Blue on “Macro” and Diablo III’s Combat

A couple of weeks ago Bashiok dropped two days worth of some forum talk about a major way Diablo III’s DiabloWikicombat mechanics will vary from Diablo II’s: defense is now treated like a resistance, in that it lowers the damage your character takes, rather than causing melee hits to miss you entirely (or not). By their current plan, 95% of melee hits (with some special exceptions) will land, hence you’ll want good defense to mitigate the damage.

The theory is that damage taken will be a steady flow, rather than a D2 style *whiff whiff whiff OMGDYING whiff whiff No-worries-I leached-it-all-back-in-2-hits* etc.

Last night’s thread brought some more good conversation about this issue, before it devolved into a weird debate over the meaning of the word “macro.” Here’s the info-rich opening; click through for the whole thread quote.

Blizzard is advertising “big hit” attacks monsters may attempt which are slow and deliberate and may strip you of most of your hp, which implies by default most mobs can’t kill you quickly like in D2. it implies they no longer view Diablo as a MACRO game. The concept of “big hit” attacks don’t really make sense in a MACRO game and is a cause for consternation regarding what exactly they are planning.

Bashiok: Yeah kinda, but they’re big hits because we expect players to be able to avoid them. Think of it more as a punishment for not dealing with the fight strategically (or just screwing up) than a mechanic you’ll constantly be at the mercy of.

As I said in another recent post the way health works in Diablo III we can’t really have big spikey damage coming through a ton because you’re not going to have any reliable way to deal with it. You’ll have health globes, which are not guaranteed (but can be guaranteed more often or to heal more with class traits), and then potions on cooldowns. So the game has to shift away from having to compensate for those huge spikes to a more moderate managing of defenses and attacks. Which isn’t to say you’re going to be out their in big bulky armor with tons of defense hitting guys with a stick. You’re still the god king demon killer from the infiniteverse of badassery. It’s just a shift of general balance and how damage comes in to player characters. It should be far more measured and manageable with stats and character building as the reliance on potspam just isn’t there.

And on the topic specifically, the game is very much about macro. We spend a ton of time pining over textures and poly counts to ensure we can throw hundreds of creatures at you without blinking. And we think for the minimal performance impact we design them for, they look real damn good.

That’s with the exception of uniques and bosses, though. Uniques especially change up the recipe in the middle of macro fights. Which is good. You see one and you’re like “WHAT AFFIXES!? NOOOOOOOO” but the rewards for downing one ideally make the extra effort of hacking at them for a bit worthwhile.

Doesn’t sound all that different from D2, to me. When’s the last time any of your high level characters in D2 batted an eye at any number of monsters, unless there was a boss in there with Cursed or Fanaticism or the like? The difference in D3 is that you won’t have a ton of life leech (or any), DiabloWikipotions have a lengthy DiabloWikicool down, and the changes to DiabloWikidefense means you’ll take damage from almost every encounter. Characters will actually *need* DiabloWikihealth orbs in D3, while they’d have been entirely irrelevant in D2 since DiabloWikileech kept us at full health always, except during occasional highly dangerous DiabloWikiboss battles.

This altered combat mechanic has not been especially visible in the Blizzcon demos, since most players were noobs without a clue, or D2 experts who found little difficulty in the low level monsters. The difference in the game’s combat should become more apparent come beta time, when players will have a chance to play for hours and build up their characters, rather than rushing around to make the most of the 15 or 20 minute time allotment.

Here’s the rest of the thread:

So what you’re saying is you’ve turned most unique mobs into the Death Lord pack with cursed, extra fast, extra strong, fanat aura?

Bashiok: Nah, I mean, some uniques are just not going to roll super tough affixes. And some builds are going to be able to deal with certain affixes better, or worse. I also don’t think we’re fooling ourselves, at some point I fully expect people to roll Uniques without batting an eye, but hopefully they stay challenging and keep it mixed up for quite a while.

C’mon, really? Macro refers to managing your economy (income v. production). It’s not even relevant to Diablo, nor does it make sense to compare macro and “trading” to one another.


of, involving, or intended for use with relatively large quantities or on a large scale

Bashiok: Macro is not a word created or owned by StarCraft.

Tagged As: | Categories: Blue Posts, Bosses, Monsters


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  1. In the vid that I saw last year there was a gold cost attached to a ‘once only’ upgrade of the artisan. I’m wondering, does the player need to reach a certain level to be able to level up their artisan? At what point exactly must something occur in order to be able to upgrade the artisan?

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