View Full Version : Itemization: one of the factors preventing melee viability.

02-17-2010, 12:31 PM
So here's the deal.

I think it's pretty common knowledge at this point that the game's difficulty spikes at 10. Like, unreasonably spikes. Exponentially, perhaps. If this is a bug or by design, I don't know.

For Mages and Archers, this isn't too big of a deal. You stand far away and pewpew. If monsters get close and you're penned in, you die. You're used to that mechanic. It's the way the game's been played thusfar. Business as usual.

For Melee, you've been wading into combat and realizing that you've been using more and more consumables. But that's just the ARPG convention, right? Melee depends on consumables.

And then, suddenly, your melee build stops working. You're getting crit for 15-33% of your health, chain-stunned, crushing blow'd, even piddly little regular casters are wrecking your shit both on the nuke's initial damage and the inevitable lingering poison/fire damage. God help you if you need to fight a boss mob. If the thing has regeneration as one of its traits, there's a very realistic compulsion to simply abandon the town. If you've built to do damage, you're too weak to survive the boss's attacks. If you've built for survivability, you're too weak to survive the boss's attacks *AND* you do no damage.

10 sucks. Every patch has nerfed the 10 spike in some way and I predict there will be several more.

One of the problems that's overlooked about this spike is that dropped gear simply isn't up to snuff when it occurs. Unless you've gotten lucky with a rep reward, or have a higher-level Mage/Archer to twink you, you're probably rocking some ragtag collection of greens that mostly suck.

Item level is borked. Why am I getting 3.0 DPS weapons out of level 14 reward chests? Why am I getting 10 Armor +1 Int +2 Light Radius mail chest armor?

Why does Plate Armor require 50jillion Strength to equip? It takes 15 skillpoints to unlock and you're asking 40+ Strength for the lowest-level pieces? We start at 5 Strength.

Why does Mail seem to have an equal chance of giving caster stats than melee? And vice-versa for Cloth? My Defender's wearing a cloth chest at level 12 because the Item Generator managed to cough up some 22 Armor Ego robe with some decent melee stats, which is the most I'd seen up to that point. Meanwhile Yellow Mail is dropping with 10 armor and Intelligence on a more than regular basis.

Why am I getting rep rewards that are totally inappropriate for my class? My first reward on my Defender was a Bow. The second was a Cape. If we ignore the fact that these things had stats that were totally useless to my build, there's still the raw truth that *I can't even equip these items.*

This itemization issue doesn't really affect Mages and Rangers because, well, their gear requirements aren't all that important. Mages want Int and Mana Regen because they're dead in melee anyway, but honestly they don't really *need* anything. Rangers *need* a good bow, but otherwise... I don't know, Mana Regen?

If Melee are going to stand against Difficulty^2 enemies, we *need* a good item in EVERY slot. Mob damage spikes, we need +Armor, +Defense, +Parry, +Block, +Vitality. Mob HP and Defense spikes, we need high DPS weapons, +Attack, +Crit, +Crushing. Caster mobs become increasingly ridiculous, we need a spectrum of +Resists. Consumables become so insanely important and expensive that we need +HP Regen to not go broke.

The only thing we can really skip on is Intelligence, Spirit, and possibly MP/MP Regen. Even then MP/MP Regen can be important, depending on the build.

My only suggestions are:

-Tailor reputation rewards to class. If you can't even equip it, don't even offer it. Or, better, offer a choice of three items or something.

-Spike item power past iLevel-10 like monster power is spiked.

-Do something about consumables. It's not fun to dump ~30 silver every town visit because HP doesn't regen and I'm at 25% after every fight. Add Lifeleech, maybe. Add a small passive HP regen correlated to Vitality to melee classes. Make +HP Regen as common as +MP Regen on Mail/Plate.

-Cut back on Mage mobs' power til about 20. If you want to one-shot me at 20 because I failed to consider resists, fine. That's fair. Don't do it at 10, though. Not enough items have dropped to properly equip me for it.

02-17-2010, 01:30 PM
I've had a lot of similar thoughts as you. I agree there is a bit of an issue with melee, but maybe not as bad as you're saying. I have a few melee characters in their upper teens and some are doing great, others not so great.

Most of my melee characters start to find some nice weapons around their early teens. That is when I start to find weapons that have a base 15-20 dps. In the upper teens I have found a few that are 20-30 dps. There is a nice progression there. Having alts and a shared stash helps.

At first I thought the problem was entirely in the itemization, but now I'm not so sure. It might be a good idea to make melee characters a little less gear dependent. Maybe put a little more emphasis on strength and dexterity and less emphasis on the skills that amplify your weapon damage. That would be good because it lets the player experiment with concept builds without feeling like you're missing out if you don't go for the skills with the high weapon damage multipliers. I'm lucky to get 5-10% damage increase from strength while some of my skills are boosting my damage by 100% or more. Heck, my Serrated Arrow Ranger is over 300% physical damage with his bow multipliers, but my crushing blow/strength melee character is lucky to get an extra 20% damage across multiple skills.

02-17-2010, 02:01 PM
-Do something about consumables. It's not fun to dump ~30 silver every town visit because HP doesn't regen and I'm at 25% after every fight. Add Lifeleech, maybe. Add a small passive HP regen correlated to Vitality to melee classes. Make +HP Regen as common as +MP Regen on Mail/Plate.

This has been bothering me a bit as well. Compare the drop rate of potions and food to the rate of healing item drops in Diablo or Titan Quest and you'll see a huge difference. In addition to your ideas, I feel that simply improving the drop rate for healing items would make a pretty sizable impact.

Furthermore, has anyone found a weapon with life leech yet? I see it's on some obelisks but I've never seen an item grant it as an ability.

02-17-2010, 02:33 PM
I don't think it exists. I don't believe it existed in DoP.

I think that adjusting drop rates (and sell rates, since stores often offer more expensive potions than you need) would help, but at around level 30 I've found my character more and more frequently getting dropped by single attacks.

02-17-2010, 02:53 PM
Lots of sensible stuff in here. After a bit more doing, I've got a mega-post or so of my own to make in regards to one or more subjects like these. Every patch is improving, but I have concerns of a "sand in a sieve" nature.

I'd quite like it if each member just made mega-topics for meatier expositions when the time comes so I could more easily browse and keep in mind whom has suggested what and when/how---especially since we've a relatively finite and wieldy number of folks here on the beta circuit. I'd suspect most of us are just about zeroed in on "the experience" that Din's is coming across as a package in general from the hours thrown at it.

02-17-2010, 10:42 PM
I just started playing again, only to stop and go back to dark eden. The melee side of this game is just overwhelming. I'm playing with an assassin/hunter to counter the insane side of the game. I figured that with the offensive nature of the assassin (lethal blow) and the defensive nature of the hunter (Find food and light touch) I figured i could get some swift first strikes done. I can, but after a few small battles; i barely come out alive.

And if there's any champion/elite monsters with thorns; it's over....

I like the game because of it's uniqueness but somethings got to make it more viable to go melee.