Blue on Defense and Combat Changes in D3, Part II


Bashiok returned to yesterday’s thread wherein he shared the new info about how defense and to/hit worked in Diablo III, and added some substantive comments. The first few additional replies were of less value since he was just arguing with someone who seems inexplicably upset that Diablo III has removed the ability to repeatedly swing and miss a point blank target. Never fear, for I’ve quoted those below the break. Up here I’m going to quote Bashiok’s last summation post, since it’s the best part of the continued thread.

So just a couple other things I want to say on the subject out of context of a direct reply to someone.

First off, there seems to be an idea that these things are being ‘dumbed down’, which is of course not the case. No matter what systems we have in the game, as long as there is some reasonable amount of complexity, each and every one of them will be torn apart, put on a spread sheet, and digested by those that want to get mathy about min/maxing the game, and it will lead to being more successful. That’s a given, and we don’t have to design in complex systems that we don’t think feel fun to accomplish it. The majority of the systems that exist are fairly complex once you move beyond the easy-to-use interface, and I fully expect you all to pry up the cover and rip the wires out to make something better.

Secondly this isn’t Diablo II, and I know it’s easy to get caught up in that mindset because for the most part it’s the only reference (WHERE’S THE BETA!?). We don’t have spammable health potions, we think that’s a great change, and we know most of you do too. That means a whole lot things to how damage is dealt and received. Really huge spikey damage does not work in a system where you can’t quickly overcome those spikes by spamming potions. Because of that systems like chance to hit shift to instead offset defense, resists, and damage taken. End of the day it’s the same thing, but the game benefits from the swap from one end to the other. We technically have more stats in Diablo III than Diablo II because of this. More stats is more knobs is more math is more ways to rule through tweaking it.

On the “dumbed down” argument… I’ve made that accusation a fair number of times in my first reaction to various changes. In some of those cases I changed my mind once I got more information. For instance, I’m okay with the fact that there are “just” 7 skills/hotkeys in Diablo III, since that change works with the differences in skill design, the fact that there are many more useful active DiabloWikiskills, the change of passive skills to DiabloWikitraits, etc.

That said, there are some things that have been, admittedly, dumbed down. I’m not going to rant at the dead horse again, but “it confused people” was a major part of Jay Wilson’s argument for dumping the DiabloWikiweapon switch hotkey. No, Jay didn’t literally say, “we’re dumbing down the controls” but his meaning was clear.On the other hand, one man’s “dumbed down” is another’s, “streamlined and improed by removing needless complexity.” So that argument can always continue.

Anyway, click through for all of Bashiok’s added posts on the defense/dumbed down forum thread.

The Full Conversation

The first two posts by Bashiok in the thread were featured in yesterday’s news, and you can see the whole thread on our Blue Tracker site.  Here are all of today’s new additions:

If you built a character and its still having a hard time swinging at a monster in game, there are numerous tutorials that are on the internet.
Bashiok: I think the point is that there is some perceived level of ‘skill’ difference between those that know the systems and work within them, and those that just play the game and are oblivious to them. When instead we’re actually attempting to avoid that ‘I did the math so I win’ type of puzzle solving, and instead place more of the skill difference up front with actual gameplay. There will still be plenty of places for the min/maxers to blow away the casual weekend warriors, though.

Exactly, and then it’s just the 14 year old rich kid with items madly clicking against a 28 year old vet madly clicking because both characters had their stats auto assigned. The person who has played more MAY know how to beat the other person’s build/play style but so long as both people can aim and click it’s a 50.50 toss up.
Bashiok: If it’s 50/50 then both players suck because they’re standing still hammering on each other.

Let’s not devolve to absurdities.

However, the entire point of removing these mechanics is because “some people find it too difficult?”
Bashiok: Absolutely not, it’s because it’s not an interesting mechanic. As if there’s some secret underworld whispering of what % cap you had to hit to ensure you don’t miss? No. It will become a rule, and everyone will know it, and the so called kids you’ll be fighting will be outclassed because you can play your character better, not because you know a number which would be rule #1 in every class guide to ever exist.

remove aspects of Diablo that the majority of the fan base actually enjoyed.
Bashiok: The majority of the fan base enjoyed seeing their Attack Rating number go up? Yeah, I guess so, as much as seeing any number increase. I would argue that no one specifically enjoyed making the AR number go up as compared to other numbers (which still exist).

Woo! A conversation with Bash, I figured I’d have to get a little racy to get some face time haha. Solid points, but what I’m getting at is the potential diversity of characters. I know you all don’t want to have barbarians running around with pink wands, although I personally still don’t mind this. Personally I had an amazon specced all into evade/dodge/etc, and watching someone try to hit me was incredibly funny. Maybe there are a lot of people who liked to watch their AR go up? What does the entire population gain from removing it if it wasn’t such a big deal to others in the first place? If something isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it in my opinion.

People couldn’t figure out how to appropriately put skill points into skills? Sounds like a case of user error and not a broken game mechanic. OR, maybe people LIKED having strange and weird skill trees for purposes other than being good at the game. D2 was great because game completion didn’t have to be the goal of the game, you could simply have fun with making builds/skills/characters that were incredibly unique. Restrictions will help those who have trouble and get easily irritated if they’re not “winning” – and they would rather quit the game and play Halo because their attention span is terrible and aren’t willing to think about what they potentially did wrong. Restrictions will also make the game go by far too fast and material will become boring if it comes down to leveling gems 100 hours into game play because your barb’s stats are similar every time you make a barb. Maybe this is too narrow of an argument?

Bashiok: I think so because we’ve already shown that multiple systems will allow you to manage base character stats in far more interesting and complex ways than clicking the + buttons. I feel we’ve shown that the combat can be deep and engaging to a point that outplaying someone will be outplaying them, making up a crazy build that works, and not because you know Excel functions better.

To me, and maybe I’m off base, is that you’re arguing ‘different is bad’, no matter what. That’s not something I’m going to spend any more time than I have in the past attempting to dissuade.

What I’m more than willing to is have an actual discussion. I really don’t mean to be dismissive of what you’re saying but I think we’ve moved so far beyond the “Wait a minute… this isn’t Diablo 2.5?” type discussions that it’s actually a bit disappointing to have to keep going back. You guys here (and those reading on fansites and their forums) are my hardcore community, and so I have to hold you to a higher standard, and that includes being willing to take a step back, have an open mind, and discuss these things in logical terms.

I don’t feel that removing the need to stack up AR will make the game worse, or shorten the length of time you’ll want to spend playing it, and I’m completely open to hear specific details of why anyone believes this to be the case. Let’s stop with the big picture hypotheticals.

So just a couple other things I want to say on the subject out of context of a direct reply to someone.

First off, there seems to be an idea that these things are being ‘dumbed down’, which is of course not the case. No matter what systems we have in the game, as long as there is some reasonable amount of complexity, each and every one of them will be torn apart, put on a spread sheet, and digested by those that want to get mathy about min/maxing the game, and it will lead to being more successful. That’s a given, and we don’t have to design in complex systems that we don’t think feel fun to accomplish it. The majority of the systems that exist are fairly complex once you move beyond the easy-to-use interface, and I fully expect you all to pry up the cover and rip the wires out to make something better.

Secondly this isn’t Diablo II, and I know it’s easy to get caught up in that mindset because for the most part it’s the only reference (WHERE’S THE BETA!?). We don’t have spammable health potions, we think that’s a great change, and we know most of you do too. That means a whole lot things to how damage is dealt and received. Really huge spikey damage does not work in a system where you can’t quickly overcome those spikes by spamming potions. Because of that systems like chance to hit shift to instead offset defense, resists, and damage taken. End of the day it’s the same thing, but the game benefits from the swap from one end to the other. We technically have more stats in Diablo III than Diablo II because of this. More stats is more knobs is more math is more ways to rule through tweaking it.

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