Clan Dispatch #3: Class Balance, New Endgame Ideas and Thoughts On Rift It Forward


Clan-Dispatch-3
While we wait for tiered rifts and ladders to be added to D3, many of us are thinking about existing issues in the game and how to solve them, or how to make the game better in general.

In this edition of the Clan Dispatch, the IncW clan members talk about how the different classes measure up to one another, new legendary ideas to break up the current BiS set up, what convenience features we would like to see in the game, and how the group feels about Rift It Forward.

It’s time to slay a few topics and loot a few ideas. Ready or not, here we go!

Class Balance: Witch Doctor Is King, Barb and Monk Say “Plz Halp”

The group discussed what many of us already know (and what others on Battle.net have pointed out): Witch Doctors with the Jade Harvester set are rocking Torment 6 right now, while the Barb and Monk need better options for surviving in the highest difficulty levels.

From what I’ve seen on the forums, it looks like the most powerful builds in Patch 2.0.6 are the Jade WD, Zuni WD, Marauder DH, and Fire or Holy Crusaders. While it’s possible to create other builds that can handle higher Torment difficulty, the group talked about how challenging it feels to do so.

“Aside from the EDPS build, the Monk seems kind of useless in parties,” Aegisofer said. He noted that Barbarians wielding the Might of the Earth set took a nasty hit in the last patch, when the set was changed so that it no longer synergized with the Earthen Might passive.

Celbii expressed hope that the devs will buff other classes instead of nerfing the best builds – an idea the game’s community managers have said they support.

  • Question: What changes would you make to set items to bring other classes more in line with the Witch Doctor in higher Torment difficulty?
  • New Legendary Ideas

    The group talked about how we’d like more options for end-game builds, too, and about what legendaries and sets the devs could create to open up new build possibilities.

    jEj said he’d love to see a ninja-style, high mobility set item group for the Demon Hunter or Monk, and Smetz says he’d like a set focused around Frozen Orb for the Wizard (which I fully support).

    TopCommander pitched in the idea of a Barbarian weapon that triggers a random Whirlwind rune effect on top of the rune you already have equipped. Aegisfoer contributed the idea of a petrified bat mojo that enables all the runes on the Firebats skill at once, and a Wizard staff that increases the size and damage of the Meteor skill the longer players go without using it.

    While it’s great that new legendary items are being added to the game in the form of ladder-exclusive items, we all agreed that several of the older legendaries need help.

    “The worst feeling in the world is getting excited when you see a green item drop, before realizing it’s the same junk as always,” Celbii said.

    As a way of making set items more exciting, Aegisofer suggested giving set items individual legendary-style powers, rather than having them act as stats sticks until the set item group is finished.

    “For instance, the Zunimassa’s helm could turn your fetishes into Stygian Dolls that explode when they’re killed, like in D2,” he said. (Side Note: As someone who died many times to Stygian Dolls when playing a Hammerdin, I love the idea of turning those little jerks against my foes.)

    He also mentioned that the Ring of Royal Grandeur and Stone of Jordan are go-to items for rings, and that we need better options to choose from among jewelry in general.

    “It would also be nice to have legendaries that open up more possibilities once you’ve gotten the best set items,” Aegisofer added. “And it would help if there were other best-in-slot items for some builds, since right now there’s not enough variety.”

  • There’s a lot of room for improving old legendaries or adding new ones. What’s the coolest idea you’ve seen for a legendary or set item that hasn’t been added to the game yet?

  • New End-Game Content

    We discussed the future of the game, including new features we’d like to see added after tiered rifts and ladder seasons are put in place.

    TopCommander said he misses random dungeons and caves like the Pit in D2, so he’d like to see something like that in D3. “They could add areas that are more challenging than the rest of the map outside, but have a higher chance to drop very rare items,” he suggested.

    Smetz would like to see jewels make a return as well, as a way of adding more variety to socketable items. Most of the group (me included) would like a way to save our favorite build setups to quickly swap between them, rather than spending time adjusting Paragon points, gear and skills.

    We also talked a bit about ladders and tiered rifts. The concept behind them sounds interesting and engaging, but some clan members aren’t enthusiastic about starting all over with a new character.

    “Why not just put ladder exclusive items into ladder and non-ladder pools from the start?” Smetz asks. “The people who want to compete to race to the top would do it anyway, even without new items.”

    Rather than focus on creating ladder-exclusive items, Aegisofer suggested, why not introduce items or events that are earned through the collective effort of one’s clan instead? “For instance, create a boss that spawns for all clan members when they collectively reach a certain goal,” he suggests, like killing a certain number of elites, or completing a certain number of bounties.

    I’m certainly willing to give ladder seasons a shot, but I understand how people feel about not wanting to take another character from level 1 to level 70 again.

  • How do you feel about starting over again on ladder? And for those of you sitting on the fence about them: what would make leveling up a character each season worth it for you, aside from getting new ladder-exclusive items?

  • Our Thoughts on Rift It Forward

    There’s been a lot of discussion about Rift It Forward over the last couple of weeks. I feel that it’s a great concept, and while rewards seem uneven between runners and openers, the collaborative element feels fantastic. But what does the clan think?

    Most of the group members agreed that the concept is great, even if the rewards are uneven.

    “I’m all for Rift It Forward,” Smetz said, adding that he does it regularly. Celbii said he finds it to be a convenient way to get Blood Shards when he has rift fragments to burn, and Power86 said he loves the idea, even though it’s hard sometimes to join games looking for openers.

    Smetz also brought up a problem that many players see in Rift It Forward: it’s easier to do RIF to get Blood Shards than it is to clear rifts yourself. Power86 seconded that perspective.

    To address the issue, Aegisofer brought up an idea that I’ve seen mentioned before on the Battle.net forums. That is: Why not change rift rewards so that you get Blood Shards for killing elite and champion packs? The amount awarded for killing Rift Guardians could be reduced to compensate.

    On a similar note, I told the guys that by doing Rift It Forward and gambling with Kadala, I was able to get 3 out of 4 pieces of the Zunimassa’s set (which I capped off with a Ring of Royal Grandeur). I also got 4 out of 6 pieces of the Jade set doing the same thing.

    I asked them whether they’d gotten more of their end-game set items from Kadala and RIF, or from drops in the game. I expected them to say RIF and Kadala, but the response that I got was mixed.

    Celbii dropped 30,000 Blood Shards on gambling without getting any of the set items he wanted. Instead, his set items have come from playing rifts with people using the same class and sharing loot.

    On the other hand, Smetz has gotten 5 out of 6 pieces of the Might of the Earth set from Kadala.

    “The problem is that killing monsters is just not as lucrative as RIF and Kadala,” he said. Loot sharing has helped, he said, adding that he’s gotten 3 pieces of the Marauder’s set and 3 pieces of the Akkhan set by doing that as well.

    As another example, Aegisofer said his results were 50/50 between finding gear upgrades in rifts and gambling them. His WD has gotten set items before in rifts, but his Barb and DH were geared mostly through Kadala. “I think I’ve geared two Jade WDs doing rifts,” he added.

    At this point, it’s hard to say whether Rift It Forward in its current form will stay.

    When Wyatt Cheng discussed it on the anniversary livestream, he pointed out that game mechanics – including design oversights – which encourage people to camp the chat window rather than play the game tend to get nerfed.

    On the other hand, there are a lot people who have limited time to play the game, and who benefit from accelerated gear progression, Celbii said.

    “I don’t have much time to play, so I don’t want to spend a long time gearing a character. I’d like to find items faster, but I don’t want to outfit a character in a day.”

  • Should the dev team adjust Rift Rewards to discourage people from hopping into games just to kill a boss and collect a reward, or is the tradeoff between runners and openers a fair one?

  • Conclusion: What Do We Want? Changes! When Do We Want Them? Soon™

    As always, there are way too many good ideas to talk about them all in clan chat. Our members wrapped up a few of their most important thoughts at the end of our conversation.

    “The game is greatly improved over D3 Vanilla,” Aegisofer said. “There’s room for improvement, but Blizzard seems to be listening to fans and taking their time to improve the game.”

    “I’m still hoping for a better endgame than ladders and endless rifting,” Power86 added.

    Now it’s your turn: What are the big questions your clan has been talking about?

    Waterfiend is a Diablo IncGamers contributor. Say hello on Twitter @Waterfiend1909.

    Comments

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    1. Wow…lots of topics going on here. I like some of those new legendary ideas, especially the stygian doll conversion. I’d like to see more equipment options for the different elemental damage types – I’m not advocating a nerf to Magefist/Cindercoat combos, but rather make others more viable.

      In terms of restarting with new characters, I’m actually very interested in doing that. I enjoy playing my CDR focused Crusader but there’s other skills/builds I’d like to try with that class and will probably end up starting with a fresh character rather than trying to completely re-equip my current one. I’m also curious to try crafting a close-range, grenade/fan-of-knives DH again – I had a lot of fun messing around with one on the PTR for the 2.0 patch but again, would rather leave my current DH intact.

      Regarding rifts/bloodshards/gambling…I wouldn’t be too surprised if Blizzard made some changes here. In a way, Kadala has turned into the AH, where everything is available if you have the coin/shards to pay for it. Blizz clearly wanted to make D3 fun to play again and make players _play_ the game to gain the rewards, but I’m not sure that RiF is fully compatible with their design. Personally, I prefer to play through a rift – I do like finding new items but I also enjoy the combat and using the items I already have.

      I still enjoy the game and I’m encouraged by the continued support from Blizzard. Hopefully the ladders/tiered rift content will prove worthwhile as a lot of the recent changes should greatly help gearing up new characters.

      • Yeah. 1700 words is a lot. I think I may have to split these things into a series of small weekly columns instead of trying to fit them into one big one.

        Glad you’re ready to start a fresh character. I think ladder is the perfect excuse for me to play a DH (and put my non-ladder WD on hold for a bit).

        The big change I’m looking forward to in 2.1 is the fact that each rift costs 1 keystone per character – meaning most of your playtime will be spent in rifts versus doing bounties.

    2. I play mostly solo and a barb EQ/IK/WW. It gets tough to do T6 without certain pieces as I like to play fast. I would like to see the speed reduction for WW removed. It is not much of a change but even a little would help.

      RIF, I know very little about it. If anyone is doing it when I am on I would be happy to play. Most of my stuff have come from solo or group runs, but several key pieces I got from gambling.

      when do you have these discussion groups?

      Finally, I am waiting for ladders so I can play HC.

      • They’ve been very informal, so whenever the clan is on and I can get on to ask questions for a bit. Probably going to switch to a forum thread discussion.

      • Also, I like your idea for a faster WW build. I’d love to see a set built around that skill. It would be fast-paced and focused on quickly mowing through enemies. 😀

    3. I wish they would just remove all boring mandatory stats from gear. (chd, cc, primary stat + vit, all resistance) and really let us work on making our characters unique through better attributes. :-/

    4. Also get rid of these boring skills that are just straight up damage increases and become mandatory when blizzard balances around them assuming all are going to be using them.

      Wizard has 3/4 mandatories:
      Energy armor, familiar, magic weapon, teleport

    5. Flux you ok buddy? You sound like you finally drove a soulstone through your skull and went mad with all the random ramblings! 🙂

    6. I joined my first RIFs last night, and it went very well, so I hope they will stay alive once 2.1 rolls around.

      Yeah, I’d suggest breaking down these topics into their own nuggets, so we can tailor our responses appropriately. I am relatively new to D3, so I can’t really comment on many of the new things, since I am still working my way through the old things!

    7. The thing about RIF is that it’s just sooo much more efficient than actually, you know, playing the game that it’s more-or-less required for anyone who wants to do any kind of min-maxing. That’s a problem.

      I have no problem with RIF itself — I don’t begrudge anyone their style of play. I just don’t like that I’m forced to jump in myself if I want to collect a 6-piece set bonus in a reasonable amount of time.

      Personally, I’d be happiest if Blizzard just let us trade again. I get why Blizz doesn’t want unfettered trading — they’ve made it clear that their new focus is on killing monsters, not metagaming — but even something as simple as “Put an item on trading house, list an item you’re seeking, and it’ll auto-trade when it finds a match” would be welcome.

      That way Riffers could keep doing their thing, and I’d be happy to trade some efficiency for full clears, a playstyle I prefer much more, knowing that I could trade my off-class, repeated-slot set items for the things I needed.

    8. As a veteran player to this game i totally dissagree with what you guis think class ballance should look like.

      Making all classes OP + the current drops = boring game in 2 3 weeks

      If Blizzard does see things like you guis do, then this game is done.

      • The thing is many people are at this point though. The people who have 500+ paragon level are still powering through it. The emphasis on strickly power is here. It is even more noticeable in the fact that rerolling is totally random and that it can take upwards of 10-15 reolls to finalyl get something.

        I have three or four builds I like two use on my witch doctor (still haven’t gotten Jade’s set) and each time I try a new build it requires probably 50 uniques that are busted.

        This game needs to go back to being semi-casual friendly in that aspect. An easy fix would be to allow 5 mods available on rerolls instead of the 3. I like the new weapon socket item being added as it’ll make items awesome I imagine and it is effectively retroactive as you can unsocket your item and then add a socket with it and use the reroll on something more useful.

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