A new but already familiar issue came up again in another character variety/customization thread. Into which Bashiok against pitched his carefully-crafted arguments.
Bashiok: Leveling to 60, finding gear, finding runes, all go toward making a viable build with 6 skills and 3 passives.
Diablo III is a more complex game, combat-wise, you can’t max out a single attack skill and Whirlwind to victory. We have around eight different types of skills (attack, cc, escape, etc.), each class has around twenty four, and with only six slots that’s some hard decisions on how you can build your character. Limits mean variety if we do our job right.
Yes you’ll be able to see some guy with his skills and passives set a certain way and copy him, but that’s always been the case. What’s important is experimenting and finding unique builds, and finding the items to support it.
There’s far more build potential in Diablo III, especially with the recent changes.
Did you guys ever explore the idea that perhaps you could freely be able to add subtract and move skill points freely? That would address the issues you experienced while testing and allow for people to keep unique builds based of skill distribution. That can’t be too bad of an alternative?
Bashiok: Yeah, I mean that’s essentially what respecs are, just a bit more wholesale.
The base problem with skill points is that we found they simply put too much incentive toward pumping up one or two skills. If we wanted to balance the game it means we’d have to let someone be able to essentially beat the game with that build since it’s the most obvious. You’re not going to put a few points here, a few there, you’re going to go the D2 route, horde points, and dump them all into a core skill or two. It really limited builds since points always went toward specific types of attacks that scaled well with additional points, and we’re not going to keep systems that are stifling (viable) build potential and (meaningful) character customization.
I think when they test and work through things they try and eliminate the cookie cutter builds from the game so everybody isn’t doing the exact same thing to be “good”. While it does take away customization changing it they way they did it makes all builds viable regardless of which skill you choose (= which if you think about it is really cool, cause you can still be unique through runes, especially with how they changed the runes. I kinda have sad feelings over not being able to make a oddball build like I could in D2 even if it did suck but I much would rather make a oddball build thats viable rather than a oddball build that can’t progress in the game if you know what i mean.
Bashiok: There’s definitely still “wrong” builds, and thus plenty of non-optimal builds to tinker with. You have a big set of skills, but it’s important to note that not all of those skills serve the same purpose. If you pick a bunch of CC/escape/buff type skills, you’re going to be hurting. But if you build your character in a way where you’re sopping up resources, using damage reduction and control skills, and one giant damage output, it could work. Change any one of those skills though and the whole build could break.
Fun though it is, all this pre-game debate is fairly pointless, since Bliz is not going to give any weight to any outsider’s opinion, no matter how logical it seems to the Diablo community. They’re not closed to input, it’s just that we don’t know what we’re talking about yet, except in a superficial, theoretical sense.
Jay Wilson has said that they’ll be open to big changes and tweaks in patches, depending on how players do in the early weeks/months of D3. That’ll be an interesting time; as we see just how accurate the D3 Team’s predictions about play styles and character variety really are.