Diablo 3

PTR: Shadow Clones Discussion / Feedback

diablo11 - PTR: Shadow Clones Discussion / Feedback

Hi everyone,

last night phase 2 started and the season theme was enabled on the PTR, so we got to try out the Shadow Clones for the first time. First impression is really oof for various reasons. There have been no significant item or balance changes from the first iteration of the PTR, but I assume we are still going to see some.

PTR patch notes / blog post: https://diablo3.blizzard.com/en-us/blog/23529004

First impressions (also here's a video to see them in action, clips from yesterday's stream):

TL;DR: Season Theme has many bugs and also seems very inconsistent. I've heard in solo DH it absolutely melts elites up to GR130 while I haven't seen them do any signifcant damage above GR100 all night in solo Necro and 4man with Necros/Barb/Monk. Overall scaling is out of whack especially on very low end and very high end and between different classes.

Bugs include:

– Clones can be duplicated by Necro Bone Armor casts sometimes

– Apparently also through teleporting back and forth in some places

– I wasn't able to reproduce it personally and can't tell what causes the duplicates exactly, but I've seen it and heard from a bunch of other people

– When players in party switch zones the clone can attach to and start following another player if you go back

– Clones not attacking at all (or at least keep a standing animation)

Clones can kill you or party members when their projectiles are reflected from Sand Dwellers / Dune Dervishes

A few talking points we had about Shadow Clones last night:

– They seem to do a lot more in solo than in groups. Could be because in groups you have support players with low damage but overall the idea seemed to show positive feedback. I also think that making them better for solo is a great idea, would close the gap a bit

– Some clone skills seem to do a lot more damage than others. As a support Barb, I consistently saw 1.5-2.5b hits and with one certain skill (couldn't see much) I saw x100 that (~200b). Same seems to happen with DH clones and Impale, and probably some other skills on other clones

– It would be great to see an indicator for number of clones / remaining time if possible

– It would be great to either have only one clone variation or get some kind of clear indicator which variation you have spawned without looking at all the used skills very precisely. Perhaps with different colors / a distinct spawn animation

– People seem quite confused about what the scaling mechanisms are exactly due to wildly varying numbers. Apparently it's based on sheet damage but the problem with that is the GR scaling: a Bone Spear Necro with 1m sheet damage can e.g. clear GR125 and a fully optimized character with "invisible" damage stats such as area damage, cooldown, skill dmg rolls etc will have only marginally more sheet damage in comparison (e.g. 5m sheet dps) but potentially clear 15-20 tiers higher (x25 monster hp) due to fishing, toughness, more optimal gameplay etc. The scaling with sheet dmg vs. monster hp is really out of sync for very high and very low tiers


General issues of the clones:

– They stay behind when you change floors

– They are tied to pylon spawns, meaning that when pushing they will increase the highroll RNG potential by making rifts with more pylons also spawn more clones, allowing you to snowball more easily. Conversely you will struggle more than before in rifts with fewer pylons

Ideas to solve scaling issues / inconsistencies:

Idea #1: Make it fixed damage and scale with GR tiers. Let shadow clones effectively work similar to a conduit pylon and scale their individual skills to kind of deal the same overall damage in an average pull size of let's say 10 monsters. Could take a look at proc coefficient tables / AoE size of the skills to get a rough idea of balance (e.g. an Impale could do ~10% of a yellow elite, a Multishot could do ~2%, a Cluster Arrow ~3%, a Chakram 2.5%, an Elemental Arrow ~4%, … fixed value on an average yellow elite independent of which difficulty/GR tier you are playing on)

Idea #2: Make it only one variation and be a support player for you. Give them all the support stuff a class has to offer and maybe 1-2 skills to kill stuff and do something so people can see some funny stuff in T16 / low GRs and feel excited about a clone oneshotting something there. E.g. a Crusader that runs 3 Laws and buffs you and heals you with Consecration etc, a support Monk that drops Sanctuary everywhere and has some Mantras, a support DH that gives you Wolf and Marked for Death and spawns 10 Guardian Turrets etc. Could assign some custom values / create super strong custom versions of these skills (e.g. Wolf and Marked for Death buff is 50% each etc) to balance it out a bit between classes and make them feel impactful

Idea #3: We already have Simulacrums, why can't we have these guys work similarly and duplicate our own skills (either when we use them or on their own)? This could solve most of the scaling issues if they simply use our stuff with our own multipliers. Perhaps add a special twist like they have a lot of extra attack speed / RCR / CDR or 1-2 fixed skills they always use on top (e.g. the aforementioned buffs)

Quick summary of 4th cube slot:

– Pretty much works as you expect it to, you simply select one power out of any and add it to your character

– Currently the activated 4th power is only visible in the Kanai's Cube itself. It's missing from all other UI elements (leaderboard, character details, profile, …)

I'm curious to hear more thoughts and experiences with the clones or some ideas on how to change them. It seems like a difficult task due to the amount of skills / scenarios / scaling mechanisms involved and I believe constructive feedback is needed!

– wudijo

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