Although I haven’t tried out the new set dungeons nor some of the newer builds, I just want to toss out some late night thoughts regarding the patch and season thus far as well as some ideas for the future.
First off, this definitely is the best season to date. I think the build diversity has been probably the most significantly improved aspect of the game. Each class has 4 set armor pieces to choose from on top of the Legacy of Nightmares rings, which provides more options beyond your sets. While not every set is equal on the leaderboards, the most important thing is that they’re still doable in some fashion, should you get the gear. Although you are limited to certain skills, the thing to note is that with the Legacy of Nightmares and certain sets and key items, there’s more potential to try things out, some things which end up surprising people.
Next, the gearing for the seasonal portion has been great. I know some people complain that you gear up too quickly. While there is some truth to that, the thing to realize is the seasons will be shorter overall with roughly 3 months. So in the very least, a new player can jump right into the season, grab most of their sets and have at minimal a week’s worth of fun in the game. The game is trying to prevent too much of a burnout but still give others a chance to give it a shot and second glance at what’s going on.
Now, you have to realize that the quick gearing aspect is just for a single character with one set. This format allows someone to try some end game stuff fast and see how they like it. However, if you really want to push, for instance, the Legacy of Nightmares, you still have to put a lot of hours to grind the perfect gear. So the situation is a little more complex when you look at the larger picture.
Then you have set dungeons. I figure this aspect of the game is the World of Warcraft equivalent of Challenge Modes. It’s really not meant for everyone, outside of the high end players who want to test their D3 abilities. If anything, it’s just a new aspect of the game that goes in line with Blizzard’s “Easy to pick up, difficult to master” ideology. If anything it adds a new dimension to the game.
Probably, the real problem with set dungeons is that some are poorly tuned and that people will probably get frustrated after a few attempts. Right now, the biggest obstacle is the link to the season journey and the pet as well as the extra stash space. Neither are really critical overall but I can understand some people’s discontent. That said, some sets just need more iterations and that will hopefully be reflected in better designs for these dungeons down the line. If anything, it’s a start.
The other notable stuff are some interface changes (some good and some bad) as well as new bounties. New bounties are always welcome because that just means more content overall. Now, for the interface changes, I think for the most part it’s been good. The only one that I feel hasn’t been a great change is the Inspect option. I’ve found that looking at people’s gear in your party is buggy due to the fact that there’s a delay in updating the latest gear. This part definitely needs to be fixed because I often play with friends and try to help advise them in rerolling stats and managing their gear.
The other few things that were added were the “action combat” aspect from consoles, fixing the caves a bit and new maps. Action combat just works in Adventure Mode rather than rifts, so I feel neutral on it. A lot of Adventure Mode maps simply do not have the mob density to make Action combat really that exciting for me. It feels as though this feature really belongs to rifts because of the higher mob density and map design.
The new maps were meh to me. I’m glad to see new areas but the forest area is more irritating than anything else. As to fixing the caves (along with other maps that have you go into loops and receiving a speed boost from destroying objects), I still feel that these areas suck no matter what. Caves just aren’t fun and still have this gloomy, empty, long and meandering atmosphere that doesn’t feel rewarding. And there simply isn’t enough objects to break to get around huge loops.
Mostly, to me the real improvements in the current patch have been the faster gearing methods and the increased diversity with builds through new items and revamped sets. It’s always fun to check out the latest builds because it’s like getting a new toy for your birthday or Christmas.
In terms of improving the game, here’s a few ideas I’m hoping will make it’s way in future patches:
- Escalating tile sets. There’s an Act 4 bounty that involves a moving platform. It’s a pretty unique bounty because of the little puzzle where you have to get to the last platform. I really like the idea and hope that they can expanding on this by having tiles escalate, similar to the elevators you see in World of Warcraft. This would add a lot more depth to maps in terms of movement.
- More interactive environmental elements. There’s a lot of ways to destroy things in the environment as well as trigger traps. But I’m hoping that these elements can affect not just yourself but monsters as well. I don’t want to see it become the only strategy for beating bosses in a game, but I would love to see the fights become more dynamic as a result of the map and environment itself. Like maybe you can set off a large number of traps that increase in damage per trap you can hit consecutively. Or using the aforementioned escalating tile to trap monsters or create a temporary defense if you’re low on health.
- Pets that pick up a certain type of object. I really love how pets now can pick up gold similar to how ferrets were able to do this for demon hunters. The goblin ring handles this too with white items. So maybe it’s time that a certain type of pet can pick up a certain type of item. It would increase the value of pets overall and not really destroy the game. Like maybe one type of pet could pick up blue items while another picks up all rares. It would make farming a specific type of item really great and fun rather than having to deal with the painful way it’s currently handled in misclicking on a certain piece.
- Transmog for quivers, belts and bracers. It’s just time these items get their time to shine. The transmog system has been great and I would love to see an expanded vocabulary for what you can transmog.
- More ways to upgrade gear stats. The Candlesann of Despair recipe is great since you can upgrade ancients using high level gems. I would love to see more ways to upgrade other stats on an item beyond just dex, str, vit and int. This could be another gold sink in the future where upgrading a stat could be a very costly process.
- PVP. Not my thing but I think it’s time the game added this as yet another mode. I’m not a fan of the arena thing since I don’t want to see stats get brutalized over constant rebalancing. But world PVP in the game at the least would make the game a little more challenging for some people and satisfy the hunger from a section of an audience who have been waiting for this feature for a long time. If they do add this feature, I hope that they have at least three modes: 1) normal PVP where you have to restart from your last checkpoint; 2) brutal PVP where you lose all your gear to the person that killed you; 3) hardcore PVP where you lose all your gear and permanently die. Again, it’s not for everyone but I do think it would add that dynamic to draw in another audience.
- More follower types. They’ve kept the follower types pretty simple but maybe it’s time to look into expanding this part. Or at least take another look at Ashera’s Vestments and make having all followers interesting again.
I don’t want to address individual sets at this time. Lower performing sets certainly need more iterations but I think that along with continuing to re-evaluate older, useless legendaries will be an ongoing thing. Also, more monsters and areas certainly are great things that I hope will be part of these ongoing patches as well as new bosses.
The game is in a very good state right now and it’s been great seeing all the popular streamers embrace it or give it a try. I’m certain adding just one or two of the aforementioned features here would bring in even more people. Right now, this game is catching a lot of people’s attention because it’s improved so much and many people have positive experiences thus far. I only predict better things in future patches and hope that the D3 devs can surprise us all with more content.