The Diablo 3 Podcast #128: Economy, Item System, and Binding


Azzure joins Flux for a lively debate over the Reaper of Souls economy and item system. Issues include soul bound legendary items in Reaper of Souls, whether BoE or BoP would be improvements, a possible trading system, a self-found bonus, and gold not retaining value in RoS.

  • 0:30 — Opening disclaimer and is Azzure just jelly since he isn’t in the RoS beta yet? (He is now; but was not when we recorded this before Xmas.)
  • 2:00 — Item binding intro. The supposed benefit of all RoS’ item binding is that it allows greater drop rates. Azzure says that won’t work, and that it’s just a short term fun increase without lasting benefit.
  • 9:00 — Video games are about systems of fun and challenge, and a big part of the fun of a Diablo-style game is finding and perfecting gear. If gear is too easy to find, via drops or an auction house, then it’s quickly no fun since you never upgrade. If gear is too hard to obtain then it’s no fun either. Developers must strive for a balance, which is difficult to obtain. Is “finding” inherently more fun than “buying/trading?”

    13:00 — Why not “trading games” to allow some item fluidity? It’s not too easy as the Auction House is. But what about trading forums and item selling sites?

  • 20:00 — Bind on equip would be even worse than BoA, since it would incentivize item hunting and item selling sites.
  • 23:45 — The dirty question: Who is blizzard making the game for: casuals or hardcore players? Streamers and people who play 6 hours a day are bored already with the RoS beta. So is RoS designed for the 98%, while the devs and Blues have to try to sell it to the 2% who make all the noise?
  • 28:00 — Is Blizzard 2.0 targeting casual players? And doing so unsuccessfully with Diablo 3 and now RoS?
  • 33:10 — RoS stat inflation explained and debunked. Even with more affixes added in RoS, the item mod variety is lacking. Why didn’t they do a big item systems overhaul in RoS? To fix the lack of differentiation between gear for different classes?
  • 44:00 — How about a system that adds a bonus to items you find yourself, or a penalty to items once traded?
  • 47:45 — Gold retaining value in Reaper of Souls. Flux was right and more importantly, Azzure was wrong.
  • 54:00 — Loot 1.5 on the Diablo 3 console was just a sort of rare “item density” fix, much as Diablo 3 patched in the “monster density.” Both changes were short term fixes while the devs worked on larger game/system changes to debut in Reaper of Souls. But did it? Or is RoS’ item system just the same thing as loot 1.5, with no impactful differences?
  • The Diablo 3 Podcast Episode Guide in DiabloWiki.net provides links to every show, plus quick summaries.

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    1. Awesome podcast, I really enjoyed listening to it!

    2. QUOTE

      Azzure was wrong.

      Again?!
      Sorry, couldn’t resist.

      • Haha, Flux will hold on to that despite the fact that gold is now BoP, so the debate about its value is now irrelevant!

        • That is exactly wrong. Our debate over the likely value of gold in RoS was entirely based on likely changes to the game. I thought the devs would make changes to make gold much less useful since it was the only important thing in D3. And they did. Total binding makes it even less useful than I ever imagined.

          If you appraise gold on a 1-10 scale of no value to maximum value, it’s about a 9.5 in D3. For Ros I was expecting it to be about 4 and Azzure was expecting about 7. It’s actually about 1.5 on that 1-10 scale, which is a lot less valuable than even I expected, but clearly I won that prediction race.

    3. Azzure is spot on, I knew that since 2011 when the Beta hit. I am just tired to argue to a new generation of mindsets and tell them what mattered in D2 and what should be in D3.

      Blizzard should have either fixed bad stuff in D2 and add on top of it, or create a whole new game and call it something different and market it to a new generation of people.

      Turning D3 into something totally different from “Diablo” just to force “We wanted to create something new” was a big mistake. You dont just take something as epic and established as Diablo and “turn it into something new”. You take it, and you add on top of it or you create something new entirely and call it whatever you want.

      Its unfortunate that the damage done to the franchise will never be forgotten in gaming-history, regardless of how much they fix it.

      That being said, the damage might be so significant, that they R.I.P. the franchise all together after all the expansions to D3.

      There is this small light of hope in my mind: what if, they announce Diablo 4 down the road with the slogan “back to the roots”? the truth is that casuals are drawn to “hardcore” and “Pro’s” just like with any sport or discipline or job. Its in us to strife to be as good as the best out there. And thats why, certain games such as Diablo need to be positioned at Pro’s and “hardcore” players, and the casuals will follow.

      • I think you have some good points, but that you are also wrong about some things. First of all, D3 isn’t all that different from ‘Diablo’; D3 has a lot more similarities to D2 than D2 did to D1. Also, your point about not taking something established and going in a new direction with it is completely unfounded; many excellent franchises have done this and been quite successful with it. The Legend of Zelda franchise started as being quite non-linear, then shifted to being much more linear, with sidequests if you want; Zelda is one of the most celebrated franchises in gaming history. The Final Fantasy series basically reinvents itself with each new numbered game; some have been badly received, such as the FFXIII games, but there have been tons of changes and additions with each Final Fantasy, and it is still a very strong and well-received franchise on the whole. D&D has changed and reinvented itself many times, and it is still one of the greatest RPGs of all time (though the changes have certainly been polarizing, and most have a preferred edition and shun the others). These are just a few examples of excellent, long-lived game series’ that regularly reinvent themselves; none of them seem to have this problem. I’d agree with you that the devs screwed up the execution of D3, but deciding to make sweeping changes to the formula was not, in itself, a bad decision.

        Also, in regards to your comment that ‘casuals are draws to “hardcore” and “Pro’s”,’ I have to disagree here. There are plenty of games that are explicitly designed for the ‘hardcore’ gamer audience that most casual players avoid. The Souls Series (Demons’ Souls, Dark Souls and (soon!) Dark Souls II) are generally avoided by casual players, and the Ninja Gaiden games (both old and new, with the exception of the badly-done Ninja Gaiden 3) are not really played by a casual audience either. In addition, for many games with a ‘hardcore’ audience, such as fighting games like Street Fighter or Smash Bros, most casual gamers just enjoy the games because they think they’re fun. Most people who play fighting games aren’t playing because they want to become good enough to play tournaments, they play because they enjoy the game. So, I don’t think at all that casuals are drawn to ‘hardcore’ or ‘pro-based’ games; rather, I think that actually a lot of casuals are driven away from those games for that same reason. I won’t argue whether or not there should be games that are exclusively for casuals or exclusively for hardcore gamers; that’s a completely different argument. But I don’t think you’re right that casual gamers will ‘follow the leader’ for games that ‘hardcore/pro’ gamers play. I think that only really works for a specific kind of game (such as Starcraft or MOBAs), and even then, most casual gamers don’t really have any expectation while playing that they’ll ascend the ranks and challenge the pros. I’m sure that some ‘casual’ gamers do work hard and ascend that way, but I really doubt that most casual gamers have the same attitude. In the same way, most people don’t play sports because they want to become superstars; a few do, but most just like the game. I think it’s mostly the same with casual gamers.

        All that said, you are right that the devs have screwed up the game pretty bad, and the bad reputation could end the Diablo franchise. It’s too early to tell, since there’s supposed to be at least one more expansion coming out after Reaper of Souls, but it would be a shame if the devs screwed them both up badly enough to kill the franchise.

        • I wanna like your first paragraph SO HARD. I get sooo tired of the “This isn’t Diablo!!” as if the world of gaming began with D2.

      • Problem is… the way i see it…

        People loved Diablo 1, and loved Diablo 2, so much, that to this day they can still think.

        “If i reinstall it im gonna have fun!”
        And as such they were willing to to wait the 10+ years for D3.

        I don’t see the same happening for D4, after D3 on its current state. None from my friends that bought it even have it installed.

        And RoS isn’t going to be enough to change that… even with better loot and ladders and diversity of builds.

        Game needs some endgame challenge (better then D2, cause 10 years have passed!), pvp, better party play (increased size).

        One of my friends was making the argument the other day: the real sequel to Diablo 2, is WoW.

        And that we accepted the giving up of loot rng and gladly took BoE and BoP in exchange for fun with bigger numbers of friends at same time, class based pvp “regulated” (in arenas vs d2 free for all), and more content with each patch cycle.

        • I believe that you sir (or madam) have hit the nail on the head.

          Your friend is probably right that the true sequel to D2 was WoW; another guy in a different thread (I think it was either Ivan E or HardRock, but I can’t remember) said that most of the people who started with Vanilla WoW were D2 players. Unfortunately, I can’t say much more on this issue though, as I tried WoW once and hated it, so my overall knowledge of WoW stuff is pretty low.

          In terms of endgame challenge, my best answer would be to implement Uberlevels, the way they were done in BrotherLaz’s excellent D2 mod Median XL. All of his uberlevels were themed, they fit into the Diablo universe (albeit very loosely in some cases) and were challenge-based. By this, I mean that instead of just being a horde of super-strong enemies, each level had a gimmick that you had to work around. Most of the enemies in his uberlevels weren’t really any stronger than regular enemies, but the gimmick made things challenging and interesting. The three best examples I can think of were the levels ‘Kurast 3000 BA,’ ‘The Infernal Machine,’ and ‘Duncraig.’

          In ‘Kurast 3KBA,’ the only enemies were skeletons and 3 unique necromancers on the edges of the map that summoned more guys when you got near them. The catch? Throughout the level, there were 17 or 18 totems; the totems didn’t attack, but they made all enemies around them in a fairly wide radius invulnerable. Worse, they were placed so that the auras stacked, so you’d have to kill multiple totems before enemies became vulnerable. The challenge of the level was not having the power to kill things, or the health to withstand hits, but rather the ability to quickly take out single targets while being attacked by invulnerable enemies.

          ‘The Infernal Machine’ was kind of similar to ‘Kurast 3KBA,’ but with a different flavor. The machine, in this case, was invulnerable by default, and was surrounded by 8 untargetable enemies. These enemies couldn’t be killed, but you needed them around because the untargetable enemies had an aura that made the Infernal Machine vulnerable. Thus, you either had to park the minions close enough to the machine that you could kill it, or you had to kite them around the machine. The machine itself shot a slow-moving laser beam in a circle around it that instantly killed you if you got hit; the instant death kind of sucked, but the beam moved really slowly, and you were rarely in danger of being hit by it unless you were trying to kite the other enemies and you were caught unawares.

          ‘Duncraig’ had the coolest set up of the three examples, but also the most annoying and cheesy mechanics. The uberlevel was set up as a demonic invasion; the main boss, Assur was completely invulnerable no matter what, and would chase you around through the level. You had to kill his 5 unique minions, each located at a different corner of the map, and when you did, thy would each drop a demonic sigil. When you combined the sigils in the Horadric Cube, you got a special ring that gave you an oskill that could kill Assur even though he was completely invulerable. The main problem with the level was that enemies threw exploding barrels at you, and the barrels were a guaranteed instant-kill if they hit. Without that instant-kill element, Duncraig would have been the perfect design.

          The best part about the uberlevels was that they were each designed with a specific farming purpose in mind. Duncraig had an increased chance of dropping max level loot; Tran Athulua had an increased unique item rate; Island of the Sunless Sea always dropped about 10 million gold; The Inernal Machine gave massive experience gains; Fauztinville had an increased drop rate for runes, with three Master runes that could only drop there needed for the best runewords; each area was targeted towards a specific drop, and had a specific purpose. I think that D3 could benefit greatly from challenge levels with that kind of farming purpose. To me, it felt really good to beat those levels, because it wasn’t just because I outleveled or outgeared the enemies; I had to play smarter as well. I think that D3 could use a heaping helping of this kind of challenge-runs, because the biggest problem I see with the game as it is is that if you outgear the content, you can pick a bad build and play sloppily and it doesn’t matter. In the uberlevels, your gear and build mattered to an extent, but you had to play competently; even the most overpowered builds in the game couldn’t stomp through most uberlevels if you played sloppily. I think that if D3 can create this kind of play atmosphere, it would add a lot of longevity to the game.

          • That’s where my entire D2 friends list went… WoW. I didn’t follow. I was starting to age: wife, kids, family; and I wasn’t going to pay $15 per month to not be able to play, especially with not really caring for WoW in the first place. Yes, there were things to be excited about, but there were many things I didn’t like, which I won’t get into. But in any case, those I kept in touch with, most quit after the launch of WotLK. That’s where the dumbing down of the game started and probably where they started to “age” as well. Most everyone I played D2 with was 3 to 5 years younger than me.

    4. Great podcast, thank you for that.

      I think you two overlooked what is going on with the console version right now. And I think, Blizzard is trying to solve the trading/Aution house issue with one stone. What is going on is, that people abuse the offline play and altering their save game file.
      So, if Blizzard would enable trading/BoE etc. trading for consoles would go out of the window. Their would be no way to keep the selling of hacked items at bay.

      I think they are still thinking of a solution for both PC and console version of the game. I assume they will try to implement a solution that will work for both platforms, well we will see.

    5. Agree with Azzure 100%.

      D3 is broken, I am having serious doubts that it will ever be fixed and be called a decent ARPG.

      Every “fix” to D3 so far can only be described as lazy, and BoA is no different.

      *sigh* Blizz just isn’t the outfit it used to be. Thanks Activision.

    6. Loved the Podcast 🙂

      I agree with Azzure that Binding is bad , removal of the AH was the best idea when item trading was still possible that is why people were happy , not because we don’t want to trade , but we don’t AH affecting drop rates and all the bad things that come with it from Flipping to all other things that made D3V so bad , I swear if they had fixed the weapons damage from the start of D3V and didn’t have AH at all , then D3V would have been amazing with alittle bit buffed drop rates and no nerfs to inferno.

      Now back to RoS , they should find a middle ground instead of no AH and BoA or AH and open trading , if they could make the items BoA but you had an item or recipe that would make your BoA ineffective for one trade and this recipe/item was BoA and it was achieved only by doing certain things in Campaign Mode or Adventure Mode like doing a full act clear from start or clearing all bounties then killing final boss for chance to get that item , then it would be great or simply allow trading between Clan members or friends that have been in your clan/list for atleast a week or if they are in party with you when the item dropped so that first week in the expansion you can trade with your friends or clan members.

      About the item diversity , I am loving the new affixes (Fire Skills do more damage , certain skills buffed , reduce cooldown and reduce cost) these are all great affixes and I love them , I think Splash damage has great potential once people get deeper in the game and start finding more items , but again all these affixes lose value as long as CHC and CHD and AS are in the game uncapped , capping them at the start was a great idea and it should be tested again with the current amount of players in the beta because honestly I don’t trust their testing , we have seen that Crushing Blow went into more advanced stages of Beta, it passed Alpha testing, and also immunity rings/amulets with healing passed their test , Old inferno passed their test eventhough they admitted that they didn’t get past act1 on it.

    7. It hasn’t even been decided yet what will be BoA, and what not. Travis Day spoke of “top tier items”, and from that I gather that, for example, legendary craft mats like Iron Wolves Doctrine will be tradeable in the live version. That could evolve in some interesting trading/business.

      Secondly, the drop rate isn’t final either yet. In the beginning it was way too much, now it’s too weak. Same for item stats. And Diablo 2’s economy was shitty with no boundaries nor balancing whatsoever. It was anarchic and “interesting” only for 24/7 gamers, at best. I’m glad that the ecomony is mostly a thing of the past with RoS.

    8. Well, I disagree with everything azzure said. But whatever, please continue on about how d2 was so great d3 is so terrible yadda yadda yadda bullshit you’ve all been spewing out since the game released 2 years ago.

      Get over it, move on, go play path of exile, stfu.

      • Actually, Path of Exile isn’t much better in this regard. I stopped playing about a month ago, but I still check the forums every now and then. Most of the complaining on the forums is on two issues: desync (a kind of lag that’s built into the game) and item trading. Trading in PoE is basically as difficult and annoying as Azzure wants D3’s trading to be, and from what I could tell, the majority of the PoE forums think that trading is absolutely horrible, and that PoE’s drop rates are also terrible, so trading is the only way to get good endgame loot.

        I’m basically with you on disagreeing with Azzure though. He has some interesting ideas, and he might be right from a very long term perspective, but I think that trading the way he wants it to be mostly just hurts regular players who want to trade. His system probably is better for really hardcore gamers who are going to farm for hours per day and play for years, but I think that his system is too bad for anyone who isn’t willing to play for that long. Even then, I suspect that it would not work perfectly, as when you play that long and that hard, you tend to amass lots of items anyway. As Azzure said, the system worked in D2 because the stats weren’t very homogenous, and you needed vastly different gear for different playstyles. However, since D3’s gear is more homogenized, I think that by the time you’d farmed up to the point that Azzure was talking about, you’d have everything you needed and wouldn’t need to trade. His system would work if the gear was the same as D2 and the trading was the same as D2, but D3 has different systems, so I don’t think his ideas would work so well.

        • I have been playing PoE for 2 years. While PoE is better than D3 in every way, except for the network code, PoE has one loot problem that is similar to D3. You cannot find/craft/create the high-end loot by playing the game. To me, there is no difference between grinding for gold and having to hit up an Auction House to acquire what you need and grinding for currency and having to hit up trade chat and/or trading forums, other than the latter is far more annoying and time consuming… to the point of… I simply don’t trade.

          Why is it so hard for developers to recreate D2’s loot drop mechanics: time consuming, elusive, enough carrots to make you want to do one more run, and with enough time played, you can actually find and acquire most everything yourself. D3’s and PoE’s “must trade or go home” philosophy is lame. I want to find the loot myself, but at the same time I don’t want D3V’s console or RoS loot systems either, where everything drops in short order and you are bored and quit within 2 days to a week, depending on how much you play.

    9. Azzure is spot on, a definite favorite on the podcast.

      It goes without saying since most people are thinking it, but I am most anticipating the sales numbers for RoS. cringe worthy.

    10. It would have been better to simply take gold and $ out of the equation and make the AH into a barter board.

    11. I completely disagree with Azzure on many of his points. It’s hard for me to sit here and listen to a WOW player talk about diablo. Bound on Equipt is an idea that needs to be crushed before it hits the ears of the Blizzard team. (All they need is one more stupid idea)

      The reasons the Bliz team is doing away with the AH, it making things too easy for players, is not lost on me. But, the AH, although abused was a brilliant way to trade in game. As far as I’m concerned, it was the one and only improvement made from Diablo 2. Do you remember finding a great item in D2 and having to trade it? I was happy, joyous just to be shopping for something and knowing that I had a little of something someone wanted. But, dealing with other players; making games with the item to trade in the title of the game; all of those things were clunking and time consuming.

      Yet, with the AH on the way out, I’d gladly deal with all the pitfalls of free trade; especially when compared to the idea of just having to vender every decent drop I don’t need.

      But, it, the Auction House, was abused, I totally agree. However, swinging the other way, and removing the AH while simultaneously making all legendary items Bound on Account is so completely reactionary. Bound items are just stupid. And, it will ruin the end game for all of us who love Diablo.

      ANYTHING is better than totally bound items. Make an item that can be only traded three times! Even that would give people a chance to make gains when farming items they dont’ personally need; items that you don’t need but, you know others do need.

      That’s my answer. Make an item that people can see a notation on the items. 3 trades left. That way, it’s value might also be tied into how new it is. Knowing, all along, that when someone trades an item to you with “1 Trades left” that you wont be able to turn it over again … you’re going to offer less for it. There, even THAT is a better idea than Bound to Account.

      And Does it matter if people are trading these items on third party web sites? ebay or Chinese farmer’s sale sights? It doesn’t matter at all. Who cares? I don’t care if they all get rich selling diablo 3 items. It just doesn’t effect the pure players.

      And, who cares if someone finds an awesome item and sells it for real money on ebay? I don’t care. I’m happy for them. That’s the way it was in Diablo 2 and it NEVER effected my gaming life.

      The idea of trying to control the free will and free trade of players this far into the game is like putting training wheels on a racing bike.

      • I’d just like to point out that I’m not a “WoW Player”. I played Diablo 1 and 2 more than the vast majority of people. And I would’ve played D3 more, had it been a good game.

    12. QUOTE

      The idea of trying to control the free will and free trade of players this far into the game is like putting training wheels on a racing bike.

      Or it could be like removing the training wheels on your bike by getting rid of the easy mode trading. It’s a matter of perspective.

    13. QUOTE

      And Does it matter if people are trading these items on third party web sites?  ebay or Chinese farmer's sale sights?  It doesn't matter at all.  Who cares?  I don't care if they all get rich selling diablo 3 items.  It just doesn't effect the pure players.

      Of course it affects pure players. Every time someone trades an item outside the game the ingame economy shrinks.

      And, who cares if someone finds an awesome item and sells it for real money on ebay?  I don't care.  I'm happy for them.  That's the way it was in Diablo 2 and it NEVER effected my gaming life.

      It doesn’t matter if this doesn’t affect you if it affects enough people for Blizzard to care.

      The idea of trying to control the free will and free trade of players this far into the game is like putting training wheels on a racing bike.

      Conjuring up a weak strawman won’t help. Real money traders are making money off of Blizzard’s property and they have no right to do so. Some of these people are also in the business of scamming people, otherwise known as fraud. I say good riddance to them.

      To be clear, I don’t think item binding is the best for the game. There’s a middle ground between it and the AH, but I don’t see a solution that would help combat third-party trading effectively, while also allowing free trade in the game.

      • I agree. Blizzard has the right and should fight those scammers. But I believe they choose the easiest and the most affordable way for them to deal with the problem, and that is doing it inside the game, by implementing solutions that turn the game less fun for the players. I understand that it’s a complicated subject, but they should fight this problem outside the game.

        • D2 was great. Was it always great? Yes. Sure, it got better as it went along. But, there wasn’t anything to compete with it. Yes, they patched it up and it got better.

          But, people did what they wanted with items in D2 and the third party sites thrived. Yet, I never went to visit one of them.

          And you guys go on about the economy – I say Stop worry about it. I don’t care about the economy of D3.

          And with the AH gone, the economy will drastically change on it’s own. But, to ADD bound items is taking it even one step beyond. I don’t think the answer is to slam us with both the loss of the AH and Bound items. One is good enough. I believe it’s too reactionary. It’s just another one of those unbalanced, “and then we doubled it” moments that we’ll all regret come endgame.

          If bliz doesn’t want players to trade on ebay (because they want the money … then leave the AH open (I’m just saying – if it’s a money thing)) But, if the Bliz team is making items bound just to keep others from making money off of their game; then they’re making the player base suffer for an especially bad reason.)

          Just going back to the inconvenience of trading without the AH will be torture enough to make most of us want to stick needles in our eyes. But, it’ll be HELLA better than no way to trade. Game rewards wont feel rewarding after you find an item twice; because, you’ll be stuck with two of them. That’s going to be an empty feeling.

          • This is exactly right IMO. Flux has always mentioned that he never bothered to trade in D2 because the items he found were good enough to keep him going. But at least he always had the option!

            • I didn’t “never” trade, but not often and didn’t really need to. However I played a lot of hours, mostly in HC, and had some very high MF chars, so my item finding was probably higher than most. Also, I got into mods and modding in the later years, when the economy turned towards high runes after late patches added all the godly runewords, but since I was doing modding then and playing SP I didn’t experience that economy. Which was when trading really became a thing, since finding your own high level runes was so difficult.

              We are all the sums of our experience.

    14. Call me crazy, but I miss the old “wug” 😀 Tradind was more social, it wasn’t easy but for me it was like farming for a specific item, just in a different way. And I agree with Adastra, 3rd party sites and farming bots never ruined my d2 experience.

    15. QUOTE

      Well, I disagree with everything azzure said. But whatever, please continue on about how d2 was so great d3 is so terrible yadda yadda yadda bull**** you've all been spewing out since the game released 2 years ago.
      lulz..why are you so mad at azzure? also, two years ago azzure was d3 biggest cheerleader and he didn't realize the d3 team was vastly overrated just like 99% of d3 players. 
      
      Also, your point about not taking something established and going in a new direction with it is completely unfounded; many excellent franchises have done this and been quite successful with it.
      many franchises? while zelda or FF may be the exception. CoD, GTA, FIFA, Madden, Gran Turismo, Halo, etc is the rule and most big franchises aren't exactly known for reinventing the wheel with each new iteration. it's more a refinement of the same formula. generally, it's done for the same reasons most of these big companies don't like to invest in new IP. most players of these franchises like familiarity and unfamiliarity increases risk for financial failure.
      
        while i don't i don't think a reboot, re imagining or whatever is necessarily bad provided it's well done. the problem is most of them aren't well done and/or consistently take the road well traveled. sometimes, on those rare occasions, it works out very well. ninja gaiden black and demon's souls are examples of great games that are as different from their predecessors as one can get.
      
      however, most of the time, they turn out to be games like D3, MvC3, DmC, golden axe: beast rider, NG3, tomb raider, DNF, space raiders, etc. apparently, these games idea of bringing something new to the table is no different than what most franchises have been doing all along. which is nothing more than a further refinement of formulaic psychological gimmicks  to "widen the funnel" by using a mix of narrative plot-twists, "OMG!THAT's AWESOME!" action sequences and awesome button mashing which focus on making the player feel powerful by easily crushing content because that is what appeals to their targeted audience.
      
      
      There is this small light of hope in my mind: what if, they announce Diablo 4 down the road with the slogan "back to the roots"?
       that hope is as unrealistic and desperate as the hope that RoS will do for D3 that LoD did for D2. d4 will be like most casual games because while many casuals claim they want "new and different", "difficult", challenging","deep", "interesting" etc games. their actual spending and playing habits says they don't actually find those games entertaining. thus, blizz will tailor d4 for that audience just like d3.
      
      The idea of trying to control the free will and free trade of players this far into the game is like putting training wheels on a racing bike.
       you never had free will in the first place. blizz has been hand holding and cradling players like newborns the entire time. besides, free will is dangerous in a game with an audience like d3. free will is like blizz asking for a permanent siege of their BS offices by the world's largest mob of salty haters screaming, "this is imbalanced blizz. plz fix."
    16. D2 is absolutely infested with bots. Read my lips: IN-FES-TED. And still things retain their value for 2-4 months, if you only trade ingame. Who cares if an Ist costs 1 fg on the infamous site. I’ve never used it and I never will. Trading my way up is what’s fun for me, and BoA will take that away from me.

      Again someone mentions ‘wug’. I’ve never once seen that phrase on the Eu realm. Must be an American thing. On Eu I trade by searching the game list for opportune trades; ‘n shako o GOOD FAST’, etc. Sometimes I make my own game and farm in it while waiting for trades. The spam is getting truly fierce nowadays though… But I’m sure Blizz could kill most of it somehow. They just don’t bother for some reason. With the spam removed the D2 trading system is perfect for me. It’s not too fast to gear with, nor too slow. Unlike with the AH (which I detest and I’m glad it’s gone), trading is a social and unpredictable experience: you never know what kind of trade might pop up or how the deal will go down once you enter the game. It’s a game-within-a-game that’s more fun to me than running around killing monsters.

      I can’t wait for the billion + 1 qq threads if BoA really happens. When you’re all dressed up with no place to trade, the tears of repentance will be epic; but you won’t be forgiven. It will be the biggest I-told-you-so moment in the history of gaming.

    17. Why have an endless legal battle with real money traders when you can cut them off at the source? On top of this being less costly for them the community even asked for more limited trading, some of them specifically for item binding. What would you have done?

    18. QUOTE

      It would have been better to simply take gold and $ out of the equation and make the AH into a barter board..
      And then you are back at D2. The community will establish a new currency - be it gems or another SOJ-like item.
      But, you're NOT really back at D2:
      
      Remember, there was 

      no shared stash, so you had to use third party software or the risky "gear transfer" game to move stuff from your hammerdin to your other hammerdin. From what I'm reading here, that kind of inconvenience is a plus.

      Also, because there was no way inside the game to know what something was worth, scamming became a full time pasttime for some. I.e., trading became the whole game, because they were burned out on repeating the content. Making it hard to know value also seems here to be viewed as a plus.

      Thirdly, every non-sorceress in the game was wearing Enigma, so the population of Jah and Ber runes (on day two of any ladder season) was stupidly out of proportion to the odds of finding one or both (near impossible) — we had to “perm” items because anything traded had a good chance of being a dupe. How many players tossed D2 in the trash after their traded-for Enigma poofed overnight?

      D3 solved all of this. The RMAH was a bad idea, but the concept of a venue (AH) where you can go to find legitimate stuff and get a sense of prices was a good one. Unfortunately, botted gold and real world credit cards threw everything out of whack. If more brainpower had been applied to fixing it, I have no doubt it could have been done. Now we’re facing BoA/BoE as the alternative, and I think everyone agrees that’s worse than having convenient trading.

      Again, I think RoS needs to rebalance the classes and make sure that we have more viable builds. I don’t even play my p-100 wizard anymore because unless she exploits the critical mass skills she’s useless beyond the lower MP levels. Items are one way of rebalancing, as is skill redesign. BoA or BoE, I agree, don’t solve the problem. But, given the outcry against the AH, I can see why Blizzard listened to this board and others and has gone that path.

    19. Azzure’s argument for trading or to remove binding, or make it equip so you can trade didn’t make much sense. He talks about extremes and that they are bad but he can only seem to see the extreme of a no trade system. There is no reason why you can’t have effectively no trading but still make it so items are rare, all the items don’t have to be common. I don’t think D2 balancing was done with trading in mind as it felt like so much of an after thought and the problem most people had with D3 was that drop rates were balanced with trading in mind.

      If they implemented another trading system I can’t see them not balancing drop rates with that in mind which would mean reducing it. The reason being because a trade system does in fact impact longevity of the game or item game at least. It means that the relative value of an item that drops can be exchanged for another, so any item you want effectively has a greater chance to drop as there are a pool of items you can exchange for the one you want. An example would be if you want to complete a set and just need one more item for it. Without trading you would need to keep playing until that item actually drops. With trading you could trade a number of items like maybe other items in that set, other classes set items or just some random legendary. The chances of getting any one of those items is much greater than getting a specific item. If drop rate was equal with or without trading then you would get all the items you actually want with trading much quicker. You therefore have to lower drop rate to compensate which leads to the problem many people had with D3 if you don’t then longevity will suffer, at least for people that will trade.

      What I think RoS needs to keep people playing, that I didn’t hear mention, are ladders. You often hear of people going back to D2 every time a ladder reset happens and start playing again for a bit even though nothing else really changed and they probably already played the game numerous times to the point they got a character up to as good as they cared to make it. Hopefully the first patch for RoS will essentially be the first ladder reset and add ladders, meaning many people start the game again in the ladder system.

    20. Flux: how about this? how about we just create a new thread where people can just submit in writing; Diablo 3 economic improvements … I think we need to stop arguing and just make a list of solutions. Love em/Hate em … that’s not what it’s about. Let’s just create a list and hand it to Blizzard right here on our site. Here’s a few ideas

      1. items can only be traded 3 times.

      2. Keep the AH but, only allow us to trade 1 item at a time.

      3. free trade … let players do whatever they want with an item they find (and instead of nurfing our fun … stop botting)

      *I will never care if another player gets rich for selling an item on ebay; in fact … I’d be pretty psyched for them. If someone spends 1000 hours farming and finally finds something extremely rare … they should be allowed to do whatever they want.

      >.. just submit ideas.

    21. Fluz is right, Azzure is wrong, on everything. From trading to end game, Azzure is full of it and blinded by nostalgia which is strong in his country.

      • Totally agree. The one nice thing about having Azzure on the podcast is that he seems to draw out a lot of people in the comments with his very strong opinions.
        While I played and enjoyed D2, if D2 is at it’s best during Mephisto runs, then, wow! I am so very very very glad that D3 is not a copy of D2.
        By Azzure’s defintion, I would be considered a casual player (I ‘only’ put in ~100 hours into D2 and ~150 into D3) and I have never wanted to go back to D2. In D2, I do not have any significant memories of finding my first great legendary or a Zod or some super valuable legendary, so that’s why I have trouble holding up D2 as the best game ever. Not saying I played D2 the right way since I did not participate in trading or fighting the same boss 1000s of times, but at least with D3, I can say that I knew how to progress and it did not involve fighting the same exact enemy 1000s of times. I do not find that fun, but I’m not going to claim to be an expert and speak for every Diablo player out there. For me, when I got my first Zuni’s Marrow through the AH, I was more excited for D3 than I had been for any other game in years. I knew how to get the item, how to save up for it, and so when I achieved my goal, it felt like a lot of hard work paid off. Fighting the same monster 1000s of times sounds like grinding at it’s worst… far worse than I hear for any MMOs, even EQ. I’m sure Azzure will bring up pyschology or some other cop out, but I wish he would stop pretending he speaks for all players. He is a D2 elitist, which is fine, but I wish he would stop pretending that he knows better than every single other player out there, especially for D3, which he disdains so greatly
        And thank you to Flux for being able to maintain some balance to the podcast. I do not know how you stay so calm when you guys disagree so widely.
        I think next time Azzure is on, we need to come up with Azzure D3 bingo. We could randomly mix up phrases like “BOP is the worst thing ever”, “I can’t imagine anything worse than the AH”, “I can’t imagine anything worse than BOA”, “All gamers hate D3”, “Jay Wilson ruined this game”, “Josh Mosqueira ruined this game”, “Wyatt Cheng ruined this game”, “Flux is totally wrong”, “Pandas make sense in context”, “Pyschology says that…”

    22. Call it nostalgia or whatever you want. With all the flaws, d2 is still the best arpg ever. They all trying to make the perfect ultimate whatever the f*** arpg: diablo 3, torchlight 2, path of exile… they all have some nice ideas, but they all fail big time. They can´t compete with a game that’s 13 years old, full of bots, full of dupes, full of spam, s**tty economy. That game is still fun despite all negatives. Don’t ask me why, I don’t know. Happy new year gentlemen.

    23. QUOTE

      Call it nostalgia or whatever you want. With all the flaws, d2 is still the best arpg ever. They all trying to make the perfect ultimate whatever the f***  arpg: diablo 3, torchlight 2, path of exile... they all have some nice ideas, but they all fail big time. They can´t compete with a game that's 13 years old, full of bots, full of dupes, full of spam, s**tty economy. That game is still fun despite all negatives. Don't ask me why, I don't know. Happy new year gentlemen.

      Don’t forget DC and temp bans, annoying muling and HUNDREDS of bugs… 🙂

      There was a thread about a HD remake of D2 on the official forums, and many people said they’d switch over in a heartbeat if it was done. I for sure am one of them (only I’d switch over from D2, not D3 as I’ve already stopped playing it). And that’s just with updated graphics, nothing more. Think of all the other ‘quality of life’ improvements they could make (the things you just mentioned + a ****ton more), while leaving the actual mechanics intact, and you may run out of saliva from all the drooling involved. It would be lucrative, too, as there’s relatively little work involved (take the engine from D3, de-wowify it and remove the rubberbanding, and presto). However, there is one MAJOR catch: they’d embarrass themselves too much as D3 would become a ghost town overnight, so they’ll never do it. *sigh* The best hopes of fans and men… 😀

    24. I agree. It was extremely rare to find something awesome in D2. Never on the ladder, for all the years and hours I played, did I manage to get “good gear”. Neither did my friends either. It was disappointing in that respect. “You need gear to get gear.”

      Also all the people buying gear with real money inflated the worth of items. So the self-founders and semi-traders such as friends and I, we’d pay 5x-10x the price, and thus take 5x-10x the time to trade for something. This was on ladder too, mind you, where the inflation was really bad. Not bad as non-ladder, but still bad. Also searching like 100 mouse scrolls of pages for a potential trade came was annoying too.

      Trading, when it happened on fair terms, though was awesome. Really exciting to meet up and barter with people. Or just hang out and do some duels. That’s how I made friends most of the time.

      • Never found good gear? That’s why it is important to establish a good relationship with Mephisto. He´s a really nice guy. Oh Mephisto, I miss you so much… buddy. 😀

      • You didn’t need good gear, You needed a sorc, a 4-socket chest, a 3-socket helm, 7 P-topaz, and maybe some chance guards. Choose your boss, and run it.

        That along with an established chippi/pgem market you had the tools to build any character at casual pace.

        • Been there done that countless times on fire/ice sorcs. Lots of MF gear by mid-late ladder. Maybe two or three pieces of good gear from “free loot” games but that’s about it. In our personal experience, drops weren’t that great in D2 and are much better in D3 (and PTR.) Maybe it was different for others. It’s still a good game, we did play many years after all. Coming back and finding the ladder refreshed then race each other to the top. I think 1-70 leveling characters was our favorite part in terms of gear progression.

    25. I agree with everything Azzure said.. hopefully there are people at Blizzard who agree too…

      • They have said in an interview that they are happy with the decision to have all your damage be mainly determined by your weapon, which is 1 of the biggest flaws in D3 mechanics and also highlighted by Azure in the podcast.

        RoS was a good chance for a huge revamp to clean up all the mess but nope…

    26. Ye, Blizz can not change the game due to some players scream and cry on the forum. Most of players who play the game everyday. Why not listen to them?

    27. QUOTE

      They have said in an interview that they are happy with the decision to have all your damage be mainly determined by your weapon, which is 1 of the biggest flaws in D3 mechanics and also highlighted by Azure in the podcast.
      
      
      RoS was a good chance for a huge revamp to clean up all the mess but nope...

      Link?
      Kinda sad if they have said that.
      Not that all your damage is really determined by your weapon, the trifecta stats helps a great deal.
      But the weapon surely matters a lot.

      Seemed to me that it is being reduced in RoS though. DPS on weapons is growing slower than the bonuses from other stats from what I have seen.

    28. QUOTE

      Seemed to me that it is being reduced in RoS though. DPS on weapons is growing slower than the bonuses from other stats from what I have seen.

      This is true. Looking at pure damage, base weapon DPS makes up less than about 40% of a weapon’s damage, the rest comes from +damage affixes and again, I’m not counting attack speed and other damage boosts at the moment. This doesn’t mean much though, because as far as I know, weapons always come with +damage now, or at lest very often. I don’t think I’ve ever saw one without +damage on the PTR.

      I have a feeling though that LightDashzz was talking about the fact, that all skills do damage based on our weapons. I have absolutely now problems with this. Yes, in a way stats are more homogeneous as a result, but we’ll have other ways to specialize our gear in other ways in RoS.

    29. Skills doing %dmg is a good thing. Solves some issues from D2.
      And not really related to the importance of weapons.

    30. I just got a random question, has their been any hints about possible D2LOD Druid class being brought back in some form, or maybe D1 Rogue or maybe something like the D2 Amazon(not counting bow skills since D3 DH)? i’de like to see what possible ideas they could build upon old classes even they literally took so many skills from varies classes and cut them up into different new classes….

    31. My personal opinion comes in two points. First, even if the weapon is the most important piece of gear in determining overall damage (which, as HardRock and Mapes have said, may not be the case), I don’t really have much of a problem with that. In terms of fantasy lore, weapons tend to have the most focus in terms of a character’s prowess as a warrior (which in game terms usually translates into DPS). Aragorn wields Anduril, the re-forged version of the legendary sword Narsil; Link wields the Master Sword; King Arthur wields Excalibur; Cloud Strife wields the Buster Sword; and there are many more examples like these. Tons of heroes (and villains) are known for their legendary enchanted weapons; much fewer are the characters known primarily for enchanted shields or magical armors. From a gameplay perspective, this may not be the best choice, but I personally think that it makes sense that the weapon determines a good portion of a character’s power. If damage is going to be %-based (which I agree is a welcome change) then I feel that on a conceptual level at least, it doesn’t feel wrong to have a lot of damage come from the weapon.

      Second, I think that the best fix for this ‘problem’ is to greatly diversify the way that weapons work. Currently, the only differences in weapons is the base attack speed, and sometimes the weapon type (in case you have skills/passives that care about that sort of thing). Some special classes of weapons can roll special mods, such as +AP/APoC on wands, but by and large, weapons tend to all feel the same. I think that a lot of the ‘problem’ could be circumvented if weapons felt very different in how they acted. Now, how Blizzard could do that I’m not so sure. Probably my best guess at how to diversify weapons would be to associate an element with certain classes of weapons, and have elemental damage/’elemental damage skills deal X% more damage’ affixes have a higher chance of rolling on specific weapons, or have those specific weapons have the possibility for a higher roll than otherwise possible.

      To explain this system, you would break down weapons into each element: physical, fire, cold, lightning, arcane, poison and holy. As an exemplary possible breakdown, blunt weapons (hammers and maces), mighty weapons and fist weapons would be associated with physical, slashing weapons (swords and axes) would be fire, stabbing weapons (daggers) would be cold, shooting weapons (bows and xbows) would be lightning, casting weapons (wands and staves) would be arcane, ceremonial knives would be poison, and daibos and flails would be holy. These weapons would have a higher chance of spawning with elemental damage of their type, and a higher roll in their particular elemental damage affix than other weapons could roll. Thus, if you were playing a Barbarian, you might want either a hammer/mace or mighty weapon for a physical skill build, or an axe for a fire skill build. A Wizard might want a wand specifically for an Arcane-heavy build, or a dagger for a cold build, or even a bow (forgoing a focus) for a lightning build. This is not to say that this system would make it impossible for a non-aligned elemental affix to roll, just less likely. This would provide incentives for playing certain roles with certain weapons (or the reverse; wanting a certain weapon class because you’re playing a certain build).

      Another possible solution (taking a bit of a bite out of Dark Souls style) would be to classify skills by the kind of damage they deal. For example, for Barbarian skills, Bash would be defined as a ‘blunt damage’ skill, Cleave would be a ‘slashing damage’ skill, Ancient Spear would be a ‘piercing damage’ skill, Earthquake would be a ‘casting damage’ skill, and Weapon Throw would be a ‘ranged damage’ skill (for this purpose, synonymous with the previous definition of the ‘shooting weapon’ class). These definitions of skill damage types would correspond to weapon supertypes: hammers, maces, flails and fist weapons for blunt damage, swords, axes and mighty weapons for slashing damage, daggers and bows for piercing weapons (bows overlap piercing and ranged), bows and xbows for ranged damage, and finally wands, staves, ceremonial knives and daibos for casting damage. These weapon types would all carry an innate, passive bonus to skill damage with skills that share a damage type with them; there would be no penalty for skills that do not. Thus, the game does not force you to decide on a weapon based on your build, but it does give you a little bonus for picking a weapon class that complements your build. I think that a system like this could also help to fix some of the issues with weapons right now.

      Ultimately, both ideas I presented are of course very early, first-thought ideas, and would have to be refined quite a bit to be worthy of inclusion into the game. That said, while I think that there are problems with both ideas, I also think that both ideas are capable of being refined into useful additions that help to solve the ‘problem’ that weapons pose in D3.

    32. Disciple, your idea may be a draft only, but still I’d like to see something like this in the game.

    33. I never imagined it as a really high drop in effectiveness; you should be able to choose whatever weapon you want, while still feeling a connection to certain classes of weapons. I’d imagine that the best placement would be about a 10-20% increased effectiveness. Just something to give you a better idea of what build you wanted to play. Contrary to the thinking of some people on this site, I fully believe that builds are still possible in D3, even with infinite respecs. Hell, once I found out about it, I used PlugY to perma-respec myself whenever I played D2 and Median XL, and I still had builds. In D3’s case, a build is more of a fluid thing than it is in D2 without respecs. You pick a style of play you like and build your skills and item choices around that. The systems of weapon choice I proposed would be to add a bit more depth to the weapon choice, without taking away one’s ability to make a different choice without feeling noticeably gimped. Basically, my feeling is that each choice should be a little extra bit of min-maxing. If you really want to min-max, you decide what you want to build, look at all of the choices and pick all the choices that give you the most plusses. But for a regular player, you should be able to play fine as long as you make choices based on a plan, even if you don’t actively min-max.

      As a regular player of RPGs like the Final Fantasy series and the Fire Emblem series, I like min-maxing, but I prefer game systems that reward min-maxing without penalizing players who don’t min-max. I am fine with min-maxing being necessary for the highest game challenges, but simply completing the game should require smart play without making min-maxing necessary. For example, most Final Fantasies can be completed with any possible party of characters, but defeating the game’s hidden Bonus Boss(es) usually requires specialized parties and strategies that maximize your strengths while minimizing the boss’s advantages. Basically, from a Diablo standpoint, I’m fine with having mostly min-maxes, cookie-cutter builds be necessary for Torment VI, but Torment I or II should be accessible to any class or build that hasn’t completely screwed up. Thus, the ideas I proposed would be just another small way to add a bit of extra choice and power without putting a strong limitation on players who don’t want/care about doing it.

    34. QUOTE

      Azzure is spot on with what the gamers want.

      Or alternatively I think it’s also possible, that every individual have different values and priorities, so nobody really knows what gamers as a whole want. Well, either that or I’m not a gamer, because I’m pretty happy with the expansion so far, even though in general I agree with Azzure on item binding.

      By the way, at around 5 minutes Azzure very clearly said that his opinions probably don’t represent the majority of players, only the majority of hardcore players. That’s a different and much smaller group when you look at the total number of players.

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