A fan pointed out that the last Diablo 3 Beta patch notes listed three removed boss modifiers, and garnered a lengthy reply from Bashiok.
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 boss 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 Die 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, Mortar has functional graphics in the new patch, though I kind of miss the giant pink squares version, now that it’s gone.