Laz discusses his work on Path of Exile items, Median XL and Diablo 3 Items

Laz creates the unique items in POE

On the main IncGamers site this week it’s Path of Exile week, and part of the content is an interview with Laz, who many of you will know from his excellent Diablo 2  Median XL mod. More recently Laz was brought in by Grinding Gear Games to create Path of Exile’s unique items so we wanted to find out more about Laz, his current work and his thoughts on creating items in an ARPG.

Back in June we asked Laz for his thoughts on the items in Diablo 3, and in this new lengthy interview he elaborates further on the problems that have surfaced with the game that have become such a big talking point since the game was released back in May. It’s an interesting interview which highlights how hard it can be creating an item system in an ARPG so read on for the full interview…

IncGamers: You’re creating some of the unique items for Path of Exile. How did you get that job and what sort of responsibilities do you have working on the project?

Laz: It took talent, hard work, and saying “yes” to an email that arrived in my mailbox one day.

Basically there is a huge variety of base items in the game, and making unique versions of all of them is a process that most certainly takes longer than it looks, especially for a small studio like Grinding Gear. Diamond supporters can have their own uniques added to order, which helps alleviate some of the load, but there is still a metric ton of low and mid level itemisation that needs to be done and is particularly relevant for the levelling experience. This is where I come in.

IncGamers: When you joined the project, how did you get up to speed and gain the expertise required to make proper unique items? You had to learn the overall item strength and values, project what high end characters would need, etc.

Laz: Path of Exile’s character build options are very deep, which sets the game apart from most other ARPGs. Therefore it is important to stay on top of the popular builds and which builds are unpopular because they have no item support. As a relative outsider, character guides have proven to be very useful.

However, not every item should be designed towards a specific build – in fact most should not. Creating items that are mandatory for build X and useless for builds !X does not add value. It is better to make items with a variety of uses and letting the players figure out what to do with them.

Examples of items in Path of Exile

IncGamers: How do you and the GGG devs interact and communicate and coordinate, in terms of keeping the uniques consistent in power and balanced compared to other items? Are there issues with the numerical values on items having to change in response to other game balance tweaks?

Laz: There is a process that may or may not include feedback from the Grinding Gear developers and their own balancing steps.

Items should not be balanced based on the rest of the content. Just because build X is weak does not mean you have to make an item specifically to buff it, because then you can’t buff the spells and passives that make up build X without making the item overpowered.

Creating items in the right ballpark is not too hard unless there is some unforeseen interaction or small print about an affix. Or perhaps the Grinding Gear people are sweating day and night trying to salvage my horribly imbalanced items and I just don’t know it. That’s also possible.

IncGamers: Are you assisting with larger issues like balancing the economy and managing item rewards and other gaming experiences?

Laz: Not yet, but who knows what the future brings…

IncGamers: Planned obsolescence for items is a big deal while leveling up characters. Developers want players to find items that feel awesome and can be used for a few levels, until something better is found. In Diablo III this system is inexorable, with item stats cranking up so that anything found at level 40 is underpowered by level 45 and useless by 50. This differs from the system in Diablo 2, where lots of low and mid level unique remained useful even in the end game. How do you approach that obsolescence balance in PoE, and how do features like item enchanting and enhancing and socketing factor into it?

Laz: D3 made the mistake of balancing items based on the WoW paradigm of linear progression, which works well in a game that is about taking one character and developing it for the next two years but not in a game where rerolling is a thing. It is absolutely necessary to have a chance to find something awesome at low levels, otherwise you feel like you are wasting your time. This something awesome tends to come in the form of uniques (or powerful binary affixes like +skill levels).

Awesome low level uniques may include Johnny uniques like Springleaf in PoE and Thinking Cap in D1. The idea is that these items are so unusual they cannot directly be compared to regular items and therefore do not get overshadowed at higher levels. They could also take the form of a “Spike Jr.” item that is intentionally designed to be overpowered when you find it, then fall off later. Everyone likes stomping faces for 30 minutes.

Very high level items should generally be more Spike and less Johnny. Those one in a million items should be useful for people who actually optimise their character for the purpose of farming one in a million items, while build enablers should be widely available at low levels so the player can actually implement that build before the earth gets hit by [DATA EXPUNGED].

IncGamers: PoE is running a promotion where fans can submit their own legendary item designs. Obviously you’ve got to coordinate those a bit, so some guy doesn’t put in a sword of +5000000000 cold damage, or whatever. How is that process handled? Have you seen any really interesting or creative fan design ideas that spurred your item designs in ways you hadn’t thought of previously?

Laz: The fan item design process is not something I am involved in, however the entry barrier for submitting items is high enough to encourage intelligent submissions and the items are looking good so far.

I did read some interesting player comments and added them to my pool of considerations, but I do not directly take item suggestions. For those who want their own item concept included in the game, I recommend purchasing the Diamond Pack which lets you do just that and also comes with a custom made forum avatar and a lot of other swag.

Median XL

IncGamers: Your relevant experience was creating items for your Median XL mod for Diablo 2. Can you summarize your time working on that mod for people who know nothing about it? It wasn’t just the same game with some tweaked stats; you made mods that were almost total conversions with all new skills, classes, quest events, etc.

Laz: Yada yada self-important bragging blah best mod ever. Tldr: Diablo 2 partial conversion, 2003-2012, new skill trees for all, new items, new monsters including Ni’Va and barrel throwing monkeys, 30-something uberquests instead of Blizzard’s pathetic 2 uberquests, intended to be a more strategic experience at first but quickly evolved into total pandemonium, now the mod has black holes and Viz’Jaq-Taari nuclear calldowns and lets you turn into a giant quill rat and yet it’s still difficult and challenging and also still lore friendly. Also #3 Mod of the Year at ModDB at some point and was played by Blizzard and Riot Games people.

Download now, unless you are playing Path of Exile instead, in which case please keep playing Path of Exile. Latest official version is MXL2012 v005 which you can download at Modsbylaz, though a couple of fans have resumed development where I left off in early ’12 and their modified version is called Ultimative.

IncGamers: Obviously the items are a big aspect of that as well, and they were basically your resume for working on Path of Exile. Can you ballpark estimate how many items you created, including unique and sets and runewords, in the different versions of the mod over the years?

Laz: About 1,500 during the past 9 years, but not many of them are worth remembering. Gaze upon my works, ye mighty, and facepalm.

The difference with a monkey whacking on the keyboard is that I figured out with time why I failed at making good items in the past and what not to do next time. The Von Neumann-like spread of chance to cast items in MXL was a learning experience. I would do things very differently if I were to start over on MXL today, and Grinding Gear have given me this opportunity!

IncGamers: What sorts of lessons did you learn from that? In terms of balancing player wants with game needs and keeping enough reward for fun, item power so players could survive, etc? Do players know what’s best for them? Does everyone want super shiny items that would turn the game into a boring walkthrough if they actually found them?

Laz: Everyone wants to win. Everyone therefore wants the stuff that will help him win, and play the game in order to obtain this stuff. But when you actually give it to them they will eat it all and quit. You have to feed the players just enough to keep them addicted but not enough to make them sated.

Yes, kids, we think you are lab rats. Now please don’t complain and if you click hard enough on the boss we may give you a shiny food pellet. Gummy bear flavoured.

Luckily modern games are not just about the grind: some games are mainly about character building and theorycrafting (Path of Exile! Play now!) and others are about immersion and story (Skyrim, GW2) or pvp competition (LoL). Still others just ignore all of the above and therefore fall on their face (D3).

IncGamers: Any other general or larger observations and theories about how items work in an ARPG that fans might be surprised to contemplate?

Laz: When an ARPG features difficult content, this typically means you need to grind a ton before the game lets you win, or alternatively you need to make a very specific build or fail. Easy ARPGs have many viable builds and don’t require much grind, but making the best build for fast farming can still be a challenge.

Note that combat skill is not particularly relevant and challenges that require this kind of skill to overcome are seen as a problem (“remove invulnerable minions!”). These games are about a lot of things, not including mouse skills.

Because of the importance of rewarding players for making good choices, blindly striving for a high level of balance between items and builds is a bad idea because it makes build planning and item finding much less important. You need weak items and builds for people to feel good about having strong items and builds…

Laz’ Work in-game

Diablo III and ARPG Design

IncGamers: Diablo 3’s item system was probably the most criticized feature in the game upon launch. The uniques (legendaries) especially were singled out for condemnation, and Blizzard obviously agrees, since they’ve revamped the item system in the last several patches, by improving the legendary items, giving them some mods that rares can’t get, and improving their drop chances. Those seem like very obvious fixes, ones that many players said needed to be made when the first legendary items were revealed, months before launch. Any idea why or how the Diablo III devs bungled the item system so badly upon launch, making what seem like such obvious oversights?

Laz: The D3 developers were heavily influenced by World of Warcraft and implemented a ton of MMO good practices that unfortunately fail in a Diablo game, notably the idea that items have to be balanced instead of fun and inspiring. Misguided attempts at “balance” were actually fairly common among noob D2 modmakers and inevitably led to boredom-induced disaster while I went the opposite direction. It did turn out that people seek out fun games, not balanced games.

Of course the whole auction house fiasco wasn’t helping. It basically means anyone has access to every item. The hassle of trading in D2 and crucially the fact that you needed good gear to trade for good gear made it somewhat less likely that you’d just buy everything off other players. And then the gold farmers came and it got worse.

Interestingly the D3 item design minimises the risk that people would just buy the best item off the auction house and ignore everything else, ensuring repeated purchases and therefore repeated cuts for the house. I won’t claim this is intentional, but you never know with Bobby “Washing Powder” Kotick.

IncGamers: Now that you’re working on a game yourself, do you see or appreciate difficulties that you never noticed from the outside?

Laz: Luckily, the boring stuff like paying salaries and debugging memory leaks in cursor code are handled at the other side of the globe, I’m just doing items here. I’m actually not used to having to ask for changes instead of just going into whatever.txt and doing it myself. Growing up sucks sometimes.

IncGamers: A commonly-debated issue is how powerful players feel. Jay Wilson often said during development that they wanted to make players feel “awesome” and that’s something other game developers have said. It’s a lot of fun for a player to find a new item that’s totally kick ass and even OP for the level. How did the Diablo III devs miss that boat so badly on their legendary item design, and do you calculate for it when making unique in PoE? Say by designing an item that’s good for level 25, and therefore awesome for level 20, and then giving it a chance to drop at level 17?

Laz: Intentionally overpowered low level items are a good thing: it feels good to find them and they don’t break balance. In fact, every non-endgame unique that isn’t a fun or niche item of some sort should ideally be overpowered at its level. What is the point of a balanced unique that doesn’t do anything cool either? Might as well grab any random regular item off the ground then and paint it gold.

Just gotta make sure not every niche is filled so twinks don’t walk around with a full set of uniques ignoring everything else.

I don’t know what the D3 developers were attempting to do, but they made legendaries useless and turned inferno difficulty into Super Meat Boy.

IncGamers: Back in early June, just a few weeks after Diablo III’s launch, you wrote a guest article for us, documenting the lameness of the Diablo III item system while classifying all players into three types; The Spike, the Johnny, and the Timmy. Do you still hold to those classifications and did they inform your item designs in PoE?

Laz: They indeed do; I have a little Excel sheet in which I tag every item with Spike, Johnny or Timmy.

Between that article and today I’ve grown to appreciate the Timmy side. They’re the Darius player, the three minute mage, the Third Street Saint, the battlecruiser guy and the Leeroy Jenkins. They tend to be more casual, but are also looking for straight up fun in their video game.

As far as items go, there are perhaps two other target groups: the altaholic who can’t stick with a character and only sees level 1-20 over and over; and the lorekeeper who simply collects cool and rare items, a target group that is not well served by the Diablo games but has found a home in a certain popular war themed hat simulator and GW2’s metric ton of armor dyes.

IncGamers: Blizzard famously decided not to allow any sort of player mod making for Diablo III. If Diablo III could be modded, would you have tried your hand at it?  If so, what kind of changes would you have made, to the item system or the game in general?

Laz: There would be little point in modding a dead game, but the most important thing would be to Dota-ize it: give the items, spells and enemies more pronounced strong and weak points. This should enable players to actually use tactics to beat the game (as opposed to “more damage”) and make the game more exciting.

This does include powerful and interesting uniques, monsters that are dangerous when fought on their terms but have weak points in their tactics that can be exploited for massive damage, and actual reasons to use different skills on different monsters. Single target skills should destroy single targets, but swarm type monsters should come at you in packs of 20 instead of 5. Etc.

The biggest issue with D3 after all is that it is not exciting in any way.

IncGamers: Another big complaint about Diablo III’s legendaries in the early going was how bland they were. Aside from having weak stats, they had few stats that couldn’t be found on rares, which made legendaries seem not-special. Have you paid special attention to giving the unique in PoE “flavor” as well as stats big enough to be eye-catching?

Laz: Flavour is very important. Uniques that are not special in any way are pointless. If you don’t want an item to have special stats, at least throw in some flavour stats like a small negative affix or a chance to cast gimmick to make it worth identifying.

Big stats are eye catching, but only once per item type. There can be only one Blightsteel Colossus. The vast majority of the items need to be carried by being special, not just huge.

IncGamers: Most players prefer Diablo II’s item system to Diablo III’s, in part since in D2 the loot drops so much more frequently, especially the uniques and sets. That’s often thought to be largely due to Diablo III’s closed, persistent, balanced economy — in D2 items could drop in huge heaps since players rerolled all the time and the entire realms were regularly wiped with new seasons, so it didn’t matter if characters quickly grew very powerful and inflation kicked in. That can’t happen in Diablo III since the economy is meant to last for years without resets, so items have to drop less often lest they flood the economy. You didn’t need to worry about a closed economy in Median, but PoE is aiming to build a long term stable economy on secure servers, so how do you balance the issues of item spam and inflation with player desires to find for awesome loot?

*untaps Text Wall*

Laz: D2 loot drops only appear frequent because everyone is using duped items and because ladder seasons take many months. Compared to other games it still takes ages to find high end items. Granted in D3 you have zero chance to find anything decent so I guess the faint hope of seeing a Pul someday is an improvement. Perhaps D3 was designed for today’s economy where no one has a job.

Whether or not ladder seasons are necessary depends on the game. An online action RPG does not need ladder seasons to remove items from the economy as long as the grind/reward curve stretches to infinity. If there are items that are almost impossible to find, treasure hunters will keep farming for them until the sun explodes as long as you throw them a carrot every once in a while to keep them addicted. And people who care mostly about interesting builds are more than capable of entertaining themselves without having their personalised characters wiped every X months. A ladder reset is a good marketing move though and tends to result in a huge inflow of returning players. This is why League of Legends has ladder seasons.

When an economy gets “flooded”, this is because good items are too easy to get while the best items are too hard, making players feel like they cannot realistically improve their characters or it would not be worth the bother. This indicates a drop rate issue. Gambling machine designers invested a lot of money into research like this and action RPG developers would do well to take their findings into account.

Once you have things set up so that adequate gear is common and there is a power curve upwards that is inversely correlated with drop rates, the only remaining problem is that the game will gradually get easier as more good items find their way into the economy, and you can’t really make the monsters harder or newbies will get owned. Either you go with ladder seasons for the sole reason of fixing this issue, or alternatively you could keep throwing in new and harder high level areas and treat the large number of good items as a form of rubberbanding for new players. This is where games like PoE with their randomised dungeons luck out.

Laz’ Work in-game

IncGamers: What will a Diablo player think when he first tries PoE and soaks up some of the item system? Familiar and yet different?

Laz: There was a time when people were willing to put up with a game that has more bugs than a 200/200 ling army, broken items, endemic duping, potion spam, PvP consisting of assholes going hostile on you and using glitches to instakill you, imbalanced skills etc.

PoE is intended to be a spiritual sequel to D2, not a “Diablo clone”. It is similar to the rose coloured memories people have about D2, but not at all to the depressingly bad reality of D2.

IncGamers: Have you guys planned out items over the long term, with ideas for new properties, item types, bigger stats, etc, to be added in patches or game expansions?

Laz: More items will be added continuously after release. Other plans include [CLASSIFIED] and the awesome [CLASSIFIED]!

Thanks to Laz for taking the time to answer our questions. For more on Path of Exile check out more Path of Exile Week articles.


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  1. In a way I think this is pretty bittersweet:

    Brother Laz is clearly a really smart dude and I wish he designed, or at least had a hand in designing, all my games, as his design philosophy seems to accord very well with the sort of thing I want to play (i.e., fun, not un-fun). But on the other hand, I found PoE and its interesting item / stat system to be nigh unplayable due to its miserable gameplay/combat, so it seems like his talents are being wasted on me. Maybe that speaks more to some kind of cognitive dissonance on my part, though.

    In any case, cool interview — a great read. Thanks!

    • I wrote all the questions, so I’ll take the thanks. 😉

      I enjoyed reading what he sent back. As others have pointed out, Laz takes a few cheapshots at D3, though anyone taking them literally has obviously never read any of his past columns, since they’re all full of that type of sarcasm.

      Laz was obviously a huge fan of D2 and was eager for D3, writing numerous columns here during the game’s build up. And his disappointment with the initial game, especially the item system, had to be acute since he actually knows how to design a fun and interesting item system. Hence when he saw what D3 launched with, he must have been even more disappointed than the rest of us at all the elementary mistakes and oversights the devs made.

      It’s not a huge leap of insight to suggest that the D3 devs could/should have brought in someone like him to consult, since there’s a fairly small pool of people with the unique knowledge of what makes a successful item system in a diablo style game. That PoE is not risking the same mistakes that Bliz made with D3 speaks well for their outsider intelligence and lack of burdensome arrogance.

      • Laz also takes a potshot at D2 at the end, confirming exactly what the D3 devs had said about nostalgia for the game. It wasn’t perfect, it did indeed have some extremely rough spots.

        I was in the PoE beta and played it some before D3 came out. I had the same conclusion that the game would be great if it had a better combat system. It looked and felt clunky to me. I hope that improves. Ideally, I would like to see the deep skill and item system of PoE with the engine and feel of Diablo 3.

  2. Nothing like a supposed professional repeating trashy, empty forum troll type statements in an interview. “Zero chance” to get good items in D3? Calling it a dead game? What an ignorant ass.

    • Laz has a far greater pedigree than anyone on the D3 team relative to the Diablo series. Circa 2005, he had been banging on tremendously popular D2 mods for years, while Jay and friends hadn’t spent a day actually developing a released ARPG.

      My takeaway is that this just more evidence that we’re ending up with three good-not-great ARPGs this year in D3, TL2 and PoE instead of one great one that could actually compare with D2.

      Kind of a shame.

    • Yeah, I got the feeling that he’s talking about launch day D3. The game has come a long way since, especially thanks to the last two patches.

      • I quit a month later, along with 80-90% of the playerbase, and therefore see no reason to study patch logs. You only get one chance to make a first impression. If they managed to pull out of the dive, good for them, maybe they will even pretend the game was successful like Starcraft 2 which, by the way, is being abandoned in the competitive scene in favour of League and Dota.

    • compared to sales, the game IS dying…. sure people are still playing it, and a ton will continue to play it, but the numbers don’t lie.

      also: i’m sure laz stopped playing before this most recent patch, and as such, i dont blame him for saying ZERO chance. as i played for over 300 hours and found 4 legendaries pre 1.05. the drop rates were such absolute garbage, that zero i think is nearly appropriate. and i still feel the drop rate is FAR too low.

      • You aren’t one of those taking those numbers from public games right? Cause you know those numbers are not a good reading as can be read by the updates from Blizard and news items on this site. But you aren’t ofc!

      • Do you have some confidential info on the true numbers?

        Stats from xfire show that D3 gametime is stable/rising, while all the d3 killers are falling hard.

    • You’re taking his words too literal. Of course it’s not zero chance of finding good items, but it’s still too small of a chance. His interview had a ton of in-depth talk, which I don’t find you debating, but instead just trying to pick on a play of words.

    • The game is both broken and dead. Nobody I know plays it anymore. After, what,7 years of waiting d3 is the biggest let down in pc gaming. and the worst blizzard game ever made. at least as a sc2 player i will benefit from that fail, since sc2 kinda woke up and are finally doing interesting stuff in HotS

    • Professionals sugarcoat everything. I’ll take blunt and 100% truthful every single time. At least you know where you stand with people like that. Otherwise you just get another “fuck that loser” moment from such a sweeeeet guy.

    • Too true. I do think that D3 has a long way to go to improve, but brother Laz basically made himself sound like a typical bitter whiner.

      Dead game?

      ROFL. All the d3 killers are dead, actually.

  3. I agree with beingamused. He came off pompous and seriously butthurt in that interview, and regurgitated horrible forum troll posts like “zero chance of finding a good item”, “all legendaries are useless”, “dead game”, etc. All of those things have been fixed with these recent patches. You find good items often, legendaries drop much more often, and the population has only increased since 1.05 came out.

    Reading that interview actually made me NOT want to play PoE again (I was in the beta). What an awful attitude.

    By the way, Jiminycricket: There are some devs who worked on D2 on the D3 team so you’re wrong. Jay or one of the other bigwigs mentioned this in an interview.

    • “There are some devs who worked on D2 on the D3 team so you’re wrong.”
      Artists, rather than designers. While I’m sure they had their input into the game, evidently it’s the designers that really get final say, and as Laz says, they went with the WoW approach instead of the D2-RPG approach.

    • Actually, Jiminy is basically correct.

      Out of a team of over 60 when D2 shipped, there were three people with D2 credits from the bay area team that worked on D3 – the artists, Boey and Rivero, and the only one still working there, Regier the programmer. All were hired less than a year before D2 shipped and had very junior roles (though Boey and Rivero both did prominent stuff on Lord of Destruction).

      Jay Wilson was an RTS guy before he came to Blizzard, and most of the other senior guys confused with original Northies were hired after D2, and had credits on things like board game adaptations and sports games.

      All of the credits are on mobygames if you’re curious.

  4. He works for POE and criticizes D3, what a surprise! lol

    • he criticized diablo 3 way before he worked on PoE. if you’ve read anything by him, you’d realize he’s had this opinion since around the launch of d3…

  5. Wow, he could at least have given Credit to Mark Rosewater on the whole \Timmy, Johnny, Spike\ thing. It’s absolutely NOT something Laz came up with.

    • Where in the interview does he claim credit for it? Go read his earlier blog on it and he lays it all out there, including credit to Mark.

      Do you expect any time anyone does an interview, they must credit every concept they’re talking about to whoever invented it?

  6. Yea PoE is such a great game, probably only twenty times worse then D3.
    Its still in beta and now you can buy your own key! … didnt everyone get their from giveaways by now ?

  7. The only article I did find dating back to june here was

    Which is linked at the top. In that article which Flux just quoted some stuff. I see no mention to MaRo there as well. So unless there’s a \more complete\ version of that, I don’t see what I said that’s not accurate.

    So while no, he didn’t \claim\ anything (neither I said he did) I still believe it’s just common courtesy to give credit where it’s due. It’s not a magical, revolutionary concept that Laz came up with and is applying to PoE. It’s a concept that a designer I very much respect came up with years ago.

    Not trying to troll or instigate anything. But you know what? if you take someone’s ideas and expose them, at least make damn sure everyone knows that it’s not your idea in the first place. But that’s just me.

  8. All these ARPGs should join forces and become one megaultrauber ARPG. Bring on Path of Diablolight 6!!

  9. Laz must be young.

    It’s ok to pump up your game and try to sell a few “diamond packs” but never burn bridges, kiddo. If your dreams come true with PoE, it didn’t occur to you that Blizzard might consider your resume in the future?

    • True, his tone in this interview helps ensure that his career options will be somewhat limited.

      Of course, having a condescending, pompous attitude and making abusive remarks towards other developers is fine AFTER you’ve been hired. But you might get your twitter activity suspended.

      • I suppose my career options at Blizzard will be limited, which would be a problem if I ever intended to work at Blizzard. I do not, because Bobby Kotick has the flicker of hellfire about him.

        Besides, Jay Wilson bashed the Blizzard North people, at which point God turned away from him.

        • Laz, in most trades, there’s a line you don’t cross in terms of attaching your name to anything too derogatory, and there’s a reason for that. There are hundreds of devs at Blizzard that are just people with a passion for games, and they may not appreciate it. Some of them may work somewhere totally different 5 or 10 years from now (or sooner than that, given the current rate of decline and likelihood of Titan as vapor), and they may remember your comments in a negative light.

          You can express your own opinions in a less abrasive way, and there’s no reason in your interest not to do such.

          • If a dev keeps a grudge for 5 years, its honestly his loss.

            Besides that, in 5 years or if he leaves the company… he might actually look back and think, jups it was really that bad.

            And to be honest. The diablo3 team needs to be taken down a serious notch. What total arrogance and ignorance they portraid pre and post launch.
            It was pretty much the worst scene possible by a gaming company.
            It really seemed like they didnt test anything in advance. Didnt have any real ideas what they were making, nor how to make it. And hyped into the next millenium even after launch showed the failure.
            It was very sadening to watch and even worse to be part of the experience.

          • “The diablo3 team needs to be taken down a serious notch.”

            Thomas, I think you’re missing the bigger picture here.

            About of a year ago, a few people on the team were frankly alarmed about the state of the game. They were unhappy with some aspects of the game which were also roundly criticized by players upon release. What happened to these folks? Generally, they left, were fired as part of the layoffs before release, or were generally politically marginalized in terms of things like promotions, titles, because they were “whiners” or “weren’t team players”.

            What happened to the people that didn’t bother to change these things but were in a position to do so? Massive bonuses, promotions, etc. That’s how big companies work. But by YOUR logic, they’re all “the diablo3 team”.

  10. poe aka pos is trash, the developers and even forum mods have always been anti-d3 and posted nothing but one sided negative things about d3. irony is their little d2 clone is plain terrible, it looks like something made for 10 years ago. they tried to hype out their pathetic d2 clone with all that fake diamond donor crap which eventually led to the downfall of it.

  11. it’s look so cool.

  12. Poe makes everyone at blizzard look stupid. Thats all there is to it…the only thing d3 really has over poe is basic things like movement and overall feeling(some ppl see it, some ppl think im crazy but I notice the small things) Poe is still in beta and is VERY far superior in its systems.

  13. Laz always had this kind of attitude. He loves trolling and blatantly bashing things he does not like, but I already got used it quite a few years ago. In the end Laz is indeed good at creating items and at understanding game systems.

    And on PoE vs D3. PoE is still in Beta and gameplay-wise it is already miles ahead of what D3 was at launch (in-game currencies, builds, total area randomization, PvP, constant weekend events). And the absence of stupid everpresent cut-scenes is also a big plus. Obviously, graphics & physics – this is where D3 is superior.

  14. Yeah. Thanks Jay! You fucked up our game.

  15. Re: D3 I think it shows that Laz hasn’t played in a long time. All his criticisms would have been spot-on 3 months ago, but slowly, painfully, they are making strides in the right direction. I agree that low level legendaries need a huge buff because that would be fun.

    • You honestly believe that the last few patches have really changed the game that much? The overall itemization is still god awful and incredibly boring. The new revamped legendaries, while better and more appealing, are still boring and/or useless in their “procs.” The only reason the new legendaries are useful are for the updated stats and not the “unique” modifiers they offer. The only unique modifier that was incredibly OP and crazy was the new hellfire ring before they nerfed it to hell and played the “was not working as intended” card.

      It’s really sad where d3 itemization went. It’s not going to get any better either until they redo the entire system i.e. through an expansion. No amount of patches can fix it. I just gave up on the game pretty much for good until expansion. I love what potential d3 has, the actual gameplay mechanics is amazingly fun with exception to the horrible hitbox issues. I might play a little when pvp is out, but the item hunt, making new characters etc. is dead to me. The itemization, which is the real endgame is just not good enough to keep me playing.

      R.I.P. paragon 71 Demon Hunter 🙁 … If my account got hacked i probably wouldn’t even give 2 sh*ts… And that honestly breaks my heart for my most anticipated game ever.

      • **permit to just add this side-note.

        Of all my friends both IRL that played d3 and gaming friends I would say 6 out of about 60+ people still play the game. Of all those people only 4 didn’t hit 60 and out of all those who hit 60 only about 3 didn’t create new characters. These were almost all non-casual players and nearly all of them LOVED d2 or played d2 in the recent year after hearing others and me hype d3 and loved their d2 experience despite complaints of how old the game looked.

        Now of those 6 people I played with at or around launch that STILL play d3 … 4 of those people are just botting now. They refuse to actually play the game and say botting is the only fun thing about it. The other 2 still play and are enjoying the game thoroughly. Out of 60+ people I know, only 2 still love and play the game.

        Note * those people don’t include the friends i found and do paragon lvl runs with, but those people are hardcore and play the game like its their job and even some of them have stopped playing from what i hear.

  16. Laz is a self proclaimed expert, who got lucky in his past with diablo 2.

    his opinions are just that, his opinions, as mine are my own.

    I am still not interested in poe.

    • And by “lucky” you mean he put in hundreds of hours of his own free time and painstaking learned how to created a mod that is almost as beloved as the game itself.

      Trivializing his work much?

    • Did I get lucky? Most certainly, although I did do my best to influence luck in my favour. Just because some rich guy claims on talk radio that hard work and talent always amounts to success does not make it true.

      However, luck alone won’t get you anywhere either, you have to actually have a product people want before you can even begin to get lucky.

      Best example: DotA. Icefrog is a talented developer and without him the game would have died twenty times over. But how did DotA transcend the primordial soup of thousands of other maps in the first place, including at least a handful of very similar competing maps? Especially considering most of DotA’s defining characteristics (balance, depth) are irrelevant when it comes to popularising one map among all others. At least a little luck was involved there.

  17. Looks like PoE gonna bring the complexity Diablo2 had once synergies came in back coupled with the items to actually make it worth to do character builds.

    The best part of it: Hopefull I can sell my Diablo3 copy and account for more than 25 USD on ebay.

  18. Yea, D3 was a pretty big disappointment. At least PoE is everything Diablo 3 isn’t (a great game). Diablo 3 is dead, and eventually everyone will move to PoE, as it just has the complexity people are asking for.

  19. Note to all readers:

    I am technically not a Grinding Gear employee but a freelancer. Therefore I am allowed to say whatever the hell I want about any game I want. I’m sorry if freedom of speech makes you mad, and not wanting to mod Diablo III indicates I am “arrogant”.

    It is good to see Blizzard apparently did something about the Diablo III item system and Inferno difficulty and finally managed to stop the bleeding. Unfortunately 80% of the players including me have already abandoned the game because you only get one chance to make a first impression and there are plenty of other good games on the market.

  20. Maybe Laz made some exaggerated claims but he seems like a really smart guy who not only knows what the is talking about but also feels free to speak his mind. Instead of hopping onto the ragetrain, D3’s devs should be thankful for every insightful review they can get. Which they most probably are anyways.

    The leftover 10% of the initial playerbase, the loyal players won’t help improve the game, won’t make bored players stay or left players come back. It is criticism like Laz’s that helped D3 improve and that can advance it further. I think it wouldn’t be the worst move for Blizzard to consult the dedicated and adept part of the vocal minority for their next expansions. Because not everyone who claims the droprates are messed up is a forum troll.

    I’m really looking foreward to PoE’s strongly randomized leveldesign and Laz’s itemdesign, if PoE can only roughly compete with D3’s incredible high technical, optical and audible standards, it will surely be a game to put some time into!

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