Diablo 3

Between sessions game design experiment – more sets?

diablo14 - Between sessions game design experiment - more sets?

Now that I achieved my personal goal for Season 22, I'm trying to put all classes to GR110 for the rest of the season. This gave me a chance to try out under-played classes.

Though, while bringing them Level 1 to 70, I had the time to experiment with various under-utilized skills. Some are really cool! I wondered if there were ways to make use of them, but… well, they are under-utilized for a reason.

A part of it is that Diablo 3's game design focuses on specific gameplay styles. Sets are the biggest contributor – each class set has only a few specific gameplay styles. This can be forgiven (somewhat) due to how Diablo 3 developed over the later years, since each Legendary option became so powerful that some numbers can get absurd without careful pruning.

This thread isn't to criticize D3's current state of game design – this thread is for me to be a huge nerd. While trying out different classes, I've been brainstorming ideas for new sets for each class that makes use of under-utilized skills. I'll share one each here, for other game-design-minded players to review and imagine together.

Design Goals

  1. Stick to how Diablo 3's game design feels as of 2.6.10.

  2. Bring focus to under-utilized skills in each class's arsenal.

  3. Failing #2, introduce at least something interesting.

Design Limitations

Clearly what I present here are limited by Diablo 3. This isn't really a mod suggestion or anything. Another limit here is also various effects as they are present in 2.6.10. I will do my best to avoid reworking or overhauling what's already present.

Also, numbers may be weird, as I have no way to calculate in-game numbers. When specific numbers show up, please think of them more as place-holders.

So… for each class, here are some set ideas.


Due to the presence of Immortal King's Call, basically all Barbarian skills can be utilized to some degree. Given that, I may have already failed Design Goal #2. But here's my best shot regardless.

Walking Tower's Pillars

  • 2p: Ignore Pain no longer has cooldown, but costs 20 Fury to activate. Revenge gains a charge at 100% chance.

  • 4p: Ignore Pain stacks up to 3 times. Revenge stack limit is multiplied by 10.

  • 6p: Half of lost Health percentage applies as damage reduction. All damage increases by 100 times of that value.

What's the deal with this set? I've been playing a Barbarian again and, without Ring of Might, they may very well be made of silky tofu. I imagined the Barbarian to be this tough-as-nails brickhouse, but looking back, there was way too much dodging and evading (at least in my playthroughs).

I looked at two skills – Ignore Pain and Revenge – and wondered how they could help fulfill my fantasy of a steel-bound Barbarian. Stacking Ignore Pain could make Barbarian tough as heck — but simply removing cooldown would make for a very bland gameplay. So that's why I turned it into a Fury spender. Stacking Ignore Pain will remove a lot of damage, but you still have to manage Fury to keep that up. The exact amount of Fury spent is up to debate, though.

Revenge is a skill that I have never seen anywhere, perhaps because it requires to be hit (and most likely murdered at high difficulties) to charge up. It's only 15%, too! Making it 100% may help with it, I figured. Increasing stack limit is a convenience feature, though I figure it can be used tactically – save up charges from the end of a fight, engage with another pack, Revenge the big ones first, and repeat.

The last set effect is there to further emphasize steeliness. As a Barbarian with this set takes damage, they get angrier. It won't make them too angry to die, but they may kill whatever is killing them near death. At near death, this set provides another ~50% damage reduction and ~5,000% global damage increase. Remaining low Health (a la Shi Mizu's Haori) would be necessary, perhaps, which would make intense combat more nerve-wracking and therefore entertaining by my standards. Damage reduction stacked upon itself might make it manageable.


I love Crusader's shields. I don't know why the only thing Crusader does with shields is to throw them. And that's usually not even a part of a set! With this, I wanted to emphasize shields harder.

Fortress of Faith

  • 2p: Weapon damage for Shield Bash and Blessed Shield are increased by the shield's Armor.

  • 4p: All attacks blocked by shield is negated.

  • 6p: Every time an attack is blocked, gain a stack. Each stack increases Shield Bash, Blessed Shield and Phalanx damage by 1,000%.

The set effects follow a typical arc, but I wanted to factor in some oddness. The first effect is pretty minor – it should only increase the damage of those attacks 50%-ish. The second effect is the weird one – higher the block chance of Crusader, less damage they receive. It makes block amount irrelevant, but has that ever been a meaningful mechanic? Theoretically the damage reduction equivalence could go up to 75% but that'll require skill and gear dedication. Justice Lantern boosts another layer of defense as well. However, this effect could allow seemingly random bursts of damage break through.

The last effect is… kinda blase. The niche might be too similar to Barbarian's, but I wanted to see more shields and blocks.

Demon Hunter

Looking at Demon Hunter's arsenal, basically all seemed to be already covered. But by the time I got to this set, I was already intent on making up a set for each class. I went with the idea of a hunting party, though I'm honestly not sure if this is the best way to reflect that in-game.

Loner's Arsenal

  • 2p: Each time Demon Hunter uses a different Secondary skill, a shadow copy appears to duplicate it at the spot for 10 seconds.

  • 4p: Each shadow copy increases damage reduction by 15%.

  • 6p: Using an Archery skill changes shadow copies' attacks to the same, dealing 1,000% increased damage per shadow copy.

The idea is that, as the Demon Hunter hops around the battlefield, using different Secondary skills, a shadow copy providing support fire would show up. Once a battle pattern has formed, the Demon Hunter will unleash their "big" attack, covering the entire screen with heavy-hitting blasts.


Instead of using new skills, this set would challenge players on skill slot economy – clearly more Secondary skills available is good for the set's bonuses, but DH's skill slot is already pretty damn busy. A fully aggressive set-up would give up defensive and support skills. Maybe we'll see a DH without a Dawn with it!

The last effect's bonuses ramps up wildly, though – 3 shadow copies present would mean 3,000%-boosted attacks from four attackers. But that's already 4 skills in the slot.


Again, like Demon Hunter, most of Monk's arsenal seems to be utilized pretty well. In fact, with this set idea, I went with perhaps the most utilized skill. But… with how sets are, this set may encourage and/or force different playstyles.

Ytar's Extinction

  • 2p: Epiphany gains the effect of all of its runes.

  • 4p: Each enemy slain and each critical strike made while Epiphany is active contributes 1% damage reduction and 0.2 seconds of Epiphany duration, stacking up to 50 times.

  • 6p: Each attack made while Epiphany is active increases all damage by 108% multiplicatively.

Epiphany is the core of this set, but actual bonuses are global. This could be considered a counterpart to Barbarian's Immortal King's Call or Crusader's Armor of Akkhan, in that it focuses on the class's shapeshifting skill. Though, I tried to make it somewhat different.

I always figured that Monk's core fantasy is speed. This set rewards players with being as quick and fast as possible – to enjoy its benefits, Monk has to hit many times while Epiphany is up. Bonuses ramp up over hits, basically, and wasting time may be fatal. The last effect might not mean much at first, but it can reach absurd heights (especially with Stricken, perhaps).

Also, why 108%? For the infinite mercy of the Buddha, of course.


Oh shit, my favorite class. Too bad their sets all suck design-wise. Necromancer can be hella powerful, but their class sets all have a screw loose somewhere. Masquerade of Burning Carnival, their latest thing, simply does not work with an unrelated Amulet. Not that this idea is going to be better… but, you know, just sayin'.

Opera of Shadow Puppets

  • 2p: Command Golem summons a golem of each rune passively.

  • 4p: Every Revived minion increases damage reduction by 3%.

  • 6p: Each time a Revived minion is slain or expired, all minion damage increases by 1,000% for 15 seconds.

  • Special note: This set should have a Phylactery as a part of the set, making it 7-piece.

I always wanted a Necromancer to be a puppeteer, so here it is. Command Golem and Revive never seemed to get much attention aside during the leveling process. I think they are cool skills that are well supported by other Legendary items, just not sets.

This is definitely a summoner set, but true to the spirit of D3 Necromancer, it still requires active play. Revive lasts for all of 15 seconds. Even if Command Golem provides corpses to start the run, there will be maintenance. The 4p protective effect is lesser compared to other sets – but all the minions must be busy soaking up hits.

Bones of Rathma is another pet set for Necromancer, but with this you can forget about Skeletal Mages. Ugh.

Witch Doctor

A lovely class. Design-wise, what Witch Doctor does is far out there. Perhaps that's why I couldn't come up with that interesting an idea here… Another might be that Witch Doctor's sets seem to have all bases covered already. Instead of focusing on a new thing, I wanted to emphasize their DoT deal.

Detritus of Time

  • 2p: Every second, Witch Doctor's damage-over-time effects have a 20% chance to double in damage.

  • 4p: Every second an enemy is affected by a damage-over-time effect, Witch Doctor's damage reduction increases by 5%, up to 50%.

  • 6p: Each additional application of a damage-over-time effect doubles the effect's damage.

It's all about damage over time, like Locust Swarm. Raiment of Jade Harvester interacts with DoT effects, but that set turns them into a single burst instead. This set makes such effect grow in strength over time. With stuff like Wormwood, this could be Witch Doctor's "lazy" build perhaps.

But not too lazy. The last set effect is there with a boss fight in mind. It's still DoT, but to ramp up damage faster, Witch Doctor still has to apply it frequently. Another point of risk is that the protective effect provided by the second option may expire with death.

In a way, this set is both lazy and risky… I kinda like that.


My first D3 character was a Wizard. Best character ever. The Korean voice actress for female Wizard did a bang-up job, too. Also it's lovely how narcissistic she is. omg. But anyways. Beside the glaring design error that is Firebird's Finery, all of Wizard's sets seem… okay? So I wanted to try something weird.

Dazzling Kaleidoscope

  • 2p: Mirror Image copies deal 1,000% damage.

  • 4p: When a Mirror Image copy is slain or expired, all damage is reduced by 50% for 8 seconds.

  • 6p: Each active Mirror Image copy increases Wizard's own damage by 1,500%.

Mirror Image is a really neat skill that I used exactly 3 times. I've never found it to be a good utility or defense skill. So that's why I wanted to give it focus here.

Naturally, Archmage's Vicalyke will have to factor in somewhere. But theoretically this should make things chaotic as hell – this set isn't for steady and certain playstyle. Damage boost will fluctuate wildly as copies spawn and die almost uncontrollably. Though, the final damage-boost effect is a global multiplier – this set could figure into many different playstyles.

So thanks for bearing with me being a huge nerd. It'd be cool to hear what you think about these ideas!

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