D4 Feedback – Critical Hit Chance and Critical Hit Damage
It's not easy to discuss itemization in D4 simply because we haven't seen much about it and it is still early in development stage. I was waiting for the latest developer update, before I posted some feedback, to see if they are going to show itemization in more depth. Since they are going to show us that in a future update, I'll provide feedback on what we know so far.
Blizzard stated many times they want our feedback and we can all agree good itemization is key to longevity of any loot-based ARPG. We are all gonna play D4, question is for how long? D4 does a lot of things good. It has huge potential. Getting itemization right will put Diablo back where it belongs, at the top. We all want this game to thrive, so they can add more classes, more world to explore, more dungeons, more progression systems and ways to play the game.
D3 has good gameplay, it's fluid and fun (except zoom zoom bang bang gameplay), but it lacks the depth in itemization. You build every character pretty much the same: Crit%, CritDMG, CDR% and as many damage modifiers as you can get. Of course you need toughness, but everything is secondary to above-mentioned stats. It takes away the feeling of customization and experimenting with builds. In other words, you play for a while, you reach your end goal, and you get bored pretty fast.
D4 does a good job of hitting a lot of problems poeple have with D3. Art stlye is amazing, mobility and pacing is getting adressed, lots of techical improvments. Still there are some concerns, mainly Itemization and Skills/Passives. Even though game is not yet in alpha and things will change and iterate many times, we can still provide feedback based on what was shown.
What is concerning about D4 is there is still CritDMG as a stat on items. Mayor problem is how do you balance CritDMG? We see this in D3 where Crit% and CritDMG are the best multipliers to increase your damage and nothing can compete with that combo. And it's universal, it will always increase your damage output. You always want more of these stats, there are no downsides. It doesn't add up to the gameplay, it just provides bigger numbers. And certain builds can be all about doing big, flat damage without having to rely on crit dmg. We have seen stats on items like "% melee damage" or "%physical damage". If you have 50% Crit Chance and 500% Crit Damage, whats the point of regular hits? How do you balance it so that anything else can compete with it? Way to solve this problem is to limit these stats somehow. Easiest way to balance Crit DMG is to make it always do 200% of attack dmg. Now you have a controlled stat that makes it easier to balance other stats.
- Attack doing 100 damage with 1aps and 100% crit chance = 200 dmg
- Attack doing 100 damage with 2aps and 0% crit chance = 200 dmg
- Attack doing 200 damage with 1aps and 0% crit chance = 200 dmg
And you can have certain legendary items or skills/passives that break the 200% cap. It would make those items special because you can't find that stat on other items.
- Example leg item: "Critical hits deals 250% damage instead of 200%."
- Example passive: "Critical hits with lightning skills do +50% damage"
As stated above, having Crit Chance and Crit DMG can be problematic if not balanced right, but Crit Chance on it's own can be an interesting gameplay mechanic. You can have a lot of different builds centered on critical chance. Legendary powers, passives, runes can all have triggers on critical chance which open up different playstyles. Critical chance can be set to be inate at maybe 10-15% so every hit has a chance to be critical, but this removes it from the pool of stats and limits other potential builds. It doesn't benefit the game to remove critical chance as a stat. You can also have diminishing returns, but problem with dimishing return is you will always want more of that stat. Better solution is to get rid of diminishing returns and put hard caps on stats. Let us reach reach 100%, but limit critical damage so it doesn't scale out of control. Reaching those hard caps should be possible, but that means you will have to sacrifice other stats.
Few examples for crit effects:
- Critical hit with bludgeoning weapon stuns target.
- Critical hit with Fireball creates a bigger explosion.
- Critical hit with a poison skill spreads the stack of poison on another target.
- Critical hits while in werewolf form extends the duration of that form.
- Critical hits activates runes…
These are just few examples of the top of my mind, but it shows the possibilities that Crit% has. Critical Hit Damage can't do this because it's just a multiplier.
So to sum up my ramblings, there are few ways to approach problems with Crit DMG:
Solution 1 (hard to balance): keep Crit Chance and Crit DMG as stats on items, but make them equal with other stats in terms of power.
Solution 2 (gives occasional big number, but limits gameplay options): give 10-15% Crit Chance on every attack(you can't increase it) and keep Crit DMG as a stat on items.
Solution 3 (provides gameplay options, easier to balance): keep Crit Chance without diminishing returns, but set Crit Damage to always be 200%.
Solution 4 (bad): keep Crit% and Crit DMG as it is in D3.
Bellow I put some examples of different builds using the same skills but drastically different playstlyes. This is a kind of D4 I would like to play, that makes me think how I want to customize my character. A game which gives us creativity how to play the game, not force us into one and the same build for every player.
CRIT BUILD: Ligthning Sorceress – Lightning Bolt + Chain Lightning
- 86% chc (56% crit chance on items + 30% leg item)
- 300% chd (200% base crit damage + 50% leg item + 50% passive skill)
- 1.05 aps (using 0.9 aps staff + 17% attack speed on items)
- 8% status chance (8% items)
- 92-250% mana regen (92% items + leg item)
- Critical hit damage +50% damage
- +30% Critical hit chance, but regular attacks do 50% less damage
- Chain Lightning deals +100% damage but costs +75% mana to cast
- Mana regeneration speed increased drastically the less mana you have
- Lightning skills do +50% crit hit dmg
- Double your Mana Pool
Way it plays: All about hitting hard. You're a sniper. You opted to do as much damage in as few hits possible. You dont give the enemies a chance, you obliterate them before they can even act.
STATUS BUILD: Ligthning Sorceress – Lightning Bolt + Chain Lightning
- 32% chc (17% crit chance on items + 15% passive)
- 250% chd (200% base crit damage + 50% leg item)
- 1.59 aps (using 1.1 aps wand + 45% attack speed on items)
- 62% status chance (47% items + 15% passive)
- 84% mana regen (84% items)
- Critical hit damage +50% damage
- Sorceress skills status effects are twice as strong
- Lightning skills have 15% increased crit hit chance
- Sorceress skills have +15% status chance based on the element used (ice chills, fire burns, lightning shocks)
- Sorceress skills status effects can now crit (ice freezes, fire explodes, lightning releases a nova)
Way it plays: All about applying status effects. You're a master of the elements and they hurt a lot. You opted for a passive that activates additional effects upon criticals. You control your enemies, they are your toys.
ATTACK SPEED BUILD: Ligthning Sorceress – Lightning Bolt + Chain Lightning
- 66% ranged damage (66% items)
- 0% chd and chc (leg item penalty)
- 2.50 aps(capped)/ 2.82 aps (using 1.1 aps wand + 127% attack speed on items +30% leg item)
- 8% status chance (8% items)
- 36% mana regen (36% items )
- Hitting an enemy increases you attack speed by 2% and last 1sec. Stacks up to 15 times. This goes above the 2.5aps cap.
- Your attacks do 40% increased damage, but you can no longer crit
- Your attacks mark a target. Marked targets recieve 5% more damage, stacks up to 5 times.
- Your Basic attacks generate Mana
- Sorceress skills have additional effects upon hitting enemies 5 times based on the element used (ice freezes, fire explodes, lightning releases a nova)
Way it plays: All about hitting fast. You're a machine gun fueled by lightning. You opted for a passive that activates additional effects upon stacking instead of on critical hits. You don't do crits, you spitt out bolts of ligthning for a living.
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