Diablo 3

D2 is broken: eliminating the concept of “chance to hit”

diablo17 - D2 is broken: eliminating the concept of "chance to hit"

The concept of "chance to hit" in Diablo 2 needs to go. It and all its related components are what makes melee classes so hard and boring to play. In this thread, I'd like to discuss a bit more on this attribute, and what my suggestions would be to get rid of it entirely, making the game better in the process.

Chance to hit in Diablo 1

For context, I'd just like to bring the D1 CTH here for context. In D1, you had an explicit stat in the character scree that displayed your "chance to hit". Similarly, many items gave "+% Chance to Hit", like weapons, jewelry, etc.

However, the way this worked in D1 was incredibly misleading. "+20% CTH" didn't necessarily mean you'd hit enemies 20% more often. The stat presented in the character screen was used in a complex formula that took your level and your enemy's level into account, as well as other factors like distance from the monster (in case of ranged weapons).

Thus, you could end up with something like "185% chance to hit" which is completely nonsense, and still have an effective change to hit a certain monster of 80%.

On the other hand, your chance to be hit was based on your Armor Class: the more AC you have, the lower the chance that a monster hits you. Again, this highly depend on clvl and mlvl.

Chance to hit in Diablo 2

In D2, they clearly set out to fix that inconsistency by introducing the "Attack Rating" stat: a number that represented your effective chance to hit indirectly.

Now, items don't give "chance to hit" directly, but instead grant you some amount of "attack rating". This value is then used in a similar formula to compute the final chance to hit a given monster. The fact that the character screen displays the final chance to hit a specific monster (the last monster you hit) is an improvement over D1, as you were completely in the dark there (no matter the value you had in ToHit, you never really knew your final effective chance to hit a particular monster).

Similarly to D1, armor in D2 works by adding "Defense" (previously known as Armor Class). This is then used in a formula to compute your chance to be hit by a monster.

Diablo 3's 'Armor'

D3 drastically changed this system to a different one. Instead of having stats that influence chance to hit or to be hit, you now always hit, and have reduced damage the more armor you have. This is much better.

Ideas to streamline CTH and AC

Since I'm focusing on D2 here, I'll try to share my thoughts in regards to D2. I think Blizzard is already going with the D3 system for D4, so I won't be covering that specifically. However, I'd really like to see some of these improvements come to D2 as part of a MOD or a Remaster in the future, so I think the discussion is still relevant.

  1. Remove clvl and mlvl in all tohit calculations
    This one is easy to do. Make it so that the calculations only take into account the player's Attack Rating stats vs the monster's Defense Rating stats. This is a more logical and simple approach than what blizzard did with D2, and would drastically improve gameplay.
    Goes without saying that rebalancing would be needed to make this work. To hit a high level monster, you'd need high Attack Rating.
    This doesn't eliminate CTH, only makes it more streamlined.

  2. Armor should reduce (or negate) damage
    My idea of an ideal system is similar to D3 here, but not exactly the same. IMHO, armor values should directly impact the damage you receive, and not indirectly like it happens with D3. The indirect system in D3 is too hard to understand, first because it is a meaningless arbitrary number (like Attack Rating) and second because it is not linear (there are diminishing returns).
    For example, if you have 10 total armor, and take a 15 damage hit, you should take 5 damage. A direct formula like this is harder to balance, but infinitely simpler to understand. This is how games like StarCraft work.
    In my view, this system should also be able to completely negate damage, if the armor value is higher than the total damage.
    This direct system would be similar to what The Hell MOD does in Diablo 1 with it's "-X Damage From Enemies" focus, which works the same way as the attribute in D2, but the whole game has a much bigger focus on it: going about without any -DFE gets you killed very fast in The Hell.

  3. Shield armor should be used when blocking
    My idea on shields is eerily similar to D3, but more inline with my idea for all armor. Shields would have the same "Armor" stat as any other equipment piece, however it would usually have a very high armor value. Whenever blocking takes place, only the shield's armor value would be used to calculate damage reduction. In the example above, if you had 10 total AC (excluding shield), a shield with 13 AC and blocked a 15 damage hit, you'd take 2 damage.
    Again I think this system is more intuitive and simpler, and that's why I advocate for it.

  4. Make it so all attacks always hit
    Similarly on the offense side, all attacks you made should always "hit". Note that "hitting" doesn't necessarily mean "doing damage". As long as the enemy's armor is high enough, some of your hits would do no damage at all to it. Damage ranges could play an important role here… Today in D2, there is little reason to have weapons with high damage variability, because few mechanics are affected by it. However, a Bardiche could be very interesting on this fixed armor scenario, since it's damage ranges from 1 all the way to 27. That's 14 average damage, but can still kill a monster with armor 20. A 12-16 sword would never be able to kill that same monster.
    The idea of doing zero damage like that can be a bit scary though, so perhaps a system with "ranges of armor" would make sense as well (instead of each equipment piece having a fixed armor value, it could block X-Y damage, like weapons deal X-Y damage). See below.

  5. Armor pieces should provide "From X to Y damage reduction"
    Armors today (in all 3 games) have fixed values. They can vary when spawning (for instance, a "Quilted Armor" can have between 8 and 11 armor), but are set to a specific value after creation.
    I think that, combined with the changes above, all armor pieces could provide a "range of armor". Taking this "Quilted Armor" as an example, instead of potentially spawning with either 8, 9, 10 or 11 armor, it could instead protect you from 8 – 11 damage.
    When applying this principle to all armor pieces, there could be some really interesting "controlled" randomness going on. Whenever a hit took place (either yours, or an enemy's) a roll would be made and a final AC value would be used. Depending on your gear, damage spikes could be more or less dangerous, for example.
    At the end of the day, this one is similar to "block damage" from D3 shields, extended to all armor pieces.

  6. Durability loss should be related to "over/under" damage
    Durability is a strange beast in D2. On one hand, it is a dumb money sink, on the other it should be a way to add more strategy to picking items (it fails at that).
    On this new system I'm proposing, I think durability should be changed accordingly. If I take a hit, all absorbed damage should "go to the armor" as durability loss. The idea is as if each armor piece had its own "health points" that are reduced when absorbing damage.
    Say I have a 20 AC armor and take a 25 hit. My character should lose 5 HP, while my overall armor should lose 20 durability points.
    Obviously, durability values would need dramatic adjustments for this to work, but that's to be expected.
    For weapons, say I hit a monster with a maul, 30-43 damage, against his armor of 14. Say I rolled 41 damage on the hit. Now the enemy loses 41-14 (27) damage, while my maul takes a hit of 14 points of durability.
    If I hit the same monster with a dagger for 10 damage, my dagger would suffer 10 durability loss and the monster would not lose HP.

I think these changes would simplify the game considerably and make it more fun to play. What are your thoughts? Do you agree? Do you have other suggestions to change the "chance to hit vs armor" aspect?

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