Blizzard Defends Boss Modifier Removals

A fan pointed out that the last Diablo 3 Beta patch notes listed three removed DiabloWikiboss modifiers, and garnered a lengthy reply from Bashiok.

Monster affixes “Die Together,” “Powerful,” and “Ghostly” have all been removed from the game

I don’t intend to speak for my fellow gamers, but variety is nice. More affixes = more monster variety. Will these be added back to the game? Were they bugged? What’s going on? I’m worried that there’s going to be less monster variety because of this?
We mentioned at BlizzCon that we’re trying to get more monster affixes into the game. We are. Part of the process is trying out some ideas, and some of those ideas don’t make it. Another part of the process is figuring out what’s actually available in the beta and not patch noting the stuff that isn’t. 🙂

“Die Together” was an experimental idea we were playing around with for Champion packs. It would randomly set up the Champion pack so that when you had dealt lethal damage to any of them, they would go into an invulnerable “dead state”. If after 10 seconds you had not killed all of them, they would start to resurrect.

This had a number of issues. The simplest reason is that we simply feel like the mechanic was too complicated. Furthermore, not every monster in our game has a notion of a “dead state”. Some of our monsters gib into bits, or puff in flames, or explode, etc. As a result, there wasn’t a universal way to visually communicate to players that a monster was “thinking about dying”.

We also found that arbitrarily putting a mechanic such as this on any monster didn’t work with many monster AIs. It was pretty much impossible to kill 3 Skeletal Summoners, for example, within 5 seconds of each other because Skeletal Summoners have an AI that causes them to continuously back away from the player. When you had 3 of them, they’d start running in opposite directions, it simply wasn’t fair. Or take the Carrion Bats that can fly to places the player can’t get to, you might get all the Carrion Bats down to 5% health and as you’re getting ready to deal the killing blows one of them flies off.

At the end of the day it seemed the “Die Together” affix is not appropriate to randomly appear on just any monster, it really needs to be something more like a monster mechanic that it’s designed to work well with it.

So we’re really working to add more, and in fact if you guys have any ideas for monster affixes we’d be glad to hear them.

Just keep in mind, as illustrated above, monster affixes have a few design challenges. We try to keep these core ideas in mind when designing them:

  • Ideally they create new gameplay for the player. The point of affixes is to change up how the player is playing and make them adapt to some kind of new situation that the affix mechanics present.
  • They need to work for a wide variety of monsters, in a wide variety of environments.
  • We try to make them easy for players to understand. A design buzzword we use internally is “affordance”. A monster affix with good affordance is intuitive to understand. The visual, the concept, and the name all communicate clearly what the mechanic is.

None of those three DiabloWikiboss modifiers have been seen in the Beta, and of them only Powerful had been seen previously, where its effect (akin to D2’s Extra Strong?) was unclear. Ghostly and DiabloWikiDie Together were never seen at all outside of Blizzard, tragically. (I thought maybe Die Together was the new name for Linked, but that one seems fairly different in function than what Bashiok describes. Which is good, since I liked Linked.)

Motivated by Bashiok’s post, I’m going to try to finish up a Diablo 3 Beta boss modifiers update I’ve had in the works for a while. It will present dozens of screenshots of the various types of bosses and champions in the beta, plus some info and strategy about their tactics and behavior.

Also FYI, DiabloWikiMortar has functional graphics in the new patch, though I kind of miss the giant pink squares version, now that it’s gone.

Related to this article
You're not logged in. Register or login to post a comment.

20 thoughts on “Blizzard Defends Boss Modifier Removals

  1. ” they would go into an invulnerable “dead state”. If after 10 seconds you had not killed all of them…”

    can someone explain that to me?
    if they’re invulnerable, how are you supposed to kill them ?
    I’m obviously not understanding what he’s meaning

    • If all champions go into this invulnerable “dead state” within 10 secs, they are dead for good. If not, they will start to regenerate.

      • Yep. Much better description than Bash gave. Basically, every monster had to die w/in ten seconds of each other, otherwise they would come back to life if another one was still alive.

        • so am i right to assume if u want to level up easy, u find one of these bunch of champion, get them into that state, kill everything cept for 1 monster and let them resurrect, then u kill them again, repeatedly? or does resurrected monsters dont give exp and items?

    • Basically the one you “kill” goes into an invulnerable “dead” state and then you have to get the rest into that state before x time or else they resurrect.  If you’re familiar with original WoW and Molten Core think the core hound pups before Magmadar.

    • It’s a good idea, but nothing like that has been seen yet.

      I haven’t gone over the page recently (soon), but I don’t think there are any known boss mods that aren’t on the boss modifiers wiki page linked from the post. (Other than Mortar.) Lots of them have had some changes/refinements in their functions, though.

  2. Haha xD I’d love to see something like that or extra magic find, unfortunately it doesn’t stand up to the first ‘core idea’ that Bashiok mentioned :S

  3. “…in fact if you guys have any ideas for monster affixes we’d be glad to hear them.”
    For real? At this stage?

  4. “Die Together” does seem prone to causing unintended difficulty. The solution? They take it out of the game, even though they can just make the modifier only work for the intended monsters.

    That said, Die Together sounds like a stupid mechanic anyway because it will reward those who spam a lot of AoE crap. It’ll also make the higher difficulties where enemies have like a million health impossible to beat.

    • thats what makes it strategic though.  You can’t just kill one and then start on the next.  You have to wittle away health strategically from each mob in the group till you get them all near the same low % of like 5%.   Then you start killing.
      I agree with you in that they should just restrict it to mobs that it does work on.  that may or may not be feasible depending on the way they have it coded.
      I can think of something tho in the higher difficulties that would make it extra annoying.  Multiple affixes on a pack.   If they have a affix that does rapid health regen, those 2 in combo would be incredibly difficult if not impossible.

  5. That was a well reasoned argument backed up by valid data. Of course we had no real way of knowing what it felt like to fight them, but I’d rather not have a shoe-horned in source of frustration, so all the better.

  6. What about a mechanic where, let’s say you’re facing a 3 pack of mobs, each mob having a unique power (for simplicity sake say 3 mages :: 1 does a snare, 1 does poison DoT and 1 regens).  When you get the first mob down to 1% he becomes invulnerable and casts a spell where he [first] transfers his ability to the remaining 2 mobs and then sacrifices himself.  Then when 1 of the remaining 2 mobs dies, he does the same (gets invulnerable at 1% and then passes his power to the last mob and then sac’s himself.  Then the last mob remains w/ all 3 powers and is very tough to beat.

    Call the affix “Sacrificial” or something. 🙂


  7. the blizzcon footage (i think it was diablo?) had a scene that a char gets temporarily swallowed by a monster only to be spit back out a moment later (assuming with some deserved damage).  well how about a variation on that with a “gorgon” mod where the monster can turn the char to stone temporarily and then when you crumble free you take some damage.  has a time-out/stun plus damage effect just with a different visual.

  8. When I first read “Die Together” I thought it’d be a modifier that would kill whoever kills that boss monster, so that the killer and the killed “die together”. Because that really seems like something Blizzard would come up with.

  9. They had better change back the arcane enchanted monsters back.  The arcane “water sprinklers” look really LAME!   What was “Ghostly” affix?

Comments are closed.