Lots of comments on the patch preview in the news post and the Diablo 3 community forum, and I wanted to go into more depth on a few of the details. Dueling for certain, but later for that. For now, how about those new crafting recipes?
(Much of this is speculation since we don’t have the full patch details yet, much less the PTR available for testing stuff out, and things will probably change during the PTR time anyway, but we’re fans and there’s something new, so speculation is what we do!)
Here’s a quote from the preview with the key info:
These new items will have six affixes and feature a primary stat (Str, Dex, Int, Vit) that extends higher than what is currently available in the respective slots. The items will also require an account-bound crafting reagent called Demonic Essence, which drops from Elite monsters in Inferno.
There are a few obvious questions not answered by the above.
The quality and viability of the items is probably the biggest question, and I’ll tackle that below. For now, let’s consider the availability of the DEs.
The preview says it’ll have a 20% chance to drop from Elite monsters at MP0, with 15% increases with each higher MP, up to 81% at MP10. And that 8 of the sub-bosses (Skeleton King, Spider Queen, Magda, Zoltan Kulle, etc) will have a 50% chance to drop it when you have 5 stacks. How many will we get? How many will we need?
Demonic Essence Scarcity
First of all, since the preview only listed the starting and closing values, I was curious enough to calculate them all, mirroring the miracle of compounded interest. Here are the chances for a Demonic Essence to drop from an Elite in Inferno.
We don’t know how many DEs you’ll need for the recipe or how much gold it will cost, and the figures may change during PTR time, but it seems that DEs will be pretty common. For example, a typical Alkaizer Run includes oh… 15ish bosses/champions, so even on MP0 you could expect about 3 DEs each time, and going up to MP5 doubles that. Since powerful characters can do those runs in 15m or less, stocking up on DEs shouldn’t be hard.
Aside #1: Perhaps this will be encouragement to do a few more areas per run to get more bosses since there’s a definite payoff that only comes from 5 stacks? It’s also a sort of encouragement to play more in Act 1 and Act 2 (no, really) since those acts aren’t *that* much less boss-filled than Act 3… the real difference comes from the much lower density of trash mobs, and since trash mobs don’t drop DEs…
As for Act 4… LOL. You said “act 4.”
Aside #2: Do you suppose Resplendent Chests have a chance to pop a DE as well, if you’ve got 5 stacks? And how about Uniques, the purple-named bosses? Everyone’s been asking for a buff for them (to their stats and their drops) since launch, and we’re still waiting for it, but if those tools could potentially drop a DE then at least they wouldn’t seem completely useless.
Click through for much more, including slot-by-slot breakdowns of the highest attributes now available, comparisons of rares to legendaries, and concluding thoughts, theories, and questions.
Crafted Item Quality
The new crafted items will have one inherent bonus to an attribute, plus 6 random affixes. Note that there are already crafting recipes to make all those types of items with 6 affixes, but (almost) no one bothers with them since the reagent costs are so steep (around 100k gold and 30~ blue mats) and since even with 6 random modifiers the odds are terrible to get the (minimum) 3 or 4 (with good seeds) that an item needs to have good value.
Which sums up the whole problem with crafting as it is in D3. I have a theory/observation, though. Crafting in D3, in the current system, would be fine… if Diablo 3 was a single player game without any Auction House. Crafting isn’t worth the trouble now since you can 1) probably find a better item, and 2) definitely buy a better item. Without the AH, especially playing self found, we’d all have some decent gear but probably have one item slot that just wouldn’t RNG up. If you couldn’t find a good belt or shoulders or quiver or whatever, dropping 80k and a bunch of mats to roll a guaranteed six-affix one would be a pretty good deal. (Assuming you could find the Plan in the first place, but I hope/assume they’d drop more readily in a game without an AH.)
It would probably take you 6 or 8 or 10 tries to get one that was a solid upgrade, and that would be expensive… but after all, without the GAH you’d have nothing else to spend your gold on. (Gem upgrades, but without the AH you’d have a lot fewer items with sockets, so you wouldn’t need them so much.) Thus it’s only the presence of the GAH that makes crafting so irrelevant.
That aside, these new crafting recipes are just the current “Grand Exalted” six-affix recipes plus one big guaranteed bonus to an Attribute. That’s not bad, but shouldn’t the crafting recipes have been about that good to begin with? To make them viable against the best of found gear? Alas.
Anyway, the new ones are basically Hellfire Rings, minus the 35% experience boost, plus 2 more random affixes, plus a slightly (?) higher guaranteed attribute bonus. Is that worth it? Maybe, but look how many rolls it takes to get a really good Hellfire Ring. Most players don’t have a great one, one, and we’re content using a decent one, even if it’s 4k or 6k or 8k less DPS than our best ring, since we want that big experience bonus.
But the new crafted items won’t have that experience bonus, so they’ll only be worth using if they can actually outdo your best rare or legendary item for that slot. (Obviously Blizzard didn’t want to make them guaranteed better or that’s all anyone would wear a week after v1.07, so there’s a fairly delicate balance to strike, which is why designing a good item system in an ARPG is really hard.)
The available plans (which must be found except for the Chest, but sound fairly easy to find) are: 1) Gloves, 2) Pants, 3) Wrists (bracers), 4) Chest, and 5) Amulet. (Not available: rings, helms, shoulders, belts, boots, weapons, or Off-hand.)
These crafted items will all be account bound, and they each feature, “a primary stat (Str, Dex, Int, Vit) that extends higher than what is currently available in the respective slots.” That’s kind of the key point and we’ll have to see what those values are to get a real sense of the item’s value. Running them down slot by slot, though:
Gloves are about the cheapest item for the quality in the game today, since they can roll all the big offensive stats that rings and amulets get, but with fewer other possible affixes. This means that gloves roll with several good affixes all the time, and have come down and down in price over the months. You can currently buy a good trifecta pair of gloves with 150 to a mainstat and maybe even res all or MF or another supporting stat for just a million or two, which is FAR less than a ring or amulet with those stats would cost.
In my GAH experience, a quality (5m+ price) rare glove needs to have about 150+ to the mainstat, with superior rolls going up into the low 200s. You can get higher of course, and the billion gold items have far more plus other great stats.
Looking at the Americas GAH right now the highest attributes on gloves are:
And those may not be top end items; just rolling a lot to one attribute means little for glove value, when you need a good CC, IAS, and hopefully CD as well for them to be really good. Thus these new crafted gloves will need to be pretty big. Even if they have a guaranteed attribute of over 300, or maybe 250 Vit, they’ll need to pop with 3 or 4 other good mods as well.
Maybe the moral of the story is that these new crafted items are *very* unlikely to be useful to players with massive billion gold budgets, (since only .0000001% of items are) but that they’ve got a good chance to provide upgrades for the vast majority of players who aren’t so wealthy.
The Bracers economy varies a lot from the Gloves economy. Gloves are one of the few item slots where Rares are the best option for most characters. That’s very not the case for Bracers, where almost the entire top end market is pushed by one legendary, the Lacuni Prowlers. Less rich players can make do quite well with Strongarm Bracers, since a good roll on that legendary is better than 99.9% of rare bracers.
Bracers also differ from gloves in that the Lacuni Prowlers have inherent bonuses to Attack Speed and Movement Speed, and you can not get either of those on Rares. Thus the best Bracer is *always* a really good roll on a Lacuni Prowler (with Critical Hit Chance from one of the random affixes) and they are appropriately expensive.
I don’t see how the new crafted bracers can change that, assuming they’re just rares with one big attribute, since Lacuni will still have AS and FM. The only way the new bracer can take some top end value is if the attribute can roll so big that it’s worth more than the AS on a Lacuni. (The FM is less valuable since it’s not too hard to get up 24% from two other item slots. See our recent item strategy article listing every Faster Movement item in the game.)
What are the current maxes for attributes on bracers?
How about Lacuni Prowlers? They can’t roll so high on attributes since unlike the Strongarm Bracers, they don’t have an inherent attribute that gets boosted by a double roll from a random affix slot. Here are the highest values on Lacuni Prowlers, again taken right now from the Americas GAH.
So if the new recipe has one inherent attribute bonus that’s bigger than anything can currently roll, it has to be at least 270 for the mainstat or 200 for Vitality. Would a character with really top gear take (for example) a 280 Dex crafted bracer over his 195 Dex Lacuni Prowler, assuming the other stats were excellent? Is 85 more Dex, plus maybe 2 or 3 other good supporting stats) worth more than 9% IAS from a Bracer?
Feel free to debate that in comments.
The pants market is much more open than Bracers, with top end gear coming from Rares and often Inna’s Set, since like the Lacuni Prowlers, those offer Faster Movement and Attack Speed, which can not be obtained on Rare pants.
Here are the highest Attribute values on pants, right now on the Americas’ GAH:
Just to be thorough, here are the max values for Inna’s Temperance, which always has 2 sockets and is mostly used by DHs and Monks:
Inna’s further complicates things by offering a +130 Dex set bonus with any other item in the set. This largely explains the semi-popularity of the crappy/cheap Inna’s Belt, but better-equipped Demon Hunters and Monks choose to pair Inna’s Armor or Helm (Monk only) with the pants. Barbs and WDs/Wizards don’t find Inna’s that useful, since their main stats don’t go nearly as high.
So for the new crafted pants, they’ll have to have some huge values to exceed Depth Diggers, and I bet the won’t. I bet the pants will only go to 250 mainstats and (maybe 350 on Vit) to out-point Rares, but won’t really compare with top quality Depth Diggers, Blackthorne’s, or Inna’s pants. But I’d be happy to be wrong, and if v1.07 lets us roll we can roll 350 mainstat or 450 Vit rare pants with 6 affixes, those could challenge for the high end gear slots.
Chest Armor is probably the hardest slot to break into, since there are multiple awesome chest set armors. The Immortal King’s, Inna’s Armor, Tal’s, Zunimassa’s, and Blackthorne’s chest armor can all roll with great stats and 3 sockets and they get big set bonuses as well. A rare chest armor will have to really push some huge bonuses to pass those up for high end gear.
Let’s check the highest attributes while we’re here, though.
Here the values are pretty even across the board. The new crafted chests need to roll 300+ to beat the mainstats or Vit, but they really need a lot more than that to offset the guaranteed sockets and awesome set bonuses from the set armors. I have trouble envisioning a rare crafted chest being end game gear without a really great roll.
AmuletI think the Amulet might be the most wide open slot and it’s definitely the one I can see myself crafting first and most often. Rare jewelry can be as good or better than any set or legendary, and for economic reasons largely stemming from the quantity of possible affixes (more on jewelry = lower odds for a good roll) rings and amulets cost *vastly* more than gloves with similarly-excellent offensive stats. (That and you need two rings and only one pair of gloves. Thankfully there’s no Ogre class in D3.)
Max values on Amulets:
Pretty obvious which Amulet hits the highest attribute values, and with 400 or higher to all attributes from Mara’s, plus rares regularly rolling up to 330, the new crafted amulet will have to really blow the doors off to get into that top end gear conversation. Even if it’s just comparable, say 250-350 on the mainstat, plus six random affixes, that’s well worth a roll. You’d have a very good mid-quality amulet with just the inherent stat plus 2 of the 3 legs of the Trifecta, and plenty of other mods for maybe picking up Vit, Res All, etc.
It remains to be seen how much impact on the end game economy these items will have. We can’t sell or give or trade them, but if you roll your own awesome amulet you won’t be in the market to drop 5 or 50 or 500m on one in the GAH. Might the high end gear costs in these 5 slots drop, compared to belts and boots and shoulders and rings and the others that don’t have such a recipe (yet)?
We’ll know more once we get the exact figures (which may well change during PTR testing and feedback), but a lot of the potential of these items depends on just what Blizzard means when they say, “…a primary stat that extends higher than what is currently available in the respective slots.”
Take amulets: all the mainstats can go up to 400 or higher, and Rares in the 300-300 range aren’t uncommon. So what should these new crafted amulets do? Base of +200 to one stat, with a chance for that to be doubled by random affixes, the way Mara’s +84-89 to each attribute can? Or should the inherent bonus be 100-300, or 150-350 or 200-400 without any possibility of that same attribute stacking on for even higher?
More generally, are you guys eager to try the new crafting recipes? Angry since you think Crafting should have been this way all along? Excited if these are just the first steps on a long-awaited crafting improvement project?