Blizzard, please get rid of generic “attack” and “defense” stats for D4


#1

The following is an opinion piece on a major concern of myself and others in relation to Diablo 4. There are many positive things to say about the first impression of the game, and many things that can be improved. This piece will focus on one area of improvement only, rather than listing all the things that could be improved

In my opinion, this is the most important required change for D4 to be enjoyable, interesting and replayable.

It appears right now that all items will come with generic “attack” and “defense” stats with maybe some other modifiers. This has the following consequences:

  1. Every item can be placed on a scale from worse to better

The appeal of finding loot in an ARPG is not just finding “better” loot, but finding different loot. Different loot lets you make CHOICES and build your character.

Let’s say you find three pairs of boots of the same base type. One has +10% defense, one has +10% fire resistance and one has +10% faster run/walk. Neither of these boots are objectively “better.” But having different options lets you CHOOSE what you want to do with your character.

And I cannot emphasize this enough: NO PLAYER, NO MATTER HOW CASUAL, WILL BE CONFUSED BY AN ITEM THAT SAYS “+10% FIRE RESISTANCE.” When I was 13 years old playing Diablo 1, I was not confused by what an elemental resistance is. You’re not making this game for 5 year olds!

  1. Generic “attack” will make other stats obsolete – Like “main stat” did in D3

In D3, the one thing you wanted on all your gear was “main stat” – strength, dexterity or intelligence. This made such a huge difference for your damage output that you could basically disregard any piece of gear which did not have “main stat” on it.

This severely limits your gear choices, it severely limits the flexibility your customization options for your character. In almost all cases, doing more damage is paramount and will benefit your character. By having generic “attack” on not just weapons but other items as well, that makes it all you’re focusing on, especially since there are so few other stats that even exist. It’s not like you need elemental resistances or FHR or FBR.

Please don’t make it so we equip our weapon for more damage, our gloves for more damage, our rings and amulets for more damage, our pants for more damage, etc. Let us have other stats and make other choices.

  1. Melee damage and spell damage is the same stat

Melee damage and spell damage are so radically different in nature that from a roleplaying/immersion/fantasy fulfillment perspective, they should work completely differently. In D3, having a wizard equip a two-handed sword, because that would make your hydra hit harder, is just retarded. That is what we’re heading for with everyone benefitting from the exact same stats on gear.

In D2, to use a positive example, you would have spells be affected by +skills, FCR, +elemental damage and -enemy resistances. Completely different stats from what a melee character would benefit from. This makes a lot more sense from a roleplaying/immersion/fantasy fulfillment perspective and really emphasizes how a spell caster is different from a melee character.

  1. Elemental damage is cosmetic only

If you get rid of resistances and immunities, fire, lightning, cold, poison, etc., will be cosmetic only.

First of all, this again hurts roleplaying/immersion/fantasy fulfillment.

Second, it is a wonderful gameplay mechanic to have to shield yourself from certain elements, depending on what you are fighting against. “Oh, these monsters poison me. Better put on my poison resist gear.” “Oh, these monsters shoot lightning at me. Better put on some lightning resist gear.” That kind of gear collection and gear selection you are completely missing out on when everything just does generic “damage.”

Again, NO PLAYER, NO MATTER HOW CASUAL, WILL BE CONFUSED BY “OH, THESE MONSTERS POISON ME. BETTER PUT ON MY POISON RESIST GEAR.”

  1. Items lose a lot of flavour

There should be a lot of different, interesting gear options for your character as you are levelling up. Don’t save all the fun and flavour for legendaries.

It SHOULD be noticeable if you choose to equip a faster weapon or a slower weapon, or if you use a weapon with a high damage spread, or if you use a weapon that adds elemental damage. “Oh, I equipped a blue magic scimitar that adds 1-6 lightning damage, and now little sparks are coming out when I hit the enemy, how neat!”

Weapons should as a minimum have the following base stats:

Minimum damage
Maximum damage
Attack speed
Weapon type

And as a minimum have the following possible magic affixes:

+chance to hit
+minimum damage
+maximum damage
+% enhanced damage
+flat enhanced damage
+elemental damage (all types, varying strength)
+% critical chance
+critical damage
Increased attack speed
Chance to cast X spell on hit
Different effects on hit, e.g. life steal, hit slows monster, etc.
+stats (if stats are a thing)
Sockets

Again, PLEASE don’t limit the flavourful items to legendaries and make everything before then super generic.

Armour should as a minimum have the following base stats:

Defense
Preferably NOT attack (see no. 2) above)

And as a minimum have the following possible magic affixes:

+% enhanced defense
+flat enhanced defense
+physical damage reduction
+elemental resistance
+all resistances
+elemental damage reduction
+magic damage reduction
+movement speed
+health
+health regen
+mana (or equivalent)
+mana (or equivalent) regen
+skills
+faster cast rate
+damage reflection
Ability to use skill / cast spell (with or without charges)
+stats (if stats are a thing)
+The same types of modifiers that weapons could have (but not as a base stat on armour and jewelry)
Sockets

You’re paying homage to D2 in so many ways, and yet with your item system, you are moving so far away from what made D2 appealing.

Note 1: I’m not one of those fans who think that D4 should just be D2 Remastered. The new engine looks amazing, and many of the changes that have been made are for the better. Change is good, but oversimplification to an extreme degree hurts the game.

Note 2: Others have raised this point as well. I’m not claiming to be the only one who have made these arguments. I just want Blizzard to see how much support there is for a massive revamp of the proposed item system.


#2

Hi, first of all I think you’ve misinterpreted the devs somewhat. I believe they are trying to remove the redundant items abilities in favour of a simpler scale. Abilities like +max damage, +x% damage and +x-y damage are all basically the same and can be manipulated to give an average damage increase that is easier to read and allows us to play the game with less interruption.

  1. Every item can be placed on a scale from worse to better

This is already true about all weapons anyway. The games are set up that any weapon can have all of its stats calculated and an average DPS given to it that summarises its place in the scale. Explicitly stated in D3, not stated in D2, although you can calculate it yourself if needed.

  1. Generic “attack” will make other stats obsolete – Like “main stat” did in D3

I think that’s the goal, there are lots of item stats that basically do the same thing and to be honest, we don’t really need all of them. Your request to not forcing people to equip boots that give better attack and gloves that give better attack… well that already happens. In D3 most people will find gloves that give more attack speed and crit chance/damage. By combining the redundant stats, it will allow us to better see the interesting ones that give us more options. I don’t want to decide whether to wear gloves that boost my armour or my life, I’d prefer the computer to do that and then I can look at the other abilities that seem interesting.

  1. Melee damage and spell damage is the same stat

First D2 in this case is not a good example, it’s a really bad example of caster weapons. D3 deals with this problem way better, although with silly consequences.

Example: In D2 your main focus on a staff was the prefixes, that’s it. It didn’t matter whether the staff was a short staff or a war staff, if the prefixes were good you kept it. If you were unlucky, you could use the same weapon from act 1 normal difficulty until act 5 nightmare difficulty only because it had the best prefixes you’ve seen. In D3 When you level up and find stronger weapons, you damage goes up. You get rewarded for finding better equipment regardless of the prefixes (these become secondary considerations).

In my opinion, a non-magical end game weapon for the sorceress should have the same impact as a non-magical end game weapon for the barbarian. Hopefully they’ll put in place a way to add the attack value of generic caster weapons to skills and leave it off of the generic fighter weapons

  1. Elemental damage is cosmetic only

Since the post they have about talents states cold damage, I believe elemental damage will still exist and be meaningful.

  1. Items lose a lot of flavour

First again I think you’ve missed something. The devs are intending to remove all the redundant stats from items, ones which merely say, this weapon is better than that one because and summarise them into a single stat. For instance; an increase to max damage, a flat damage increase and a percent damage increase are 3 different ways of saying this weapon hits harder. Things like increased attack speed will still be present since you can use this when deciding how to play (like take advantage of abilities that trigger on hit). In fact, by removing some of the damage increasing abilities, the devs might add new powers that increase the flavour of items (in order to increase the randomness on the game and make item finding fun)

I believe the following overhaul is possible without changing the flavour too much:

Merged in Attack:

+chance to hit
+minimum damage
+maximum damage
+% enhanced damage
+flat enhanced damage
+elemental damage (all types, varying strength) *
+stats (if stats are a thing)

All of the above can be summarised to give a generic boost to the weapons abilities. I *’d elemental as this can be represented as a colour rather than making it its own prefix.

Questionable:

+% critical chance
+critical damage

These 2 might be merged with attack, however, the crit % is one of the things people will want to keep an eye on.

Explicit Stats

Increased attack speed
Chance to cast X spell on hit
Different effects on hit, e.g. life steal, hit slows monster, etc.
Sockets

These cannot be merged, as gameplay can be altered base on what they are. i.e. different skills set up in order to take advantage of the weapons abilities.