Thursday, June 14, 2012

Magic Find issues

I have been doing a bunch of farming in D3.  Initially the way I farmed was to look for the most powerful gear and then go kill monsters but this changed recently when people I was playing with talked about running away from enemies to go put on Magic Find gear before the kill.  I should have thought about this before of course; the best way to get gear is to have one set of killing gear you use until the enemy is at 4% and then open your inventory, click madly on an entire second set of geared stacked with MF, and finish off the mob.  I have been doing this lately and the difference in drop quality is really noticeable.  I go from roughly +110% MF to +300% MF on the switch so presumably I double my drops.  There may be some kind of diminishing returns on MF (this has been hinted at but not confirmed by blues) but even then the difference in how much I get from a fight is immense.

The problem is that this is really annoying and immersion breaking.  I like fighting monsters and getting stuff but desperately running away when victory is imminent to change clothes feels terribly gamey.  I struggle with this because I like optimizing systems and one of the joys of playing D3 and other games like it is trying to find the best ways to improve my acquisition of gear or other rewards.  I *want* to use every tool in my toolbox to win but I *don't* want those tools to be crappy things like full gearswaps.

There are other problems with this situation beyond simply immersion or annoyance.  People are using macros on their keyboards or mice or even third party macro programs to swap gear with single keyclicks.  This means that they gain a massive advantage over anyone not doing it and Blizzard's stance on these sorts of techniques is not clear.  Using bots and other extreme hacks is obviously against the rules but mouse macros are in a grey zone; usually my rule is that if the action is questionable then I avoid it but simply clicking a button to automate a very annoying process would be really nice.

The solution to my mind is not to worry about macros.  I don't even know that detecting them would be feasible and policing the process would be a giant challenge.  Instead what Blizzard should do is to change the time when the loot on a monster is generated.  Right now loot is generated as the monster dies but if it were generated at a random time during the fight there would be no way to abuse the situation.  You cannot, of course, change the loot generation to 'when the mob is spawned' because then people would just lead off with MF gear and swap out as soon as the mob is on screen.  Generating a % randomly and rolling the loot when the mob's health goes below that % would make sure that the only useful way to get more MF on gear is to actually wear it throughout the combat.  It would mean that if people want to swap gear around for whatever reason (like putting on a shield for a tough opponent, say) they could do so and anyone could macro big gear swaps for fun but nobody would feel 'obligated' to do obnoxious gear swapping during fights.

What I really want is a game where I pick my gear, pick my spec and then go wreck some demon faces.  Right now gear swapping is a fly in ointment and I hope Blizzard finds a way to fix that.  It will lower my drops for sure but I don't even care about that - I just want the game to be fun when I am playing optimally.


  1. 1) I think that using macros to swap gear for magic find is rightly punished by suspension or ban. The game interface *is* the game. Smashing jars in the royal crypts was super tedious and probably required even less skill that swapping gear before killing a guy, but that wouldn't have made botting it okay.

    2) Here is what I want Blizzard to do about this: tell everyone who is complaining that it isn't fun to swap gear to either stop swapping gear or stop playing the game. I agree that this is a stupid thing and fixing it would probably be a good idea. I just want that to be their attitude. Whenever anyone reads on the internet that someone else figured out an optimal way to play any game and then complains that this way of playing is boring or tedious, they should be told to shut up or leave. Yes, in this case it would mean the game was worse off. But if that was their attitude then we'd be playing a ridiculously fun and totally unbalanced game instead of a pretty well balanced but overall quite disappointing game.

    There will always, always be something stupid or rotten you can do to eek out an advantage in a computer game. Worry about making the game fun for people who don't do those things.

    1. Blizzard is trying to figure this out right now as I'm sure you know - this idea of yours isn't one of their options, but I think it is probably superior to most of their suggested fixes... are you posting some of your good ideas on the forums for Blizzard to see?

  2. Actually I think that the best solution is the one Blizzard suggested where your MF slowly changes towards your 'true' value over time. This way the advantage to swapping gear is laughably small but you can still swap gear around easily if you want to. Plus the graphical interface is straightforward and nobody is going to get accidentally screwed by not knowing the system. Win all around, and likely much easier techwise than my proposed solution.