Bashiok returned to the forums this afternoon with a big bullet point list of arguments in support of the max Clvl 60 issue. There’s nothing *new* in his comments, but his restatements of the same old debate points are fairly lucid. Here’s part of the fan post that drew him in, and the start of his reply.
…I’m concerned for D3 and the direction that it’s seems to be headed. Since they’ve made the level cap much lower and more obtainable, without a significant amount of motivation to continue playing a character past that point, many players will stop playing the game(especially once rerolling alts is boring). It comes down to how much return we’re getting for our efforts, and if we hit max level, we’re losing that portion of the benefit of continuing to play that specific character.
All this being said, good, progressive endgame features can replace the subconcious feeling of needing to “level up”. It’s just a matter of WHAT they decide to do for endgame in D3. Frankly though, I don’t see PvP and collecting items being the answer. I don’t know what sparked the decision to lower the level cap in D3. I would actually be very curious to find out.
Bashiok: Good discussion! It’s an old topic I know but there’s a lot of good points and counter-points being brought up.
So just to reiterate some things and maybe draw it back to more specific bullet points of why a lower level cap is (we believe) better for the game:
# We want each level to feel like a significant boost in power. You can think of the amount of power a character gains through leveling as a bucket of orange soda, and each level as a glass. We have to have an end-point and so we can only scale player power to that point. By having fewer glasses they can be filled more, and each one has more delicious thirst-quenching orange soda. Spread that same bucket out over 99 or 200 glasses, and each level is less satisfying (if not downright unnoticeable).[/blue]
Click through to read the rest.
Moar Bashiok’s reply:# We want level benefits to be as clear as possible. Some people have suggested “Well, let us hit level 60, but then keep giving us points after that.” which isn’t a solution, it’s the same problem except worse because there’s no actual tracking mechanism built in (ie levels). We also want to avoid providing level benefits at irregular intervals (although this may be unavoidable for trait points), as some people suggest “Let us level to 99 and just give us the rewards every few levels”. This goes back to the first point: We want each level to feel like a significant boost in power. Trait points may not come every level, but the sum of the other increases from leveling, we feel, are still very significant and maintain our intent.
# Because of the extreme leveling curve in Diablo II, balance really couldn’t be adjusted around level 99 characters. This meant that the last 15 or so levels were not just minimal increases in power, but in most cases provided absolutely nothing to a characters ability to effectively complete Hell difficulty and get items, which did significantly improve their character. Instead, leveling to 99 became a status symbol more than anything.
# We can have long term status symbols people can go for that are extremely visual, show to others the effort you’ve put in, but not attach that to something like a character level. Along with artisans, achievements, gems, runestones, and all the other various character customization progressions, we still have some surprises left in store on this front.
# Balance isn’t a main point for a tighter level system, but it is one side benefit. With the sum changes and improvements to all of the core designs, we believe that we can have a more reasonably challenging game throughout (as we can fairly clearly know how strong someone should be at any point in time) without attempting to create “challenge” through cheesy tactics.
# The game paces out progression very well through all of the various customization systems, which are far more interesting and important to an end-game character, as opposed to chasing a number.
I’m sure I’m leaving out a good point or two. The real bottom line is that we understand people like having those long term goals, and those feel good to chase and eventually achieve, but we do not feel one needs to be character level, and in fact making character levels a long term goal brings a great many negative effects with them (keeping in mind our goals for how important each level should feel). We do not doubt that people will feel good about chasing the long term goals of building the perfect character, getting a playtime intensive achievement, leveling up an artisan to max, or any of the other many individual long term progression systems the game offers.
Incidentally, I’m solipsistic enough to take credit for this resurgence, since I IM-taunted Bashiok about retiring from D3 to work full time on the sparkledragon game, before posting the earlier “drought” news item. Clearly my jibes bore this bitter fruit!
As for the max Clvl 60 stuff… how about it? I agree with most of their logic, but I think the fact that they won’t just admit they’re going to up the max Clvl in the expansion(s) is silly, since that’s obviously behind their refusal to agree with the, “just let the exp keep increasing without any rewards” arguments. Thus they must use *only* achievements and other things, and can’t allow characters to earn a ton more exp now, just for fun, since that would conflict with the Clvl 70 max cap increase come the first x-pack. Rather than just doing both, which would be easier and more satisfying to both sides of the debate.