Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Diablo III ranged classes and AH

This weekend I got around to playing the Diablo III beta some more, testing the last two classes I hadn't played yet: Wizard and Demon Hunter. Both of which fortunately turned out to be quite fun to play, which means that from the beta I like 4 out of the 5 classes. Comparing the two ranged classes, I preferred the Wizard over the Demon Hunter. The Wizard plays pretty much exactly as you would expect, starting out with single-target magic missiles and point blank AoE, and getting really good once he acquires ranged AoE spells.

The Demon Hunter is a bit more complicated. It is the only class having a split resource meter, using both hate and discipline. Hate powers aggressive abilities, discipline defensive abilities. Discipline recovers much more slowly than hate. Now that might work better at higher levels, but your problem at lower levels is that you can only use 2 or 3 abilities, and putting a defensive ability using discipline on one of these few slots is simply a waste. I did like the exploding bola ability for its fun value, but practically an AoE explosion with a 5-second delay is obviously less useful than the immediate explosions of the Wizard spells.

As remarked earlier, a large part of healing in Diablo III works via health globes that can drop when a mob dies. That puts ranged classes at an inherent disadvantage, because they tend to stand somewhat away from these health globes. The Barbarian and Monk have a much easier time scooping the health globes up, and they both have self-healing abilities. So I would say that the ranged classes are somewhat harder to play. Especially the Demon Hunter, whose defensive abilities at least in the early game are limited to back-flipping or tumbling out of the action, with a certain risk of these moves getting him deeper into trouble by jumping right into the next group of mobs. The Wizard's frost nova is a lot more useful as defensive ability, even with its cooldown timer.

New this weekend in the beta was that the auction house opened. Gold only, obviously, no real money trade in the beta. The AH is apparently modeled on the WoW version, with bid and buyout system, and all the related disadvantages. I generally prefer AH systems in which you can't see what the asking price is of all the other players, because then you don't get those permanent undercutting wars. One innovation is that when bidding you can put in a higher bid amount, and the AH automatically adjusts your bid if somebody outbids you, like on EBay. What is also new is that you search by character, as in "all the chest armor pieces my Barbarian could wear". That has advantages for buyers, but is somewhat cumbersome for sellers who found an item their characters can't use and would like to find out its market value. The beta not having all that many players, and the AH being new, prices still were all over the place. But it was already clear that the only items really selling were those that had good stats for their level requirements. Your average loot drop isn't going to sell for much, and you might be better off disassembling it into essences and crafting something better from those.
People report that you cannot relist/cancel item after it was on AH for 5 minutes... which slows undercutting wars alot.
On the other post today you wrote "having "twitch" as the only sort of challenge in a game turns me off, which is exactly why I quit World of Warcraft"

What other challenge Diablo 3 offers? Does it need preparation, theorycrafting, forming tactics?

I'm not trolling, I'm not in the beta, just seen videos, where mostly I saw a barbarian going forward, massacring anything in sight.
Gevlon, you might want to check out the Diablo 3 character calculator. Basically, yes, there are interesting options, due to the fact that you have to choose a subset of the abilities available to you, and can then combine them, and modify them with runes.
And don't you think that soon the sites will provide the "best" ability/rune combos and people pick that or "u nOOb u put alabaster 2 multishot lolololol"?

In other words, the choices are interesting, because their optimal combination is unknown. Soon it will be theorycrafted and optimized. Then what?
I don't think it is that easy, because in Diablo III (unlike WoW) there are actually significant differences between different mobs and different combat situation. Your best combo to kill hordes of small enemies is not the best combo to kill the big boss mob, and different big boss mobs might require different combos.
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