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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Diablo 3 - Ask the Devs, Round 1

Default Diablo 3 - Ask the Devs, Round 1

February 11th, 2013, 21:00
Battle.net offers up the first of a new Ask the Devs feature, where Blizzard chooses a topic and the community asks related questions. The answers for Round 1 are online from the topic of Patch 1.07. A partial snip from a long answer:
Q. Has it been considered the addition of a point tracker mechanic for PvP, as well as perhaps the ability to wager or offer any kind of unique rewards to make PvP more interesting in 1.0.7?
Kevin: Considered? Yeah, definitely. Not only did we debate the idea of having point systems and other forms of tracking for brawling during the initial development stage, but we also carefully revisited those points as we saw incoming feedback from the PTR. We know that, for many players, having some way of "showing off" your skills in battle either through a point tracker or reward system is very desirable, and we debated various different ways of doing that within the current design of brawling. We even discussed adding ears for players to collect after they'd slaughtered their opponents, and whether that type of "reward" could exist as items or as an ever-growing counter in the UI.

After all those discussions, though, we always came back to the same principle: brawling is a simple, straightforward way to knock your friends and/or enemies into next week. That's it. No rewards, no objectives, no scores. The goal of the feature is to give players a way to fight each other in a no-holds-barred kind of environment, and we want to keep that environment as simple, straightforward, and "no-holds-barred" as possible. While we will remain open to player feedback on the idea of point trackers and rewards and may consider making adjustments based on that feedback in the future, we really feel that brawling will be at its best when it is just simply a free-for-all fight. We like that this allows players to sort of define what brawling means to them, as well as build their own "mini-games" around the feature (for example, there's this thread over on Reddit that's pretty cool, same for the rules streamer Inigo Montoya developed).
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February 11th, 2013, 21:00
D3 has been uninstalled for a while now. Anyone know if it's worth paying attention to now?

If I'm right but there is no wife around to acknowledge it, am I still right?
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February 12th, 2013, 00:21
Originally Posted by TheMadGamer View Post
D3 has been uninstalled for a while now. Anyone know if it's worth paying attention to now?
Not yet, there are zero incentives to keep you playing. I'd wait for the expansion, even then — they'll have to fundamentally change the game to make it worth our while. I am rather pessimistic about the whole thing. Meanwhile, if you like the genre, you should give Path of Exile a try, it's free and definitely worth checking out.
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February 12th, 2013, 03:39
Originally Posted by Cerberus View Post
Not yet, there are zero incentives to keep you playing. I'd wait for the expansion, even then — they'll have to fundamentally change the game to make it worth our while. I am rather pessimistic about the whole thing. Meanwhile, if you like the genre, you should give Path of Exile a try, it's free and definitely worth checking out.
I agree with the Path of Exile suggestion. I find the level layouts a bit confusing, but besides that, it's pretty cool for something that's free. The only thing you have to pay for is microtransactions, & even then, you really don't need them. The transactions consist of pets & special graphic upgrades to your character. Give it a try.

Personally, I'm getting sick of D3. I haven't played for weeks & now I just log on once-in-awhile to make sure nobody's messing with my account. The nail in the coffin was the Infernal Machine for me; I spent days trying to get all the keys only to find out that you can only go through the damn thing once before having to start again. The expansion will get me playing again, but only when it's in the bargain bin. Hell, Dungeon Siege 1 & 2 were more enjoyable than D3.
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February 12th, 2013, 08:01
I waited for years. Checked the site every day for news. Then played for less than one month. How I hated that game. Now I spend my days ineffectually sticking pins in my chubby voodoo doll of Jay Wilson. I took a day off, when he stepped down.
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February 12th, 2013, 17:23
Diablo 3 is still a terrible game.

I log on once in a while and play for a few hours and nope…still not a single Legendary or set item drop for me. There are people with thousands of hours played and no drops.

The dev team does not understand that item hunting was the fun part of Diablo 1 and 2.
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February 12th, 2013, 20:57
Not surprising. They wanted to profit from the auction house. Greed got in the way of good game design.
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February 13th, 2013, 01:29
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
Not surprising. They wanted to profit from the auction house. Greed got in the way of good game design.
*sigh* not this foolish nonsense again. I'll agree they messed up itemization, but the conspiracy theory that they messed it up intentionally to rake in those tens of thousands of dollars!!! is laughable.

Blizzard is a big company. D3 made buttloads of money from straight up sales. The revenue to them from the AH is a drop in the ocean and was never going to be anything more than that. Not even the craziest of loons would have thought any differently before release.
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February 13th, 2013, 02:41
Do you have any proof of this? Seriously? It's the obvious explanation. It is easy to fix itemization drop rates. If they haven't yet, then explain that!
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February 13th, 2013, 06:27
Yeah, I don't buy it either. Entire companies are funded by micro-transactions; the potential was there for a good deal of extra revenue. Not to mention, they had no idea that sales would be record breaking (the game certainly didn't warrant it; it sold on reputation alone), and there is no board on this planet who would shun an extra revenue stream. In fact, once the possibly came to their attention, I seriously doubt that there was any turning back. This industry is a bitch.
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February 13th, 2013, 14:21
@chamr

I too used to get frustrated with this argument. Then I played D3 for hours at a time with no significant drops all the while knowing it could be remedied with a trip to the AH. Sorry, the AH helped wreck the game for me, though it is not the only thing (I for one like item hunting/boss farming. Eliminating this was a bigger factor). And I was one of these gamers on a crusade stating simply: Don't use the AH if you don't like it.

I don't consider the AH thing a conspiracy. And who knows, maybe in practice it didn't turn out the way Blizzard had intended. But one cannot deny it is a means of bringing in additional revenue for a "F2P" game for things like maintenance and whatever else may not be covered by the huge sales. Hopefully game developers all over will learn from this design disaster and not replicate it. Or at least not make their games Pay to Win. Looks like Grinding Gears caught on with Path of Exile.
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February 14th, 2013, 06:18
First off, let's not conflate the RMAH with the GAH. Obviously Blizzard makes nothing off the GAH. Since the silly claim I'm debunking is that Blizzard made a conscious decision to bork the itemization system in order to make more money, let's try to keep that in mind.

Second, the proof is in even the most conservative of estimates. The numbers simply don't pencil out. Even if Blizzard assumed lower sales than could be reasonably expected and higher participation in the RMAH than could be reasonably expected, the idea they would threaten sales by screwing with the item system in the hopes they could make it up in RMAH fees is so outside the realm of possibilities as to be laughable. I went through an estimation exercise on this in another thread a while ago. I'm not going to do it again here, but grossly overestimating RMAH revenue still left it somewhere on the order of magnitude of one hundredth to one thousandth of what could be reasonably expected from retail sales. Hardly the kind of Cost/Benefit ratio we could expect the secret-Bobby-screw-them-with-RMAH-fees cabal to green light unless they were insane.

Next up: legendary drop rate. They have increased it since launch. Multiple times and in multiple ways. We've already covered this ground. Multiple times. Add to that the fact that tons of legendaries and sets are available in the GMAH at prices even a normal player like me (I haven't even made it to Inferno on a single char) can afford, and another hole sinks the Good Ship Conspiracy.

Finally, saying they wouldn't turn down the extra RMAH revenue is far, far different then saying they made it a key design element to the point they architected the item system around it. Let’s not change the argument or make false analogies.
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February 14th, 2013, 06:48
The drop rates are still insufficient, and the auction house is still the only reasonable way to get the good items. To claim otherwise is patently false.
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February 14th, 2013, 07:05
Been bored lately. Was half-considering playing again for first time in months. It's all coming back to me now! I'm not *that* bored.
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February 14th, 2013, 09:36
The game was never terrible - not even close.

But it was and still is a bad Diablo 2 sequel. Arguably a terrible one, though it does have some great stuff in it as well.

I don't think the GAH/RMAH was a question of greed - not at all. It doesn't fit their profile.

It was their way of trying to circumvent gold farmers and "illegal" selling of items outside the game, it's as simple as that.

A good way? Well, not MY way - that's for sure. I'd say it was quite naive - but then again, the entire design of the game is naive. Call it incompetent if you will. Jay Wilson was NOT the right person for the job.

The problem isn't so much the drop rate - which has improved tremendously since launch - but the itemization in itself. The items are BORING and poorly designed.

That's the key issue and it can't be fixed without a complete design overhaul. That said, they HAVE improved legendaries quite significantly - and the drop rates are such that people can find great items on their own. Obviously, IDEAL items will be on the AH - that's just basic math.

But they failed to correlate solo/small group players with those that enjoy the whole MMO aspect. They should have integrated a "no AH" mode - and made players of that mode invisible to those who played normal mode. That way, they could balance loot drops much more appropriately.

But that's not the only problem with the game.

In my opinion, the biggest problem always was the skill system. There's ZERO incentive to replay the game with the same class. A fundamental flaw that's so painfully obvious to anyone with the slightest understanding of the genre.

Conclusively, the designers of Diablo 3 did NOT understand the genre.
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February 14th, 2013, 13:34
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
In my opinion, the biggest problem always was the skill system. There's ZERO incentive to replay the game with the same class. A fundamental flaw that's so painfully obvious to anyone with the slightest understanding of the genre.

Conclusively, the designers of Diablo 3 did NOT understand the genre.
I completely agree with you on the skill system. Gutting skill trees, and removing choice-heavy character builds makes it a game I am not even able to consider playing.

Does anyone know if gutting the skill trees in WoW, and making glyph choices insignificant, has hurt it? I know I skipped cataclysm (when they locked skill trees), and didn’t even look twice at the new panda expansion when they removed skill trees totally, and made glyphs useless. You now have a total of seven somewhat significant choices (class specialization at ten, and then 6 more somewhat but not really significant choices of “talents”). They started down this road for so called balancing reasons, but my brother-in-law tells me the classes are not balanced at all even with the almost negative player choices they have now. Also, I don’t pay money because I want the developer’s job to be easier.

There was an article before cataclysm stating another reason to take choices away from players was that returning players had a hard time learning what the optimal build was. But, 10 years in and they still have one of the worst UIs of any game ever, and installing 5 billion mods needed to make the game playable is far more of a hassle than making common sense talent choices. My carrot on the stick in WoW was refining my character build throughout an arena season, and the 2v2 arena. I was told the arena is being kicked aside to make room for the highly exploitable RBG system (attempting to make the clean arena system more raid oriented).
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February 15th, 2013, 06:18
Originally Posted by Thrasher View Post
The drop rates are still insufficient, and the auction house is still the only reasonable way to get the good items. To claim otherwise is patently false.
I never made any such claim, so I guess I'm good. :-) But I will point out that "good" is subjective. I, for one, have gotten plenty of what I'd consider "good" items outside of the AH.

On the Skill system, I don't disagree with the harm it did to replay-ability, but I have to say I'm fine with it. I like being able to try out all the skills and mix and match when I want to or when the situation dictates. I don't have time any more to play 2 or 3 versions of the same class through the game, so I'm content to play each one once, and a couple more in HC. That's plenty of gaming time for me. I may miss the fun of thinking out a specific kind of sub-class, but not that much.

I'd vote for itemization, especially as pertains to the over-simplified attribute system and how skills are overwhelmingly dependent on weapon DPS, as the biggest misstep by far. It was great fun in D2 to pick up a new item and really have to think about whether to swap out an old one for it. Or have those great "this item rocks!" moments often. Having the choice be obvious 95% of the time (94 of the 95% being "crack it") and only have a "this item rocks!" moment every few gaming sessions is a drag.
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February 15th, 2013, 09:40
Originally Posted by chamr View Post
On the Skill system, I don't disagree with the harm it did to replay-ability, but I have to say I'm fine with it. I like being able to try out all the skills and mix and match when I want to or when the situation dictates. I don't have time any more to play 2 or 3 versions of the same class through the game, so I'm content to play each one once, and a couple more in HC. That's plenty of gaming time for me. I may miss the fun of thinking out a specific kind of sub-class, but not that much.
You don't have time? So Diablo 3 is the last game you'll ever play (once)?

Because otherwise, that particular claim is one I've never understood about why people don't mind such a system.

I'm just curious, really.

Because if the game is sufficiently enjoyable - it makes absolutely no sense to me that people wouldn't want a chance to replay it with a new character and get a fresh experience.

People will move on to other games and spend their time there, so it can't be about having enough time.

If the game is not very interesting - THEN it makes sense that you wouldn't want to play it again. But the thing is that some of us LOVE the genre so much that we'd greatly enjoy extending its lifetime through experimentation and strategic planning. Half the genre is about strategy - much like half of Magic the Gathering is about building the deck, and the other is about trying it out. Being able to switch cards in and out DURING play would completely ruin the strategy of MtG.

I'd vote for itemization, especially as pertains to the over-simplified attribute system and how skills are overwhelmingly dependent on weapon DPS, as the biggest misstep by far. It was great fun in D2 to pick up a new item and really have to think about whether to swap out an old one for it. Or have those great "this item rocks!" moments often. Having the choice be obvious 95% of the time (94 of the 95% being "crack it") and only have a "this item rocks!" moment every few gaming sessions is a drag.
Very true.

However, that's only one aspect of the complete failure of itemization. You need look no further than games like Borderlands or Hellgate to appreciate just how much you can do with an item system.

Those games have unique gameplay tied directly into the weapons - and that's separate from the character skills themselves. So, one weapon will look, feel and play very differently from another weapon - through integrated mechanics.

I always felt that was a big step forward in the genre - and it boggles the mind that Blizzard didn't bother keeping up.

Just another sign they didn't understand much about the genre, sadly.
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Default yeah, I gotta a question for the devs

February 17th, 2013, 03:40
What. The. Hell?
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February 17th, 2013, 04:15
Ah, Hellgate. That game had so much promise ;( Still, with all its problems (and annoyingly silly dialogue), I found it a lot more fun than D3, which felt like a tedious chore to run through at times.
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