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    Hardcore and Softcore gear choices are wildly-different these days, thanks to big rewards for playing on Torment+, and virtually no penalties for dying. A new controversy about an “overpowered” monster (that’s of very little danger to any decently-geared HC char) clarifies the issue. Here’s the blue post, with some semi-worried conversation afterwards. I’m not entirely joking when I worry that Reaper of Souls Hardcore is doomed, because Enraged Phantasms.

    Enraged Phantasms

    Either tone down their damage or tone up the damage of everything else in the area ’cause holy [email protected]#$. Blood guys hit me for 20% of my HP, scarabs for less, enraged phantasm takes me from 100% to 20% in a second from range. Not saying they’re OP, saying the difference in damage for the zone is ridiculous and makes their damage come right out of nowhere. Beware Hardcore players.
    Nevalistis: We do plan on making a balance pass on these enemies in the near future, though this change will require a patch. Their damage is a wee bit more bursty than we intended, so some of their abilities (specifically their Soul Siphon) will be tuned down to be more in line with other abilities.

    Wolfpaq mentioned that particular monster on the podcast last night as something that had practially one-shotted him (playing softcore), and I read most of this B.net thread as well to get more opinions on it… because I’ve played only Hardcore in live RoS, and have not noticed the Enraged Phantasms as anything special. I’ve played all the acts repeatedly doing Bounties and Rifts, and encountered these monsters many times, but they haven’t seemed out of line in their damage or danger.

    enraged-phantomCurious, I read more of the B.net thread, saw players talking about getting one-shotted, and looked at their chars and gear. And wow. One guy mentioned that his Wizard had 150k hps and was playing on Torment 1-3, and I just laughed as understanding dawned upon me. I don’t have a Wizard right now, but my Hardcore lvl 70 Demon Hunter has 450k HPs… and I’ve been playing in Master and below, since I don’t feel my DPS (550k, unbuffed) is high enough to maintain the safety of a fast killing speed in Torment. And that DH is far from well-geared; she’s had terrible luck finding upgrades in Reaper of Souls, is still using numerous lvl 60 items, has several armor pieces with +Dex but no +Vit, has not a single boost to Vit or %life via Gems or Paragon Points, etc. She could easily have 600k or higher in hit points, though I’d probably get more survival benefit from replacing my armor Emeralds with Diamonds, rather than Amethysts.

    At any rate, this starkly illustrates the difference between Hardcore and Softcore, and it explains why some players are getting one-shotted by monsters that other players don’t even notice.

    Have Hardcore and Softcore moved too far apart?

    In D2 and D3 Blizzard has always followed the rule that HC and SC modes are identical in monsters and gear. I agree with that approach and don’t favor special rules for HC (or for SC). But given the complete lack of death penalties in D3, and the ever-increasing rewards of items and EXP for playing on higher difficulty levels… perhaps the devs need to make some changes?

    If players in softcore have no risk from death and reap big rewards from playing on Torment+, they’re quite sensibly going to max out DPS and basically ignore defense, rushing into Torment for the bigger item drop potential, to find more DiabloWikiDeath’s Breaths, etc. This is why we’ve got debates about whether a moderately-dangerous enemy like an Enraged Phantasm is OP. Because it is, for players who have all but ignored defensive stats and tactics, and are running around in Torment with 1/2 or 1/3 the hit points they *should* have.

    The risk, as I see it, is that Bliz takes this sort of play as normal and tweaks monster hit points and damage output to match. Thus reducing the risk of death to almost nothing, while boosting monster hit points to the point that any character without giant DPS finds combat a boring grind.

    I think Bliz could “fix” this by increasing the death penalties, as that would moderate the “all DPS” gear choices that are making characters so flimsy they get one-shotted by enemies that shouldn’t be more than a moderate challenge. Or perhaps a global solution; all enemies in Softcore on Torment and higher get a +100% hps buff and a -50% damage output debuff? (Or if Softcore is the baseline, then flip those numbers to boost monster damage and lower monster hps in Hardcore?)

    Do you guys think we’re headed in that direction, where something will have to be done about the game providing such rewards for playing in higher difficulties, while not balancing them with real penalties for death in Softcore? It is going to become impossible for Reaper of Souls to balance for both Hardcore and Softcore, with such diverging gear choices and death consequences?

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