poniedziałek, 17 marca 2014

Hardcore's look at the current state of Diablo - How to make this game more appealing? Ladders are simply not enough.

I remember when I entered the old inferno for the first time. It was really, really challenging and I miss it every day. I hate the fact that now, torment I can be cleared by literally EVERYONE. It requires no effort whatsoever,  all you need to do is farm few rare items for couple of hours and you are good to go. That is not how it used to be back in the day.

I fear that players will clear the new torment difficulty in the first few days and I must say that this really sucks, at least for me. Let me clarify something before someone asks what am I rambling about. After all, inferno was indeed cleared within the first few days of Diablo. Yeah it was, on SOFTCORE. I do not care about softcore. There is nothing challenging about skipping everything and rushing diablo (and in the process dying a few times). But the old inferno was IMPOSSIBLE to rush on Hardcore. Only one person in the entire world managed to kill diablo before the infamous inferno nerf. And that made diablo an amazing experience for me, at least during the first few months. I was playing only on hardcore and I loved the fact how challenging it was to progress act 2, 3 and 4. Even act 1, while easier, was still challenging if you lacked decent gear (and it was not that easy to get good gear on HC).

I am still confused why Blizzard decided to separate inferno into 10 different difficulties (and now with torment, into 6 different ones) - there should be only one torment/inferno difficulty and it should be nearly impossible to complete. It should take MONTHS to progress, not weeks or even days (and that is how long it will take for people to have torment 1 on farm).  I remember people whining about torment being too hard. I guess that is why inferno was nerfed, to make the casual masses happy. I remember a blue post stating that Inferno would NEVER be nerfed, now matter how much we would complain. Yeah, right. I talked about this a lot with a friend of mine and he told me: "Am I seeing some tendencies from WoW? Oh, the dreaded LFR, whoever came up with the idea of LFR should be banned for life from working in the gaming industry, I mean it." I did not agree with him., I am fine with people wanting to see the entire content of the game. Sure, I would prefer if some content was exclusive and extremely hard to access but hey, business is buisness so I can understand Blizzard's philosophy. As long as difficulties are separated, so be it. Well, what Blizzard did with Diablo is even worse. Imagine that heroic difficulty in wow (or mythic now) would be separated into heroic 1,2,3,4,5 and 6. 6 being something like the current heroic while the first 5 difficulties are much more easier to do. Now imagine, that everyone can get heroic gear, his odds are just lower if he is doing it on lower heroic difficulties. How ridiculous would that be? Whats the point of numerous difficulty levels such as hard, expert and master if all of them are really too trivial. I thought that the original intention was: get from normal to hard rather quickly and then climb your way contentiously more slowly to expert, master and finally torment. Right now, you can just jump into master or even torment 1 in a really average gear, without much issues.

So the question is: what to do? I see 2 possible solutions. First one being the removal of 6 different torment difficulties, and merging them into one, extremely hard, truly TORMENT difficulty. As for the second, more easier to implement one (it is more of a compromise): simply add separate Torment VI achievements. The first solution will most likely simply not happen so I guess the latter it is. By adding separate achievements, you will make more hardcore players more happy and killing a final boss on highest possible difficulty will actually mean something (at least on hardcore). This, will also make race to world first a lot more exciting. 

I would also like to propose something entirely different; revamp of torment or addition of another difficulty level (which to me, seems unnecessary, I still think that torment should be revamped). Diablo 3 is a hack'n'slash game, while your personal skill and knowledge of your class are both important factors that translate into how successful you are, gear and RNG of acquiring the said gear are equally or even more important.

Does it have to be so? I think that some things are nearly not as deadly as they should be on torment while others are actually too hard. As an example: right now, when I am playing torment on my barbarian with over 5 million toughness, I can ignore most mechanics that I should in fact dodge. Sometimes it is better for me not to avoid them to pull out more DPS or simply to be able to use more procs of Revenge. That is not the way torment should be played. There are TONS of mechanics in Diablo 3 that can be avoided by every class - such mechanics should be REALLY, REALLY deadly and not avoiding them should be fatal. I am talking about all the boss mechanics, environmental damage (traps, flames etc.) and so on. Instead of making some elite packs insanely hard with mechanics that are unavoidable, you should focus more on making mechanics that CAN be avoided, more deadly. This will make the game more skill based, less frustrating and most important of all - more fun to play.

Now as for the ladders - this is one of the features that I am most excited about. I am really hoping that Blizzard will get this right, making the game more attractive for competitive players. I, for one, am such a player and I love to compete. I don't really enjoy farming better gear just so that my character can clear moderately difficult content few seconds faster. I need to have some purpose.

Now I wonder, what kind of ladders will Blizzard implement? Will they be based on your paragon level, your amount of elite packs killed or on amount of story playthroughs? Or perhaps all of them combined? That remains to be seen, I just wanted to throw in some ideas of mine concerning ladders:

First and foremost, being best on the ladder should not be about farming one spot. Assuming that amount of XP gained will account into your ladder score, players will have to continuously, farm one, best spot. This will make the game boring and not fun to play. How to fix this? Simply introduce some sort of bonus for completing the entire game. The said bonus needs to be large enough so that it is actually worth it to play through all 5 acts and get all quests done. You could also introduce additional incentive for completing random events that you are introducing in RoS (nephalem rifts, cursed chests etc.). 

Now, as for the second idea - players who want to be on top of the ladder should play the game in the most hardcore possible way. Lets assume that your DPS and toughness values are high enough to clear Torment 3. Still, you choose to farm torment 1 because it is simply more efficient, you are one shooting all the mobs and thus gain more XP than you would on Torment 3. This needs to be changed. If I stand a chance to get torment 3 done I should REALLY WANT TO progress it, not farm torment 1 that I simply overgear. Perhaps introduce some sort of ladder score bonus for world first kills of each torment difficulty. Just brainstorming here, this might be not a good idea on a softcore ladder where a lot of game content can be easily skipped. 

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