Blizzard on Item Set Improvements


New item sets for Patch 2.3..

New item sets for Patch 2.3..

The last two days we debated the devs’ philosophy on MP vs. SP experience bonuses and the issue of UI/buff display, based on comments the devs made during this week’s chat.

Moving to another topic that’s (probably) less controversial, here’s a round up of their various comments on item sets. These were mostly crowd pleasing, with promises of more new stuff and rebalances/improvements to under-used sets. The main complaint/request I see about item sets is the issue of six piece sets all being mandatory and not allowing much gear variety.

Most (all?) of the powerful builds in the game require one six piece item set, plus at least one and often 2 or 3 related legendary items. This results in fairly limited gear variety, with only a few paperdoll slots that aren’t basically mandatory for each strong. While it seems fair that the strongest powers only become available when you’ve got multiple items tied up to enable them, lots of players want more variety in gear and don’t want to be tied into 6 or 8 or more items in each build.

This issue was only indirectly addressed in the chat, with Wyatt saying he had some plans for improving 2 and 4 item sets that might make it into the next patch.

Will there be more builds that work without 6pc sets in the future? I’m playing a shenlong monk at the moment and it’s glorious. I really think this is the direction you should take itemization in.
WyattCheng: Right now a lot of priority has been making sure there are multiple 6-piece sets that are fun to play for every class. We’re making great progress on this front not to mention the supporting legendaries and Kanai’s cube allow for a fair amount of build variation and player creativity.

That said, I am working on a little something something for those who don’t like six-piece sets for 2.4

No promises yet. Things VERY OFTEN get cut during development or internal testing.

If anyone in the chat asked about making powerful builds that didn’t require six-piece sets, the question didn’t get a reply. And really, it would have been a wasted question, since it’s pretty clear the devs like the itemization direction we’re heading in, where every top build is enabled by some six-piece set, with another legendary item or three supplementing the play style.

Click through for more chat replies about item sets, including promises of buffs to everything, plus John Yang’s sneak peek of that crazy-sounding melee Demon Hunter Shadow Power set coming next patch. The only fly in the ointment… the issue of where you’ll store all those cool new and improved item sets, without added stash space.

With so many newer and stronger class sets, some of the old class sets (e.g. Firebird’s Finery, Jade Harvester) became extremely weak. Are there any plans to rework these sets in the near future? (possible 2.4?) I really like Firebird Wizard, but it is just so underwhelming right now.
Stash space: Day two of the season

Stash space: Day two of the season

JohnYang: Yes, 100%, absolutely. Internally, we have already updated, revamped, or redesigned completely many of the 6pc sets that are currently not seeing use. The ones that are already done include Shadow’s Mantle, Might of the Earth, Jade Harvester, Firebird’s, Akkhan’s, Invoker’s, and Marauder’s. Sunwuko and Inna’s is being worked on. The goal is to bring all of these sets up to the power level of the current top 2.3 sets/builds.

You all will see these updates in the near future in patch 2.4.

Now that each class has a couple of decent sets, can we get a small balance pass on them to even them out? I love the playstyle of full 6pc Delsere and Marauders, but I feel like I’m gimping my friends by using them and it’s frustrating.
TravisDay: Set and legendary item tuning continues to be an ongoing effort. Each patch we help bring more playstyles closer in line with each other and this will continue to be our goal moving forward.

Any chance for a “close-quarters” DH build? They have plenty of knife based skills.
KevinMartens: That would be awesome! Geez, John Yang, why don’t you do something about that?

JohnYang: Done! The Shadow’s Mantle set is the redesign that I’m the most excited about for 2.4 so far. The idea of a melee-weapon oriented build that doesn’t involve bows/xbows has always been in the back of my mind. Here’s what it currently looks like:

  • 2pc While equipped with a melee weapon, all damage is increased by 1000%.
  • 4pc Shadow Power gains all runes and lasts forever.
  • 6pc Impale deals 30000% weapon damage to the first enemy it hits.
  • The idea is that the set is extremely strong on single-target damage, but weak on AoE. To help with that, a new dagger will have the power “Every second, the damage of your next Fan of Knives is increased by 250-300%.” To help with movement, a pair of bracers has the power “After using Impale, Vault costs no resource for 2 seconds.” That item will allow you to Vault into position to Impale the high-value targets.

    Additionally, we’re also allowing Demon Hunters to use melee weapons with quivers because the fantasy of this quick-moving assassin build is about speed, not walking around with a shield 😉

    Currently there are a few classes that can mix sets getting 6 pieces of 1 and 4 pieces of another, is this something you want to see more of or is it something that you’d rather not happen more often?
    JohnYang: We gave the 5 legacy class sets a 7th piece because they all included a weapon, which is a very powerful item slot as far as legendary powers go.

    We didn’t feel that adding a 7th piece was needed for the other 6pc sets.

    Are there any plans on changes/additions to the Weight of the Earth set?
    KevinMartens: Yes and John Yang posted a longer answer on a similar set question to list out all of the set being worked on. Thanks! – See more at:

    D2's massive storage space.

    D2’s massive storage space.

    Well, pretty good news if you like item sets and want more of them. How about it? Are you guys eager to see more of the existing sets buffed to give more top end gear choices? Do you like the style of items in D3 now, where it’s all about six piece sets? Or would you like to see more mixing and matching of different gear options and variety between characters? (Or is that even possible, and we’ll always see cookie cutter builds with everyone ultimately using whatever gear provides that .1% better performance?)

    The other item set issue not addressed is finding them, and storing them. It’s not an issue for players who powered to P500 the first weekend, but more casual players report issues assembling whole sets, now that there are so many of them for each class. The DiabloWikiSkull of Nilfur cube recipe definitely helps with that, but compared to 2 or 3 patches ago where most classes had just 1 or 2 sets worth collecting, there’s a lot more green dropping now, and early seson gearing up it’s very easy to find yourself with 4/4/5 of the 6 or 7 items in the three sets for your class, and no luck finding the last one or farming a RoRG.

    The related issue, and the biggest thing not addressed in the chat, is stash space. The devs have made a lot of mentions about how the DiabloWikiArchive of Tal Rasha can save some stash space by converting spare legendary items into Cube powers. And that’s true, but the cube does nothing to save space when it comes to item sets, and with each patch adding all new sets and/or making old ones worth saving, the stash space crunch grows every crunchier.

    There were plenty of stash space questions offered in the chat and none were answered with anything more than “we’re working on it.” (Good try, Dave…)

    Whenever the stash space issue comes up comments get vitriolic, but I guess it’s inevitable. So how about it? Do you guys feel stash space is so limited that it takes away some of the joy of new set items, just since there’s just nowhere to store them all?

    Comments

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    1. MOAR stash size pls!!! (lol @ the pics…)Btw, I really wish there were more items that favor specific skills. Right now, a big number of skills is obviously "second class", to say the least. A good legendary or set could help increase the diversity of each class. This should be top priority on their list, so more builds become worthy.

    2. Last season I decided to play only one character. I had one stash tab for sets, one for Legendary weapons and quivers, one for legendary armour, one for jewelry and one for mats, keys, gems and LGems. That's it. I am a certified pack rat and I was being ruthless – only one copy of each item, no hold-overs for different classes… I still run out of space in the middle of the season. Now when there is a reason to keep extra pieces of diffrent sets I will run out even faster. It's no fun to be forced to limit oneself that way but, hey – that's life.

    3. Stash space is silly. At the end of season one I remember vendoring 15k deaths breath because I needed the space. Imagine how fun it is to be farming them now. Now that the game is in a great state, the excuses and inaction on interface/ UI are wearing thin.

    4. I've already complained numerous times here and on diablo3.com that set design the way they've done is a huge mistake.  We are supposed to have "billions" of builds!   I'd settle for a dozen possible builds per class.  But as it is now….IF you want to push high GR and max torment, you are forced to use sets.  That is the dumbest design decision they've made.   Sure the sets are fun, but it's so insanely limiting.   And if they want to push a new build, they have to invent a new set.   Set's should be theme based around different ideas..Like + elemental dmg or +dmg per X feet from target, or +primary dmg, or make class special moves last longer.  And they should get their bonuses at 2/3/4.   The build variety would shoot thru the roof because a set could effect multiple skills and you could more easily try to take advantage of multiple sets.   Then they could focus on legendaries so that sets were completely optional.  The helltooth set is a little bit better in that at least it's effects do target multiple skills.  Makes it one of the more flexible sets in the game.

      • They never said billions of viable endgame builds. You can run normal with whatever build you want and be successful. Herp derp.

        • You cannot say flat out that they never said that. what is the point of putting all the effort to make all these builds, if they do not make it past normal difficulty? It is obvious that they were supposed to be playable throughout the whole game, or at least till well into the torment levels.

          • they could remove all set items from the game and someone would make a build using very specific legendary items that were all "must haves for the build". nothing would change, people who climb the ladder will always find the most efficient use of gear available to them.

      • Agree. They somehow have to make more builds interesting. Since there is a clear effort to present all skills as equal/interesting/possible choices, they should really make them like that. Right now too many skills simply not worth it.

    5. I expect absolutely nothing to come from the "alternative to item set" comment. But I think the bigger issue here is the developers painting themselves slowly into a corner as time goes by. The earliest successful sets like Firebird's and Akkhan's were generic but enabling of many playstyles, more or less. Now we have sets that buff certain skills by 1000% or more because they're designed to let people play in one specific targetted area of the game. This is locking in a treadmill where the "good" sets must be buffed a certain amount each time just to keep power creep running. I like that Arachyr's tried to be flexible, but it still needs work yet and ideally every set would be something like that with extra pieces like manajuma's around to customize it further.

    6. Seeing their options regarding further item consolidation are dwindling (slot for cubing set-bonuses?), I'm guessing they will – eventually – switch 4 tabs of the stash back to character-specific and keep only the fifth one account/mode-wide. Introducing space for cash would seem very awkward at this point and simply adding another row of shared tabs neither sounds like Blizzard nor would it solve anything.

    7. I have been waiting since patch 2.0 ( pre ROS) for any specific gear that was melee oriented for the DH. Specifically Fan of Knives, my favorite skill the DH has. I never really stopped playing the melee side of the DH since vanilla launch, up to now its been completely ignored, which is kinda strange. Someone saw fit to give the DH fairly strong melee abilities and I am just using what the devs gave me, even if it severely curtails my progression compared to other cookie cutter DH's, I don't care, it's how I like playing.I have a specific build that will benefit greatly from the new weapon and set so it's great news for me, but I agree with the first poster, there really needs to be more gear in general for more choices in builds to really take shape.There should be at least three items for Fan of Knives, at least in my mind.Then the bigger issue comes into play, what we actually are doing in the game. Until there are more things to do that are worthwhile besides rifts, there really does not have to be such a diverse item base, at least from a dev perspective.

      • Reminded me of my persistence on Chargadin in D2. Fantastic build, obviously underestimated, but I persisted on playing it just because that was how I enjoyed playing the paladin. It made progress slower but couldn't resist!

    8. Hey Flux, I hope I wasn't the one that made you talk about kittens on the podcast! Did you know it makes four different "meow" sounds when you throw it in your stash? I now have it in ancient too and I find it to be meowvelous! No reason to talk about mojos anymore for me!

    9. "More stash space" isn't the answer simply put, we need a permanent solution to this problem as they keep adding new and more sets. We need specialized tabs specifically designed only for your character's sets or something.

      • That's what I was thinking the other day. If you manage to find all items in a set, you can cube them into a single "token" or some other thing that lets you equip all set items at once, and it either takes up no space, or takes up a single square. Then, if you find ancient upgrades to parts and pieces, you stick it and the token in the cube and replace the old piece w/ the new piece. Of course there are a few other things they need to do; fix the old sets and make them all standard (no rings, amulets, off hand, weapons, etc), they should retire the Royal Ring by now, and finish fixing Raekor, Shadow, and other odd pieced sets. The other options are fixing obvious overlaps; nobody is going to go full Vyr's w/o Cubing the Swami, not wearing the new chain, no Zuni doctor is not going to use Carnevil/Jeram, etc. They need to consolidate some of these powers, and save the individual leg powers for more weird, no set boosting stuff.

        • what is the problem with Raekor's?Fully agree on the idea of the shrink of a completed set.

        • Yes. Let all legendary powers be carried by the cube and items just stat sticks. Convert +Int/Str/Dex into + mainstat and others into + all stats. Convert +skill into legendary powers or replace them by +skill tab (class independent). Change +elemental skill so that they boost one chosen element (in the cube UI for instance).Then we don't need stash at all.

    10. The idea of character specific tabs has its own drawbacks. Switching between your M6, Nats and UE DH just to find which one has your ancient lightning reapers wraps sound like fun to you? (Bummer, not there, must be on a monk)

    11. I had the idea some time ago in my head that it be nice if once you found an item, the blacksmith could then make that item.   Unless it was a great roll, you could turn it in to the blacksmith and always remake it some other time.   Then the only thing you'd truly want to save would be really great rolls on gear.  Over time I'm sure the stash would add up but beginning of season would certainly be better.

    12. I think you've already touched on my concerns in the article – if you keep increasing the pool of items (legendary or set doesn't really matter) then the chances of getting the one(s) you want become incrementally smaller. Add in the fact that a lot of these builds are taking more and more "required" legendary items to help buff up the set bonuses and that's making it really difficult for the vast majority of the player base (i.e. sub T6) to get anything coherent put together. Space is always good – I'm all for two stashes, the one we've got now and a smaller one for just that character to use (so if I'm only running one DH I can stick all her sets in her stash and share my generic +Dex legendaries in the main stash.

    13. HEY NOT TO FORGET: D2 had a tab where you could switch weapons on the fly @ d2 stash space pic.

    14. I think Blizzard has to keep adding or reworking sets to keep people playing (or more accurately, keep them coming back for new seasons) though I don’t currently feel they have a strong incentive as they don’t make much money on the game. I expect they’ll be introducing microtransactions at some point though…

      What I’d like to see is what a lot of other people are asking for: build variety. Currently the sets are so powerful and tend to not overlap. This means that you either play A or B, and if you play A, all your items should fit A. What’s much more interesting is something like witch doctor and barb items where you could theoretically mix 2 sets with RORG getting either 6/2 or 4/4 bonuses. Something like IK + Wastes or Helltooth + something.

      This has a big impact because when you aren’t wearing 6/6, the item slot matters, and now you’re choosing between non-set legendaries and bonuses. When you’re only using a single set, you simply pick the best legendaries to go with it and you’re done.

      I’d also like to see a viable build with no sets. We need more non-set legendaries for that to be possible, and I still don’t think that would work because of the insane power creep that’s come with the newest round of set bonuses. Even a very powerful effect like monk weapons that double the damage of a single skill are a drop in the bucket compared to set bonuses. Each class having 3 sets to choose from is nice, it’s kinda like having 18 classes instead of 6, but it’s really shallow customization. What makes the game interesting is tweaking a build rather than simply completing it.

    15. I think Blizzard has to keep adding or reworking sets to keep people playing (or more accurately, keep them coming back for new seasons) though I don’t currently feel they have a strong incentive as they don’t make much money on the game. I expect they’ll be introducing microtransactions at some point though…

      What I’d like to see is what a lot of other people are asking for: build variety. Currently the sets are so powerful and tend to not overlap. This means that you either play A or B, and if you play A, all your items should fit A. What’s much more interesting is something like witch doctor and barb items where you could theoretically mix 2 sets with RORG getting either 6/2 or 4/4 bonuses. Something like IK + Wastes or Helltooth + something.

      This has a big impact because when you aren’t wearing 6/6, the item slot matters, and now you’re choosing between non-set legendaries and bonuses. When you’re only using a single set, you simply pick the best legendaries to go with it and you’re done.

      I’d also like to see a viable build with no sets. We need more non-set legendaries for that to be possible, and I still don’t think that would work because of the insane power creep that’s come with the newest round of set bonuses. Even a very powerful effect like monk weapons that double the damage of a single skill are a drop in the bucket compared to set bonuses. Each class having 3 sets to choose from is nice, it’s kinda like having 18 classes instead of 6, but it’s really shallow customization. What makes the game interesting is tweaking a build rather than simply completing one.

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