 items will drop in Act I of Inferno.
- Drop rates on jewelcrafting and blacksmith plans in inferno may be increased in the future.
- Reducing incoming damage.
- “Increased health from health globe” mod being considered to extend to potions.
- Three weeks after launch player’s gear is much higher than what we were expecting.
- Looking at a way to fix it so Legendary items can be dyed.
- Looking at a way of determining DPS increase/decrease in the Auction House.
- Allowing cancellation of auctions is in patch 1.0.3 (probably).
- The auction house has absolutely no effect on drop rates.
- Once the RMAH has gone live and we can monitor it for a bit we’ll consider whether we want to add it to Hardcore.
- Invisible mode on Friends List being considered.
- Considering adding some sort of common area in place of the old style lobby system so players can check out gear and socialize.
- Custom channels planned.
- no plans for in-game mail system.
- The option to filter out white loot display text when dropped is being looked at.
- ‘Lock Action Bar’ feature coming
- Elective mode being set to default will not be considered
- Only supporting Arena PvP for now, may support dueling in the future.
- 4.1% of characters are Hardcore
- Level 46-50 * Barbarian: 25.86% * Monk: 23.90% * Demon Hunter: 18.47% * Wizard: 16.96% * Witch Doctor: 14.81%
- Level 60 * Barbarian: 22.67% * Monk: 21.83% * Demon Hunter: 21.04% * Wizard: 19.23% * Witch Doctor: 15.23%
The full transcript is after the fold. Questions are in white and as always Blizzard quotes are in blue.
Get comfortable, it’s a long read…..
Question: As it is, Life Steal is useless. I can hit for 20k and only steal tens of damage while my lifepool is 40k+. Life steal is obviously limited in quantity to keep it from being over used, but with the 80% reduction, it’s a wasted mod. Is there any plan to make life steal remotely useful compared to life on hit? Please don’t take that as nerf life on hit.
Life Steal was far and away the best stat internally, which is why we put in modifiers to reduce the effectiveness at higher difficulty levels.
A lot of theorycrafters have (correctly) ball-parked the effectiveness of Life on Hit as being roughly 3x as strong as Life Steal. So it’s probably pretty easy to see that before we put in the 80%, Life Steal was 2x as good as Life On Hit. So we knew we had to do something.
We played with numbers as low as 10%, and as high as 50% penalty.
The reason Life Steal settled at 20% is because over the next few months, the relative value of Life Steal will probably go up, whereas Life on Hit will not. Both of the stats scale with mitigation, and both of them scale with Attack Speed at the same rate, but Life Steal scales with your weapon damage and damage output. Life Steal also scales better in AOE situations.
To make a long story short, Life Steal is tuned around where we expect DPS output to be months from now. As people do more damage, get more survivability, and generally find they can AOE things more than they used to, I expect the value of Life Steal to go up.
Question: Isn’t there a way to make the stat more interesting then needing 120k DPS to start using? Like putting a per-hit cap on life steal that scaled with vitality?
One of the things that feels bad about the reduction is that it drastically drops the effects of certain abilities (Shadow Power, Ignore Pain’s lifesteal rune) when moving up in difficulty.
We discussed putting caps on. At the end of the day we decided that life steal is a stat that can, someday, let you feel like you break the game, and putting a cap on things would just be keeping you from attaining that feeling.
There’s lots of “breakpoints”, as I like to call them, in the game. I love games that exhibit breakpoints. Points where you’re following one strategy, but as soon as you hit some magic break point you can suddenly do something you couldn’t do before.
That point where your Archon goes from 25 seconds to INFINITE. Yay! That point where your life per hit is completely mitigating all incoming damage. That point where you have enough Crit to perma-CC all non-elite monsters with certain builds.
One of the things that absorbs a lot of mental energy is trying to create that feeling that you “broke the game”. No level requirements on gems and Reduced Level Requirements going as high as 18 are two examples of this. I love things that make the player feel like they broke the game (as long as it is, in the grand scheme of things, not going to ruin it).
Anyways, to bring it all back around. I think Life Steal will come into its own in the future, as it scales exceptionally well with gear – if a few months from now people still aren’t using Life Steal, we’ll probably make changes.
Question: I’m curious what dps is expected as the game progresses when you need to do something like a 100k hit to get comparable health with a max (3%) life steal weapon, to a decent 600 Life on Hit weapon.
Proc coefficients, btw, are used for a lot of the On Hit Effects. For example if you ever see “X has a chance to Y on critical hit” – it’s using the exact same proc coefficients as life on hit. For example, the Wizard skill Critical Mass that reduces cooldowns by 1 second. People test this and say “Oh wait, it only works with single target skills“. That’s not actually true. Single-target kills generally have a proc scalar of 1. Skills that hit 6x as fast (like Rapid Fire) have a reduced proc scalar to normalize out the proc effects. Frenzy has a 0.75 proc scalar, which affects the life on hit, but if it were a Wizard skill would also have a 75% chance to trigger Critical Mass on crits.
So – back to your question. Life on hit is proc scalared down for certain skills, whereas Life Steal is not affected by the proc scalar at all. So if you Seismic Slam or Whirlwind a large number of targets, it will surpass Life On hit faster than for Frenzy. Of course on single targets Life on Hit will generally always be better. In terms of where the breakpoint is, I think what you’d want to look at is breakpoints for various DPS levels for different skills for different numbers of expected targets.
Question: This is fine and all but this line:
“I think Life Steal will come into it’s own in the future, as it scales exceptionally well with gear – if a few months from now people still aren’t using Life Steal, we’ll probably make changes.”
This makes me very nervous.
How difficult is it to put these numbers on paper and simply figure out with maths when a stat will be ‘worth it’, when it will be ‘good’ and when it will be ‘broken’. The answer is that it’s not hard. How can you design the system for a game like D3 and not at least have a target in mind. something like “At this difficulty with this expected gear, we want players to steal up to X%/Y HP as a function of DPS Health/Z Health per second/shot/spell.” I understand that picking such a number can be pretty difficult but even that can be derived based on what you want the function of life steal to be.
See, it’s things like this that make me incredibly nervous. If your approach to balance and system design is, “Well, lets see if the stat is attractive to players and then nerf/buff based on that”, something is seriously broken in the decision-making phase of ‘making the numbers work’.
It’s phenomenally frustrating to see the developers in charge of the systems of game like this literally say, “If it’s not attractive, we’ll buff it”. No! That’s not how balance works. You should be able to tell me the value of life steal at 30k, at 60k at 120k DPS. You should be able to tell me what exactly those breakpoints you mentioned are and you should have already planned their existence, and their means. You should be able to look at Life Steal and point to a number and say, “Here! This is when Life Steal becomes attractive”. You should be able to take it a step further and say, “If you have this much health, this much damage and this much lifesteal, More DPS actually becomes more attractive than Effective HP as a survivability stat under these conditions.”
This isn’t what’s happening and it makes me both frustrated and nervous to play a game that’s built under that design philosophy.
If you want to hire someone who can actually balance a game before release and give you concrete breakpoint numbers, feel free to PM me.
When I say “if a few months from now people still aren’t using Life Steal” what I mean is – I think people will be using it. But I could be wrong. Humans being fallible and all that.
I believe people will be using Life Steal months from now without us having to make any changes. I’ve done the maths, I’ve got some spreadsheets, I’ve tested with chars. At the same time I’m not so arrogant as to say “You will ALL be using it ’cause I mathed it out!”. I’ve been wrong many times before, I could be wrong on Life Steal too.
Question: Why isn’t there an invisible mode for the friends list?
This feature has been requested several times on the forums but there never has been an official response. If you don’t want to add it could you at least give us a reason?
Are you going to change/buff certain skills/runes that are never used?
Trivia. The least used skills at level 60 are Energy Twister, Exploding Palm, Sacrifice, Ancient Spear and Strafe.
Question: Champion packs that run away (fallen shaman, bees in act2, flayers act3, etc cause problems with the inferno enrage timers. Any plans to tone down this annoying interaction?
Question: Is there any plan to change the text color of gems and pages/tomes? I think it’d be nice if they stood out from normal whites. Maybe even potions could be red.
Question: Would it also be possible to add an option to completely filter out whites? I’ve heard arguments that it would diminish the “whoa moment” when a lot of items drop, but simpler gameplay should take priority, imo.
Question: Also account-bound items, like the Staff of Herding (wiki).
We’ve changed the Staff of Herding and the items required to make it to stand out WAY more in your inventory in 1.0.3.
Question: Why was elemental damage cut? Burning fire, heal stopping poison, stunning lightning, healing holy… they all would have been great additions to game play.
Question: Why don’t bosses guarantee decent drops on your first kill in Nightmare or Hell? This leaves 30-60 feeing VERY dull and boring because you’re not getting your loot fix. It’s not a question of how do I gear up, but a statement in that beating a boss that drops two bad blues is very disheartening and is a very NEGATIVE reinforcement for continued play.
But so you know my reasoning I think this just moves the problem. Design intent is that at end-game we want you to stack NV and ‘then’ kill bosses to make farming loot more interesting. To facilitate this bosses have to stop dropping tons of rares ‘at some point’.
My worry was that if it was at Inferno everyone would be like ‘WTF why Inferno hardest difficulty with worst loot!?!??!’ instead of the current complaint.
The reason I’ve decided my decision was wrong is the gap that exists between Normal first time drops and the NV farming of Inferno.
Question: What do you guys think about the current monster affixes and are you going to add more interesting powers or nerf the ones that are plain boring to fight against (Ex. Shielded minions)?
We are making some changes to these in 1.0.3. The shielding will cast less often to start with, and for the invul minions, the health of the monster you can actually damage is being lowered. Hopefully that helps get them to the tasty melty stage sooner!
Question: While that sounds like a good idea, some classes are having an especially hard time with Invulnerable in ways that simply lowering the health will not solve. As examples, invulnerable minions + horde + fast amounts to a free root ability that can’t be broken without a teleporting ability, and some builds find the Invulns using their bodies to block shots from the lead creature while the player is kiting. Do you have any plans to address these?
With less damage incoming, and generally better items to equip, you should find it easier to solve the challenge involved in some of these crazier monster affixes.
All that’s pretty high level though, and doesn’t really help with the minute to minute situation of seeing “mother of pearl he has jailer desecrator molten extra health minion invlunerable eat all my cheetos drink my beer!!!”. We all know that feeling when we go up against some of these crazier affix combos.
We are keeping an eye on them, and we definitely aren’t against tuning the monster affixes or even making some of the class skills more readily able to handle those evil beer drinking zombies.
Question: I also feel that you should have the capability to dodge certain abilities. Like if there was a very very slight pause before the Jailer would actually jail you. This would allow for a high end player to not only show their skill but be able to progress and do better because they are able to deal with harder situations accordingly.
I think that the variety of the monster affixes makes each encounter interesting in its own way. Forecasting some of those affix abilities more is something we would definitely consider.
Question: What do you think of adding gems to the Blacksmithing process to ensure a stat? Put a slot for a gem into the UI. If you add a chipped ruby, you’re guaranteed a small strength bonus (5-10). If you put in a flawless square, you’re guaranteed a large strength bonus (~100). A perfect star ruby would result in a MASSIVE strength bonus. You could also diversify by having weapons get the weapon bonus, helms get the helm bonus, and other getting the other bonus. New reagents could be added for IAS, XP, Gold, MF… This, actually, sounds like what you should have done with the Mystic. Crumbled Treasure Maps drop and give small MF bonuses. The Mystic can combine 3 into a Faded Treasure Map that provides a little better MF bonus. Et Cetera… The Mystic could combine reagents to grant guaranteed stats from items made by the wiki]Blacksmith[/wiki].
Philosophically, the blacksmithing is intended to serve as an outlet for all those items that you picked up when doing butcher runs, but found them to be not worth putting on the AH, equipping them, or storing in your stash for your alt. You can salvage those items, and give yourself a chance to roll a really good one, turning your evening of farming into something of potential value.
The randomness that’s inherent in this system means that you may not get anything good, which we totally understand can feel pretty frustrating.
To mitigate this in the short term, 1.0.3 will see a reduction in costs for crafting items from the blacksmith. I’m hoping this makes pressing that button a little less intimidating, and that Haedrig sees more business! He has some orphaned kids now to feed you know!!!
Question: The thing is why would I salvage all that stuff for a small chance at getting a good item from the blacksmith when I could sell it and get more gold to spend on items that have the stats I want on the auction house?
If you’re currently just leaving all of those blue items on the ground and collecting a bunch of gold, why wouldn’t you want to turn them into something of potential value rather than let the Treasure Goblins come and pick them up after you’ve run away?
Crafting isn’t intended to be better than the drops you can get from killing monsters, or maybe even the items you can find on the AH. It is intended to provide you with another outlet for the gold you’re collecting.
He meant that you sell the blues to the vendor, because the gold from that is more valuable then the mats you get.
- Why has the commodity auction house been down for over two weeks? I think an explanation of some kind is in order at this point.
- Why are farming spots being “nerfed,” in a game that encourages (requires) farming? There are threads around talking about good places to farm, that don’t require gameplay exploits, that quickly get reported as now being nerfed. Of course this could be anecdotal, but I’m curious how the devs feel about “good” places to farm.
- How soon will the class banner sigils earned during the launch event be enabled?
- You’ve been quoted as saying that Diablo III loot is balanced around the existence of the Auction House. Could you clarify what you mean by that? Many people seem to assume that means there is “less” or “poorer” loot being dropped on an individual basis because we’re expected to get our actual upgrades from the Auction House. I read it more as the existence of the Auction House allows a much wider variety of loot affixes. If a person had to rely on only their own drops or ad hoc trading, the game would have to roll most items with +Primary Stat and +Vitality/Resist. With the Auction House in play, the game can roll literally millions of crazy stat combinations, because even if you only get “crazy” drops, you can still use the Auction House for the hard-to-upgrade slots. Thoughts?
- Is there any official source detailing what the various weapon damage type (Holy, Fire, Cold, etc) effects are in combat? There is third party theory-crafting out there regarding this, but I can’t find any in-game or official source that imparts this information. Along with this, what is the rationale for keeping information like this hidden within the game? There are accusations that Diablo III has been “dumbed down” in this way, (see: widespread ignorance about Elective Mode), could you elaborate on what drove design and UI decisions like this?
- WHY U DESECRATOR JAILER MORTAR?? WHYYYY?!
- Do you have any plans to create an “open world” mode where all the waypoints are active and without the seemingly artificial act barriers?
- The design of the system encouraged people to spam search and buy on commodities to get the lowest price. It was a bad design, and spawned behavior that was melting our servers. We’ve been working on the underlying system to alleviate server load.
- Things that fall into the latter camp.
- We had some problems pulling the account names. Hopefully they should get flagged in the next couple weeks.
- I’m sorry, I don’t remember saying that and if I did then I was drunk and/or wrong. We tuned and balanced the game without the auction house, as there weren’t enough people internally using it to test it against gameplay, so we didn’t design anything for it.
- They are all aesthetic, except cold damage, which chills targets and conversely gets a damage reduction to account for the extra utility.
- Because we love you.
- Answered already.
Question: Bots are already out. Is there any plan to deal with the bots making over 400,000 gold/hour?
Question: The same bot has been spamming the general chat everyday with gold selling and nothing has been done. Is there at least going to be an ignore option so we don’t have to witness it?
There are other issues that contribute to this issue, most of which I’m not as knowledgable on, but we are working on them.
Question: I played the Act 2 demo at Blizzcon 2009. There were far more Events and side areas, such as cultists in a ritual, or a bunch of merchants tied up by Fallen. In fact, there were more people around in general, and it made the zone feel rich and alive. Now Act 2 is, well, deserted, and all zones have far fewer events on each playthrough. Why and when did you decide to cut back on the number of events?
Question: Ever plan on adding any way to tell DPS increase/decrease from the AH interface? I’ve made some bad buys… alt-tabbing to use spreadsheets takes too long – the good stuff sells so quick.
Question: With the drop rates released in the 1.0.3 preview, is Whimsyshire considered part of Act I or Act III/IV?
Question: Awesome lobby system for D2. Why no lobby system for D3?
We recognize that players want to be able to encounter other players in common areas to check out gear and socialize, and we’re considering how we might add that functionality to the game at some point.
Question: Well forcing us to start up in /general is not the way 😉
Question: What Game Mechanics/Design Decisions do you think have been the most successful and the least successful now that we are three weeks past release?
Things that didn’t work out as well as I had hoped: Dragging a skill by accident off your hotbar and losing your NV stack (grrr…. has happened to me twice so far). Blacksmith being tuned for a person who never uses the AH (even though everybody uses the AH). Skill diversity could be much better that it is now.
Most interesting Zone: The Rampart. Just sayin’
P.S. – there’s a lock action bar option coming in the future.
Question: What the hell is up with the weird weapon names? Are they randomly generated? “Raging Strapon” is just… awesome.
Question: Yeah, what about Falcon Violater.
I know for a fact you can check the available prefixes; it’s a real item. Same with Holy Crack.
Question: Why are there no on hit procs besides Bleed? The unique tulwar that cast chainlighting and charged bolt was one of my favorite items in the game. Will skills on hit make a comeback?
That said, we are working on updating the Legendaries in an upcoming patch, and a big push for us is to try and get these proc powers in the game and working to make our legendaries way more awesome (that will be measurable in legendariness meters).
Question: By the way, a proc chance of 2% doesn’t feel legendary. It needs to happen more reliably for it to be worth anything.
I ran 2% by the legendariness meter and it proc’d pretty low, so we want it to be higher, and more legendary!
Question: What percentage of players play on Hardcore, and how important is that game mode to the development team when considering changes to the game?
We take into account Hardcore for every design decision. I’ll take this opportunity to mention I feel particularly bad about a few hotfixes that went in shortly after release that put the lives of some Hardcore characters at risk. You’ll have noticed that after the initial handful of hotfix changes to skills in the first week there were many less skill changes – hardcore was part of the reason for the general stop/slow on skill changes. In hindsight, changes such as the Wizard Armor Force Armor hotfix should have been communicated in advance, and philosophically I absolutely want to see future changes that could put a Hardcore character at risk communicated well in advance through patch notes, patch previews, or the hotfix blog that has since been put in place.
Question: Could you post a breakdown of what classes are being used by HC players? Is it roughly 20% each or is it more unbalanced?
I’ll just pick 2 data points arbitrarily. 46-50 – where I think the game starts to get hard enough to risk death against serious players, and level 60.
Level 46-50 * Barbarian: 25.86% * Monk: 23.90% * Demon Hunter: 18.47% * Wizard: 16.96% * Witch Doctor: 14.81%
Level 60 * Barbarian: 22.67% * Monk: 21.83% * Demon Hunter: 21.04% * Wizard: 19.23% * Witch Doctor: 15.23%
If you are pulling out a calculator to add all of these up to make sure it totals 100% with an intention to call me out of it doesn’t, I <3 you.
Question: Auction House functionality
Could you please add custom auction timers? say I only want a 2 hour auction? or you could allow us to cancel our auctions at any point but make them in an hour from that point so long as there are no bids? I think this would help alleive alot of auction frustration
tl;dr canceling auctions or ending early
In Diablo 2, from my understanding, Magic Find took the base item of a predetermined loot table, and gave you a higher chance of rolling a higher quality version of that item. In Diablo 3, this no longer seems to be the case and with loot tables being so vast now, magic find seems almost too arbitrary, it just doesn’t feel like it’s worth it. Could you explain exactly how magic find affects item drops in Diablo 3, as a lot of people seem to be unsure how the mechanic has changed from Diablo 2?
And the loot tables are not more vast than D2 because we don’t allow items to drop below level 50 in Inferno.
Question: Two questions:
- I’m currently playing a Demon Hunter in inferno. Basically any demon hunter right now going through inferno is going to bring 3 abilities no matter what; Smoke Screen, Preparation, and Sharpshooter. More often than not, these abilities are usually accompanied by Steady Aim, Archery, and Elemental Arrow (Nether Tentacles rune). Do you have any plans regarding the demon hunter to promote build diversity? I mean right now I’d love to create a build revolving around the passive Ballistics (increases rocket damage) which you unlock at level 60, but as of now as far as I can tell right now it’s complete trash.
- About the dialogue and story. You brought in some nice talent to do the voices for the game (some examples being Jennifer Hale as Leah, Steve Blum as Zoltun Kulle, and my favorite, Claudia Black as Cydaea). However some of the lines of dialogue in the game just made me cringe.
- Yes, we’re keeping a close eye on build diversity for all the classes, looking at abilities that are over, and more importantly under-utilized. We’d like to take the approach, when we can, to buff under-utilized abilities over nerfing. Yes, that hasn’t been the case so far, but we haven’t done a ‘true’ class balance patch, just hot-fixes on things we considered grossly overpowered. Class changes focused on improving diversity will be in an upcoming patch (not 1.0.3).
- Agree to disagree? We get lots of compliments on the story and dialogue. It’s a hard area to make everyone happy, and a lot of things we do to make goals obvious for some players make them feel over-stated to others. We never tried to make War and Peace, just a decent pulpy story about heroes fighting demons.
Question: What do you guys think about life on hit being required for any melee class to play on act3+ inferno? and would it be possible to bring life steal at least somewhat viable compared to it.
Also in a post earlier this week i saw someone post about thinking increased health from health globe stat to also include potions would be a good idea. I think its a great idea and wanted to know if you agree.
Question: Why was the decision made to turn off Elective mode and advanced tooltips by default? It seems the reaction most people have when they discover these options varies from rage to simply asking “why didn’t I know about this?”. The default tooltips don’t allow users to make informed decisions, and when you read the comments for YouTube videos you still see people asking how guys are using builds with 2 skills from the same category.
I know this isn’t what you wanted to hear. I know the fact that some people might be overwhelmed by or flat out prefer to not use elective mode and advanced tooltips seems incredulous, but there it is. We get tons of comments from players who are playing the game with their non-gamer friends and family, thanking us for making a game that appeals to gamers and non-gamers alike.
Doing things like this equals more people in the Diablo community, which is good for the game as a whole and the community.
Everyone who wants to play with elective mode finds it eventually, we’re adding more in-game hints to point to it once you get past normal difficulty. But ultimately we don’t think it’s a horrible loss to play without these things while you’re learning the game, even if you are an advanced player.
- Have players discovered every zone in the game yet?
- There is a portal event in Act 1, in the zone “Leorics Hunting Grounds” The goat-men summon other goat-men, however if you killed all the goat-men and then kill the totems, a sound is played (different for each totem) Some think its goat sounds, others Cow sounds, now the Drums in the same area play the same Sounds Are either of these bugs? is One a bug? Are neither Bugs?
- Jay Wilson, your playing hardcore with the public correct? what class and level? and close call story’s? or heroic Deaths?
- No bugs here. Likely just audio guys having fun. 🙂
- I’m not playing hardcore yet. It’s more important for me to be playing a multitude of classes and playing end-game rather than re-rolling HC characters (because I will die, I’m too aggressive 🙂 ).
Question: Have you seen the article here.
If so, what do you think of it?
As mentioned in a different thread, the drop rates were carefully tuned for a single player playing through from 1 to 60 without ever using the AH.
All of our items are randomly generated, and so follow a distribution curve in power. Let’s say for the sake of argument that you were to somehow distill an item down to it’s “power level” and created a distribution graph of drop rate vs. power level. This graph would probably be normally distributed with outliers at high power levels dropping at a lower rate.
Looking at this graph, an average item drops every 5 minutes, a higher power item drops every 15 minutes, even higher power drops every hour. etc. As you move up the curve to ever more powerful items, the amount of time it takes to find such an item increases. This is what makes certain items more desirable, this is how things worked in D2.
What happens for a standard player who is playing solo when they first hit level 60 is they see an item upgrade every 30 minutes or so. Pretty quickly it becomes every hour, then every 2 hours. The higher the power level of your gear, the longer it takes to find your next upgrade, that’s just the underlying maths of this distribution. It’s not really anything we set either. If we magically made all drops rates 10x higher, all it would do is shift the power curve left or right, it would not change the fundamental property that the higher up in power you go, the longer (statistically) it is going to take until you find your next drop.
So then let’s say you visit the Auction House and get infusion of power that hurls you forward on that power curve. So whereas at one point your gear may be at a point that you are statistically speaking probably going to get an upgrade every 2 hours. After visiting the Auction House you hurl yourself forward on the power curve so far that now you are statistically going to get a drop every 8 hours.
To further illustrate the point, let’s talk about the coming changes in 1.0.3. In 1.0.3 we’re going to start dropping level 63 items in Act I of Inferno. We’re also reducing incoming damage. What do I expect to happen? I expect that there will be a rapid increase in power across the entire community as all of these items become more widely accessible. It’s like we took the distribution curve of items and made everything drop more. That item that used to take 10 hours to find is now a 2 hour item. An item that used to be a 2 day item is now an 8 hour item. After the initial frenzy of power increase, things are just going to settle again. People who think drop rates are too low now will probably still think drop rates are too low a week later when they move to the new point on the curve. I’ve spent a long time on this question so I’m going to move on but hopefully somebody who gets what I’m saying will be able to expand on it more, maybe draw some graphs to better illustrate the point.
tl;dr we could make drops 100x what they are now and it would just cause everybody to settle at a new equilibrium point. Anything you can farm in a few hours you’ll already have, anything that takes longer you’ll wish you could get faster.
Question: After the bonus damage is removed from co-op play, are you going to nerf the defensive “group buffs” that some classes have that currently all stack?
(Damage reduction, bonus armor and resists to your party, etc.)
Question: There seem to be a lot of misunderstandings and conspiracy theories from people who believe drop rates are directly influenced by the AH (if an item is common on the AH its drop rates will be lowered in-game). That doesn’t really make any sense, but maybe can you lay this notion to rest?
It IS, however, reasonable that drop rates would be designed with the AH in mind, to avoid flooding the economy with powerful items. How did you approach this as a design challenge during development, especially without a working economy to test on? 3 weeks after launch, are the economy and player’s gear roughly where you were expecting?
The drop rates were tuned for a player who would never use the Auction House. For the majority of internal development we didn’t have an Auction House, we all played using our own drops only. I’ve personally leveled multiple characters from 1 to 60 internally before the game came out using only drops that I found – we all did.
When we say we “took the AH into account” that means it’s one of many factors. ie. some players will choose to play without trading, some players would play in a group of 4 where they share drops among each other, and some (as it turns out, many) players would use the AH.
Three weeks after launch player’s gear is much higher than what we were expecting. When I killed the Butcher on Inferno for the first time I was using a weapon with 492 DPS. There are also certain passives which are much more powerful than they were during internal development. One With Everything, for example, was basically never used internally because we didn’t have an auction House. With the auction house, it feels like a mandatory passive. In retrospect we should have seen it coming. In the game’s current state though, it’s a powerful Monk ability that gives Monks a big survivability boost and has some interesting (some would argue fun, others would argue negative) effects on gearing.
I consider playing without the Auction House to be a very fun way to play the game. I’m personally planning on rolling some new characters that I’ll set aside to be “no-AH/no-twink” characters. Much like in D2 when I would make a new character with a friend and we’d agree with each other not to twink our characters out.
Question: Why did you feel that increasing repair costs was preferable to any other options?
In WoW, the solution for stopping in combat rezzing from getting out of hand wasn’t to increase repairs dramatically. It was to make everyone in combat if in the zone, to limit the number of rezzes possible, and to have bosses/mobs heal to full after a wipe. Don’t mess up the solution to a problem you’ve already dealt with before.
Massive increased repairs hurts players who seek challenges, who don’t give up, and who want to clear through content instead of skipping it. It penalizes tanks, fresh 60s, and a playstyle you should be encouraging. This type of change pushes people to farm urns for 12 hours a day instead of playing the game.
Please reconsider. Thanks.
But like I said, it’s mostly a matter of degree. Would a 50K repair feel that much worse? How about 30K? 20K? One thing I can tell you is that the current 6-10K repair cost is a little silly in that context. I would totally accept if you think 50K is too high, but surely there’s a correct answer somewhere in between. We’re testing to figure out what feels right and that’s the number that will go live.
Question: The story of Diablo 3 has received a lot of criticism for both its actual content and writing and for its presentation (e.g. intrusive cutscenes and linear “on rails” progression). I love the game, but must admit some heavy disappointment when it came to furthering and enriching the lore of the Diablo universe.
What lessons have you learned from the backlash that you plan to apply to D3’s expansions or further games in the franchise (or even other Blizzard titles)?
Question: Drop rates on Jewelcrafting and Blacksmith patterns seem very, very low. In about 150 hours on my main I’ve gotten a grand total of one of each — fewer than the number of legendaries I’ve gotten. Any plans to increase drop rates a bit?
As more and more people get into Inferno we will keep an eye on it and increase it in a future patch if we need to.
Question: Is there any plan to add a “free play” mode after clearing an act/difficulty where all bosses are alive, all way points are up, and no quests are required? I find the forced repeat of the story adds a great deal of tedium and diminishes replay value.
One of the great things about Diablo 2 was its free form-ish feel. After you beat the game, you could go anywhere at any time. You could kill the Countess without starting at the quest, you could then move on to Travanical to kill the council without changing games or losing progress. You could go anywhere at any point in the game to do whatever you wanted. In Diablo 3, it feels like the game is making you hold its hand the entire way through. If you want to kill the Skeleton King, you have to start the game at/before that point and fight to him. If you want to keep your valor, you have to play through the whole rest of the act to fight the Butcher. If you start the game at the Butcher and work back to the Skeleton King, he’s already dead.
Granted, it’s an anti-farming technique, but why force the story on us again and again and again and again and again? I know we can skip dialog, but why was it even forced to begin with? Diablo wasn’t about story; Diablo was about killing things and getting loot. Why was this very simple concept tarnished by forcing the story into every last action every time we play? After the first 2-3 times we play the act, we have the story memorized. Forcing players to go through it ad naseum adds nothing except frustration and disrupts the kill=loot process.
I’m not opposed to us adding a ‘auto-skip’ cut scenes option at some point.
- Would you consider a Hardcore RMAH if it were for gold only? Won’t third-party sites prosper if you don’t address this?
- Any plans for custom channels with passwords or guildchat?
- Any plans for ingame mail system?
- Any plans for a permanent setting that automatically skips all storylines to reduce having to use the skip sequence keystroke constantly?
- Are you considering any additional endgame character customizations?
- Any thoughts on the gold price that top items are listing and selling for on the AH?
- Once the RMAH has gone live and we can monitor it for a bit we’ll consider whether we want to add it to Hardcore.
- Yes on custom channels, not sure when. Guild chat would require guilds.
- Not currently.
- Already answered.
- That’s a pretty broad question that could be interpreted in a lot of ways. Any way I would answer it would make me sound like a corporate douchebag, so I’ll refrain.
- In Texas they have a saying: If you don’t like the weather, stick around, it will change. 🙂
Question: Are you guys planning on open-world PvP, such as dueling? Or are you guys limiting the PvP element to just arena PvP? Thanks.
Question: Why can’t I dye legendary items?
We definitely want to allow this though, and we are looking at solving the tech issues related to it.
Question: I would just like to know what you think about this idea:
Add a new gold sink, similar to WoW’s reforging, where you pay gold to have a reroll on a chosen stat to a new random stat and random value.
Question: Do you have any intention on having Hell or Inferno bosses to drop lower level gear in addition to higher level gear? Sometimes it’s nice to find a low unique or set item to have a reason to roll an alternate character. I don’t want to have to god-mode my way through Normal bosses in hopes to find only low level gear.
Nice changes for Act 3-4 Hell and Inferno bosses, by the way.