A thought about Diablo 3 diffiulty levels

Posted by ildon (355 posts) -

I had a thought about an alternative way to handle difficulty levels in Diablo III. One of the complaints I've heard about newcomers to the franchise -- and even a lot of people coming back from Diablo and Diablo II -- is that they have to play through the game three times before reaching the end game, and that at least two of those playthroughs are trivially simple. The monster power system helps with this a little bit, allowing you to at least blow through those early parts of the game faster if you have very good gear, but while it increases the HP and damage of monsters (and their XP reward), it doesn't increase their complexity. Normal mode monsters still only have one affix.

It's true that this game is basically about running the same content over and over, so I feel like the real issue to address is not necessarily having to run the same content over and over, but the lack of difficulty due to lower monster complexity at lower levels, rather than just the HP/damage. So what if you could choose any of the three initial difficulty levels when starting the game? If you're worried about new players getting themselves in trouble, force them to reach a certain level or story beat to unlock the higher difficulties initially, and then allow them to choose any difficulty at level 1 on subsequent characters.

Anyway, the way it would work is that when you start a game, you could choose between the Normal/Nightmare/Hell difficulties at any level without having to kill Diablo on the previous difficulty to unlock the next. The difficulty level would affect the complexity of the elite monsters encountered. Normal mode would have single-affix elites, Nightmare would have double-affix elites, and Hell would have 3-4 affix elites. Levels would no longer be directly tied to the difficulty selected. The monsters would scale down to your current level (or maybe +1 or +2 if you picked Nightmare or Hell respectively) up to a maximum. So if you started a Normal game, the monsters would scale to your level up until about level 20 or 25, and then they would stop scaling and stay at that level. Nightmare monsters would scale up to 45 or so. Hell monsters would scale up to 60. Monster Power would still work as it currently does. Inferno mode would still be exclusive to max level players and not be changed at all.

You'd still have to play through the game multiple times to reach max level, but your playthroughs could all potentially be interesting, which is important to making it feel less like a soulless grind. It also more elegantly allows for expansions to increase the max level, and allows you to insert chapters for expansions.

Anyway, just an idea I had that I needed to write down somewhere.

Edit: Yeah, higher difficulties would also have increase MF%/GF%/XP% or whatever incentives are necessary beyond just having a more interesting play experience.

#1 Edited by randocalrissian (1 posts) -

Great points. When is Blizzard going to implement this? :P

#2 Posted by Zirilius (565 posts) -

@ildon said:

I had a thought about an alternative way to handle difficulty levels in Diablo III. One of the complaints I've heard about newcomers to the franchise -- and even a lot of people coming back from Diablo and Diablo II -- is that they have to play through the game three times before reaching the end game, and that at least two of those playthroughs are trivially simple. The monster power system helps with this a little bit, allowing you to at least blow through those early parts of the game faster if you have very good gear, but while it increases the HP and damage of monsters (and their XP reward), it doesn't increase their complexity. Normal mode monsters still only have one affix.

It's true that this game is basically about running the same content over and over, so I feel like the real issue to address is not necessarily having to run the same content over and over, but the lack of difficulty due to lower monster complexity at lower levels, rather than just the HP/damage. So what if you could choose any of the three initial difficulty levels when starting the game? If you're worried about new players getting themselves in trouble, force them to reach a certain level or story beat to unlock the higher difficulties initially, and then allow them to choose any difficulty at level 1 on subsequent characters.

Anyway, the way it would work is that when you start a game, you could choose between the Normal/Nightmare/Hell difficulties at any level without having to kill Diablo on the previous difficulty to unlock the next. The difficulty level would affect the complexity of the elite monsters encountered. Normal mode would have single-affix elites, Nightmare would have double-affix elites, and Hell would have 3-4 affix elites. Levels would no longer be directly tied to the difficulty selected. The monsters would scale down to your current level (or maybe +1 or +2 if you picked Nightmare or Hell respectively) up to a maximum. So if you started a Normal game, the monsters would scale to your level up until about level 20 or 25, and then they would stop scaling and stay at that level. Nightmare monsters would scale up to 45 or so. Hell monsters would scale up to 60. Monster Power would still work as it currently does. Inferno mode would still be exclusive to max level players and not be changed at all.

You'd still have to play through the game multiple times to reach max level, but your playthroughs could all potentially be interesting, which is important to making it feel less like a soulless grind. It also more elegantly allows for expansions to increase the max level, and allows you to insert chapters for expansions.

Anyway, just an idea I had that I needed to write down somewhere.

Edit: Yeah, higher difficulties would also have increase MF%/GF%/XP% or whatever incentives are necessary beyond just having a more interesting play experience.

So how is it any different than what they already do. Elites in each difficulty get an additional resistance/debuff/proc per difficutly. And on inferno difficulty you can select what the monster difficulty is on a scale from 1-10.

The biggest complaint is not the difficulty of the monsters but the gear discrepancy between Hell and Inferno difficulty. I breezed through Hell on my DH when the game first came out. At level 60 with a fairlyl decent set of gear I could barely touch mobs in Act 1 on Inferno. Farming for gear on Hell wasn't an issue at the time cause the item level of gear I needed had very low chances to drop (I'd say less than 3% on mobs) and farming on Inferno was a no go simply cause I couldn't do the damage output I needed to take mobs down in a timely fashion.

They have since fixed a lot of the issues but the gear discrepancy between Hell and Inferno is still there. Thankfully the AH is up and its a better place to get better gear but even still it can be a bit of a nightmare.

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#3 Posted by ildon (355 posts) -
@zirilius said:

So how is it any different than what they already do. Elites in each difficulty get an additional resistance/debuff/proc per difficutly. And on inferno difficulty you can select what the monster difficulty is on a scale from 1-10.

Monster Power is actually available from the very start of the game, but all it does gameplay-wise is scale up monster damage output and HP. It doesn't increase the complexity of the monsters encountered. Even on MP10 at level one on Normal mode, elites only have a single affix. A monster on MP10 that only has, for example, the waller affix is not complex or interesting to fight. It just has a ton of HP and takes forever to kill. If the monster had waller, vortex, and mortar, like Hell monsters can have, then it could have the potentially to be tactically interesting to fight regardless of if you ran MP10 on a completely twinked character or MP0 on a brand new ungeared character.

#4 Edited by ajamafalous (11796 posts) -

If you're really deadset on changing something, then I think a better idea would be to make it so that higher MPs at lower difficulties could increase the number of affixes champions and elites have.

I am and always will be fundamentally opposed to any talk of eliminating the Normal -> Nightmare -> Hell progression because it would mean removing one of the core pillars of the Diablo franchise and genre.

#5 Edited by ildon (355 posts) -

If you're really deadset on changing something, then I think a better idea would be to make it so that higher MPs at lower difficulties could increase the number of affixes champions and elites have.

I am and always will be fundamentally opposed to any talk of eliminating the Normal -> Nightmare -> Hell progression because it would mean removing one of the core pillars of the Diablo franchise and genre.

I feel like that sentiment is the only reason the difficulties still exist as they are. I don't think it's necessarily valid. Sometimes to improve or grow a game you have to look at whether you're doing something just to follow tradition or because it actually brings something to the game.

Additionally, the "default" progression could still be "normal -> nightmare -> hell" if you didn't explicitly change the difficulty in a system like the one I proposed.

#6 Posted by ajamafalous (11796 posts) -
@ildon said:

@ajamafalous said:

If you're really deadset on changing something, then I think a better idea would be to make it so that higher MPs at lower difficulties could increase the number of affixes champions and elites have.

I am and always will be fundamentally opposed to any talk of eliminating the Normal -> Nightmare -> Hell progression because it would mean removing one of the core pillars of the Diablo franchise and genre.

I feel like that sentiment is the only reason the difficulties still exist as they are. I don't think it's necessarily valid. Sometimes to improve or grow a game you have to look at whether you're doing something just to follow tradition or because it actually brings something to the game.

Additionally, the "default" progression could still be "normal -> nightmare -> hell" if you didn't explicitly change the difficulty in a system like the one I proposed.

My issue is that repeating content with increased difficulty is a staple of both Diablo and hack and slash games in general; it's honestly one of the reasons I enjoy them so much. At a certain point you're removing one of the key things that makes Diablo Diablo.

This next part isn't aimed at you in particular, but just gamers in general: I feel like too many people want to change every single game that comes out to suit their wants. Not every game needs to be for every person; it's perfectly okay to to not play a game because it's not for you, and it's something that most people seem to not realize. The homogenization of games / increased 'accessibility' for a broader audience at the cost of complexity or defining characteristics is one of those things that bothers the everloving hell out of me.

#7 Edited by EXTomar (4443 posts) -

I believe Diablo 3 has these 2 big problems:

- Too many confined spaces while champions have area denial abilities.This used to be lot worse where you'd get stacks of champs clustered around with basically every effect available in a tiny space. The later patches toned that down but the fundamental problem still remains that fighting in tight spaces with bombastic effects is not fun. Fighting in tight spaces against area denial is very unfun. The combination is really unpleasant.

Another way to think about it: Champ abilities should have been designed in with the monsters.

- Not enough dynamics and variety

Although it makes sense that the boss are treated as "nodes" to journey between the interstitial are still too regular and there is no dynamic or randomness to it. This just reminds players they are grinding because they've past the same area for the nth time this week.

Addressing those two will help with Replay-ability which is really the problem with having so many difficulty levels. As for difficulty, I do wonder if they should have dropped one of the difficulty settings and retuned for 3+ instead of 4+.

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#9 Posted by Guesty_01 (339 posts) -

Hi guys, question about monster power. Does the increase in MP affect the quality of the loot dropped, or merely the amount of it. In other words is a legendary or rare item dropped from a MP 1 game likely to be better than one dropped from a Normal game?

I'm currently playing through Diablo 3 for the very first time on PS3, and today I've bumped it up to MP1 from Normal because I was just steaming through the game with zero challenge.

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