Blue Answers on Vanishing Waypoints, Kill Streaks, Flaming Hammers, and Quest Sharing

Bashiok and several of the not-Bashioks were busy in the forums today, answering numerous questions, most related to the just-concluded open beta weekend. Most of them are pretty simple noob-type questions, but a few of them added some interesting detail.

The Waypoint system returns in Diablo III, but with some key differences. Most notably, there are a lot more than 8 waypoints per act, and long quests have several waypoints along the way, only the first of which is visible when you start a game. This is a feature designed to prevent boss rushing exploits; in D2 terms it would be as if you only got the Travincal waypoint when you started a game, and didn’t see the Durance 2 waypoint until you reached it.

Nothing in the game explains this (though our DiabloWikiWaypoints wiki article does), so new players were understandably confused as to why the waypoints they’d found last game were not visible next game. Bashiok didn’t exactly explain the mechanism, but he did at least offer some consoling game fiction.

One way to think of it is that waypoints are not something your character remembers from game to game, they’re discovered in each game based on your progression through the story. When you choose a previous quest it’s like beginning a new game at that quest. If you want to jump to a later point you need to make or join a game that begins at that point.

Another new system is the one that grants DiabloWikiMassacre and Killing Spree DiabloWikiMighty Blow bonuses. Mighty Blows are multiple kills from a single attack or several attacks blowing up at the same time, while Killing Sprees/Massacres are timer-based; you just have to keep dealing damage (not necessarily killing) constantly, without any pauses, and all your kills during that time will add up.

The system requires some practice to get used to; initially you tend to go in spurts against big packs and get several 10 or 12 kill bonuses. With practice you can learn to pace yourself during the DiabloWikiMatriarch’s Bones or in Leoric’s four pillar skeleton room (the DiabloWikiJar of Souls is much easier, since there are just so many targets), turning them into one long 40 or 50 kill streak. It does take some practice and skill though, and new players have trouble with it.

It needs to last longer or detect you are in combat or something. I am constantly having it go off in the middle of combat while fighting on big group when I am clearly still in combat 😐 Very annoying
The game doesn’t have a concept of ‘in-combat’. The countdown begins from kill to kill, so if it’s falling off and you’re being awarded with a streak then you took too long to kill the next enemy. The bonuses are certainly nice, and fun to see how high you can get them, but they’re fairly minimal and so I wouldn’t stress about feeling like you need to always have a streak running.

Click through for more Blue wisdom on elemental weapon effects and quest leechers in party play.

Elemental effects on weapons are nifty, but not real visually impressive in the beta. Can we expect more later? Yes, actually.

A sword dropped that has lightning on it. The animation was… well passible.

But then a weapon with fire and another weapon with poison dropped. All you see on them are a light red glow and a light green glow.

I know the graphics are not the best.. but come on.. There are games made 10 years ago that have elemental animations on their items. Whats with the horrible lack of Animation?

#2 by Bashiok @ 15:11:00 22-Apr-2012 Original Post
They’re low level items with low level elemental effects on them. It wouldn’t be very awesome when you find a super insane weapon later and the elemental effect looks the same as a level 10 item, would it? 🙂

Nice news there. We were all pulling for gradually-increasing magnitude in the skill effect animations, back when there were skill points and skill rune levels in the game. Those seem to be gone with their features, but at least we can look forward to massive flaming hammers.

One “feature” that’s definitely carrying over from D2 to D3 is the issue of douche-nozzles in public games. The removal of the PK switch and ninja looting plucked the two most powerful arrows from their quiver, but there will always remain some ways to exploit and annoy. There’s no way to have any privacy in D3 since anyone in the game can always warp directly to your location via your banner in town. Moreover, the quest system provides that pop up option to everyone to come and join in, whether they’ve earned their place or not.

I don’t know if they only have that option for the beta or not.. But I found out that you can sit out in town and wait till they reach King Leoric and then you just press accept and you get teleported to fight the boss..

Now the idea is nice that if you are fighting somewhere else and they found the entrance first.. but I can only imagine how people can abuse it by being “afk” in the game and you can’t kick em out.. so you do everything and then you reach the boss and they join in and get the loot

You can see the potential “bot abuse” or 1 main character is playing and 3 other toons wait till boss, join, loot great char, sell in AH.


Today I was playing a game with 3 other people… they stayed in new tristram the whole time.. when i reached King Leroic, they joined in.. talk about a p#%@ off
Probably not too much of an issue. Due to how randomized the item drops are, and our specific design to not make boss kills the most lucrative (without the Nephalem Valor buff) it wouldn’t really make sense to sit in town and wait for a boss kill. Not to mention in later difficulties it’s unlikely the group would be able to make it to the boss without sticking together.

I think it would solve the problem if the banner isn’t freely clickable by any player.. meaning the players playing must press the G button to drop a banner so someone can join them.. that way if they know the guy is just hanging around for quest related or boss related events, one can stop him from joining unless he runs there.

I don’t know if Inferno can be done by 3 players in a 4 player game, but i’m assuming nightmare and maybe hell can be. I guess the best way to find out if it really does matter or not is If Blizzard employees tests it out in higher difficulty and see if mooching can be abused or not.
The game at all times should be encouraging co-operative play. If for some reason it’s not doing that, such as it being lucrative for someone to sit in town and wait, then we need to solve that problem. The correct solution is unlikely to give players specific abilities to dissuade or control griefing. Ideally griefing just shouldn’t be possible in the first place.

I had people doing the exact same thing. They wait until you get to an area they can port to then join. They sit in town and let you do all the work then mooch. I really was hoping for a kick option but I won’t be needing it too much because I have people to play with already. One game I was in a person waited over 30 minutes in town then we got to SK and he teleported in for the boss.
Right now I’m sure there are a lot of people that think boss kills have the best drops because they’ve been trained to think that way from other games. They’ll learn they’re actually missing out on better drop opportunities.

These features are great if you’re playing with friends; no more asking for portals, no more pausing to start a quest since you’re waiting for someone to get there, etc. The the other side of the coin is that you can’t unparty in D3, and since you don’t get any exp or increased drop rewards for playing in an MP game, people in the game who aren’t participating are nothing but weights around your neck.

As Bashoik confirmed (by not mentioning it) there aren’t any tech fixes or changes coming to the party system, so what we see in the game now is what we’ll have upon launch. So the fix is a social engineering work around; choose your companions in adventure carefully, or just resign yourself to being leeched from, sometimes. Happily, you can always leave the game and enjoy D3’s handy quest continuation system when you start a new game at the last checkpoint.

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35 thoughts on “Blue Answers on Vanishing Waypoints, Kill Streaks, Flaming Hammers, and Quest Sharing

  1. “Elemental effects on weapons are nifty, but not real visually impressive in the beta. Can we expect more later? Yes, actually.”
    I hope that the effects are within reason.  There is a shield buff on PoE that can burn out your retinas in a dark room.

    • Don’t play in a dark room!  It’s cool and atmospheric, yes, but it’s wearing those poor cones and rods to the, uh, cone and rod-bones.
      Especially on really bright monitors, like IPS ones tend to be, a dark room can lead to massive overworking of the eyes.  Remember; overworking leads to headaches, headaches lead to anger, and anger leads to cliche movie lines!
      Or just turn the gamma way down.  That works, though looks kinda crappy.

      • Eye strain and fatigue will happen if you stare at a screen for hours no matter what, doing it in the dark just makes it faster. It happens because your eyes constantly adjust to the bright screen and to the dark room back and forth, creating fatigue. The affects of eye strain are not permanent though, so there is no \wearing out\ of the eyes going on and it does not affect your eye sight either. That said, glare on the monitor from lights positioned behind you can cause just as much strain.

      • I actually have the monitor as low as it will go (though the Syncmaster 225aw does not go all that low), and the PoE shield effect still makes me want to squint.  Shouldn’t be a problem, however, if Risingred’s link shows the full level 60 effects.  It may, however, already be too late for my withered and brittle cone and rod bones.

  2. I personally wish I had the option to shut off the “massacre” etc. appearing every 10 seconds.  And more importantly follower voices.

    • An interesting and reasonable request (about the massacre messages; if you don’t like followers, Blizz will tell you to send them to town).  I’m guessing they’d be receptive to requests to include an option to hide them, if there isn’t one already.  Doesn’t really change any game systems, so it’d be a very quick adjustment.

    • this ^^ 

      there are too many “pop-ups”
      You’ve earned a skill ! You’ve leveled up ! Massacre ! 
      It annoyed me greatly when I saw the first stream many months ago, and it annoyed me even more when I finally played the beta  
      and I am definitely playing with the sound off  

      • So true, there are two things that are overdone right now:
        Sound effects are Massive Huge. In my short time with the beta I wound up turning Effects (like bodies exploding) down to 30, with voice at 60 and leaving everything else at 80. 
        Too many popups about kill streaks etc.. it’s distracting and I don’t give a flying s$3t about that feature. Half the time I don’t even know what the popup is saying – I can’t afford to (the action is pretty frantic, not sure if you noticed)!
        Frankly I feel this feature kind of conflicts with the principle that we should choose have flexibility in combat style, not to mention how we pace ourselves in a tactical situation. These bonuses may award certain styles of combat and punish others (such as stopping to heal a wounded teammate).
        I’d hate to think it will take me 3x as long to level because I’m not constantly worried about getting a streak, or that they will drive up the leveling requirements into the stratosphere because a couple players with no life find a way to use streaks to get 15 characters to level 60 within 2 hours of release.
        I think I regret the introduction of “+x to exp gained” items as well (I first saw these in Torchlight). Maybe it’s good that people have additional bonuses to choose between, and it’s an interesting choice, but it’s almost contradictory to the principle that you should be choosing the most effective items to compliment your style and skills. What skills and style does +exp really compliment? … Everything ?? You aren’t actually “Performing” any better with a +exp item. I saw these items in Torchlight over a year ago and I still don’t know how I feel about it..

  3. I’m not entirely sure what players are complaining about regarding porting in only on special events? The loot you get is yours and is not ‘shared’ with other players. You are not doing all the ‘work’ as one of the players mentioned. You are simply going though the game. If players decide to do their own thing or even wait in town that’s their loss, not yours.
    The only really annoying thing I’ve found in multiplayer games is when you’ve been enjoying a game with another player fully exploring each area and someone joins and they just rush through to the final boss. For me that’s pretty annoying but that’s just a pet peave really.

    • The main reason it’s annoying (at least to me) is that for every player in your game, your magic find gets reduced.  If a second player joins your game and sits in town, you’re losing 50% of your magic find while they do nothing.  If a third joins, you lose 66.6% of your magic find, and a fourth costs you 75%.  If all those players are just sitting around twiddling their thumbs while you’re doing the work, they are making monsters harder and costing you items while you get no benefit whatsoever.

      • Yeah; in the actual game, in nightmare/hell, they’re giving the enemies a HUGE HP buff, and just making it much harder for you to get stuff as well. 
        But it’s more than that; if you’re trying to get into the story, and suddenly some punk appears running around, it does totally kill and and all atmospheric immersion.

      • That’s only under the fallacious assumption that the players joining have absolutely 0 MF.  If they are really just leeching they could very well be stacked with MF and actually boost your effective MF.

    • The problem is that the mobs are more difficult to kill with the extra players in the game, yet you dont get increased experience or loot. So if they are not helping to kill, they are actually slowing down your kill rate which results in less loot and experience.

  4. Effectively quests are the new waypoints, and you pick your waypoint before the game starts. The quest you pick determines the in-game waypoints you’ll have access to. Seems like a decent system to me – most of the time people will be starting from a far-along quest anyway, so they’ll have access to most of the waypoints they’ve earned in-game.

  5. Also, it’s a “Mighty Blow” when you kill several enemies with the same attack. “Massacre” is just a type of kill-streak.

  6. had a luck with open beta, and the best item i found during like 10 runs was a drop from a dead adventurer corpse. it dropped a nice rare boots, while rare boots SK dropped were not even close.
    dint miss a single dead corpse since then  😆

  7. Wait wait, do I read this correct: “and since you don’t get any exp or increased drop rewards for playing in an MP game”
    So what’s the point in playing in a MP game then? I was planning on having my brothers and my GF’s character in town so I got INCREASED drop chances and more exp (obviously harder monsters also) just like in D2.

      • I do not know what to say…

        I’ve been up to date with everything in D3 since its revealing. But totally missed this part.

        This is absolutely blergh!

      • Over-all it’s a netloss playing MP for 2 main reasons, not accounting for people being worthless

        You don’t get “helpers” in MP of any form.  (1 person with a helper will kill faster than 4 without)
        You get 20% of the MF your “helper” has.  (You’d have a higher MF limit than would be possible in MP)

        Plus in MP alot of people tend to run in all directions which makes for missed loot/xp as if you’re not within a screen length or 2 of them you get nothing.

  8. Ah… Is it just me or are people forgetting that you have to make a game public in the first place for people to ‘invade it’ and mooch. When playing with friends, I didn’t get any random players joining, so correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think a game with registered friends counts as ‘public’. So a solution would be, play with 3 people you know, or if you don’t have friends in real life, play public games until you find trustworthy (read: non-mooching) players and register them?

  9. I’ll be honest and say that I don’t like questing/leveling with other people, as I prefer to set the pace myself. Having to sit and wait for people when you just want to move on, or being rushed when you want to take your time, is something I can manage without, thank you very much 🙂

    • ^this.  Same reason I hate running/jogging with others in RL – some go faster, some go slower…they never go the same speed as me.

  10. So the whole “forgetting” waypoints thing isn’t just for the beta? WTF? So, if I’m farming Hell, say, and I’m in Act 2 and just for the hell of it I get the urge to jump to Act 1 and farm the Defiled Crypts, I have to go through all that crap first like rescuing Cain and killing Haedrig’s wife? I mean hey, I don’t know the future or the full game and maybe that scenario won’t happen, but I do know in D2 there were areas I liked to hang out or farm more than others, and I don’t want to have to sit through all the content in a quest just to visit them when I feel like it.

    • if you want to farm and have all waypoints, just start the game on the last quest.  Then jump to where you want to go.  I think certain waypoints might still be missing though.  Like ones closest to bosses just so you are forced to do some work to get to them.  Though, with the nephelam valor system, you’ll want to travel around a bit anyway to get to bosses. 

    •  Yeah, the quests need more jump in points if the waypoints stay the same… at least one where you just have to get to the boss and kill it without having to do 1-3 other tasks beforehand…

  11. I actually think the problem of people waiting around to teleport to a boss will be minor once the full game is out for a while. One, in my experience playing the beta, the SK isn’t that great for drops outside of the first character kill. He drops a few blues just like any other elite or rare. Two, if you want to craft, you are going to want to get as many blues as possible, so less of an incentive there. Three, if the nephalem valor buff (or however it’s spelled) works as it’s been explained, then people who are sitting around waiting for 20 minutes for one boss fight will be missing out. 

    • The SK = Bloodraven, no one farmed her either.
       Why do people all seem to think that the SK = Andariel, he’s not an act boss, and you fight him at lvl 8, maybe 9 if you get a lot of kill streaks early and explore everything…

  12. So what’s the point of having multiple waypoints per quest? If you forget the later ones in a new game, and you can re-enter the later areas by town portal (since you would have to go there and find the waypoint anyway). I guess the idea of these waypoints is to help with quests that require back-tracking… I prefer the D2 waypoint system.

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