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Diablo III

Diablo III

Expansion tidbits & defensive / slower pace of game (Source)

avatar  Bovie
#1 9/23/2013 2:41 PM PDT Post 1 (Source)
I was reading in some posts about a slower paced game style and having to use defensive styles to a greater depth. Can somebody explain?
I spent like 600 hours going from all defensive passives & crummy gear to all offensive passives in good gear in Inferno over the course of the last year and a half - some were gear drops some was inferno nerfing some was auction house. I expect that RoS to be the same way. Starting over again with the gear grind (less AH) Is this what everyone else is expecting? A year after RoS release I expect to be all offensive again with good gear , Am I wrong?
avatar Wyatt Cheng
Senior Technical Game Designer
#2 9/25/2013 12:29 AM PDT Post 5 (Source)
Let's talk about combat.

From a big picture standpoint, it's not healthy for the game when a player's health pool goes from full to nearly empty and back to full on a regular basis very quickly, over and over, during regular play. I know not every character build plays this way - but I would assert that it's not good for the game when this is a dominant or even common way to play.


Here are a few negative effects it has:

1. A health pool that quickly goes from full to nearly empty implies that there's not a lot of room for variance in incoming damage. When incoming damage is that high, a 15% increase in monster damage would result in death. This leads to comments like "As soon as I turn up the Monster Power I get 1-shot". I'd like to see a game where a clever player can handle a higher Monster Power by reducing incoming damage through good play. Unfortunately, if the combat pacing and dominant builds are such that all players are geared to survive the biggest posisble hit from a monster and instantly heal to full then there's no room for that differentiation. Let's use mortar as a simple example. If a wave of mortar hits takes me from full to nearly dead, and then I instantly heal back to full, then mortars don't pose a realistic threat to me. In this state, there's no way for a clever player (who wants to dodge mortars) to differentiate themselves from somebody who doesn't care (and just decides to get hit). In both cases you're healing instantly to full and surviving through the damage no matter what, and in both cases turning up the monster power results in you dying no matter what if you take a single mortar wave. It becomes a pure gear check.

2. For players who push the MP up anyways, it makes the game feel like it was designed around one-shots. In my previous example with mortar, some of you may be thinking "There's room for turning up the Monster Power, just don't get hit at all!". This isn't great either. It means my death feels very binary. One moment I'm at full health, the next instant I'm dead. It also means that once you decide you are going to accept being one-shot, you don't care about your health at all. Who cares if you have 20K or 40K health if you're going to die either way? We'd be in a better place if the mortar-dodger was allowed to take the occasional hit, but can handle a higher monster power as long as a majority of them are dodged.

3. Healing very rapidly back to full also loses all the fidelity of small attacks. If players are regularly going from full to nearly empty and back to full again on a regular basis, then there's no room for mechanics which act as a slow drain on your health. Plagued is a great example of this. We don't want Plagued to be something that kills you quickly, but it also shouldn't be something you ignore forever. Standing in a pool of poison should be something that adds tension to the fight. You know you're not going to die now, but you can see the threat looming. When healing rates are very high, there is no room for the slow drain damage sources - they become insignificant.

4. My current health loses meaning. Being at 95% health should mean you're relatively safe. Being at 5% health should mean you're almost dead. Being at 50% health should mean you're somewhat in danger and you should play it safe, but as long as you do you should be fine. These are all concepts that make intuitive sense. Unfortunately, they are not at all true in the current Diablo environment. When health pools are rapidly going from empty to full and back again, these health values all blur together.

5. You lose a lot of tactical combat opportunities. Tactical combat requires that the player can properly assess the situation and react accordingly. When your health pool moves up and down rapidly you are no longer reacting to dangers. A rapidly changing health globe means you are playing in a predictable pattern and crossing your fingers hoping that you live through it. You are playing in a way that avoids situations that will instantly kill you, but there's no tension associated with being low on health that would cause you to make a tactical decision to change your play pattern.

I'm saying all of this without pointing at any specific solutions. That's because there are no instant-fix solutions. It's a challenging problem that we're actively working on. Things aren't going to be perfect overnight, but improving the pacing of combat is something we constantly work on.

I will say that the first line of defense is reducing the rate at which players heal. After we pull in the rate of healing, next we analyze the patterns in which monsters deal damage. Ultimately, defensive stats will play a role in all of this. If some life regeneration, damage mitigation or (gasp) life on hit lets me play a little more aggressively, that's a good thing.
avatar Wyatt Cheng
Senior Technical Game Designer
#20 9/27/2013 1:26 AM PDT Post 213 (Source)
Hi guys, I've seen some great feedback so far. Let me answer a few questions and address some concerns.

Regarding the existing monster affixes. We'll be keeping an eye on these. For example, Reflects Damage internally has been changed to a flat amount rather than a percentage. I don't know if it's going to ship this way but that's the current internal version.

If we don't want a game defined by one-shot deaths, then we can't have damage that is defined by it's burstiness. Some people have suggested that the solution to making the game more tactical is to make all mechanics 100% avoidable. This sounds good on paper but unfortunately doesn't address one-shot deaths. What we want to do is avoid the extremes. Maybe in one case you can avoid all of the damage, but in another case "good play" means you avoid half of the damage. Having a broad spectrum of attacks with varying degrees of avoidability means both combat decisions and gear matter.

There have been some concerns that we'll swing back to the extremes of hyper-defensives builds such as when the game first came out. This is not the intention. As DrothVader pointed out, there's a middle ground here where you're able to gear and play offensively, but you still have to concern yourself with the dangerous affixes and other mechanics.

A clarification: When I said "After we pull in the rate of healing, next we analyze the patterns in which monsters deal damage" I meant those as steps in the development process. Sorry for the confusion. I didn't mean for a moment that we were going to release in between those two steps. As TheTruth posits, this is an iterative process. There are actually MANY steps involved, those are just the first two. We're changing a lot of things and we'll do a lot of testing of the whole package before putting it all live.

I also share ComposMentis' concerns that although we're trying to adjust how combat feels, we should make sure the result isn't a game that feels slow. Diablo is still an action RPG. As Bomdanil says, there's still a lot of room to "hack and slash through endless piles of monsters". Creating room for players to mitigate incoming damage through smart play is not mutually exclusive with being able to blow them up at a fast pace. A few people have jumped to the conclusion that tactical = slow, or created a false dilemna between "fast paced action RPG" and "strategic prolonged tactical combat". There are more possibilities than this. The goal is a game where the combat can still be very fast, and you are mowing down enemies, but you also get to make quick decisions about when to use a CC ability, when to pop a defensive ability or who to prioritize as a target. These are tactical decisions that don't detract from a fast pace.

I want to thank everybody for the really solid and constructive discussion. It's good to see so many thoughtful posts. I can't realistically respond to everything (such as the suggested modified damage model or some of the potion ideas) but I do appreciate that so many people put effort into stating their reasons and opinions clearly.
avatar Wyatt Cheng
Senior Technical Game Designer
#23 9/27/2013 11:07 AM PDT Post 244 (Source)
WIth the new emphasis on life on hit to stay alive, any word of returning some nerfed proc coefficients ...

We'll be doing a detailed tuning pass on all proc coefficients so Life On Hit and other effects work reliably across all skills. No single skill becomes the mandatory "go-to" because it's the only one that provides enough LoH to survive. Similarly we will ensure no skill's proc coefficient is too low to sustain you.

Rather than looking at things as buffs and nerfs to proc coefficients, think of it as the proc coefficients of skills being on equal footing with one another and the damage and healing of monsters is tuned against this baseline.