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Medicine Entertainment Games

Diablo 3 Developer Explains Health and Potion Changes 177

Posted by Soulskill
from the where-would-I-put-this? dept.
One of the new features in the upcoming Diablo 3 release is a change from the traditional potion-guzzling, inventory-clogging system of previous games to a new scheme in which monsters drop health orbs on the ground that refill your health when you touch them. Lead Designer Jay Wilson says the change makes for more varied gameplay and a more consistent way to scale difficulty. He told the Multiplayer blog: "When the player has similar downsides, it means we can make a lot more interesting monsters. We don't have to kill you to challenge you. We can make a monster that affects your mobility, we can make a monster that has different kinds of attacks that are dangerous to you and that you actually have to avoid. And so it makes the combat a lot more interesting."
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Diablo 3 Developer Explains Health and Potion Changes

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  • Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fructose (948996) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @03:00PM (#24604735) Homepage
    Thank goodness! No more 10 minute sessions of inventory management just to juggle your potions around.
    • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 14, 2008 @03:46PM (#24605623)

      Speak for yourself. That is what made the Diablo games different. In fact, the many hours that I spent playing Diablo and Diablo 2 gave me the inventory management experience to land me my dream job. You are currently reading the post of the Senior Late Night Inventory Management Specialist at Safeway Food and Drug, Whitefish, Montana.

      • Re:Finally! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Moryath (553296) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @04:51PM (#24606741)

        I miss the days when inventory management was a challenge, rather than being simplified away into nothingness. Developers need to learn that just because you can simplify a game mechanic into meaningless doesn't mean you should; do it too much and too often, and you get today's dumbed-down pile of shovelware games.

        And yes, I had the same reaction to the dumbed-down "inventory" system of Deus Ex 2 as opposed to the elegant, tricky system in the original Deus Ex. When a RPG launcher takes up the same "space" in inventory as a handgun, something is off.

        • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

          by Duradin (1261418) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @05:02PM (#24606931)

          I think there's a way for you to enjoy modern inventory systems.

          Whenever you pick up an item, pause the game.
          Then start up a game of tetris, easy for small items, increase difficulty as the item size increases.
          Beat 99 levels in row. If you fail you do not have enough inventory space for the item.
          Unpause the game. If you completed 99 levels, add the item to your inventory. Otherwise leave the item behind.

          This way, the rest of us can actually play the game and you can still play inventory management.

          • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

            by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:01PM (#24610223) Homepage Journal

            As funny as that was, it annoys me when games allow you to carry phenomenal amounts of weight without considering the awesome difficulty of having 14 different massive hammers over your shoulder at once.

            • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

              by Guruthegreat (971683) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:55PM (#24610629)

              Everyone knows you don't carry 14 different massive hammers at once, you carry 12 massive hammers and a magic box with 2 massive hammers inside it

              • Sure, that's fine for little boys and sissies! Real men will first locate a bag of holding [wikia.com], most often after completing a rousing game of sokoban [wikia.com]. They will then attempt to find an altar [wikia.com], and convert it through sacrifice if of the incorrect alignment [wikia.com]. Having accomplished that, they will dilute several potions [wikia.com] using fountains, and with the water produced will pray [wikia.com] over the previously located altar. Now, having holy water, they will dip their bag of holding to bless [wikia.com] it. Having completed these simple step

                • P.S. There really needs to be a Nethackers Anonymous...

                  Here's how to join Nethackers Anonymous:

                  telnet nethack.alt.org

                  and also join #nethack on FreeNode.

            • You should be encumbered when you carry 14 hammers. They should mess up your ability to stab the Demon Prince Ba'al in the forehead with the Swift Sword of the Whale which you've socketed with four soulstones. And while you're at it, shouldn't all that copious gore cause you to slip? Maybe you can sue Ba'al for not hiring an industrial engineer to spread sawdust on a floor which he could reasonably have expected to be covered in minion guts.

              Of course, if we're going for maximum realism, Ba'al probably ha

              • Perfect realism is silly, unless you're making a simulator of course. That's why abstractions exist. Removing choices however does not make games better, it often just makes them seem dull by the end.

                Personally, those moments of "do I give up this or that" are part of the fun of the game. Knowing you might be making the best decision, or that you might be making the next level difficult for yourself.

            • by Negatyfus (602326)
              It's a game. Why does this have to be realistic? If it were, you'd probably have a hard time carrying more than one plated armor suit at a time. Realistic wouldn't be practical, let alone fun.
            • Oh yah? Well in WOW you can carry 6 backpacks at once. I'm going to try that next time I go hiking.


            • I have a massive hammer.
        • Re:Finally! (Score:4, Interesting)

          by NoobixCube (1133473) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @05:25PM (#24607305) Journal

          I've never been able to decide if I like a weight based inventory (like The Elder Scrolls) or a slot inventory (like Diablo) more. Both systems have their pros and cons, but I think a mix would be best. Sometimes really small things can be very heavy, while large things can be light. A slot inventory that gets dynamically adjusted based on the weight of things you are carrying would be good. Small heavy things would reduce the available slots, while large light things might give back half the space they take. It probably sounds a little half-baked, but I haven't fully worked out how I'd implement it yet, so it IS half-baked :P

          • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Informative)

            by maglor_83 (856254) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @06:14PM (#24608049)

            See Baldur's Gate.
            You have a maximum number of slots, and a maximum weight. If you go a little over the weight, then you slow down. If you go a lot over, you can't move.

            • by nog_lorp (896553)

              Slowness due to inventory is annoying as fuck though. I'd prefer like this: Size and Weight. You cannot pick up more than X size units of items, you cannot pick up more than X weight unites of items. No gray areas, no slow downs. And very large 'slot space' that is unrelated to the limits, so you can organize how you like.

  • My reponse (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kingrames (858416) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @03:00PM (#24604737)

    Git offa ma lawn - ooh, shiny! *begins furiously looting*

    Damn you and your addictive games, Blizzard.

  • Metroidiablo (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Captain Spam (66120) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @03:08PM (#24604861) Homepage

    Monsters drop health orbs on the ground when you kill them, instead of a potion system? So, in a way, what they've got now is Metroid applied to a dungeon crawl?

    (yes, there's a billion other games that do that, Metroid was just the first to come to mind)

    • Re:Metroidiablo (Score:5, Interesting)

      by colmore (56499) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @03:38PM (#24605469) Journal

      Plentiful and common health potions that can heal the main character from near death to perfect health reliably and repeatably aren't the least bit realistic either.

      This changes health management in two ways:
      1 - health isn't tied to inventory
      2 - the graphic for "health item" looks different

      I hope nobody is complaining that this represents some grave cheapening of the game. It wasn't Fallout, where health items are rare, cost a fortune, and come with some of the side effects of actual drugs.

      Oh any word on if Fallout 3 is still going to be scarce on the health power ups? The demos have looked combat-y (which is fine, it's certainly the most interesting bit of a game, at least visually) but is the game such a heavy shooter that they're going to need to throw downside-free stimpacks at the player all the time?

      • by Kingrames (858416)

        You had to use stimpacks?

        I quickloaded every time my character lost a hit point, and hoarded those things like solid gold.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by afidel (530433)
        My problem is that it makes boss fights much tougher for marginal builds, with loads of health potions you didn't have to have a perfect build to take out a boss, you could widdle them down because you had a larger effective HP pool than they did. It cost you gold to build that larger pool, but it was doable. Btw an example of a marginal build I'm thinking of is a naked sorceress or dagger paladin both of which can be fun to play even if they are far from what the designers might have envisioned when design
      • It wasn't Fallout, where health items are rare, cost a fortune, and come with some of the side effects of actual drugs.

        Maybe FO wasn't this way, but in FO2, I ended the game with 40 super stims that healed tons of damage and then hurt you a little bit afterwards. That was more than enough stims to kill a person with the side-effects alone, and I don't know any drugs whose side effects include losing ten hit points. Not to mention that you could in one random encounter find the most powerful healing item
      • I'll never forget beating Diablo 1 by carrying all mana potions instead of health potions and then using mana shield.

        • by zarthrag (650912)
          Ah the mana shield. My sorcerer drank mana as if it was liquid crack. My *entire* family played this game together for recreation every weekend - I think I had hit level 146 before 2 finally came out....sheesh - I can't believe I'm semi-excited about 3
      • Re:Metroidiablo (Score:4, Insightful)

        by ildon (413912) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @10:59PM (#24610653)

        I think you're missing an important gameplay point. You actually have to KILL mobs to obtain health orbs while in combat. A lot of times in Diablo/Diablo 2 on the harder difficulties (and especially hardcore in D2) often times when faces with extremely dangerous packs of enemies or difficult bosses, you'd have to town portal REPEATEDLY to restock on potions, before a single monster had fallen. Admittedly, this was pretty bad game design. It pulled you out of the action and felt "cheesy".

        The obvious answer is to tune difficult groups of monsters and bosses with this in mind (or provide alternate sources of healing through things like abilities, life leech items, or secondary mechanics to drop health orbs BEFORE an enemy or set of enemies dies), but it's still a considerably bigger change than simply "unlinking healing items from inventory".

        Overall, I do think it's a positive change, I just think you're oversimplifying it.

    • by setagllib (753300)

      The first that came to mind for me was Zelda, where you also get regular free hearts so you virtually never need to bring a potion. And this feature has been in EVERY Zelda since the very beginning, so it's hilarious watching these developers act so clueless when hyping up their "innovation".

  • Strategy in MY D3? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sabre3999 (1143017)
    It sounds as if they wanted to bring in a strategy angle for the PvE element with this new installment... I remember not needing much strategy at all in Diablo 2, just hack and slash and power through everything. Also, if I'm understanding TFA correctly, there are no potions (But as you get further and further into the game, you start having to go, 'Okay now I've really got to use this ground stomp thing to stun some monsters and get some distance from them to recover.') They also imply the monsters will be
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chris Burke (6130)

      It sounds as if they wanted to bring in a strategy angle for the PvE element with this new installment... I remember not needing much strategy at all in Diablo 2, just hack and slash and power through everything. Also, if I'm understanding TFA correctly, there are no potions

      You're forgetting part of the "strategy". It was hack and slash and oh noes my health is low pop a big rejuvie potion. Don't attempt Diablo without at least 16 of em!

      I'm quite glad about this change. Like the quote from the summary, "

      • The fear of M-S-L is greatly reduced now with absorb gear. M-S-L won't even tickle a absorbed oriented zealer.

  • by urikkiru (801560) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @03:13PM (#24604961) Journal
    This is the exact system used in Marvel Ultimate Alliance. Which was also an evolution from a potion system in X-Men Legends 2. That said, it's actually a very *good* system. I approve.
  • What about bosses? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jevring (618916) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @03:17PM (#24605063) Homepage

    So, if there's an extended fight like, say, DIABLO...
    A fight which you might not survive with just the health and mana you have in your orbs, what do you do? If you can't chug potions, you have to, in effect, execute the monster perfectly to even survive. I think that the orb system is better when you're hacking and slashing your way through several monsters that actually die, but when you encounter monsters that are not easy to get down, then you might need a heal or two. I certainly prefer chugging potions to relying on support classes (like priests, druids, paladins and shamans in wow) to heal you.

    • by ivan256 (17499) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @03:22PM (#24605179)

      Who's to say an "orb" doesn't fall out if you hit the boss hard enough? It doesn't necessarily have to die....

      • by tknd (979052) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @04:47PM (#24606641)
        I propose a much better system where the player dies after one hit or tap from a monster. And if the player wishes to be able to survive a second hit, he must either find the nearest mushroom or orange flower hidden away in some box disguised like all the others.
    • by amuro98 (461673) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @03:39PM (#24605491)

      Someone mentioned Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, which I think is a very good comparison.

      While defeating enemies in the game would cause them to drop health and mana orbs, bosses would drop them on a regular basis while you beat on them (I think ever 25% of so.) So, you didn't have to be able to defeat the boss without dying - just able to knock 25% of his health off so you could heal up enough to keep on beating on him.

      This could work for DiabloIII as well, though I can remember some fights where I wasn't even able to put a dent in the stupid boss the first few times I faced it, dying a good 4 or 5 times before I figured out the strategy for my combination of boss and character class.

      • The problem with Marvel:Ulitmate Alliance and God of War is that everyone basically play the same character.

        With Diablo you have characters that wear more armor, have higher hit points, less likely to get hit due to physical distance, do less damage/second to a single target.

        Against a boss with 4000 hit points, a barbarian would be ok with getting a full health bar after dealing 1000 points of damage but a Sorc would need a recharge (health and mana) once every 500 points of damage delivered.

        Blizzard had be

        • by ZorbaTHut (126196)

          I'm pretty sure Blizzard is not clinically retarded.

          That said, you're also assuming that "a full health bar" is just as easy for both classes. If a Barbarian has a lot more raw HP, the orbs may not fill him up as much - sure, he can do 1000 damage without needing a pit stop, but after grabbing five orbs he can only do another 250 before he needs another. Meanwhile, the Sorceror, with Frost Armor and Freeze Monster, is able to stay away long enough that those same five orbs yields another 500 points of damag

          • by GoofyBoy (44399)

            They need quite a bit of play testing, 5 characters and say 3 builds for each. I can name quite a bit of very good companies/games with at least one big flaw that playtesting should have gotten.

            E.g. - Bowazon vs. the boss Duriel. Small enclosed area with a very fast charge attack. Impossible when starting out because you are only level 8(?) (in the later two difficulties you better equipped/skilled/faster to handle him purely with a bow). You needed to put one point into Jab (the javalin tree) and wack

            • E.g. - Bowazon vs. the boss Duriel. Small enclosed area with a very fast charge attack. Impossible when starting out because you are only level 8(?) (in the later two difficulties you better equipped/skilled/faster to handle him purely with a bow). You needed to put one point into Jab (the javalin tree) and wack away at him like that. You never use Jab again in the game. That should have been caught in playtesting.

              That's ridiculous. You don't ever have to put a point in any skill in the game that you will never use again. Just fill up on pots, get a well equipped merc. At worse it may take a while, or a few deaths if you're not careful. Methinks it's been awhile since you played because you could barely handle Act2 and level 8, much less Duriel. I am assuming you're talking about single player because this isn't even an issue in multiplayer.

              I'm guessing you're trying to say that Burizon's were overpowered? B

              • by GoofyBoy (44399)

                >Just fill up on pots, get a well equipped merc. At worse it may take a while, or a few deaths if you're not careful.

                I wish it was that easy. Diablo was easier.
                As one example:
                http://discussions.hardwarecentral.com/archive/index.php/t-127713.html [hardwarecentral.com]

                And you can't afford a few deaths playing on Hardcore.

                Buriza had 100% piercing. Guided Arrow changed the course of the arrow. So it went;
                1. Hit boss with guided.
                2. arrow pierces/passes through boss
                3. guided is still active, so arrow does a 180 back to the boss
                4

      • Darkwatch is an FPS that uses a similar system. When you get low on health, you have to stop shooting the big enemies to pop a few skeletons and replenish your health with their blood clouds, which also refill your vampire powers. It works well.

        Whatever system they use, I think Blizzard, of all companies, can be trusted to balance the game and shape it to -usually remarkably- work.

    • ...IANA Game Developer, but I'm willing to bet they've thought of that.
    • I'd be surprised if they didn't continue to have the life-stealing ability for weapons in D3. A D2 build with enough life-stealing rarely needs potions even in extended boss fights.
    • I really liked the Diablo series, but I have got to say that I got utterly sick of endless button mashing to apply potions.

      It never really added anything to the game in my opinion, in fact I felt it was the worst part of it. I went on to play the dungeon siege games, and there I deliberately avoided using health potions, simply so I wouldn't have that button mashing experience again. I died a lot, but its more interesting if you have to retreat rather then apply an inventory full of potions just to stay ali

    • Now that you point it out, it does seem obvious that the makers of Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, and WoW will be unable to apply rudimentary game balance to their new mechanic. I'm sure they'll just take all of the monsters from Diablo 2 and make you fight them with these newfangled orbs. Really, when has Blizzard ever released a well-balanced game?

      Please let me know when your next game is coming out, I'm sure it will be lots of fun.

    • by DeadDecoy (877617)
      That reminds me of trying to fight the secret level of mephisto, baal, and diablo at the same time. Each boss could pretty much two-shot you unless you had some serious life-leech gear. Rejuv potions kinda helped in case they got off a lucky shot and you missed your life-leech. It would have been nice if potions, while not necessary, were available for hard fights. Sure, managing potions in normal fights was kinda annoying, but potions added a sense of urgency and strategy when fighting a boss that was a co
    • So, if there's an extended fight like, say, DIABLO... A fight which you might not survive with just the health and mana you have in your orbs, what do you do?

      That's easy enough, bosses drop on occassion. Be it pure random chance (each X HP of damage you do gives a 10% chance of a drop) or number of hits, or straight damage correlation, or whatever.

  • We can make a monster that affects your mobility, we can make a monster that has different kinds of attacks that are dangerous to you and that you actually have to avoid. And so it makes the combat a lot more interesting.

    There were monsters that had attacks that could affect your mobility in Diablo II. There were certain attacks you really had to avoid unless you were in the top tier of players in Diablo II. It doesn't sound any different to the person who didn't try to pimp out their toon to the max so they could easily walk all over everything. And honestly, not everyone could, not with how the games economy was so horribly screwed over by the botters.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chelloveck (14643)

      "We don't have to kill you to challenge you.

      Really? You mean now there's a goal other than fighting until either you or the bad guys are dead?

      We can make a monster that affects your mobility

      To make you go slower so it can kill you easier.

      we can make a monster that has different kinds of attacks that are dangerous to you

      It can kill you by hitting you, by zapping you, by freezing you, by burning you...

      and that you actually have to avoid.

      Or you'll be killed.

      And so it makes the combat a lot more intere

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Chris Burke (6130)

        Really? You mean now there's a goal other than fighting until either you or the bad guys are dead?

        To make you go slower so it can kill you easier.

        It can kill you by hitting you, by zapping you, by freezing you, by burning you...

        Er, no, I don't think you get what they mean. They don't mean "We don't have to hurt you through successive attacks in such a manner that you will eventually be slain unless you take action in order to challenge you." They mean kill, like a killing blow, as in who cares if you have

        • The problem is, the game designer's control of the pace of healing means they also control how you can create your character.

          If you create one with less health or using a different strategy than the devs had in mind, you may be permanently stuck by way of not being able to kill things fast enough to get the orbs.

          In D2 you could create some pretty ridiculous builds (Like a dagger paladin) and actually have them be relatively successful as long as you were willing to suck potions down a lot.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Chris Burke (6130)

            In D2 you could create some pretty ridiculous builds (Like a dagger paladin) and actually have them be relatively successful as long as you were willing to suck

            I'll just cut off the quote there and say that as long as there are a wide variety of builds that are viable (which there were in D2 not counting absurdities), then I don't think this is a big problem.

    • by Mursk (928595)
      In the first Diablo, there were some zombie-like enemies that could (IIRC) permanently reduce your max HP. That sucked. I hope they don't do anything like that again...
  • by Alzheimers (467217) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @04:23PM (#24606283)

    click...click click click click click ooh shiney clickclick click click click click click click click click...

  • by argent (18001) <peterNO@SPAMslashdot.2006.taronga.com> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @05:03PM (#24606957) Homepage Journal

    It's about time games took health seriously. I guess the Nintendo Wii is starting to have an effect on PCs as well as consoles.

  • After having only played the Diablo demo, and missing Diablo II entirely, just when I am considering an actual Diablo purchase I get this. How in the hell am I gonna go through the whole game getting scads of potions and hoarding them for that really difficult encounter that never comes??? That's how I play RPGS, people, I gather potions and never use them!

    I guess Diablo 3=fail or something.
  • That TPing back to heal means we _finally_ get to waste Deckard Cain? :)

    • by Daimanta (1140543)

      Well, I enjoyed leaving him in the cage, defeating Baal first :D

      I gladly paid the identify costs for that.

  • by Tavor (845700) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @05:53PM (#24607753)

    We don't have to kill you to challenge you. We can make a monster that affects your mobility, we can make a monster that has different kinds of attacks that are dangerous to you and that you actually have to avoid. And so it makes the combat a lot more interesting."

    As opposed to what... ice-based attacks that freeze/slow? Poison that drains health? And what, avoiding those *&^*&^ Pit Lords and Abyss Knights at the River of Flame? Yeah, I don't see anything new here, ffs. As someone who likes fending off PVP'ers in the middle of fighting demons, I'd prefer being in control of my health, rather than being dependent on monster drops.
    Just having a system where potions in your inventory were dropped to your 'belt' hot-bar automatically would be an improvement far beyond the orb system.

    • Or maybe they could, you know, while they're borrowing ideas from the PS2 Diablo clones, they could borrow the concept of having a quick health/quick mana button. Which first appeared in the PSone port of Diablo!

  • For loose definitions of "upcoming".

  • Let's see, they have ripple water from Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance. Check
    Health orbs from Marvel Ultimate Alliance. check
    Art direction and environments that look like they popped out of those Snowblind engine games, BG:DA, Champions of Norrath, etc. Check.
    Doesn't look that much different from a PS2 game? Check.

    It's about time Blizzard learned something from console devs, considering they once were console devs themselves. However, it's a bit late in coming and rather obvious that something like this hap

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