Diablo 3 Forum Watch #97: Spiky Damage is a Diablo Feature?

A Diablo 3 forum watch for this fine Friday, with posts from our Diablo 3 community forum.


  • First up, RyTEK deserves a shout out for his ongoing Tyrael tattoo. It’s real, spectacular, and very large, as well as in one of the most painful areas of the body.
  • A second post comes from Boglav who asks for your dumbest Diablo 3 character names. I’m ashamed to say that I had to contribute two of mine, despite spending months pre-D3 idly speculating on the cool names I’d baptize my heroes with, this time around.
  • The main course though, comes from Fizoo, who takes exception to Blizzard’s stated goals of the Diablo 3 health system, in a thread provocatively entitled “I don’t think Wyatt Cheng understands D3.” The gist of his thesis, which has already attracted several dozen replies in a lengthy thread:

    [Wyatt’s] going on and on about how he wishes your healthpool “mattered”. He’s talking about how if players could do less damage, how to regularly see your healthpool at 50% and having that matter to you even in endgame, and if fights lasted longer, and how to basically rebuild the Diablo franchise around those principles.

    I’m sorry, but that’s NOT Diablo. All of that he just described is MICRO, micromanaging your fights. Diablo is about MACRO, macromanagement of the fight. You should be a field general. A typical Diablo fight should be about the game throwing 1345412353124 monsters at you, all of them easy to kill in THEORY, but the swarm, the pure numbers, the directions they come at you, the speed at which they ZOOOOOOOM in on you, is what makes the challenge. Likewise, they should be able to kill you easily if you screw up.

    ALL of Diablo I was like this. The standard gameplay tactic in Diablo I was that you would move too close to a SWARM of demons, more than you could possibly handle. You’d have to retreat to a chokepoint, such as a doorway, to funnel them through in limited numbers or one at a time, to handle the encounter.

    Now I’m not saying we should go back to doorway chokepoints specifically. D2 offered new variations on it. D2 had monster generators (resurrectors) that could swarm you over if you aren’t paying attention. Sometimes it just threw 133243234251142 monsters at you in an open field with no chokepoints (the cow level). Other times it put them at exit to a staircase, good luck handling it! (The A3 tome quest).

    But Diablo is about getting more than you can handle, things that can kill you FAST, and managing the swarms that come at it.

    What Cheng just described in the interview I listened to completely moves away from that core gameplay mechanic. He’s talking about monsters that don’t do much damage, WoW-like fights, hitpoint management…..ugh

    To be pedantic, obviously Wyatt Cheng “understands” Diablo 3, since he’s one of the chief architects of it. What Fizoo means is, “Wyatt Cheng’s design goals for Diablo 3 disagree with my opinion of how a Diablo game should work.” And that’s certainly point that can be debated. Wyatt spoke extensively about the health system last week, so check that out to refresh your memory.

    Taking his comments and those of the poster above, I think we’re all in agreement that Diablo games should throw huge hordes of monsters at you. The question is how dangerous they should be, and how players should be able to react to and attempt to survive them. I’m a fan of the Diablo 3 objective of lessening the “spiky” damage, and not just because I play only Hardcore now, but perhaps others don’t agree? Do you wish D3 was more like the D1 and D2 system of “you’re at 100% health or you meet the 1/1000 MSLE-type threat and perhaps die in one second?” Or do you like the idea of more gradual health drain combined with fewer options for instant health refill, and death being something that comes over a few seconds of poor play/luck, rather than instantly or not at all?

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15 thoughts on “Diablo 3 Forum Watch #97: Spiky Damage is a Diablo Feature?

  1. Diablo 1 had enemies kill you in a few hits.

    Diablo 2 had enemies kill you in a few hits.

    Why reinvent the wheel?

    The problem isn’t spike damage, but rather spike difficulty. In D1 if you walked around the wrong corner you get hit by Plaguewrath and 20 minions all rapid fire spitting at you and likely instant die.

    D2… MSLE, Gloom hordes, …

    Because the overall difficulty is so inconsistent, one of the following must be true:

    You can deal with the nasty encounters. The vast majority of the game is trivial.
    You can’t. Most of the game is difficult, you instant explode when you are trapped at corner by Plaguewrath.

    If there were less of a gap between least and most difficult encounters we wouldn’t have this discussion, but the problem is on a larger scale than just “You land on turret, die.”

    If everything consistently hit hard people would just build/play accordingly and not care. If everything consistently didn’t hit hard you’d never die because if nothing else you could easily wait out the 10 second logout timer, something that will almost certainly deeds you now in any situation you’d consider trying it.

    • I will be updating my forum thread as soon as I get the shading and fill done, which will be within the next 2 months. And yeah, penis feet until shaded 😀

  2. It reminds of a pal who played nethack. Just upon giving the Yendor amulet to his god, “a gnome reads a scroll of death, you are dead”. I think these rare instant deaths are often in video games. To solve this, they could make inferno with only champions and elites. This could be fun.

  3. Buy yah. Spiky damage.

    World of Warcraft is like you vs 1 mob. You beat on each other for 10 years using 20 different skills and then one of you dies.

    Diablo should be the opposite. Everything, including you, has low HP relative to the damage output. Diablo should be a huge frenzy of activity with things exploding on your screen all over the place. You should feel the RUSH surge through your body as you dodge death again and again.

    Can you survive?

  4. I don’t think I played the same game as anyone else here. D1 mana shields and instant mana pots made you immortal. D2 orb sorcs and full rejuvs made you immortal. D3 spin2win barbs never get hit, so they make you immortal. The game has never been about challenge, it’s been about sleeping through the same grindy parts for weeks to get the slot machine payout. D3 just has crappier payouts.

    • You should try playing with me sometime. You’ll see the game totally differently. No sitting back hiding scared sleepwalking thru the game. Get in there, right into that pack of mobs and kill kill kill haha.

      Except for those stupid d3 barbs. Don’t even play that. That’s a broken class.

  5. Use a shield if damage comes too fast? Seriously, shields slow the game down considerably. It makes the game boring though.

  6. QUOTE

    Use a shield if damage comes too fast?  Seriously,  shields slow the game down considerably.  It makes the game boring though.

    True. Make the shield barb only!

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