Guest Article: Diablo 3 PTR Mega-Test Report


Regular site commenter Steven Hazani sunk 50 hours into testing on the PTR, and he’s filed a lengthy report detailing his opinions on everything. Topics include Grift density and balance, item progression, gold and legendary item rewards, ancient item upgrade issues, experience and lacking paragon point bonuses, and much more.

Here’s a very partial quote with some conclusions, to give you the (highly-critical) flavor of his opinions. Guest Article: Diablo 3 PTR Mega-Test Report

The rewards of course are still atrocious, ignoring test realm specific things. And that’s my first point. See, when this buff originally went live I was mid GR 36. Result? At the end I got 6 legendaries (because GR 3x guardians only have 6 item drops, and the buff makes every item that falls legendary). That’s how it should be. All the time. Because in that same length of time I could have done 2 or 3 rofflestomp runs and got the same or more legendaries without the considerable risk, so 6 legendaries would make it slightly worse instead of considerably worse.

Here come the legendaries!

Here come the legendaries!

That’s a huge step in getting some risk vs reward in the game. I also got 300 something shards. Which is also how it should be all the time since that’s about how many I’d get off normal farming for the same timeframe.

Leaving the enhanced drops and shards for higher GRs only would go a long way in correcting one of the biggest problems in the game. Because guardians have a cap on the number of items they drop it’s not abusable.

If more item types were actually useful and there were not so many mandatory items the current live drop rates would feel much more reasonable.

I probably smashed at least 20 Ancient items that were of the correct type (read: the 0-3 items per item type anyone actually wants) because they had 2+ stats incorrect, and were therefore not actually better.

If Kadala could fix more than one stat, the current live drop rate would feel much more reasonable. This would also let people burn those Hoarder stashes and saved mats, and it’d still be insanely expensive if you had 3 stats wrong but that’s better than finally finding rare item x after 600 levels and then getting terrible stats on it. Alternately you could make more than a few stats “correct”, but this is Blizzard so let’s have reasonable standards.

  • 1: GR guardians should flat out drop all legendaries/sets with a number of slots based on level beginning at level 26. Remember, they take longer so even more legs/run does not necessarily = more legs/hour.
  • 2: Double shards in GRs only beginning at level 26.
  • 3: Trial rewards should be the same as current test realm GR rewards.
  • 4: GR experience rewards should be the same as current test realm trial rewards.
  • 5: GR gold should be current GR values x3.
  • 6: 1-5 are lost if you die (death means you get the current worthless live rewards). This is because SC has no death penalty now, and will otherwise death zerg for lots of free stuff.
  • 7: If we must stick with the current model than make all those unused legendaries supercharge skills people aren’t using, make the base skill good (don’t expect people will take Magic Missile/Shock Pulse/Energy Twister/Arcane Orb seriously), and make sets not mandatory for creating a functional character. Suddenly there’s a lot fewer auto souls. Ideally we scrap that model and then nerf enemy life as no one will be doing 10,000+ weapon damage anymore as skills are somewhat well balanced with themselves, the lack of build diversity comes from only a few narrow legendary gimmicks existing and those being the only way of dealing with the insane life on everything. But again, Blizzard.
  • 8: If you find an Ancient it should never be bad. Make it always have the correct stats, make it always max stats, or perhaps best of all scrap the current implementation and just give us Ancient Gifts. It’s still just MOAR NUMBERS, but at least we ditch the RNG trolling and don’t automatically invalidate every existing item.
  • 9: Make Kadala change any number of stats, the cost still scales based on cumulative changes. Fixing an item with 3 wrong stats will be expensive, at least it can be done.
  • The current live drop rates of roughly 3 legs a run would be a lot more reasonable if you didn’t smash > 99% of them. This also fixes risk vs reward by making high level GRs done well more productive than rofflestomping trivial content, which makes the game much more enjoyable.

    See his full post for much more commentary on practically everything, and there’s a lot more in the follow up comments and rebuttals in the thread. I’ve done a lot of PTR testing this time as well and while I disagree on many of his points, I think others are right on.

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    1. \9: Make Kadala change any number of stats, the cost still scales based on cumulative changes. Fixing an item with 3 wrong stats will be expensive, at least it can be done.\
      He probably had Mystic in mind isntead of Kadala but I would lost all faith in Blizzard if they will implement this idea into live servers.
      Finding items like Furnace, Witching Hour, Kukri, T&T etc. is pain in the ass but improving their stats will resolve the problem. For instance lets make Witching Hour always drops with our char main stat and vita. Attack speed:
      6-7%, CD% 45-50, last stats are random. Weapons will roll always max dmg to make them really powerful in comparison to other weapons.
      I remember my disappointment when I finally found Darklight playing my crus in ROS first patch. Damage was almost the lowest, 193X dmg overall…

    2. I really don't care what happens beyond GR26 because:
      – I do not like cookie cutter build, I want to play my funny builds
      – I get bored with a build when it can unlock level 25 gems so I change it around this moment…
      I do not think there must be so much incentive to play high GR except to have the "I did a personal best of GRxxx". Else you go back to the first Inferno design when nobody but player that really played a lot of time can enjoy the diversity of build by finding enough legendaries.

    3. I've only dipped a toe into the PTR and my best char on live can only do about GR30….but I'm not sure I agree with most of the quoted points. Isn't farming, like, the point of the game? It was awful in vanilla (I still remember how excited and exhausted I felt when I got a weapon that could break the Inferno A3 wall – I will keep it forever) but it feels pretty good now.

      • I love farming! Farming area A for a better chance at weapon type X, hunting mob type B for better chances dropping amulets and rings, and so on. Not in the way of killing specific monster x only, to then get hands item Z, though. And I hate grinding, which is why I havn't found a mmo I'd like, yet. And also it's become bearable/ignorable, D3s drop system is still rooted in grinding, not farming.

      • I thought his main argument about items was self-contradictory. He's mostly annoyed that he played 50 hours on the PTR (which equates to far more time on live with the big leg buff rate) and only found a few upgrades. But that's because he had very good gear going in… and he wants faster upgrade rates.

        But if there are faster upgrade rates, then you're just sooner getting to the point where you don't find any more upgrades. You can't have both since there's not an endless climb through gear quality. I guess Bliz could redesign the game so gear was a much longer cycle, with tiers you had to work through (WoW style) but they've made D3 much faster and more accessible, so you can starting finding end game gear as soon as you hit level 70.

        What I wish the game had was a feature akin to D2's runes. Where you could find small objects (like runes) and gradually upgrade them over time, steadily building towards being able to craft really awesome items. That gives a sense of improvement and gradual progress, even if you don't/can't find any better gear than you're already wearing. D3 could do that with more levels of gems (and much higher upgrade reqs) or with charms in the long-abandoned Talisman, if not outright returning something like D2's runes/runewords. Maybe in the next expansion?

        http://www.diablowiki.net/Talisman

        • Maybe there SHOULD be an endless climb through gear quality. Instead of higher drop chances, affix numbers could get bigger and bigger as you reach higher GRift levels and/or paragon levels. This would make even the junk drops good because they would be an upgrade.

          The 2000% PTR drop chance has shown how bad drops are, because of the upgrade curve. So remove the curve, bring leg drop chances back down to earth, and let players go as high as they like.

          • That would take away the strive to find the 'best' equipment, because no matter what you have, there will always be better out there.

            In D1 and D2 people spent a lot of time trying to get 'perfect' items. In the system you suggest, there would be no 'perfect' item.

            • There are a lot of players with perfect items complaining about lack of content and hitting a ceiling. They're unhappy because they know they've reached 'the end'.

              If you knew that logging on and playing meant finding upgrades (instead of salvaging), wouldn't you be more motivated and have a better time?

        • No, it's because there's only a few items we actually want. I salvaged over 100 useless Ancient Legendaries. 20 of which were the correct items but 2+ incorrect stats, the rest were just useless items. If something like an Ancient Exarian was an item with a legitimate use, even live drop rates would feel fine because you'd look at more than a tiny fraction of what you find. If a significant portion of items even were innately useful, this accelerated simulation of 1k hours would have resulted in many gear improvements. Which given it models 1,000 hours it damn well better.

          Likewise for the incorrect stats, when I auto smash an Ancient version of what I have just because it has 2 stats wrong and is therefore worse…

          Instead of regarding a significant number of items as potentially useful we ignore everything that doesn't put a star on the map and smash most of the things that do so even the massive quantity buff mostly just gives you a lot of Forgotten Souls and creates some other problems, in particular finding the other crafting mats, as well as gems.

          Remember, live drops are literally one legendary per 1-2 minutes. Which wouldn't be bad at all IF we kept more than 1% of the damn things.

    4. I disagreed with his post in the first paragraph -.-

      The GRifts aren't about loot, they're about testing your character, being better than those who have the same gear and can't accomplish (or won't risk in HC case) it. I wouldn't think it's a best of the best type thing, because inherently certain classes have an easier time with it right now, so the comparison is really across each class.

      The end reward for completing a GRift is nice, but it's clearly not a "this is the best and fastest way to farm", it is a test, not a loot bag.

      • "it is a test, not a loot bag."

        Clearly for someone who can do GR 35+, T6 is a walk in the park. I guess what people who say GR's should drop better are really saying, is they want to find good items while being challenged by the game difficulty. Waltzing through T6 might drops more items, but it's not challenging, therefore not fun.

        • Exactly. The harder content should be more rewarding, this thing where you must rofflestomp content or you are getting nowhere in the game should go die in a fire.

      • A test of what exactly? Your luck in locating high density, high point mobs? Your luck in locating Conduit Pylons?

        They in no way, shape, or form test your actual character. Even in the patch you will see DRASTIC variations in performance using the same character in the same way based purely on RNG.

        They don't measure anything, they're not competitive, they're another problem I mentioned.

    5. On to the next point,

      If Kadala could fix more than 1 stat —-

      Yes, if Kadala could fix two stats, gear would be attained far quicker… What if Kadala could fix four stats?

      Gearing quicker doesn't mean better. I can only yell, "BOOOOOM" at the top of my lungs so many times, I need those perfect epic rolls of the right slot to be spaced out, otherwise I'm gonna be dead, and so will this game if we all have Main Stat, vit, ares, chc, chd, ias gloves of our characters set.

      You want loot faster? Play more, that's how you get loot faster.

      • "You want loot faster? Play more, that's how you get loot faster."

        No, that's how you get loot sooner. It's not 'faster'.

      • I'm kind of torn between the concept of allowing Myriam (which I assume he meant) to be able to reroll all stats. While it will mean that once you find one of a particular item, then there's no need to hunt for a better rolled version of that item again since you can reroll your first one to 'perfection', so it is kind of a negative in that sense.

        But on the other hand it allows for more experimentation – you want to try a LPS build to see if it's viable? Well, you can now roll your gear to that and don't have to spend 1000 hours to find all those same items again butt LPS (and other decent stats), which, lets be honest just kills dead in its tracks any experimentation – there's builds that I've thought of before and just absolutely have never been able to test because I simply don't have the gear with those stats.

        All in all, I actually think it would be a positive change to allow Myriam to reroll all stats. But I think that's because I fall into the category of Build Experimenter and not Farmer (who probably wouldn't like this idea), which evidently the more I read forum comments etc the more I realise that the community as a whole seems to be divided into these two groups who see the game in fundamentally different ways…

        • It's often dozens of tries before you get one stat right. If you actually needed adjustment on 3 or 4? Even Hoarder stashes would quickly run out, and that's a lot of Souls (remember, if more items are useful you don't smash as many of them).

          No one would burn hundreds of souls on one item unless it was rare tier and that's far better than finally finding one and having it be unusably bad.

    6. Allowing people to reroll every affix takes all the strategy out of the game. It just turns into a big farmfest. He with the most loot wins. And once you have the best stats, then what? Why are you still playing? I’ve almost given up this game a few times now, just to get pulled back in when I found a really great item. That’s what makes it fun.

      What I would like to see instead is the ability to take the mystic two of the same item and have her swap a single affix from one to the other. This would give you one more chance to save a bad item while still requiring the bit of strategy and luck that keeps things interesting. There’d be restrictions of course – can’t transfer the special legendary affixes, items are same level, can’t double up on an already existing stat, etc. I think you should only be able to swap affixes once per weapon; you’re stuck with your decision so make it a good one.

      I couldn’t disagree more with most of the OP’s points. I wouldn’t want to play the game he’s describing.

    7. Just to clarify – when I say swap once per item I mean that you would have to pick a single affix to overwrite and couldn’t later pick another, so at most you could ever only fix two attributes on an item. I don’t know if you should be able to swap that affix again if you later find a third item. Either way would be interesting.

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