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Diablo III : Randomness

Discussion in 'Diablo 3 General Discussion' started by permaximum, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. permaximum

    permaximum Banned

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    Diablo III : Randomness

    What is the srongest part of Diablo series in the video game industry?

    Randomness.

    Let's begin with the original game where it all started...

    - Dungeons were random (the rooms, hallways, lights, shrines, fountains,
    cauldrons, pools, special themed areas, treasures and monsters).
    - Items were random (Item modifiers).
    - Drops were random.
    - Quests were random. Some quest ending and prizes were random too (ex: Ogden's sign)
    - Tomes (Story books) were random.
    - Monsters and spawns were random.
    - Obtainable skills were somehow random because there weren't any static skill trees.
    - Damage output and armor effect were not static. (It's a must for all RPG games)
    - Character stats were not static. Thanks to manual mechanic and elixirs.

    What about the sequel?

    - Dungeons and outdoor areas were random.
    - Items were random.
    - Drops were random.
    - Quests were static.
    - Tomes were static.
    - Monsters and spawns were random but not in the level of the original game.
    - Skill system was static. There were static skill trees.
    - Damage output and armor effect were not static.
    - Character stats were not static but elixirs had been removed.

    As you can see Diablo series lost a little bit randomness with Diablo II but the randomness of the game was still enough. It's been 10 years and still there are many players play Diablo II.

    Let's review current state of Diablo III's randomness level and list what elements of D3 will be random.

    - Dungeons will mostly be random but outdoor areas will be static with currently unknown random events.
    - Items will be random.
    - Drops will be random.
    - Quests will be both static and random. Main-story quests will be static but there will also be some random side-quests.
    - No details for tomes yet.
    - Monsters and spawns will probably be random. But we can't predict the level of randomness yet.
    - Skill system was static but we don't know the details of current skill system yet.
    - Damage output and armor effect won't be static.
    - Character stats will be static with auto-stats mechanic and no stat elixirs.
    - Respecs.

    Do you think randomness of Diablo III will be enough? What about the replayability of the game? Will Diablo 3 be played by many players after 10 years? Is there a chance static outdoor areas will hurt the gameplay and replayability? Do you think there will be highly-random monsters and spawns? Would you like to see elixirs and manual-stat system back? Or do you think current stat system won't effect the randomness and replayabilty of the game? What's your thoughts about the respec system?

    I will comment on the subject in the next posts.
     
  2. Keemossi

    Keemossi IncGamers Member

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    Re: Diablo III : Randomness

    Elixirs and learning skills from tomes should stay away from D3. They were kinda ok in D1, but I didn't really play one char longer than it took to kill Diablo once in D1. Elixirs aren't random, they just mean that every char will be godlike at some point (if I remember them right.. permanent and unlimited stat bonuses?). Same for skill tomes.

    Skills are learned from items in Sacred 2, also (though they're restricted by class). It's not random there either.. it's just the first character and first few levels that are random, after that skills can be raised and learned freely.

    Story-tomes would be really cool though. Warhammer Online has that book that contains story, and lore tidbits, and more stuff can be learned from items scattered in the world. I'd like to see something similar.

    I'm bit afraid there won't be any, or fewer guest monsters in D3 like in D2 on Hell. There could be, but the ambush/script systems suggest otherwise. Other than that, I see no reason why monsters would be less random in D3.

    Static areas didn't really hurt in Titan Quest or Sacred 2 - neither contains no randomly generated areas, only monsters are somewhat random. It gets a bit boring, and especially knowing boss locations beforehand feels bit stupid, but it doesn't ruin those games. (what does hurt them is really awful skill systems and mechanics).

    As long as Diablo 3 has enough difficulty, possibility for diverse builds, and good/lots of content, I don't see why it wouldn't have replayability. Most hack'n'slash - games get boring at some point, when character can just steamroll anything. I don't personally care about PvP, so at that point only option is to make a new character/build. In my opinion D3 should be way harder game, especially on later difficulties. Randomly generated infinite dungeons like in Torchlight could also help. Though, occassional static bosses on some floors would be nice too :)

    Is there any info on D3 respec system? Generally speaking, I'm for respecs, as long as they're limited/hard to get. Diablo 2 just got a bit better after getting respecs, but they're too plenty and too easy to get. Respecs encourage different builds - without respecs it's just safer to pick cookie cutter builds/skills, in case other skills are bugged/bad.
     
  3. permaximum

    permaximum Banned

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    Re: Diablo III : Randomness

    There are nice points in your post. I also wanted to mentions some details about elixirs and learning skills from books in the first post. (didn't because i was trying to make lists simple).

    Elixirs have a possiblity to make the character stats customizable in early game. After some point you can max stats by using them. There are different stat limits for each 3 characters.

    Learning skills from books makes unique characters in early game too. After long hours of playing you can obtain every book and it looses customizability too just like elixirs.

    I think Blizzard trys to make respecs expensive. Some kind of gold sink i mean.
     
  4. Sass

    Sass IncGamers Member

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    Re: Diablo III : Randomness

    About elixers and tomes early on:

    I agree on the customizable aspect and how they can boost all types of chars, but not for early play. I could never afford them until later and looting for a while, and they wouldn't even be available to sell until later on as well. Heck, my warrior could barely read any until I level up and focus on magic.

    It would be great customization if playing twinked chars, but not when starting untwinked.






    Still, about the randomness in D3...



    IMO, static outdoors areas shouldn't hurt D3 and the replay. D2 had a few static places of its own (all act boss levels, special places like tristram, etc). Still, it had a sense of radnomness, yet a good amount of predictability. After all, the areas I listed are frequently visited in boss runs or early level exp farming. They're static, but played often. :)



    For monster randomness, I do think it needs some, but not completely certain about how varying levels of it works. What I mean is along the line of the D2 comment where it was random, but not as random.


    Personally, as long as there is something different to the randomness, but still somewhat predictable, I'd be okay with it.

    In D1, the monsters along the way to Lazarus were random, but after that we know where he is and who's around him. We also knew the lay out of the Halls of Bone and the monsters around Leoric. Same with the brutes in the Dark Wood from A1 D2, Nihlathak is random, but only a bit, etc. It keeps it from being boring without it being a huge hunt (the Summoner who always seems to like being the fourth place I look XD).

    In D3, I'd like the sort of mix of random and static that parts of D1 and D2 shared.




    Elixirs I'd kinda like since they're neat, but with how big D2 got, I think the same will happen with D3. In a small game like D1, they're perfect, but IDK how it'd reflect in a game like D3. It would be almost guaranteed the top players (especially pvp) will load up on elixirs. If it is in, I hope for a max or else we'd get people with some insane stats, life, damage, etc. I hope it'd be balanced, if in at all. :)


    But manual stat I'm fine with it being out. Most builds ended up with the same skeleton outline for how to stat, so (personally) I wouldn't be missing any customization that didn't exist for me. Others will miss having mass str titan builds, mass dex glass cannons, etc.

    But, we were told that with stat customization out that items play a bigger role. Along with better crafting (customization there), and a lack of other knowledge, IMO, I'm going to have to sit back and see how it unfolds. I'm fine with it out, I can understand why some want it, but it isn't a big enough issue for me to worry about.

    In terms of replay, I don't see much of a connection. It never affected me, but it might affect the side builds that were present in the other (titan build, etc). Still, that shouldn't hurt replay. Naturally, there's a little less customization purely from stats, but it only makes items more important, which would come with more playing to get those items. I can see it balancing eventually with a bigger market for those items you need.

    That's another thing we can only tell for sure once it's out and people experiment.



    Respec is similar where it doesn't seem to hurt D2 at the moment, but still wouldn't hurt replay. From what I can tell, it's used as a way to effectively skill and stat for early play (go pure in one build for the damage until better gear, then hybridize once possible). It isn't used so much as a complete char over haul to another build in the blink of an eye like it was predicted.

    If used similarly in D3, I'd be fine with it. :)
     
  5. permaximum

    permaximum Banned

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    Re: Diablo III : Randomness

    There are three points concern me.

    1. Monster Randmoness

    In D1 you could face different monsters with each new game and i really liked it. It wasn't like that in D2, probably because of the scope of the game. It would be hard to design lots of monsters for each new game. Still i would like to see different monsters. Spawns were not really random in D2 too thus you could predict which ones you would face any given area. There were some guest monsters. But it was not enough IMO.

    2. Manual Stat Distrubition

    I just like to do it. Perhaps it's not a real option for customization but i love the feel i got from improving my character with putting more points to stats after gaining a level. It was like a prize for me. Still this looks like a personal pleasure just like the level of randmoness i want for monsters and spawns.

    3. Randomized Overworld

    I think this is the only part really affects all players. I want to give an example for this. I really liked Titan Quest. But i only beat it and expansion with one character and that's all. I couldn't play it again because i've seen every area of the game and i knew what i was gonna do with each new game. It's like "There's a tree over there, there's a small area i won't be able to escape from -if monsters attack me- so i should be careful, this is the shortest path to the next act" etc. Also it really bores to see same areas again and again and again. Just imagine it. You see the same exact areas with the same details for years. Won't you become bored?

    This is really important. If they can't manage to introduce highly-randomized top-quality events with valuable prizes in outdoor areas, D3 will get old really quick. Diablo is not an MMO and Diablo 3 is not a strategy or a fps game. Blizzard wants to make Sanctuary static because of the possibity of an MMO but this is really tricky.

    Other than these, i have soume doubts that there are some problems with random dungeons in Diablo 3. That's probably why it takes so long to implement new content to the game. Jay Wilson has stated more than a few times that random dungeons are the hardest and the most expensive aspect of Diablo series and his words felt like there are some troubles about it. They have not shown how the most important aspect of Diablo works in Diablo 3. Is this why?

    Now i have a question for those who played Diablo 3 demos at Blizzcons. How random were the dungeons if you entered the same dungeon more than twice? Did they feel similar or they weren't really random at all for demo's sake? I watched all D3 videos and it looks the same dungeon was not really different in any other game. Can you confirm or deny it?
     
  6. Sass

    Sass IncGamers Member

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    Re: Diablo III : Randomness

    @1 I think that is a scope thing. It's too much bigger than D1 was to make that work.


    Still, there were some instances of it. The Tombs would have some containing only scarab bettles, gorebellies and ghouls, the others having skeletons and unravelers. The Great Marsh can have the drowned corpses or it can have a bunch of soul killers. The River of Flame may have pit lords, it may have rock maggots or it might have both.


    It wasn't to the extent of D1, but I'd blame the size of the game and needing a ton of monsters to make that possible.



    @3 I definitely understand. I hate A2 most of all in Diablo 2. I just got through leveling a few chars in it so they could beat Duriel and it was excruciating.

    Some areas I can handle being the same, others I can't. I can see a trouble in a new game finding what areas people would be fine with being the same, and others needing something random to spice it up. Being blocked every room by a lot of reviving skeletons doesn't help ><



    But, this will translate differently when talking about the whole world of Sanctuary. By that being static, it would mean we'd have set places that we can visit and we would recognize once we got there.

    Things can change, like Mt. Arreat, but some degree of static is required for consistency's sake.


    I would like the world to change in a few dramatic ways. Like with the Arreat example, it was a drastic thing that we were a part of. So yes, I'd like some randomness in the over all world, but only a cause / effect sort of thing and would only happen after the lore of D3, not mid-game and changing between games like a difference in two char's quests can be.
     
  7. Moonfrost

    Moonfrost IncGamers Member

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    Re: Diablo III : Randomness

    Long-term computer game replayability isn't about making the game fun to replay, it's about giving players an incentive to replay the game in the first place. Randomization is only there to make the game less boring to replay once you decide to take that step.

    Imagine playing a lottery where no prize was offered. You can play but you cannot win anything. It's very random, indeed, but without an incentive to keep playing, you'll get bored and move on to other, more interesting things pretty quickly. In short, it's the small chance of winning that motives the player to play over and over again, thus promoting replayability.

    Here's a short summary of how one improves a computer game's replayability:


    1. Introduce some kind of character progression system that periodically rewards players for their progress, mainly by letting them improve their character. These "rewards" come at fairly regular intervals.
    2. Add a cap to said progression system, either through a hard cap (level cap) or a soft cap (making further level gains very difficult). Make any progression past this point strictly item-based. These item-based rewards come at less regular intervals.
    3. Add powerful items that require a very high level to use and make them exceedingly rare. These very rare item-based rewards come at the least regular intervals. This makes them exclusive and gives players an incentive to continue playing the game, since they want to possess these rare items and in doing so distinguish themselves from other players.
    4. Make sure the end game content is slightly randomized; not so much that it becomes hard to develop a strategy that gives players an edge over other players, and not so little that it makes farming static and tedious.
    5. Congratulations - provided your game rests on the foundations of a solid character/skill/item system, people will likely play it for years to come.

    That's all there is to it. You periodically provide the player with rewards to make them used to being rewarded. Then you gradually make those rewards less common; once players are used to being rewarded at a certain rate, they will have no problem spending more time to unlock the next reward. Then you keep escalating that until you have the time:reward ratio most MMOs use in their endgame.

    As for D3, I have absolutely no doubts the developers know what made D2 stick around for so long and how to repeat that in D3. I have my fears that the static outdoor enviroments will hurt replayability, because that's how I felt about Titan Quest. As permaximum says, once you've played through that game once that's pretty much it and since leveling up a new character - to the point where most of the progression is item-based - takes so long, I didn't feel like making another character.

    This is why I hope co-op D3 will be more than enough fun to make up for static enviroments, but as always it's hard to say for sure at this point, given that we know very little about the actual game.
     
  8. NASE

    NASE IncGamers Member

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    Re: Diablo III : Randomness

    I agree to the idea. However, isn't it possible to make the game play itself the incentive by making the replay itself rewarding.
    Forinstance, by motivating the people to replay the game and by doing so, exploring different quests? Or by offering different challenges. A reward can be more then just item/skills.

    As the best Author (Stephen King) knows, it's all about the journey, not the destination.
    You however focus here solely on the destination.

    Why is everyone so focused on the static environments? Isn't diablo mainly a dungeon crawl game. The emphasis will be on the dungeons that are randomised.
    Static outdoors will provide two things to this aspect random outdoor can't offer. First, you will make it much faster to those places that matter (this is, the dungeons) and second, you can create much more realistic and interesting outdoors when they are static.

    Lets be honest, the diablo 2 outdoors stink. The rivers are perfectly strait, the lost city sometimes lies within visible range of the city etc. People mostly just rush trough them to get to the dungeons anyway.



     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2010
  9. Moonfrost

    Moonfrost IncGamers Member

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    Re: Diablo III : Randomness

    A reward that directly affects your in-game alter ego (character) is the most compelling one, because your character is a direct extension of yourself.

    However, not all rewards are like that - achievements primarily exist for the reason you speak of: to encourage players to spend time exploring every nook and cranny of the game, which they otherwise probably wouldn't have. The reward for having "achieved" something is simply a small icon and some complementary text. Quite useless in itself but still motivating enough to make achievements very popular feature as of late.

    Long-term replayability is all about the destination, though. Gameplay is bound to become repetetive at some point, regardless of how fun the game is at first. It's natural and unavoidable. That's why you set the destination somewhere after that point, so people play even they otherwise would've moved on to other games.

    To summarize the above in terms of journey/destination, think of it as not one journey/destination but several. What happens when you get bored of one journey? Are you likely to reach the destination if you're not enjoying the journey? No, you're just likely to abandon that journey altogether and embark on a new one (new game). If there's a pot of gold waiting for you at the end, however, you're not likely to give up that easily. Carrot on a stick.

    Anyway, this is getting sort of OT but if you want to thoroughly explore the topic then I suggest reading this article on behavioral game design at Gamasutra.

    True - if you look at D2, most of the item hunting was done in static enviroments anyway (Andariel, Meph, Pindle, Baal, Council, Eldritch/Shenk etc) and in D1 the outdoor enviroment was pretty static.

    Still, my memories of TQ make me slightly wary of lack of enviromental randomization in ARPGs. Even though that was a fun game, I didn't want to play through it more than once.


     
  10. permaximum

    permaximum Banned

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    Re: Diablo III : Randomness

    I definetely think randomization sets Diablo apart from other ARPGs. That's true that long-term replayability is about the objectives but so many people give in after some time because of boredom and sense of doing exact same things over and over. Think about Titan Quest, Baldur's Gate series or any other RPG (except MMOs of course). They don't have the replayability Diablo has despite the fact that they are one of the best games in RPG genre.

    Yes, you don't care about the randomness in Battle.Net but let's not forget that Battle.Net users represent a minority of Diablo players and fans.

    Outdoor environments will be much more better in D3 because of them being static but do you really think it's better to look at exactly the same nice, realistic environments for years instead of worse but randomized environments?

    Moonfrost, you hope that co-op will be so fun to make up for static environments. What about SP players? They are the majority in fact. It would be so boring to play in same environments after some time in SP.

    Randomized events. This is the trickiest part. If Blizzard does a great job on those randomized events we won't miss random outdoor areas.

    BTW aren't there any Blizzcon attendees here? It would be good to hear (read) an information about random dungeons in D3 demos.

    Flux, you can say something about this...
     
  11. Sass

    Sass IncGamers Member

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    Re: Diablo III : Randomness

    Uh, do recall that SP is where static maps exist in the first place. On BNet, they're different for every game in the areas that do change.

    SPers even here don't seem to have an issue with the maps being the same. In fact, it seems to be a bonus.




    Personally, I'd prefer the static better looking areas outside. The dungeons will be dark and full of action, so the background details take a back seat in what the player focuses on. Outside, if it looks better due to staying the same, you can focus more on it since it's also brighter where details are visible.
     
  12. permaximum

    permaximum Banned

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    Re: Diablo III : Randomness

    I don't get what you mean. Do you mean outoor areas in D3 will be static for SP only or something else?

    BTW i don't think SPers don't have an issue with outdoor areas being the same. How could you come to that conclusion?


     
  13. Bugzy

    Bugzy IncGamers Member

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    Re: Diablo III : Randomness

    He is talking about D2 where single players' can opt for a static map to make re-running easier and more efficient.
     
  14. Sass

    Sass IncGamers Member

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    Re: Diablo III : Randomness

    What I mean is that D2's SP has maps that never change. Well, they can change after a really long time, or if you tinker with char files, but are usually static from game to game fully explored from the previous play.

    SPers not only do like this, but can be more efficient thanks to that. LK rune runs are much faster when you know exactly where the chest is and don't have to worry about joining and rejoining too quickly. This, and other areas often run like pits and ancient tunnels, are done efficiently and leads me to believe that SPers like the speed they gain from being able to run areas they have explored.




    That said, it would be reasonable to apply that to the areas of D3 that would remain the same in all games. It gives the ability to know exactly where to go. D1 and D2 had some areas like this. Like someone else mentioned, it would let someone quickly get to the next area / dungeon quickly without the constant dead ends.

    I'm sure dead ends can have extra content or chest rewards like the tombs have the sparkly chests and arcane sanc has the 3 chests at the false end.
     
  15. permaximum

    permaximum Banned

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    Re: Diablo III : Randomness

    That's a really different thing and that doesn't mean areas in SP are static. You are just saving a game when you exit in SP but you are opening a new game every time in multiplayer. Of course SP is better because you can see your progress in the game. But when you make a new character or when you change the difficulty in the game, maps will change.

    The objective of SP is to beat the game in Hell mode. That's why you are trying to gain better items. There aren't countless of boss runs in SP. You just play the game the way it's meant to be played. You don't go to same area twice in SP. You are not playing the same area more than once.

    But static outdoors are completely different thing. You will see the exactly same areas until an expansion.
     
  16. Sass

    Sass IncGamers Member

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    Re: Diablo III : Randomness

    Not rerunning depends entirely on the player. There are threads in the SPF tracking how many thousands of times people have run Pindle ;)



    And yes, they are different between chars, but the point is being the same for one char, and expanding that idea to all games. They aren't different in function or this example :)
     
  17. permaximum

    permaximum Banned

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    Re: Diablo III : Randomness

    Then it's pointless to discuss further.


     
  18. Sass

    Sass IncGamers Member

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    Re: Diablo III : Randomness

    uh, not at all. It's an example of a currently existing feature that is beneficial in its own way. It goes to show that being static isn't all bad, but then there does need to be some level of randomness, which is being discussed.
     
  19. Bugzy

    Bugzy IncGamers Member

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    Re: Diablo III : Randomness

    You really shouldn't throw around so many assumptions about single player Perma. Who says that people who play single player "just play the game the way it's meant to be played." Who even decides the way the game is meant to be played? Does this mean the fundamental of game playing differs between bnet and single player? No. "You don't go to same area twice in SP." Errr...yes you do.

    I think it's completely crazy you think the entire game is played differently based on an internet connection; how short-sighted can one be?!
     
  20. permaximum

    permaximum Banned

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    Re: Diablo III : Randomness

    It's all about PvP, co-op and need for rushing in a competetive environment.
     

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