Diablo 3 Skill Nerf/Change Theories + Inferno Quests

Two interesting posts from the developers tonight. The first is a nice bit of news about quests in Inferno, which will begin awarding experience in v1.08. Currently quests in Inferno (or on any difficulty level once your character reaches level 60) award gold, but do not award experience.

They dont give exp towards paragon so they offer zero rewards. Why even have them at all when they dont give you anything?
Vaeflare: We know that every little bit of XP helps, so coming soon in patch 1.0.8, level 60 players who complete quests will earn experience towards Paragon levels.

In bigger but less imminent news, Travis Day shared some thoughts about the problems with players figuring ways to make DiabloWikiArchon and DiabloWikiWrath of the Berserker last indefinitely (at least on levels with high monster density).

WotB is so effective that anyone that’s not using it is wasting time and missing out on the benefits of higher difficulties. It’s fair to say that WotB is a requirement for all Barbarians. Quickly sprinting from mob to mob while ignoring all items that drop with the exception of legendaries isn’t everyones preferred play style. I know it’s not mine.
Travis Day: I have a love hate relationship with Wrath and Archon for that matter. This is a topic that I felt I should at least comment on since it’s come up on many occasions. There is no fundamental flaw with having a 2 minute cooldown ability that transforms your character and is really powerful, the problem is when it becomes a forgone conclusion that these AWESOME abilities are up 100% of the time and instead of being excited that they are up you are annoyed when they fall off. We have talked about what if anything we want to do with these abilities in the long term. I will say we have no short term plans to change them but we don’t like that they aren’t fulfilling their original purpose which is to provide a really awesome button that mixes up the tempo of combat for a small window of time.

Whatever you do, I hope you don’t penalize those of us that use it as intended, that is people that just use it for the occasional boost and not a permanent boost.
Travis Day: I want to make this point clear. Wrath is an awesome ability, when the game first launched players used it the way it was designed to be used which was as a huge, temporary, power boost to kill a hard champ or fight a boss. The problem stems from the ability to keep it up 100% of the time. Any future change that we would consider making to either this or Archon would be focused on making these not a 100% uptime abilities. So yes as was stated above Wrath isn’t the problem, Thrive on Chaos and the assist duration extending mechanic of Archon are the problems.

Archon lasts 15 seconds with a 120 second cooldown and grants a 1 second extension for each enemy killed. WotB lasts 15 seconds with a 120 second cooldown, and the DiabloWikiThrive on Chaos rune adds 1 second for every 25 Fury gained. From the game design and what Travis says, it seems that the devs figured players would be able to add maybe 15 or 20 seconds to those awesomely powerful effects, and that they would function as a special burst of damage/survival used only in special occasions.

I assume the debate is about theory and not practicality, since it wouldn’t be hard to fix either of those skills. Just cap their maximum duration at 30 or 45 seconds. At that point they’d simply shut off, even if the character was pulling enough kills/Fury to keep them going. This would give players with specialized gear/tactics a bonus to the time the skills were in effect, while not allowing that bonus to last indefinitely.

There would be something of an adjustment period, as players with billions in gear would find themselves overkilling for an effect that was no longer possible, and would be forced to either sit and wait for their cooldowns to expire since they’re built only to play with Archon/WotB in effect. (And you know most of them would spend those 60+ sec cooldowns typing vitriolic posts in the B.net forums.)

Thus I can’t see this change happening (if/when I hope it does) until an expansion, when the entire game economy and item system can be shaken up. Players who don’t want that big change and the devaluing to their gear/build can just stay in D3V. Everyone’s happy. Everyone wins!

Update: since I can, here’s a vote. Let’s measure community opinion etc etc.

Should Archon and WotB be nerfed in duration?

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34 thoughts on “Diablo 3 Skill Nerf/Change Theories + Inferno Quests

  1. Solution: Add Archon and Berserker classes, give them a set of skills and runes, and bring up the difficulty so they’re balanced without toning down their awesomeness. In fact, forget the regular five classes and their quest for shiny items and just make it a game about a pure magic guy and a pure fury guy.

    And we’ll have hookers and blackjack. . .

  2. And again…whats the problem? You ignoring items and using WotB all the time or having a full inventory of legendaries (no SUPER rares, neither blues/whites/GREYS…legendaries legendaries eh) and not a single one being an upgrade neither sellable on the AH?

  3. Yes, just put a maximum duration of 40 secs or so on these abilities would do it nicely I think.

    DWW barbs are awesome even without WoTB tbh and Wizards have the ability to reduce CD’s drastically with CM, Evocation and a nice rune effect called Pure Power on Archon. With these abilities a specialized wizard should be able to get the time of Archon to a mere few seconds.

    Now we have a slightly less OP but still awesome barb build, and a totally awesome archon build that requires specialization to be able to pull of.

    Problem solved.

  4. I’d also mention that WotB:ToC makes you immune to control/hold/freeze effects. Nothing can stop you but walls, and because you are constantly sprinting even that is hardly a problem.
    I like both the perma archon and the ww sprint build, it’s just that I do not have the necessary gear level for it.

  5. I think its funny how people care so much about a charter they don’t use or understand… If they had a charter such as a barb or wizard they wouldn’t want this kind of nerf… So I don’t see what the deal is with people trolling. Srry your charters arnt as good but in a way what if me or others found something we didn’t like or though was OP on that charter and waned it to be changed you guys wouldn’t like it very much. Plus how many buffs has a barb gotten since the game came out? Hardly any every charter but the barb has had a big buff but the barb… So if you guys can’t handle how the game is set up I guess its time for a new game or get better. Thank you for your time.

    • Nobody’s trolling I think. Besides the fact that in D3 there is very little to understand other than dps and a selected few other numbers. Most people here understand both skills/builds and even use them themselves. My mediocre wizard hasn’t yet 100% uptime but I’ll get there, it is a build that works well and I see nothing wrong in using it. Same goes for the perma WotB. It is just that those two skills/runes are so solid that they put the class on a higher level compared to other classes which do not have access to skills with comparable advantages.

  6. option 4 all they way. Leave the current builds as they are because they work and ppl love them. I personally don’t play WW style. Latest build I was playing was Frenzy+Rend.

    I would love for them to make Call of the Ancients useful, I cannot believe that this skill has been neglected since release (almost a year now ).

  7. Eh, I hate to be the one to bring this up, but there wasa blizz post at some point with a dev specifically saying they loved the idea of a “breakpoint” where archon form became permanent. If there had been some grand design document outlining how every ability should work (and I’ve seen zero evidence that such a thing exists), the fixes for skills not working as intended should have happened long ago. Now, there’s nothing to be gained from nerfing popular mechanics like this except more ill will from a community already plagued with it.

    Buff other specs to be as efficient/fun/playable as the powerhouses at equivalent gear and MP levels, then work out other weak points in character building.

    • Yeah, I think it was Wyatt Cheng (I might be blanking on the name). I don’t think the problem is the existence of a breakpoint per se, but rather the fact that the game is now at the stage where reaching it has become easy enough that too many people are doing it.

      From a theorycrafting perspective, breakpoints can be a lot of fun – they create a definite limit that you can plan and build your character around, giving you a sense of accomplishment when you eventually succeed. However, it can also go the other way where the breakpoint is so easy to hit, and makes such a big difference in terms of power, that it feels like it’s the only way to play, and I think that’s what’s happened here.

  8. I say they add skills trees with a point system! It sounds innovative, and it just might be crazy enough to work.

  9. I wonder what they were smoking when they designed Archon if the intension was to use it vs hard champs. It’s a trash mob skill.
    There is nothing wrong with WOTB. The “problem” is that Battle Rage-into the frey generates too much fury. I think it should be possible to make a barb that OP, but it should be harder than just getting enough crit chance from gear.

  10. Before release I always thought ALL chars would be given a kind of “Nephalem Transformation” skill in their 60’s. That would have been awesome. They must nerf both AND add a matching skill to other classes.

    Flux, your idea of capping their uptime is the perfect solution. Simple and effective. Anything else would open up other loopholes.

  11. Yeah, no crap characters shouldn’t be CC immune almost 100% of the time. Must have taken a ton of hard thinking to come to that crazy conclusion. Meanwhile, fake passive bore skills are mostly the norm (Battle Rage, Wizard Armors, Mantras, etc) as well as other gimmicky crap that completely misses the point of WHY these skills were constrained in the first place. You’re not supposed to be able to perma-freeze everything, run PAST everything, or never die. If you can do those things, the game is broken. And yes, that means Diablo 2 was broken. Laughably so.

    • The game and all its system are a tool-chest. Here: all your tools, with all these constrains, the item system and all skills and passives available, create the most effective thing. *challenge excepted* Person comes up with CM build. By utilizing AP on crit to its fullest, the WW rune on tornado can feed itself. It becomes free of cost and hits and crits like crazy thus harvesting the benefits of CM to it’s fullest as well. Obviously AP on crit was never supposed to allow you to be able to forgo the resource spend-and-receive system and only have a spender on your hotbar, but that’s what happened. People found a way to use a system that was supposed to supplement resource regeneration into something that completely negates the idea of having a resource.

      There’s something to be said about the feeling of breaking a system designed by professional game programmers. Look at D2’s stamina system. End game the system is 100% dead. It’s utterly destroyed and broken. It mines as well not have existed in the first place. To the player the idea that they’ve broken as system and surpassed designed limits is exhilarating. ‘How badass is my character that designers never foresaw me do this?’

      Bottom line is: if you’re going to give as all these interesting tools to toy around with and we eventually find the secret formula to make things work at maximum capacity, you making it impossible, or ‘fixing’ it is just a dick move. The journey to make something as effective as possible is the metagame to this kind of game. I’d hate to live in a world where all build are 100% balanced and all work as designed. That’s just boring. There’s nothing to strive for if you know everything calculates out to the same benefit in the end.

      • And it’s boring if you know you’ve already won before you even load up the game. There are no secret builds anymore. Game breaking tricks spread faster than next month’s issue of GamePro (RIP). How special is it if everyone copies you immediately? And why wouldn’t a build that ignores crowd control, is almost impossible to kill, and dishes out insane damage on top of it all, be copied ad infinitum? Breaking the game breaks it for everyone, not just the clever gamer who tweaks a spreadsheet.

        • Define “won” in the context of a Diablo game. If by “won” you mean “I won’t spend half an hour trying to clear trash mobs on one sublevel of a single dungeon, after which my chances at finding something decent to reward my efforts are about the same as winning a lottery I didn’t buy a ticket for” then yeah, I’d like to know I’d won before I log in.

          Diablo 2 allowed players to overpower the game’s content through a combination of character level, skill/stat selection, and gear. It also offered skill/build diversity and an incredibly rewarding item system. People played Diablo 2 forever (many still do) and loved it. Contrast that with Diablo 3 which offers less than a handful of worthwhile skills, an itemization system that feels more like punishment than reward, and a strictly (if poorly) controlled game balance to ensure that nothing is ever too strong, too good, too efficient. The result is constant complaining and controversy.

      • “Look at D2’s stamina system. End game the system is 100% dead. It’s utterly destroyed and broken. It mines as well not have existed in the first place.”

        no, the stamina system is awesome
        the lack of stamina is something you have to overcome
        its called character growth
        you start out as a weak character who can’t even run for 2 screens, but as you level up you also become stronger, you can run non-stop
        that’s one of he things that made D2 awesome, the sense of feel of becoming stronger
        it’s something TL2 and D3 lack

  12. I’ve played all wizard builds and I love only archon. It’s only annoying that you need to quit it to recast skills, nerf archon and I probably quit wizard. Wotb barb is not for me, I like picking item. I wonder what’s next, maybe they would like to nerf my TR monk to 30s or double spirit cost?

    What’s the point in destroying the funniest builds?

  13. Good idea, let’s make the Wizard and the Barb suck as much as the WD and the Monk. Then all we need is a good nerf to the DH and there’ll be no reason why anyone should play this game at all anymore.

    What they should do is add the rune effect that extends the duration of WoTB and Archon to the default version of the skills when they’re unlocked, and come up with a new rune. Then get to work on fixing the other classes.

  14. I think the only question that really matters is this: if things like perma-Wrath/Archon are “game breaking” or take the fun out of the game as some claim, then why are they so popular? Given a choice to play the game with or without those abilities most players are choosing to play with them. The logical thing would be to identify what is appealing about those abilities and work toward spreading the love so players have more than just a couple of options available to them. Or, y’know, you could just start eliminating anything that players enjoy. That DOES sound easier.

    • Because in a game that’s all about improving one’s efficiency in regards to item-finding, players will typically do what’s most efficient even if it isn’t the most fun. That’s why we have cookie-cutter speccing, A3 farming, MF swapping, and so on.

      That’s how these games work, and even if you haven’t realized it yet, Blizzard has. These sooner you understand this, the sooner you’ll see why it makes more sense to nerf the builds in question than to make every build functionally similar.

      • I really can’t understand how people react to this… How can one want a build that is near-to-imune, while being so dirty cheap? It is as if you want to play pacman with only 2 gosts to compete in the stage. It will become so easy, that you will quit before stage 3 or 4.

        And talking about “favourite” builds. Sevenfold, did you ask all these guys if they enjoy their build? As Moonfrost said, they do it because they can farm faster that way. Now, that will happen one way or another, eventually. Players will always find 1-2 fastest-killing builds and stick to those for farming. Ok. But don’t say that they do it as their free choice. It is a challenge to give a big diversity of builds to a player, builds that are not only viable, but also proper for farming.

        Let’s face it. Blizzard screwed up on this point. Reduced effective build diversity, and to make things worse, OP’ed 2 builds to rule them all. They amount of imbalance put into builds, is shown up by the amount of damage-buffs they update in several skills. So many skills with +xxx% buffs! I am still amazed by this single fact.. Really hope for the best of this game. I hope with the expansion we will be able to have a proper, working game at last.

      • For starters, if you both acknowledge that players will often settle on a class, ability, item, boss, route, etc. that is more efficient than the alternatives I don’t see how you can draw the conclusion that the best solution is to start nerfing those things every time the community discovers something that works. You could do that ad nauseam until eventually there would be nothing left.

        I’m not sure what mental gymnastics you’re both doing to determine that people are being “forced” to use these abilities because they’re more efficient. Excluding those people who play these specs AND enjoy them on their own merits, this is a binary choice and will always be a binary choice no matter what changes are made to the game: a) Play the game more effectively but with a class/ability/farming route/item the player enjoys less or b) Play the game less effectively with a class/ability/etc. that the player enjoys more.

        To alleviate this issue you can eliminate the stronger options, thereby increasing choice and diversity while reducing overall levels of “fun” because there are fewer efficient options available. Alternatively, you can make other class/skill/zone/item choices comparably efficient, thereby increasing choice and diversity while also increasing overall “fun”.

        Players aren’t “forced” to choose one class or skill or item over another other, they make a decision based on what they feel provides the most fun or pleasurable overall experience overall. You can’t really offer meaningful insight if you can’t even acknowledge that for a lot of people efficiency IS fun, and vice versa.

        • “how you can draw the conclusion that the best solution is to start nerfing those things every time the community discovers something that works”
          We are not talking about things that work. But about things that are greatly OP.

          “this is a binary choice and will always be a binary choice no matter what changes are made to the game:”
          Nice point. What I am talking about is that the gap between your a) and b), should be smaller. Basically this sums up my opinion. Don’t make huge gaps between the two.

          With my last words, I didn’t mean that Blizz should nerf down the OP skills. I said that the huge boosts on other classes’ skills shows the amount of imbalance in game, and I was talking on the classes on the whole. It was not a comparison to those 2 skills we are talking about. It was a side comment.

          I am all about diversity. I didn’t say I want Wotb and Archon to be nerffed down. Boosting the others up is probably much more interesting and prompting. In my opinion, the ideal game would give a ton of builds through the 5 classes, that would be equal in terms of efficiency. Since this is difficult-to-impossible, at least give the players big-enough diversity in builds, and make gap between these builds the smallest possible. It’s not about having a few builds a bit OP. The issue now is that you have only 2 skills of 2 classes that rule them all. The gap is huge, and I believe Blizz really has to focus on more builds to become more effective. And MAYBE nerf wotb and archon a bit down. But definitelly not screw them and make them dull. That would be the worst of all choices.

          Apologies for the long post, but, allow me one last comment. If Blizzard had treated D2 with respect, they would have avoided a ton of mistakes they have made now. One is this. They should have made more careful choices on the whole class system, so that they could again achieve numerous interesting and effective builds (D2), while paying attention to make them more balanced (D3). I’m not against changes, and several things work well in D3. But I’m against narrowing player choices.

  15. The obvious solution is to have diminishing returns on the extra time you get. That would be a much better solution than a simple hard cap, it would feel more natural and would follow the philosophy of other mechanics in the game.

  16. Archon is hardly OP.
    What makes WOTB so OP, are the synergies from other skills. WOTB + Sprint + Whirlwind with speed rune = OP

    • This is sort of true as far as WOTB is concerned in my opinion. It’s substantially harder to keep WOTB up nonstop if you’re using a build the HOTA build I use. I don’t use sprint (rely on gear for MS) and I use the Punish rune on Bash rather than Instigation. The net result is that if packs line up just so, I can maintain WOTB for a pretty long period, but it’s far from nonstop and thus actually begins to function for me like Blizzard apparently intended. I usually don’t pop it until I hit an elite pack…and even then depending on the affixes I may not use it. Primarily I use it as a CC-breaking skill, and less so for the DPS output gains.

  17. I don’t think the only way to play the game efficiently is with Archon, CMWW, and WOTB. I don’t play with other people very often, but a couple nights ago I got in a game with a 0 dog WD and Sweeping Wind monk and they were kicking just as much ass on MP10 as I was running CMWW. I have never been a big fan of Archon or WOTB because I like to pick up rares, tomes, gems, and gold since I like to craft with what I find. It’s not impossible to pick up shit with Archon and WOTB, but I have never been one to just run through the game. I like to loot corpses and chests, which is something left over from my D2 days I guess.

    There is no way nerfing these builds outright is going to go over very well in a community that is already unhappy. They are addressing a key issue in the next patch with mob density so that we can run somewhere else besides damn Act 3 which will help tremendously. Hopefully in the near future the itemization gets a little help as well, which has always been my biggest gripe. I have played since launch, and have yet to find anything really good. I am not worried about finding something to make me rich cause I would more than likely use said item, or just keep it. To me the biggest issue is still itemization and nothing else even comes close. I would like to have something other than brimstones and crafting material after a week of solid play. That’s what was so good about D2 was that you always found something along the way good enough to keep. Whether it be an ethereal weapon, decent rune, charm, or jewel, you felt rewarded enough to keep on grinding.

    Leave the builds alone for now. There are far more pressing issues with the game they need to work on.

  18. Just buff Strafe and give Shadow Power and Tactical Advantage 30 second durations and be done with it. 😀

  19. I don’t play Wizard, but Wrath is certainly required. +20% armor, 3% lifesteal, or +20% all resists are nice perks to your survivability, but Wrath’s CC immunity is a HUGE boon to your task to avoid death. Most death comes from either consistent damage being higher than your sustain, or to unfortunate timing causing you to either take significant damage all at once, be unable to sustain your life, or a combination of the two. Full CC immunity makes it so you never die because of frozen, knockback, jailer, etc. This is ESPECIALLY crucial to a whirlwind barb who cannot attack while under the effect of jailer, aside from switching to bash or another attack. Then there’s the crit chance, movement speed, etc. All amazing boons and all completely overshadowing every other buff when made pseudo permanent. Wrath should definitely be nerfed.

    The problem then becomes, how do Barbarians deal with the CC? Of course, simply outgearing the content works, but monks have serenity as an option to ignore CC and have free knockback on the primary skill monks use, thunderclap. Barbarians could survive a massive nerf to Wrath, but it would make things significantly harder for them. I suspect when a nerf finally does happen, most likely the skill and certainly the rune (unless it is replaced with a completely different effect) will go near-completely unused.

    Voodoo totem is a good example of a balanced short-duration buff. It’s uptime can be brought up close to or perhaps all the way to 100% using cooldown reduction effects, but even then it’s simply a damage buff. I suspect archon is also simply a damage buff, and it actually hurts you by removing the ability to cast frost nova or diamond skin. Wrath is the real problem because of the CC immunity.

  20. Seemed obvious that people would get forever-archon. I was scheming about it the day it was unveiled. Jay Wilson, iirc, when talking about the break point nature of the game, mentioned something about archon lasting forever as being one of the awesome break points in the game. So I don’t see where talk about “intended nature” is coming from.

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