Monday, July 2, 2012

Levelling up the fun way.

I have been levelling alts in Diablo 3.  When I first levelled up I picked my skills ahead of time, tested most things out really quickly, and stayed with a static build for most of my time playing.  I never really tested many of the runes and ended up learning a lot about how things work at level 60 on my Witch Doctor.  I power levelled my Demon Hunter like crazy and did the same thing; hell, I hardly know how the class works aside from the 9 or so skills I used which were obviously the best.  With my last two classes, Monk and Wizard, I am using a different levelling system.  Each time I level up and get new abilities or runes I use those abilities for the entire level.  It has been a blast trying out all kinds of new builds and having a different set of abilities every time I level.  For those who stuck with a single build and found it boring I recommend this 'strategy' - it really keeps things new and interesting as you go through the game.  Note that I don't just put awful abilities on my bar and refuse to cast them; I beat the enemies with those awful abilities. 

Just so we are clear, some of the abilities are really awful.

On the Wizard it appears that Blizzard underestimated the power of actually delivering damage to target.  Most of the Wizard abilities are reasonable but there are a few that do appropriate damage but are so incredibly hard to actually hit the enemies with that they are laughably bad.  Explosive Blast, Meteor, Arcane Torrent, and Energy Twister are interesting designs that can only do enough damage in the instance that you attack immobile enemies who are not attacking back.  They probably look solid against a test dummy but even a couple minutes of playing the game through Normal trying to use them made it painfully obvious how often they completely miss and do no damage.  The most over the top version I have seen so far is Arcane Torrent - Death Blossom.  This targets a *random* spot on the screen for 670% weapon damage.  That's a lot of damage.... but to a *random* spot?  The first time I cast it I laughed at the spell for a full minute!

Now I think it is okay to have spells that are trickier to use and ones that are more dangerous to use.  I accept that many spells will have no place in the harder parts of the game - that's fine.  My benchmark is that a spell should be a reasonable choice at some point with some build.  Meteor might make that cut since I know bizarre tank Wizards use it but the others are just wretched.  If a spell is really hard to hit anything with it needs to hit like a truck full of anvils when it does hit.  The current damage numbers on Wizard spells really don't take this into account enough and that is why these spells that are very hard to hit with end up being the useless ones.  I am sure that Arcane Torrent could use a buff but even +50% damage would be sufficient to make it something you would consider using.  Explosive Blast and Energy Twister definitely need buffs in the +150% range though.  Explosive Blast is a small radius, zero range AOE with a cooldown!  It needs to absolutely mutilate the enemies to be remotely worthwhile.

Not everything needs to be good.  Not everything needs to be viable in endgame.  However, if you are going to go to the trouble of building all these cool animations it seems a good idea to make them good enough that people who like them thematically or for some other random reason can be reasonably successful using them.  There are plenty of ways to play Diablo 3 badly - having a few more ways to play it well would be great.

1 comment:

  1. I used arcane torrent on bosses pre-inferno... Albiet not in random mode. If memory serves it is the largest single target damage spell