A fan asked whether the weapon switch hotkey is still not included in Diablo 3, and disapprovingly referenced Jay Wilson’s past remarks (archived on the wiki page) that it was removed from D3 since it was too complicated for noobs. Bashiok confirmed that yes, it’s still out, and explained why. I’ve added an illustration to editorialize my reaction to his comments.
One good reason why it’s not a feature we like the idea of is that it adds a new type of play complexity that we don’t want to layer on top of those that we already have. We’re creating the game, the skills, the movement speed, kill rates, skill runes, and all other combat related mechanics and features to fit as tightly together as possible. Throwing in weapon swapping forces that tightening/balancing to take it into account. Only thing is that it’s not a clear cut feature. You either know how to game it – or you don’t. So it creates a separation of players that isn’t based on use of the character and skills but doing this weird little trick and swapping back and forth between weapons at specific times. It becomes a necessity to remain effective or as a strong opponent, and we believe the combat has enough going for it that it doesn’t need difficult to explain and understand features like weapon swapping.
I know this is probably the wrong audience to try to make that argument to, because most of you are on the winning end. But trust us that there will be plenty of separation between you and the noobs to show how awesome you are without weapon swapping.
You also have the issues of it just being used for storage, which feels super cheesy. Or as a means to game MF by swapping in weapons to get 0mgz uber dropz.
Weapon swap will be there with or without a magic button. People will just get good at doing it manually. And then there will be a rift between those who can swap out fast manually, and those who don’t swap out fast enough, and those who don’t swap out at all.
Bashiok: If that appears to be an advantageous way to play the game then we’ll break the ability to do so.
I’d rant about this decision, and Bashiok’s final kick in the balls of, “If people figure out a way to skillfully use the controls, we’ll nerf that too.” (and ban players who use the inevitable “weapon switch hack”) but um…. been there, done that. I’ll just state that I think it’s a foolish decision to remove such a useful feature largely because some players couldn’t figure out the game controls. I’m sure that plenty of D3 players will never quite comprehend skill runes, or crafting recipes, or item upgrades, or other stuff we’re going to see in Diablo 3, and I certainly hope those remain in the game!
Lastly, I’d like to point out the irony of Diablo 3 finally not taking influence from WoW (full equipment switching is enabled in that game)… and it’s on this!