Diablo 3 PvP was available on the PTR as soon as the v1.07 patch went live for testing, and plenty of fans leapt in and had a shot. Just one shot, quite often, since the system seems to be functionally-identical to PvM, but pointed at each other. There are no allowances made or balances included, and battles are fast and lethal, with the irresistible force of 500,000 DPS attacks meeting the very moveable object of 50,000 hps characters, fast-hitting stun lock skills that can’t be escaped, game-breaking insta-kill builds, and more.
Not everyone’s getting glass cannon one-shotted, and some chars with big armor, life regen, and blocking can take a huge amount of damage before succumbing, but things aren’t exactly balanced, on the whole. That appears to have been Blizzard’s plan, though it’s unclear how much this “plan” differs from throwing out a quick and easy stopgap.
It might work, if the devs pay attention and provide support, making nerfs and tweaks and buffs as needed. Still, I’m surprised they didn’t have *some* framework for that right from the start. Yes, the “T” is in “PTR” for a reason, and Jay’s RIP PvP post told us to expect a very raw system… but what were they doing all last year anyway? Any system of PvP, whether Team Deathmath or FFA or Capture the Flag, had to have included some damage/CC reduction mechanics, and I expected we’d see some evidence of that right from the start.
Some other players did too.
Really? I am so disappoint.
Lylirra: We implemented dueling to provide interested players a way to battle each other — no objectives, no scoring, just Nephalem against Nephalem. It was something the community has been asking for, and with additional PvP modes still in development we honestly didn’t have a good reason to keep saying no.
Dueling isn’t intended to be balanced, though, so don’t expect a fair fight. That’s not what dueling is about. There will probably be some match-ups in which you’re one-shotted (this is a big reason why we have no permanent Hardcore deaths at the moment). There will also probably be some match-ups in which you one-shot other players. Your heroes are designed to kill things quickly and without mercy, and in this case those “things” just happen to be other heroes.
We don’t anticipate that everyone will like dueling. That’s fine. While some players might really love it and find it a cool challenge, we’re okay if most people don’t make it an integral part of their gaming experience. The system exists to give you the opportunity to obliterate your opponents in an environment designed explicitly for that purpose, but that’s it — and we feel it achieves that goal pretty well.
Now, we’re still open to your feedback and will be keeping a close on eye on it throughout the PTR process. We’re not opposed to making changes if they benefit the game; in fact, that’s what a PTR is all about. In return, we just ask that you keep in mind the scope of what dueling is supposed to be, and that you give the system a fair shot before jumping to conclusions or making sweeping requests for buffs/debuffs/etc. Explore new builds, try out different tactics, and then let us know what you think. If we make changes, we want them to be informed, and that tends to work out best if the feedback you give us is also informed (i.e. not just a judgment based on only a few minutes of gameplay). 🙂
A good answer there, and after some thought, I agree with it. Better they gave us a totally open system, without any artificial constraints or controls to start with, since those would have been an immediate modification on player behavior. Just throw down the sandbox and let people play in it… providing that Bliz is actually watching and staying involved, so that after some weeks when there are obviously unbalanced or unfair things, they can make some tweaks based on more data and knowledge, rather than just their pre-game suspicions.
Click through for a couple of more blue posts on PvP issues, including maps, dueling vs. team play, and more.
Lylirra: Like I said, we’re not opposed to making changes, even ones along the lines of a universal damage debuff while in the dueling zone. The point of the PTR is to get feedback from players so we can make those kinds of tuning adjustments if necessary.
We’ve only got a few hours of feedback at the moment, though, and we’d like to get a better picture of what players’ general experience has been before we start talking about possible changes. For example, I’m betting that a lot of players are still dueling in their farming builds, rather than something that’s been refined and tailored for PvP-style combat — which can make a difference. We also want to make sure that the people who are providing feedback understand what dueling is supposed to be (i.e. not a place you go to for super balanced battles).
May I ask why on earth did it take 8 months to release such an embarassment of a pvp mode? Seriously, you guys could have given this during the release… It’s obvious very little time and effort was put into this system, yet it took this long to give the community such a simple pvp mode?? what a head scratcher.
Lylirra: We didn’t spend 8 months on dueling. In fact, we had no plans to add dueling to the game until very recently, and that was both based on the community’s consistent feedback as well as our decision to postpone the release of any additional PvP modes. You can read more about that here.
Everyone’s who’s given the issue of Hardcore dueling any serious thought can see why a perma-death *only* system would never work, but might we see some option for that someday, even though it would virtually never be used?
One of my greatest motivations to play D2, aside from wealth acquisiton and ladder climbing was to try and permanently kill other peoples characters.
Lylirra: Don’t read into that too much. We always tend to ground statements in a particular moment in time. 🙂
We currently have no plans to allow permanent death for Hardcore characters in the dueling world. That said, we’re not really keen on the word “never,” and we may make changes depending on player feedback and what we feel would provide the best user experience (something which can change as the game evolves).
Another post asked about the map layouts, and got replies on that and other issues:
Lylirra: The world that you play through normally wasn’t designed for player vs. player combat, so it doesn’t translate well to dueling. There are just too many variables that could wreak havoc during a duel: non-PvP friendly geometry, events, scripted sequences, monsters, level-up effects, portals, etc.
For example: What if someone duels a player while they have Leah (or another hireling) as a follower? What if someone accidentally clicks on an NPC and opens up a dialogue window or a vendor screen? What happens when someone transitions through a portal or to a new zone? Sure, we could try to make accommodations for dueling to assist with each and every of these situations, but not only would those changes require a significant time and resource investment, they’d also have to be flawlessly integrated into the main game world. It’s a lot of work for a feature that not a lot of players will see or really take advantage of.
Thematically, we agree – it’d would be cool if players could fight wherever they wanted. But having an environment that actually supports PvP combat, was specifically designed for that purpose, and doesn’t interfere with the rest of the world is much more important when it comes to how the actual gameplay feels. This is one of the main reasons why we created a separate zone for dueling.
The reason you don’t understand it is because it wasn’t. These maps were created back when there was a plan for more than dueling. Better to get some use out of them then let them go to complete waste.
Lylirra: Not exactly. The Scorched Chapel is an entirely new map, not one we retrofitted or otherwise re-purposed. (Also, just to clarify: there’s only 1 dueling map, but it features 4 different areas.)
As for why we didn’t use any of the maps we previously designed for Team Deathmatch? Similar to our concerns with the normal game world, those maps weren’t designed for non-team based play. It might not seem all that different, and you might be thinking “Who cares! It supports PvP combat, so just let us use those maps!”, but many of the design elements (like where barriers and lanes are located, and their respective lengths) aren’t quite right for a 4-person Free-For-All and would ultimately make the experience not-so great.
In other words, level design is a little more intricate then you might think. 🙂
Is it going to be like WoW where you right click someone’s portrait and select “duel”?
Lylirra: There aren’t any plans for it, and here’s why:
One of the big goals with the current design for dueling (in terms of where it exists and how you get there) is to limit opportunities for griefing. By having a separate map that can only be accessed by speaking with an NPC, we’re able to give players a means to beat each other up, but without a way to really harass anyone.
We definitely considered the right-click > duel option, but there’s a downside to it. If we allowed players to just initiate duels by right-clicking on a player’s portrait or in the Friends List, that feature could and probably would be used to grief people by pulling them into duels at arbitrary moments. Heck, even if this system required that the invited player interact with some sort of confirmation dialogue before a duel could be begin, someone still could theoretically spam the bejeebus out of the invite system and use the dialogue feature to interrupt other players’ demon slaying fun time. =/
We’ve heavily talked about adding NPCs in each Act hub, rather than just having the one in New Tristram to give players more flexibility, and there is/will be a dedicated PvP channel to help would-be duelers find other willing participants. Even so, we’ll be paying close attention to your feedback from the PTR, so please let us know about your experiences and what you feel could be improved.
How many of you guys have gotten onto the PTR and tried out the dueling? I haven’t yet, but perhaps today. In fact this is probably the best time ever for dueling, since no one really knows what they’re doing yet and you might have a chance without totally devoting yourself to the PvP project.
I didn’t care that much about the plans for D3’s Team Deathmath — 1v1 would have been fine with me — but I was very interested in a PvP system integrated into the game, with arena combat and auto-matchmaking. That way I figured I could just hop in every now and then for a break from farming and get slotted against another player doing the same thing, and we’d have a basically even battle. Amateur vs. Amateur, and if one of us was much better than the other then the system would adjust and seed us against someone better or worse next time.
Alas, now we seem to be just getting the D2 system over again. It should still be fun to throw down with your friends, if you can construct some even matchups, but very soon the public dueling games (if such things can ever exist in the no-game-lobby, no-named-game B.net 2.0?) will probably come to repeat what we saw in D2, where you either duel full time, or you’re helpless meat against the highly specialized characters who do.