Blizzard on Mantra Changes

A fan criticized the inefficient recasting-required method of the Monk’s Auras DiabloWikiMantras, and got an unexpectedly-enlightening reply from Bashiok.

We’re toying around with making mantras more of an active ability currently. Right now it’s just a really short duration buff, which isn’t very cool, as stated. What we think will be cool, is that when hitting the button to cast a mantra you get a super-mega buff (or effect) for a short time, and then the buff would lower to its normal levels after. You can see that design currently on a couple skill descriptions on the site, they’re just not reflected in-game.

Mantra of Conviction.
Recite a Mantra that causes all enemies within 20 yards of you to take 20% additional damage. Lasts 120 seconds. Additional damage is doubled in the first 3 seconds.

Mantra of Healing.
Recite a Mantra that causes you and all allies within 40 yards to gain increased Life regeneration by 106.4 Life per second. Lasts 120 seconds. Life regeneration is doubled in the first 3 seconds.

Keep in mind it’s still all of course in testing.

This gives mantras a more ‘use oriented’ flavor. So while it’s a short duration that’s OK because you want to hit the mantra button more than once every two minutes, it becomes an active skill. So far we think it’s working pretty well. What we don’t want is to have long duration buffs or toggles, because then it may as well be a passive. We want our active skills to be active, and so hopefully this change achieves that.

I added the skill tool tips into Bashiok’s quote there for easier comparison. As you can see, both Mantras give double bonus effect for 3 seconds, have 120 second durations, but just 30 second DiabloWikicooldowns. This means you can recast them any time after 30 seconds, refreshing the full timer for 120 more seconds, and getting that special 3 second double bonus. That’s going to create some interesting strategies, with the 30s cooldown; will you want to cast or recast your Mantras during big boss fights, for a short burst of extra something? Say you’re using DiabloWikiMantra of Healing most of the time, but switching to DiabloWikiMantra of Conviction for the damage boost, every now and then.

Other skills work like this as well in Diablo 3, though not with the double bonus. The Wizard’s DiabloWikiIce Armor, for instance, also has a 120 second duration, but can be recast at any time, resetting the duration. Clearly the point of these changes is to remind players to recast their buffs, even to the point of giving us extra short term bonuses for doing so.

You guys like this approach? Or do you just want to cast your buffs and not have to think about them for a while? Recasting can be a nuisance — in D2 I always enjoyed getting my Barbarian’s Battle Orders up in level since it improved the effect, but also since it granted a longer duration, so I didn’t have to recast the damn thing after every single battle. Of course there wasn’t a special extra bonus for the first few seconds of it, back in them days…

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40 thoughts on “Blizzard on Mantra Changes

  1. Good, I was hoping they would notice the infestation of passives-disguising-as-actives. Take Wizard, give it Familiar, an Armor spell. and Magic Weapon. You are now down to 3 active spells. Trolololol.

  2. Sounds like a big improvement to me.
    I kinda dislike having to refresh buffs all the time, so either do it like this; where the refresh gives you an extra bonus so you end up refreshing it automatically just to gain the short-term buff – or simply make the buff last until canceled (or at least for a very long time, like 30 min).

    First option seems more fun though, and it combats the ‘fire and forget skills’, which might otherwise make buff heavy specs only depend on a few active skills.

    • Yeah i also think this is a great improvement.
      I totally see some future monk casting de heal mantra using only the 3 second boost to switch to the mantra of conviction to get the damage boost right away!

      This gives these skills a whole new meaning. You can choose thous momentums for the boosts and hopefully in the later game these boosts will really make a big diference.

      3 seconds could be a lot of time! Its like the 3 seconds are the main skill and the 120 timer is the lasting eco of the effect!

      • It also promotes a better cooperation between players! Like the monk actives his damage aura, so within 3 sec your party members have to use their most destructive skills to deal mass of damage… sounds pretty good for bosses 🙂

    • Why did they have to get rid of Aura’s I’ve been playing D2 lately, and forgot how wonderful Aura’s were in D2. I surely thought they stated that MOnk would have actual Aura’s these temp buffs annoy me I haven’t played the demo or seen much of monk play through but from what it sounds like there only temp aura’s… Am I wrong? 😯

  3. Personally i would be interested in an entirely different approach to “buffs”, namely one based on the same principle of “Trive on Chaos” (Golden rune in Wrath of the Berserker).
    For every x spirit generated you gain 1 extra second to the duration of the Mantra (up to xxx seconds).
    Then it wouldn’t be just cast and forget, until the timer runs out and you cast it again.

  4. I like my buffs. Why does Blizzard want to take my buffs away? 🙁

    “Passives” like Battle Orders are, in my opinion, some of the best skills you can have in any game for one good reason: you don’t have to worry about them, and as such can concentrate on more important stuff like killing monsters. Having to re-cast buffs takes away from the game and makes the pacing uneven for no good reason. Even the added perk is useless if it’s only going to be 3s long.

    No, keep it the way it is, and even increase the timer on buffs. There is nothing better than playing melee and knowing you’re doing the same thing as always, but more efficiently since you’re all buffed up. Having to re-cast is a frikkin’ useless pain. Don’t do it Blizzard! Don’t make the mistake of adding action for the sake of action; strategic decision-making is not all about being on the move, nor is it always fun to have to constantly be on the move. Some of us like the idea of being buffed up to all hell while while concentrating on one and only one action (which is the only one that counts!), y’know? Makes for more variety in the long run, imo.

    • “Some of us like the idea of being buffed up to all hell while while concentrating on one and only one action (which is the only one that counts!), y’know? Makes for more variety in the long run, imo.”
      You lost me there. Not only does it make little sense that doing the same thing with fewer active skills counts as more variety, but how can you feel “all buffed up” if that’s just your normal status. Feeling all buffed up is for groups, if you forget recasting your buffs so regularly in solo play that you actually feel all buffed up with it, then you’re just bad.

      • You’re doing the same thing, but BETTER. Like, instead of killing 2 monsters per second, you’re killing 5-6/s! My God, the ingnan’ce in here.

        But seriously, the variety comes from the types of buffs and how it affects melee gameplay. For example, the only way to make a viable melee Sorceress in DII was to use Enchant. However, you also had a choice of “armor” spells such as the ice armors and energy shield. You could then either buff up your armor rating or decide letting the mana absorb the damage. (Or have both if you had a ton of +skill gear, though this was outside the purview of mere mortal offline characters)

        That’s the kind of decision-making you might have to do when choosing different buffs. It may not seem like it, but buffs make slight tweaks to how a build plays out. You’re still doing the same thing as ever (melee attacks). However, how you play the build and its viability in different circumstances are not the same. Perhaps not of interest to those who don’t experiment, but it’s something I’ve always liked.

  5. “Clearly the point of these changes is to remind players to recast their buffs, even to the point of giving us extra short term bonuses for doing so.”
    Maybe, I’d say it’s as he said, to make it more active. There’s not much of a point in having a 2 min buff that you can recast well before it runs out, at that point it’s just an inconvenient passive skill.
    Of course, it also serves as an “organic reminder” I would say, as opposed to an artificial reminder, like an alarming UI effect, which is only positive.
    But yeah, let’s see what they change for Ice Armor, hopefully it’s not +100% first 3 secs across the board, they can do better than that.

  6. I’m probably missing the point, but how does adding a short term super buff on top of a normal buff eliminate the need of constantly having to cast the buff? Wouldn’t you still be casting it as much as possible just for the initial super buff?

    • Yeah, you’re missing the point. It ain’t cool. Re-read this from above: “Right now it’s just a really short duration buff, which isn’t very cool”

      I gotta throw this in. It sounds like the standard D3 design philosophy at work. This kind of statement sounds just like Jay’s “it felt really bad” he has repeated so much, which is legitimate, but horrendously vague.

      Back on subject, you are missing the point. Apparently they still want you to buff up all the time, and you will even be casting mantras more. However, you clearly get the point this makes no sense to solve the “isn’t cool” problem. I think its more uncool to have a watered-down active ability (like the double increased HP regen for just 3 seconds; would that even be worth casting?) and a piss-poor passive that lasts a week after that junk wears off.

  7. Why don’t they just turn them into auras?  Have them always be on!  Recasting buffs is boring.

    • JJJ I agree, I thought these were supposed to be Aura’s IMO they suck now because they take up a slot you have to keep clicking on. Oh well nothing will compare to D2 🙁 

      What shocks  me is we are in beta yet a LOT of the character skill systems aren’t even finalized. It seriously makes me wonder HOW MANY people internally were really playing this. I honestly think the F&F was a waste of time. After looking at video’s of people not knowing how diablo even works, yet there testing the systems for functionality and usage?????? IDK it just seems like 2012 should have been stated from the beginning.

  8. Why not just have each class have 6 active skills 3 passives and 1 buff that can be active all the time?  I don’t see how refreshing a buff is ever “fun”. 

  9. I think it’s a cool idea to give it a boost when first casted.  Some of the mantras just seem really powerful, so hopefully they aren’t too over the top once a character is geared.

  10. I’m still just going to recast my mantra before engaging a pack of mobs. Three seconds isn’t worth it to worry about using it during combat.

  11. The question was “do you like this approach”… the answer is “meh”… Auras and armors aren’t passive… the fact that you “cast it and forget it” doesn’t make it a passive.
    I don’t really care about this change, I think, so long as they don’t mess too much with the long duration component..

    • I would prefer the cool-downs on mantras to be lowered a bit so you have the opportunity to try multiple mantra builds.
      Would make it a bit more like paladin aura twisting but with the short term buffs on activation.

  12. Interesting idea, could be fun, though it feels like the short-term boost should be bigger or longer if players are expected to care. Also – what konfeta (1st post) said. I want 6 ACTIVE skills, damnit!

  13. Isn’t this how monk mantras originally were back when they had the old aura spells? Except back then the initial super buff was longer lasting… Personally I think 3 seconds is too short to care about it… maybe if it was like 5-10 seconds… If they do this to the wizard armors, I suspect it will be like the obsidian runed ice armor that does the frost damage around the wizard for a little while after it’s been activated… If they do, then they may have to change that rune out or make it extend the buff or whatever… Maybe activating storm armor could make you have a field of electricty that zaps stuff around you even if it hasn’t hit you and energy armor could be either a brief arcane damage aura or perhaps small waves of force that pulse off you for a short time…

  14. Tbh i wouldve liked toggle skills/ aura. Sure it sounds like passive, but that would mean it is your choice, that would 6 active 3 passive fit ur style better, or 5 active 4 passives. Plus, there are ways Auras and buffs can be different from passives. We had auras that causes dmg to surrounding like holy freeze. We can also have auras that grants life steals etc. But the main thing bout auras and buffs is that it gives your minions/followers and party the benifit, unlike passives.

  15. Maybe I’m just tired, but shouts and mantras seem pretty much the same to me (activate, last some time, recast, repeat?).

  16. The fact that people are complaining that it is too difficult to press a button every 2 minutes makes me want to direct them to play some Starcraft first. Send them back after they realize they are shitty spoiled gamers.

    • that was number 1 reason i didnt play starcraft 1, im too slow. seriously not fun losing every game. After awhile i quit, and went back to spamming Zeal. End up not buying SC2 since i cant see the point. 

      Not everyone feels the same about gaming, you cant just force your ideal, even if it is a majority’s ideal, onto everyone. Whether or not blizzard take into account the minority when they make their game is their choice.

  17. Paladin auras was fun, because they were very different. Each aura was very powerful with just 1 skill point, so paladins had all of them. Switching between auras at the right moment was a key strength of Paladin. With the limited number of skills, I doubt any Monk will have more than 1 mantra available, as well as I doubt any Wizard will have more than 1 armor skill. So renewing the only Mantra is really dull, I agree with developers here.

    On the other hand, the short-term bonuses in the current state are too lame to have any impact on the game. I think in the end developers will stop at having one-time effect at the moment of renewal. Like Frozen Nova at cast of Frozen Armor, etc. This sort of things worked quite well with D2 Fire Golem.

  18. Three second double buff every 30 seconds isn’t long enough? Results vary by mantra, but check out conviction.  I sure as heck won’t mind an extra 20% damage on seven sided strike, lashing tail kick, or wave of light every 30 seconds.

    I wonder if that double damage applies to the ruins which increase the mantra effect too.  E.G., would you get 110% damage for three seconds with overawe, or 150% reflected damage with retaliation?  If so, those three seconds could end up being quite insane.  Even if not, still a very nice boost.

    If they find a significant number of players don’t particularly care about the 2x effect, they could always increase the buffs duration for the “fire and forget” crowd.  Keep the double bonus for those who want to actively manage the mantra, but give it a 5 hour (or however long feels right) duration for those who only want to push the button once.

    • What he mean is it is too short to have a combo on mantras and use all those high buffs at the start. Like casting 3 consecutive and different mantra to deliver 1 extreme attack right after. It does no work with 3 seconds, since if every mantra takes 1 second to cast, by the time u cast the third one, the effect of the 3 seconds on the first one wouldve run out. 

      Is an intriguing idea to combine more than 1 powerful mantra buff, not sure how it will work out tho, since mantra takes up active skill spaces.

  19. just increase from 3sec to 5-6 sec,or to be like downpyramid bonus
    when cast ,first 2 sec bonus +30%dmg ,3and4 sec down to +20%,and last 5,6 to +10%,and maybe after that when bonus expire after 6sec, some instant aoe effect around hero for X holy dmg to all enemies in X yard range,
    theres many options to improve this and make it more cooler xD

  20. Yeah, having to press a button every x period of time doesn’t sound like a very fun mechanic. As a former WoW player, that’s something that annoyed me. Before heading into the next pack of mobs, or starting a new boss, stop and wait for everyone to buff up first. Even if slightly, it slows down the action and it feels like work.

    It’s forcing you to perform the same action time after time after time at the beginning of every fight. That gets old pretty fast. Just remembering to press the button every x seconds is something that may as well be automated – and probably will be on those with capable keyboards. Such skills have little to no strategical thinking involved. Cooldown’s up? Cast it. Done. Rinse, lather, repeat. For myself, it makes me feel like I’m doing a job that a computer should be doing for me.

    Active skills should be skills that are used to deal direct damage to the monsters. Dealing damage directly is fun. Hitting stuff with a giant hammer of glowing awesomesauce is fun. Dealing damage indirectly, by increasing your overall output through a buff, while it contributes to making the player feel more powerful, isn’t a fun combat ability. Hitting stuff, stabbing stuff, shooting stuff. That’s fun. Passively making my arrows hit harder? That’s a tedious annoyance to refresh all the time.

    Once an aura/mantra/whatever is up, it should stay up so the player can focus on dealing direct damage with a variety of exploding arrows, super-mega uppercuts, and laser rays of death.

    But that’s just like my opinion, man.

  21. I dont like it. Just let me activate my Aura (= Mantra) without 120 second length or \30 second until buff cooldown\. Recasting isnt fun. Recasting every 30 seconds for a mini buff isnt fun either.

  22. no what would really be cool is if they brought back the Original game designers for Diablo 2 and let them take over the Job for Diablo3!! those guys know what the diablo series is and what its all about and i garantee that we would be much happier with the end result…what do i know ,just my 2 cents.

  23. We talked about this months and months ago. We talked about it when they claimed they were tweaking Revenge into a pure passive, when they first announced monk auras. Back then, the monk auras were permanent w/ a short burst on key press, like what they want to do now. THEN WHY THE HELL DID YOU SWITCH THAT UP IN THE FIRST PLACE??? Yes, the iterative process is good at polishing and making Blizzard games a cut above. But now we’re going in circles. They have an idea (a good one, too), it gets shelved, then they realize they liked it and brought it back. Whose dumb idea was it to make mantras/armor spells so damn boring in the first place? No more fake passives. No more buttons a water dipping bird could press. Make active skills active, and keep them that way.

  24. “You guys like this approach? Or do you just want to cast your buffs and not have to think about them for a while?”
    The approach is ok, although, as I understand Bashioks description, it is a rather radical drop. A steady decrease in the buffs strength until it runs out would be more to my taste. (Steady, not linear. A large drop at the beginning with a long time short above “minimum strength” sounds ok to me. Like a “strain to uphold” the buff ^^)
    But you’re also asking, what we/I want: I want diversity. I want Buffs like the Auras of the Paladin, which occupy a mousebutton to be “on”.  I want “last chance”-Buffs that are lasting for three to twelve seconds, are in need of certain conditions to be cast, can’t be recast for the next five to twenty minutes and are rather overpowered. I want buffs that cost a large amount of stamina to uphold. And yes, the one or other fire and forget for the next two minutes-buff would be rather nice, too…

    Edit: Not to forget the buffs granted by pets until they’re killed/banned. I rather liked the workout of keeping the oakspirit alive inmidst the battle ^^

  25. In fact there are 2 problems.
    1. Players don’t like monkey work of renewing skill. It’s not difficult, it’s just boring.
    2. Much more important thing is what passives aren’t fun. They are needed to shape character, but shouldn’t replace real actives.
    So after second thought, I believe there shouldn’t be such skills at all. If any skill has duration, it should have much longer cooldown to make use of this skill clever and fun. Something like 10-second effect with 60-second cooldown.
    Also, don’t mess these skills with summons like zombie dogs. Summons don’t have timing end, but instead summoned creatures could die in the most hot moments. And skills like Sacrifice make it even more fun.

  26. I don’t like it.
    What I think would be awesome is to just have it be a variation of D2’s aura’s. That is, if the aura is in on of your 6 skill slots, it acts as a passive skill. So you’d have your aura, then 5 other skills to use.
    In this manner, you could also have more than 1 aura active, if you were willing to have them taking up a skill slot.
    Personally, I think having 2 mantra’s active at once for the price of 2 skill slots would be pretty awesome.

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