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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