Blizzard on Game Balance Issues

Another big Blue post from yesterday, arguing a bunch of game balancing issues.

Simple Solution: Almost all melee activated abilities should have a passive defensive included in the core ability. That is, while the wizard is forced to use an entire skill slot for Diamond Skin, the Barbarian (for example) should have diamond skin built into one of its abilities say… Revenge.
Monk and barbarian take 30% less damage base, than demon hunter, witch doctor or wizard. The melee classes also have passives and abilities which provide significant defensive bonuses.

2) Elites/Champions: The biggest problem here is not how hard they hit, but the fact that Blizz did not institute a way to avoid the damage like they did with the Act bosses. For example. Why can the “Jailer” automatically encase everyone without missing but Diablo seems to suffer from Down’s syndrome when trying to trap people?
Because those fights are where you’ll generally score the best loot, they are also intended to be some of the most challenging experiences in the game.

We didn’t want ‘boss farming’ to become the goal of Diablo III the way it was in DII. We like that getting the best items is more of a treasure hunt, where finding and slaying those champion packs is what drives players to adventure through the levels. It’s also a good thing that those are thrilling and difficult fights once you find them. Sometimes they’re brutal, but this is Diablo III on a difficulty titled ‘Hell’. Sometimes brutal is okay.

3) Act Bosses: Seriously, the act bosses should not be easier than the elites/champions. The fact that this is currently the case is inexcusable.
Answered above.

There’s more on this front; click through for the rest of the post.

You do realize he just explained WHY they want you farming elites. A boss is a guaranteed spot everytime. Elite packs are everywhere, Caves, in the open, in dungeons, etc. This is their solution to getting you to participate in more content.
This is the heart of the design decision, yes. It’s more engaging to get into a level, explore the randomly spawned caves, and go poking around in the nooks and crannies.

If you’ve ever done boss speed runs in DII for hours on end, then you might get a glimpse of why this was preferable.

This design choice goes hand-in-hand with D3’s loot system, where like we’re seeing random champions become more powerful than main bosses we’re seeing Rares and Magics outshine Legendaries
The stats and affixes on all items are randomly generated, which means that some items will have more ideal stats than others. That said, an ideal rare is always going to be better than an ideal item of lower quality at the same item level. I think that players are seeing magic items that have higher ideal stats than a random rare (or a rare of lower level), but having more affix slots means that those rares have higher potential.

A good example: you might have a normal item with a couple of very high base attribute affixes, which is great. An ideal rare might have those same high base attributes, but also have magic find, plus crit, chance to blind, +% damage to a class ability, etc.

I’ve found the challenge modes to be a blast, and getting pwn’d by an elite pack means that you don’t know how to fight it yet. I had to change my build, using skills I never thought were useful to figure some of them out. Now, I’m running with a build most people would insult me for, but I haven’t died once since changing to it. However, I’m sure Blizzard will throw something at me to make me change my build again . . . damn you Blizzard!

Lots of words… are you guys convinced of their wisdom?

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30 thoughts on “Blizzard on Game Balance Issues

  1. the Act 3 boss was terribly disappointing 

    all the way down you’re thinking, “holy crap, am I going to have to fight THAT ? ! ”  

    nah, just some stupid easy spider, then a REALLY easy boss 

    Bosses should be the hardest part of the game 
    hence the word “boss” 
    and the loot from them should be the best 

    and yes, I know that might be a spoiler, but the game’s been out a week, if you don’t know that stuff by now, what have you been doing for the past week ? 

    • I was disappointed when I heard that the bosses don’t get new abilities on the higher difficulties. When I did the bosses, I thought “Hey, that was a pretty cool fight… for normal.” I think Blizzard really missed an opportunity by not expanding these encounters in nightmare and beyond. Right now, it’s just more damage and more hit points. 

      From a company that has created some of the best boss encounters I’ve experienced in gaming in their WoW raids, I was really expecting more in Diablo beyond “move out of shit”.

    • I also think bosses should be harder than they are, but lootwise it’s fine. The bosses do have the absolutely best loot if you have your 5 nephalem buffs which makes killing them extremely rewarding!

      I understand it breaks from tradition which a lot of people were completely okay with, but boss runs rendered the majority of the content useless after levelling was no longer a concern. Also, they were boring as hell.

      Because of the way they’ve done loot in this game, I could farm any act in Inferno from start to finish and still have a good chance at an upgrade. This adds variety to the game as I now have a choice of where to farm.

      As far as the boss difficulty… meh, I slightly agree with you in that they shouldn’t be easier. But I don’t believe they should be harder either. The way NV works makes bosses equal to elite packs in terms of loot, difficulty should reflect that.

    • Azmodan killed my lvl 30 hc wizard with 6300 hp with 1 fireball, on normal. Yea I screwed up, but still.

  2. I think the way they are doing it is fine. I think the champ packs and rare packs should be more difficult in Inferno. I do think Azmodan was too easy. As a ranged class, its almost impossible to die against Azmodan. I think they could make that battle a little more challenging. But all in all, these boss fights are what unlock the next area so you can fight the real challenge. The elite packs. Which ooohh, myyyy, goood! They are hard in Inferno. lol 

    I love how hard it is. 

  3. I agree the final bosses were quite qeasy in solo normal. But that’s fine, that’s why there are 3 more difficulty levels.

    Back to the original article – that last post has my hopes up that most ppl complaining about difficulty are not exploring the characters enough, i.e. different builds, gear etc. In public games, so many people just run into the mob, bam bam bam, slash, dead. I am only in nightmare, but just yesterday I was able to successfully survive a few elites with my barb by carefully engaging, then running away, stunning and some careful play. I just get the feeling that some people just think they should be able to stand there with leet gear and survive, without doing anything fancy.

    I always like the analogy to StarCraft. Watching pro replays opens your eyes and shows that things you might’ve thought are unbeatable, are in fact easy with smart play. If I did not know what the PROs are capable of doing, I would be thinking that I’m doing everything correctly and as fast as possible and just can’t win, so strategy X must suck.

    I am thinking it might be a similar idea with D3.

  4. I don’t see why they couldn’t make the boss fights a little harder than they are and just leave their gear the same. Hard rare/champion packs would still be harder, and would still be great sources of loot. I think people primarily feel disappointed in Azmodan, since he’s such a climactic enemy (he’s the boss of the longest act in the game, and gets the most buildup, along with Belial), but is one of the easiest bosses in the game – not even of just the act bosses, but all the bosses in general. He also sticks out for being – in my experience – extremely easy on all three “sane” difficulty levels. (I, like most players, haven’t faced him in Inferno.) There are other bosses, such as Izual, that are at least challenging on some difficulty levels. (I found Izual to be a total pushover on Normal, but a nightmare on higher difficulty levels, and the reverse for Belial.)

  5. I have way more fun hunting packs of blues and yellows than I ever did running bosses in d2. I love the way they have it now, not really happy about how the loot works, I wish legendary items were better than they are but that’s for another discussion

  6. I agree that the bosses are easier than just about every elite/champion.
    The bosses remind me of the way most games design bosses, a set pattern of skills you learn to avoid.
    But with elite/champions, often times it can be near impossible to beat them, because they have multiple skills active all at once, you have very little time to figure out what they are going to be throwing at you, and there is more than one of them.
    Simply put, bosses are boring, which isn’t how it should be. 

  7. I think all you guys that say Azmodan is easy probably play ranged classes.  As a monk he’s not so easy… not as hard as a jailer + molten champion pack, but not exactly a snoozefest either.  That big fireball he casts isn’t so easy to dodge when you’re already in his face.

  8. Last night I found a rare unburied (big hulking dudes, Act 1) mob with an ‘Invulnerable’ mod on top of other things… and not a soul could do damage to him, AT ALL. What the f is up with that blizz? I thought there wasn’t supposed to be enemies we couldn’t hurt?

    Plus he was extra fast so that was fun trying to run away and stay away from him… 

    • You have to kill the minions boss, he will have invulnerable minions 🙂
      When he dies, they all do.

    • Well that’s just the thing, isn’t it? But you probably had fun killing the easy pack of Extra Health/Nighmarish right before that one, didn’t you?

      The elite combinations are entirely random, and added to different natures of creatures, you’ll encounter some unholy shit from time to time.
      But that’s part of the fun; how do I break this one? It forces you to not conveniently linger on that same build of repetitive gameplay all the way through to the end.

      I’ve only gotten an Invulnerable pack once too. Problem was, they were molten, and it was on the narrow bridge fetching the Beacon of honor. I lost half my life just getting to the leader with my Monk, as I had no way of avoiding the molten. Needless to say I died a lot. I was about to give up and leave, when a fury rose inside; I wanted this sucker to go down! And so I tweaked the build and enjoyed the spoils of war.

      Explore a little. 

  9. The thing about bosses is that they have to be beatable in one go by every class and are mandatory to proceed in the game. Champs/Elites can be picked away at over time – kill one, run back to the waypoint(or die), kill another, etc. Worst case scenario they can be skipped. However, a boss is a one-way ticket that you need to beat from the start without assistance. If they were stronger than the strongest elite mobs, they would become unassailable brick walls for many players. They’re also easier by definition because their abilities are static and players have already memorized the strategy to fight them.

  10. Undodgeable attacks and traps aren’t “challenging”, they’re cheap. Stuff like Waller and Jailer needs to be avoidable/breakable.

    • For a barbarian they are, you can leap out of both i believe, and you can charge out of the jails.

    • All classes have abilities that break out of jailer, and a waller will never completely trap you. 

    • First off, walls: Run around them, and/or avoid running into narrow spaces with Wallers at your heels.

      I never thought much of jailers, as I usually have Serenity and Seven Sided Strike with me, which seems to break it. But then that’s not optimal for all things.

      Could it be that you refuse to alter your same old build to opt for new challenges? You won’t find any sympathy here.

  11. This is actually just like D2, where bosses are only difficult on untwinked characters going through normal. 90% of your D2 deaths probably involved something like a lightning enchanted extra fast fanatacism pack on the way to the boss, not the boss itself.

  12. I don’t have issues with the boss fights, except to say that I think they might have been more interesting if they involved more trash monster spawns throughout the fight. Diablo spawns some mimmicks and Azmodan spawns a very, very small number of henchmen; they could’ve made it more involving with a greater number of spawns. Wouldn’t necessarily make it more challenging, but would make it feel more epic. I do think that the boss fights don’t need to be totally insane.
    One thing I’d like to see is the Inferno “regular” monsters get a bit more random, say by picking up one random mod. It’s just odd how the champion packs get to be these insane agents of doom, while the regular dudes pretty much just end up being cannon fodder. I’m okay with the champs being hard, but let’s not make the regular dudes be complete pushovers. 

  13. I very much agree with this.  Playing through Inferno Act 3 ATM, and some of those mob ability + elite modifiers are so unbelievably cheap.  Having one of those tentacle guys with just Jailer + Desecrate spells many deaths because once you get jailed, you’re pretty much screwed.  No amount of skill will allow you to avoid it, so the only way is gear (which I’m not sure helps… my gear is pretty good).  Toss in two more modifiers and it’s just masochistic.   The main bosses, on the other hand, have abilities that allow you to actively avoid if you know what you’re doing, and therefore are SOOOOO much easier.  ATM, most of my friends are doing 5-stack Nephalem Valor Belial or Butcher runs because its much easier than suffering through more than 5 elite packs.  

    I thought Blizzard would do away with these kind of cheap boss packs after the last few patches in D2, when they removed most of the MSLE/Conviction Aura or Might/Fanaticism/Cursed/Extra Strong bosses and the like.  But in D2, at least i felt like I can counter those guys with gear/skills.  Nothing saves me from some of the combos in D3. 😐

    • Grats on making it to Act 3 inferno, many here won’t be there for a long time. I’ve capitulated to the idea that some monsters aren’t worth the fight as a champ packs more over because of 1). their natural monster attacks getting 2). combined with some nasty modifiers just 3). makes the whole combat experience overtly painful and exceedingly tedious. As was in your post, you mentioned a particular monster with a modifier.
      With a fresh perspective this morning I’m thinking that blizzard made a major error building the difficultly around this game more for mulitplay. They’ve focused on making sure monsters are not easily beat when using the best combination of different classes, unfortunately this has left the single player experience hugely disadvantaged when we don’t have access to multi class skills to fixed every situation put to us.
      Bosses should be left as is, I only died 8 or so times to Act 2 boss in hell and spent 15 pots doing so. I wouldn’t want him any more difficult as it would be too big a progress barrier for me. I understand we all comment based on our own experiences but asking blizzard to ramp up boss difficultly now that your are past it, well I think most of you deserve a poke in the eye for that quite frankly. Get over it!

    • Just did some Inferno Whimsyville today, and we got a Mortar champion unicorn pack.  With 55% Damage reduction from armor and 35% elemental resistance on a Wizard, the unicorns were doing 90K melee and the mortars did 50K per…. getting one shotted was not so fun 😥
      We ended up just training them into a corner, killed the non-champion packs and then looted the clouds instead.

  14. Some of those champion packs in inferno are not difficult….they are utterly impossible. Which is why there has been a huge outcry about it.

  15. Until people figure out good builds! I’ve only managed to put in about 15 hours until now of continuous play with the monk. I think I died 4 or 5 times because of brainless march forward play (but it’s normal difficulty so you can do that 🙂 ).
    In any case, I just reached act 4 after exploring every inch of the map in all previous acts and I’m level 31. During this period I tried 6 or 7 different builds and depending on the act I was in, the environment, was it indoor our outdoor, small or large space, possibility of monsters to come from behind when you advance, melee or ranged. Meanwhile, at work, I kept reading the forums as usual, here mostly but also on the official D3 forums, reading about the early login problems, about Inferno conquering and how users started complaining about how casual Diablo is if those guys managed to finish it in 2 days, about the guys who managed to conquer Act 2 inferno in HC, about the hacked accounts, the wrong server/loss of characters problems etc… Then more people reached inferno and the forums are now flooded with the users complaining about how hard champion pack/elites are in inferno and how the chars are not balanced correctly. And of course, right after that a guy comes out and says, “Oh! here is a build for the monk that can kill anything in Inferno (But it’s the only build possible).
    Until D3 sinks in really well, we should have more patience and experiment some more. Just because people buffed up the barb and the monk on defense and vit and it didn’t work in inferno, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t viable builds and viable items that can add up to marvelous melee chars in inferno. I’m sure that many more builds like the one that just came up for the monk will surface this weekend.
    My opinion is that Blizzards should not nerf inferno, nor buff the barb and the monk until we now for sure these opinions are based on real facts. Go on and bugfix, nerf the wizzard/wd/dh skills that create unfair advantages over the mobs and let the game sink in!
    Great game by the way! 🙂 😈

  16. IMO it seems, again, that from most of the posters here-and on the Official D3 forums that D3 Inferno, and Champs packs, Elites are not made for the SOLO player. It seems as if most of the commentary available in multiple sites has stipulated that Inferno mode cannot be accomplished by any single, solo players. regardless of experimentation/builds/buff enhancements. I’m feeling that Blizzard has geared Inferno towards multi-player co-op only. I’ve seen a few posters who have described experiences of single shot deaths from traditionaly “weaker” monsters; and with Health and Life steal stats well into the 20K-30K range.  
    My experiences in both D1 and D2 were very difficult on Hell mode, yet were accomplishable if you were “Lucky” enough to have built your character correctly from the start. The problem in D2 was ‘out-leveling’ the Hell monsters. It seems that in D3 Inferno, you are going to be crushed repeatedly no matter which build you desire; as the Champs/Elites are still out-classing you (Unless of course you were the LUCKIEST guy ever to have found legendary loot that enhanced your build from the get-go (which is impossible as the random nature of your finding anything that is geared towards your character.) This sounds to me, as if constant monster farming in Hell mode, is not only important, but quite NECESSARY in order to be successful in Inferno. Therefore, you develope the skills necessary to farm repetitive Hell Champs with some *hope* of getting lucky enough to find loot that enhances your build. To me, at that point in time, the game seems more like work, then fun.

  17. I’m not necessarily convinced of their Wisdom… but I think they are being honest and feel it’s a better system… and they’re consistent about it.

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