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d3 Group Dynamics & Changes, Season 7 Rewards, Conquests, Haedrig's Gift, Death of 3-Support Meta

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Bagstone's constructive feedback has received a lot of attention. Bluddshed talks about Season 7 rewards, Conquests and Haedrig Gift headstart in his newest video. Patch 2.4.2 release marks the end of the 3-Support meta. 

Group Dynamics & Upcoming Changes (Constructive Feedback)

Bagstone has submitted a quite well written feedback on the official forums on the upcoming change to end-game group dynamics sharing his own thoughts how to improve it even more. Here's his perspective along with a reply by Nevalistis.

Blizzard LogoNevalistis

Like so many others, I'm thrilled to hear all the changes coming to the "meta" this patch. While the thread was titled changes with regard to group dynamics, I think those changes also affect the game overall - not just in terms of groups, but also the general playstyle both in groups and solo. I hope this is not just an exception, but represents a turning point in game design, where just increasing 9 out of 10 numbers if one is too high isn't the only option. This development has driven us to a point where having a set (that usually gives around a 2000% increased damage bonus) is the difference between T1 and T7. Just adding that sixth item to your build should not enable you to leapfrog half of the entire difficulty scale; it makes you feel like you cheated your way through the RPG-like character progression you expect in a game like Diablo. But anyways, enough rambling, I'll sketch out my thoughts on the upcoming changes, issues that I think should be tackled next (especially in conjunction with the upcoming changes), and what else could be done to further improve the game.

RE: Problem/change 1 - party buffs are too powerful and will be reduced.

That is a great change. Further in the post it is argued that this will also "nerf" some solo builds and not only group dynamics, and the datamined information gives away that while many spells are changed from buffing group damage to buffing only a player's damage, the numbers are also changed (mostly from 20% to 15%). There's already an outcry (especially on Reddit) from solo players, but I'd like to remind everyone - players and developers alike - that those simple buff spells aren't good for the game. As someone who passionately played wizard in all of D3V, I vividly remember how there were three fixed spells on every player's bar: Familiar - Sparkflint, Magic Weapon - Force Weapon, and Energy Armor (with Pinpoint Barrier as offensive choice). Those three buttons were pressed every 10 minutes, and then left alone. It led to a very boring playstyle where you would at most use 3, maybe only 1-2 buttons on your bar (especially for the popular perma Archon build). The feedback was unanimous: Please remove those boring buffs and give us alternatives; especially, utility spells. While the buffs weren't removed, the other runes became more interesting features, and a new spell was introduced in RoS (Black Hole).

Therefore, in addition to this change, here's how the development could take it a few steps further:

  • Change spells to have interesting effects that then benefit the players, rather than just boring "20% increased damage" or "25% reduced damage". A good example for this is the Crusader class which has a lot of buffs, but they are not simple buffs: the Laws have an active and a passive component, which means you have interactivity. The biggest buff (Judgment-Resolved) was a side-effect of mobs being CC'ed. Most importantly, almost all Crusader spells have a cooldown, so they're not spammable effects or 10 minute buffs, but they can be built into a rotation.
  • Make player buffs more transparent (both in party but also for a single player). The "additive vs multiplicative" discussion is unnecessary in a game that is meant to be just about slaying monsters and not about maths (especially due to the fact that no combat log or LUA interface is provided). In addition to reducing all buffs from 20% to 15%, I hope the next PTR's patch notes will also state that all buffs from now on belong to the same category; or at least if they come from the same source. For the majority of players this intransparent distinction is alienating, misleading, and can actually lead to a bad game experience. Other options would be to indicate (through color or a little letter in-game) which category a buff belongs to, or at least provide a "target dummy" in town, or... a combat log ;-)
  • I'm not sure it's necessarily a good idea to scrap *all* party buffs. It might lead to party setups where there is no synergy and 4 people just spread out over the map and fight "on their own", and proximity doesn't matter at all anymore. More than damage buffs, the damage reduction buffs just went too far. There were (and still are) so many 50% damage reduction buffs (or higher) in the game - in spells, on gear, and from gems - that the multiplicity of those created inflated numbers for toughness. I peaked 12 billion toughness on my casual support monk in S5, and I assume high-end groups in S6 can go even much further if they wanted to. And this does not include the damage reduction we don't see (the one on mobs, like Blinding Flash-Crippling Light). For example, you jump from 50m toughness to 112.5m by having just two of those multiplicative 50% buffs (e.g., Aquila Cuirass and DMO 4 piece set bonus). That's an increase of 125% in toughness. With the new damage multiplier per GR tier being 2.338% after GR71 (since 2.4.1), that means your toughness value skips a whopping 35 (THIRTYFIVE) GR levels. Just by adding two buffs. TL;DR: Don't just nerf party buffs, nerf buffs overall. One buff shouldn't make a difference of 15-20 GR levels!
  • Keep in mind that it's not only party buffs that are the reason for bringing support classes. In Season 1, there were only two support classes (WD+Crusader) and two DPS characters (both DH), but the main purpose of the supports was perma-stun (WD) and long-range pulling with the horse (Crusader). It seems like you got this covered based on some of the comments and datamined changes (damage reduction buffs reduced, healing reduced), but just as a reminder that all those fall in the "utility" category. I can't speak for everyone, but I personally think having 4 classes do nothing but DPS would also not be much more enjoyable than what we've seen before. Some sort of support is nice to have, and especially the utility of pulling mobs with you *under some circumstances* should prevail. The ability to create density where there is none helped us to tackle with the randomness of rifts and reduced the amount of fishing to some extent, and it would be unfortunate for that to be completely taken away and turn us all just into mindless non-tactical killing machines. However, the current pulling abilities go a bit too far, of course - which I'll bring up in the next point.

Hey Bagstone! I just wanted to take a moment to say this is an awesomely written, well-thought out example of feedback. Definitely passing it on, and while I can't promise anything, I wanted you (and the community) to know how much we value such well-constructed posts. We appreciate your analytic and detailed perspective.

As a somewhat related aside, we just don't have time to comment on every thread. Simply put, there's a TON of feedback to go through and a whole lot more of you than there are us! While we can always improve our communication, responding to everything just isn't feasible. So when we get a bit quiet, rest assured it's because we've got our collective noses to the grinder, not that we aren't listening or reading.


Season 7 Rewards, Conquests, Haedrig's Gift Changes

With Season 7 around the corner, we've already showcased conquests, Zadina wrote about Seasonal Journey changes and now, we'll be going through rewards. A new demonic unicorn pet will be awarded along with a snowy portrait in the upcoming Season. Bluddshed has uploaded a video telling us more about the above-mentioned topics. Headstart classes are also mentioned based on the initial set they get as a reward.

The Death of 3-Support Meta

Rhykker talks in his newest video about one of the most crucial changes coming with 2.4.2 based on his current PTR testing. The new patch release will mark the end of the 3-support end-game meta. Make sure to check out the video if you don't have time to keep up with all the patch notes.


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How "around the corner" is S7?

I haven't heard an official date.

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21 minutes ago, Varric said:

How "around the corner" is S7?

I haven't heard an official date.

I suppose Season 6 will come to a close end July. There has always been a rollover (the period when one Season ends and a new begins) with a two-to-three-week duration. Currently the new Season is being tested on the Public Test Realm.

Hence if my calcualations are correct, Season 7 should go live mid August and would end somewhere in mid November.

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