Upcoming Changes to Diablo 3 Elite Affixes

Blizzard shared some details about changes coming to the various boss properties, better known as DiabloWikiElite Affixes.

Those CC affixes trigger from the unavoidable damage from things like vortex, wormhole, jailer, and thunderstorm (but especially thunderstorm).
Tight areas with Poison Enchanted are scary.
Tight areas with Poison Enchanted are scary.
I know this doesn’t completely address what’s being discussed here, but I thought it a good opportunity to share some of the upcoming changes for the Closed Beta and PTR, specifically on the DiabloWikiThunderstorm affix. The bolts generated by Thunderstorm will no longer “chase” targets, and subsequent bolts after the first will stay within the same general area. This should lend to making the affix a bit more avoidable, but be careful – the splash damage has been slightly increased to account for this change.

Many other affixes, such as DiabloWikiMolten, DiabloWikiPlagued, DiabloWikiFrozen, and DiabloWikiFrozen Pulse, have also had their target areas reduced, which again should allow players to more easily avoid some of these effects.

– Poison Enchanted. Far, far too much damage in close quarters, and it should not instakill minions.
DiabloWikiPoison Enchanted will also be doing reduced damage to pets, so you should see this result much less often.

This could be Blizz’s way to make you stack DiabloWikiCC reduction on gear. 🙁
The intention isn’t to make you stack a particular stat – CC reduction is meant to be one of many choices in how you can handle an encounter. Is it really the only option, or do you feel like you can address the issue by using different abilities or different defensive stats? How do you currently handle these extremely difficult encounters when you experience them?

The last beta patch (released at the end of the F&F / start of the Closed beta) made some fixes to several of the new Elite Affixes. Frozen Pulse (the initial homing frost ball before it starts to pulse) became more visible and avoidable, and Thunderstorm became more visible and let out a series of strikes in one area instead of just auto-zapping anything in range. The changes the Blue listed sound like more along those lines, and I think they’re improvements.

A factor players not yet in Reaper of Souls should consider is the issues with seeing lots more of these effects. You often get two boss packs in fairly close proximity, especially in Nephalem Rifts, and that can be a real danger. I’ve several times had a yellow Elite and some blue Champions and/or a Purple as well on the same screen, and it’s insane when you’ve got a boss AND champions throwing out Waller and/or Vortex and/or Jailer at the same time, not to mention the potential of 4 or 5 different types of elemental affixes simultaneously filing the screen with fire/poison/arcane/cold/etc. Hardcore players will want to be very careful about not moving further into unexplored areas with a boss active, since another Elite is often just off the edge of the screen.

Frozen Pulses pulsing.
Frozen Pulses pulsing.
Another one worth mention is DiabloWikiHorde, which isn’t dangerous in of itself, but with Reaper of Souls enabling much larger groups of enemies their elemental effects can be treacherous. In RoS you routinely see 8 or 10 minions with Horde, Minions are *much* more durable, and when every single one of them can cast Arcane needles, and/or leave a fire trail and explode with a Molten bomb, it can definitely add some danger to a boss encounter. There’s a similar danger from five-packs of Champions, when they’re all firing out Frozen and/or Waller (properties Minions don’t possess) it can create some huge areas of denial.

I don’t think those require actual fixes or nerfs, though. They add some danger and require you to modify your playing style with some retreating and maneuvering, but isn’t that what bosses are supposed to do? Players who want them to function purely as candy dispensing machines with different colored names should turn down the difficulty a click or two. Or perhaps you disagree? Let’s find out.

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20 thoughts on “Upcoming Changes to Diablo 3 Elite Affixes

  1. But you CAN have difficulty WITHOUT a whole screen or TWO full of freakin elemental effects!

    1. Champs that do double damage (heavier hitting monsters that are champs would be dangerous)
    2. Amplify damage curses from monsters (you are taking damage WITHOUT a screen full of crap, its also manageable)
    3. Unleechable monsters (could have left leech in the game albeit with a minor tweak)
    4. Monster with immunities
    5. Monster attacks that are not elemental that you should dodge (some of that in act 4, but not enough overall in this game)
    6. Magic damage in d2 was dangerous and could kill you as it was stacked on top of the physical and elemental damage that hell monsters did. Not sure if that would be a good fit, but at least it was damage that did not take up two monitors worth of space.

    There really needs to be less spam from elites in this game. There are plenty of ways to get difficulty from non elemental elite affixes!

    Insane life pools are not difficulty either, just a huge annoyance and a big cop out to actual game mechanics that do not involve ocean sized pools of poison or any other elemental damage you could think up.

    Archers are a joke in this game as well.


    • Also the frozen attacks of monsters could happen far less often, but do more damage. That would make it more avoidable and a lot more fair to the players instead of basically being perma frozen while standing in a pool of poison and molten while jailed with walls all around you.

    • I’ve always felt the ‘Japanese arcade’ effects of elites were a cheap cop-out. They’re really easy to just mix and match but don’t fit the diablo world or play style at all.

      You’re suggestions are all excellent and would bring back some diablo-ness to d3.

  2. Unique monster affixes in D2 and D3 are based on what was in D1, which was a lot more ‘special’.

    For example, the Blood Clan goat archers that shot blood stars instead of regular arrows. The acid spitter that had chain-gun non-stop spitting. There was a another (much less dangerous) acid spitter that would never spit acid but quickly run up an mawl you. There was a cave drake boss that had the invisibility ability from the Hidden, as well as a Souldrinker a solitary skeleton boss that had the Hidden’s invisibility ability.

    The difference here is that only about 1/3rd of the D1 bosses had some sort of special ability, and sometimes it was pretty minor, but they were all mostly unique. In D2 and D3, it’s just the same old random pool of affixes that stack together on elite monsters, rather than actually interesting unique properties.

    Now obviously having a randomization engine allows for many more combinations and more content than hand-crafting everything, but what would be nice is if there were say 40-50 elite affixes all together, but different types of affixes only spawned on particular enemy types. All together this would mean there would be some affixes you’d probably see much less often than others, and they’d be more “fun”.

    At the moment in D3 I think the only ‘rare’ elite affix is Missile Damping.

    • They could make Unique monsters (the ones with purple names) quite appropriately have unique affixes as well (meaning they are not chosen randomly), but they are from the same pool as the others. Maybe these enemies should actually be given mods that no other enemies may have.

  3. Elite should be dangerous but fun would have been a nice option. Being blocked by walls in narrow places is not fun. If there is a piece of gear which allows to go through them, it will the first I will hunt — which is a pretty stupid statement since there is no way to tell the game which piece you are looking for 🙂

  4. CC is only an issue if we let it be one. CC reduction can spawn with up to 20% even at level 60 and in 5 item slots. Can’t remember which ones, but Rings and Amulets may definitely have it. The “problem” is of course that it’s a secondary stat and many people just ignore it, because “secondary stats suck”. Players are given the tools to combat CC more effectively than ever before, yet they don’t even bother try, because complaining is easier. The problem isn’t with the game in this case.

    Thing is, secondary stats can be much more helpful than they were in classic and even more so with certain Legendaries. For example, I wonder how many testers don’t know that Thorns and Bleed effects scale with our main Attribute now, because they didn’t even try it once.

  5. Honestly I’m a little surprised that they are balancing the individual affixes, because I think the real problems lie in the combinations of some of them. For example, Electrified and Fire Chains are more or less fine by themselves, but put them together and your character will melt in a fraction of a second if you get close to the Elites. I think they should revisit their Elite mod exclusion rules an adjust them with the newly balanced mods in mind.

  6. QUOTE

    Honestly I'm a little surprised that they are balancing the individual affixes, because I think the real problems lie in the combinations of some of them. For example, Electrified and Fire Chains are more or less fine by themselves, but put them together and your character will melt in a fraction of a second if you get close to the Elites. I think they should revisit their Elite mod exclusion rules an adjust them with the newly balanced mods in mind.

    This. Every random BS death comes from some combo, like knockback into a rain of mortars, etc. With four affixes the odds of at least a two part combo are high.

    Just deleting vortex or making it a damn gravity well already would remove around two thirds of them by itself.

  7. Yeah, it is hard to understand why Blizzard has not looked at the affix combos.
    And of course vortex.

  8. QUOTE

    Yeah, it is hard to understand why Blizzard has not looked at the affix combos.
    And of course vortex.

    It’s easy to understand once you remember by their own direct words, this is their definition of tactical. Last I checked it was something like FFT 1.3 where you need to carefully manage unit growth and charge time and positioning and so on.

  9. I’ve always believed that having unavoidable damage in order to create difficultly is a complete cop out and shows that the designer has run out of ideas. Having poison pools and molten pits is one thing, if you are dumb enough to stand in something like this you deserve everything to get, but the sheer number of objects on screen have got to ridiculous proportions.

    • I honestly think that things didn’t change much regarding effect spam compared to Classic. The new affixes aren’t that spammy and they are easy to distinguish from each other, at least for me. I did play WoW for years though and there the skill effects can completely obscure the enemy they hit even in small parties, so it’s possibly that I’m somewhat desensitized to this issue. 🙂

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