Tuesday 3 December 2013

Blizz is known for "easy to learn, difficult to master". Where is the difficult to master in Diablo?

Warning - Wall of Text. But I have to get it off my chest.
Everybody agrees that Diablo is very accessible. I'm not going to waste your time talking about its casual friendly elements. I don't see it as bad and actually see it as one of it's strengths. You want to grow the fan base, sell more, etc. I get it, it's fine. But when you have a game that includes simple elements but is significantly lacking "difficult to master" elements, you have a game that does not have any longevity, and therefore, does not have any lasting legacy.
I believe I speak for a lot of people when I say it needs more "difficult to master" elements. What does "difficult to master" mean? Frankly, it means options. Options on everything: how to gear, what skills to choose, what stats are appropriate for a certain situation, how to heal, how to mitigate damage, what offensive stats you want, what to do in the game at any point in time, what's the best way to go about it, etc. When players have options, they are forced to analyze and make decisions. It is perfecting these analysis and decisions over the course of many hours of gaming which lie at the core of what it means to be “difficult to master”.
If I were to sum up D3 Classic’s problems in one sentence, it would be this: the game deprives players of meaningful engagement because it deprives people of meaningful options.
• There are no options when it comes to defense. Just stack all res, vit
• There are no options when it comes to offense. Just stack main stat, trifecta, life steal
• There are no options when it comes to farming areas. It’s the same non-randomized map that you memorize
• There are no options when it comes to gearing. Use the AH.
• There are no options on what to do after you level up as there is no end game
So why am I reiterating these well tread points? Because I feel like we’re heading that same path again with RoS. At this point in time, the options are just far too few because they are either non-existent or it sways players too far to one side and thereby, reducing the amount of viable options. Below, I list various observances.
--- Adventuring---
• Nephalem rifts are great because it counteracts the non-option of fixed maps. However, it needs better item rewards. For the time commitment, it doesn't compare with bountie caches and even if you get a goblin rift, that may not make up for the consistency of bounty cache rewards. In essence, bounties are favored significantly more
• Nephalem rifts are not comprehensive enough. Give us options to decide if we want to create varied rifts with various scenarios (e.g. a rift where each white mob group has 1 affix, where elites have 1 extra affix, where death closes the rift, where rifts have nothing but elites, etc. and all these different scenarios have varying item rewards). Give us options on how to approach rifts
• some bounties need to be fixed as it's too broken to level from 1-70 in 20 minutes because one bounty is super close to a way point and gives way too much xp. It’s too unbalanced that we have no option but to do this bounty power leveling
--- End Game ---
• Bounties and rifts are great, but it’s not end game and this game still needs end game. It is by far the biggest concern. By end game, I mean a very competitive and grueling element to it. These aspects force us to think about how we play the game to achieve particular results (i.e. going through the difficult to master). In addition, they provide us options about how to play the game past max leveling
• bring back pvp arenas. You may say it wasn't up to Blizz standards, but I can't imagine brawling was either. And brawling is actually not much different from pvp arenas. If bringing it back, add spectator mode
• CDX's tower idea or some other kind of endless dungeon where difficulty and rewards increase the further you go, with locked skills every few tiers to add challenges. Heck, incorporate reddit random build challenge to further make it tough.
• combine bounties system with pvp, so you have in effect a pvpve. Bounties must be done linearly, with two teams going head to head against each other to try to get the bounty first in a series of bounties. Allow spectator mode and allow us to add gambling stakes to it
• ladders, which may include timed races as suggested by MrTorture
• add whatever devil's hand is
• new super insane uber boss system with new ways to find the keys and craft certain gears from their organs
• bring back nephalem trials and have a ranked leader board for it
--- Gearing ---
• crushing blow is too powerful - nerf it with caps or add a brief immunity to CB after being hit by it. Same with splash damage and cool down reduction. It’s inclusion is great, but make it on par with trifecta
• enchanting is great, but at this point, people only enchant the primary group of stats. Give incentive to consider the secondary group of stats
• some legendaries are too OP. Anything that makes us heal infinitely and instantly or reduce virtually all damage forever needs to be eliminated/nerfed. This is like the new life steal, needs to be reduced significantly or removed.
• I believe not all item types can be gambled. Make it so all item types can be gambled. And add a gold cost for gold sink. More gold sinks the better as it forces us to think about what to do with our gold and how best to acquire it - options. Also gear from gambling is too good I hear (e.g. too cheap to gamble and the rolls are always quite good), so consider the quality and cost of gambling
• Several of the paragon customization stats are useless.
o nobody wants non-main stat. Give us an incentive to add points to non-main stat (e.g. barb charges further with X amount of dex)
o Movement speed paragon point is useless as you can get that with only 2 pieces of MS gear
o Extra to max resource is useless. Give us incentive to have more, such as certain skills do more damage or have new effects if more resource is used
o Offensive stat category is great
o Buff efficacy of dodge so it’s more equal to the other defensive stats
o Add extra category where we can buff elemental damage (points for lightning, cold, fire, arcane, holy, poison)
o Add back elemental damage effects. I propose cold chills, lightning has chance to stun, fire is single target fast acting DOT, poison is slow acting DOT and prevents 50% healing, arcane reduces all res and armor by 30%, and holy heals
--- Other Feedback ---
• whatever happened to mob density? Bring it back, starting at Torment 1 level
• I've heard that smart drop is too smart. As I can't test, I don't know, but that's what I heard. Players want to find gear for alts too
• Expand BOA to also include friends in your friend list or clan and allow trading for a few days after the moment of drop. One major reason to expand BOA is because as it is now, it takes away legendary farming competitions. Legendary farming comps are awesome, bring it back! This is a fun, social and community activity
• another reason to expand BOA is to make it more social. With legendaries, gold, crafting materials, enchanted items all being BOA, we need more reason to interact with others via playing and trading
• mob AI and difficulty for white mobs needs to be smarter and harder. Consider adding small tweaks to white mobs (e.g. spiders can slow you, archers can stun you, others can crit you, others can drain your resources, some move super fast, etc.) This adds pacing and variety to combat as well.
--- Conclusion ---
TL;DR Lack of options deprives players of meaningful decision making and game involvement. It also does not add any longevity to this game. Give us options. It's a fine balance for sure, as you don't want to sway too far into paralysis by analysis. But currently it's far too few. Thank you for reading my giant wall of text.
Edit: added elemental damage effects