The First Paragon 2000 Reveals Flaws in the System

The First Paragon 2000 Reveals Flaws in the System

Though Season Three is far from over, a player named Vajet has accumulated enough experience to equal out to Paragon 2000, ahead of anyone else. He’s actually at the equivalent of P2008 right now, with an amazing P1789 in Season Three, which gets him to 2008 when added to the P1339 worth of exp he earned before S3 began.

The grind... it grinds us.
The grind… it grinds us.
The world’s #2 biggest grinder is back at 1978, and yes, of course they’re both softcore. The highest in Hardcore is at P1339, again adding Season 3 experience to non-seasonal total, which you’ll note is coincidentally the same amount of EXP the P2008 guy had before S3 began. Hardcore… just a season behind!

If you’re wondering what it takes to reach P2000 ahead of everyone else in the world, you’re in luck as a Diablo 3 ladder site has posted an interview with Vajet. The First Paragon 2000 Reveals Flaws in the System:

I remember Alkaizer back in the old days reaching paragon 1000 which was an amazing feat back then, he had a particular farming route and technique. Could you share with us some advise in terms of what you found was the most efficient way to farm, a route etc?

It seems so quaint, today.
It seems so quaint, today.
Vajet: I believe it was Paragon 100 which Alkaizer reached first in the Paragon 1.0 system by grinding an efficient farm route and then Gabynator who achieved first Paragon 1000 by a questionable method (abusing a bug that gave double xp when killing the act 5 boss Malthael).

Since patch 2.2 and it’s including buff of Greater Rift experience gained, Greater Rift farming has been the most efficient way to get EXP. In Greater Rifts, bonus experience items and sets such as Hellfire Ring scale multiplicatively with the EXP gained which means you can gain more than three times as much wearing all of these items compared to a player who does not wear any of them.

However, these experience items and sets can’t all be combined with the most powerful sets and items in the game. This basically means that in order to get the most experience you are depending on players who are playing with their best sets/items (in terms of damage) so that you can wear all the experience sets/items and play a support role.

Some classes like the Crusader and Monk are especially suitable to fill these support roles as they are very tanky and have a lot of offensive and defensive buffs.

Because of these group setups it became a habit that the support players come up with either trial or greater rift opener keys.

Unfortunately, these keys are easily obtainable in larges masses by using bots which made it an even bigger challenge for me to constantly find players without using any kind of illegal botting software as I’d have to farm trial keys and/or greater rift opener keys during my playtime while players using bots would get these keys “over night”.

My strategy was to organize very fast and efficient farm groups where players playing classes like Demon Hunter (which are not suitable for support roles) would get a large amount of blood shards and items.

Unlike other players trying to maximize their EXP gain by wearing the full EXP item setup, I ran a reduced EXP item setup in order to make the runs faster and more rewarding for the DPS players. This way I never had a hard time finding people while the competition was struggling to find players that actually want to play with them.

If you’re wondering, that quote above holds the only mention of “botting” in the interview. Vajet also points out that playing solo is hopeless in terms of pushing for the highest EXP, and that gearing in +EXP% gear in a party, basically playing a support role, is the only way to compete even playing multiplayer.

It’s interesting that the highest exp player on earth thinks +exp% gear should be nerfed or removed. He also feels that Paragon levels over 800 should be less rewarding, since the gain of 5 mainstat per level above 800 is too rewarding and makes too much difference at the highest levels of GR pushing. Consider that just in S3 he’s P1789, which equates to 989 x 5 = 4945 mainstat. Most well-geared characters have 10,000 or so mainstat, which means Vajet’s got a 50% mainstat increase over a players who has “only” P800. That’s equivalent to an additional SEVENTEEN sockets in your armor!

What do you guys think? Is multiplayer exp too rewarding, especially when you consider that zDPS support chars can wear 3 or more items of +EXP%, which all tack on multiplicatively? And do Paragon points over 800 seem too rewarding? Back when the system was announced, most of us thought what Blizzard apparently did; that hardly anyone would ever get over P800, and even if they did, a few more points to DiabloWikimainstat wouldn’t make a big difference… Think again?

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24 thoughts on “The First Paragon 2000 Reveals Flaws in the System

  1. Infinite paragon, infinite gem levels, infinite mob scaling. These are all awful, awful game designs that should forever be remembered as examples of You're Doing It Wrong in Game Philosophy 101. They need to delete that rubbish in the expansion to prevent (too late?) the game from becoming a farce. Capped paragon, capped gem levels, capped mob difficulty.

      • That's fair – I suspect a lot of people are of this opinion. I think a comments section in a news thread is perhaps not the ideal place for me to write a full explanation of my thoughts, but to sum it up I understand why people FEEL that to have caps "freezes" a game, but I really don't think it's true. D2 had a level cap. PoE has a level cap, a 'gem' cap, a monster cap (I believe). Are these frozen games? Hardly. In fact, they're arguably more 'alive' than D3 is. If a game has a decent end-game, such as build diversity, an economy (ha), etc. then it doesn't need these artificial Grind Sinks that D3 has to keep resorting to.

        • Given that line breaks still don't work I'll add underscores before new paragraphs, to make this somewhat easier to read. _____ Speaking specifically about build diversity, if that's the developer's goal it's much easier to achieve with fixed and limited difficulty settings. It's an oversimplification, but in that case they can just compare monster stats to player skills and items and balance them so that most things are viable above a certain item level and skills deal competitive damage if you build for them. Caps give the devs more control. I don't think the balance even have to be too tight, because most players are probably fine even with a moderate differences in efficiency when most builds are viable on the highest difficulty. The fact that people like to bring D2 up in such discussions is a good indicator of this. _____ In an infinitely scaling difficulty system even minute balance issues could mean that one set of skills and items wouldn't be viable at a given difficulty while others could be. The same set could be perfectly viable in a classic three stage, fixed difficulty system, but an infinitely scaling one necessarily shines a much brighter light on balance problems. Necessarily, because math dictates that the best combination of skills and items will get the farthest, so unless they are in perfect balance only one will be competitive in the end. Seeing how perfect balance is an utopistic goal, especially when the player classes aren't homologized and skills/items have interesting interactions, the devs will probably never reach it. _____ Given that both systems have issues of their own, I still prefer D3's by a wide margin. It probably the best difficulty system of all ARPG's I played so far. It's certainly the most inclusive, flexible and gives me options to play the game I want to. In a classic system like like D2's or PoE's the devs control the challenge. If they don't make the highest difficulty really hard (like classic Inferno hard), then eventually the game will become a breeze and will stop giving you a challenge. This is probably still the preferred solution in such a system, because otherwise you lock out all but the most dedicated players from the endgame. In any case, whatever the devs decide they'll get complaints from either the most hardcore (the game is too easy) or the casual players (the game is too hard). _____ While making everyone happy is another utopistic goal, giving players options usually helps a lot and that's exactly what D3 did. It makes it easy for anyone to reach the point where the item pool becomes the same for everyone (Torment 1), but also gives us options to make the game as hard as we want with Greater Rifts. Given that even the wackiest builds are viable on T1 you can always see how far you can push them (in fact this is what I'm doing at the moment, until 2.3 gets here). I think D3 gives you a real sense of progression this way that you easily quantify. This is one thing I sorely missed when I played PoE. Something either works on Merciless or not, things feel more binary, even though there are of course differences in build efficiency. Also, there when you have a cookie cutter build suddenly the challenge disappears. In D3 that only happens if you let it happen. _____ I think the takeaway message from all this should be that build diversity always has more to do with the environment than with the specifics of skills and items. If one game environment is designed to make most things viable then that game will have more diverse builds, even if skill and item balance is potentially worse in that the power gap between them is larger at a given level of rarity. D3 actually has a similar environment as D2's or PoE's endgame (T1-6) and if you compare them in that sense I think build diversity is similar in all three games. It's just that D3 added another separate, infinitely flexible environment on top of that. If you compare that to D2 or PoE then objectivity goes out the window, because you're comparing apples to oranges and which one will seem better will always come down personal preference only. I know I'll always go with more options.

          • Yes, infinite scaling makes balance impossible. This was my point, and one I've made in the past, and hence why it is a bad design. It's a design that shoots itself in the foot. Even with that removed D3 still has less choice in build diversity, because itemisation is quite weak, AND the mandatory nature of 6-piece sets. Also, really I think you're exaggerating the amount of 'choice' the D3 system provides – yes, in the end it comes down to what players are happy doing. Hey, I can play on Normal difficulty if I want to, OR on Expert difficulty. The choices!

          • I didn't say it makes balance impossible at all and I actually don't think it does. I was only saying that an infinitely scaling difficulty shows balance issues more clearly. Suddenly a 1% difference in let's say damage between two sets of skills and items will be much more noticeable than even a 10% difference in a classic three stage system, where the hardest difficulty is often designed to be facerolled, even if you don't have the absolute best items and best build. Otherwise there would be a good chance that only the most dedicated players could play on that difficulty. If D2 or PoE had infinitely scaling difficulty they'd have the same problems as D3 does. It doesn't mean that the system is bad, it means that it shows other issues more clearly, ones that exist in all ARPGs where they're hidden by the lack of challenge after a certain point. _____ Like it or not, D3's system is a huge improvement, because it does give you the choice to play wacky builds and at the same time still have access to the complete item pool of the game. By this I don't mean playing on Normal or Expert difficulty at all, rather on lower Greater Rifts levels. The GR system gives you very clear feedback on how your build is doing, something I sorely lack in other ARPGs. _____ Maybe the difference between you and I is that I really enjoy racing against myself, seeing how far I can push an idea, and I often don't care too much about how that idea fares against the top of the leaderboards. Right now I'm playing a Crusader that's based on the idea of dealing the most damage when enemies hit me and I'm having blast, it's easily the most clunky build I've tried so far. Yet T6 is an absolute breeze and even though my gear is less than ideal (even when you consider the build I'm running) and I haven't really tried my best I could easily clear GR31. Sure, compared to the top of the leaderboard that's not very impressive, but then you're missing the point, which is that I can choose to play whatever build I want, while still having access to every item in the game and get useful feedback about my progress. _____ It's hard for me to imagine a less effective build than my current Crusader, one that couldn't really do T6 at this point, unless you limit yourself to rare items only, which could be an interesting challenge. I think even a Thorns build could do better, which I'm actually trying to incorporate into my current build. Even then, the GR system would help me quantify my progress, while D2 or PoE would only tell me whether I could clear the highest difficulty. I don't enjoy such a binary feedback system anymore.

          • Yes if PoE had an infinite scaling system it may highlight imbalances there as well, but the fact remains that D3 itemisation is falling way behind other ARPGs. 80-90% of legendaries are useless. 100% of rares are useless. And you don't need an infinite scaling system to achieve what you apparently desire; all you need is a T1 – T6 (or T10) model.

          • I'd argue that when you're comparing things to the absolute best then about the same amount of items are useless in other ARPGs as well. Again, mathematically only a few things can be the best, the rest is necessarily worse or when items are closer to each other then each is more mediocre by definition. You either have increasingly better items, where eventually most will be useless or you have them closer to each other and none of them will seem much better or worse than the rest. In my opinion you can't really have it both ways. _____ PoE seems closer to the second model to me and it's one of the reason I don't really like it. The reliance on skill gems make it so that sockets are hugely important, while everything else feel secondary, which is all the stats on the items. When you have the skills you want to use you're mostly set, item quality doesn't matter that much for most of the game, so everything that drops feels sameish. Then in the endgame you're looking for specific unique items, which is not all that different than what you do in D3. _____ It's worth noting here that in the next D3 patch you'll be able to customize your items to a larger degree, in some ways similarly like you can in PoE. While I like this change in principle I worry that it will make rare legendaries less precious. It'll be easier to get a Furnace for example, because we'll be able to turn rare two-handed maces into legendaries. It's kinda what people have been asking for Kadala, having the possibility of gambling for specific weapon sub-types. Now we'll see how it will actually affect the game in the long-term. People also asked for the AH before release (including me) and we know how that turned out. Players don't always know what's best for the game. _____ As for the difficulty, having more fixed levels can be an adequate solution, for a while at least or when the game doesn't change much. In a constantly evolving game power creep is a real possibility, whether it's intended or not and game difficulty in ARPGs tend to get easier as time goes on. Give more tools to the players and they'll find new way to break you system. Any fixed difficulty system puts constraints on the designers if they want to maintain how challenging the game is. Only an infinitely scaling system guarantees that you'll always find the game challenging. Personally I'd really like it if they even retired the current torment difficulties and let us choose how far we want to scale the enemies, similarly to greater rifts. Right now T10 seems challenging enough for even well-geared characters (although some people can already farm it effortlessly), eventually it won't be enough. The main problem I see with scaling the difficulty outside of greater rifts this way is that drop chances would have to balanced as well, unlike in greater rifts, where it's much less of a concern. Still, I wouldn't be surprised to see such a system introduced in the next expansion.

        • Just because something works for game X doesn't mean it's going to work for game Y. You make it sound like all ARPGs should have this list of 10 commandments to never stray from… In any case, D3 is a freaking fantastic game, but it's far from perfect. It has issues, lots of them. However the shenanigans of 18-hour-a-day players ain't one of them, not even close.

          • Are you saying there aren't good and bad decisions in game design?? IMO, D3 is a fun game, but far from good. But each to their own, I guess.An 18-hour-a-day player is just more likely to find faults in a game due to the amount of hours they've put in.

      • No goal to strife for than upping one his teeny weeny epeen. Always knowing it's thrown into the garbage bin again by the next round of power creep, offering nothing more than new rng-heigth to up one his epeen even further. That's what makes this "features" awful.

        • Or, to say it differently: How does the devteam want to ever bring the game into a state of selfsustained longevity, without the need of regular content updates for doing so? Adding more layers of rng ain't the solution, if it's the thing keeping the game fixed on short term fun only and the only thing directly supported by the design decision of open progressive curves. [break] [break] [break] What you'd need instead would be room for players to plan out and build up their characters in a controlled way: Working towards making one his own ideas a reality and seeing it bearing fruit. Not more "have item/need item"-checkboxes, just in different flavors. [break] [break] [break] On shortterm playability, D3 is imo still the best Hack'n'Slay on the market. But the goals of longterm replayability and being a full Arpg are still far off…

  2. As a DH player I think the EXP gear is just ridiculously unfair…

    Just make the exp balanced out group-wide and the problem is instantly fixed.

    • From the 2.3 patch notes: "Experience gained, including all sources of Bonus Experience, is now averaged across all players in a party that are eligible to receive experience."

  3. Paragon rewards too good above level 800? Maybe from a competition standpoint. In any case, this seems like a first-world problem to me. I think it's fine that players get small, incremental rewards for playing ad infinitum. I don't think the vast majority plays to get paragon points anyway. Speaking specifically about greater rifts though, maybe paragon points should be ignored to level the playing field as much as possible. With a given combination of items luck would still be a major factor this way, but at least people who played many hundred or even thousands of hours won't also enjoy the advantages of tons of paragon points in addition to better item quality.

    • I remember we debated this in like 2011, when Bliz was talking about D3 having a max level or not. Lots of players wanted no max level, with the potential of exp gain forever, even if it didn't bring rewards, just for epeen. The argument was that having a max level was sort of for the good of obsessive players, since it would keep people from grinding infinitely.

      Of course that was long before account wide paragon system, and obviously Blizzard decided to incentivize playing forever. Which would be fine, except with Leaderboards and Grifts, even the small gains for P800+ can add up enough to grant a big advantage to players who put in those endless hours.

    • I agree, and disagree. Almost all competitive games are balanced around what professionals can do, not what casuals can do. Why? Because what's good for professionals i.e. Game Balance, is good for casuals too. It's never bad, ever, for a game to be properly balanced. Yes, I know this gets into the whole boring debate about "D3 shouldn't/isn't a competitive game!". But look. It is. There are leaderboards. People may not want to play it competitively, that's fine. They don't have to. But, to get back to the point at hand, paragon points are broken in the 'competitive' sense. They should be fixed.

  4. This flaw was noticeable the 4th week into the season. Was pretty apparent with the clan I was in, it was group speed grift or go home.

    Power creep plus multiplicative exp enables this. I don’t believe that Greater Rifts were conceived/initially designed with the thought that GR’s would be the go to place to farm with all your time.

    They need to treat XP from gear equally in Torment as they do GR.

  5. I wouldn’t bat an eye if they outright removed every bonus +%XP stat from the game. I’d probably cheer if they removed the awful “Monster kills grants +X experience” secondary.

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