As we saw from the planned changes to class skills and item modifiers in Reaper of Souls, life steal is being phased out in the expansion. Virtually every skill that now grants life steal is being changed to heal by a flat amount, or by a % of your character’s total life, or to grant Life on Hit, or by a % of your character’s HGHB, or via LFSS/LFFS, etc.
But what about current gear? Won’t players just keep using their current equipment, since it’ll be worth it for the Life Steal, even if the DPS and other stats are lower than the new gear? Well, the newest datamined info from the RoS test build shows that Blizzard has thought of that as well:
A fan aware of this planned feature change, but not some of the related monster changes, asked about it in the forums today and got a Blue reply:
Grimiku: We’re keeping a close eye on all of the systems since changing any one element will likely have a ripple effect of some sort. However, Wyatt has specifically mentioned the Reflects Damage affix in the past.
Wyatt Cheng: Regarding the existing monster affixes. We’ll be keeping an eye on these. For example, Reflects Damage internally has been changed to a flat amount rather than a percentage. I don’t know if it’s going to ship this way but that’s the current internal version.
The Blue recommended revisiting Wyatt Cheng’s recent posts on changes coming to combat and to the healing and health systems of Diablo 3, and I’ll second that. Also, while I’m going to continue enjoying the Auction House and Life Steal until they’re gone, and I think they’re essential elements in the game today, I can see silver linings in both removals.
As with the AH, if they just yanked LS out of the game right now it would be a borderline disaster, since players and characters depend on the current system. I consider LS all but mandatory for any HC Monk using Sweeping Wind (since SW procs with LS, but not LoH), and I’m sure my high risk/reward WD remains alive largely due to the LS on her Manajuma’s knife. Other classes will also be greatly affected by the removal of LS, with the Barb near the head of the line, largely because that class has easy access to 2-3x the amount of LS anyone else gets. (Bloodthirst is being nerfed and now LS Mighty Belts are useless as well.)
But… if other things change in the game, monster damage is made less spiky, new/improved affixes allow for more sources of healing, etc, that could create a lot more gear diversity. As I said with my Monk, I don’t even look at weapons without LS on them, and the same is true of many other players, especially when considering using a Skorn. Ergo, a game without Life Steal = a lot more options when looking weapons… right?