Life Steal Removal and Combat Changes in Reaper of Souls

A fan asks about combat changes in Reaper of Souls, especially regarding the removal of life steal, and gets a fairly non-specific Blue reply. I’ve got a much more specific comment, but first here’s the OP and the Blue, from the EU forums while the US CMs remain busy not forum’ing:

So i was wondering the “life steal” thats removed in the beta, will that be removed in launch also blizzard? Since life steal is my main thing to keep my Wizard alive at higher difficulties.

And from what iv’e seen from people who stream RoS they die A LOT! since they have no way of gain life other then the life pot and if lucky a health globe drops. I personally hope you will add life steal back for Wizard, we are so squishy to begin with to try to “tank it out”.

And yeah i know about “life on hit” but you would need tons of it, witch means you will most likely “gimp” out your damage etc, and then it would take forever to kill stuff on high Torments.
Vaneras: Very true. The combat flow does indeed change quite a bit, and how you move and position yourself in combat will matter much more in in Reaper of Souls than it does today—We think that trying to mitigate and avoid taking damage generally makes for more interesting and intense gameplay.

Finding a solid combination of skills that suit your play style and acquiring great gear will of course help you quite a bit in regards to both survivability and your damage output, but choosing your level of difficulty can also help you adjust the combat flow to closer fit your preferred style of play… obviously the higher difficultly levels requires more defensive gameplay, and one does not simply walk up to packs of monsters and ignore their damage on the highest difficulty levels, and “standing in fire” is also something you have to be careful about at those higher difficulty levels.

As always; nothing is set in stone at this early stage of beta testing though, but right now in the beta you get full Life Steal up to level 59, 10% Life Steal from level 60 to level 69, and you get no Life Steal at all at level 70.

And lastly, in case you have not seen this yet; here is a great developer post about combat in Diablo III. This developer post doesn’t specify exactly what we are doing with combat in Reaper of Souls, but it does highlight some of the concerns we have with combat currently, which we are trying to resolve.

I can’t comment on how it feels for a Wizard, but I’ve played WD, Monk, DH, and Crusader pretty extensively in the Reaper of Souls beta and I think the overall changes to the combat engine and flow of battle are strongly to the good. The general aim, as Wyatt explains in the post the blue linked, is to make combat more tactical and to extend the length of battles. This means adding more steady damage and more types of healing, while removing spiky damage and spiky healing. Thus many elemental Affixes hit more regularly and for more damage, and life steal is gone since that plus high DPS made characters almost immortal.

Regeneration can go big in RoS.
Regeneration can go big in RoS.
I certainly took advantage of Life Steal with my D3 chars, and when I imported my HC Monk and WD into the RoS beta they were basically broken by the removal of that stat. But I was okay with that since I saw it as a symptom of a larger issue. The whole “removal of life steal” is a bit like the current BoA legendaries. You might not like the specific change at first glance, but when you consider the bigger picture, that binding means a much higher legendary drop rate, your opinion might change.

That’s not quite the same thing as LS and combat, but it’s similar. In D3 today, survival is all about high resistance and defense, but mostly it’s about high DPS being leveraged into big healing via life steal. This contributes to the “big DPS is everything” simplicity of the item game, and makes for a shallow, one-dimensional system. RoS attempts to improve on that by removing life steal, which has the side effect of making high DPS much less mandatory. To compensate Ros has raised the minimum damage from monsters while lowering the maximum, so you’re constantly taking damage without being in such danger of getting one-shotted.

Furthermore, properties like life DiabloWikiregen and DiabloWikiLpH are more available than in Diablo 3, and much more powerful (especially regen). This changes up the gameplay and besides making high DPS less essential, it helps to create a more tactical style, where you don’t survive simply by hitting things, but where you have to avoid damage, practice hit-and-run tactics, get out of the damage zone to allow yourself some time to regen, etc. (We spoke on this topic at length in the newest episode of the Diablo 3 Podcast. Skip to about the 37 minute mark to hear that segment.)

Of course this is all based on early RoS play, and it might become less true with more time, better gear, game tweaks, etc. But thus far I find the general combat a lot more interesting and varied than it is in Diablo 3, where characters tend to be full health almost all the time, until something really bad (and really rare) hits, at which point they die in a blink.

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20 thoughts on “Life Steal Removal and Combat Changes in Reaper of Souls

  1. I get the feeling a lot of these players dying in the beta are just playing difficulties higher than their gear should allow. Anyone in beta confirm/deny this? How is the damage feeling to you?

    I mean, a lot of streamers seem to have a hard time making value judgments like this. “Hmm, getting splattered in Torment VI… yep! Game is broken!”

    • Congrats! Been playing it for about 2 weeks now too. It’s fun to play but quite different from D3, although I do like opening up new packs of cards and seeing what I’ve got. Have fun with HS! =^-^=

  2. I switched to Life Regeneration to my main DH tank months before the ROS beta started, and I really liked how it performs. When synergized with healthy armor, life and resistances its really good. I also throw in some Damage Reduction percentage on the side as a backstop.

    Supporting all this is Brooding, Boar and all life regeneration on my gear as well.

    Because of this I can run without any LOH, LS, SS, and most importantly Shadow Power/Gloom.

    On my ranged DH’s I also stack life regeneration and higher than normal resistances but not nearly as much as my tank DH. My play style means taking hits more as I really enjoy traps on my DH’s.

    I am glad that EHP might actually mean something now. By taking less damage through DR and Life Regen you have much less pressure put on your life pool and in really sticky situations it becomes very tactical and your movements matter much more. Health globes and strategic potion use become important as well in the really dangerous fights.

  3. “avoid taking damage generally makes for more interesting and intense gameplay.”

    i remember bashiok stating something along the lines of “we want players to feel like a powerful hero, avoiding damage/dodging doesnt really make that happen”

    so will you actually be able to dodge properly now?

      • Exactly. This is simply a matter of opinion. I think lifesteal is one of the coolest things in any arpg. So now Blizz wants us all to kite. WTF! So sad.

        • I actually think things will be completely fine without Life Steal. The problem with coupling defense together with offense like that is that it dumbs down the item game. Life steal scaling with offense was a huge reason for why people cared only about DPS.

          By “properly dodge” I assume he was thinking about the intentionally long reach of enemy melee attacks. Thing is if those could be dodged without movement skills then ranged classes could kite without a worry in the world, again oversimplifying skill and stat choices. The important things can be dodge anyway (projectiles, enemy charge-up skills, AoE, etc.). If someone wants to dodge everything then bring the right skills for the job.

  4. With my WD I have been using around 1900ish life on hit with rain of toads and he is practically indestructible on MP 5-8 and 10 is only slightly challenging. He is paragon 81 with 290k paper dps, 850ish resist all

  5. My monks life regen gear already can handle mp4, 2 elite packs at same time, standing on fire, no prob, no OWE, Hardcore.
    If i had way… way… way better items could handle mp8-10?

    This changes in RoS sound like nothing new to me…

    Kinda like, look a Crusader: \It’s wearing a shield! wooo\
    Total meh.

  6. clearly, their idea of what is fun in Diablo is not compatible with mine. For me, Diablo was always about mind numbing clicking and slaying hordes of monster, with shiny item here and there. I really dont care about positionïng or strategy in DIablo. If I wanted that, I would WoW and do raids.

    But that is fine, there will be again something that will make “click click click” builds in RoS viable, I am sure.

  7. It looks like their idea of what is fun in Diablo is not compatible with mine. For me, Diablo was always about mind numbing clicking and slaying hordes of monster, with shiny item here and there. I really dont care about positionïng or strategy in Diablo. If I wanted that, I would play WoW and do raids.

    But that is fine, there will be again something that will make \click click click\ builds in RoS viable, I am sure.

    • Your idea of what is fun in Diablo is my idea of what is boring in Diablo.
      Kudos to Blizz for at least *attempting* to advance the gameplay in the genre.

      • I didn’t like kiting on my DH in D3V, so I got in the habit of playing MP1 and having fun crushing through monsters that way. This kind of gameplay isn’t going away, it’s just not how Torment VI is supposed to be played. I’m ok with that.

  8. I think one of the factors that makes life steal so important is Reflect Damage…this is by far the biggest danger for my DH (playing regularly on MP 4). She really puts the “glass” in glass cannon – 180K dps (with Steady Aim buff) but running only about 40K hp. I can’t hit Reflect Damage critters with Rapid Fire (even with SP/Gloom) unless I want to restart at the last checkpoint, but SP/Gloom works very well with Hungering Arrow to minimize the RD. I’d say that life steal with high DPS really does work too well…when my hp are low, just one or two shots of HA (with SP on) is enough to completely fill my health globe.

    Overall, I’d say the game is moving in a good direction. Less spiky damage will make it easier to gauge the right difficulty to be on, and no life steal will help diversify gear and give value to other stats. No more “no LS, this six!” =^-^=

    • Maybe Reflect Damage should be toned down a little, but don’t forget that the whole of idea behind that affix is that players should stop targeting enemies with active reflect, or at least they should be much more careful with their damage output.

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