Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Diablo 3: Let's Talk About the Mystic

Diablo 3's expansion, Reaper of Souls, added a few new pieces of content for players to sink their proverbial teeth into. On top of Act 5 and the new Adventure Mode that adds Bounties and Nephalem Rifts, which is effectively the endgame at the moment, a new artisan, the Mystic, was added to the game as well. While the vanity transmogrification, an innovation that made its way into World of Warcraft (which was originally from other games) and was likely brought to Diablo 3, has generally received little criticism, the Mystic's Enchanting has drawn a staggering amount of fire.

Enchanting allows a player to reroll a single stat on their gear at the cost of materials (gotten from Salvaging) and gold, with the gold price increasing on subsequent re-enchants (with no discernible cap). When a stat is rerolled only that stat can be rerolled on any additional attempts to enchant the item. Rerolling provides two new stats for the player to choose from all available rolls that the item can have at the time (for instance an item that already has Vitality cannot have Vitality twice so it's unavailable as a choice if the stat is not getting rerolled but other stats could potentially be rolled).

The Problems With Enchanting

While this is at least a method for smoothing out RNG by effectively reducing the amount of good primary stat rolls on an item by one to make them decent equipment, there is still a lot of frustration factor related to using the Enchanting Feature. While recent patches and hotfixes (such as the removal of gold costs for enchanting jewelry) helped make the Mystic's enchanting less frustrating, I feel even more could be done since there are a few issues (or at least what I consider issues or problematic), which I will briefly list here:
  • The lack of a cap on the gold cost (except on rerolling Rings and Amulets) causes an exponential growth in terms of how much gold is used to reroll a given item. The price increase rate starts in some linear form and seems to increase at an exponential rate too, which only increases the exponential growth of gold sunk.
For an example of how ridiculous the price increase for rerolling can get can get, refer to the following images:
The price for each individual reroll seems to increase at varying linear rates. However...
The total gold spent on rerolls is a clear exponential growth. Scary!
The final result of over 6 million gold of rerolling.
As you can see, the exponential growth of the gold cost is incredibly punishing.
  • Certain items have a staggering amount of reroll options that two options per reroll can't even remotely cover even after numerous rerolls. Quivers, Mojos, and Sources can roll +% skill damage on nearly every skill of the class that can use that item, for instance. For an example of how many stats such an item can reroll, refer to the image below:
Items like quivers have so many reroll options that I needed to edit in the additional options.
  • Sometimes a player may be interested in rerolling a stat to obtain a higher version of the stat to only end up rolling a lower version of the stat multiple times. While I understand perfect items are intended to be rather tough to get, an item that has one perfect stat roll is probably not going to massively increase the rate of character progression not to mention the player has to actually roll that stat to begin with (which could take many rerolls anyways). This mostly applies to stats with large ranges like main stats (Dexterity, Intelligence, Strength, Vitality).
  • The gem price to reroll jewelry is staggering and often will cost 900k gold (the price to craft the required gem from Marquis gems). Even though the price is static spending 900k gold to reroll a piece of gear each time can really cut into a player's funds (not to mention players have to gather Marquis/Imperial gems).

As one can see there is a good bit of evidence that using the Mystic can be frustrating and downright punishing. With that said, there are many ways to alleviate this while still making her into a bit of a resource sink to reroll equipment (as intended):
  • Increase the number of available rerolls stat slots to give the player more options to choose from when rerolling (currently when rerolling new stats, each attempt returns two stats). This is the simplest and most straightforward way to provide a player more bang for their buck and reduces the impact of RNG by providing more chances at a desirable reroll.
    • A variant on this is to have a number of reroll stat slots based on how many slots the piece of equipment it has. For instance, the aforementioned Quivers, Mojos, and Sources when attempting to roll +% skills would likely end up having many potential stats to roll and thus would need as many as five or six reroll stats per reroll in order to match rerolling other gear in terms of finding desirable stats. See example image below for more details.
    • Another variant on this is to pay more materials (as in materials Salvaged from equipment) to get more reroll slots for that specific reroll. This allows players to save a little gold and potentially diversifies their options (especially if the changes to the Mystic in patch 2.0.5 were taken into consideration so that every reroll slot chose a different stat). It also allows players to use excess materials they may have on hand.
  • Place a cap on the gold price to reroll (500k gold, for example). This will end the exponentially increasing prices to reroll equipment and make enchanting seem less punishing, though it will still be a little pricey to reroll. In addition, it would also be nice to reduce the price increment amount for each reroll since it has a tendency to spike randomly (refer to the chart above).
    • On that note, changing the gem price for rerolling jewelry from Flawless Imperial to Imperial would change the amount of potential gold spent rerolling jewelry to around 600k per reroll (if the time spent to gather Marquis gems is not accounted for). Alternatively, remove the gem price entirely and have jewelry rerolling work like rerolling other gear.
  • When rerolling a specific stat, it can only roll higher versions of that stat. This allows players to eventually get a higher stat for the specific stat they want, reducing the impact of RNG considering that players still have a good chance of rolling other stats while trying to get a perfect stat on the item.
    • For instance, if a player tries to roll out of 499 Strength on an item that can roll up to 500 Strength, the item can only ever roll 500 Strength if it rerolls Strength.
  • Allow players to choose a stat when rerolling as their desired stat. That stat has an increased chance to be rerolled with the chance increasing based on how many times the item was rerolled. This would work well in conjunction with the gold price cap to further reduce the punishment RNG can deal out.
Hopefully at the very least the Mystic will be looked into because, as mentioned before, having the reroll option is great but the punishing nature of the rerolling system is not so much.

(I feel obligated to say this every time - these suggestions may have shown up somewhere in some form. Some of these suggestions may have even been inspired by said similar suggestions.)

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