The long-standing rule of thumb estimate of character level progression by difficulty level has been 30/50/60. That’s what Blizzard said in the past, but it was just an estimate and a rough design goal. What are players actually experiencing in play testing? Kaivax shared his own experience in a short post today.

    In my actual experience (admittedly, with a full build that reflects where the game was in difficulty a month ago), I had to push my demon hunter up to level 32 to get out of Normal, and up to 55 to get out of Nightmare.

    The oft-stated design theory of DiabloWikiInferno is that players will need to linger in Hell for a while to build up the high quality gear necessary to survive the end game. Replaying Hell isn’t meant for D2-style level grinding, but many of us figured we’d finish Hell at level 58 or something, then gain some levels while item hunting. Apparently not, at least not on our early, non-twinked, non-rushed chars.

    Another blue commented on DiabloWikiPvP, which we’ve been told will not be enabled upon launch, but will be added in at some later date. Most everyone who played the Arena demo at the last two Blizzcons loved it and can’t see any reason the devs don’t enable something much like the 2011 deathmatch demo, in the full game upon launch. As Blizzard hasn’t given any official explanation for the delay beyond a generic “more polishing,” there are two main fan theories:

    1) Blizzard saw how much fans loved playing the Arena, realized the potential of the system, and they now want to launch it in a more balanced and polished form that they’ll gradually transition to an DiabloWikiE-Sport.

    2) Blizzard doesn’t think D3’s PvP is noob-friendly or DiabloWikiaccessible enough and wants to put in more “gold star just for trying” WoW-style DiabloWikiachievements.

    Neither theory gets any support from Zarhym’s nonspecific comments today, which could have been presented 6, 12, or 18 months ago without a single word being changed.

    We want PvP to be incredibly challenging and fun, but we want to avoid turning it into a truly competitive leagues/ladders eSport. We just don’t think Diablo gameplay is very conducive for that type of controlled environment where balance is paramount.

    That said, we want to develop PvP as an engaging and rewarding system. What we don’t want to do is take a traditional eSports approach to PvP, where balance will become so important to a competitive ranking system that solo and cooperative gameplay feel a bit neutered as a result.

    We want your characters to feel totally imba. Then we want you to enter some Arenas, send the scorched remains of other players’ corpses flying, and let the satisfaction wash over you — until your opponents take similar care of your hero, that is. 😉

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