Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Diablo III: Magic Find Gear Swapping Update from Blizzard

Blizzard posted suggestions for us to give feedback on about Magic Find Gear Swapping that players do just before killing an elite so that they get better drops on kill.

Read the full story:

Since release it has become an increasingly common practice to keep a Magic Find (MF) set in your inventory, and swap it in shortly before a kill. Philosophically we don't have a problem with the practice. While players getting more Magic Find for their kills isn't a game breaker for us, many players have said they don't enjoy doing it but feel the benefit is too large to ignore. Since the call for a solution really comes from all of you, we'd like to invite you to chime in with your opinion on what the solution could be.

It's worth keeping in mind that if we do implement a method to alleviate gear-swapping in combat, we'll simultaneously be looking at ways for players to get an added MF bonus to compensate.

Here are the solutions we're currently considering, and would appreciate your feedback and opinion on what seems the most reasonable for you, and why:

Option 1: Set a Magic Find Cap

We could set an MF cap between something like 100% and 200%. Nephalem Valor provides 75%, so you would need between 25% and 125% to reach the hard cap. Everyone could find ways to hit the cap for MF% on their gear and then stop.

Pros: Creates a gearing-game around trying to hit the "MF% cap" that some players enjoy. It also solves the swapping issue for people with enough gear to hit the cap. Players who want to min-max and gear swap can do so, and players who think it's stupid but feel "compelled" can try to hit the new cap instead.

Cons: Depending on where the cap is set, it may not actually alleviate gear swapping, and players who wish they didn’t have to will feel compelled to do so. It also devalues a highly valuable stat, and desired stats mean desired gear, which helps diversify the item hunt.

Option 2: Slowly Adjust Magic Find Over Time

When you equip an item with Magic Find, we don't let your MF% change right away. Instead your Magic Find slowly "drifts" towards the target Magic Find -- potentially something like 1% every 3 seconds. If you open up your Character Details sheet, you can see the number change "8%... 9%... 10%." Even though you could in theory switch to Magic Find gear for the killing blow and get a few extra percent, it’s probably not worth it.

Pros: High degree of visibility as your stat sheet updates. Still allows you to swap your gear when you get an upgrade in the world without having to feel bad about putting the item on.

Cons: May not  alleviate the problem for players who still feel compelled to get a few extra MF%. Depending on the rate, some players may just swap in an item during the last 20 seconds of a fight even though they don’t want to.

Option 3: Use your average MF% or your lowest MF% of the last 5 minutes

We could sample your MF% every 30 seconds or so and create a moving average, or use the lowest MF% the game has seen on your character in the last few minutes.

Pros: A lot of the same benefits as Solution 2, but harder to game. Still allows you to switch gear when you get an upgrade, which is great.

Cons: Difficult to communicate. We'd have to communicate this on the Details page somehow, but during normal gameplay there could be the sense of not knowing what your "moving average" is and wanting to look at it. Magic Find is already a difficult number to feel at any point in time, so hidden rules that modify Magic Find feel that much worse.

Option 4: Zero-Out Your MF% for 3 Minutes After Swapping Gear

When you swap gear, your Magic Find is disabled for 3 minutes.

Pros: Absolutely effective at discouraging gear swaps. Still allows you to swap gear when you find an upgrade, and the 3 minute duration is probably short enough that if you kill an Elite pack and get an upgrade, you can put that upgrade on and have your Magic Find active again by the time you get to the next pack.

Cons:  Players who are unfamiliar with the system may open up their details page and see their Magic Find as 0% and not understand why. We could mitigate this by making the 0% MF colored with a tooltip stating the countdown until your Magic Find would work again, as well as what your Magic Find will be when the time expires.

Option 5: Gear Swapping Interacts with Nephalem Valor

There's a whole class of solutions that interact with Nephalem Valor. For example, we could remove a stack of Nephalem Valor when you swap a piece of gear.

Pros: Stops gear swapping just for the last kill, while still allowing the player the option to do so.

Cons: Some players will lose a stack by accident. We could put a confirmation box in to address accidental loss of a stack, but game-interrupting popups are potentially character-killing. It also causes co-op players to drop out of sync. One person may switch gear and lose a stack or two, and if it happens before a boss they'll want to clear two more packs before hitting the boss, but the other party members may not want to -- causing some tense social situations in co-op play. Finally, it tightly couples two systems together and generally tightly-coupled systems don't function over the long haul as well as loosely-coupled systems. In other words, future changes to the Nephalem Valor system or the Magic Find system (or systems related to those two systems) become harder to make as both systems would be impacted.

While we're having our own discussions and tests of how well these options could work, we’re interested to hear your thoughts. We’d mainly like to hear which approaches you like, if there are any specifics you like or don't like about it, and why. Having the context of how this affects you personally really helps us.

We're going to be locking down comments in this article to focus feedback to one location, so please head to the forum thread link below to discuss.

Source: Blizzard Magic Find Gear Swapping