Itemization in Diablo 3 is one of the most improvable aspects of the game so i think most feedback should be directed towards this area. This feedback is NOT supposed to be a demand towards our dear CMs but rather a thought-process of the community agreeing/disagreeing with one another to reveal strengths and weaknesses of the suggested ideas to reduce the ...
Disparity of perspectives
Going by the premise of humans being rational (not logical) it´s possible to say that people standing at the exact same viewpoint of a certain topic are going to make the exact same conclusions. Consensus isn´t met every time when ideas from individuals coming from different perspectives collide and no one is capable or willing to change the personal perspective. This is where the world wide web shines. It allows to bring probably any viewpoint possible to the table and allows to look at the topics from a greater distance from many angles. So provide every thought you guys have, everything that doesn´t suit you everything you disagree with so we can create the improved...
Carrot on a stick
The carrot on a stick is the most simplified model of motivation through anticipation of a reward. Biggest problem of this analogy is the lack of showing possibilities how to increase the hunger of the "carrot-chaser". Many Diablo players i have talked to feel the carrot they are chasing right now is either to hard to catch or does not satisfy enough when caught. The most simple way to address this issue is to simply add more carrots to the equation. But let´s not leave it at carrots, we want apples, hot dogs and German "Wurst" tingling in front of our eyes. Adding more and more motivators has the benefit that we can allow the chaser to more often catch something he was chasing for, but even more importantly to give him "Wurst" while he was chasing the apple. Convincing us to get things we didn´t even know we are hungry for is such a diabolic process that simply confuses us and as soon as we start chasing every stick and being rewarded with even the smallest forms of rewards most players will stick to chasing it. So let´s add more carrots via ...
Parallel progression ! Important !
THIS is the most lackluster principle about Diablo 3 at the moment. Currently there are to few carrots to chase. Parallel progression means we improve on multiple aspects simultaneously. The current game SHOULD allow to always make small steps of improvement no matter in what direction we are going. But there aren´t enough tabs to progress in. Currently there are:
- Paragon levels: Every time you kill anything you gain XP
- Gem upgrades: On every kill you have the possibility to find a gem and move closer to the "gem-limit". Per gem slot you will need 729 gems of the same type. It´s like a second XP bar that increases by 1 every time a needed gem drops.
- Items (Screen-DPS): The most important tab of progression, but also the one that has the biggest problem. Items that are found at the moment don´t have "character". People are not searching for new boots, for a new weapon or for a new ring. They look for an overall + in the DPS screen. Sometimes it feels like there is only one item-slot called the "DPS-Screen"-charslot. This was done better in Diablo 2 where people explicitly looked for white items to fill the weapon slot and then put a check on that slot and tried to improve the other ones.
- Knowledge: When unexperienced people gain new informations on every run. Identifying which events to skip, what the map layout looks like and how to fight certain monsters, etc.
These tabs are already allow for a good feeling of parallel progression, but people want more, so let´s start by adding better crafting and adding imbues!
Crafting in other games:
Diablo 2: The most famous one. I´m going to stick to the "Item-crafting". This was the most complex item-system of the game but also had the chance to create the best items for many slots. To craft properly one had to find many types of items and acquire a lot of knowledge. There are ilvls, clvls, alvls, affixes, recipes and itemtypes that needed to be studied and while farming the mats you always had a chance to also find things you were not looking for which made it feel even more rewarding.
+ Could be very rewarding
+ Progression in many tabs
Probably one of the best crafting systems was titan quests charm/relic hunting. These imbues were bound to monster types and only these could drop the items. There were 3-5 parts each imbue consisted of and there were 20+ types of imbues. Each imbue could only be cast on certain armor types and only if the item is not of unique quality. Here is where the magic happens: The small parts held a small bonus that always increased by the same amount for every new part added but once the charm was completed new affixes from a new affix pool were added!
Example: Incarnation of Hektor´s shadow: 60 defense & 3 % chance to dodge projectiles per part. On completion the imbue additionally rolled one of the following stats: 65 defense, 450 life, 26 strength, 16% armorpen, 41% reistance.
This might seem redundant but in the game it created great incentives to use rare items instead of uniques and farming for the rare ones could keep people entertained for hours every time they found an upgrade. My absolute favourite system.
+ Great customization and incentive to farm
- The monsters that dropped charms didn´t drop anything else and didn´t allow for parallel progression
A very unusual form of crafting but it had its hights. For a small fee you had a chance to either add an affix, not change anything about the item, or remove all existing affixes.
+ Very simple, very fast
+ Items are never completed
- Risk of item going from hero to zero was to big.
- tooo random.
Ideas for Diablo 3
As mentioned above imbues, to me, are the greatest type of progression in ARPGs. The idea is to create a new item-type that has varying loot-tables for each region. These items can imbue certain item-slots and those can not be of unique quality. They consist of several parts (3-7) and each part roles random stats of the same affix and can be imbued on an item even if the imbue is not completed. If combined the affixes add up and if completed they also gain a new affix from a new affix pool. If this new affix is an ability a more detailed description is available in the "imbue-window" Imbues start dropping in Hell difficulty. Imbued items can not be traded.
Example: In the cathedral, the crypts and the festering woods each monster has a chance to drop an "imbue of withering". This item is an additional item drop and does not effect other item drops. It is not influenced by magic find and they can not be traded. The "imbue of withering" consists of 6 parts. It can only imbue amulets. The base attribute of each part is "+2-8 intelligence, 1-3 strength". A completed imbue can vary from +12 intelligence and +6 strength to +48 intelligence and +18 strength. When the imbue is completed it gains an additional random affix giving the imbue a random passive from any class (only the respective classes can use it).
If implemented correctly these imbues can create huge incentives to keep farming and improving. What does correct implementation look like? Important rules are:
- Easy to achieve, very very hard to perfect: The first step to make this possible is randomization. Everybody will be able to complete imbues but most of them will be of average quality if rushed. Those that want perfect ones will have to farm for a longer time. The second step is to make people lose the imbue, once it has been used. If you managed to craft a perfect one, it is necessary to still have incentive to craft those. So the imbue has to be lost if the amulet is switched.
- Make them farmable, but not as an exclusive type of progression: As mentioned in the example these things have to drop WHILE killing whatever you want to. If you limit them to an area where ONLY imbues drop, people get tunnel visioned and are saddened every time they don´t get the drop they wanted. But making them drop at completely random locations makes it to hard and to unrewarding to strive and hunt for those. So the perfect solution is to bind certain imbues to certain places that allow for efficient farming but not at the cost of normal loot.
- The inventory problem: The biggest problem is the space these little imbues take up. I think usually people will want to farm at least for two sorts PER imbue. One perfect slot that wants the best stats and one "trash" slot that people just want to complete so they can get the completion affix. But i wouldn´t call it a problem, if there wasn´t a possible solution to this. By creating a new "imbue-screen" that has all imbues listed you can not only create an easy way of informing people which imbues exist but also give them the possibility to craft one imbue in the window. If people want to work on more than one imbue they will have to give up a slot in their inventory. I´m thinking about creating 20 imbues, so the window would consist of two rows with ten imbues per row. All available imbues will be listed there and be greyed out until the player stores a partial or a completed imbue in the slot. The player can drag this imbue out and use it on an item at any given time. If moving the mouse over an imbue in the "imbues-screen" a tooltip saying "This magical tool can increase it´s wearers intellect and strength if used properly. It was seen to be created as a side product when corpses in the foul crypts and graveyards were reawakened." to show people what the imbue does and give a rough description where it can drop.