Blizzard on IAS, Skills, Repair Costs and More


Blizzard has posted a lengthy response covering numerous hot topics this evening, which includes the IAS nerf, stat stacking, lackluster skills, champion packs and more. It’s a long one so read on for the full post, and I have to say it’s nice to see some constructive comments for once.

1) Champion packs over Bosses – I understand why you want to push people to fight champion packs. In Diablo 2 they were almost entirely avoided for the sake of getting to the bosses faster for better loot. However you must realize that MANY people find boss fights more entertaining? It also goes against the logic of some random monster is more dangerous than the greatest battle commander in all of the burning hells! Why is blizzard adamant that players avoid bosses and fight champion mobs when the outcry (for the most part) is the opposite?

Ideally, we’d like both Champion packs and bosses to be satisfying. It’s a tricky balance to get right, though, when you consider that a) player’s gear is always improving, b) new builds and techniques are being discovered pretty regularly, and c) Champion packs are random and bosses are predictable.

In general, random content (i.e. Champion packs) tends to be more enjoyable over the long-haul because it helps to ease off some of the repetition — not just in terms of what you’re fighting and how you’re fighting it, but also in terms of seeing different environments, dungeons, and events. Predictable content (i.e. bosses) usually doesn’t have that same appeal, at least not for everyone. Not only does the environment remain the same for boss fights, but strategies can be optimized and practiced to the point of efficiency, which often makes killing bosses the path of least resistance to the greater reward. Unfortunately, in the case of bosses, following the path of least resistance can sometimes result in gameplay feeling too repetitive.

Pre-patch 1.0.3, getting a 5 stack of Nephalem Valor, doing a boss, and then resetting the game and repeating the process was considered to be most optimal. This is probably more interesting than simply doing boss runs only, but we wanted to get players out into the world and exploring more of the Acts. To encourage that, we moved some of the reward from bosses to packs. We’re pretty happy with the results of this change, but we’re also concerned that players appear to be skipping bosses completely, so it’s possible we went too far. Again, it’s a delicate balance.

Right now, we’re keeping a close eye on how players are adapting in-game to the change as well as continuously reading your feedback online.



2) Valor buff. Diablo 3 was advertised as having a wide variety of skills that can be swapped in and out at any time, even in battle (with a small delay for use). This allowed greater variety in the abilities that champion mobs could have and provide greater challenges for the player. You also then provided a Valor buff that is supposed to encourage players to kill more champion packs. But oddly you choose to have the valor buffs be removed if the player changes their skills (or even moves a skill on the hot bar from one position to another). This goes against the entire design of the buff and the goal of having players kill as many champion packs as possible, Why was this decision made and with what logic?

This was actually a decision we made based off player feedback. On the one hand, there’s a lot of enjoyment in being able to swap your skills at will and tailor your builds to the environment around you. On the other, there’s also gameplay to finding a build that really works for you in a variety of situations.

During beta, we received a lot of feedback from players who wanted to be able to swap skills any time. We also had a large number of players who wanted to have a sense of their characters “build,” or some sort of build identity — especially at later levels. We understood both points of view, so with Nephalem Valor you can still swap a skill out at any time, but there is a penalty for doing so (i.e. losing your stack).

As sort of an aside, we know that it can be SUPER frustrating for players who use Elective Mode to lose an NV stack due to a poorly-placed click near your Skill bar. Because of this, we’re looking to add an action bar lock for Elective Mode in an upcoming patch.

3) The IAS nerf was handled poorly in my opinion. I completely understand WHY the nerf was needed and probably agree with the logic that it needed to be changed. However HOW it was handled was a dropped ball. I believe that the best way to handle the situation was to bring in either diminishing returns or a hard cap (like run speed) that a player cannot go over. This allows people to still gain value from their RMAH purchases without feeling ripped off and also discourages people from stacking the stat over other stats which you want to be a greater focus for the character. It also maintains value in the IAS items for future sales. Why was the IAS nerf not handled in this manner?

When we posted the Patch 1.0.3 Preview, we actually mentioned that we were considering several options to address IAS. Here’s the actual quote from the blog, just for context:

There are two different solutions we’re considering to reduce the effectiveness of Increased Attack Speed. The first is to simply reduce the value on all the items to their desired values. In general our desire is to never change items as that makes them feel less concrete, but the upside is you would still be able to look at an item and know exactly what you are getting. The other approach is to change the formula used for attack speed aggregation so that stacking attack speed from multiple slots suffers from diminishing returns. The downside of that approach is that it introduces yet another hidden modifier on an item property (and many people dislike hidden modifiers), and complicates the already difficult decision of item gearing.

As you can see, diminishing returns were on the table. If you look at the blog comments, though, some players said they liked the idea of diminishing returns while others said liked reducing the stat value instead. In the end, we felt that hidden diminishing returns might have made you feel better about your items, but that it addresses the issue with IAS in a much “sneakier” way. Feedback already told us that players disliked hidden modifiers, and we were concerned that diminishing returns would make the gearing process more complicated.

It was a complicated situation, and there were pros and cons to both solutions (as noted above). As a result, it was a difficult decision to make, but we opted for the more direct, upfront approach of just reducing the stat value.

4) lackluster skills. Nether tentacles. Fix, bug, nerf or whatever you want to call it was probably deserved and required. However I have a design question based around the outcome of this change. If a skill is changed, updated or fixed to a point where not a single player wants to use that skill anymore wouldn’t that be a bad change or too drastic? Will further skill changes(give wiz tornadoes love) be in the near future to give people more options than just pick the next best skill available?(my hopes are to have several options of equal strength, currently I don’t feel that way with the DH setup)

We’re planning on doing a lot of skill tuning in patch 1.0.4. We’re also planning on explaining/previewing those changes in a developer blog in the near future.

5) The pots/breakables Magic find nerf. It seems from the players standpoint that this is an odd change. Nobody that I saw was complaining about having to put on magic gear to maximize their chances and opportunities with pots and breakables. Yet the reasoning given was that you felt it was unfun for the players. Can you elaborate a bit more on this as I feel the players think differently.
After reviewing all the feedback we received following this change, we’d like to add items back onto breakables as well as allow Magic Find to affect those drops. That said, the issues that motivated those changes still exist, so we want to make sure that when/if we do revise those changes, it doesn’t result in us being right back where we started. We don’t want players avoiding monsters altogether in favor of farming breakables, and we don’t want players feeling like they need to always switch to their Magic Find set before opening Resplendent Chests and other environment objects. I don’t have an ETA to share right now for when those changes might be made.

6) Stat stacking. It was mentioned that blizzard does not want players to stack stats in a way that they feel it is a must skill over the base stats such as Dex or Str or Vit. If that is true, why do barbarians and monks (and probably everyone else now after the current changes) have to stack resist all up to ridiculous levels just in order to survive?

I can’t recall who said this, or where it was said, but that’s not our current philosophy. If players want to stack other stats over Dex/Str/Int/Vit/etc, or feel as though they need to in order to get the most of out their game time, then that’s okay.

If you feel as though the current stat model isn’t ideal, then please let us know — and provide alternative solutions if you’re able!

7) IAS Side effects. The IAS nerf has had a few side effects which I am not sure were considered in the process. Monks and some barb builds relied on IAS to provide adequate healing through either leech or on hit healing abilities. However with the IAS nerf many are finding that this is no longer a viable path. Is there anything being done internally to consider this unintended consequence?

Actually, it was quite the opposite. This was one of the main reasons for the IAS nerf. In fact, if it wan’t for those additional side effects, and only about DPS, we likely wouldn’t have changed IAS at all.

Again, as stated in the Patch 1.0.3 Preview:

While we don’t have an issue with there being important stats, Increased Attack Speed in particular has secondary effects on mobility in combat, resource generation and resource consumption. We want there to be options and considerations for how you gear up, and one uber trump-everything stat can really work against choice and options.

8) The repair cost increase I believe is also a fair change; however the unfair part of this change was to the wear and tear of doing battle. Now I know that it has already been stated that this is being looked at for an update, are you able to share any reduction values or ranges that are being considered internally? (ex. 50%, 75%…)

I’ve mentioned this in other threads already, but we agree with you and we’re looking at reducing the durability hit you take from normal wear-and-tear. No values to share at this time, though.

 Who are you kidding, all the WD re-rolled Barb or DH already!

See response to #4.

 10) Boss over tuning. In the recent patch there was significant changes done to some boss fights. However there appears to be a bit of over tuning done in a few cases (in others much needed difficulty improvements). In two cases, Seigebreaker and Cydea however there appears to be a bit of excess difficulty added to the point that in most cases the fights are impossible(for some classes). In seigebreakers case the addition of dmg reflect with a short enrage timer makes him quite the fight to handle on ones own. Cydea has had her little spiders amped up in an insidious way where they spread out and virtually refuse to attack or follow the player unless he/she goes near them. This causes the player to have to fight through them to get back to cydea, however once enough spiders are killed cydea auto jumps off the screen and spawns more spiders. Essentially making the fight a burn her down before she jumps or you lose fight. Are any hot fixes or minor updates being planed to fine tune these updates or do you feel that the current difficulty is appropriate?
I just asked Wyatt Cheng this question and his response was (and I quote): “Bosses are exciting punctuation marks in your Champion and Rare pack wasteland.”

I’ll be honest and say that I’m not entirely sure what that means, but I’ll follow up with him a little later and get back to you. 😛

 10) Boss over tuning. In the recent patch there was significant changes done to some boss fights. However there appears to be a bit of over tuning done in a few cases (in others much needed difficulty 11) The quitters. Many of my friends who played the game have found the recent patch changes to create an unfun atmosphere within the game. They have recently stopped playing entirely in some cases and in others have become frustrated and play much less. While I respect that this is “your game” and you will present the vision that your team has come up with. Are any considerations being made to the players who recently disliked the changes?

We’re definitely taking all feedback into consideration. In addition to that, we’re already planning to make some changes based on that feedback.

13) GAH. 13 is my lucky number so this will be the last question. Due to the recent changes and increase cost of playing the game (gold wise) players have to maximize their income to offset these changes. One of the major ways players make money is through the gold auction house. Is there any consideration being made to increasing the limit of 10 items per account that can be up for sale to help compensate for this increase in costs?

No plans at this time.

No mention of the overall nerf to drop rates though? Many players now feel act 1 to be the best farming spot in the game. Drop rates for acts 2-4 need a slight buff imo.

I unfortunately don’t have any specifics to share just yet, but we agree they are low and are looking at adjusting them. We should have more details early next week.

Comments

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  1. I do think Blizzard has set the foundation for a great game. It’s a work in progress!

    • I do think Blizzard failed to lay a good foundation for a game and we’re all deluding ourselves into thinking that they will eventually get it right.

      • Actually, Diablo 3 is better than anything I played in the last 3 years. Certainly when I saw my PayPal account being credited.

        It doesn’t cure cancer just yet, but it ls better than the cost of sliced bread already.

        Knowing Blizzard I bet you the next step is putting in some kaviar on top when they’ll launch their PvP equipment…and item hunt.

        😀

      • hardcore diablo fan here, and i havent played since i had to pay 20k for repairs on my dh, i dont have 100m gold, 20k is alot to me. i dont have time to farm like when i was 15

  2. I think their goal of “getting out and exploring” would work better if we could jump between the acts without losing NV. I don’t want to run through entire acts, I would rather jump to certain areas in each act with out having to create a new game and lose my NV stacks..

    • I agree, we should be able to move between the acts without having to deal with all the bullshit. I don’t think exploring the world is a good reason for anything though. The world is largely the same, and the very small amount of randomness doesn’t keep it from being boring. Boss runs are less boring in this respect.

    • Exactly. Give us the “open-world” like in D2, at least when you’ve beaten hell or reached lvl60.

    • seriously, stupidest design decision ever

      can’t move from one Act to another

      what were they thinking

    • But then people would get 5 NV at Act 1 and then jump to Act 3/4 to enjoy their easily earned stacks with better drops.

      • I don’t see anything wrong with that.

        • It wouldn’t be an exploit but it certainly would be annoying. You would go to act 1 to quickly bash 5 elite packs, and only then would go on a act 3/4 killing spree. It would be tedious and not very fun, especially if you overgear act 1 by a lot.

    • They would have to change the quest design to do that. If you could change acts without exiting the current act, how and where and which part of a quest in the next act are you going to find yourself in? I can’t think of a better solution than what it currently is.

    • People would just go act 1 and get fast 5 nv stacks and then go in later acts/bosses

      • While this would have been a problem before 1.03, it is no longer the case. With the change to drop any iLvL loot in all of inferno, it now comes down to killing speed between the acts, not so much how “easy” it is. Right now, your better off farming act 1 any ways since most people can clear act 1 with out many deaths and pretty quickly. Act 3 + it gets slow, and the increased drop rate of iLvL 63 isnt increased enough to make up for it.

        • It depends. You are 4 times more likely to get a ilvl 63 drop, so as long as you’re not 4 times slower in act 3 then in act 1 – you’re good. Also there’s a lot less <61 ilvl junk dropping so that's a bonus.
          The reason why people will be clearing mostly act 1 is the gear requirement.

    • It’s funny, back when they announced Inferno i assumed that all the acts would be open from the start and you could jump around wherever you wanted, and the difficulty would be the same, negating the issue of getting NV from easier elites… and that ppl would be able to farm where they liked until they got bored of that place and moved to another…

      Nah, that would have made too much sense i guess…

      • That made sense when the inferno level had monsters of even level for all of it which got thrown out the window with internal testing

      • They can make monster stats the same across different acts and areas, but earlier areas will always be ‘easier’ simply by the nature of the monsters. A zombie is much easier to kill than an Oppressor. The only way this wouldn’t be the case is if they significantly changed the zombies abilities, like made it walk faster or some new kind of attack.

  3. Lylirra is so much better than Bashiok.

  4. I thought about how breakable and chest drops were changed to cut off the botters from easy source of gold and good items.
    I think a much better solution would be to booby trap some of them and increase chances of monster spawning.
    Give a player some audial warning and short timer, ramp up damage a little and were there. Bot wont know the difference (and if so it’s written well enough to allow it to run 😉 ).
    In D1 when I heard that “twang” sound I knew I had to MOVE.
    And it would enrich the world and experience. Two birds with one stone.

    • Using traps and spawns to deal with bots will annoy legitimate players just as much, just like receiving no value from breakables now. Just make them unprofitable until the player has full NV. This could have also applied to all the removed resplendent chests and goblins. If bots can manage killing packs for full NV and path finding to all the breakables, then warden needs a serious upgrade.

      Besides that, any warning (such as playing an audio file) may also be monitored by the bot if warden is lacking.

      I don’t think bots were the sole reason for the change (regular players were farming jars in crypts), so I wouldn’t get too hung up on it. Blizzard said that items were way undervalued at one point, which could imply that too many items were entering the economy. Getting rid of these loot fountains for all players goes a long ways towards their goals for the economy.

      I will say that I did enjoy the event with the trapped resplendent chest that sinks into the floor and pops up the summoning spires. However, the interest would wear off if this was overused.

  5. player’s gear is always improving? every single item I’m currently using came from the GAH because every drop for me so far has been less than useless (currently Hell Act2).

    • I’ve gotten 3 chars to level 50 in hardcore

      over 200 hours

      and I’ve only found one item, a pair of gloves, that were of any use at all

      most of the stuff I find isn’t even good enough to put in the AH

      yeah, D2 was also a “game of chance” when it came to item find, but at least I could sell the junk whites for 20k-35k and gamble with the money, or I could find runes and charms that increased my power and ability to stay alive

      I still think making runes droppable items would have been better than the way they have it implemented now, so much more fun to find and to trade, and it would have made the builds more diverse because not everybody would have the same runes
      would it have been a nightmare for the devs to balance? sure
      but it would have made a better game

      eh, too late to hope for that now

      “We should have more details early next week.”

      looking forward to next week

    • As i understand one dev comment about loot quality is that if you jump from 1 item quality to a much greater one using AH, it will result in the feeling in wich you will have to wait a much longer time to get improved items in loot comparing to the one you just adquire by GAH.

      For exmple, lets take a weapon and consider his DPS. Let say you have a weapon dealing 500Dps, then you decide do to GAH and buy a super weappon dealing 1000Dps. After that, looting weapons doing between 500Dps and 1000 dps will be look like garbage for you. GAH just kill the looting experience as i see.

      I dont use GAH, i have around 250H gaming so far, im leveling all chars (1 is lvl60 starting inferno, all others are between lvl35 and lvl55), gearing them up all caracters same time, and i found loot quite cool (moreover since v1.03)

      About Blizzard response, i am pleased to understand that they are really working in polishing the game, and giving us good feed back about it. Wait and see !

      PS: sorry for my poor english 🙄

    • So you used the GAH to buy stuff and get way overgeared, and now you’re surprised that you don’t find anything better. Um… duh?

      I see two possible solutions. 1) Don’t use the GAH to get way overgeared and make the game too easy. 2) If you disregard #1, then don’t complain about easily foreseen results of your GAH purchases.

      • Thank you Flux. Some people fail to see the viscous cycle that they enter into when buying nice gear on the AH.

        I would also like to add… where do people think the items on the AH came from? I tell you where they came from, a lot of hours of grinding NV with the right MF. A lot of people are maxing GF, heading to the AH, and then complaining about getting poor drops…

        Surprised this one tripped up resident expert Solomon.

      • hardly, I waited an entire difficulty to get something worthwhile. 90% of crap that dropped in Act4 were more like Act1 crap and the rest couldn’t be used by my class anyway. Nightmare wasn’t getting any better so I got sick n tired of waiting for something good to drop. the affix pool is seriously lacking anyway.

        PS: if I want your opinion, Flux, I’ll ask for it. don’t hold your breath though, I never will.

        Rybac…Tek, it’s vicious, not viscous. Viscous is what the substance is that comes out of your mouth when you talk :). and fyi I haven’t maxed GF whatsoever, too busy stacking up on Intelligence and Vitality for my Wizard. assumptions assumptions tsk tsk tsk

        if you got too much time on your hands and you wanna spend it grinding something, knock yourself out. NV? that would mean playing with other people…..very tempting, not.

        • Why would NV mean playing with other people?

        • I don’t know what to tell you. I find good drops. I make gold and pad out my paypal acct. Instead of slamming the game design, many of you would be well served working on your item finding strategy.

          We can go back and forth on this all day, but it comes down to the following: you are doing it wrong.

          And if you aren’t interested in getting better (and instead choose to run off to the AH), it’s not my problem.

      • I would very much like to have an estimated equipment per dungeon chart to follow.

        These stats is what we recommend for the most fun experience. I.e. don’t have more than a-b DPS with c-d amounts armor and resist while facing Leoric on hell.

        Yes I know this goes against the spirit of the game, but I would like to know anyway. This isn’t fun because I’m overgeared, or I’m undergeared. Oh, it’s impossible, maybe I suck ’cause I’ve got the right stats on my char?

        It would make the whining more, measured?

      • That’s not the problem at all. I play all 5 classes. 3 of them are level 60 in Act 1 Inferno. In all my play time I have only gotten ONE drop that was worth anything, and IT was a hand-me-down item only useable by one of my lower level characters.

        I want to know where the drops are that will allow me to continue moving forward once Hell Act 2 is reached. Up to Hell Act 2, one can play with their own drops. After that, you are FORCED to buy items from the GAH or remain stuck where you are at, because at this point in the game resistance matters, and if you have been relying on your own drops the whole time, you don’t have any significant resistance to anything as the game hasn’t dropped you anything. This is the problem and it forces you to the GAH. And then, once you have started down this road, the issue of the game not dropping useable items that will allow you to keep moving forward just increased 100 fold.

        Poor game design if you ask me, but probably intentional because Blizzard wants $$$ from item sales.

        • How long did you grind in hell act 1 for gear?

        • “Up to Hell Act 2, one can play with their own drops. After that, you are FORCED to buy items from the GAH or remain stuck where you are at”

          Eh, I got up to inferno act 2 with just self-found gear and I’m playing a barbarian. Perhaps you’ve just been unlucky.

  6. Gamers are such an idiots…’oh make our skill decision meaningful, make it so that if I change skill midgame I get penalized’. Blizz thinks about it, announces NV, players get what they wanted. But oh wait, actually we didn’t want it, we want to swap skills every 5 seconds…’blizz, why u no skill swapping’.

    Almost ashamed to call myself a gamer.

  7. Based on their responses, it seems they have no idea what they are changing and what impact will it have, will it be obvious that increasing repair costs would have a negative impact on everyone who is not dieing ? If you are playing a barb, you know that you always get hit, and always has to be in the middle of action, repair costs are now about 10-20% of my income per town visit, not too much, but not great either ! But the odd part is that somebody who made this decision never thought of this situation ? Really, it never crossed your mind ?

    • Its more important that they only do 1/2 their job now so they still have a job to come back to tomorrow.

    • I could be wrong, but I thought i read somewhere that durability loss was based on your hits, not hits on you. Thus the witchdoctor who never gets hit and the barbarian that takes many hits both have to repair about the same amount based on the hits they output. Correct me if this is wrong though.

  8. they should booby-trap chests and breakables with elites or bombs in a way that instant-kills bots and people with weak magic-find gear. problem solved.

    • insta-kill people with WEAK magic find ?

      so you’re going to REQUIRE people to stack magic find to stay alive ?

      in HARDCORE ? !

      are you big funny ? sarcastic ? or just dumb ?

  9. I just hate the “we want players to…” philosophy when that doesn’t end with “play how they want to play.” For example, if someone gets their kicks farming breakables, why does it bother Blizzard so much?

    • Because of the RMAH?

    • Because Blizzard no longer makes games, they make chores. Can’t tell you how many WoW players I have heard say that it feels like drudgery, almost another part(full)-time job. No reason to believe that D3 won’t continue to head in the same direction. It’s what happens when control freaks design a game: other control freaks think it’s fun, and the rest of us a left with tedium.

    • It’s because the vast majority of players will just do what is optimal, even if it’s not fun. Bizzard’s job is to make the optimal path a fun one. Players are driven to do whatever they’re incentivized to do, and a well-designed game will lay the right incentives on the most fun way to play.

      Saying “we want players to do X” just means they want to give incentives for doing X. You can still do something else if you really love to do it. For example, if truly you love breaking urns and want to do that all day, there’s nothing stopping you. Changing the incentives just means that if you previously smashed destructibles because it was optimal, not because you found it fun, you no longer feel compelled to do that.

  10. Making snobbish remarks about people who use the AH doesn’t help the conversation. Being a purist isn’t a fix when all the loot drops are 5 to 10 levels below your char level. When was the last time you had a sweet loot drop that you had to level up to use? This was an extremely common occurance in d2, and was a great motivator to play “just a little bit longer.” D3 is missing those hooks.

  11. I agree that while leveling from NM through Hell that item drops are very bad, like running inferno without any stacks. Elites and bosses will drop crappy blues. I started off as a WD, which is a fail class unfortunately. Then I used a DH to lulz the game and outfit my other chars, and now I don’t use the DH anymore because she’s so fragile. I don’t want to imagine leveling up a fresh melee char without hand me down gear with some crappy weapon.

    As soon as you get to a1-a2 inf 5 stack elite hunting mode rares rain out like candy from a pinata.

  12. Is there any word on solving the ever-present issues of my monk having to stack 800 resists and acquire 1k+ LoH just to survive a medium-difficulty elite pack as I desperate try to generate enough spirit to heal through transcendence hoping the mitigation from the other 2 staple passives is enough to prevent me from dying repeatedly as I attempt to be a melee character and attempt to be excited about playing Monk?

    Anything on that? That’d be nifty.

    • Agreed. And I’d also like to approach the LoH part too, problem is that we are looking at 6M+ for a mediocre dps weapon… Now I only have to “work on my item finding strategy” because evidently “I’m doing it wrong”.

      • Mediocre DPS weapon – let’s say 800-900DPS, enough to run Act1 Inferno – can now drop in A3 Hell. Any weapon can drop in A1 Inferno. If you want to jump the gap and buy it for 6M+, be my guest, but I already found one and I’m sure I will find a better one sooner or later. That’s what Diablo always was about for me, anyways.

  13. This shit was posted by another writer a while back.

    Is it really that hard to figure that out and not post repeated content?

    Not to mention this is just one giant copy and paste, much like what the other “writer” posted. 🙄

  14. They could always solve the breakables problem by adding delayed booby traps to them. Give a warning cue that a human player could recognize (a sound) but a bot can’t. Make them deadly enough to kill. Or rez all dead monsters in a room. Or something.

    That way farming breakables would have a risk too, thus justifying it as a way for getting loot.

    • If “fixing” bots means making the game stupid for legit players, why bother?

      So extremely small gain, for pretty much nothing.

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