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My thoughts on the new skill system

Discussion in 'Diablo 3 General Discussion' started by Moonfrost, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. Moonfrost

    Moonfrost IncGamers Member

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    My thoughts on the new skill system

    No, the new skill system hasn't been revealed in its entirety just yet. However, I would like to take a moment to go through the bits we know and see what conclusions we can draw from that.

    To summarize what we know about the new skills, here's a short list:


    • The new system is quite similar to the traditional (D2) skill tree (three trees).
    • Each class would have 20-25 active skills and 30 passive skills.
    • The D3 team said that they don't have passive skills in their skill trees.
    • Active skills do not have skill prerequisites.

    In short, passive skills are in but will not be obtained through the traditional skill trees. Active skills, on the other hand, will. So obviously passive skills will be obtained in a different manner.


    Passive skills - skills that, once obtained, grant you permanent effects.


    Logically, the easiest solution is to hand them out for free whenever a player hits a certain level: this would make level ups feel more significant, which is welcome now that manual stats are out and the player is left with less points to distribute upon level up, seeing as that might make leveling up seem less rewarding to some.

    Another alternative, and perhaps one that makes more sense from a game economy point of view, is to make passive skills available for purchase at a trainer NPC upon hitting certain levels. Just like in WoW, this adds another goldsink to the game, but depending on how many goldsinks are already present this may seem like an overkill. I would still consider it a strong possibility because it helps assign value to skills, whereas getting them for free doesn't have quite the same effect.

    Thirdly, though unlikely, they could be offered as quest rewards. The reason I call this unlikely is because it would go against the linear progression mentioned above.

    Regardless, with 30 passives and 60 levels, I would expect players to obtain a new passive every second level, starting at level 2. This would make character progression feel meaningful in a linear fashion all the way till the level cap, which is meant to be a skill-based hard cap on character progression anyway.

    Conclusion: characters will probably receive passive skills on a regular basis (every 2nd level), either through a NPC trainer in exchange for gold, or through leveling up (for free).​


    Active skills - skills that need to be activated in order to work.


    Previously, I assumed that each class would only use 7 active skills because 7 was the number of available hotkeys and 7 is roughly what you get when you split a class' 20-25 active skills into 3 trees (like in D2).

    Since my assumption turned out to be correct, I'd like to think that the reasoning behind my assumption was accurate. In other words, I expect the active skills to be split evenly and thematically into 3 skill trees, just like they used to be before the "new" skill system was announced. Prerequisites are out, though, as recently mentioned by Bashiok.

    In regards to how many skill points we'll be able to spend on the active skills, we know the following: skills will have a skill level cap of 5 in Normal, 10 in Nightmare and 15 in Hell, and character level progression is said to be 1-30 Normal, 30-50 NM and 50-60 Hell. If both of those are still true and assuming that players gain 1 skill point per level and spend that point right away, that gives us:

    Up until level 30, we'll be able to increase 6 (out of 7) skills to slvl 5.
    Up until level 50, we'll be able to increase 4 (out of 7) skills to slvl 10.
    Up until level 60, we'll be able to increase 2 (out of 7) skills to slvl 15.

    Essentially, we'll be forced to choose which of our active skills we'll specialize in. Naturally, if you wish to min-max, you'll be able to get up to 4 (out of 7) skills to slvl 15. Still, this should make skill placement a bit more interesting than it would if you knew in advance you'd be able to max all your active skills in the end.

    Conclusion: in terms of how they're acquired and used, active skills will not differ much from what we're used to in D2. We'll probably be forced to choose which of our 7 actives we'll specialize in.​


    Anyway, those were my thoughts; what are yours?
     
  2. konfeta

    konfeta IncGamers Member

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    Re: My thoughts on the new skill system

    Quick fact check.

    There are 25-30 (http://twitter.com/Diablo/status/24790313071) and (citation needed) for the second.

    I do believe Bashiok also stated that the cap of 5, 10, 15 was outdated information, no? Can't find his post on that, though.


    No comment on passives, the actives bit seems reasonable assuming the 5/10/15 cap system is still there and there are no skillpoint rewards.
     
  3. Moonfrost

    Moonfrost IncGamers Member

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    Re: My thoughts on the new skill system

    You would not believe how frustrating it was to look for sources and not being able to find them, especially when I so clearly remembered reading most of that info on this site.

    The 20-25 active and 30 passive figure was brought up about a month ago, in the wake of Gamescom I believe. It might be in one of the interviews with Jay, but there are so many of them that I had to give up and just exclude all sources, which obviously isn't making my case any stronger, but there you go.
     
  4. Sylvanite

    Sylvanite IncGamers Member

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    Re: My thoughts on the new skill system

    Passives take the place of attribute points. Certain ones unlock at certain levels due to power balance. You get 2 or 3 points per level to put into whatever passives are available. Some of these points could be given as quest rewards, and even in end game there could be ways of earning items that give you a passive point (with some cap or extreme diminishing returns like signets in Median).

    Just my take on how passives will replace ability scores as the other reward for leveling, as well as contribute to build variety and the feeling of a big power boost with each level gained.
     
  5. blackbisket

    blackbisket IncGamers Member

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    Re: My thoughts on the new skill system

    I watched all the interview with Jay a number of times and I dont recall hearing anying about a passive skill number.


     
  6. Moonfrost

    Moonfrost IncGamers Member

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    Re: My thoughts on the new skill system

    The IGN interview mentions the following:

    So that's 20 (Jay) - 30 (Twitter) actives and "slightly more" passives.

    The next quote explains the design philosophy behind the active skill limit:

    Could be. Question is how they'd balance the game so that the passives are meaningful, yet the game isn't too difficult before you've obtained a fair amount of passives.


     
  7. TheMythe

    TheMythe Diablo: IncGamers Member

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    Re: My thoughts on the new skill system

    You might partially overlook the option that quests are randomized completely. Therefore one could say:
    Passive skill_A is link to Quest_B
    And Quest_B can be any quest around area X. Area X holds 15 random quests, so Passive skill_A can be obtained in 15 ways.

    If this is done for every Passive skill, we get a highly randomized game which Blizzard is going for :)


    Sidenote: Great OP!


     
  8. In the name of Zod

    In the name of Zod IncGamers Member

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    Re: My thoughts on the new skill system

    Its difficult to beat the skill system in D2, the only thing that doesn't work is the need for prerequisites which apparently they have gotten around [mostly]. I don't like the idea of using passives to replace attribute points, what's the point of doing that? It makes no sense other that getting around being accused of dumbing the game down.

    I'm glad it won't differ to much from D2, it's more important that we get newer more enjoyable class and builds to play imo and how the items play in this role.

    Less max active skills means more builds to me.
     
  9. Nekora

    Nekora IncGamers Member

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    Re: My thoughts on the new skill system

    ^ This. Less max active skills means that you must make tough decisions about what you get, and what you don't get, and live with the consequences of those decisions. It's less likely to settle into a cookie-cutter build situation if you can't get everything you want.

    Finally, Zod. Something you and I can wholeheartedly agree on!


     
  10. stillman

    stillman IncGamers Member

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    Re: My thoughts on the new skill system

    You forgot one thing...

    "Trees begone!"
     
  11. In the name of Zod

    In the name of Zod IncGamers Member

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    Re: My thoughts on the new skill system

    Tree's or no tree's the skill system is still largely the same.

    @Nekora: :evil:
     
  12. Sass

    Sass IncGamers Member

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    Re: My thoughts on the new skill system

    I wholeheartedly disagree 100%.

    By forcing a limited selection, only a small amount of damage-focused attacks will be used by any one build. Those builds will be selected by which is optimal, or most effective in that particular tree.


    It returns to the "Frozen orb, lather, rinse, repeat." Our selection is going to limit us to Meteorb / Blizzball builds again. It still encourages cookie cutters.
     
  13. Apocalypse

    Apocalypse IncGamers Member

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    Re: My thoughts on the new skill system

    i think the 7 means more builds also, at least for me. it could force more cookie cutter characters but that will happen eventually anyway. with me i see this as a way for me to get 3-4 builds out of each character with very minimal over lap. then i can start mixing/matching builds and really get 5-7 unique builds per character and thats just skill wise.
     
  14. Sylvanite

    Sylvanite IncGamers Member

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    Re: My thoughts on the new skill system

    If Meteor is much better than the other skills, then Sass is right. Everyone will play with meteor. If the skills are pretty well balanced across the board, then Apocalypse and others saying that there will be more build diversity are correct. It's all going to come down to how the skills balance out.

    If I can spam Magic Missile and kill the same as someone dropping one Meteor or Blizzard, then suddenly we have two viable main killer spells, which may lead to two totally different sets of equipment to back them (since I hit more with MM i may jack up my crit chance and things that happen on crits as opposed to wanting more flat damage increases with a Blizzard spell). Depending on the style of play that works best in conjunction with my playstyle and the skill I've chosen as my main killer, I will choose different utilities and backup skills.

    Your build: Layer Meteor and Blizzard in an area, Hydra at edge to keep things in the area, you stand back Disintegrate things within that area. Teleport for utility and escape. Mirror Image to reduce things attacking you. Slow Time because it's cool.

    My Build: Drop Hydra in group. Teleport w/stun or knockback rune INTO group of monsters. Drop a Frost Nova. Lay them down melee with Magic Weapon (or Spectral Blades depending on if Magic Weapon stays an active skill). I would probably also use Mirror Image.

    These two builds would have some skill overlap (a large issue is that I don't know the 25-30 active wizard spells so the builds may overlap even less once we know them all), but they would play completely differently and use different main attacks. In fact, they would even pair really well with each other in a multiplayer game, methinks. A third build could focus on Magic Missile spam and crit chance, and so on.

    As long as the skills are balanced so that one is not the clear cut way to go, the build varieties are going to be pretty awesome.
     
  15. Nekora

    Nekora IncGamers Member

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    Re: My thoughts on the new skill system

    It all depends on the balance of the skills and how they balance the resources along with them. The only reason these builds revolving around huge nuke/AoE skills were viable is because man's became a meaningless non-resource, because of potions and/or leech.

    I imagine the wizard's analogue of frozen orb will not be spammable. It will have a small cooldown and cost a bunch of Arcane Power besides. Focusing entirely on it will gimp you because you will be waiting for your AP to build instead of attacking half the time.

    Along with resources, this system seems designed to make us find a balance between a few different levels of attack and utility. In D3 you can't just spam huge killer skills all day. You will want at least one of them, but it can't be the only tool in your toolbox.

    I don't think it will devolve into cookie-cutter builds as easily as D2. If the attack skills are balanced nicely, all is well. The utility skills especially are very subjective in their relative usefulness, depending on playstyle. So not everyone will want the same ones, and it will depend upon your desired attack skills too.


     
  16. In the name of Zod

    In the name of Zod IncGamers Member

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    Re: My thoughts on the new skill system

    7 Max skills means less points for passives [when passives are a requirement]. If a char is highly reliant on passives then they won't have skill points spare anyhow for maxing 7 active skills so its largely irrelevant for a sum of builds.

    Another issue is how lame the passives will be compared to the actives. Is this just forcing us to use skills we would otherwise ditch. Sounds like a restructuring of the prerequisites skill points system to me. Where there's smoke.
     
  17. Sylvanite

    Sylvanite IncGamers Member

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    Re: My thoughts on the new skill system

    Passives aren't part of the active skill tree. They haven't announced exactly where they are or how they are implemented other than that they are around. It's pretty close to certain that we will not be splitting "skill points" into actives and passives, tho. Passives will be some other set of points, or done through vendors, or earned through quests, or auto-determined as we level or something.....but they aren't going to gimp our points into active skills.
     
  18. Moonfrost

    Moonfrost IncGamers Member

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    Re: My thoughts on the new skill system

    To be honest, I would prefer a somewhat randomized skill acquisition. For some reason I really liked the random quests (and rewards) in Diablo because ultimately the reward didn't make or break my character.

    For the same reason, it might be tricky to hand out passive skills upon quest completion because, unlike the random D1 quest rewards, a passive skill is quite a substantial reward. Think about it: most rewards are just items and random junk that may be of use to you, but here you're presented with a bonus that's always active and always useful. What's worse, there's no reason to not want a specific passive, and when the player cannot control which passives he gets then that might become frustrating.

    When passives are distributed in a linear, predictable fashion then the designers know what stats the player will have at certain points in the game, thus making things much easier to balance. It's partly why auto stats exist and also why items no longer have stat requirements. However, as soon as randomness is thrown in, that predictability naturally decreases. In the end, seeing as itemization (external character progression) is already largely chance-based, it's probably better if the skills (internal character progression) is not. Variables are fun and all, but to solve an equation you really want some constants too.

    I'm leaning towards this too. Even without an artificial cap, pretty much all of my D2 characters used 5-10 skills anyway because the skill design encouraged dumping most of my skill points into a few "main" skills. The 1-pt prerequisites you picked up along the way were for the most part useless when you didn't invest in them, so removing prereqs in the tree is a good thing.

    What's important to remember is that even though there's an active skill cap now, it doesn't mean that all characters who pick the same 7 skills will turn out exactly the same. That's what skill runes are for! There's more customization options within those 7 skills alone (42 different skill versions in total) than D2 had in all three skill trees.

    Yes, I see the cap as a way to limit the player's choices, but not in a bad way: I think of it as Blizzard's way of saying we should start out small and experiment with a limited set of skills before respeccing and trying out all the others if we want to. It also makes the UI and control system less complicated, which I consider a plus.


     
  19. Sass

    Sass IncGamers Member

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    Re: My thoughts on the new skill system

    I'm the opposite. Less of a choice gimps me and I crave complexity in my skills. Even the over looked skills are often very useful skills for me.
     
  20. Nekora

    Nekora IncGamers Member

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    Re: My thoughts on the new skill system

    The skills in D3 will be rather complex. Skill complexity is not about how many skills you have, but how many interesting tactics you can make by combining the skills you do have.

    Tactics become boring when you can do everything. You just pull out the right tool on your swiss army knife of 16 skills and do it.


     

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