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Default Diablo 3 - On Ditching Skill Points

August 7th, 2011, 03:36
IGN looks at the decision to remove Skill points in Diablo III and gets input on the change from Blizzard. Here's the intro, in case you don't know the issue:
One of the biggest surprises during our recent hands-on with Diablo III was the changes that had been made to the game's skill system. In Diablo II, each character class had several skill trees, and players activated then strengthened their abilities by allocating points as they levelled up. No more. Instead, a new active skill is unlocked automatically with almost every level gained until players hit the high 20s. Players are free to try all the skills out, with the restriction being the number they can have hot-keyed at once. At the start of the game only two skills can be used, then a new hotkey opens up at level 6, 12, 18 and 24, so that players eventually have access to six skills simultaneously. Each skill can be modified with one of five runestones, and three passive skill slots also open up as players level, letting them choose from a number of additional perks.
It's a massive overhaul and as much as we liked the old system - hugely promising. We asked Jay Wilson, Diablo III's Game Director, to give us some insight on when and why the company decided to ditch the skill points system.
Keeping some Diablo III stuff together, Eurogamer has an article on the Auction House:
What this means is that, in the rarefied air of high-level Diablo play, advancement and customisation are almost limitless. The time you can pour into searching for the perfect equipment for your character is equally limitless - and there's no guarantee you'll ever get it. This naturally created a market for trading between players as they pooled resources to equip each other.
But there was no trading function to speak of - players actually had to meet up in-game and drop items on the ground, like backstreet dealers - and cheating, griefing, item duping and stealing were rife. What's more, the games' economies were unstable, and players eventually turned to exchanging items for cash, sometimes resorting to unsafe transactions through third-party websites. Scams, including account theft, preyed on the unwary. It wasn't fun for players and it created customer service headaches for the developer.
That, Pardo says, is how Blizzard came to decide that Diablo III needed an integrated item-trading system - and why it had to include the option to trade for real money. "Players really want it. This is something that we know players are going to do either way. We can either provide them a really safe, awesome, fun experience - or they'll find ways of doing it elsewhere."
More information.
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August 7th, 2011, 03:36
Yeah, for Diablo the only change to your play I see from the removal of skillpoints is not having to load up a fan site prior to rolling to look at what items you're aiming for at endgame and apply your stats so you're not gimped when you get there.

Again, correct with the real money item trade. Blizzards always chasing the $$$ and if you can beat gold farmers be their middle man!

Looking forward to diablo3 for sure, but from the look of things where in diablo3 you'll be forking out more money for DLC in Torchlight 2 you'll be playing community maps/mods.
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August 8th, 2011, 09:57
The whole skillpoint system of the past was never about punishing players or making a "stupid system" that would infuriate everyone by focring them to restart the game over and over.

It was a strategic layer that demanded the player invested and expected a willingness to experiment. Some of us actually enjoyed having to start over with a new character, because the process was intriguing - and we constantly had things to look forward to. We didn't necessarily go to a website and read up on the optimal build. At least, not for the first many months. That's because there's a huge entertainment value to figuring these things out for yourself and to try new things for each playthrough.

Much like Magic (The Gathering) was a lot more fun - to me - in the old days, where all those I played with made their own decks without researching exhaustively on the 'net or in magazines. Back when one's own strategic ability was at the forefront of the victory.

By "serving up" skills like this, you no longer have this psychological carrot. It's instant gratification, which is probably good for some players. Maybe even the majority of players.

But I'm not at all convinced it's the "universal answer" to how this kind of game should work.

It's simply one more step towards pleasing casual players or people unwilling to make these investments - and one step away from people who love to experiment and figure out cool builds for themselves.
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August 8th, 2011, 16:26
The time you can pour into searching for the perfect equipment for your character is equally limitless - and there's no guarantee you'll ever get it.
Even more concentration on loot compared to the earlier games.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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August 8th, 2011, 19:31
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Even more concentration on loot compared to the earlier games.
Yep, that's the point. The real money they are going to make on this game is on the microtransactions so it's no surprise they will do everything they can to tailor the game around nudging people in that direction. Want to build up your character? You need items! Head to the auction house and get out your credit card.
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August 9th, 2011, 01:38
Originally Posted by Motoki View Post
Yep, that's the point. The real money they are going to make on this game is on the microtransactions so it's no surprise they will do everything they can to tailor the game around nudging people in that direction. Want to build up your character? You need items! Head to the auction house and get out your credit card.
From some of their earlier videos it looked like they were bringing in raiding too from World of Warcraft in the form of bossfights. Raiding is very gear-centric, and if encounters are tuned as in Warcraft, expect top-notch gear to be a requirement. The less skilled you are (normally the largest bulk of players), the more dependent you become of expensive gear.
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