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The current fast and always available respec can work, if:
1) Monsters will be capable to adopt dynamically to your build to even the fight (within the balance)
For example. If you choose single nuke build against King Skeleton he will use some protective skill and rise a lot of weaker skeletons. If you will come with AOE build he would rise less but more powerful skeletons.
2) Game events will keep you always unsure what is the best build for a particular situation.
For example: The area is designed mainly for an AOE build to hint you into the AOE build. But the Skeleton King will randomly appear and attack you. Once he is at 50% life he disappears, regenerates and attack you randomly again and again till you reach his room to finally kill him.
EDIT: 3) Randomization of attacks and tactics
This is a simplified variation of the option 1. Every boss would have couple of different tactics how to fight and he would choose between them randomly. He would use only one tactic for a single fight. This would make it harder to find the best build becase it would have to be a build which is the most effective against all or most tactics. This can be combined with lesser mobs randomization. If an extraordinary good build would be found then devs can implement specific tactic to even the boss with this build.
EDIT: 4) Long term skill specialization system
Based on the same features as the specialization via gear system. It limits skill swapping to a same degree as gear system limits gear swapping. Because gear system is considered as a core feature of Diablo there is a potential that the same can apply for skill specialization system if executed right. The easies way to do it is to create skills and runes +affixes on gear. Disadvantage is that it can be too much gear centric, it is not possible to make skill swapping more available without making gear more available, it prevents gear swapping even more (which could be considered as an advantage).
Any other idea?
The most of the points above assumes you couldn't change skills in fight and if you would leave boss effective area and return back then boss would select tactic against you randomly again.
In such a case you would really choose your character based on how you want to play. But if there will be any other motivation like getting an advantage for a particular fight or because you have to (game balanced assuming you will swap skills) then it is badly executed.
If the game will allow players to dynamically adopt to a situation but the game will not dynamically adopt to players then the idea of free and always available respec is nice but badly executed, imho.
Note, I expect the game won't be based on a often skill swapping requirement as it brings a lot of other problems - pacing, balance, defeating the purpose of 6 active skills only. It could be used sparingly to spice up the game though.
EDIT: Replaced phrase 'counter your build' into 'even the fight'.
Edited by Mannanan on 06/03/2012 14:20 GMT
The only reason why you would respecc is because your current build lacks in a way to defeat the content you're facing. In other word you're adopting your build to the monsters you're facing. We have no idea how monsters will be at higher difficulty levels, so it amazes me people can say it's badly executed with hardly any knowledge of how the completed game will be.
Your suggestion would never work. As we get the skills as we level your suggestion would mean that on normal you would have to wait to pick the skills for your build until they get available, leaving the slots open all the previuos levels or you wouldn't be able to change them to something else later on. Even on normal you won't beat the content like that.
I don't like this idea. If the skeleton king counters your single target nuke build you can just switch to an AoE build. And now that the skeleton king is raising lots of weak minions you'll demolish him easily. I don't think it's fun to constantly have to tinker with your build while in a fight.
Edited by IxNine on 03/03/2012 15:55 GMT
You can't switch builds when you are in fight already.
The art/skill of the game will come from creating a build that can take out many different "Random affix" Rares/Champs without having to change the spec of your char.
There will always be one, no doubt, that kicks your !@#. But that's fine by me.
I don't need a fast and always available respec. I have a slow and always available one, and I don't intend to use it too much at lvl60 anyway.
I'm not sure about this so don't shoot me if i'm wrong.
I would think that this "reading the players build" would ask alot more calculations from the server then the "just run your boss-script and use your oneshot-onekill ability every 25% hp".
So in my opinion the servers wouldn't be able to handle all these extra calculations. (imagine millions of bossfights with smarter AI per minute). Again, I'm not sure about this ;)
It could have some impact but the decision making is just a simple switch which is not performance hungry. but yes, more complicated AI would be heavy on a server.
Another option how it can be done is that fight tactics and monsters affixes would randomly change for monsters in areas. For example:
In your first run monsters in area A1 whould use tactic T1 and they would have affixes AFF1. In area A2 monsters would use tactic T2 and they would have affixes AFF2.
In your second run monsters in area A1 would use tactic T2 and they would have affixes AFF2. In area A1 they would use tactic T1 and they would have affixes AFF2.
Combined with ENEMY_NEARBY character status when you could not swap skills it would be much harder to prepare for the fight with perfect skill selection because you would not know what is next. You could return to town but it would be very ineffecient.
It seems there are options how to make skill swapping natively non-viable without a need to force some limitations. I'm looking forward.
To be precise. Right now you can but it is not a problem to implement character states 'IN_FIGHT' and 'ENEMY_NEARBY' and prohibit skill swapping when a character has these states. Then you could probably remove the cooldown completely because if you want to switch you have to run away from enemies or teleport from town which I believe would even out with 15 sec cooldown. Actually I believe that the current cooldown implementation is only an ad-hock solution for beta, but it is only my personal speculation.
So what you are saying is that the game should always counter our build, so whenever we choose what should be an awesome build the game just $hits all over us, and actually punishes the player for their build choice??
@Krakatoa and others
It was my fault to use phrase 'counter your build (within the balance)' to confuse you. It wasn't ment to counter but to make the fight equal for different builds. So it would be much harder to find single best build for a particular fight because such a build would have to be the most effective for all or at least most possible tactics the boss is uses.
Then I realize that it could be enough if any boss would have couple of different tactics and he would randomly choose one from them to fight you. The even you would know that this build is the best against boss_1 and his tactic_3 you still don't know if you will fight tactic_3 or 1,2,4,5... Combined with a general lesser mobs randomization this could create an enviroment where skill swapping on purpose not because you actually want is not viable. Assuming you couldn't change skills in fight and if you would leave boss effective area and return back then boss would select tactic against you randomly again.
If it would be random you would not notice at all. You would just know that bosses use random tactics. So you couldn't be sure what will be the best counter against them and use some of viable builds. Not a optimal one against a particular boss.
If you need to respec all the time you have done something seriously wrong with your skill choice.
In the full game, you will respec under these conditions.
1. You join a session to find out that a certain role is needed. Once off respec as you join.
2. While playing you notice that a party member is using overlapping skills (such as same mantra) so you respec to improve skill efficiency.
3. You notice that current skill allocation choices were poorly made for how you are meant to be playing so you respec to refine effectiveness.
4. You are bored of using the same skills all the time so you respec for refreshment.
You should not be respecing because you are about to fight a boss so you choose high DPS moves.
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