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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 @04:00PM (#24604735) Homepage
    Thank goodness! No more 10 minute sessions of inventory management just to juggle your potions around.
  • by urikkiru (801560) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @04:13PM (#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.
  • "new" ??? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @04:19PM (#24605123) Homepage Journal

    to a new scheme in which monsters drop health orbs on the ground that refill your health when you touch them.

    What exactly is new about that? I've played a hundred or so games that used that system, many of them 10 or 20 years old (you know, back when action games didn't have an inventory).

    There's nothing new in Diabolo, not in 3, not in 2, not in the first one. It's an excellent and fun implementation of very old game concepts, but I've yet to see anything in it that wasn't done before.

    So please, I know this is /., but try to get the facts right every now and then. They changed the system to a different one. Nothing new about it.

  • by ivan256 (17499) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @04:22PM (#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 Bieeanda (961632) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @04:35PM (#24605419)
    That was my first thought. Every so often, the boss could do something that affects the environment, or spawns a handful of minions, that you can manipulate to replenish your health supply. The trick becomes surviving long enough for those events to occur and repeat, rather than training yourself to hit your belt keys at the most advantageous time.
  • by Dr.Boje (1064726) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @05:10PM (#24606035)

    I think a lot of that stems from the desire to keep the focus on bashing monsters' brains in. In tabletop games, you have all the time in the world to ponder your next move. In a game like Diablo, you have to act quickly or become "Ahh... Fresh meat!". Although I wouldn't mind a little more complexity to the way a character's health is calculated, I would be disappointed and perhaps a little agitated if it had a negative impact on my time spent killing things.

    Could it be a little more realistic? Yes. Do I want it to be? No. In a real-time video game, trying to make gameplay elements too realistic can destroy the fun of the game, and that's NO GOOD! On the other hand, in a turn-based strategy game, more realistic gameplay elements can enhance the fun of the game. All in all, I think we can expect another mind-blowing, more-addictive-than-crack, FUN masterpiece from the brains at Blizzard and I can't wait.

  • by Chelloveck (14643) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @05:33PM (#24606437) Homepage

    "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 interesting."

    I may be dense, but it sounds to me like it still boils down to, "the challenge is to avoid being killed".

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @05:41PM (#24606549) Homepage

    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, " We don't have to kill you to challenge you." Since any time you got in any health trouble you could heal to full, almost nothing was a danger unless you couldn't kill it before you ran out of potions. Oh, but then, THEN, you run across the immensely feared and stupidly cheesy Multiple Shot Lightning Enchant Fire Enchant, and you, you idiot, were a Zeal Paladin. You click them once and go SPLAT!

    That was "challenge" in D2. A ridiculously cheap insta-death. That's why I'd never play a Hardcore character. I mean I love Nethack, and sure it can hand you some quick nasty deaths, but they rarely if ever feel -cheap-. Pretty much every death in D2 felt that way.

    So if the challenge in the new system is "oh noes my health is low can I find/reach a health orb in time", that's a hundred times better to me than "oh noes the boss can one-shot me".

  • Re:Metroidiablo (Score:3, Insightful)

    by afidel (530433) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @05:44PM (#24606591)
    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 designing encounters.
  • Re:Finally! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Moryath (553296) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @05:51PM (#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.

  • by Tavor (845700) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @06:53PM (#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.

  • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeBabcock (65886) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:01PM (#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:Metroidiablo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ildon (413912) on Thursday August 14, 2008 @11:59PM (#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.

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