One of the more interesting threads going in our Theorycrafting & Stats forum has been investigating some oddities in skills that do Damage over Time. Lots (but not all) deal the damage based on weapon damage, and there are some weird side effects with dual wielding, in terms of how the game selects which of your weapons the damage is calculated from. See the thread for many more details than I can quickly summarize here.

    That discussion earned some skill and tooltip info from Bashiok today, when a fan brought it up on the B.net forums.

    So in this thread, some beta testers are finding that DoTs (generally, skills which do damage per second over X seconds) are scaling w/ a weapon’s DPS, not the flat damage. Instead of the WoW method (lowering the time between “ticks,” and then adding a whole tick after a threshold is reached), the damage is just flat out scaling w/ weapon speed. However, it only applies to DoTs or other non-weapon speed based skills (pets, channeled spells, Ice Armor reflect damage, etc).

    First of all, GOOD. Continuous scaling makes it less of a headache to balance and see results instantly from upgrades in gear. However, will these effects be obvious in skill tooltips? Will it tell us when a skill uses a weapon’s damage or DPS for calculations, plus how this all works in dual wield? Take a monk, dual wielding fist weapons, using Exploding Palm. He applies the DoT bomb; the DoT damage scales w/ weapon speed, but which weapon? Do you alternate hands to calculate damages?
    Bashiok: The tick rate of channeled skills is currently scaled by your weapon speed. This has the side effect of making the resource cost go up, which we’re okay with. It’s consistent with the philosophy that faster speed weapons consume more resource but may do more damage. Channeled skills might still be better with slower weapons though because on a channeled skill, you have as much mobility as you want, so the “mobility” and “overkill” advantages of faster weapons are eroded with channeled abilities, so all you’re left with is increased mana cost for increased damage.

    We’ve been thinking of changing the tooltips and going with “ continuously does X% weapon damage”. The reservations we currently have are:

    • Even though we say continuously, there’s a pulse rate under the hood, so do players want to know this pulse rate?
    • If we did show a pulse rate, we’re adding more complexity to an already complicated tooltip.

    However, the benefit of being able to directly compare 135% weapon damage on Disintegrate to X% weapon damage on another skill is super high, so we love that.

    Stepping back and going big picture, we’re currently working on greatly simplifying tooltips. It’s too early to give details at this point, but our general feeling is that we provide way too much information in the skill tooltips in general.

    No surprise that the details of how skills do stuff are much more complicated than you’d expect at a glance. This was a perpetual issue with Diablo 2, as fans delved into the code and found all kinds of oddities (often caused by bugs) in the game’s combat engine. Hopefully the inner functions of D3 won’t be that esoteric, but I don’t think the stat guys and code diggers will ever have any shortage of things to investigate and discover in Diablo III.

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