Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Diablo 3: A Word On Inferno Mode

While Diablo 3 activity has been on the decline (at least within my circle of friends), a topic that I've found to be hotly debated as more players reach level 60 is Inferno Mode. This ranges from statements about the difficulty of the mode and the nerfs to Act 1, and, more recently, the remainder of Inferno Mode (admittedly some of the changes described in 1.0.3 are promising).With all the information (opinions) I gathered and from my own studies of Inferno Mode, I do have some statements to make about Inferno Mode and some suggestions to change it, as I mentioned at the end of my last Diablo 3 article.

What I Think Is Wrong
  • I think Inferno Mode has a tendency to favor towards killing the player really quickly, especially by using one-hit kill mechanics. It reaches the point that I occasionally wonder whether I'm playing I Wanna Be The Guy.
  • The mode is really punishing for melee, who inevitably have to take hits. Even with the extra 30% damage reduction they get, the Barbarian class, for instance, has trouble getting through without gear from later Acts in Inferno Mode.
  • Monsters in Inferno Mode can do so much damage that they are capable of killing through many damage reduction abilities such as Ignore Pain. For instance, when doing an Inferno Whimsyshire run, normal monsters were doing upwards of 140,000 damage to my Demon Hunter (who has roughly 50% damage reduction from armor alone). Even with the 65% damage reduction abilities a couple classes have, it is still enough to kill any class in short order.
  • Some monster mechanics are exactly the same in Inferno Mode as well. This means monsters can literally come at you suddenly from a screen away or otherwise make attacks that are pretty difficult to react to especially when accounting for latency (especially when playing classes like Demon Hunter who solely rely on avoiding the damage).
  • On a similar vein, elite and champion packs were supposed to have some unique "affixes" (affixes are special effects elites and champions can have like "Frozen"). However, most of the stated affixes made it into all modes and instead as modes become more difficult elite and champion packs gain more affixes (up to four by Inferno Mode). It definitely combines some mechanics, but ultimately players end up dealing with the same mechanics when fighting champions and elites (although I admit some combinations are incredibly deadly).
  • Overall, using a statement that has been echoed over the forums, Inferno Mode really just seemed like a large damage and health increase for all the monsters without really introducing new mechanics. While it made some mechanics far deadlier (whether due to the increased damage to the point of one-shotting or combined affixes), the design feels lacking. I feel more difficult mechanics have a much longer mileage than number tweaking (especially more so since Inferno Mode is greatly trivialized by having strong equipment, which negates the number tweaking).
  • On one final note, especially with Patch 1.0.3 implemented (they even mention acts of cheesing monster packs in the article above), "cheesing" monster packs needs to be fixed. This can include abusing NPCs to finish monsters (and to prevent outright regeneration on Elites and Champions, although using such a method risks the enrage timer). I found a few methods of exploitation that exceed even these methods, making Elites and Champions far easier to farm without risk, as shown in the video below:
Suggestions To Improve Inferno Mode

These suggestions are not guaranteed to fix every single last problem that might be found in Inferno Mode, but I believe they can resolve most (if not all) of the issues I mentioned above.
  • Inferno Mode in general does need some sort of damage decrease, primarily focused on monsters that have mechanics that have a high chance to hit, such as Lacuni Huntress (actually to be honest these aren't too hard to deal with) or Corrupted Angel (also an unrelated one worth mentioning is the bugs in Act 2 - the damage for that particular monster probably needs a nerf across all modes).
  • On the other hand, I don't think health needs to be nerfed (much). This is something I noticed when I did Inferno Mode Act 1 after it was nerfed. It felt like I was doing a slightly more difficult Hell Mode Act 4 (a pretty big jump considering zombies were close to one-shotting me when I did it pre-nerf).
  • Consider giving melee classes, especially Barbarians, more tools to handle the damage (if only to prevent the usage of very specific skill builds). Another possible alternative is to change or remove "invulnerability" abilities (like Smokescreen) and tune damage based on available damage reduction abilities instead (this could make champion and elite packs more fair for all classes).
  • Add a lot of new mechanics. For instance, add some (more) Inferno Mode (or other mode) exclusive affixes to elite and champion packs. Also grant some monster packs a random affix or two from time to time (they have slightly better loot drop chances but not at the level of elites or champions, and do not grant Nephalem Valor) to mix things up even more. Here's some ideas of additional affixes:
    • Breath Attack: Breathes a ray of ice, fire, lightning, or poison in a large frontal cone for a brief time, dealing heavy damage and afflicting additional effects. Breath attacks will always match other affixes if applicable (i.e. Frozen monsters can breath ice). (Hell, Inferno)
    • Wounding Strike: Reduces healing effects for a short time and attacks also cause bleeding damage. Healing effect reduction can be reduced by damage reduction. (Inferno)
    • Armor Piercing: Periodically an attack or ability will ignore a percentage of the target's armor. (Inferno)
    • Armor Shredding: Attacks reduce the target's armor by a small amount for a short duration. Stacks. (Hell, Inferno)
    • Resistance Break: Attacks reduce the target's resistances by a small amount for a short duration. Stacks. (Hell, Inferno)
    • Blunting: Attacks reduce the damage the target deals by 50% for a short time. Alternatively, periodically reduces damage dealt by enemies for a short time. (Hell, Inferno).
    • Hexer: Periodically polymorphs all enemies within a certain range, allowing only slowed movement  for a short duration (similar as Jailer). (Inferno)
    • Silencer: Periodically prevents ability usage for a short duration. Affects all enemies, regardless of range, as long as they are in the same map. Attempting to use abilities will instead cause normal attacks. (Inferno)
    • Drainer: Attacks also drain a small amount of Hatred, Fury, Arcane Power, Mana, or Spirit and reduces (re)generation of these resources by some amount. (Nightmare, Hell, Inferno)
    • Berserk: Can berserk self for a short time, causing and receiving more damage. (Inferno)
    • Furious: Enrage timer is shortened. Can only be on Champion Packs without Shielding. (Inferno)
  • Enrage timers should be handled a little better. For instance, a player shouldn't constantly die at spawn if they kited a champion pack around to spawn and they don't properly reset. If the elite or champion pack enrages, the player suffers significant damage that cannot be mitigated and, if all enemies die, the elite or champion pack instantly heals to full health and the enrage timer resets.
  • Superbosses should also gain new mechanics in higher modes. Since I do not want to post spoilers, I may create a completely separate article on this particular suggestion.
And that's it for my list of suggestions so far on Inferno Mode. What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your points very well said.