Saturday, May 26, 2012

D3 no economics

I was hoping to write about D3 economics this week.  Unfortunately the Auction House is not fully functional and commodities cannot be sold.  This means that people who generate massive stacks of crafting materials like me cannot sell their stuff to those who want said crafting materials and so massive surpluses build up.  I can't say much of use about the current AH aside from "Good gear costs a lot" but I think I can make a solid prediction:  When the AH is fixed and commodities can be sold the price of gear is going to plummet.  This will happen for a few reasons:

First, there is going be a tremendous amount of trade that has been backlogged and that trade will deplete gold stocks by stealing 15% of every transaction.  Second, the people who want to craft will be plowing enormous sums of gold into crafting with materials they buy from the AH which destroys gold.  All that crafting with the newly sellable recipes and materials will fill the AH up with new gear.  Destroy gold, create gear, and provide alternate sources of spending other than buying items directly and you can be sure that prices on gear will drop.

The endgame seems to me to have a tremendous amount of scaling in difficulty that cannot be made up with easily acquired gear.  I am questing in act 2 and it is extremely dangerous but it is possible to push forward and kill champs/uniques with some deaths.  However, in act 4 there are mobs that literally hit me for double my maximum health with a single ranged attack - the gear requirements to play there comfortably are insanely steep.  Blizzard has obviously designed the endgame around gearing up in a variety of ways to survive the later difficulties so I wanted to do some math to figure out what I need to survive.

My current stats:

Resist all - 450 - 60% reduction
Armour - 3720 - 55% reduction
Vitality - 1022 - 43976 health

For example, if I stack on enough resist to take 40% less damage, enough armour to take 40% less damage (which are multiplicative, not additive) and increase my health and healing by 60% I will be 4.5 times as tough - this is enough to make it such that I can survive two ranged attacks, just barely.  This would certainly be enough for me to completely maul act 2 in a very casual fashion.  How much *more* of each stat would I need to achieve this?

Resist all - +500
Armour - +4478
Vitality - 618

These numbers are pretty ludicrous.  I need to more than double my resist all and armour totals which seems absolutely bonkers in terms of farming time but certainly possible in terms of raw itemization - I just need 73 resist all per piece!  Armour is a more challenging problem but again if I upgrade to higher base armour types where possible and get +300 armour on every piece of gear I have I can certainly make that benchmark.  Vitality is by far the easiest here since even though I do have a lot of vitality on my gear I can easily imagine getting 50 more per piece.  To keep up with the healing I would need to stack a bunch of life gaining effects too, of course.

This is all to say nothing of doing more damage.  I expect to eventually be using a weapon that has 1100 dps instead of my current 700 and to get a lot more intelligence on my gear - it should easily be possible to upgrade my damage by 2.5 times eventually.  What all this tells me is that if I could custom build my gear I would be tough enough and do enough damage to completely demolish act 2 for sure, and certainly to be able to play reasonably in act 3 and act 4.  It is going to take an obscene amount of farming to get there but get there I will.  Inferno difficulty in D3 is quite nuts but this is only the early stages of gear acquisition and there is no question that people will have sufficient gear to do everything quite comfortably and without awful kiting tricks eventually.  I guess Barbarians and Monks will just farm act 1 inferno over and over until they get there.  :P


  1. Is that a typo or are you actually in act 4 inferno?

  2. I got a waypoint and did some wandering around. I have not cleared my way there though.

  3. My theory for why commodities have been disabled is Blizzard realized how stupid the combine fees are and has decided to lower/remove them in a client patch. They don't want people scooping up mass quantities of them now under a false valuation system so they turned them off. At least, that's my hope!

  4. Given some problems I've had with the auction house I think the reason commodities are turned off is because the entire auction house is on shaky ground and in danger of collapse.

    But that aside, I feel like the economy is going to be a really colossal mess in a very short period of time. There are a handful of people farming whatever part of inferno you need to farm to find 1200 dps weapons. Right now those cost millions of gold. But the number of people with millions of gold to buy them isn't that large, and the total number of those weapons in circulation is going up and up and up while at the same time the total number of 1100 dps weapons is going up even faster. I paid about the same amount for a 717 dps weapon yesterday as I paid for a 558 dps weapon five days before that.

    The price of the best items in the game is going to naturally cap out at around 1/0.15 times the amount of money that the top earners can earn in the amount of time it takes one of those items to drop, that means that everything that isn't the best is going to gradually decline in price away from that maximum (after a period of ramping up as people's gold earning goes up, but I don't think that act 4 inferno is going to drop that much more gold than act 1 inferno - I'd believe double, but not really more than that).

    I think there will be a hierarchy of gear that looks something like this:

    1. Top tier farmers farm the best gear and trade it amongst themselves mostly
    2. Second tier farmers farm the best of the hand-me-down quality gear and sell it to get enough money to buy top tier gear
    3. People do auction hour arbitrage to buy the top tier gear
    4. Everyone else farms money to buy hand-me-down gear

    The price of top tier gear, as I said, will be fixed by the rate at which people can earn gold and the rate at which gear drops. The price of hand-me-down gear will depend heavily on the number of new players who join the game because it is essentially a pyramid scheme - no new money coming in means the price of anything below top-tier quality declines rapidly.

  5. One thing to keep in mind Sthenno is that generating 600-850 dps weapons is fast and easy - just farm a1 inferno. I can do Butcher runs at incredible speed using a heavy MF/GF set and make huge numbers of weapons in that range. However, the higher dps weapons were mostly generated by people exploiting Replendent chests in a2-4 and now those exploits have been closed. The flood of weapons far exceeded people's ability to actually clear that content. Long term of course there will be an endless supply of blue weapons with 1000+ dps on them but in the short term I think weapon prices are actually going to rise dramatically for anything you can't farm in a1. Of course for anything you *can* farm in a1, like the 717 dps weapon you mention, the price is cratering. I have those weapons in abundance sitting in my stash at this point.

  6. That must be nice. I can't kill butcher by myself with any spec I've tried let alone one capable of beating elite packs to get the Neph buff. Nevermind swapping in any amount of MF!

  7. Butcher has cast animations for all of his attacks aside from autoattack (which clearly you don't care about). Try running him on normal and just watch the animations - you are plenty good enough to never get hit by his stuff with practice. Then it is just a matter of getting enough dps to get him down in 2.5 minutes. You need to be delivering 15k dps to do this iirc.

  8. You can avoid the spear arc attack? That seemed to hit me no matter where I was or what I was doing.

    I took the butcher out easily when I changed my spec to beat him, but my normal running around spec doesn't do enough damage to beat him in time. The spec I used to beat him might let me beat elite packs but it would take forever to get through masses of ordinary guys.

    Does butcher drop better loot than skeleton king on inferno? The act seemed pretty flat to me, just the jump to a2 was ridiculous (though not nearly as ridiculous as I'd heard - people talked about getting killed by ordinary monsters just outside of town, which seems absurd to me, it wasn't until I met an unique pack that I ran into trouble).

  9. The main problem with the beginning of a2 is that the regular dudes in the canyon right outside town are ridiculous. The bees that climb the cliffs where they can attack you but are invincible and the dudes that jump onto you with no room to maneuver are nasty. Trust me, for someone without a decent ranged attack that area is hell.

    The difficulty ramp of the champ packs is much higher but the difference many people notice is that very first area which is a problem with the area design more than anything.

  10. I haven't been able to find a cue for the conal spear but otherwise I know all his abilities and can avoid them just fine if I want to. I die, continually, to the room being completely on fire. I may be able to win with glass cannon (I had to put it on in order to duo him the other day) but that certainly guarantees either a lot of deaths to elites or no Neph buff for butcher.

  11. You might want to try stacking attack speed. I know that when I swapped from int/vit rings to 2 rings with 15% IAS and moderate int I saw a massive increase in damage. I can't use them with bears due to mana constraints but they up my dart damage massively. If you just want to stack up damage really cheaply you can pick up int/IAS rings and amulets on the AH for a pittance and that could be enough to get you over the hump.

  12. Attack speed would have been practically worthless with my 1.2 weapon. I would run out of arcane power channeling into Butcher. And my spell can't crit so I really have no way to do more damage except stack even more int or get a better weapon.

    So I scrounged up 600k and went looking for a weapon. I found a 1200DPS 0.9 speed 2-hander for 450k and it helped a lot. Given the prices of every other weapon on the AH in that range I suspect I could flip it for a profit as is, but it's pretty sweet for me right now. It doesn't have lifesteal which I'm noticing but when it does 50% more damage or so that's ok.

    I killed butcher in one shot (with disintegrate no less) and then figured I'd try out act 2. I had to run from things with mortar but otherwise it wasn't too rough. I killed 4 elite packs and Maghda before calling it a night.

    I have seemingly infinite arcane power now so I may well look for some attack speed.

  13. Wow, 1200 dps for 600k? Four days ago those were all way over 2M. Of course I can't unload 600dps weapon for 30k at this point, so I guess it doesn't surprise me.

    I don't doubt I would have been fine in act 2 with a 1200 dps weapon. My main problem was that I couldn't kill the unique packs in time.

    But when I reread this post I think we are living in different worlds. My armor is a lot higher than yours (72% reduction) but my resists are much lower (40% reduction) and I only have 30k health (so lower effective health) but I didn't have any trouble at all staying alive in act 2 except except for unique packs. Even then, with a teleporting waller unique pack I only died twice and had killed all the minions before he went into enrage mode (with 1M health left, hence needing a better weapon). Now mirror image is a beast of a defensive cooldown but the enemies weren't hitting me for anything like my maximum life - I could definitely take two hits.

    I'll admit the canyon is a pain in the ass, but all you have to do is move slowly and you'll never be fighting more than two enemies at once.

  14. The canyon isn't dangerous if you have ranged attacks. What is a melee character supposed to do about enemies that hover on clifftops raining down attacks from above? You can just stand there of course but if you run around trying to get to them you trigger more attacks, etc. As a WD I couldn't beat those critters at all - they run away when I get near enough to use bears and bears don't fire fast enough to get to them as they run.

    I beat through a2 with virtually no improvement on the gear listed above and am now partway through a3. The ramp up in difficulty between a2 and a3 isn't much, certainly nothing compared to a1-a2. Unfortunately I can only progress by using darts - mana doesn't support any other attack spell given that in a3 inferno you do actually need defensive abilities, you can't just keep them all on cooldown for VQ.

  15. The idea of beating anything using darts seems completely staggering to me. I probably need a better weapon, I'll admit, but a single target 180% damage attack being viable seems nutty to me.

  16. Darts is the only usable attack spell for WD in late inferno. Sometimes I run with my 85% 8 yard radius aoe spammable attack too, but I don't see that it helps overly much. You do get to stack massive IAS without worrying about mana though, which is a nice plus.

    There is a reason that wizards and demon hunters are considered good classes and witch doctors are bad - witch doctors don't get to cast their good spells because their mana is nonexistent. It is a little better than playing a wizard without arcane power, but probably only 50% better. I bet wizard with hydra + magic missle is better than any witchdoctor build that is possible in late inferno.

  17. As I say, it's hard to imagine. Mostly just the idea of beating regular dudes when there are 20 of them on the screen. Even if you can one-shot them (and I don't see how that's possible) it would take forever.

  18. I do about 50k dps with darts. Regular dudes have 100k life generally so I can kill one every two seconds. That isn't so bad. In a3 it gets worse as they ramp up the life quite a bit. As I say, people play with only darts and they do beat things but there aren't a lot of folks talking about how witch doctors are a top tier class.

    If I could actually use a real spell regularly then I think witch doctors would be fine. Nerf splinter rune on darts a little, massively buff base mana regen and witch doctors could be up to par quite easily.