Diablo III’s Item Issues

As you saw in yesterday’s news, Blizzard updated their official site with a ton of items pages. There are legendaries, sets, runes, potions, gems, and much more. As soon as those pages went online, fans started delving through them, and as the initial excitement of NEW faded, questions, observations, and objections kicked into gear.

Probably the most common complaint was how lame the unique items were. This seems to be intentional on the part of the D3 devs, who have said they do not want Legendaries to be the best types of items in the game. They will be good, but a really good rare or crafted can be as good or better. This seems to be most true of the weapons, where the damage is especially lacking.

Other fans are not huge admirers of the numerous jokes, easter eggs, and pop culture references in the item names, and the top ten worst legendary names thread is in high gear. You’ll also note that numerous classic D1 and D2 unique items have returned, but even that’s drawn some dislike, since the stats of those items seems to have virtually nothing to do with the mods of the original items

A more general complaint was the lack of variety in item stats, and the apparent paucity of affixes. Bashiok responded to some of these issues in the D3 B.net forum today, with soothing words. He explains that the items section is just a big automated database, with everything pulled directly from a recent version of the game client. It’s far from final; lots of the images are placeholders, stats aren’t balanced yet, affixes and prefixes still need work, etc. Here’s an excerpt from his post:

Item data we’ve exposed is by and large placeholder, and we’re actually in the process of pulling it down due to a lot of reactions just like this. We thought it’d be cool to show some pre-release items in very temporary states, but it’s just a matter of fact that people are going to take it at face value.

…the vast majority of affixes are simply not implemented in-game, and as the website directly queries game data, it can’t pull something that isn’t implemented. I’d say affixes are though one area where we want to do as much as possible by game release, but they are directly limited by when we want to finally get the game out the door. At some point feature creep has to stop, and we have to begin testing what should be (game mechanic-wise) a final product.

A bigger issue, which he doesn’t quite make explicit, is that this is just vanilla D3. They need to save room to add more cool stuff in patches and expansions, so they’re keeping the items fairly plain to start with, so they’ll have room to grow. Click through for Bashiok’s full quote.

Item data we’ve exposed is by and large placeholder, and we’re actually in the process of pulling it down due to a lot of reactions just like this. We thought it’d be cool to show some pre-release items in very temporary states, but it’s just a matter of fact that people are going to take it at face value. Not that you or anyone else isn’t able to discuss the particulars without assuming it’s final content, we don’t believe that to be true, but in general we don’t think the discourse is healthy when it’s going to be largely based on placeholder data.

To comment on your specific points though, the vast majority of affixes are simply not implemented in-game, and as the website directly queries game data, it can’t pull something that isn’t implemented. I’d say affixes are though one area where we want to do as much as possible by game release, but they are directly limited by when we want to finally get the game out the door. At some point feature creep has to stop, and we have to begin testing what should be (game mechanic-wise) a final product.

As you stated though a lot of the crazier affixes did not ship with Diablo II, but were added later. I don’t believe that’s because the designers didn’t have those ideas, but they simply make more sense to expand and broaden the game featureset post-ship. You could argue that it’s something that should be baked into the core experience, that Diablo III should be mechanically more complex than Diablo II at release, and the fact of that matter is that it is substantially more complex than Diablo II was at launch.

Bottom line we want as many affixes as we can get for launch, but with runestones, passives, and the itemization we’re shooting for, we’re already launching a game with far more diverse build potential than Diablo II.

…I don’t expect to change your mind. You’ve been playing Diablo II for 10 years, and so it seems like a step backward because the direct comparisons of a 10 year old game with an expansion don’t match up with one currently in beta. I can yell runestones! until I’m hoarse and that doesn’t change the fact that it’s difficult to convince anyone that design complexity isn’t being removed, just shifted.

Another thing to keep in mind (runestoooooones!) is that a lot of the proactive affix effects are now runestone effects for various skills, and so we do have to be careful how affixes interact with them. It’s just going to be smarter on our part to be more cautious to start when we can’t know how those kinds of overlaps could play out pre-release.

In some cases though we are purposefully avoiding affixes we just don’t think promote good gameplay, like +damage to X. We want people to play the game and have fun, not feel crappy because they’re in an area full of ‘beasts’ and are stacking +damage to demons. It also encourages a whole host of other divergent gameplay like holding sets for specific types of enemies, or building sets to run specific areas at end-game. Lastly it’s just not that compelling. Either it’s powerful enough where people do all those crazy things to use specific items in specific areas, or the affix is just de-emphasized to the point of meaninglessness.

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, Blue Posts, Crafting, Legendary Items


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  1. I find the way they’re handling these things very strange. All this pre D3 skill calculators and item reveals and all sorts. It’s all very out in the open like they aren’t sure what they’re doing. Tbh I reckon at this stage d3 is just a tool they use to troll everyone. “we’re aiming for a 2011 release lolz” “female monk shoulders revealed lolz” “d3 happy graphics lolz” “d3 wiz starfish helmet lololz” “elephant armors, frogs, chickens, lolz”. It’s been pretty consistent since they announced d3. hmm give beta. Oops i drifted off topic. Items lolz

    • They want to see the reactions, these are done on purpose, not because they aren’t sure what they’re doing.

      • They aren’t sure what reactions they will get or is controversy expected?

      • According to Bashiok, it’s the reactions that are making them pull the item info down…

        This sort of complaining about info they share early is why Blizzard is slow to reveal things while the game is still being developed, because people will b**** and moan about every little mote of info that is subject to change at any moment and most likely will…

        Although honestly Blizzard kind of handled it badly this time… they put those little one line disclaimers on the pages but that really isn’t enough… When they updated the site they should have put it in the new post on the front page and in the forums as stickies that the item database is currently incomplete and all info there is most likely to change multiple times in the coming weeks…

        • Yeah let Blizzard get away with that retardation.
          They whispered not word one that any of those affixes were placeholders (which how were we supposed to know) and quite frankly I don’t believe them. 

          So Scorch Hellfire, unless you can borrow me your friggin’ scrying crystal so I can also divine the unknown, keep it to yourself.

        • Oh no people don’t like my itamz, i’m taking them and going home!
          If you got a plan for design execute, if you need feed back take it, if you get trashed for it fine, but man the F up. Blizz is starting to come off as a bunch of whiny ass P*ssies.
          They still seem surprised that people with 10 yrs of nostalgia for D2 are skeptical when you are going to do something ‘new’ or ‘awesome’.

  2. Completely over-the-top weapons & armor, and now a massive number of pop culture references everywhere?

    All we need now are some cute little non-combat pets (Murkadin!) and a unicorn mount and the Diablo franchise’s descent into WoWdom will be complete!

  3. I dunno.  I’ve been looking through some of the items, and I can’t help but feel incredibly disappointed in some way.  I can’t really explain why.  Reading Bashiok’s commentary on it, what he says makes sense, but it also sounds like typical PR bullshit.

    • Or they just haven’t finished itemizing the game yet and everyone is doing the typical internet nerd raging because they deluded themselves into thinking these items were final despite the disclaimer on every page…

  4. The point of Runestones being an addition is questionable. Their function is to replace skill progression and +skill items.
    However, there are much more armor types – shoulders, arms and pants. Plus each class has 3 types of unique items, in contrast with Diable 2 with expansion, where each class had only 1. So for me the game feel rich enough, after they’ll fill all the missing prefixes, affixes, items, etc.

  5. Well how about when you put stuff up like this, explain what it REALLY means, first.  Say, put the crap up, and also put up what you said in the comments of the forum.  That would prevent a lot of these issues from arising.

    • No, everyone taking these at face value has only himself to blame. The beta has just started and just looking at many rune effects and items (lvl 54 rare has 6 random properties and lvl 60 rare has 5?) makes it more than clear for the competent reader that these are not finalized.
      Everything being shown always has that invisible “not finalized yet” tag attached to it, everyone knows that. Some may believe that it won’t change that much, but looking at past Blizzard titles, they are wrong, there will be big changes in all areas of the game before release. If you decide to throw nerdfits at this info then that’s not their fault.

      • I think the problem this time was that blizzard stated repeatedly that the beta was more for getting the infrastructure established and working well and stress tested, etc. than for balancing the game and testing the actual gameplay beyond finding bugs, and, because of that, people assumed that the game was pretty much finished, but then come to find out that they haven’t even put in most of the item affixes yet which I guess people didn’t even begin to think could be the case until Bashiok said so…

  6. too many disappointing things about d3 these days. they’re trying to cater to everyone and it clearly isn’t working (i.e. resources). not happy jan.

  7. Thank god.  I’m glad these are largely placeholder and we’ve yet to see the real deal.  Thanks Bash, I feel much better now.

  8. Frankly I was surprised to see them post items at all.  I was expecting maybe a listing of all the ‘basic’ or white items and maybe some verbage on rare/legendary/rares.  I feel posting these items this far ahead of release diminishes the play experience.  Part of the fun is finding weird items for the first time.
    I think they just applied the WoW website code to the D3 database because they could.  I don’t think they really thought it through.  In WoW it makes sense to post this info, because items drop in certain locations, so you need a resource to lookup where to get things that improve your character.  For D3, it doesn’t make sense – this early anyway…

    • Bliz was slow to update their website with wow info, and wikis and DBs took off and gained all the traffic, making blizzard’s official pages irrelevant. They did NOT want that to happen again, and thus they put up all the SC2 info very early on, and they’re doing the same thing with d3. I think their hands were somewhat forced on these by all the fans working on DBs from the beta client info, so they rushed it before it was ready, as Bashiok explained here.

      • They didn’t put out solid SC2 info out that early… in fact, before release people were only getting specific details about units and such from testers and blizzard was mostly just doing the Q&As on the forums with the occasional “Battle Report”… This Diablo 3 site is far ahead of all previous games as far as info revealing goes which is surprising after all the droughts we went through… I personally expected them to do the Followers and Artisans pages after the classes and maybe a few of the item categories like runes, dyes, crafting materials, etc. during beta… Basically all the small stuff now, but not the full-on database until after release…

      • But, to my mind, game info like this SHOULD be handled by third parties.  I recognize that it’s a small difference if I go to Wowhead or blizzard for information on a quest, but it still feels wrong when they give up their own secrets.
        I mean, why should they care if someone else has a site based on their game?  This weird “we have to beat the fans to it” methodology pervades this release.  They spoil their own items before the game it released because they can’t stand someone else getting adviews over that info.  They spoil their entire game selling items because they can’t stand someone else taking a cut.  In both cases, it might make purely logical sense, but it cheapens the game proper when they sanction varying degrees of cheating.  You might lose a little pride when you give up on a hard quest and look it up in a guide or FAQ, but if the info is on the company’s own website, it’s just a weird annoyance to tab out and look it up – the info is “official.”

      • I agree with craezyjim on this one, it would be pretty lame for all the Legendaries to be revealed off the bat. If Blizzard was smart they could just have each Legendary be revealed on the website as soon as it was found on each server. Considering how many players there are, and rarity of normal legendaries, there’ll immediately be Normal legenedaries for players to look at and browse.

        Also if they value traffic over player experience, then screw them. They’ll get enough traffic anyways and be the staple DB site, regardless of if they add they fill up their DBs later. That site is the HUB for the skill calculators and for the in-web auction house, so I have no idea how a DB site can hold a candle that.

  9. Well count me in for the feeling these legendary items are completely uninspired.
    Keep the pop culture, other games, Easter eggs to one or two items.
    There simply bland and uninspired.

  10. Worst item reference: The Undisputed Champion

    I don’t mind a bit of humor here and there, but this is just stupid.

  11. i never really doubted D3 to deliver the best amount of item to date. I had a friend coming to me last night to say how frustrated he is once he looked through that website. I myself never bothered to look at it, since i cant even get a cracked sash even if i want to atm. but at the end of the convo i got him to agree.
    First, like the topic said, it is vanilla. Anyone remember vanilla D2? it had like half at most of what the D2X with later patches had. We dont even need to wait till the expansion as i recall bliizard constantly add in items and such on patches, and fixing the items with some. They are good at making the item system work.
    Second, with the limitation they put on skills and stats, it is quite obvious items are their intended largest source of customization for us. Do you think they would stuff that up as well? D2 was a mix of all, but they realize alot of players in the end are more item/ loot orientated (as they mostly go with the similar skill sets and same stats distribution), and they want to bank on it.
    Thirdly, remember auction house? Remember the making money bit? If you want to accuse blizzard of trying to suck on our wallet, you cant at the same time say their items sucks. If they suck, no one will use their AH. So obviously they will make an array of item fit and worthy enough to attract us into AH.

  12. They’re making the Legenedaries a piece of crap so that they won’t be the “best” gear? That makes no sense to me.

    They can still give a lot of affixes and more than a cruddy 20% damage boost on Legendaries (that’s basically the same as a white item…! WTF?); they just need to make Rares and magic items have appropriate amounts affixes and damage boost as well. It was perfect in Diablo 2, I don’t know why they’re taking something that was well portioned, then turning it into crap on the notion that they’re trying to “improve it”. They’re not.

    A major draw of D2 was how ridiculously powerful the gear was, and how good gear was phenomenal compared to common, bad gear. This was what DROVE people to grind and loot for hours upon hours. Making the absolute rarest items be only 20% stronger than an item you can pick up from a vendor or a random fallen is just plain retarded. And I hope everyone can plainly see that. Is the new plan “everyone and their grandmother’s can beat Inferno difficulty with vendored gear?”

    This is getting ridiculous, someone who’s played D2 that’s on the dev team needs to walk up to whoever is directing changes like this and slap him across the face.

    • What part of “Item data we’ve exposed is by and large placeholder” do you not understand? Stop b****ing about items that are far from final…

      • That’s just PR bs. They wouldn’t have put up those items if they didn’t think they were in a somewhat-ready state, even if incomplete.

        It’s our jobs at fans to point out that those items were in fact in a laughing-at, horrible, and shameful state that was NOWHERE near ready for reveal. Part of Blizzard’s intent on reveals is to gauge fan reaction, so that’s why I’m b****ing.

        If you don’t want to here b****ing whenever Blizzard pulls a bs stunt, then stop browsing on the forums because it’s going to happen everywhere, fool.

  13. “They need to save room to add more cool stuff in patches and expansions, so they’re keeping the items fairly plain to start with, so they’ll have room to grow.”

    This is what I disliked in D2:LOD all kinds of stupid item mods appeared to rares which kinda ruined rare items. It got even harder to get the right mods. Also I liked the simplicity of D2 classic.
    Same thing happened in WoW expansions.. and in the latest expansion they removed a lot of the item mods..

  14. If you release information of course people will take it at face value. I just don’t understand that blue post. If they aren’t sure what the items will be yet or what their stats will be on release why waste time releasing information?

  15. The IK set is back – I’m happy 🙂

    Concerning legendaries being weaker than crafted/rares, look at Diablo – the unique items in that game was far from top of the line..

  16. They haven’t implemented most affixes yet? No wonder they delayed it to 2012.

  17. What I don’t quite get is the answer to the simple question: is it just Bashiok who does not understand the basic game design principles or are there some poor misguided designers behind him who actually make D3 decisions using these reasons? “We want people to play the game and have fun, not feel crappy because they’re in an area full of ‘beasts’ and are stacking +damage to demons.” – look, it’s the game design 101, really, there _are_ supposed to be areas, moments, circumstances where a player SHOULD feel crappy. There is no way to make a player feel powerful all the time – without something worse to compare the current state with our brains simply declare the current state basic and boring. And “boring” is much, much worse than “difficult” or even “crappy”. You have to provide difficulty changes – both micro (as in “difficult group of monsters encountered”) and macro (as in “it’s getting quite difficult for the last half an hour – I really want to get that new blade with +damage to beasts!”) – to make the game exciting.

  18. The problem with the items, from what I can tell, is that lots of them are too similar. For example, lots of give magic find and experience per kill… and you’ll see a bunch of these kind of items, one after the other.

    I think one thing that made diablo 2 great was that all the items were unique and memorable. When you thought “Stone of Jordan”, you instantly knew what it did for you. It wasn’t so much about memorizing the mods – most of the items had a theme or purpose that you could wrap your head around. The sum of the mods often did something specific for you.

    When I see a lot of the d3 items, I don’t get that. It’s just random modifiers. They all seem rather generic for the most part. I am not getting that “special feeling”. Frankly, it’s a lot more like WoW, where all the items are more-or-less the same but just have better stats. Titan Quest and other games has the same problem. I don’t want to see this in a blizzard game.

    Another thing that made uniques “unique” was the fact that they could have modifiers that didn’t spawn on the rares. I think that’s important.

    While I think D2 definitely had too many uniques/runewords that were not replaceable by rares or magic items, I don’t think bouncing back in the other direction is the way to go. Let’s try and create a better balance here, where ALL items are desirable.

    I would give credit to where it’s due – I love the fact that uniques/legendaries can have random mods. This will absolutely make the economy healthier, even if there is massive farming.

    I also like that each class has MF gear. That’s a smart move. I actually hate making a sorc as my first character every ladder season.

  19. Also, why the hell does Stormshield have a thorns effect? It seems like some of these mods are just totally random.
    And some of the shields just have a chance to block and 1 other random mod. Like whoopie-do.

  20. Regarding (seemingly) low weapon damage in D3, boost of 20% weapons damage doesn´t sound a lot, or 300 weapon damage on an endgame item either, but thats just how damage is calculated.

    (weapon damage from items * Attack) * damage increase from skills/spells

    so if assign some values here,
    Barb with 500 weapon damage and 1000 Attack (1000 Attack = +1000% damage) using Earthquake (+240% damage increase):

    (500 * 10) * 2.4 = 12,000 damage per Earthquake.

  21. What mysticc said. The affixes are just randomly pulled from a hat, apparently. I saw one item in there with 1% chance to block, no range of values or anything, lol. If the whole game revolves around items now (and it does), why would they go ahead and present the items so sloppily? I don’t get it. Won’t all the reactions Blizzard is after be obvious and predictable? Well, let’s start with: I would have to look up EVERY legendary, set and rare drop I find to see if the mishmash of misplaced mods are any good.


  22. Then it’s as I thought; this is every legendary item in the game atm. Not to say there wont be more.

  23. So long as they bring back Scythes I’ll be happy.

  24. What is everybody complaining about? This is already a lot better than D2’s items: shoulder pads and trousers as added customization, lots of character specific items, best items are not legendary (D2 everybody was using the same setup, quite boring actually), random properties and so on!

    PS Nice to see a lot of D2 item names, brings up memories 🙂

  25. I just don’t get why Bashiok posted this on the old b.net forums where hardly anyone will see it instead of the new forums where most of the whining and moaning is going on…

  26. This is just like the umpteenth example of how hap-hazard the design of this game has been. The “vast majority” of item effects aren’t even implemented yet? How can that even be the case? It’s probably just more of the nonsense damage control excuses we’re so used to hearing, but honestly….
    What has been going on in Irvine for the past six years (assuming they actually had to scrap all of North’s 4 or 5 years of work), and why have so many aspects of this game been radically changed/so incomplete right in this terminal phase leading up to [supposed] release? Was all of that time and precious “iteration” truly necessary to get where we are now, or was it a crap-ton of wasted effort? I’m really becoming disenamored with the entire Blizzard model.

    • My guess is that it’s probably hard to design items that fit well with the game before all the other systems are in place. It’s a waste of time to design the items early as they will just have to redo them anyway.

  27. I really dont know why people complain so much without even knowing all the stuff. Yeah D2 had Enigma, Forti, Grief, etc, etc right from the start. Chill out and wait for the final release.

  28. I have been following this game since the day it was announced, as I’m sure many of you have as well.  I have complained at blizz and lauded some of their efforts.  Lets look at the facts however, the reviewers love the beta and say its diablo through and through.  I trust you blizzard, you have spent countless dollars on this game and not only that it is becoming apparent that you really care about this franchise. Items in blizzard games have and always will be epic, i remember picking up my first obsidian ring of the zodiac in D1 and know that i will remember finding epic loot years down the road from D3. Now please just send me a Beta key so I’m not tempted to spend money on the weekend steam sale.

  29. How about (The “Fire all D3 employes and start from scratch” sword)….

  30. Items will make or break (in the long run) this game for me. To avoid a long and complicated essay, I’ll just say that if the item system ends up being like D2 (minus the hacks and duping) then I’ll be enjoying it for a very long time. If it ends up anything like WoW, I’ll grow utterly bored (of items) really damn quickly =(. I think anyone who has played both games can identify with the differences in the two systems.

  31. D3 allows no character customization. It is all about items. Having the items be boring, bland items and later in an expansion adding more exciting prefixes and sufixes is a terrible idea that will be terribly detrimental to the game.

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