Diablo 3 Expansion Speculation #1: Feature & System Changes

There will Diablo 3 expansions. That’s not a real bold revelation; pretty much everyone expected one or more from the moment the game was announced, and when we saw two of them listed in that Gamespy editorial, fan delight was palpable. That was an internal timeline though, not meant for public eyes and probably revised since then anyway. (D3 obviously didn’t ship in 2011.) The only official timeframe was given in September 2011, when the D3 expansion was semi-promised before the end of 2014.

Since that leaked document, the D3 team has publicly confirmed that an expansion or two will come, and this was again re-confirmed during the recent quarterly conference call. What might be in the expansion(s) though? On that the devs have remained mum. They’ve been asked plenty of times, but have always replied politically and said things like, “We’re focused on finishing the game and aren’t thinking any further than that.” That’s surely true, for the most part, and they’ve stuck to that story all the way, even during development when numerous features, including DiabloWikiCharms, the DiabloWikiTalisman, the DiabloWikiMystic, craftable jewelry, the DiabloWikiScroll of Reforging and DiabloWikiScroll of Companion, item socketing (initially a talent of the DiabloWikiJeweler), were shelved.

Some of those features will probably return in the expansion(s), and that’s worth debating, but it’s also fun to think of the brand new features we’ll see, or the big (?) changes to current features. Covering all of that in one article would stretch on a bit, even for me, so I’m going to hit it in two pieces. This first one will focus on current features that could/should change in the expansion, and a second will go for the brand new features and systems. There’s unavoidable overlap in the issues; new skills and changes to current skills, new socketable items and changes to current gems, etc, but I’ve tried to break it up fairly evenly.

A lot of these issues have been under fan discussion for months (or longer) but the recent the Iron Islanders which prompted a huge and ongoing discussion in our community forum brought out some good ideas as well. Threads with patch change suggestions are good too. We’re also recording a podcast about this over the weekend, to get more debate and discussion in verbal form.

Diablo 3 Expansion Wish List

Can has goldpets back, plz?
This article isn’t going to cover totally new stuff, since that’s so hypothetical. Of course D3X (and D3Y?) will (probably) have new character classes, a 5th and 6th act, new item types, new socketables, a new Follower, the return of the DiabloWikiMystic, etc, and those are great topics for debate, but I’ll do those in a future article. This piece is more grounded in how to change/improve things in the current game.

Here’s the game feature/system changes wish list. You could probably put every feature and system in the game on this list, and everyone has their own priorities, but these are topics I’ve seen much-discussed and that I wanted to write something about. I don’t necessarily agree that all of them need to be done, and I’m sure you guys won’t either. But that’s the fun of debate; perhaps we can run a vote on which ones are most-needed, once we measure a bit more of the general fan reaction?

So, here’s the quick list. Read on for more discussion of all of these topics:

  • Better single player features. Ladders, tournaments, level up challenges, etc.
  • Better multiplayer features. Rewards for party play, more monsters, more drops, more NV stacks, special events/quests that *require* parties to attempt.
  • Better maps and level layouts.
  • Better character customization. Some manual stat points? Some sort of skill points? Some limits on freespecs?
  • Redo item mods and attributes systems to be less boring/more varied. Re-introduce variety between classes and item types.
  • Changes to existing classes. We’ve seen some big changes in patches already, and may well see more pre-D3X, but it’s fun to speculate.
  • Crafting system overhaul. (Could easily be done in a patch, pre-D3X.)
  • Ironborn mode. Like Hardcore, it’s a permanent character designation set at the time of creation. The Ironborn can be softcore or hardcore, but they can only interact with other Ironborn characters and they must pay the iron price for their equipment — thus they can never use the Auction House and must self find. Can they trade? Are top items BoA? Do the get inherently higher MF to make up for it?

Lots to debate, pros and cons, etc. So let’s go!

Better Multi-Player Features

Wow, talk about starting off with a target-rich environment! I’ll try to be brief and stay focused since this issue could be a whole article by itself.

During development, the D3 team talked endlessly about “do no harm to co-op” as one of their main slogans. And that was great as a slogan, but as the development progressed and they revealed features and design decisions, certain interested fans (like me) repeatedly tried to argue that they were failing. Yes, they did a good job fixing the ninja loot and PK problems (and TPPK hacks) that had been the biggest problems in D2’s multiplayer, but D3 was also eliminating most of D2’s incentives to party by removing bonus exp and bonus item drops in big games, and by designing character skills that didn’t include many party buffs or effects that benefited everyone in the game, such as the Curses, Spirits, War Cries, and Auras. In D2 you were so happy to see a Barbarian, or a Paladin, or a Druid enter your game since you knew substantial bonuses were coming your way. A Javazon playing with a Conviction Paladin acting as her remora in the Cow Level changed the entire game. There is nothing like that sort of skill sharing and character synergy in D3.

The Diablo 3 Battle.net game creation system is another controversial feature; most fans seemed to want a modified version of the D1/D2 system, where players created games and named them. Blizzard and their B.net 2.0 fetish for automation and matchmaking would have none of that. So now we’ve got only automated games with matchmaking joining that seldom work since people just start the game near the end of the act so they can hop from waypoint to waypoint and move around quickly. And that’s irrelevant anyway since the Monster Power system isn’t integrated into public games so all the people who would like to go on a higher MP for fun or challenge or key farming… can only do it with their friends. (And I’m not even mentioning the D3 chat channel ghost town problem that D3 imported directly from SC2.)

On the bright side, at least for the purposes of this article, there’s no shortage of multiplayer fixes. Basically everything in the last two paragraphs could be fixed fairly easily, and I haven’t even suggested any new features or social tools that could improve the B.net experience (like guild support). I bet you guys will, though.

Click through for much more.

Better Single Player Features

The Single Player issue was mentioned in the Gamespy article and I saw it echoed in forum threads and comments. As someone who mostly plays D3 alone, I should be eager to weigh in on this but honestly… I haven’t had a problem with it. Yes, the devs termed everything in terms of multiplayer (and then amazingly didn’t provide any real benefits to playing multiplayer) and gave no real consideration to any special/bonus features for solo players, but I don’t think they’re really needed.

Solo players get to use a Follower, and while the pre-game hype about how their amazing dialogue (i.e. repeating the same 4 phrases for eternity) was clearly overblown, they do talk and give you some sense of not being just a lone hero out to save the world. Of course if you want to be the lone hero out to save the world… Jay Wilson hates you. Or perhaps not, since D3 does allow you to un-hire your Follower and go fully alone

So, what would a special SP feature be? (Aside from something we’ll never ever ever ever see in online-only DRM D3.) The Gamespy article mentions wanting a more varied and replayable experience, but that’s not really anything specific to SP. I guess some Follower-specific quests could fit the bill, or some dungeon that’s only available to solo players? Would rankings and player stats and ladders and such count? I’d like to see those in any event.

Better Maps and Level Layouts

I had never seen this before. Dune Dervishes came out of each jar, before a giant purple Unique appeared at the end.
This has been a topic of debate since before D3’s release, when we found out that surface areas would not be random in the overall shape and layout. I’ve seen a lot of player comments against those, but I don’t personally agree. The developers pushed their design as a way to add better art and layouts, while accommodating randomization through events and areas within the levels. And I think that’s pretty much come true. I can’t really say about the art aspect, but I like the randomization of elements within the big surface areas; it makes them much more interesting than the surface areas were in D2. In D3 you explore the areas and see all the random stuff within them, and I still routinely see events that I’ve never noticed before, or only very rarely.

That aspect of the game is done much better in Acts 1 and 2 since those had the most development time, while there’s only one big random surface area in Act Three, and it’s though it’s got some variety, it’s not exactly stuffed full of surprises once you’ve done it two or three times.

How would randomizing the layouts improve things, though? The D3 system has random features within, requires exploration to find dungeon entrances, and yet if you just want to get to the end, you know where it is and can head right there. Would anyone really prefer if we were forced to run around the entire perimeter of the areas (D2 style) to find the passage to the next level?

The real complaint and problem with D3’s level design comes not on the non-random surface, but in the randomized dungeons. Those I’ve seen much more complaints about, as most fans feel the layouts are too predictable and repetitious. The D3 artists tried to incorporate those big blocks of design into their dungeon, rather than just having endless small rooms that fit together in random ways. Basically using bigger, more distinctive puzzle pieces rather than tiny generic ones. And that’s a good theory, but many fans feel the big pieces are too big and predictable, so areas like the Act One Crypts or Catacombs, or the Act 2 sewers, or pretty much all of Act Four, feel predictable.

“Oh, this layout again.”

Personally, I think the smaller jigsaw pieces work better for long term use. Compare say, the endless rooms and unpredictable shapes of the Fort and Barracks levels in early Act Three to the larger block tileset dungeons listed above. I found those endless rooms in the Act Three areas boring at first, but after playing for months I now enjoy them since they vary more in shape and layout, while I get really bored running through the larger, more picturesque and predictable levels.

So maybe there’s a way to mix in more big random elements along with lots of those tiny boxes? If the devs can’t retrofit that into the current Acts, it’s certainly something to shoot for in Act Five and beyond.

Better Character Customization: Skills and Stats

Here’s another topic that could be a whole article to itself. It’s a controversial one, since while many players miss having more customization options and a sense of character identity and investment, others are very happy with the freespecs system in D3 and like to be able to change their builds at any time.

I’m more old school on this, and while i’m not advocating a return to the full on D2 style of “You want to change anything? You reroll now!” I do think D3 could give some sense of identity and individuality. So every level 60 character wasn’t exactly the same, barring some minor difference on like, one rune effect. (With equipment making 99% of the difference in power, and even that only by degrees, but I mention item issues next.)

It’s not just about variation, but about giving some weight to the character building process. I’d like to see some kind of skill points in the game, where players had to decide which skills to weight most heavily and that changed the play style. Here’s a very basic type of system that could be easily tacked onto the existing game. Say you had 12 skill points to spend on your 6 skills, and each skill could take up to 3 points. Do you want to max out your offensive ones? Want more damage to your single target burst or to your AoE? Or do you boost your defensive skills? Or do you want your CC to last longer, with a larger radius? Or do you want 2 points in everything?

By that same token, I think the stats could have some customization allowed. Say the current system is retained from 1-60, but with each Paragon level you have 1 point auto-assigned to each attribute, with 3 left over. You can follow the 2 vit, 3 main stat guideline… or you can vary it. Want to put them all into main stat for more damage? (Probably) Want to put more into Vit for survivability? (Hardcores might.)

Actually, I’d like to see the whole attribute system overhauled to make the non-main stats more useful and interesting. More bonuses from them, maybe some hybrid items where multiple stats boosted the damage, or where +DEX improved attack speed while +STR added to crit damage. Something better than the current binary system, where you are either overjoyed to get your main stat on an item, or else it’s a complete waste of the modifier slot. But that’s another really big topic that could fill a whole post.

Better Item Modifers

Many players have asked for item range to matter again, and pointed out how silly it is for a dagger to work exactly the same as a polearm or an axe. Logically, yes, that’s silly, but D3 simplified many features to provide greater “accessibility.” (Or they just Dumbed Down D3, depending on your PoV.) The lack of weapon range evens things for the classes as well. After all, weapon reach almost never matters to a Wizard or Witch Doctor, and even Barbs and Monks do most of their damage with spell-like attacks that don’t actually use the weapon to hit the enemy.

Many ARPGs have traditionally included damage bonuses or penalties for some weapon types against some monster types. Clubs work better against Undead than spears do, for instance. This sort of feature also found no place in Diablo 3. And D3 even removed the idea of different damage types mattering; monsters don’t have variety in their elemental resistances, poison is just green damage, and all the pre-game theories about different types of critical hits dealing different bonus effects got scrapped.

Okay, so they wanted to simplify and dumb down and streamline for D3C… now it’s time for D3X. Can we get some complexity and variety, please? Can it start to matter which type of item you use? Can there be trade offs and bonuses to item types, and some variety between classes from something other than which +stat is found on the axe/dagger/sword/mace/etc?

Better Crafting System

This could easily come in a patch before D3X, and really it should, since the system doesn’t seem to need that many changes. Crafting is a great idea, I like salvaging as a mechanic, I like the idea of breaking down junk items to try to roll them into something new and useful. But it’s just worthless in the current execution.

The cost / reward ratio is totally out of whack. Even aside from the fact that it’s much quicker and easier to just buy materials from the Auction House than to make them yourself, the “5 random attributes” type results you get from the Rare items created by crafting is almost never a good thing. This was true even in the early days of D3, but now that Nephalem Valor and Monster Power and improved drop rates and easier Inferno have made it so easy to completely fill your inventory with Rares in just a few minutes, it’s crazy. Why would anyone devote dozens of materials and 100k gold to rolling a single rare item, with totally variable (and thus almost certainly junky) mods, when they could find 20 of them in 15 minutes play time?

Current crafting is too random, costs too much, and has way too low a percent chance of success. That said… it’s not so easy to fix. Imagine that the devs just cut the costs of all crafting (mats and gold) by 50%. Or 90% Would that help? Or would it just create a new supply of overpowered rares and make item hunting seem pointless since it was easier to just craft something? Or would it just make the rich richer as players who had the gold (or a credit card on the RMAH) could buy gold and mats and craft all day, creating mega items that would then flood the AH with inflation?

Crafting needs to be a bit more predictable, with better odds for at lest some useful stats. During the beta most crafting recipes were not all random. Items had a guaranteed stat or two, plus some random mods. So at a low level you could make shoulders that you knew would get say, +12-20 Dexterity, +2 random mods. That system could easily be returned for the end game, or something many fans have suggested is to incorporate gems; a recipe could require say, a Star quality gem, which would grant +100-150 to the associated stat as one of the item’s mods.

That seems like a very cool idea, especially if it got bigger. Higher recipes could require multiple gems to guarantee some properties, plus some random mods as well. Imagine if we get more types of gems or other socketables in D3X, and they can be worked into this system?

The only real flaw that remains, as I see it, is the speculator profit. Crafting seems like a system meant to let players recycle their own stuff, to pull themselves up by the bootstraps. Simply cutting all the costs by about 50% would make it a viable system, for a self-found player. You’d haul all your junk back to town, salvage the blues, save up the mats, roll them for new, and eventually improve your lot.

That whole system goes out the window with the Auction House, since it’s much quicker/cheaper/easier to just buy an item that’s better than 99.9% of what you’d ever craft. (Or find from playing, to get to the real heart of the AH problem.) So, short of ripping the AH entirely out of the game (which isn’t a real solution), how could this be addressed for crafting? BoA for all materials? A 50% tax on all material trades (so you’d basically get double the mats for doing your own crafting)?

The Ironborn System

This is an idea I’ve been kicking around for months, but especially since v1.05 has made self-finding fairly viable, (though still very rare) with the increased drop rates and adjusted/customizable difficulty levels. You can play self-found and not use the AH at all now, and still succeed in Inferno. Maybe not on MP5, but at least you can get a foot in the door now, without playing 8 hours a day.

The problem with being self found is that you’re in the same economy and public games with people who are not wearing a single item they found themselves, and there’s constant temptation to nibble on the AH, even if you want to resist. I see this becoming an even more acute problem once the Arenas go in and we’ve got PvP, since I just can’t imagine how the devs can balance anything so that full AH players with 200k DPS aren’t able to effortlessly massacre anyone who hasn’t also devoted billions to their gear. And sure, the match making will, in theory, pair players up into fair matches, but we all know how much equipment matters in D3. It’s not the only thing, but it’s by far the most important thing, and once we’ve got PvP the specialization will become crazy.

It’s hard to predict what item mods and types will be most in demand for PvP, but I am quite sure that just a month or two after PvP goes live, we’ll see very high level, very rich characters with gear sets that make them essentially unkillable to more modestly-equipped characters. (Who they can in turn one-shot.) Whether that’ll come from super high resistances, 10000/sec life regen, massive CC reduction mods, or something else, it will happen. Even with D3’s fairly simplified item system/modifier pool.

And that’s great, for players who have scored massive riches, either from playing endlessly, or from RMAHing. Or both. But for players who want to play more casually, or especially who want to find their own gear… it’s hopeless. You’ll never compare to the high end. (I laugh when I read long and quite excellent strategy threads, since the gear considered minimum baseline for many of the strats has 2 or 3x the DPS of the best stuff I’d accumulated over 6 months of almost all self-finding.)

AH players can PvM 10x faster and will always slaughter self-finders in PvP. And they deserve to, since their gear is vastly better and D3 is a gear-based game. But why does everyone have to be in the same economy and dueling pool? Why can’t there be a separate economy, for players how want to DIY and self find?

Hence the Ironborn (the name is entirely taken from the Iron Islanders in GRRM’s fantasy world who consider it effeminate to wear riches or items that were bought for gold, rather than taken by force). It’s a class of character, much like Hardcore, set upon character creation. Ironborn can only play (PvM or PvP) with other Ironborn. They can be SC or HC, but the main difference is that the can not use the Auction House. That in of itself wouldn’t solve all the problems, since it would just spur black market item trading sites, so perhaps some degree of BoA or BoE needs to be included as well? I don’t think making it entirely self found is a solution, since that would basically just be a single player mode, but perhaps there could be limits of some kind set on trading, with items at ilvl 62+ all binding, or maybe some kind of tracking tag on every item so that it could only be traded between accounts once or twice?

Obviously this would be a fairly specialized playing style that many players wouldn’t be interested in. Most of you guys love the AH and love to cheaply buy mega items that are better than anything you’ll likely ever find. Which is fine; if that’s what you enjoy, go for it. That’s why the Ironborn concept would be voluntary and specialized. The few and the proud, devoted and determined to do it themselves.

And yes, this seems wildly unlikely to ever occur in a game that’s funded, long term, by the RMAH. But even aside from outside devs pointing to the AH as a problem, Blizzard has at least been willing to admit that it’s a corrupting influence that many players would prefer to avoid.

The Auction House has also proven to be a big challenge. It adds a lot of power for players to trade and acquire items. Getting a great Monk drop that you can trade for better gear for your Wizard is obviously a great benefit, but it does come with a downside. The Auction House can short circuit the natural pace of item drops, making the game feel less rewarding for some players. This is a problem we recognize. At this point we’re not sure of the exact way to fix it, but we’re discussing it constantly, and we believe it’s a problem we can overcome.

Still, I’m not exactly holding my breath.

Other Expansion Features

Okay, so that was wildly long and probably too inclusive. And I should have saved the Ironborn thing for a separate article. That said, feel free to leap into the comments on any topic in particular, and I’m quite open to running additional articles on specific issues, incorporating more player feedback and ideas. I didn’t even get into other big issues, like major changes to current classes, the possible return of ladders and ladder seasons (more loot can drop if the economy is going to reset every 6-12 months), a massive overhaul to item mods, new monster modifier types, and much more.

Also, I do want to run another article next week on the *new* features we could/should/might see in D3X. I’m sure these will be discussed some on the podcast this weekend, but here’s a quick list:

  • New Act. (Skovos? Teganze jungle?)
  • New class. (Strength based?)
  • New item types. (Throwing weapons? “Super Legendary” higher quality Legendaries? Ilvl 64+ items. New affixes. Etc.)
  • New socketable objects (Jewels? Runes?) and a socketing quest/NPC.
  • New game modes? (Endless dungeon? Timed events? New PvP modes also, probably.)
  • New NPCs/Artisans. Enchantress returns and more?
  • New Follower type?
  • Pets? Mounts? Murlocs?
Related to this article
  • Blizzard press conference set for Gamescom – Expansion news?
  • PCGames.de Reaper of Souls video interview
  • Gamestar Reaper of Souls Interview

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    62 thoughts on “Diablo 3 Expansion Speculation #1: Feature & System Changes

    1. You know, upon reflection, I don’t think the Ironborn would need any BoE or anything. It would be a separate mode for people who want to go self-found…I guess one might roll that and then get blackmarket items for the epeen, but people who are into that…could just use the normal AH system. Sure some might go blackmarket but I don’t think it would turn into a huge problem.

      • “I guess one might roll that and then get blackmarket items for the epeen, but people who are into that…could just use the normal AH system. ”

        Hah. People love to feel superior, so there will be a sizeable chunk of players that would do Ironborn and then ‘cheat’ anyway.

    2. I hope if they do include an ironborn system (we do not sow… erm… use the AH!), they allow some kind of one-time conversion. I don’t really want to level all my guys to 60 again but I’ve never used either AH. I doubt there’s any kind of account flag that currently exists that records whether or not an account has used it, which would mean that wouldn’t happen, and then I wouldn’t play the mode because why bother playing a separate mode and spending time to level 5 classes to 60 when I can keep playing the vanilla mode self-found and not worry about it? The incremental benefit of being a swarthy pirate-type reaver is not really worth the cost of all those hours, at least not for me.

      In addition, I really think the expansion should include a Borderlands 2-esque badass ranks system, perhaps integrated with the banner as well. Achievements and other in-game feats (for which they could make achievements) would get you points, banner features, and more. Points could be spent on account-wide marginal upgrades, and banner pieces could also provide some account-wide and some character-wide boosts. (e.g., banner sigil and accent are character-specific, but shape/background/stand/adornment are account-wide). That makes the banner more than useless, makes achievement-hunting matter, gives you some permanence and specialization, encourages a wider variety of play rather than just doing efficient runs for drops, and so on, all without interfering with the stuff Blizzard is seemingly set in stone on.

      • If there was any value to ‘when it’s done’ we might all do that. But hindsight tells us that ‘when it’s done’ can mean anything from ‘when it’s playable’ to ‘when my mum stops asking silly questions’.

    3. Game lobby please. You gave us a MP system and now I can’t “join” any games to play with others. Is that meant to be sarcastic??

      And I know you didn’t ask but I have to put it out there… Overhaul to crafting. More recipes. Better stats. Make the costs higher not in gold but in the commodities to jump start the commodities market. If you make the stats better than the random drops, I don’t think it would eliminate farming because if there were greater commodity costs to craft, people would still farm to get the commodities. So to me, its a win-win. Or if someone did not want to farm for commodities but still wanted to craft because its better than the random drops, then the person goes to the AH and stimulates that economy. Again, win-win. Farming for legendaries will still be out there so an expanded pool of items would be in order. Even if the items are similar, we would like a variety of “looks”. Its just cooler that way- I mean who are we kidding.

      On the “look” topic, how about some cosmetic stuff. I am so close to buying a digital copy of SC just for those wings. I think Blizz could make a killing selling some micro transactions for fun type stuff that does not impact the gameplay or perhaps minimally so. Who among us does not want armor that is on fire or some other particle effect? This seems a no-brainer.

      I also second Ivan’s call for banner stuff. It doesnt really mean much in the end but more of it would be cool just for the hell of it.

      This is obviously a short list. D3X obviously needs an act or 2, perhaps a new class [a creature class would be cool], charms/runes would be huge, etc but that goes without saying. And of course the constant patch balancing act that they are doing pretty good with IMO.

      • [quote]Game lobby please. [/quote]

        This, I absolutely LOATH the fact that I can’t go searching through games. It’s pretty much why co-op is a wasteland.

        I also REALLY miss channels with…this is crazy…people in them. 9 people in channels during peak hours? WTF is that. I also miss old trade channels 🙂

        • So basically… we want them to release D3 proper, as opposed to this washed-out donkey turd that is Direblow 3?

          He he he. I will believe it when I see it. The devs couldn’t organise a fart at a curry house.

    4. I am stil lagainst assigning points/stats a la D2. What I would like to see is a reason to stack secondary stats other than VIT. They should offer ways of customizing builds in a significant enough way to make them worthy. Like maybe make a Barb that stacks DEX able to play better as a ranged barb or one stacking INT being able to get faster cooldowns or something. Right now nobody wants INT on their barb for any good reason and it’d be cool if these stats offered interesting playstyle alternatives to get them.

      Overall I believe the xpacks would add tons of cool stuff, just look at what the patches did. There’s certainly great potential. More endgame mechanisms like the Infernal Machine will be awesome.

      • I think this would have been a great idea. Rather than a Barb being purely Str-based, why not have some skills – or, at least, runes – that worked off a secondary stat? That way any bonus to a secondary stat on an item doesn’t seem like a complete waste.

        • Variety is inefficient, as it distracts the player from important stuff like lewtz.

          They need to hardcode skillz so people don’t waste time on them. I waste heaps of time running to and from town. They should staple the stash to my character’s back so it is arms length away at all times. Oh and they need to remove sockets from items, cos the jeweler can be a big time sink when upping gems.

          …And why haven’t they added pandas yet???? Pandas are sooo coool. We are still waiting blizzard.

    5. So they’ll include features stripped from the game earlier in a payed expansion.

      Way to go Bobby, squeeze em!

    6. Seems like you are basically expecting a new game, Flux 🙂 I expect some improvements, sure, but I wouldn’t count on overhaul in itemization and character development, they’ve don’t have enough time to do that, not to mention the will or ability to so something like that.
      Prepare to be disappointed.

      • I’m not expecting all of these, or even most of these. I’m not even sure I want all/most of these. I do hope we get some major changes and varieties to things, but I expect we’ll get more additions than revisions. A lot of these are more here for discussion and conversation than execution, as I’m sure you guys have different/better ideas about a lot of stuff, and by discussing them we’ll see the best ideas gain more traction.

    7. “There is nothing like that sort of skill sharing and character synergy in D3”
      What? Did you play D3?

      There are shouts, mantras AND monster debuffs in the game…

      • Did you play D2? BO and Oak Sage could each double or triple your life. Might, fanat and concentration could each double your damage. Many of the necro curses could completely change a fight.

        Technically there are things like that in D3. I know that, because there is a small icon that appears on my screen when I’m in party with barbs, monks, etc. If it wasn’t for that icon, I could barely tell if I was affected by some party buffs. The effects are so minimal that the OP is right – they are practically non-existent.

        • “There is NOTHING like that sort of SKILL SHARING and CHARACTER SYNERGY in D3”
          Simply not true.
          I know he hates this game but yeah…

      • you are both right to an extent. Yes, there seem to be less direct skill that affect everyone than in D2. Nevertheless they do exist and the fact that they’re not that obvious is usually caused by the players’ lack of initiative to properly utilise them. Usually when there’s another barb in the game with mine, I look at his build and if there are duplicate shouts, I change mine cause I know the other guy couldn’t care less. Similarly, people don’t stick around the Monk’s mantras to take advantage.

        I fell like even though there are LESS coop skills in D3 than in D2, this contributes to the game being more balanced. And still, if you get for example Impunity, Mantra of Healing, Slow Time and Big Bad Voodoo that’s a pretty damn big boost to a single player.

        • Swapping skills in a mp game is useless. The barb will play for all of five minutes before he leaves and any NV you have farmed will be lost as soon as you re-spec again.

          You really couldn’t convince me that you notice a 15% boost to dodge rating, or a 1 sec shield from shared serenity from a monk. The *best* boost is 24% damage bonus from conviction wich allows a DH or wizz to drop an enemy in 1 second instead of 1.5, while the monk hoovers free loot and gets 1 hit in every 10 minutes.

          If you call that balance then please, have an accountant do your tax return this financial year.

          • yh, you present a scenario from a random public game. Obviously what I was talking about is a well-sync’ed team.

            I did not run any statistics to see if my efficiency is improved with the given coop boosts but I’m sure they’d be there. 15% dodge chance or 20% more dmg is exactly that – 15% more doging and 20% more dmg. The difference might not be instantenously observable but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. And it adds up.

            What do you want to see? A monk come in, and all of a sudden everyone being invincible? Someone’s talking about an Oak sage increasing your life by threefold? How is THAT balance? In inferno, I believe monsters get 110% extra life per player. So how would it be balanced if you got 300% just for 1 guy?

            Gimme a break…of course it’s your right to have your own definition of what Diablo should be but I’m quite happy with where things are now and any improvements will just make things better.

            • No, I present a scenario from almost all public games. Had you ever have played any public games, you would know.

              You should not have to run statistics to see an improvement from a buff. A 1 second shield lasts for 1 second… you don’t notice it because the buff is too short to even justify the skill rune. Group buffs add such little benefit that every build must concerntrate on raw DPS (as opposed to buffs or strategy).

              “I’m quite happy with where things are now”

              … Really? Well fanboys will be fanboys.

              What I want to see is a sequel to D2, not this labotomised rubbish.

    8. Re: Crafting

      I would like crafting to be more useful also, but I can see the problems that better crafted items would cause because of the auction house. How about making crafted items BOA?

      • oh, for sure, crafting needs to be way overhauled. I have tons of materials and DO want to craft but the rewards and costs make it just so unattractive that I’d rather be saving up for AH items

      • They botched Crafted, Legendary and Set items by demoting them to an obscene degree of randomization that destroyed their ideal value and desirability. Clearly, these ill-fated randomization ranges were established with the AH in mind.

        So, in my opinion, Crafted items should regain a couple of fixed affixes in addition to the completely random affixes, much like Legendaries are working right now. Legendary and Set items in turn should have much fewer random affixes (max. 1 completely random affix per item) and far tighter or no affix value ranges at all. In order to achieve a healthy AH market for these items, these items should generally be account-bound with the chance to roll ‘Bind on Equip’ as their 1 random affix that flags them as tradeable.

    9. Great article, Flux. The main thing I’m looking for is still what I (and many others) have been requesting for months: I never want to see +STR on a ceremonial knife. Never again.

      Unless they go with the overhaul mentioned above where some amount of STR might matter to a witch doctor. I’m really fine with either, but it seems like a lot easier fix to remove +STR from some array somewhere than come up with a balanced “other stats matter” system.

    10. I’d like to see a skill mastery system to make characters more personalized and unique.

      The idea would be that you can choose certain skills to ‘master’. They permanently occupy one of your skill slots, and in return you get big bonuses in the way of better damage, reduced cost, reduced cool down, additional runes, etc.

      Perhaps, if needed, they could add rare and/or costly re-mastery opportunities as a way to respec. One interesting thing that was done way back in Wizardry on the old Apple computers was that if you wanted your character to change classes/professions then you returned to level one and *aged*. So you couldn’t do that too often or your character got feeble. Perhaps re-mastery could cost you a few levels or age your character (since they are taking time to learn something)?

      • man, i don’t mean to be offensive but when will you get it? The design philosophy with D3 is complete build flexibility and no permanent fixation. While not impossible, it is extremely unlikely they will change this in an xpack or any other update. You will not be able to cement you build without being able to change it, period.

        • The D3 devs have already shown some willingness to return to D2 features that people liked, such as players X/Monster Power. They realize this game sold on reputation and have a lot of unhappy customers. Now they need to win back lots of people if they want to sell an expansion.

          This is the second RPG I’ve spend significant time playing that had free respecs and no skill levels, the first being Guild Wars. In both cases it severely reduced the fun for me.

          A major component of RPGs is to build & customize a character. You may make mistakes, but choices with impact are interesting. Diversity is interesting. Having every Monk instantly be able to have the exact same skills is lame. Having every Barbarian be identical and practically useless without their equipment is lame. Being able to spend weeks as a bow-using Demon Hunter, and then suddenly becoming a master of traps that wields a rusty spoon, is lame.

          Why even have stats, or character classes? For ultimate flexibility, just have every character be of type ‘Character’ with skills like ‘Single Hit with Red Effect’, ‘Multiple Hits with Green Effect’ and ‘Raise Defense’. All armor and weapons can be used by everyone since they are the same. During duels for fun you can exchange characters since, you know, they are the same anyway.

      • I had a similar thought while reading this. What if paragon levels weren’t permanent? What if they had made paragon levels somewhat easier to obtain at low levels (similar to D2’s 1-100 leveling experience) but made them similar to nephalem valor in that if you changed your skills you lost all your paragon levels? Now that would have been interesting!

        Its obviously too late for that idea but perhaps they could incorporate a skill leveling system into the game using a similar method. I think it would be cool if your skills gained slight incremental damage boosts/increased area of effect/decreased cool down/etc the more experience you obtain with the same build. The minute you make a change to your build your skills are reset to their base level. The experience curve could be similar to paragon so that its fairly easy to get the first couple skill levels, but extremely difficult to max them out. I think this would be a fun way to add permanence and a sense of individuality to your character without being overly punishing for wanting to try something new.

    11. The biggest issue that keeps me from playing D3 in anything other than short bursts is how utterly useless 99.9% of the items are. When my inventory is full, gems go on the gem stack, rares get moused over to see all the red numbers, everything gets vendored. I’ve added a handful of gold to the mountain I’ll need for my next AH purchase. Repeat.

      I’d add an item customization component to crafting. Useless stats could be converted (at half value) to useful stats, using crafting materials. Modified items become account-bound. Salvaged components become useful, leveled-up crafters become useful, self-found becomes more viable, and every farming session can be profitable in smaller chunks than X gold towards Y million gold needed for Z gear upgrade.

      I don’t expect this, but a man can dream.

      • Seconded.

        I’d like most crafting recipes to fall into one of three categories:
        1) Low-cost, decent items for leveling characters and fresh 60s. These items are already incredibly cheap on the AH, but the goal would be to familiarize players with the crafting system, give them decent upgrades and make the crafting leveling system not feel like a waste.
        2) Very-high-cost, end-game items. These items wouldn’t typically be best in slot, but would compete with middle-range end-game items, such as 1300 dps Skorns or 1200 dps Chimeras. Perfect rolls would compete with the highest-end items. The goal for these items is to turn trash legendaries and rares into usable items; at a cost of 4+ brimstone per, I imagine these recipes would bring up the AH value of terrible legendaries and bring down the value of middle-of-the-road legendaries — two wins, as far as I’m concerned.
        3) Recipes that would allow players to change item properties — exchanging one affix for some amount of another affix or add sockets, for example. Makes decent items — say a 90 Dex/40 Str/8% crit/40% crit damage glove, for example — into very solid items. I’d probably have this action make the item BoA; no point in flooding the market with high-grade trifectas. (More flooded, I guess.)

    12. I would rather Blizzard to make D2 expansion. Nothing against D3 expansion. I just don’t see myself playing it.

    13. didn’t they say at one time that you would be able to sell your entire character on the AH ?

      maybe that will show up in the xpac

    14. I like the idea of the Ironborn mode. I regretted the very few times I purchased anything from thing from the AH and been playing completely self found since (probably since June/July). One thought I had on revamping the item system is to make better items easier to find (maybe take out/limit some of the crappy modifiers possible) but give every item a BOA tag that you can remove through the blacksmith. When you get the tag removed, though, all random stats get re-rolled (or maybe modifier gets removed entirely?) which would help to reduce high volumes of top quality items flooding the AH. This would also allow drop rates for legendaries and sets to be increased a bit as well.

    15. they could at least ease a bit the feeling that we’re playing “empty”, meaningless characters. Let’s face it: in D2 the characters had skills, they could do the killing by themselves (letting stuff such as naked runs possible). In D3, items have power and the characters are just meaningless recipients of items. Build variety is just an illusion because their graphics may vary, but the mechanics are the same regardless of character. Approx. 70% of runes are useless. I want my character to matter and character-oriented choices to matter. Any step towards fixing this for me is valid.

    16. fix crafting by making it roll far better and more affixes than is found outside of legendaries, the only downside? make everything account bound.

      ironborn is essentially no AH/GH ladder , ill bed ladder will likely return one way or another in the future.

    17. New Feature:

      The Black Market

      A small hub of in-game NPC’s that are extremely hard to find. (Probably at the end of an underground maze or something. They are NPCs that sells Legendaries (yes, Legendaries) that becomes available after completing extremely hard/painstakingly long series of quests/accomplishments.

      For example: NPC Charsi sells a super awesome 2-handed mace that has unique animation effects after you have proven your worth to her. You must finish finish the Hammerfall Dungeon at MP10 without dying once, without a follower, without repairing your gear and without using a potion even once.

      NPC Gheed sells the Charm of Extreme Luck that gives you Gold Find x 1000% only after killing 1000 Treasure Goblin without any weapon equipped.

      Now I know what you’re saying, what difference does this make from achievements? None. But that’s the point. At the very least make achievements fun and make the rewards actually rewarding. Instead of that sparkling banner, integrate the achievements into the actual game.

      New Feature: Masteries

      The different classes will now be able to actually spec into a skill or perks that they like. If a Wizard wants the new, super awesome end-game Fire skill, she must find this NPC that teaches it to her after passing some sort of test. She is now called an Embermage (or whatever)that can never change her mastery into the different element. Same goes with other classes. A Barbarian that can use some sort of Skyrim-esque shout or a Barbarian that can transform into invulnerable iron for 3 seconds? Take your pick. The beauty of this is that you can get an “identity” without relying to skill-trees. You can still mix and match your abilities, but you can only pick one mastery and it is yours forever.

      New Feature:

      Never-ending Dungeon.

      Exactly how it sounds like. A dungeon with never ending levels. Or just 100. The challenge is to reach the end without ever logging out. If you log -out, you start at level 1. There are no checkpoints or waypoints either. The difficulty of the monsters increases as you go deeper. (Inception!) Reach the end and you get a big reward. You don’t get Paragon, XP, Gold and any item-drops. You don’t use the dungeon for farming anything. You use it to challenge yourself and for bragging rights. How fast can you clear the dungeon? Oh yeah, there is a huge ticking clock at the corner of the screen. Everything is timed.

      New Area:


      Just a huge-ass open space that can everyone can jump into and just trade, chat or do whatever. It will probably be laggy as hell but just imagine, a place where all 100 Barbarians are together? Also, go outside the town and it is a free for all player kill area. 🙂

    18. Well on patch or at the X1, they better fix some serious stuff.

      *2H weapons are mostly useless, youll find 700 dps polearms. Ive never even used a polearm due to they’ve been USELESS.
      *Magic find, how about giving it some use? Like it used to matter in D2.
      *4-player party, how about giving a chance for 6-player group. The 4-player party just feels inadequate.
      *Monster packs, some could have a uniq/set marker on top their head for granting 80-100% chance of dropping a uniq/set item. This would of course be a very rare occasion, more rare than goblin appearance.
      *Shields, god damn shields!!! Id love them on D2, now they are totally USELESS in D3. Just make Stormy boost to critical chance + critical dmg mods, and all other variety aswell.
      *OVERALL item check and make them feel USABLE, really! Just checkout the planning on D2 and those items, they had a different gameplan for every item.
      *Mystic, she must be brought back.
      *Levels, make them alot more longer and alot more variety of tilesets. The regular ones we now have are boring except A1 tileset on Cathedral.
      *Moar itamz! There are alot of items that are not yet implemented (set & uniq)
      *New gems/runes, most defenately needed here for variety of gameplanning.
      *Followers! Fix them please, they are USELESS. They really need alot more skills and/or stabilizing their way of keeping em alive and actually doing something useful.
      *New class, bring back Druid 🙂
      *Higher class level, the 60 just doesnt feel right. Bump it up to 70, and make every level be really hard target to go after for with extra increments of stats.
      *LORE, just fix the god damn lore will ya. Its quite horrible right now, its like spitting in the face of old devs.

      That pretty much gathers my wish list, thanks! 🙂

    19. This may be technically impossible but what if each piece of gear kept a log of each player that has possessed the item, who the item originally dropped for, how much the item was traded for each time, etc. Basically make the history of each item in the game much, much richer. Similar to the uniqueness of the old single player trading community here at diablo incgamers.

      This wouldn’t prove whether or not an item is, “legit” so to speak but it would go a long way towards lending credence to an items credibility.

    20. I would go crazy with joy if they would boost the level randomization, gave us many more item stats and would merge the AH and the chat channels to something like a marketplace, where you could put down a customizable avatar of yours to sell your stuff. Kind of like the marketplace in Ragnarok online, but refined and with a NPC who can search items of your desire.

      It will never happen though, but i can dream.

    21. bleh, i’ll buy the expansion if only to play some more AH tycoon. Blizzard seems way too egotistical to implement the major changes needed to make the game less WOW linear/progression. I had faith in blizz when initially the d3 website began posting legendaries etc. pre-release and everyone complained about how bland and lackluster it all was and blizz responded that in no way did those items reflect the actual ready to ship itemization/stats etc. Lo and behold exactly what they denied was what we got.

      So long as the current devs are in charge they will continue to blow my mind with shitty design decisions and horrendous conflicting statements of how they want the game to be played and how the game actually works. I wanted and still want so much for this game to be all it should, but i have zero faith in the capabilities of the current head devs working on this game and expandsion/s. While the game itself isn’t bad, its still quite fun, its beyond shallow compared to its predecessor and find myself continually disappointed with many changes made.

      I know a lot of people are fans of the paragon system, new legendaries, and MP lvl and I agree they were steps in the right direction…buuuut….In the end they were huge changes that were still missed opportunities and relatively shallow. Take paragon system. It’s bland, boring, and a huge opportunity missed. First of all it’s a pretty stupid grind. hundreds of hours for what… some extra stats, a cap on MF/GF.. waste of time.
      That was a great chance to really make those hundreds of hours matter. PUT RUNE RANKS BACK IN!!!!! every few levels you can put x rank in x rune. Boom, customization and power. It’s painfully apparent how simple they want this game to be.

    22. As much as I hate to say it, I honestly think that for most of you here, including myself, this game is beyond redemption. Period. Realize, if you want more actual variety, cool MP public experience, meaningful choices, semi-permanence or what not, this game has not been done for you. That’s right. This is not for you. It hurts, I know, but it time to get honest about it. Peace.

    23. Before they even release the expansion there’s two things I want vanilla D3 to fix: add PvP and fix crafting. I personally don’t care about PvP, but it was supposed to be a launch feature and it’s still nowhere in sight, and that doesn’t sit well with me. Also, I’d like them to make crafting worthwhile. I have a feeling the expansion will have a major crafting overhaul, but I really hope we don’t have to wait however many years to get a crafting system worth using.

    24. Though I doubt it will happen, I would love the areas of the game to be much more random as they were in previous versions of the game. I know there will be some that like to know where things are, but I always felt like part of the fun of the series was that every time I went to a given area, it felt much more like a new experience than it does now. There are a lot of players skipping the events or random areas now because they are more focused on advancing through the storyline as they level. What good is that randomness if it isn’t being experienced by the player more times than not?

    25. How about bringing back rune lvls? They had a separate animation for each skill alone then one for each lvl of each rune, thats a lot of wasted animations. It would also give people a way to make their skills more powerful which this game is drastically lacking. How to implement it idk, could just be they lvl up as u use them, or when u lvl up and or paragon up u get +1 pt to assign to w/e rune you want… eventually u would upgrade them all so you wouldnt even really lose the free spec thing by the end and at least their would be a little more customization for our chars for a while.

    26. Please, make some end-game content, cause running all the time the same locations over and over and over, thats just boring! Something like dungeon finder in WOW, with numbers of various dungeons/locations. That would be a nice step forward and a compensation for those who dont want to play the future PVP.

    27. The only thing interesting to craft are hellfire rings. The are BOA, have some fixed properties, and require drops from unique content.

      To boost crafting in general, there need to be new recipes with fixed stats that are unique for that item slot. Crafting needs to offer items that are different from rares and potentially best in slot for a character class, and better yet, best for a specific build. Make the items very powerful and boa – now everyone becomes interested in crafting.

    28. I really liked the ironborne idea. It’s not gonna happen tho. Blizzard needs to promote their shitty AH.

    29. I wont repeat good points that was already mentioed. Just few more thoughts:

      1. How about making really interesting mini-bosses/rares/uniques with unique abilities, animations, textures, visuals and models? Unique drops from them(maybe special crafting mats) in addition to a regular drop would help as well. It will be much more interesting to clear random dungeons and whole maps with such change.

      2. More secrets: secret areas, secret quests, hidden bosses, hidden treasures, etc.

      3. 2 new chars! – 1 wont be enough.

      4. Remove in-game cut-scenes(or at least make the option to sort of turn them off). They should not interrupt gameplay – make them more fluid, they can be done on the background(as King Leoring revival scene). while scene are played every one is invulnerable for those few seconds but u can run/prepare not loosing focus.

      4. More random events all over the game(in all acts). We need lots of Improvements to Act3-4 as well! Siege is when monsters braking defenses, come in hordes/packs from walls, through holes in walls and floor. Flying on mounts and stuff – make it more fluid and immersive, because right now most of the monsters simply already standing and waiting for our arrival.

      5. Good low lvl uniques!

      6. More items that will affect skills.

      7. IronMode
      – No (or very limited) access to AH
      – Bring back some of the old Inferno difficulty(soul leashers for example was a really scary encounter, and it was fun! – now they cant do a shit =_=) and give us 7 skill slots instead of 6 to overcome increased challenges

    30. I would like an extra channel, a pay to post channel. For every post you make you pay 100 or 1000 gold. All the gold or maybe half of the gold should be split among the other players on the channel.

    31. Since all the Prime evils are dead… who will be the prime enemy? Adria? Will Tahameth return, maby Anu? Maby tyrael will begin searching for Malthael. It would be intressting if they would bring up some really old lore charater.

    32. I just want my necromancer. Give me back my necromancer with pretty graphics, with lots of skeletons to play with, and I will gladly pay full price for whatever comes out.

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