Friday, May 25, 2012

Thoughts on Diablo 3 Elective mode

I was scanning through my Google reader when I came across Mr. Rohan's post on the failure of elective mode and decided to express my views here instead of clogging up his posts comments with it XD

To be honest, the true hardcore players I doubt would actually whine about having to make choices. At the end of the day, a computer game is based around numbers. Everything can be calculated, Procs can be determined and rotations can be maximized for true effectiveness at a given task. Once you know the formulas, and can calculate what you want to do, then isn't there no choice in the matter of skill selection? You would be able to determine the right answer for a given situation. For example, if you want your Barbarian to survive long in a pack of enemies, intuitively you would perhaps choose some self healing skill, a skill that reduces damage taken or perhaps a set of skills that would allow you to chain stun a set of mobs.

What however is killing the game, is pseudo power gamers who think that their way is the most effective method and that there are no choices. It's actually quite telling about how hardcore these players are when they don't even have proper spreadsheets or formulas listed out. Sure it's actually easy to think of skill combination that would help you do great dps or have greatly increased survivability, but is it the only way? These voices are perhaps the loudest on the forums and moan about the fact that elective mode actually reduces the number of choices they have.

In truth it really doesn't matter. Like what Marius said in the comments on that post, using the correct skill combination that meshes with your play style could perhaps create more effective builds or even more entertaining builds.

Though I must admit that Mr. Rohan has a point regarding the restriction of tools. Restricting the number of tools that a player has access to will greatly increase the creativity of the player in handling problems. This actually has been discussed a bit on the Team Liquid forums as well on the optimization of Resource nodes in Starcraft 2.

Personally I think that elective mode actually helps you be more expressive of how you want to play your character. Want to play a Pure Melee Wizard with increased survivability? You can with the right skill selection. Or what about a Ninja Demon hunter that hurls Chakrams and lays traps to kill enemies? I honestly think that without Elective mode, you can't play those classes effectively.

If anything, recall at the start of Starcraft 2 and how PvP games were. Or rather, Protoss versus anything to be honest. Every single match up was dealt with a simple 4 gate timing push. This eventually changed to a more varied strategy setup over time. There are not a few different strats for Protoss players. Diablo 3 is barely even 2 weeks old. I feel that it's too early to say that there are really no choices in play style or skills.

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