Let's talk about character builds

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Let's talk about character builds

Post by jetaman » Sun Sep 27, 2015 6:06 pm

Hello. I want to start a discussion about character builds. Now, in particular, let's discuss necromacer. In my mod, I have this really cool idea (at least I think it's cool) to create two types of summonable monsters.
For example, Type 1 are undead creatures like skeletons, zombies, ghouls, wraiths and mummies. You can summon a different ammount of each monster to fight for you. These monsters are weak, that's why your advantage is the number of summons. This is something similar to Les Royaumes Des Ombres by Xaphan.
Image

Type 2, are powerful creatures that have powerful skills, char buff and enemy debuff. You can summon only one of these creatures at a time (like golems in classic Diablo 2).
Image

In this way, the player has a choice between having a little army of weaker units, or one powerful monster with attack and support.

So, making this, I had a question: When a person starts a new char, how does he choose a build? According to char power or fun playstyle or maybe something else? But all builds should be both fun to play and be able to complete all the challenges in game. There has to be some sort of thing that would make the player thik what to choose. What are your ideas on this? Please share.

P.S. All the images and monster names are just an example.
Last edited by jetaman on Sun Sep 27, 2015 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Let's talk about character builds

Post by Desocupado » Sun Sep 27, 2015 7:09 pm

To make someone unable to have both skill lines just make make the first skill in each tree cost skillpoint.accr +1, if he has a point in the other.
jetaman" wrote:So, making this, I had a question: When a person starts a new char, how does he choose a build? According to char power or fun playstyle or maybe something else?
Well he uses the information available. If he never really saw the skills on youtube/guide, he choose which one sounds cooler.
I suppose "fun" would be the guide. As he can't gouge the strength of what he doesn't know.
jetaman" wrote: But all builds should be both fun to play and be able to complete all the challenges in game. There has to be some sort of thing that would make the player think what to choose. What are your ideas on this? Please share.
Not all builds need to be viable in all games.
If you expect a character to run for more than 4 hours, then they probably should. Or there should be a reset feature. Learning how to optimize a build requires lots of gameplay (not necessarily from the player)

The design inconsistence I see in D2 is between game duration (you invest more than 10 hours on a toon), loot grinding (a significant amount of power is due equips) and skill build variety (there are lots of possible spreads).

If you played Guild Wars you'd see a much more interesting idea:
Your character can learn 200+ skills, and can "equip" only 8 at once (one of the slots is for a super powerful skill - the elite skill). You need to change your build to be viable in some areas.

In D2 you could do something like this with pluggy. By having permanent 5 skill points. while "elite skills" require having just 1 skill point left (and regular ones require having more than 1 skill point left)

--------------
Or they could just learn all skills eventually. And instead of builds they have a learn order.
Personally I don't see much use in skill levels.

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Re: Let's talk about character builds

Post by prodigypm » Sun Sep 27, 2015 8:16 pm

Hi , the idea is cool in general . Speaking of fun - A person that likes summons will most probably build around a trash army + 1-2 strong summons .

However , about whats viable and what a experienced player will do (if using summons) is to drop a point to a aura (support) summon and never use any summons at all . Summons are random in and the AI is horible. (If there is any AI at all lol).

The best PvM builds in mods mostly consists fighting necro's and few aura summon or a pure caster/fighting necro.
Atleast thats my logic if you want a decent clear speed and damage in endgame .

I hope that helped you in your modding adventure. But there are 2 sides of the coins as you mentioned earlier.
We're moving faster than lights and dealing with these demons inside so , Where are the ones who made us now!?

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Re: Let's talk about character builds

Post by Desocupado » Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:12 pm

For a squishy character, an army tends to be more appealing, as prodigypm mentioned.

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Re: Let's talk about character builds

Post by jetaman » Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:57 am

However , about whats viable and what a experienced player will do (if using summons) is to drop a point to a aura (support) summon and never use any summons at all .
This gives me some ideas how to balance the two kinds of summoning: an army (Type 1) would consist of units that either are melee or shoot missiles. Without any auras or support. In this way the number is our primary concern. The more the better. And Grand Summon (Type 2) or a single powerful monster, would have aura to support our build (which could be melee or a pure caster), would be taunt the monster to attack it, not the player, would have some decent attack or spells. As to the balance, I could increase and decrease some stats to make the two options equally useful.

And a small edit to my Type 1 summons. I decided to make it all around skeleton army:
Skeleton (20) > Skeleton Archer (10) > Skeleton Mage (5) > Skeleton general (1) > Skeleton King (Leoric) (1)
Image ImageImageImage

What do you think of this idea? :)

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Re: Let's talk about character builds

Post by Doub » Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:07 pm

The first comment i want to make is that the summons have to fit the class. For example a Dragon isnt something that a Necro would summon, unless its a dead Dragon and he brings it to life as an undead? It would fit more if Necro had to summon Demons.

What is fun is relevant. It isnt the same for everyone. Its 100% based on the point of view on life and things in general.
People that want to make their own builds do it based on their point of view on thing and this is something that can differ from player to player. Another than those ppl. There are those that always go for the strongest/best builds and those that always ask around whats the best builds. For example i am a person of ideologies. I will probably make builds not considering how good they are but how i would like them to play.

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Re: Let's talk about character builds

Post by jetaman » Fri Oct 16, 2015 8:03 pm

Thanks for the reply, Doub and rest of the guys. I think Necromancer concept is pretty clear for me.
Now, I've been thinking about char builds some more and here's what I came to: in classic D2 LoD every char had something special. Necro had a lot of summons and curses, Druid had less summons and morph, Sorc had spells and aoe, Barb had shouts-buffs, Paladin had auras, Amazon had missile-skills and Assassin had stationary traps and charge skills. Of course in end game chars crossed roads, for ex. you could have Paladin's auras with every char, but from items. However, in Median XL, every char had a little bit of everything. Namely, Amazon had summon fire elementals, Assassin had Doom curse and Thiefling morph, Barb had summon spirits,wolf companion and stances (auras), Necro had Deathknight morph, Paladin had Dragon morph and Superbeast morph and Sorc had Ice elemental summons. So, if we follow this pattern we can make a mod with chars what have the same type of skills, but different effect. For example: all chars have 5 curses, 2 morhps, 5 spells, 2 types of summons, 5 auras, buffs, traps etc. You get the idea. I know that it looks a bit dull, but let's discuss it.
So, I want to discuss the following:
1. What concept is more to your liking and why? (or if both don't look good to you - what is you preferred concept)
2. How can original LoD concept be improved?
3. What do you think of the concept I presented?

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Re: Let's talk about character builds

Post by Desocupado » Mon Oct 19, 2015 11:42 am

jetaman" wrote:1. What concept is more to your liking and why? (or if both don't look good to you - what is you preferred concept)
I suppose having a true mechanical difference is better. When i pick a sorceress I don't expect to use a bow well.
Maybe archer have more range than spell casters, or only focus on attacking less targets at once.

A good game to look at that is the new PC gauntlet. Characters really feel distinct in that game.
jetaman" wrote:2. How can original LoD concept be improved?
Forget having so many build options and maybe skill levels.
Make every character need their whole skillset to win the game. Instead of having the firebolt level 20 outclassed by the fireball level 5, let people just never look back to firebolt when they learn fireball.

There are quite a few skills that feel clunky in d2, auras and most curses can probably be changed to an untargetable summon with the relevant AI / Skill.
jetaman" wrote:3. What do you think of the concept I presented?
It good to have options. A huge army of melee minions would be useless in the maggot lair, but excel at most open maps. If needed put all summons in the same group.
I do agree those FF summons aren't to necro-ish. Try regular spirits / lichs / banshee's.
Last edited by Desocupado on Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Druid Concept vs. Necro Concept

Post by jetaman » Mon Oct 19, 2015 6:54 pm

How about Druid summons and Necro summons? What would be the difference between these two?
If we look at my previous idea about necro, we see that we have either big army and no aura or single powerful unit with powerful aura. Then logically maybe Druid concept would be = Medium army + not-so powerful aura.

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Re: Druid Concept vs. Necro Concept

Post by Trevor » Mon Oct 19, 2015 7:58 pm

jetaman" wrote:How about Druid summons and Necro summons? What would be the difference between these two?
If we look at my previous idea about necro, we see that we have either big army and no aura or single powerful unit with powerful aura. Then logically maybe Druid concept would be = Medium army + not-so powerful aura.
This is a challenge I have in my mod. In a nutshell, I really like the druid summons; however, how do you make them different from the necromancer? I have the same kind of mentality as you do between the "easy and spammable summonables" versus the beefy tanky ones so my necromancer has tanky golems and flimsy skeletons. My problem is what niche is left for the druid? I think characters should have themes that make them unique otherwise what's the point in playing character x over character y other than different colors of pixels on the screen? Couple that philosophy with being a minimalist and you see my problem. Tanky bears and flimsy wolves is just the same as tanky golems and flimsy skeletons save the animation. There is no difference in game style at all and I dont think it adds anything to the Diablo experience without there being something unique that the bears/wolves add.

That said, personally the biggest issue I have with summons is their function against bosses. If you make them too good, they replace the legitimate melee character (who wants to play a crappy melee when you can play a summoner and have safety and power??) or the summons are basically useless against bosses making the build very difficult to advance (who wants to play something that is frustrating to advance? I've put a ton of effort into redoing the entire game. I want people to try it out see all the changes not give up.) Basically to find the balance between the two serious issues over three levels of difficulty is not simple. I'm still trying. But sadly, this is one of the reasons by I removed the druid summons save the spirits (non attacking summons)
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Re: Druid Concept vs. Necro Concept

Post by Desocupado » Mon Oct 19, 2015 9:40 pm

Trevor" wrote:This is a challenge I have in my mod. In a nutshell, I really like the druid summons; however, how do you make them different from the necromancer? I have the same kind of mentality as you do between the "easy and spammable summonables" versus the beefy tanky ones so my necromancer has tanky golems and flimsy skeletons. My problem is what niche is left for the druid? I think characters should have themes that make them unique otherwise what's the point in playing character x over character y other than different colors of pixels on the screen? Couple that philosophy with being a minimalist and you see my problem. Tanky bears and flimsy wolves is just the same as tanky golems and flimsy skeletons save the animation. There is no difference in game style at all and I dont think it adds anything to the Diablo experience without there being something unique that the bears/wolves add.

That said, personally the biggest issue I have with summons is their function against bosses. If you make them too good, they replace the legitimate melee character (who wants to play a crappy melee when you can play a summoner and have safety and power??) or the summons are basically useless against bosses making the build very difficult to advance (who wants to play something that is frustrating to advance? I've put a ton of effort into redoing the entire game. I want people to try it out see all the changes not give up.) Basically to find the balance between the two serious issues over three levels of difficulty is not simple. I'm still trying. But sadly, this is one of the reasons by I removed the druid summons save the spirits (non attacking summons)
So the druid can summon auras :P - look the poor paladin who has to assign them to the right button.

I could suggest making druid's summons a single animal companion (like D&D's Ranger) - so you can only summon one at once, but it has an aura/gimmick (with several passives).
Put in some passive / on hit gear with adequate skill and you'll be good. Maybe the wolf can cast howl or the bear bite (Hunger).

Personally I think the golem has no place in necromancer skill tab (except for the blood one).
You could use blood golem's mechanics on other minions, removing the life steal - so they only share damage with the caster.

---
Summons versus bosses is indeed a serious problem.

Options to empower summoner that have useless minions against bosses (like skeletons that die and require corpses).
1 - give them some kiting capability (bone wall / teleport / blaze / cold spells / defensive powers)
2 - give them a damage type bosses don't resist (bone spells anyone)
3 - give them some untargetable minion (raven)

Options for bosses that cannot kill beefy minions
1 - give the minion low AI priority
2 - give them AoE effect like lightning or chain lightning (Baal and Diablo)
3 - cause fear / another AI curse on the minion
4 - increase their AI distance so they prioritize the player (due higher threat)

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Re: Druid Concept vs. Necro Concept

Post by Doub » Mon Oct 19, 2015 10:16 pm

agreed!

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Re: Druid Concept vs. Necro Concept

Post by Trevor » Tue Oct 20, 2015 4:32 pm

Desocupado" wrote:So the druid can summon auras :P - look the poor paladin who has to assign them to the right button.

I could suggest making druid's summons a single animal companion (like D&D's Ranger) - so you can only summon one at once, but it has an aura/gimmick (with several passives).
Put in some passive / on hit gear with adequate skill and you'll be good. Maybe the wolf can cast howl or the bear bite (Hunger).

Personally I think the golem has no place in necromancer skill tab (except for the blood one).
You could use blood golem's mechanics on other minions, removing the life steal - so they only share damage with the caster.

---
Summons versus bosses is indeed a serious problem.

Options to empower summoner that have useless minions against bosses (like skeletons that die and require corpses).
1 - give them some kiting capability (bone wall / teleport / blaze / cold spells / defensive powers)
2 - give them a damage type bosses don't resist (bone spells anyone)
3 - give them some untargetable minion (raven)

Options for bosses that cannot kill beefy minions
1 - give the minion low AI priority
2 - give them AoE effect like lightning or chain lightning (Baal and Diablo)
3 - cause fear / another AI curse on the minion
4 - increase their AI distance so they prioritize the player (due higher threat)
This is how I got around some of my issues.
I gave the summoner the ability to summon corpses. This means that he can summon warriors, mages, etc in a boss room. While they are wimpy summons, he can summon them continually.

For the beefy summons, I used the Dopplezon skill funcs. Basically they have a ton of HP, hit like trucks, but are on a timer, they have a skill delay, and are expensive to cast. You cannot keep them up indefinitely.

As a general rule, I dont like oskills. If you want teleport, then play a sorc. If you want ww, then play a barb. However, teleport is an exception; a high level necromancer can get oskill teleport if wanted.
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