Blue on Never Rerolling Characters

Blue reply today about the character rerolling issue. Surprisingly, the OP’s simple comment has been downvoted so thoroughly that it has to be clicked to expand, a fact that surely made DiabloWikiBashiok‘s eyes light up as he swooped down to defend Blizzard’s (current?) policy on this issue.

The new Diablo 3 skill tree is going to kill the replay value of Diablo 3. Right now when I go to play the beta all of my chars are max level and I have no reason to make a new char. In Diablo 2 I could make like 4 necromancers each using something different. In Diablo 3 my one character is every type of Wizard or Monk. Hopefully this skill tree is changed to something where the game will actually have replay value.
Bashiok: Wow, people really don’t like the OPs post. Well, if we’re killing replay value by not making people have to level completely new characters just to try out a new build, we are ok with that.

Leveling characters is cool, and some people legitimately enjoy that process, and we agree it can be fun and would still like to find ways to reward people who enjoy leveling additional characters, but being required to get through it just to try out some different skills is no longer acceptable to us. That’s a level of masochism we just don’t care to revisit. We thank the 90’s for their contributions to game design, and the ‘crush the player’s soul’ dungeon master mentality, but we’re moving on. We have this crazy notion that games shouldn’t punish you for trying to enjoy them.

Fact of the matter is though that the longevity in Diablo II was not made by leveling characters. You can get a character to 80 in a matter of hours. The longevity was from experimentation, customization, and the randomized item drops needed to perfect them. And that’s amazingly even considering that a huge portion of the item hunt was completely ruined due to the mass proliferation of what should be insanely rare items. Longevity in Diablo is from exploration, character customization, and more specifically, killing monsters to see what they drop – not leveling.

It’s interesting to see this so soon before the big DiabloWikiskill/DiabloWikirunestone system revision, since many of us are expecting changes to return some character customization to the game. With the removal of custom DiabloWikiattributes, the DiabloWikifreespecs skill system, the removal of the DiabloWikitalisman, etc, the feeling amongst many players is that characters of the same class in D3 have no individuality or identity, and that they’re all identical aside from their gear (which itself is quite similar). That’s not exactly the same thing as the OP’s plea for a lessening of the freespec system, but it’s certainly along the same lines.

We’ll see soon enough if the new skill/runestone system can return some ability to customize characters. I’m hoping it will, with something along the lines of Azzure’s hypothesis.

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56 thoughts on “Blue on Never Rerolling Characters

  1. I think anything that adds a level of permanency to a character will be a benefit for the game long term. 

    • It’s possible item combos will add a layer of permanency especially if they make +skill items only give +to a specific skill tree. People could make, say… one DH with 2H bows and offensive skills, and another with shield/1h missile weapons and defensive/mobility skills…….. or they could just switch around items as they switch around builds so maybe I’m not making sense? But some people like to compartmentalize/specialise these things more than others so who knows….

  2. That was (to me) a shockingly coherent reply by Bashiok 😉 Rly sums up what added to the longevity of D2. Well to me that is. I realize everyone got their own specific definitions of what made D2 great and what D3 should be all about.

    Never was a big fan of having to lvl up yet another char. It was not what made D2 great.

    • Yea, this was an amazing post from Bashiok and he really hit the nail on the head. People frequently complain about not having to re-roll characters, and simply put, it took a few hours at most to hit level 80 in D2. This was thanks to the Glitch Rushing and Insanely quick xp from specific runs.
      Thankfully, we will not be seeing characters hit 60 in the matter of 2 – 3 short hours in Diablo 3. Ultimately what kept me playing Diablo 2 was to experiment new builds ofc, but the majority of my *time* was spent finding items for said builds. There is a lot more replayability then people take into consideration for the simple fact that leveling characters isn’t super fast like it was in D2. 😉

  3. “The longevity was from experimentation, customization” Yea, and now you can experiment in the matter of seconds and once you find out it sucks you can go back to whatever cookie-cutter build everyone else is using. Not locking skills was a terrible idea. You can’t say it’s a thing of the 90’s hell even SWTOR makes you lock your skill points.

    • I wouldn’t mind if they added a simple mechanism to the game, that required a certain amount of gold whenever you wanted to respec your char 😉 i’d actually love that personally.

      The gold amount needed could increase exponentially for every time you felt the need to reroll. pretty sure they have or atleast had a similar system in wow. A fair system if you ask me (even though it might be from wow) 😉

    • Yea, and now you can experiment in the matter of seconds and once you find out it sucks you can go back to whatever cookie-cutter build everyone else is using.

      The converse is that now you can play more builds in the same allotted game time instead of burning it on rerolls you never wanted in the first place. In my book, more variety within same time investment is a win. Unless you want to claim that most players will actually end up playing every possible build…

    • You do realise that you have it backwards, right? In D2 everybody with any experience in the game went online and copy/pasted finished build from the internet. 100% of Hell-viable builds were cookie-cutter. 

      As opposed to that, D3 definatly won´t have any, or at least minimal amount of cookie-cutterness (Is that a real word?) because all spells are viable in end-game. 

      • Eh, I don’t really agree.  In my time in D2 I made plenty of unique builds that made it through hell without cookie cutting them from some online guide.  I picked skills that were fun and made them work.  Not everything needed to be copy and paste.  Sure some builds were better/worse than others but once you had a good deal of experience with the game you could make anything work if you wanted a challenge.

  4. In Guild Wars you can respec your character all you want, and I’ve been playing my necro there for over 5 years, so I really don’t mind it. Totally agree with Bashiok, the leveling is just tiresome, the game starts around lvl 60 ffs, unless you play hardcore, now that’s another story.

  5. Bashiok cleverly sidestepped the underlying principle behind leveling: build commitment. Leveling was a means; making a custom build was the end to the means, and no Diablo fan can deny that it is a lot of fun to create builds, understand them, exploit their strengths and work around their weaknesses as you progress through the game.

    Leveling up has always been the chore you do to make your build imo. D3 presently has made it even more of a chore, something that seems tiresome and bland, because all other games now SHINY-fy a level-up with a skill point and a stat point.

    • But the problem with D2´s builds was that, despite there being a ridiculous number of possible builds, there were so very few builds with which you could go beyond normal, because you inevitable hit a brick wall that the devs set. Either single/duble/triple immunites, terrible scaling of vast majority of spells, etc, meant that I really couldn´t experiment with builds and play in Hell. I could experiment with builds but remain stuck in Normal, or I could copy paste build and play in Hell.

      • The only way you could hit a brick was to to break the common sense rule of diversifying your skill set.  As long as you didn’t stack one element you could get through hell regardless of your build.  Some were just far more challenging than others.

        • My sorc stacked oh well  only lightning ele.. could kill baal hell in a few hits… just boring! only took a week to make, no money, no friends. Thats not fun thats just noobish hehe

          A noobish cookiecutter build rly! but most used it PVE wise… ruined the game

    • Yeah pretty sure i’ll be forced to do some serious re-lvling in hardcore while screaming bloody murder towards the screen!
      Gonna love it nonetheless ofc. But im hardcore at heart anyway.

  6. While playing Diablo II, who thought it was fun to find out on a very high level ‘I chose the wrong stats, gotta reroll!’. Some did, and some did not. Yeah the process of leveling that perfect character may be fun. But once you have that perfect character you are the same as a diablo III level 60 Wizard. (with the exception that in Diablo II you had different skill trees, so you could make 3 perfect Barbarians with a different skill set)

    Do you know why leveling a new character was fun? Because the end game sucked so much, just trying to farm the same boss all over again starts to become repetetive pretty quickly.

    With Diablo III the end game will become much more challenging and fun! The leveling process can be a fun thing to do, so they should at least introduce ladders or something similar.


    • “With Diablo III the end game will become much more challenging and fun! The leveling process can be a fun thing to do, so they should at least introduce ladders or something similar.”

      Yeah why no ladder is beyond me ;-( Hardcore ladder Ftw! 

      • I’ll miss the ladders, but in the non-grinding max level style of D3, there’s no point to them. The SC ladder would be solid 60s in a week, and HC won’t be far behind, since the real difficulty comes in Inferno, and you are supposed to max out your chars before you even get there.

        The thing I think we’ll miss is some kind of real PvP ladder. That’s out for the same reason they have all the small leagues and crap in SC2; since it’s intimidating to noobs to see an actual win/loss record and overall standing. So in D3 we’ll get some kind of hidden player ranking, but everyone goes up in overall rank with more games played, even if you lose. I’d much rather see actual win/loss scores, kills vs. killed stats, regularly team and solo tournaments, etc. Maybe come expansion, Bliz will acknowledge the popularity of the Arena with more appropriate features supporting it.


        •  I’d much rather see actual win/loss scores, kills vs. killed stats, regularly team and solo tournaments, etc. Maybe come expansion, Bliz will acknowledge the popularity of the Arena with more appropriate features supporting it.

          Well i truly hope so. While I have no objection that the interest of noobs/casuals (always hated the word noob!) are being tended too. I’m a firm believer that hardcore/pro/non-beginner players should also be able to enjoy their favorite franchise equally. I like your ideas flux. hopefully some of them will be realised 🙂  

        • Actually, the reason for the lack of ladder of any kind in D3 is simply imbalance, and possible OP-ness or UP-ness of characters. PvP ladder is a ranking board, meant to represent your skill through position, higher skill = higher place. Thats all fine and dandy in a game with tightly regulated PvP enviroment, butt (immaturity FTW) in a game like Diablo 3 is impossible.

          When you are calculating your ladder score, the only variable there should be your skill level. Your gear, class and skills should all be a constants, or in another words, a non-factor in determening your rank, where the only factor is your skill.

          WoW (I know I am not supposed to say the W-word) solves this by having standardised PvP gear, and constant (unsucessful) buffing/nerfing of spells. However, overall, WoW does a pretty good job of it.

          On the other hand, Diablo is exact opposite of that. In D3 skills are largely balanced more less enough to appear in PvP and Diablo has the added benefit of seperating skills in PvP and PvM seperatly. However, gear is a huge and insurmountable factor in PvP balance. Crazy levels of gear variety brought by Diablo´s signature randomization almost guarantee imbalance. Addin divisions would remedy this problem to a degree, however, besides all the usual probles divisions cause (like, ironically, imbalance) Diablo gear unlike WoW gear isn´t so easily placed into categories. While WoW can have PvP legues based on Ilvl, in Diablo Item level only tells us that there are billions of mods combinations and values from hundreds of affixes that can spawn on that item.

          • Yes, those are the reasons Blizzard has cited. Some of them are even valid. But that’s all beside the point, since serious PvP players want rankings and ladders and tournaments. Everyone wanted them in D2, where the char builds were just as unbalanced, and people enjoyed dueling all the same.

            Everyone knows the chars will be unbalanced in D3, but I don’t see Kindergarten style “everyone gets a gold star just for playing!” style hidden player rankings as the solution.  I’d much rather see my record, see other player’s records, and decide how much of a curve to grade on. It would be hugely informative, for one thing. If there are some Wizards with great records, and yours sucks, you know you’re doing it wrong. Equipment, skills, strategy, etc. Motivation to improve and to find the better technique. If all Monks have low ranks but yours is a bit higher, then you feel good about your success rate, even if all the Barbs are owning you, etc.

            The lack of transparency and info from bliz on this issue seems designed to try to hide the real issues of PvP, and to keep them from feeling pressure to balance features. I suppose some SC2 players like the lack of proper ranks and stats and such in that game, but most I’ve heard comment on it dislike the secret system.

          • I was thinking about that gear problem in PvP… why don’t they just do what GW2 is doing – have a second PVP mode where you either fight butt nekkid of they give each class a set of pre-determined, pre-balanced items (and some randomly generated runes everyone gets just to throw people’s game off). If they only allowed a single class to participate in every match in this mode it would be even more balanced…

            Edit: And yes they seriously need a good ranking system… I get the impression PVP is seen as kind of fun but not very serious mini-game by the devs

          • @Flux:  I agree with you.  To some extent at least, I would like to see some sort of ranking.  However, I can also understand Blizzard’s decision to not include them.  If my Wizard score is 5-20, and that Wizard I just got stomped by is 20-5, I will probably ask him about his skill build, and copy/paste it.  It could potentially lead to cookie-cutter builds, which I think Blizzard wants to avoid, which is a very good thing.  I could be wrong here though, just my two cents.

          • I actually am for having a ton of data for your characters, who you fought with, who you used most, how many wins/losses, how many deaths/kills, etc, that would be awesome to have, regardless of imbalance. What I am against are PvP ladders, regional or global (just as long as they are not as bad as SC2´s), because D3 is impossible to balance. It wouldn´t be very fun to placed against somebody against whome you don´t stand a chance because he is OP.

          • if we get some sort of stats or match history for pvp we might see something like done for d3.

  7. An easy case of misdirection – sometimes it’s hard to point out what actually caused something like a game’s longevity. Sometimes it has nothing to do with what you think is most obvious.

  8. well to me its obvious , diablo 2 was a great game –> longevity, diablo3 doesnt have it as what i have played so far.
    But maybe its just because leveling in diablo3 is one of the most boring things i have ever encountered

    • Well you could always focus on the actual gameplay and story instead of how far you have filled up your xp bar…

  9. I started playing with a friend who has never played Diablo II in his whole life today. We finished Act one in a few hours and it was incredibly fun! Why? Because finally, after so many years I have the respec feature. I can actually use the skills the game offers me and not be forced to skillpoint-hord and cookiecutter build my characters. I played a raven/wolf druid and my friend a holy fire aura paladin. So much fun.

    I love blizzard for getting rid of the “we want to screw you so hard” mentality that the “original” DII had with his stupid “one mistake = start anew” design. Never liked it. Never will. The current Diablo III skill system (or at least a system with respec) is one of the best aspects of the game. I am really looking forward to it.

  10. I personnally like to level up, it’s fun to start a new character from the scratch and to try a lot of builds from level 1 to 60.
    Too bad, I’ll have to delete a character to do that.

    I hope the end game will be better than in Diablo2 though. 

  11. As long as it remains challenging all the way through that’s the main thing.  The only time I want to start a new character is for a new class.

  12. I get bothered that Diablo 2 fans that actually like re-rolling and leveling get talked to like we are idiots stuck in the past with no ‘masochistic’ gaming sense.  How’d the tables turn so that actual fans of the previous games are the ones being ridiculed and talked down to?  Last I checked, Diablo 2 was hugely, immensely successful.  I understand the market has changed some, but the general attitude toward anyone in favor of build commitment is pretty crap — by both the community *and* the community leaders.

    •  How’d the tables turn so that actual fans of the previous games are the ones being ridiculed and talked down to?

      When the said “actual fans” continuously QQ’d, ridiculed, and talked down to people who liked Diablo 3’s changes. You may not have been one of them, but it takes a few vocal whiners to color an entire bias against a people.

    • you are “defending” against generalisations while generalising a whole group of people by assuming every “true” (no such thing) Diablo fan thinks the same like you. I have played Diablo 2 on and off for past 9 years, and I have finished Diablo 1 dozen times, so I consider myself pretty hardcore Diablo fan, and I don’t agree that being stuck in a single character is fun. Sure, I put up to it for years, and in D2 it even kind-of works because it adds to the “old school game” charm, but that is one feature that I do not want to see in D3. 

      Also, why does it seem like you haven’t played D1? Y’know, the ORIGINAL Diablo. In my experiance, large majority of people who are complaining about “casuals destroying Diablo” or about “D3 not feeling like true Diablo game” have never played D1 and only ever played D2. So if D3 feels more like D1 then D2 (to some, like me, for example), how can you say that it doesn’t feel like “true Diablo” game. 

  13. I’m nothing but furious Bashi keeps defending this tripe.  I’ve watched a video where Jay says the inspiration behind their new lazy ass design is borderlands.  If I wanted to play that game I would.  Don’t take my PAIN away! I loved it…  Simply put, they want to spend more time on flash and less on substance.  Where a rat in a maze can blindly AND quickly poke around without thought to locate the solution rather than planning it.  It’s insulting to many, MANY of their potential customers to keep blowing us off by telling US what WE want!! I want d2 built upon! Not broken down by a wrecking ball to something almost unrecognizable.  Get in the official forums people and express your disdain in the beta feedback.  The only thing these dense fools will understand after having their egos massaged by their tiny F&F group on how they can do no wrong, is sheer numbers.  FIGHT!

  14. Actually for Diablo3 with the INSANE amount of customization in this especially how it makes Diablo2’s customization in builds so minute it would take an INSANE human to want to make 3,000 sorceresses because there that many different builds in diablo3. So it makes more sense for the skills to not be permanent.

    • There is nothing insane about D3’s customization system.  Yes, there are TONS of theoretical combinations.  You’re welcome to try them all, before coming right back to the cookie cutter build  that everyone is going to use because everyone has access to the same skill set.  Class identity is gone– there will be no “meteorb” sorcs or “blizzballer” sorcs.  There will just be sorcs (or rather, wizards).  That’s boring, and everyone knows it.

  15. Umm, you all got to 60-80 in a matter of hours?  Silly me, I enjoyed leveling to 60 over weeks.  I don’t think I had a character of a higher level than 69 at one point, and I played the hell out of the game.  If people managed to get leveled faster via glitches or areas that gave out too much XP for it’s effort, then that was really a matter for Blizzard to balance, by getting rid of glitches, or reducing XP that mobs give, emphasizing completing areas, such as a boss kill.    

  16. Baskiok edited this in:

    “You can also add to this that in Diablo III killing monsters to see what they drop will not be made lucrative by explicitly predictable means, such as boss runs. Exploring entire areas, even playing from start to finish of each act, uncovering all the nooks and crannies is intended to be the way you’ll be playing Inferno. You can pretend you’re leveling a new character each time, if you’d like. :)”

    The thing Bashiok seems to miss is that leveling was what was required to customize your character. If you wanted to do another build you had to start a new character and level it up. So, technically, leveling did add a lot of longevity to Diablo 2 because it required more effort to meet those goals. When you make it really easy (i.e. less time-consuming) to pull off that customization, it certainly does remove a large portion of that longevity.

    • they want to shorten that longevity in favor of casuals, just look at artisans whose progress will be available to your rerolls, how fun is that going to be you think?

      • The irony in this is they are giving a slight handicap to new players that haven’t upgraded their artisans since they will presumably have to make them progress at a slower pace to compensate (or else why bother to even have progression?).

  17. I really think Bliz has made a mistake in stripping out the rpg aspect of character building in D3 (beyond class and the cosmetic chocie of gender)  and replacing it enterely by itemization. But hey what do I know? I don’t like the RMAH either. 

    • Yes, Blizz never really put enough emphasis on the RPG part of their Action-RPG Diablo franchise. In D1 they could have been forgiven for having monologues & simgle-choice quests only, but they promised better roleplay mechanics (dialogue, NPCs having specific reactions to you) and more dynamic quests when they were making D2 and they never really delivered other than having Gheed talk about how he hates Necros.
      So I’m not expecting much on the RPG-side of things in D3. On the bright side they seem to be doing a good job of filling us in on Tristram’s Diablo 1 backstory in entertaining and spooky ways from what I’ve seen of beta videos

  18. They’ve moved on alright!  That’s why none of their recent titles are as good as their 90’s/early 2000’s games.

    Honestly though, take whatever Bashiok says with a grain of salt. Blizzard Irvine (including Bash) didn’t create Diablo, weren’t responsible for making it a success, and have no idea what makes the franchise tick.

    • World of Warcraft and expansions were all a total failure. And the media teared Starcraft II apart. Really shitty games. Yeah.

      Play DII again and just try to image the changes Blizzard did to DIII. I can see each and every major change to be a very positive aspect. Every major negative point DII had (and it hat lots of problems) are fixed in DIII – for example: bartering trading crap < auction house trading, hostility crap < consensual PvP, skill locking < respec/freespec.

  19. A game without great struggles is a game without great achievements. A game without important choices is a game where your choices are of no importance. A game where everyone is like everyone else is a game where noone stands out.
    In the 90?s LAN, offline play, public chat channels, the ability to start and name your own games etc was something you took for granted. Some game developers have taken a step backward rather than a step forward with the features their games offer.

  20. I don’t think I’ve disagreed more with a blue post since… well, the beginning of blue posts. Myself and all the people I know that played Diablo 2 ultimately did it naturally to find more loot, but especially to try out new builds. It was exciting because it was a commitment involved. People will experiment with weird and crazy builds in Diablo 3, but since it’s so convenient to respec they will always change back to what’s most efficient. This will affect the longetivity of the game, and it astounds me that they fail to realise it.

  21. ” We thank the 90?s for their contributions to game design, and the ‘crush the player’s soul’ dungeon master mentality, but we’re moving on. We have this crazy notion that games shouldn’t punish you for trying to enjoy them. ”

    Bashiok just pwned this guy. 

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