The Diablo 3 Podcast #115: Dreading the Post-AH and Stat Hardcaps


How much will we miss the Auction House, what trading will replace it, where is Magic Find in Paragon 2.0, and the coming affix hardcaps will create hardships and opportunities. Featuring Flux, Neinball, and Katniss.

Click through for show contents and other notes.

  • 0:30 — Intro and guest announcement surprise?
  • 2:10 — Neinball’s recent HC tragedies, Katniss’ Console play, Flux’s Monk vs. WD vs. Barb and main/alt dissatisfaction.
  • 5:00 — DiabloWikiParagon 2.0. How does the shared paragon work on the DiabloWikiDiablo 3 Console? Hacked items on console are ironic or inevitable?
  • 10:45 — Console online multiplayer is really bad thanks to lag and machine weakness. Console item game getting boring already? Designed to have a shorter shelf life and progression time? Finding the right legendary in Loot 2.0.
  • 18:00 — How much will we miss the Auction House? Why is it considered an improvement to make trading less convenient? New trading systems or game features will come with Loot 2.0?
  • 29:50 — Paragon 2.0. How will Magic Find work without passive bonuses to it at every level? Other bonuses in the Adventure Tab are much better than MF.
  • 40:20 — Maximum hard caps on the most useful stats are coming in Reaper of Souls. How will this change gameplay and gearing? What other major items changes need to come along with the caps?
  • The Diablo 3 Podcast Episode Guide in DiabloWiki.net provides links to every show, plus quick summaries.

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    1. I agree with Flux’s point around the 49 minute mark. Diminishing returns probably would be a better alternative but regardless we have to keep in mind the intention of a cap or diminishing return in the first. I’m surprised you all did not bring up the legendary affix list as that should be a huge indicator that we getting new affixes but lets be honest even though a lot of those “leaked” legendary affixes are interesting and can change the game play and styles up not every single one of them will be able to compete with trifecta and how can you honestly expect blizzard to come up with 100’s of affixes to compete with affixes that translate directly into raw damage (trifecta)? You cant. So it makes sense to cap them. What difference does it make if you have bigger numbers? Numbers are just relative.

    2. It’s true. When there is no Elly there is sadness across the globe, a thousand fat sticky sausage fingers weep in sorrow. 🙁

    3. Good podcast, always enjoying these as a great food for thought while gringing away at them paragon levels 🙂

      Now, what I think most people, epsecially you, Flux, seem to oversee, when saying that removing the AH might cause huge problems within the community (especially in the practical-economical aspect of things), is that back in the days of D2, no one clamoured for an AH, and we all did just fine without it!

      Now, I know most of the readers here are avid bnet-multiplayer types, but I will actually argue that what gave D2 it’s longevity, was the single player mode. Yes, I said single player mode.

      What D2 did so well, was give players tons of options to be able to grind up to and work on, without being totally dependant on the bigger economical picture, or an AH like system.

      Take runewords for an example. Back on bnet, how many high end runewords were actually gathered up and assembled over 1000’s of hours of work? Less than 10%, I am positive. And yet, in such small sub-communities such as the legendary Single Player Forum here on incgamers, we’ve had members (myself included) who have done tens of thousands of lower kurars/hellforge/countess runs, and slowly worked up to runewords such as breath of the dying/ enigma and their likes.

      We had tournaments, for single players wanting to reach level 99, solo. No rushes, no cheats, no nothing.

      Do you see my point here? THAT is one of the main aspects (besides the great replayability value gained by build defying uniques)that made D2 my favorite game of all times, and why people ARE still playing today, and will probably still be playing it in 10 years from now, and even after that, long after Blizzard have taken down the D2 bnet servers.

      Being able to do tons of runs, with a specifig item/build/goal in mind, and slowly accumulating the needed achievements of exp/items towards that goal, now THAT is what the Diablo franchize is all about for me, and for many many others, a lot less vocal than me.

      Having said all that, if Blizzard truly manages to migrate closer toward the D2 model of things: Build defying legendaries, that oh so perfect balance of steadily finding legendaries, and yet, having those EXTREMELY rare ones that take months/years to find, and more so than anything, being able to freely chase one’s goals without any dependency on a larger scale economy (adventure mode + smart drops + loot 2.0), I really honestly believe that this game just might turn out to be just as good, if not better than D2 ever was.

      TL,DR… removing the AH is the best thing that ever happened to this game.

      • A lot of other game features were very diff in D2, not to mention player expectations and patience. Remember how D2X went like 2 years between v1.09 and v1.10, with tons of bugs and unplayable builds and no one really cared? Players won’t tolerate that these days.

        Perhaps Loot 2.0 will make things all better, but the other issue in D3 is the huge variety on each legendary. You hunted for a Shako in D2 and you found it and all was good. In D3 you might need to find 50 of the same legendary to get a good roll, and 500 of some specific items like SoJs (or Puzzle Rings in D3X) to get the stats you want.

        Bottom line, trading was horrible in D2 but it didn’t matter that much due to much more limited item variety, much more self finding potential, and greater player patience. I remain skeptical that D3 can reacquire any of those traits, the absence of all of which the AH helps paper over.

    4. You can still play D3 without depending on the AH, though. I play solo and never use the AH. It’s how I played D2, too. I have to admit, it came out when I was 17 and had no money, so me and my friends all used the same pirated copy. We didn’t ever play on Bnet, but did very occasionally play with one of us as the host.

      What the AH does do, and I think this is Flux’s point, is make it easier, more convenient and more “above board”, if you do want to go outside the “Ironborn” way of playing. I don’t and I know none of my friends do, but for those that do (and the proliferation of D2 trading sites and forums says that there’s a lot of those people), the AH is simply a better choice. It’s like going from having plumbing bringing water into your house back to having to go to the well every time you want some water.

      If you do truly play solo, as you and I apparently do, then the existence of the AH is irrelevant. The game is neither better or worse without it because it effectively doesn’t exist for us anyway. I can understand people who use public games mainly yet don’t use the AH to have more of an issue with it, since any AH users in their groups may look down on their gear in an unfair way. The one and only way the removal of the AH has any bearing on me is if it brings more players back to the game, and makes the community richer and larger. That’d be nice. I really can stand the negative aura that so often seems to surround this game online.

    5. Great podcast again.

      I’d like to comment on two things:

      About people complaining about online requirement to play D3, i don’t think people were angry because of Blizzard taking solid security measures for online play. People were angry because they could’t play offline, and Blizzard came around with the valid but not-so-great arguement that they did it for security. I think everybody appreciates Blizzard taking efforts for a secure online experience and healthy economy.
      Personally, i think Blizzard did this to prevent piracy, but the security arguement sounded better. I remember the time when Blizzards policy was to deliver such a great and unique online service that they didn’t need additional copy protection. So, good decision making here by Blizzard.

      Another thing, i hope you guys are right about Blizzard having something in store to replace the AH, but i doubt it. I think the removal of the AH is just a proper follow up to Loot 2.0. As i percieve it, one of the goals (or argueably necessary sideeffect) of L2.0 is to make trading obsolete by having the items dropped that players need or desire. BoA items were the first step in that direction. Now, if you take the devastated gold economy and the overall AH-scapegoating into consideration alongside the increasing efforts to make the AH unnecassary (BoA items, Smartdrops), it is only logical to remove it. They remove it, because they can afford to remove it, because it is no longer needed. In this case, it wouldn’t need a replacement. And i think there won’t be one, but we will all know more after Blizzcon.

      Anyways, cheers and thanks for the podcast. Always enjoying it.

      • Thanks, and I didn’t even mention it in the post, but this was just the first half of the show. Part 2 will be posted tomorrow and it’s another 50m or so carrying on different topics, still with Katniss and Neinball.

    6. I’m just eager to hear what comes out of blizzcon. Almost makes me want to buy the digital ticket. So many of these questions could be answered. Hopefully answered.

    7. I dont understand how you guys fail to realise the benefits of shuting down the AH. You say stuff like “now we will have less user friendly trading system” and you laugh at the people who are thinking it is a good thing. Well you are looking at it from a completly wrong perspective.

      The main problem with the AH is this:

      While playing with the AH, i will, with very little cost and in very little time, upgrade my gear at such level, that after this the chances of me finding an upgrade in the actual game is something like 1/million. That is the effect of having affordable and easy access to drops of millions of other people. And the main reason we played Diablo 2 is because of that awesome feeling when you get a new upgrade from a monster (in game). Yes, we also traded there, but trading with dozen friends is not even close an effect like trading with millions of people.
      In D3 we mostly get upgrades from economy minigame called AH. And that is why most of the people like the decision of shuting it down.

      And you can say “well you can just play without using AH”, but that just doesnt work in real world because 99% of our friends are using it and they will have 10 times better gear then us, which leads to depression and turn-of from a game.

      I hope you read this and change (upgrade) your opinion.

      • Hey, afaron.

        Thanks for voicing your opinion on the AH. Like I mention in the podcast, it is and probably always be a very polarizing and heated debate. It’s effect, even after it’s long gone and removed, will still ripple as the game grows and ages.

        I just wanted to take this opportunity thought to clarify that I was strictly falling on the side of the people NOT complaining about the removal of the AH. I see it as a good and healthy move for the future of the game and I don’t think that things will be quite as dire as some forecast in terms of trading and, more importantly, efficiency of trading. I am confident that removing the AH will still have some detrimental effects in general (There are very rarely many occasions where any one move is 100% correct and without flaws/drawbacks.), but the overall effect of it will be one that the community appreciates and feels positively about, even if it takes them a few months under the new system to realize it.

        Cheers! 🙂

        • “but the overall effect of it will be one that the community appreciates and feels positively about, even if it takes them a few months under the new system to realize it.”

          I agree, especialy with that sentence. People will see the advantage of AH-free diablo (even if some other flaws remain) after they experience it, i just hope they will not make blizzard change its mind before that time comes. 🙂

      • The AH dominates current game play because it is impossible to find upgrades, because the loot and item system is terrible. Removing the AH makes a symptom of the problem go away, but doesn’t do anything to address the real issue. If “Loot 2.0” doesn’t fix things as intended game play will actually be worse, not better. This is what Flux is talking about.

        Removing the AH will not stop anyone from spending real money to buy gold or items. It simply tries to put a veil back over the real money economy and re-separate it from the users who do not want to use RMT.

        If you think having no AH is somehow going to make items better or your item hunt more fun, think again.

        • “The AH dominates current game play because it is impossible to find upgrades, because the loot and item system is terrible.”

          No, it is impossible to find upgrades because the AH is there. Loot system may be bad, but that is a seperate issue.

      • First of all, afaron, your opinion is valid and obviously well thought-out. However, I’m going to change some words you wrote to maybe help you see things from a different point of view:

        “While playing Inferno Act 1, I will, with very little cost and in very little time, upgrade my gear to such a level, that after this the chances of me finding an upgrade in the actual game is something like 1/million.”

        This is one of the concerns I have, that Loot 2.0 will go too far in the other direction, and after a month of playing RoS it will be nearly impossible to find an upgrade through killing monsters. And then if I want to try out a particular build that is dependent on specialized gear (as Flux mentions, a particular SoJ), I will have to go 3rd-party website instead of convenient in-game AH to acquire said gear. Tuning the drop rate to hit a “sweet spot” is going to be mighty difficult-but that’s true whether an AH exists or not.

        I personally disagree with the decision to close the GAH, and I am skeptical that a replacement system will work well. I also don’t think Blizzard necessarily has something already worked out. This strikes me as a philosophical design decision, which means they wouldn’t have to already have a substitute trading system in place. And for now, Blizzard does not get my benefit of the doubt due to the issues with the game at launch, as well as “PvP is coming soon.” (Note, I don’t even care about PvP, but their track record with that aspect of the game speaks for itself.)

        Vega, I didn’t play much single-player D2, and never did the rune word runs you alluded to. I enjoy the multi-player aspect of D3, and probably will never play it much as a solo game. In fact, while D3 is a fun game that I’ve poured many hours into, if it weren’t for the multi-player aspect I would still be playing Skyrim.

        • “While playing Inferno Act 1, I will, with very little cost and in very little time, upgrade my gear to such a level, that after this the chances of me finding an upgrade in the actual game is something like 1/million.”

          No you will not. You will upgrade your gear gradually, at first you will find maybe 2-3 upgrades per day, then per week, then per month, then maybe one per month, and after serveral months or years of enjoynment, only then you will have a chance of 1/million to find an upgrade. But with AH that threshold comes within maybe 1/50 of that time, no matter how good or bad the loot system is.

          I’m ok with a fact that i will never find all the perfect items for my role, or build, i just wanna be able to gradually improve my gear and have sense of satisfaction while im doing it.

          As for blackmarket goes, that will allways be an issue for any popular game that has any kind of trading option, but most players will never use it because it requiers some effort and has a certain risk to it, while the in-game AH is acceseble within few clicks and is perfectly legal.

          • “No you will not. You will upgrade your gear gradually, at first you will find maybe 2-3 upgrades per day, then per week, then per month, then maybe one per month, and after serveral months or years of enjoynment, only then you will have a chance of 1/million to find an upgrade. But with AH that threshold comes within maybe 1/50 of that time, no matter how good or bad the loot system is.”

            That’s a complete guess on your part. Executing the idea well is going to be difficult. Like you, I hope Blizzard threads the needle, and I love Josh’s enthusiasm for the game. Go, Josh!

            As craezyjim mentions below, I still get a sense of satisfaction today, with the AH. Gold is meaningful, and if I can get a couple of items per farming run and sell them for 100k, I feel like I accomplished something. Playing self-found, it takes a lot longer to build up gold/crafting mats/gems and, of course, actual upgrades. To each his own, but this is one of the reasons I disagree with you about the removal of the GAH.

        • Closing the GAH is the right decision, it under mines the drop rate and the loot progression of the game inherently. Please stop pretending the RMAH was the “real” bad guy in this it is both AH’s.

      • Well how do you afford items off the ah? Simply by finding stuff others value and selling it. Do this enough times and you get an upgrade. The ah is extremely effective at getting maximum value out of your farmed items, turning them into something you need.

        Now if blizzard can implement game systems that turn almost good items into upgrades, the ah becomes redundant in terms of upgrading your character. It just happens that the current game does this via trading and the ah, but with many downsides to the ah. Bugs in the ah: duping gold, flipping, items never leaving the economy all become magnified by the ah.

        If loot 2.0 does not provide incremental progression like gold balance did, the longevity of the game for me will drastically reduce. In current game, I can see gold creeping up, always getting closer to that next item. Self found d3 simply does not have that same feel. After x hrs, it feels like I will never find another upgrade and am forever stuck.

      • “I dont understand how you guys fail to realise the benefits of shuting down the AH.”

        Note that we did a whole podcast bout the AH shutdown last week, and covered a huge list of pros and cons about the issue. Including your comment above.

        http://diablo.incgamers.com/blog/comments/the-diablo-3-podcast-112-the-auction-house-shutdown

        In the current game removing the AH would be a disaster, but the hope is that in Loot 2.0 we’ll get enough better drops and some other TBD trading systems that will render our post-AH worries moot points.

    8. Their point is that if your friends want to do that, they can still do that without the AH. They’ll just do it through 3rd party means. It’s still down to the individual, I don’t use the AH and neither do my friends – we just don’t see the appeal. D2 still had people just buying their items from a pool of 1000s of other players’ drops, it was just less convenient. So yeah, maybe since the AH is, arguably, more popular amongst people who don’t want to put that much effort into the game, maybe using 3rd party means to buy items will be too much hard work for them. I guess that’s the means to the outcome we want here.

    9. Here’s an exercise for everyone. Try and find a specialized item of a particular type right now. Say, a Mara’s with a specific skill bonus. Do an AH search for a Mara’s with that skill bonus and one particular random mod (Mara’s has 3).

      You will most likely find less than 1 page of matches on the entire SC AH, often less than half a page.

      Now how many use the AH? Hundreds of thousands? Millions? (yes most are bots, that’s irrelevant for this example). Add a 0 at the end, that’s how many total items they are.

      Yet, a dozen or less are of a particular, specialized variety.

      If you just have generic, one size fits all loot? You could easily have “smart drops” that put the right prime stat on your times and don’t waste your time with 30 str/40 dex/50 int chest armors and such and get good items by actually playing the game.

      But if itemization actually becomes diverse and interesting (you know, like the patch is actually supposed to work) then good items for your class =/= good items for your character. You get a lot more “Mara’s Kaleidoscope with a specific skill mod” type items. Given those items are nearly unavailable WITH the AH, you can imagine how (un)likely it is you’ll ever find the specific ones you actually care about even if the droprates are good simply because stuff is good, but not for you.

      And that’s the thing about Blizzard. When they do end up doing something good they then go and change the game so whatever they just did is no longer relevant. In this case by removing the AH, and by extension your means of taking the good, but not for you items and using them as a means of getting the items you do want, rather than everyone wanting the same few things and not wanting anything else = you can only get good items by finding them directly (lolno), selling another good item (that you need just as much), or the pay to win approach (the real problem people have with the AH).

    10. One of my biggest motivations to keep playing was the chance of finding something I could sell on the real money auction house. Hopefully AH removal and loot 2.0 finds a way to keep us wanting to play.

    11. Diminishing returns does nothing, people will STILL STACK the 3 major dps increasing stats because they would still gain benefits from them. As soon as people realized they could survive, it would turn into D3 all over again.

      Hard caps ensure that Blizzard can balance enemy HP, enemy Damage, player Damage (for the most part), balance skills, ensure that itemization doesn’t suck balls as it has for the past 2 years, etc.

      It is amazing that Flux and co cannot see this with their supposed wisdom and insight on the game. Then again, it is also telling that most players cannot see this, nor developers, and that is why D3 sucked.

      • People will only stack those three stats so long as they provide the largest increases after the scaling. If they’re scaled back to the point where base damage or cd redux or skill bonuses or something else is a better increase then people will gear for that instead.

    12. QUOTE

      Lots of stuff.

      The difference in SP D2 is that we already had stashes stocked to the gills with everything we needed. I almost never needed to upgrade anything during standard play, in fact I almost never played a character until I had every weapon/armour progression planned out and ready. This is something that is essentially unavailable in D3. In lieu of a decent amount of storage I used the GAH to buy the holes I required to play my characters. Without the GAH, or a huge increase in storage space, I’ll probably go back to D2 which is, after all, a better game in the long run.

    13. I think that most of the items who are bought on the AH don’t come from players, they come from bots, owned by people/organizations specialized in making money form diablo 3. It isn’t important for those organizations whatever an item is sold in the GAH or RMAH, they can just sell the gold for real money. Those bots also flood the game with gold, raising the prices of top item to the point that people who don’t by their gold can’t simply buy those top items anymore. No wonder many player feel like nothing good ever drops for them, those players simply can’t compete with hundred and thousands of bots playing 24/7.

      Closing down the AH won’t completely remove this but it would significantly reduce their market share, maybe to the point that they can no longer truly influence the overall diablo 3 economy. Why? Buying form third party sites can cause you to lose all your blizzard accounts and games when blizzard finds out, those organizations can steal your credit card info and they are far more hidden then the current AH. All this together discourages most people from using third party sites only an insignificant minority uses them, many of whom get scammed or worse.

    14. Currently you get 62% crit chance, 90% ias, 510% crit damage from gear as a practical maximum, with a little variance depending on class from items. Add the base chances and you have 67% crit chance, 560% crit damage, 90% ias.

      This results in a DPS multiplier of about 9.

      After the cap makes it 40% crit chance, 40% ias, 250% crit damage, the multiplier is now 3.29, almost 3 times less.

      Higher weapon dps and prime stat will get it back, but here’s a question: As enemies will almost certainly have more HP, but you have the same dps (and likely the same number of trifecta items, just less benefits from each)… Um, how exactly are you supposed to kill them in a reasonable timeframe? They’re already bags of HP as is.

    15. It may become a non issue if the gear is like it is on the console, at all, the bonuses are extreme, and you find more gear for the class you are playing. However, in D2 there was maybe one or two variables on an item (legendary/unique, or set I mean), so there wasn’t much trouble trading that kind of stuff. In D3, I don’t know how you trade without the AH. As I said, I am inclined to believe it doesn’t really matter.

    16. QUOTE

      The hope is that in Loot 2.0 we'll get enough better drops and some other TBD trading systems that will render our post-AH worries moot points.

      This is what I really want. I was looking forward to the upcoming changes until the removal of the AH dashed my hopes.

    17. Someone awesome used the term “gear Tetris”. Well said.

    18. QUOTE

      Perhaps Loot 2.0 will make things all better, but the other issue in D3 is the huge variety on each legendary. You hunted for a Shako in D2 and you found it and all was good. In D3 you might need to find 50 of the same legendary to get a good roll, and 500 of some specific items like SoJs (or Puzzle Rings in D3X) to get the stats you want. 
      

      The mystic is going to change this, he can just keep rerolling the random stat until you get the CC or whatever stats you really need on that item. This is going to be expensive but a legendary with the needed random roll is also expensive on the AH. The mystic is going to change a lot, each item with 2 of the 3 trifecta stats is going to be one if you can pay the mystic costs.

    19. QUOTE=Lord_Vega;8566222]Now, what I think most people, especially you, Flux, seem to oversee, when saying that removing the AH might cause huge problems within the community (especially in the practical-economical aspect of things), is that back in the days of D2, no one clamoured for an AH, and we all did just fine without it!

      I, Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, The God, decided to quote entire post (opposed to divine principles), for being one of key facts most forum members fail to comprehend. The God bestows a medium size blessing on Lord_Vega!

      The God COMMANDS quote below to be read, re-read and understood in its completeness!

      Now, what I think most people, especially you, Flux, seem to oversee, when saying that removing the AH might cause huge problems within the community (especially in the practical-economical aspect of things), is that back in the days of D2, no one clamoured for an AH, and we all did just fine without it!
      
      Now, I know most of the readers here are avid bnet-multiplayer types, but I will actually argue that what gave D2 it's longevity, was the single player mode. Yes, I said single player mode.
      
      What D2 did so well, was give players tons of options to be able to grind up to and work on, without being totally dependant on the bigger economical picture, or an AH like system.
      
      Take runewords for an example. Back on bnet, how many high end runewords were actually gathered up and assembled over 1000's of hours of work? Less than 10%, I am positive. And yet, in such small sub-communities such as the legendary Single Player Forum here on incgamers, we've had members (myself included) who have done tens of thousands of lower kurars/hellforge/countess runs, and slowly worked up to runewords such as breath of the dying/ enigma and their likes.
      
      We had tournaments, for single players wanting to reach level 99, solo. No rushes, no cheats, no nothing.
      
      Do you see my point here? THAT is one of the main aspects (besides the great replayability value gained by build defying uniques)that made D2 my favorite game of all times, and why people ARE still playing today, and will probably still be playing it in 10 years from now, and even after that, long after Blizzard have taken down the D2 bnet servers.
      
      Being able to do tons of runs, with a specifig item/build/goal in mind, and slowly accumulating the needed achievements of exp/items towards that goal, now THAT is what the Diablo franchize is all about for me, and for many many others, a lot less vocal than me.
      
      Having said all that, if Blizzard truly manages to migrate closer toward the D2 model of things: Build defying legendaries, that oh so perfect balance of steadily finding legendaries, and yet, having those EXTREMELY rare ones that take months/years to find, and more so than anything, being able to freely chase one's goals without any dependency on a larger scale economy (adventure mode + smart drops + loot 2.0), I really honestly believe that this game just might turn out to be just as good, if not better than D2 ever was.
      
      TL,DR... removing the AH is the best thing that ever happened to this game.

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