Thursday, 3 July 2014

My feelings on GR scaling at the moment.

So today I made a few runs through the GRs with my duo buddy, and got to say that when we started the amount of fun and enjoyment was just amazing. We breezed through the levels until we got to 25+ and the game pace started to just slow down. It wasn't really harder, we didn't have to put any more effort into or come up with any new strategy. It just simply took longer. The thing that was stopping our progress wasn't exciting enemy combinations or low numbers on our gears ( we can duo through t6 rifts reasonably easily), it was the billions of hp on the monsters.

When I heard about tiered rifts, what I thought would happen was that as you get to higher rifts, the difficulty would increase by having more Elite packs, more difficult combinations and more suffixes on elites or reduced time and not bashing away at billions of hp on a single monster while hoping an undodgeable spell like a jail won't instantly 100 to 0 you. Getting instantly killed by a spell isn't fun. It's not reasonable to expect a DH to have 20 million plus toughness while trying to kill monsters that have billions of hp each in a short amount of time. Instead some of the most fun you'll ever experience in D3 is when you encounter multiple packs of elite at the same time, but if you keep your cool, position well and play it right you will get out by the skin of your teeth.

Right now higher rifts are not a fun challenge and a test of skill, they are simply a slow battle against numbers and luck. So my suggestion for improving them is:

-Decrease HP and DMG scaling of mobs to a low enough number that they are no longer the factor stopping you from progressing, instead the amount of elites, suffixes and the combinations takes over that role.

-Increase the percentage of elites in each rift as you reach higher levels. Eventually reaching 100% elites rifts.

-Increase the number of suffixes elite packs have as higher rifts are reached. (There can be a set progression order to reduce the unnecessary RNG factor.)

-Increase rift density by a lot. (finding 4 mobs every 10-15 seconds just to spend 30 second wailing away at their billions of hp isn't fun. Blowing up piles and piles of them is. That is the fun in Diablo, blowing up of piles of demons. Increase the difficulty by how many you have to kill, not how long it takes to kill each one.)

-Considering probably no one is going to make it through more than 50-60 rifts, it wouldn't be too difficult to make a smaller pool of possible mobs for each level. The pool can get more difficult (include harder combinations) as we reach higher levels. RNG is important, but hand crafting and limiting the RNG is also important at times.

-Map layout can be a little more restricted as well, so we don't end up going down one path just to have to spend 90 seconds walking all the way back because it was a dead end.

-Also a more personal request, bring back click-able objects. My Harringtons is crying in a corner right now.

Greater rifts has been one of the greatest downward spiral of excitement I've ever experienced. I blazed through the first 4 or 5 rifts having a blast and then at around 24-25 I lost my excitement so fast that at rift 28, I just wanted the monsters to die faster so I can go get a drink. It wasn't fun anymore, it wasn't exciting, it was like a walk through mud. Slow and trippy. I had to watch my timer go further and further ahead of my progress simply because an elite decided to 100 to 0 me (I had about 17mil toughness) near the end of the level by casting 2 jails thus having to spend 45 seconds walking all the way back from the checkpoint. The loss of excitement was so severe that we stopped playing for the rest of the day, only to come back at night, go through the same emotions and stop playing after a single run (we usually play for hours every night).

As a final word, right now as it is, the obstacle stopping you from progressing further through the rifts is math. At some point it becomes mathematically impossible to burn through the hp on the mobs in the given amount of time with the possible gear stats and the way the difficulty is scaling right now is bringing that impossibility point a lot closer. I understand that the point will be reached eventually either way, but I rather lose due to lack of skill before I reach that point than lose to math. No one likes losing to math.

Edit: For RNG factors like density and suffix order, having a more defined rule set, bringing the possibilities to a lot lower number is better IMO. I understand that Diablo is a game of RNGs but why should terrible situations also be a part of pool of possibilities? (like very low density rifts). It shouldn't be "maybe you'll have fun for the next 15 minutes, or maybe you'll get bored out of your fucking mind for the next 30 just because we are committed to RNG." If we assume low density is 50 mob per map and high/fun density is 200 per map, why not decrease the RNG range from 50-250 to 150-250?! It's still random but at least you won't hate your life if you get the minimum. 10% progression in a dahlgur oasis shouldn't be a thing. It's not a random factor that makes the game more fun, it's something that ruins your experience, game pace and excitement and could have been easily avoided if only the minimum number was higher. I understand RNG helps make the game more fresh and fun in a lot of cases, but rift density isn't one of them. The developers need to simply consider "how would I feel if I just spent 20 minutes going through 10 maps just to finish a rift, simply because the RNG decided to roll low. Did I have fun? Did that RNG add anything to the experience? Did it make it more fresh or fun?"