Blue on Skill DoT and Tool Tip Simplifications

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 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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25 thoughts on “Blue on Skill DoT and Tool Tip Simplifications

  1. I say let the tooltips toggle between “simple” and “advanced.”

    That’s too much to ask, isn’t it?

    • This. Done pretty well with Guild Wars 1’s “full” and “concise” skill descriptions.
      “Continuously does X% weapon damage” is just horrible.  It doesn’t even mean anything.  Of course there’s a pulse rate, and if “continuously does X% weapon damage” means per pulse, then the damage per second depends on the pulse rate.  And if “continuously does X% weapon damage” means per second, then for goodness sakes just stick with “does X% weapon damage per second”.  (Unless that’s confusing because it seems to imply that the pulse rate is per second, which is usually isn’t?  Ok fine, how about “does damage continuously at X% weapon damage per second”?)

  2. giving players a choice? yes, it’s too much to ask. it might confuse the noobs which is verboten in a Blizz game.

    • Is verboten another german word frequently used in english? First time I hear it used in english language. (verboten is german for “forbidden”/”not allowed”).

      @ topic: well the whole game is made so your long dead grandmother could still play it, so I dont expect to get real info-heavy explanations ingame. Probably have to use a wiki or this website often. As long as its not as info-lacking as Demons Souls, I’m ok with not including every info in the games tooltips.

      • Yes, “verboten” is used semi-commonly in English. At least i know about 10 German words, and that’s one of them. Danke.

    • Let’s help them out and follow this road to its logical conclusion:

      Upon release of the game, tooltips on skills will say “Goes pow and hurt monsterz”

      Or not have any text at all, because reading is confusing. So when you mouse over a skill just have something explode.

  3. I have long thought many tooltips felt clunkily complex. I’d like very simple, descriptive tooltips with a alternate place/option where you can get overly detailed descriptions.

  4. IMO, the more info the better (to a point) and many of the current tooltips (especially rune effects) are missing key pieces of info like radius or duration and they need to be fixed not freaking dumbed down more…

  5. Okay, so first they make an argument that they don’t want people to open wiki pages to find out how to build their chars because that breaks the flow of the game, and now they’re simplifying tooltips that sometimes lack important information as it is?

    Ugh. Correct me if I’m wrong, but things like radius/reach/duration/damage values are handled server-side and are not built into the client. So without tooltips showing such values client-side (and without them being in client files for datamining), we may never know what values any skill is using at any given time, especially since they can just silently patch the server and change things more or less on the fly without even touching the client.

    I hope I’m wrong on this, I haven’t looked into the emulated server sources yet, but if that’s the case, then I expect a lot of otherwise unnecessary theorycrafting wars, debates and (more importantly) incorrect/outdated information and miscalculations on wikis come. 😕

    • I think the formulae can and are being derived from the info available in the beta. I’m not a math major, but I think it’s being calculated based on the use of weapons with different speeds and damage, then comparing them by looking at the individual DOT tick amounts that each one causes. After you have this, you should be able to just put it into an Excel spreadsheet to find the formula and extrapolate what different weapon speeds and damage would give you. That would be my guess anyway.

  6. Dear Blizzard,
    This: “our general feeling is that we provide way too much information in the skill tooltips in general.” is why you are no longer my favorite company.  Keep up the good work!
    Bah, why do I even bother?

    The sad thing is that the people that dont like reading in games wont even bother with the simplified tooltips…

  8. IMO, this is another non-issue. This may seem like a big problem right now but things like skill radius, reach, damage and/or overtime component are basics of RPG UI/tooltips, and are even present in WoW, y´know, the “noob game”, and are sure to be included upon release.

    • Well there are two styles of tooltips in wow as well, the real ones (ie the ones with all the information on how the ability works) that used to be the only ones you could get and then they added in the noob friendly ones that were made to be the default ones… these are the ones that say things like “Use this to do damage to many enemies in a large area.” and such… I expect if they simplify the tooltips in Diablo 3 they will end up somewhere in between… like instead of saying stuff like “this skill does u% of your weapon damage over v seconds to all enemies within w yards and has a x% chance to slow targets by y% for z seconds” they will say “this skill does u% of your weapon damage over a short time to nearby enemies (sadly they already say that one a lot) and has a chance to briefly slow their movement.” In other words, hardly any specifics…

  9. Hitting the FHR/FCR/IAS frame breakpoints and balancing between those depending on gear was one of the primary reasons I and many others even bothered to level a character to 80+. The endgame in D2 was essentially just dueling (in private leagues or public duels) and building a twinked character was valuable. 

    There’s that big clunky list of misc. facts that you can access in D3 through the character pane, so hopefully that proves useful in creating the perfect gear combinations.

  10. D3 should have a rpg mode and an adventure mode. The RPG mode would be for those of us who are capable of distributing our own attribute points, skill points, ect, and who can understand stats like chance to hit. The adventure mode would be for those who are unable to design a character properly and who don’t care about things like chance to hit.

    • Ugh, chance to hit is stupid. If you’re so “pro” then you can use skills, timing, and movement to hit your opponents and dodge their attacks. You know, like a video game.

      • Correction, like an “action” video game. “Pro” doesn’t equate to intellect or comprehension of any system. “Pro”, for the most part, only defines lightning reflexes in this day and age, and not an ability to calculate how much of a given value you need to compensate a weakness, but not any more than necessary to not weaken your character in other areas. That’s the RPG part, and always has been.

  11. Deals X% of your weapon damage every Y seconds for Z seconds.

    Deals 50% of your weapon damage every 0.5 seconds for 10 seconds.

    How is this hard to understand? All they need to do now is to have the “Y” part scale appropriately with speed and bonuses, such that…

    Deals 50% of your weapon damage every 0.41 seconds for 10 seconds.

    Oh no, you’re not getting an extra tick on your DoT skill? Wahhhhh, only 5 other skills will have room to be improved by ias. Wahhhhh. This isn’t WoW. Not every stats has to benefit every skill. Next up is what, +% cold damage isn’t effecting fire skills? Fuck’s sake people. I can’t wonder why they’re trying to simplify everything with posts such as that to which Bash replied.

  12. OK!
    I’d like to know why they want to simplify everything.
    They are OK with the teen rating or was it 11+? So if their target group is people of the age 13 and up
    then why do they think a pulse tool tip is too complicated?
    I think they’re making a grave misstake, aiming the game to adults but simplifying it to children.

  13. I think that what might be best is to have simple tooltips, and then in the skill configuration screen where you pick your skills, have a button for each skill that opens up a window that goes into more detail on the skill, giving things like the general formula, the result of the general formula given your current gear, maybe some random lore snippet, and assorted other skill facts that don’t fit in the tooltip but which are relevant to gameplay – things like “Sentry prioritizes attacking the nearest enemies” or “skill cannot hit the same target more than once.” That way people who want to get down and dirty in picking out their skills can get that information, but the tooltips stay relatively concise.

  14. “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.”
    Yeah, except it’s not that easy, and you’d be likely to make an incorrect decision if you aren’t taking weapon speed into account. Especially if you’re dealing with something like dual wield vs. a two hander. I’m not sure why they’re being obtuse about this. Basic and advanced tooltips are implemented in WoW, and seem to work just fine to me. Is it really that difficult to institute in D3?

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