Diablo 3’s 3rd anniversary has been marked this year with a special (not a) Cow Event which pays homage to Diablo 2’s Secret Cow Level. The event made me realize that Diablo 3 ought to have more events like this one on a very frequent basis, which will be the basis of discussion for this blog.
While Diablo 3 does periodically have events such as experience buffs, most of these buffs do not evolve new content. With patch 2.2, I feel that the core game finally is in a decent state where it’s time to start building upon the foundation and moving forward at a far more rapid state. Perhaps, the only thing missing from the list of things people desired is PVP but since I’m not into PVP, I won’t dive into it (and you do enjoy it, well tough luck. Go write your own blog).
One of the things I’ve noticed is that the game has peaks of participation that goes down over time. Leaderboards mostly cater to hardcore players but the thing is that people’s interest wanes over time once they experience the core new content, whether it’s hitting level 70, acquiring new gear for a seasonal toon and pushing just enough to where they manage to hit their personal goals. In my estimation, you’ll see this burst of interest last for roughly 2 weeks then dive in a linear fashion.
If that’s the case, what is needed is some hook to motivate people’s interest in staying in the game. Normally, for RPGs the hook tends to be leveling, gearing and building up their characters or profile. Since the game has roughly 5 areas of progression (leveling, paragon levels, gear, legendary gems and Greater Rift progression), the areas of motivation are pretty narrow. Really high end progression boils down to just paragon levels, gear and legendary gems. But the work:reward ratio and meaningfulness behind that aspect only matter for the hardcore grinders.
Given that aspect, what ideas can we introduce to at least keep things reasonably fresh?
- More items. The idea here would be to introduce only one new item rather than a bunch. The item can be something special for a given month or week. Perhaps, it might only appear within a small time frame and can be dropped either from a specific boss or through RNG. The item can be themed such as seasonal, HC only or non-seasonal and perhaps cross promotional. It might just be cosmetic like a transmog. But the main point here is to push these out more frequently, at least once a month.
- More story driven quests. Although we have the core Diablo storylines, the truth is that no one bothers to do story mode anymore outside of new players. While I have heard of small, secret side quests that expand upon your followers’ storylines, there really needs to be more things like this. Expand on the back stories with small areas or new ways to interact. This can be integrated into either the core story line or Adventure Mode. I don’t need fancy cut scenes either just a little more substance here and there.
- Item upgrade mechanics. I had an idea earlier where you could salvage the properties of a legendary and integrate one property with another legendary. Another idea is provide an item similar to Ramaladni‘s Gift except that it’s specific to a stat such as strength, all resistance, etc. One notable thing is that these items could push a stat beyond the normal limits (e.g. more than 6% critical hit on rings). People might argue that you simply introduce power creep. But at this stage in the game, I think it works out. 1) You’ll have power creep no matter what; 2) We do have an infinite scaling mechanic with Greater Rifts; 3) You still have to farm for these items. The amount provided for an upgrade can be balanced too such as +10-20 core a core stat, +.50% for something like critical hit, etc. The cool thing is that you’ll have a goal to strive for.
- Adding legendary gem slots for belt and bracers. In some ways, this idea is a compromise of the idea above. I would still introduce a special item to add a legendary gem socket to your belt and bracers. For those items, I would make it such that you could only put a defensive gem inside. I feel that a lot of legendary gems just end up going to waste and I’d prefer to give more reasons to use as many as I can for a single character as opposed to tossing them away or leaving them in the bank. Belts and bracers make for interesting spots as traditionally they don’t allow for sockets.
- Group motivated events. The idea here is that you would need a full group to do something. It could be something special that occurs infrequently such as killing a mega version of Maltheas in a group who drops something special at the end (like plans or a specific period only legendary). Either way, I would love to see more group dynamics built into the game as long as they’re not mandatory (such as requiring 20 people to do a Mythic raid in World of Warcraft).
- More environmental interaction. One of the biggest hyped features that really never took off in Vanilla was the idea of destructible environments. We see some of it like pillars or furniture. But beyond removing an annoying obstacle, most of it is just fluff. I would love to see maps have more interactive environments beyond the booby traps for the players. Things that would involve a little more strategy even for things like the guardian. Having that dynamic environment would take things up a notch and deliver something that was promised.
- Bonus Adventure Mode. Adventure Mode feels like daily quests from World of Warcraft at this point. Outside of the Ring of Royal Grandeur and the occasional odd FOTM item as well as Rift key, there’s not a whole lot of motivation for doing these once you hit a certain gear point. But if you do include something like a daily quest, you could perhaps make it so that you run certain combinations of Adventure Mode bounties that unlocks a boss or chest with a guaranteed legendary. Maybe that guaranteed legendary is class specific (it would make hunting for a Starmetal Kukri for instance a lot nicer). Either that or have other types of sweet rewards like bonus Blood Shards, mega experience or a magic find buff that last the rest of the day. The reward here can be completely random too making it worth checking out on a daily basis but not mandatory to the point where you’re forced to log in every day.
At any rate, I hope some of these ideas are looked at by the Diablo 3 developers. I feel some are really good and nice low hanging fruit that just puts a few new spins on the way the game plays.