A fan listed a litany of complaints and comments about Diablo 3 and got a decent reply from a Blue. Here’s the quoted bit, and Lylirra’s reply:

    1. The most popular builds do not account for position. Barb WW builds, monk TR builds, and DH strafe builds are unaffected by pathing, and there are no environmental effects to consider, anywhere.

    2. The key builds do not significantly consider the placement of skills. There is typically only one skill utilized, and that skill typically does massive AOE damage centered on the path of the player.

    3. Complexity and speed do not change. The game does not alter fundamental mechanics between Normal and Inferno. Speed does not change. There is ONLY the scaling of damage and health, with the exception of a few monster affixes, most of which are not particularly strategic, but instant and automatic.
    Lylirra: All solid points, and we agree on most fronts. Popular builds don’t account for position or placement of skills, and we could do more to scale difficulty better. The conclusions you came to in terms of how we might address those pain points are different than the solutions we’ve considered, but it’s totally understandable to see how you arrived at them.

    Either way, this is a great discussion. I’m curious to see what other players think and have them weigh in on two points: 1) whether or not they agree with your premises and b) how they’d personally like to see the game evolve to improve on those areas.

    Interested to see where this dialogue goes from here, so I’ll be keeping an eye on the thread. (May not post much, but I’ll definitely be reading along.)

    I’ll point out the fire grates, most dangerously seen on Keep level 1, for “environmental effects” in that they can quite easily one-shot an unprepared character. I suffered any number of (softcore, low res) Demon Hunter deaths to those, some months back. The thing I found more interesting about the OP is this bit, which Lylirra did not quote in her reply:

    …it would appear that most of the game is strategic avoidance of the 1-shot character kill. In point of fact, I don’t remember a time when my character was ever NOT killed by a 1-shot. Of the last 100 deaths, I bet 99 were a vortex or fear into fallen ‘banelings,’ or some such meaninglessness.

    That bit caught my eye since Diablo 2’s health system was one aspect of the game that Jay Wilson and other D3 devs many repeatedly critiqued back in the 2008-2010 time range. Here’s an example, quoting Jay from GC 2008, and I remember dozens of other interviews and panel discussions where very similar things were said.

    Click through for a Jay Wilson quote about how the D3 health system would greatly improve on D2’s, and some commentary on how ironic that is, as both games have almost the same issues in the end game; issues the D3 devs apparently didn’t grasp from D2, or just didn’t see any way to avoid in D3.

    Jay Wilson: A lot of people, I think, would say that’s a hallmark of the Diablo series, the potion system. We looked at it and said, ‘No, that just makes the game worse,'” said Wilson. “It doesn’t make it play like a better action game, it just kind of gives the player infinite health. It’s actually a fairly poor recovery mechanic because it forces the designers to design monsters that have to deal with a player that has infinite health. The only thing you can do is have monsters that can overcome that health and essentially one-shot you. That’s not a very interesting monster. It’s actually a horrible monster. But that’s the only option. The design shoehorned the designers into that kind of monster design.

    So we focused on a health system that actually forces the player to think tactically to recover health from monsters and to put them in some situations where they are low on health but have to walk into an enemy encounter anyway. That makes for a much more challenging encounter but it also makes for a situation where we can design the monsters to be a lot more interesting. We actually can lower damage on monsters. We want monsters to do less damage because we want them to wear you down over time and do things that are challenging in different ways.

    I remember this point clearly, since the D3 devs made it very often, and they were always wrong. The basic argument is fine, and they accurately sum up the D2 and D3 potion/life/monster system… at low/mid levels. At high levels in D2 though, potions became almost completely irrelevant. At that point, well-geared characters almost never drank potions, other than occasional emergency full rejuvs, since everyone had sufficient life leech and mana leech/regen that essentially provided infinite resources.

    That was the system design that needed adjustment in D3, if the devs wanted to make a game that remained challenging over time, rather than just a one-shot-or-not fest. And they did a great job of that in D3… in the early game. More than the early game, to be fair. I remember struggling through long, edge-of-disaster battles well into Diablo 3’s inferno difficulty… months ago. These days, though? Now that we know what we’re doing and have great end game gear? Not so much. At this point in D3, for a well-geared char, the only real dangers come from eating multiple DiabloWikiMolten firebombs, or being frozen/walled for multiple DiabloWikiArcane Enchanted needles, or getting DiabloWikiKnockbacked or DiabloWikiNightmared into multiple Fallen Fanatics, etc. All of which are essentially one-shot deaths that are essentially identical to D2’s end game dangers.

    Thus, the changes to potions in D3 make virtually zero difference in the end game, since just like in D2, high end survival and health management is entirely about Life Leech and Life on Hit. Those mods are a bit harder to stack up in D3, and you’ve got to watch for DiabloWikiShielded bosses, but those are far less common than Physical Immunes or various other un-leechable (skeletons) enemies were in D2, and D3 has nothing like the Mana Draining enemies in D2 that could render you instantly unable to use any skills, much less leech.

    I don’t mean this as some huge indictment of D3; I think this game’s health and resource and combat system is a big improvement over D2’s in most ways… but it’s a fact that D3’s end game difficulty has wound up more or less identical to D2’s, for exact same reason (life leech). And it’s ironic since the D3 devs never publicly addressed the real state of D2’s end game health issue.

    I always assumed that the D3 devs *knew* the actual state of mana and life leech in the D2 end game, but chose to speak about potion spam in interviews since it made for a better example that was much easier to explain. But now that the D3 end game health issues are basically identical to those we saw in D2… I’m beginning to wonder if the D3 devs really didn’t understand the D2 end game? Or if they just didn’t realize that D3 would end up in the same place? Or if they knew it would at the high end, but couldn’t figure any way to avoid that and figured it was a problem to address later. (Later is now.)

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