Content of the article: "Defensive Depth and Flavor"
First off, this is not a direct response to the quarterly update. I understand their itemization is still a work in progress and I very much look forward to the itemization focused update. However, I do want to simply make a post with some ideas that I would love to see in game, and maybe help trigger some ideas.
I feel like the direction of itemization so far has been very offensively minded. I just wanted to bring some attention to the defense aspect of things. In the same way I want to build my character and choose how I deal damage, I also want to choose how I can survive in the dangerous demon filled world. I would love some flavor around defensive base items. I want to feel scared when surrounded and also feel as though my choices mean something tangible. In a game like Diablo, I believe we need defense to have RPG elements. A major downfall to D3's defense system was that all systems felt the same. Everything simply translated to some form of effective hp increase (EHP), in the form of Life, Armor, Resists, which in my eyes ended up being a little boring.
Not putting on nostalgia goggles, but I did like the concept of hit recovery in D2, but hated D2's system of defense. I am referring to defense translating into essentially what we know as evasion. Higher defense = more chance to evade which means less damage taken and instances of being put into hit recovery. Hit recovery would make taking damage very scary as it locked you in place. It was a secondary defensive system that you needed to deal with.
My suggestion which would add some "flavor" and depth to the defensive system in the game is to bring back hit recovery and also the variety of different defensive schemes. I think at the core, the system of life, resistances, evasion, and armor (an hp buffer) is tried and true. Its a defensive combination that feels extensive but not convoluted. Path of Exile uses this system and I love how players have to make a choice on which defensive scheme to focus on. Where I think the system can be improved is by merging in D2's hit recovery and introducing cons to the schemes.
Life & resistances increases EHP in the most standard way, yet multifaceted. Hit recovery could be a function of the % size of the damage chunk that you take. Taking damage of 1% of your hp would hardly put you in hit recovery, but a 50% chunk could lock you for longer. Thus more life, can slowly help reduce hit recovery.
Evasion would cause you to take no damage, the damage misses and therefore there is no hit recovery. This could technically be the most efficient EHP increase, but it comes with risks as each hit that goes through evasion is much more devastating since you couldn't invest as much into other forms of defense.
Armor could have a predefined hit recovery unique to the buffer type. Armor lets you shrug off hits, maybe capping hit recovery times at the rate of a 5% hp hit. This has the strongest hit recovery protection and thus usually comes with the smallest EHP increase on similar iLvl items.
Lets add in secondary defensive stats that maybe the difficulty heavily encourages stacking. It could maybe even be flavored around stats, and you really start to get thematic meaningful defensive decisions. Maybe life regen is common on ancestral pieces, life steal is common on demonic, and increased healing is common on angelic.
My ultimate goal is that I don't want to go through the game only thinking, does this piece of armor help my dps? I want to put meaningful thought into how to survive, and don't want defense to just be an afterthought. I'm not a game developer, and maybe it doesn't matter because offense is the best defense, but I sincerely hope that defensive flavor and depth improves.
- Items and runewords in D4
- Lillia exposes how poor AP bruiser itemization for junglers actually is.
- Let’s help the D4 devs out – Affix Collection Thread of better Itemization in D4
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