Author Topic: Diablo 4  (Read 173 times)

Marco

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Diablo 4
« on: November 20, 2019, 12:38:14 PM »
There's a blog post up about Diablo 4 system design.  A number of things sound different from Diablo 3 (items won't be as important to power level, rifts will be replaced with something more reminiscent of WoW's M+ dungeons), but nothing stands out as super cool or super bad to me.

https://us.diablo3.com/en/blog/23232022/system-design-in-diablo-iv-part-i-11-19-2019

Piralyn

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Re: Diablo 4
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2019, 01:07:54 PM »
A lot of it is pretty high level, so I wouldn't expect much to be controversial. There's some good motivations in there, at least.

I think the paragon leveling system worked well conceptually, at least. I think it's important for a game like this to have some incremental and vaguely infinite progression. Items can fill that aspect to an extent, but tying power exclusively to that can feel a bit crummy based on luck. There was a certain point--especially in non-seasonal--where paragon levels outweighed just about everything else. That's a half decade of power accruing, but I can understand their hesitance. Diablo 2 made is very difficult/grindy to actually ever reach max level and your character had what they "needed" usually by 60-70, which is an interesting angle but I'm not sure how well that would play in 2020.

Their thoughts on itemization are a good starting point. The way to re-inject fun into D3 was to drastically pump up damage via sets/legendaries and continually pump them up further every few seasons, which absolutely spiraled out of control. There's a tough balance here, though. Legendaries were absolute shit in vanilla D3 and rares were the key to success. I'm not going to complain about selling a couple of rare weapons for $100 each back then, but from a gameplay perspective, having 2893892 rares with random names and affixes and having to eyeball each one of them to try and identify which one is actually good is a bit of a crappy experience. Some of that is probably due to the inflation of the amount of loot that D3 had, though. I remember in D2, specifically saving a quest reward to convert an item to rare for weapons until way later in the game, because rare weapons could roll double leech and some other things that made them just about the best thing possible other than some expensive rune word(s).

I think a pivot back to the style of Uniques that D2 had where they might give you unusual effects or have combinations of affixes that aren't available anywhere else or do something unique (like Buriza's piercing bolts) that open up new builds/synergies. I feel like D3 had that early on after the first wave of loot revisions made them not total junk but as we got into double digit seasons they started making them the same way they made sets: adding six zeroes to something's damage.

Kharvek

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Re: Diablo 4
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2019, 04:38:16 PM »
The itemization ideas they have I think are solid.  They want to reign the set bonuses in so they're not the defacto choice at end game, but still want legendary powers to be good, interesting and not simple stat tweaks.

The thing they're doing I'm not happy with is the return to skill points and talent trees.  This feels like a way to go back to D2 just to appease that fanbase when I think the D3 system is *vastly* superior.

D3 encourages ability exploration, especially as you level up, unlock runes and get new legendaries that might encourage some abilities over other one.  The thing for me with runes is not only are the effects highly noticeable, they also change the audio/visual appearance of the ability in game.  The talent tree?  Won't do this.   I have a build of lightning spells.  So...I will have 5 abilities on my bar, which means I will dump my skill points into those five abilities.  (IE: Not an interesting choice to make)  I will then pick all the talents that buff lightning damage, and maybe a few that dictate playstyle.  IE: I'm using a close range spell as a primary damage dealer, I'll grab the talent that does more damage in close range.

The talents aren't interesting since they have to be generalized across all abilities.  They also can't change the visuals of abilities at all for the same reason, so we get that watered down list of buffs with skill points that don't offer that many meaningful choices all to get things to feel more like D2....which is a vastly inferior system to D3, and I'll say it, even Path of Exile.  Having a shitload of potential choices isn't interesting.  I like having the choices smaller, but give them actual impact.

Anyway, that's my big concern.  Also I have concerns about them dialing back legendary drops.  I agree at high levels of torment it's insane, but I think the normal drop rate playing the game without any torment modifiers it's pretty fair.  I feel like I get enough legendaries on a normal 1-70 levelling trip to keep it interesting.  I think they need some kind of escalation since at end game you're likely trying to find specific pieces, so they either need some way to ramp up drop rates, or a way to target drops.

Piralyn

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Re: Diablo 4
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2019, 07:10:33 AM »
I'll wait to see what the final iterations of the skill/talent system ultimately look like, but that is a fair concern.

When they added skill synergies in D2, skill points started feeling like they had a pretty significant impact beyond just picking up a few things and the rest not feeling important. The early skill points didn't have much impact since you were just trying to get to the skills you wanted, but I do remember feeling a big oomph from each skill point after a certain point as synergies cranked my Meteor or javelin throw damage way up. It also gave you the ability to have a variety of utility spells/abilities.

I don't know, though, that any of that will really be viable/feasible/valid with the direction they're headed though, since it sounds like they're headed toward the X number of slots system of D3 rather than the "you can set a bajillion hotkeys for 20 skills" system of D2. I don't know if the six skill slot system is particularly compatible with a skill point system, so it seems like there's a pretty huge risk of trying to split the difference and ending up with the bad parts of both. I'd imagine that's the primary tension with how the game is being developed/iterated, because it's going to be hard to have those two systems compliment each other.

We'll see how it shakes out in a more closer-to-final-product beta in 2089 or whenever.

Piralyn

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Re: Diablo 4
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2019, 09:32:16 AM »

Piralyn

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Re: Diablo 4
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2019, 09:45:24 AM »
Primary news:
Quote
   
  • We’re increasing the total number of affixes on items, including Magic (Blue), Rare (Yellow), and Legendary (Orange). This should raise the overall importance of non-Legendary affixes on your character’s overall level of power.
       
  • We are also introducing three new stats:
         
    •    Angelic Power, which increases the duration of all beneficial effects (like self-buffs or healing)
    •    Demonic Power, which increases the duration of all negative effects (like debuffs or damage over time)
    •    Ancestral Power, which increases the chance of on-hit effects (aka increased proc chance)
    These new stats can appear as affixes, such as +15 Angelic Power. In addition to providing the above-stated benefit, we want these new stats to also act as pre-requisites for empowering certain other affixes. If you don’t have enough of a specific power, you can still equip the item, but you may not benefit from an affix linked to that power.
My initial reaction to this is "Boo." Not sure that having three additional stats that are very limited in what they do is a compelling gameplay mechanic, although some of that of course will depend on how impactful the stat is. Also not a fan of having affixes on items locked behind a certain threshold of those stats. Depending on numbers, that could be a huge pain in the ass, especially if the stat isn't very common on items. Based on the example items, you'd have to have 4+ items with the stat on it to get the benefits of the affix(es) locked behind it. That seems like an unnecessarily obnoxious gear management requirement--especially since there's three different branches--like even worse than the expertise/hit cap juggling without going too much over that we had in earlier iterations of WoW.

I think the stats themselves are probably okay if not particularly compelling, but I suspect/hope that locking affixes behind thresholds of those stats will probably not make it out of testing once it's seen in practice.

The other news, of a random item drop that can add a legendary affix to a rare item is pretty neat and reminiscent of some of the quest rewards in D2 (imbuing a Superior quality common item, adding a socket to uniques, etc) which I was fond of. Some potential frustration in trying to find the 1 out of 100 affix items when they drop as rarely as Ram's Gift in D3, but I really like the base idea/goal.


Kharvek

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Re: Diablo 4
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2019, 12:03:17 PM »
Yeah.  My initial response to that is....meh.  It feels like they're trying to add complexity to the system for the sake of it.  It's always tough to think of generalized affixes that create compelling gameplay.  Creating arbitrary thresholds of a stat to enable other traits ends up being annoying since you have to juggle the math instead of just equipping items that do interesting things for you.  It gates the "I want to play with this" with "You must perform the correct calculations"  It can artifically extend parts of the end game, but not in a way that I would find satisfying.  Part of what makes D3 work so well as an ARPG is it does a great job of not having many hurdles getting in the way of your experimentation.

General stats that empower buffs/debuffs/proc chances are decent generic affixes though for generalized purposes.  I can think of a thing like the daibo in D3 that has a proc to double your attack speed where stacking proc chance gear would be really good for something like that, so props to them for coming up with a generalized affix that is new and interesting since I feel like that well is pretty tapped at this point.  The real money is more specific affixes that modify a very specific skill, or aspect to a class.  (Think etched sigil where it makes wizard channeled spells also freecast their normal spells at the same time)

I largely agree with Tom that I bet this stuff wildly morphs from now until release.  They announced D3 extremely early and the vision of D3 at announce compared to D3 at launch, compared to D3 post expansion?  They're all extremely different.  (Original D3 had skill runs as a drop)  It sounds like they announced this game extremely early too to make up for the bad press they got last Blizzcon.  (And leading up to this one with all the other random shit they've mishandled)

I'll be curious where they end up.  D3 is a tough act to follow.  (Modern D3.  Launch quality D3 was ass)


**andius

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Re: Diablo 4
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2019, 12:28:10 PM »
After Blizzcon in 2020 I'll be more interested in what they are saying about the game until then I'll read what I come across but I'm not going out looking for information about the game.
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Piralyn

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Re: Diablo 4
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2019, 01:44:36 PM »
Yeah.  My initial response to that is....meh.  It feels like they're trying to add complexity to the system for the sake of it.  It's always tough to think of generalized affixes that create compelling gameplay.  Creating arbitrary thresholds of a stat to enable other traits ends up being annoying since you have to juggle the math instead of just equipping items that do interesting things for you.  It gates the "I want to play with this" with "You must perform the correct calculations"  It can artifically extend parts of the end game, but not in a way that I would find satisfying.  Part of what makes D3 work so well as an ARPG is it does a great job of not having many hurdles getting in the way of your experimentation.

I think pre-reqs are fine to an extent, but mostly when it's done as a very gentle way to block out items for certain classes/builds. Like giant platemail requiring strength? Sure. A lot of classes will have that naturally with what you build them towards, so all good. The Sorc that spends all of her points on Int/Mana can't wear it? Sure, that makes sense thematically and gives you some motivation to diversify a bit if you want to use it on something other than a Barb or whatever. Those kind of pre-reqs are handled fairly naturally in a lot of cases. There's the potential pitfall of "This item is amazing but I didn't allocate stats with it in mind sixty levels ago so I'm shit out of luck" but I think that a lot of those kind of items with that heavy stat requirement should be built with the classes that will likely have those stats in the first place.

The problem with these power stats as pre-reqs is that I don't imagine they're going to be naturally showing up on characters. There might be some interesting gameplay wrinkles--which may also help alleviate some of your non-impactful talent concerns--if they have some amount of those show up in the talent trees. Like maybe the Barb has a bunch of the ancestral power stat in one of his trees to pump up crushing blows and make activating those affixes easier, and another tree has Angelic Power to support the various war cry/shout skills. Maybe there isn't Demonic Power in his trees because it doesn't fit his archetypes.

I'll expect my offer letter in the mail, BLIZZARD.

Marco

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Re: Diablo 4
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2019, 02:05:03 PM »
Yeah.  My initial response to that is....meh.  It feels like they're trying to add complexity to the system for the sake of it.
I may be reading too much into the article, but it sounds like D4 items won't have str/int/dex affixes, instead having a generic "attack" on weapons and "defense" on armor (not including jewelry).  So they probably have room to add some complexity, having taken some away.

That said, I'm not sure the thresholds make for good itemization gameplay.  "Here's an unrelated bonus if you've managed to buff your positive effect duration by a certain amount" feels pretty strange.

Piralyn

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Re: Diablo 4
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2019, 02:16:38 PM »
Yeah.  My initial response to that is....meh.  It feels like they're trying to add complexity to the system for the sake of it.
I may be reading too much into the article, but it sounds like D4 items won't have str/int/dex affixes, instead having a generic "attack" on weapons and "defense" on armor (not including jewelry).  So they probably have room to add some complexity, having taken some away.

That's a good observation, since the pair of sample items they showed didn't have anything resembling primary stats.

I'm not sure that only having "attack" on weapons and "defense" on armor is great from a RPG standpoint either. I guess in practice, with all the other +crit damage or whatever affixes, armor can still contribute to your damage scaling up... still feels weird. It's also possible they're talking about just not having a flat +attack rating on those items rather than no "primary stats" but this is probably build 0.2 so.

This is probably why most places don't reveal games/systems this early.

Piralyn

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Re: Diablo 4
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2019, 02:20:20 PM »
After digging up BlizzCon photos, looks like Marco is correct in their current iteration



Obviously amulets won't have those any more, but this lines up with the "1418 Defense" on the sample item in the new blog post. This seems counter-intuitive to their "Customization! Choice! Hard to master!" design philosophy since a bulk majority of the stats appear to be mushed down into a flat attack/defense, but we'll see what affixes evolve in 2037.