Reaper of Souls Beta: Reader Q&A Part 2: Health and Gobbies

After an inexcusable delay, here are some more direct answers to reader questions about Reaper of Souls. It’s Reaper of Souls Beta: Reader Q&A Part 2:

I haven’t heard anything about HC features in RoS, could you maybe do an article on this? Especially DC protection and PKing are interesting subjects. –Hippo

Reaper of Souls does not (yet, but we’re still very early in the beta) contain any specific changes in terms of PK/MK fixes, or disconnect protection, or other Hardcore-specific things. It does change a lot of the gameplay basics in a way that is (arguably) supportive of Hardcore play. I won’t go into many specifics here since Xanth’s going to cover it in an upcoming Hardcore in RoS column, but in RoS:

  1. Life Steal is gone.
  2. Hit points and resistances and blocking and dodge can be raised much higher.
  3. Monster attacks are less about damage spikes and more about steady damage over time.
  4. Many items and skills are changed to provide more regen, more res, and more damage mitigation.
  5. Crushing Blow (and the removal of LS) makes giant DPS much less important.

All of these changes can support a play style built around survival, damage mitigation, and tactical skill, rather than simply giant DPS curing all ills, as is often the case today in D3V. Which makes them good changes for Hardcore…?


Click through for more questions and answers on life steal, life after kill, healing issues in general, and the sadly-reduced fun/value of Treasure Goblins and Golden Chests.

The Life Steal Property

Another reader question:

Life steal description: “Life steal gets 0.10 multiplier at level 60. Life steal doesn’t work at lvl 70 at all. Life steal can be increased by items.” Ok, now how will you handle LS affix on items in the end-game if will be useless? It won’t roll? I really HOPE so Blizzard or you gonna win the prize for most retarded mechanics ever.

Life per Hit is much sought on weapons in RoS.
Life per Hit is much sought on weapons in RoS.

Correct. You do not find Life Steal as a modifier in Reaper of Souls. I’ve never seen it at lower levels, and it’s not found on end game items at all. The 10% effectiveness cut at lvl 60 makes it all-but-worthless on your current gear if you take your lvl 60 over into Reaper of Souls. Xanth’s first Witch Doctor effort testified to that, in blood and pain, and when I started playing my Hardcore Monk I found the 3.0% life steal on his weapon fairly useless even at level 60. I found myself having to drink a potion or run away from battles that wouldn’t have taken me below 90% hps in D3, and by level 62 I’d abandoned my LS Fist for a new-found rare Fist with a DPS upgrade and some LoH. And I’d shuffled other equipment to add LoH from an old Unity ring, from newly-found rare bracers, and from an old Amulet.

Possibly a D3V Barb with 9% or 12% Life Steal would get enough healing to soldier on through the 60s, but at lvl 70 life steal is nerfed to 0% effectiveness, so you might as well start looking for upgrades and changes as soon as you start in Reaper of Souls… instead of holding out for level 70 when it’s all going away in a blink of bitter tears.

Life Steal has been removed from all skills as well; skills that formerly granted it now grant various other forms of healing, including DiabloWikiLfFS, DiabloWikiLfSS, some % of your total hps per second, or Life on Hit, many of which are given additional boosts by some % of your character’s +life per health potion, or LoH, or life regen, etc. (Which is actually called “Life per Hit” in Reaper of Souls, which is more literally accurate but makes for a less gratifying acronym). Thus a Barbarian couldn’t have 12% Life Steal anymore anyway, since DiabloWikiBloodlust no longer grants 3%.

(Typical Reaper of Souls healing skills. Note the bonuses from health globe bonuses and other synergy-style add ons.)


Just as a side note, I haven’t played a Barb yet in RoS so I’ve paid little attention to Barb-class belts, but I don’t know what purpose they have now that they can’t get Life Steal (in what would be amazingly OP form in D3, if not for Bloodthirst being even more OP). Lots of gear spawns with ++damage to specific skills, so probably that’s the best special something on Barb belts, plus perhaps +maximum Fury. I honestly can’t say if they can spawn with Life per Hit since I’ve been insta-salvaging any belts with a red X on them, but I’ll take a closer look in the future.


Life After Kill

The Life After Each Kill (LAEK, usually just called LAK) bonus exists now in Diablo 3, but it’s seldom valued or sought because Life Steal. That and other game mechanics means you generally end battles with full health, or can heal fully just beating on trash mobs. This is not the case in Diablo 3:

Did you notice any benefit from Life After Kill bonuses? Do any testing with Thorns to see if that mechanic actually works in RoS? The splash damage mod looks interesting.

Not an uncommon sight in Torment difficulty.
Not an uncommon sight in Torment difficulty.

Life After Kill adds X amount of hit points after every kill, trash mob or Elite, and it’s quite useful in RoS. Probably not enough to save your ass in a big battle (unless you’re dealing with summoners, who can crank out tremendous numbers of skeletons and other junk enemies), but it’s great for topping off your hit points after battles. LAK appears on more types of items in RoS, with higher values than in D3V. Furthermore, it’s classified as a Secondary Affix, which means it’s quite cheap/easy to roll via Enchanting. (Not that you often enchant a secondary affix, but if you found a Rare/Legendary with all good Primary Affixes, you could easily tack on +2500 LAK.)

It’s weird, but the much higher hit points per character make LAK more useful. I don’t think there are that many fewer health orbs dropping in RoS, but the removal of Life steal and the much deeper health pools means that it’s damn hard to keep your hit points full, especially if you’re pushing into a higher difficulty level than you’ve really got the gear to support. Plus without life steal you can’t just bang a few trash mobs and refill your hit points; I often leave an Elite battle with say 40% hit points, mow through several groups of trash mobs before I get to the next Elite, and I’m only back up to 70% hit points by then. (This is compounded by the fact that you generally need to use skills to add short term bonuses to your regen or Life on Hit, and after an Elite fight you’re not spending resource on the trash mobs so it will refill.)

A typical max level character in Diablo 3 has 30-70k hps, with higher figures, often closer to 100k, in Hardcore. Typical level 70 characters in Reaper of Souls have 200-500k hps, with much higher values possible. My Softcore Demon Hunter had over 650k hit points not long after hitting level 70, and I didn’t even want them. She didn’t have any DiabloWikiCore Tab points in DiabloWikiVitality, and had only a few DiabloWikiDefensive Tab points in +%Life. The hps all came from +vit and +%life on gear, and while I greatly boosted her DPS by enchanting several of those +500-800 Vitality bonuses into + Dexterity bonuses, you get the idea of how easily you can rack up very high hit points in Reaper of Souls.

And I won’t bore you with detailed numbers, but trust me about RoS: it takes a lot of hits yielding 1000-3000 Life per Hit to refill 300k or 500k hit points. Tacking 5000 or 8000 Life After Kill on top of that, and multiplying it by the dozens of trash mobs you’re constantly wiping out makes math your friend.


Drops from Chests and Treasure Goblins

One final question for this installment just to get off of the healing topic:

Any noticeable improvement in drops from resplendent chests/treasure goblins/purple monsters (other than bounties/Rift champions)?

There is a very noticeable decrease in the quality and quantity of loot from Goblins and golden chests. I haven’t actually started bypassing golden chests, but I’ve joked about it with other testers and everyone agrees; they’re often not worth clicking anymore. Quite often you see nothing more than a couple of stacks of gold, one or two materials, and a couple of blue items.

I’ve never yet left one behind without checking, but many times in multiplayer games another player has clicked a golden chest across the screen from me, and the drop has been so paltry that I had no reason to go over and claim my share.

This is despite the fact that monsters drop more quality stuff than in Diablo 3 today, even playing RoS characters with minimal Magic Find. With 50% Magic Find I find 2-3x more legendaries per hour playing Reaper of Souls, from monster drops and bounty rewards, than I do playing with 500% Magic Find in Diablo 3 today. This may change over time as Blizzard has said the Legendary drop rates are higher than they want them to be long term, but even a considerably cut in their drop rates would have them higher than they are in D3V with big MF. And if you’re comparing zero MF in RoS to zero MF in D3V, I can’t even estimate the improvement. Ten times more legendaries in RoS? Twenty times more?

I’m serious that I can’t estimate. Literally, since aside from brief times spent at level 1-60, it’s been a year+ since I’ve played any Diablo 3 character with less than 200% Magic Find, and they’re usually over 400%.

So… it’s not a lack of Magic Find that makes the G&Gs (Gobbys and Golden chests) so lame in Reaper of Souls. The removal of Nephalem Valor makes some difference, since it guarantees at least one rare from G&Gs in D3V, but they just generally drop a lot fewer items of all types in RoS. No more are G&Gs fountains of items, gold stacks, gems, mats, etc. I can only assume this is an intentional change, part of reducing overall item spam in Loot 2.0, but I think they’ve taken it too far, to the point that G&Gs don’t feel special anymore.

You find a lot of golden chests too; they seem to have a bonus spawn thing on some levels of Nephalem Rifts, where I’ll not uncommonly find 6 or 8 chests on the same smallish dungeon level inside a Rift. And get maybe 1 rare from all of them combined.

Finally, I have never seen a Treasure Goblin room, nor have I found a Rift level where one whole monster type was Treasure Goblins (this actually exists), but I have found a big cluster of the little bastards twice while doing Nephalem Rifts. Both times there were 8-12 of them in a clump. I can’t say exactly how many without the quick counting skills of Derren Brown, since they scatter like mad as soon as the pain is brought unto them, but there were a lot of them and it was really fun wiping them out.

Sadly, my second encounter with a huge horde was with my softcore Demon Hunter during a slow slog through Torment, when that was a bit over her gear level, and in that instance I didn’t kill a single one of the Goblins. You’ve probably noticed it in Diablo 3 as well, but you can tell if you’re moving into a difficulty higher than your gear is really suitable for when you start having trouble killing the goblins. I’ve definitely found that in RoS while experimenting with (and dying frequently to) the higher difficulty levels, and I shall always regret finding my second next of Gobbies when I was geared at a level that trash mobs took me multiple hits, bosses took a minute or more, and Treasure Goblins were able to all escape to the Land of Greed with no more than a few bumps and bruises to show for the hundreds of arrows I’d just pumped into them.

My hardcore Monk had more luck when I first found them on a lower difficulty level, as you see in the three shot sequence below:


I’ll post another bunch of questions and answers tomorrow, covering topics including the scaling difficulty levels, enchanting issues, the usefulness (and tricks to boost it) of carried over gear from Diablo 3, crafting material utility and scarcity, and more. Feel free to add questions in comments; I can’t tell you guys what you want to know if you don’t ask…

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32 thoughts on “Reaper of Souls Beta: Reader Q&A Part 2: Health and Gobbies

  1. Looks like endgame gameplay will be similar to how things are balanced during leveling. Great news, because generally the latter is more interesting, that is if aren’t twinking.

  2. In my opinion, the D3V Treasure Goblin health scaling is insane. Maybe I just prioritize survivability over deeps even when playing softcore, but a lot of my characters have no trouble doing MP5-MP7 and are at no risk of dying, but have trouble killing a Gobbo unless I can corner him such that he can’t move as I wail away. My DH and WD seem to have the most issues, as their skills are largely AoE-oriented, which presents a problem for a small, singular, moving target.

  3. QUOTE

    In my opinion, the D3V Treasure Goblin health scaling is insane.

    It’s not worse than the scaling of other enemies. When you think about this it makes one of the larger balance issue with the game very apparent: the importance between AoE and single target skills. The problem is that 99% of the game forces you to focus on AoE if you want to be efficient and the remaining 1% are Treasure Goblins and Bosses. While Goblins drop good loot they are rare and Bosses, well, they take more time to kill than anything and drop worse loot. This is why single target skills are largely ignored and the game feels less varied as it could.

  4. I always thought it would be fun to have chest keys as a drop for special locked chests that spawn randomly in the game. -You’d collect a stack of keys to carry around with you in case you come across one of these randomly spawning special chests. The loot from the chest could be equal to what you’d find from an elite monster you’d kill while having 5 Nephalem stacks (or something like that. ROS would be different mechanics, but you get the idea).

    Also, didn’t they admit at one time that the treasure goblins had too much health at higher levels?

    • You mean like locked chests in D2? I guess since it was in D2 it must not have been fun so it had to be removed.

      • Locked chests were pointless and didn’t make sense anyway.

        Og Barbarian smash demon brains, grabbing loot! Og carefully opens chest using small golden key to claim loot inside!

        • Bashing a demon’s face in and magical items popping out didn’t make a whole lot of sense either but games aren’t about realism. What matters is how well they pace the player’s rewards and keep the game sufficiently varied so as to keep the player excited. Locked chests would do that quite well. D3 sorely lacks the variety in gameplay after having cut so many of the features from D2. More of that variety needs to be returned in one form or another for it to last. Locked chests and keys are a very simple feature that can be returned with little work.

          • I guess the idea behind keys is to circumvent the hack “opening chests in MP10 with a lvl1 char”. If to open MP10 chest you need a MP10 key, BoA and taken from a monster, this could do it. Yet better suppress chests or find something else.

  5. How do you feel about the BIG numbers? That’s the only thing that I don’t like about RoS. I was hoping that they cut the numbers, but hey BIG numbers 😀

    • I’d like fewer digits in the numbers, but I think RoS was forced to do what it does by D3 stats. They wanted things to progress and balance and such, but didn’t want to nerf anything in the game today, or put in hard caps or diminishing returns, etc. So that means new stats have to be higher than current ones, and monster damage and hit points have to scale appropriately, etc. They could have had CC go up to 15%, or they could leave it where it was and make mainstat worth the same or more. Hence CC values are unchanged while you can find 600 dex on everything.

      If they could just tabula rasa everything and go from scratch, I’m sure the new values would be much lower and show a very different progression.

      • In the mean time, simply writing K for 1000 would save a few digits and increase readability – instead of seeing 209313 you’d see 209K. When monsters have over a million health, damage lower than 1K doesn’t matter.

        • Why not play with the damage numbers turned off? In my opinion seeing isn’t important at all. Seeing the HP bar of damaged enemies is enough to see if your gear is good enough.

          • Because numbers are a more precise indicator of how much damage you’re doing, especially for gear evaluation purposes. It’s also more gratifying – not to mention fun – to do an AOE attack and seeing numbers pop up all over the screen than seeing all the HP bars nudge slightly.

            The issue is when the numbers grow so big that it hurts readability and visibility, which is what’s currently happening.

          • Wow, did I really just say “see” 3 times in that short post? Anyway…

            I agree that numbers are good indicators of your offensive ability, but that’s why there’s a DPS indicator on the character sheet and unlike in D2 it’s reliable. Crushing Blow will complicate things, but discounting that for now with a given gear and skill set if your DPS increases by 10% then on average you’ll kill things 10% faster, if the extra damage isn’t overkill.

            I really don’t see the point of damage numbers for general gameplay. For me they always hurt visibility, no matter what. I only use them when I want to see how the game works. For example, I used them extensively during the beta to see whether the damage of pets is normalized or to see how channeled spells work, but I never used them extensively and never once missed them. To each his own I guess. 🙂

          • Totally agree, HR. It always blows my mind when I see a video and the entire screen is filled with giant flying numbers. You often literally can’t see anything except numbers. I am amazed that so many people play this way.

          • The second paragraph in my previous post will make more sense if you replace the first “extensively” with “exclusively”. 🙂

          • In D3 I turn off all the numbers, or just leave on the crits, but there it’s a very known quantity of everything. In the beta my chars are all constantly switching gear and trying different skills, so I need to keep an eye on the figures to help me decide if I like the change I just made. I will try to remember to turn off the visual spam next time I’m streaming, though. Because prettier.

  6. Nice write up and thanks for the response about G&Gs…based on that info, I really don’t know what purpose they serve in the game anymore at all, especially the golden chests. I had been keeping track of my legendary finds (in D3V, of course) for about 2-3 months and only got one drop from a golden chest (out of a total of over 120-130 drops), and that was from a low-level char in HC. If they’re not even a decent source of gems/mats there’s no point to them at all…they’re more like “fool’s gold” chests. Goblins might still be fun just for the challenge of running the little bastards down, but I think I’d prefer to see far fewer G&Gs overall but greatly improve their rewards to give them importance.

    I have another question regarding RoS that’s been on my mind, and this is related to general health/defense/damage mitigation – how high can you get your Dodge %? I’ve been grinding paragon levels with my DH and at just over 3000 Dex her dodge chance is listed at 50% (in the details tab) – how high is it with a Dex of 7-10K? I know the Monk has a number of skills/runes that give a decent bonus to Dodge chance, so if you can get that up to 75% (or even higher) that might be a viable strategy to minimize damage. I know you’ve posted before on how the Dex bonus isn’t as good compared to the other prime stats, but it seems like this might change in RoS, especially with the shift in the way damage is applied to characters.

    • Ironically, I played a game right after I posted this and found a green fist from a golden chest in my first Rift. That’s my first ever legendary of any kind from a golden chest in RoS, though I did find a legendary crafting recipe from one, previously.

      Level 70 legendary recipes are useless now, btw. They all require a leg crafting mat that only comes from drops, but then can’t be picked up if you find it. Buggy, for now.

      • i personally think you have had bad luck. I know RoS isn’t exactly like console, I know there have been changes. But… on console, I’ve seen several legendaries drop from chests. resplendent and regular.

  7. QUOTE

    It's not worse than the scaling of other enemies.

    Is this true? I could swear that Gobbos have their health scaled upward by MORE than all other enemies for a given MP level, which is where my comment originated from.

    • I dont think their health scales any differently, but they seem to have a wierd damage reduction ability that prevents them from being damaged at a ‘normal’ rate for a few hit – roughly till they start moving. Certainly, their health drains away pretty quickly if you trap them afterwards. It makes sense to stop people one-shotting them I guess!

  8. QUOTE

    Is this true? I could swear that Gobbos have their health scaled upward by MORE than all other enemies for a given MP level, which is where my comment originated from.

    Goblin HP scaling has actually been nerfed already. It doesn’t matter when they have a random timer before they start unavoidably escaping and that timer could be as low as about 5 seconds.

  9. Wow, can the escape timer start that low? Looks like I got fairly lucky with them so far, I could always just ignore them until I pulled and cleared enemies from around them.

    As for their HP, yes, it shouldn’t be worse than other enemies, but of course the fact that they are the most elusive monsters in the game makes them more durable even like this. It’s best to get around them before attacking, so they are running towards areas that you already cleared. 80% slow effects help a lot with the chase and if you’re fighting them in a dungeon try to corner them. They often get stuck on objects. In groups if you can’t focus on them it’s better to leave them alone, they really aren’t worth the trouble when they can’t be killed easily, especially in Hardcore.

  10. Have they done any improvements on multiplayer games? Evertime I join a game in D3V All monster are dead. And if I create one myself it takes 20 minutes before someone joins.

  11. That’s my quote right there! I’m glad that LS affix on items isn’t there at all so no concern for me anymore.

  12. I have three questions for you Flux if you don’t mind. I hope you have a level 60 Witch Doctor.

    1) How viable are the newly buffed DoT skills? Haunt is abysmal in the current version of the game and skills like Corpses Spiders / Spider Queen or Fire Bomb / Fire Pit isn’t any better either.

    2) Same question about pets. I’m curious about Fetishes primarily, since their damage got buffed the most (20% -> 130% I believe).

    3) I think it was Wyatt Cheng, who mentioned that the WD will get a new passive skill, that will increase the duration of all his/her DoTs to 5 minutes or something like this. Is there any trace of this in the beta?

  13. Not really related to the article:

    Do the Key Wardens and the Infernal Machine exist in the RoS Beta?

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