One life to live #49:The public game dilemma


When I log into D3 I am always torn on what to do. Do I farm A1 inferno or level an alt? Simple question but two different styles. When I farm, I am by myself grinding away champ packs. When I am leveling I am with heroes of the same level crushing the denizens of evil. I have more fun leveling with others than I do grinding by myself. Yet, I still do it because it’s the most effective. Something has got to change to combine those two for grouping in the endgame to really take off.

It has to be worth it

I’ve grouped only a handfull of times in inferno with other people. What I found was that it was much more difficult and the payoff didn’t seem worth it. I was still getting the same rares but at a much slower pace. I also found my life was in a higer degree of jeopardy due to my partners actions. When I am by myself I know my exit strategy going into every pack. I know I can leave a health orb and rush back to it if I am getting low. Those are things you can’t count on with other people.

Why did we group in D2? It was the easiest way to level and you could kill things faster and more effectivly. Since the leveling factor is out with a cap at 60 the only thing that remains is effectivness and fun. I still find it more fun to play with other people and from 1-59 and I am completly okay with doing so. However, once you enter into Inferno it doens’t seem fun that the person next to you is making it harder for you. Now I’m not saying you can’t be effective in Hardcore Inferno with other players. Many people are grouping and doing just fine, but a lot of them are coordinating their efforts; Using skype, checking builds and dps, and not exactally jumping in blind.

What I miss is the ability to just join a game on the hardest difficulty and play. Not having to worry if the guy next to you had enough dps to keep up, because his dps would kill him and not you. Inferno has become like a Wow raid. Each player needs to hit the benchmarks, and have the proper gear, dps, and resists. If they don’t you won’t get far, and you may get killed.

So how do we change that? How do we make Inferno the place people flock to and not the place they isolate themselves in?

For once I’m not going to offer ideas but pose the question to you: What does it take for you to risk your life in inferno with others? What would blizzard have to do to make it worth it?

One Life to Live covers the Hardcore play and life style in the Diablo community. It is written by Xanth and published weekly. Post your comments below, Follow me on Twitter @HCXanth or contact the author directly. For all the archived news about Diablo 3 hardcore check our Archives!

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  1. I find it strange, before the game came out most people were worried about max-level content being too easy. In some cases it is. However, not many people group up with each other because the risk becomes greater without any greater reward (less reward in most instances because MF is shared between players).

    I think it’s pretty clear what needs to be done – The dev’s did the right thing when they made Monster damage the same in multiplayer and in single player, what they need to do now is reduce monster health considerably in order to bring down the risk of playing in Multiplayer.

    They should apply a buff to players who choose to play with other people, a buff that increases the parties’ MF and GF. I mean, when you play solo, you get the benefit of enemies with lower HP, and you get a follower who offers a buff and other useful mechanics.

    It’s clear that solo has a much better reward / risk ratio, while Multiplayer lags behind in proper rewards and too much risk.

    • You, sir, deserve a medal.

      If they did that, though, give us Hostile back. We don’t want things getting TOO friendly…

      • um, how about no? I don’t need jerks PK’ing me. Unless it’s done in a way that PK’ing is not possible.

        Either way, PvP should solve the problem.

    • This!

      I made a post on the official forums that pretty much said exactly the same arguments and solutions, and I just got brushed off as a newb. Last time I post there…

    • 200 hours of gameplay, not a single one spent in a public game.

      No game names.
      Fuck you.

  2. Alternatively, they could leave monster health and the challenge of grouping there but make MF additive instead of shared. Would you party with 3 other people if it meant having 1200% magic find and probably a lot of deaths? Heck yes you would risk it!

    The time invested in taking down packs would be much more rewarding when you see 3+ rares and possibly a legendary/set piece more often.

    • Adding mf/gf together directly would be too much in my opinion, but is on the right track. What would be nice would be getting a third of the other players mf&gf-bonus in a two player game, a fourth of each players boni in a three players game and – you may have guessed ^^ – a fifth in a full game. All atop on one his own mf/gf-bonus.

  3. Well said Xanth. What I especially hate about public games and the reason I rarely play them is the lack of commitment to the game, players dropping in and out, and town loitering.

    Here is an idea to add incentive to multiplayer (public and closed), extra NV stacks… 1 for each extra player in the game:
    1 player 5 stacks
    2 players 6 stacks
    3 players 7 stacks
    4 players 8 stacks

    This would also give incentive to stick around in multiplayer.

    • Great idea. Perhaps if not increased stacks then maybe increase drop rates by 50% by added player? Like how MF used to work, more items instead of just higher ilvl. So 4 people in a game would have a 150% drop rate of solo to make up for the greatly decreased clearing pace.

      Interesting to see what they do, really only thing I am sticking around for, how they handle the next couple of patches determines my future with the game.

      Edit: Oh and maybe make stacks carry over from act to act… So when you finish a1 and you have full stacks you can carry it into the next act…

  4. It’s really simple. You need to make grouping worth it without shifting things the other way to where you are stupid not to group. This is how you do that in three very easy simple steps:

    1: Remove damage scaling per player (already done).
    2: Reduce HP scaling down to 75-90% per player.
    3: Make mf/gf sharing floored at your actual mf/gf.

    There, now non perfect groups aren’t dragging you down and you can play with friends without being punished for it. Groups do not need to be greater than the sum of their parts just to break even, and you might actually see groups that aren’t 40k DPS and 300 mf or GTFO (anyone that actually has those stats does not need a group).

  5. Make group buffs more valuable
    Example: Barb buff 50% resists to himself and 60% to party.

    But the main problem is.. classes not stack with eachother by playstyle.
    Example: Barb ignore all trashmobs and hunt&snipe only elites. You can play with this tactic only with other melee, not with squishy ranged.

  6. why farm a1 inferno by yourself?

    I have been doing it with friend(s), and it has been a blast. And profitable.

    Mostly it is me playing a very tanky barb, while my friend is a glass cannon demon hunter. We move through elite packs quicker than either of us can on our own.

    • That’s the only way multiplayer works in D3. You gotta have the roles covered to adequately do inferno without multiple deaths. It wasn’t as noticed, in D2, because every class had tons of lifesteal and 8 players had a large chance of 2+ melee. Unless you can casually solo inferno, grouping in pugs is asking for death much of the time.

      • well for thats only a drag. there is nothing that a Wizard / DH adds overall to my playstyle or performance as monk. so i call bs on that philosophy. to me it just appears that diablo 3 does not allow for glass canon builds ; because there are no glass canon items.

        I can find a chest a with like

        850 Armor
        80 All res
        200 Int
        300 Vit
        600 Hp-reg
        3 sockets

        and that would be pretty much the perefect wizard armor.

        because i cannot get skew the focus / Itemization . no matter how much i farm ; i will never find an armor with

        600 Int or crit / critdmg or other interesting stats.

        that being said ; there are no “tanks” or “glass-canons”

        people who claim to be either have just shitty gear because they are either poor or clueless about the ways of the game.

  7. The problem is a combination of: monster hp scaling 115%, certain modifiers like shielding being far worse in multiplay, and cooldown skills. Solo you can use long cooldown skills to burst down elites and goblins. Multiplay requires focused damage on the target which is beyond average player skill. I say ‘goblin’ yet invariably someone mistargets or lacks the hard dps check to get him down. Also you can’t blow up trash mobs as ranged fast enough to avoid damage in co-op.

    I think more loot should drop in multiplay for everyone to make it worthwhile for farming. Coop is incredibly bad for farming. I can clear 2 to 3 times faster alone on farm areas and kill every elite with much more safety. I think its ok to keep it hard, but there needs to be a reward.

    Last night I was farming A3 and had someone join who was a bit undergeared. I eventually asked them to leave because it simply was too hard with him dead most of the time and no enchantress buff. My loot per hour went down severely and repairs went way up. I asked him to leave to keep NV stacks.

  8. Allow followers(multiple) in multiplayer.

  9. I dont play multiplayer because it’s just people afk in town half the time.

    • My first venture into public games was a bad experience. Every body was always afk in town (for whatever reason). So, I skipped on pub games. I decided to give it another chance. This time around it has been pretty consistent with people ready to kill some demons. I know people like to pull numbers out of their bums on the internet and I’m going to be one of those people. It seems more like 25% are afk now.

      I play like a scatter brain too. No set days or play times. Don’t get the wrong idea though. There are a lot of problems with the game and due to the problems they have deterred me from playing a lot. Not a fanboy by any means. I don’t even know why I need to state this.

    • that is true a lot of times 🙁

  10. These are simple suggestions, they are not game braking in any way. Right now there is not re playability. First the drop rates of anything beyond rares is so…..well rare. The motivation to build a character around a found set is nil. I have spent so much time building one character the virtually solo, I don’t want to have to spend the time again on a second character…solo.

  11. “When I log into D3 I am always torn on what to do. Do I farm A1 inferno or level an alt?”

    Nice to know it’s not just me…

  12. I think something that could help coop is allowing respecs without NV loss. That way you can change up your build as different classes join for better group synergy. No idea how to specifically implement this though. Maybe allow one skill switch between elites per person?

    • yeah. I think the penalty for respec goes agains the game’s design to be flexible. It’s like most of the mechanics are non-permanent to not punish you for bad choices, but this one is the opposite. So many times I wanna change my primary for the end boss, or a rune… 🙁

      Also, the stach should keep growing further. Basically the longer you play, the more stacks u get.

      Finally, they should carry over to next acts.

  13. increase max char level to 99 in 1.0.4
    then make it so Inferno gives extra XP per player

    1 player = normal xp
    2 players = 1.5 xp for each player for each monster killed
    3 players = 2.5 xp for each player for each monster killed
    4 players = 3.5 xp for each player for each monster killed

  14. One of the last things that Flagship did to Hellgate London was add “group only” content. Just remember that history repeats itself.

  15. Public games are generally bad because they often have people who simply cannot do the content solo effectively. They do public games to get carried through content and get loot they normally wouldn’t have access to.

    It surprises me how many deaths people tolerate in public games. Repairs are expensive. And I agree with ‘glass cannon’ being gear dependent, not by class design. Every class can be totally self sufficient.

    I only do public games ‘for fun’ with really low expectations, or in areas that I overgear to a large extent. Solo play simply has far higher rewards vs risk.

  16. I don’t know how many multiplayer games I’ve played with decent and polite players (“have to sell. 1 sec”) that still end up frustrating because the minimap gives poor information.
    “Why is one player on my map nearby not moving?” OMG! Waller-Mortar-Firechains-Vortex-Illusionist Pack!
    There should be some kind of in-game notification about champion battles. The chat log already alerts me that “so-and-so has found a waypoint….” why not monster info?

  17. If only Diablo 3 had a chat channel at least equal to the one in Diablo 2, in wich after login we would go directly to our country specific chat… i could talk to other people in my language and group together with them like i did back then.

    But no… instead we get this poor excuse of a chat system with 9 prefix chat channels, no custom chat channels, no clan support, etc.

    Wake up Blizzard this is 2012!! and you give us worse chat system then mIRC? worse then the one in D2?
    I think something went horribly wrong in developer time allocation.

    Kinda negative post. 🙁 Even though overall i like D3…

  18. Another negative with public games is load lag. I get massive graphical lag the first time a new ability is used, new monster appears, etc. Also a reason why I won’t be playing hardcore and certainly not coop hardcore for a very long time.

  19. I got some female family members into d3, and I cannot expect them to play like life-time gamers. As a result, each of us just solo farm in inferno, because multiplayer (MP) game has bad risk/reward ratio.

    We really wanted to play together and we did not think we would be punished. If this doesn’t get changed, we will probably quit. We did not get into a MP game to play solo.

    Monster life growing by over 100% for each party member, and the lost of follower bonuses are my top two concerns. Like a previous poster said, the whole group needs to be greater than the sum of its parts in order to break even.

    This is a really bad design, particularly because it removes the incentive for the player base to even get involved in multiplayer (MP) game. It is a negative feedback cycle: bad risk/reward -> player base not playing MP -> bad MP skill due to lack of practice -> even worse risk/reward in MP. Cycle repeats.

    It is absolutely unreasonable to say that the reward for playing MP is that you kill faster. Because that is absolutely NOT true for average players. Currently, each individual needs to perform 15% better to maintain the same killing speed! And of course there is still a lot of coordination required.

    Either make it less difficult, or raise the reward.

    Suggestions on reducing difficulty:
    – Increase monster life by no more than 100%
    – Allow follower bonus in MP.

    BOTH of these need to be realized in order for the claim \you kill faster in MP\ to be true for average players. The coordination should reward you, not just make you break even.

    Suggestions on increasing reward:
    – Adding up MF is absolutely reasonable. If necessary, implement a MF cap at say, 500% MF. Realistically each player can equip 100% MF and another 75% from NV to reach the cap. Alternatively, two person can wear 200% MF while the other two maximize their PvM stats.
    – Guarantee more rares e.g. 2 rares from each elite pack when everyone is at max NV.

  20. I really like the idea of mf adding together but limited by a cap. I used to be a fan of averaging mf in parties, but it’s just another barrier against group play.

  21. I’d play a lot more (private) co-op if we could loot corpse like we could in D2. As mentioned, it’s just not worth the hassle of losing my enchantress and the mobs being harder.

  22. They just need to drastically reduce the hp bonus for multiplayer. Diablo 2 was easy and a group of 8 people farmed better than you did solo. It was fun because you were playing with others. If each player only increased monster hp by about 33% that’d be fine. A group of 4 rarely works completely together, and you actually waste attacks shooting at the same stuff when it dies. I play with others even if it makes it harder for myself cuz it’s more fun.

  23. Actually, I have found it much easier to group with people in Hardcore Inferno Act 1 and Hell than to solo content. Public games at that point basically have a very self-selected group of people who are more confident in their ability to read off the positioning of their team members without requiring communication – that is surely an indication of a good player. This game is really just positioning and decision making (and as some people would like to point out, meeting gear requirements).

    Of course, I have seen people die in these Hell and Inferno games, but that’s not really my concern as it is still MUCH better than the alternative (which is to solo content and take 100% of the mob aggro). I feel MUCH safer in any group, even if the players wouldn’t be as competent as those I run with in the Mumble chat. I know the situations and stat cutoffs so well that there’s typically very little chance of me dying outside of lag with some meat shields in front of me, and I have never even come close to dying.

    Additionally, I’m in a position to find future potential team members for Inferno progression, and it’s a lot more fun anyhow. I understand Softcore suffers from a lot of underwhelming players, but Hardcore does a good job weeding out the bad players in the latter stages of the game.

  24. All would be solved if there was a build in voice chat present.

    But for some odd reason Blizzard can’t offer this, not even in WoW in a decent way.

    In a game on higher difficulty you don’t have the time to write things and struggle with the chat interface.

    95% of the time I play solo. Only with the shadow charater of my HC avatar and even then it is only to skip things where no pre testing for my HC is needed.

    I will never play in a group past level 25 with my HC avatar and my main grinding in Inferno never uses any group.

    Glad to see everyone is saying the same.

    This being said … This solo play is the exact reason why I prefer Diablo 3 over WoW dungeons. Finally a game with challenging dungeons without someone yelling GEARSCORE noob.

  25. Not to get all Azzure and claim brilliant prediction for every lucky guess, but I was writing articles about the apparent lack of incentives to MP back in 2008 and 2009.

    http://diablo.incgamers.com/blog/comments/on-the-drawing-board-16-party-friendly-skills

    I brought up the issue a number of times after that, since it seemed pretty clear to me that while the D3 devs had removed a number of disincentives to party play (ninja looting, pk switch, etc) they’d also removed most of the actual incentives, with hardly any shared skills, no increased drop rate and especially the loss of increased experience.

    It turns out that the increased exp is irrelevant for partying in Inferno, but as many have said in comments on this post, the lack of any kind of boost to item drops makes MP play fairly pointless, at least in public games where you can’t count on other players to pull their own weight. I like the idea of higher NV stacks, or just plain recreating D2’s system of more players = more drops.

  26. Increase character level to 99, make the levels really hard to reach just like in D2. But this atleast gives the player the feeling he is achieving something when to his MF runs and not getting any good items. Players need to see progression in a game either in the character getting better with better items, or the character getting more experience and levels

    Increase GF with more players, Bigger piles of gold dropping is exciting even when you have millions in the stash.
    1 player is 100%
    2 players is 125%
    3 players is 175%
    4 players is 250%
    Its a curve to get people incentive to get into 4 player games

    With MF broken as it is increasing the MF is pointless, doubling the MF just to get twice as many crap rares isnt fun but adds to the frustration. There needs to be a way to increase the quality of the rare. So this one is a stretch..

    option 1) give the game a better chance of extra affixes for each extra player
    This way players will see alot more 6 affix rare and in theroy have a better chance at getting good affixes

    option 2) give the game a better chance at rolling close to max on affixes with each extra player
    this way if you roll max damage you will have a higher amount of max damage
    I’m thinking if a item like a weapon has a max rollable DEX of 350,
    with 1 player you can roll 1-350
    2 players you roll 25-350
    3 players you roll 75-350
    4 players you roll 150-350
    again its a curve so to get the best chance(hence the most satisfaction for the player) you have to play in 4 player games.

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