Day: How you doing BlizzCon? So who here came to listen to us talking about Loot 2.0? Jokes on you: I am talking about hair care products.
So going into the Reaper of Souls, we said that we talked a lot about the things that we like with our item game and the things that maybe we wanted to improve upon, and we came with really three big philosophy changes that we wanted to make moving into the expansion.
The first one was less is more, item support builds, and rarely equals power.
Less is more … was just our way of saying we want to make sure that players find awesome items and we don’t want to flood the screen with them, because we felt like we just dropped too many things and most of them weren’t as good as they could have been.
Opening presents is supposed to be fun, but when you open up 20 pairs of socks, it gets pretty disappointing.
Item support builds … this was our way just sort of embodying the idea that we really wanted the items to feel like they changed the game. We wanted them to be more than just math problems that you have to look at arrows to figure out, so going into the expansion, we got a lot of new affixes and legendary effects, to sort of embody that.
And finally, Rarity = Power… this was our way of expressing the idea that it’s okay for things to be rare. It’s okay for legendaries to not be flooding the screen and all over the place, but when you find them, they got to be really awesome; and we felt like we have a lot of work to do in that department.
So some of the things that we have done to address the “Less is More” philosophy is we implemented what we call the “Smart Drop System.”
The Smart Drop System really is just our way of going: “Hey, you are barbarian… you probably want some barbarian items.” You probably don’t want a quiver and you definitely don’t want intellect on the quiver. So when we drop items in the game now we have a behind-the-scenes system running that periodically is just going to go: “Hey, okay. You are gonna get a sword. It’s gonna have strength. You’re gonna be happy, huzza!”
Another thing we did to help with dropping less items and making them better… we reduced the random range on the affixes. If a lot of you remember, back when we shipped the game, you could find items that had 100 strength or one strength, and we kind of went: “Ah, that’s a little bit excessive!”
We don’t want it to be that random. We love random. It’s at the heart of Diablo, but there’s degrees, and we can narrow that down some. So instead, you will find things in [make-believe-number-land] of 75 to 100 strength. So you can still find things that are better or worse than what you have; but they won’t be offensive.
One of the last things we did is sort of help with the “Less is More” philosophy. We sat down and we talked about a lot of our stats, and we did this for a while, and we said… you know there’s some great stats in our game and then there are some others no so great.
I love finding pickup radius and I love finding bonus experience and wearing it, but I am not gonna wear it instead of strength or crit or attack speed, or whatever other number of trifecta stats.
So we said: “Hey, what if instead, what if just we break these stats out, what if we acknowledge that these stats are cool, but they are not going to help you kills monsters’ better.”
So what we did going into Reaper of the Souls is we separated the item stats into what we call primary and secondary, and any item is gonna have a fixed number of primary stats and a fixed number of secondary stats. So you can have magic find, but it does no call to crit. Here’s a couple of examples. You can see the boots have Intellect and Vitality and Resistance to All, and you also get magic find and bonus experience.
Another thing that we wanted to address moving into the expansion was that we wanted the items to really be exciting. We wanted you to find items and go: “Holy Crap, I am totally gonna change my character for this!” or “Hey, I found some items that really work with these skills, that I like using.”
We wanted them to encourage diversity, so that not everyone would be a [###] barbarian. Here’s a couple of examples of that. We have got a helmet that increases Energy Twister Damage by 14%, and we also have an axe which reduces the cooldown of all of your skills.
So these are just a couple examples of the kind of affixes that we have been trying to introduce to the game, so that players can find things that really suit their play style and encourage them to try out things that may be we wouldn’t have thought about.
And finally, Rarity Equals Power. This was really just our sort of notion that — we got this item progression, and it makes sense for most of the game. You go from gray items to white to blue to yellow, but then it’s starts to get pretty fuzzy when you get to legendaries.
Legendaries are really hard to find in our game and we use to get a lot of feedback like, “Man, why are legendaries so rare, I never find any,” and what the people were really saying is: “Why do they suck, why can’t they be better.”
So we wanted to sort of deliver on this fantasy that the harder was to find something, the better it’s going to be. So I felt like it deserved to be reserved as it was. And to talk about some of the specifics of what we are doing with the legendaries in the expansion is lead game play programmer: Steve Shimizu.