Rogue gameplay trailer : very positive feedback + some questions

Dear devs,

Thank you so much for sharing new gameplay footage! I’ve written on this forum before about my fears that the D4 gameplay would be too « mindless » and out of touch with current standards as seen in e.g. games by From Software, but I’m starting to feel that those fears are groundless. So I just want to first say what I really like about what I saw in the most recent gameplay trailer (btw sorry for the bad English) :

  • I love how the devs have put a lot of effort into making the fighting « readable » e.g. with easy to read « popping » attack damage and status effects reports, colour coding for spell types, informative sound and light effects, stagger/knockback effects, etc.
  • I also like how certain skills seem to be tailored to very specific situations (e.g. the dash skill that leaves behind a trail of damaging spiked balls on the ground, that’s awesome!). I find that the fewer contexts in which any given skill is useful, the more interesting the game becomes.
  • I like how very powerful screen-clearing skills (e.g. the rain of arrows) have a very long cooldown. It makes total sense and forces the player to time their most powerful attacks wisely and avoid wasting them.
  • I like that the number of hits done by the rogue seems to be generally limited. Fewer hits means more readability and more need to make wise choices.
  • I absolutely love the introduction of defensive dashing. I can imagine that the length of a dash would increase with skill points invested in the skill, that a « spectral » modifier would allow dashing through enemies or obstacles, etc.
  • I don’t know if this will stay in the real game, but the number of item and gold drops seems to be very low. To me that is a very good thing, because it raises the value of each individual drop. The player will feel more lucky and curious to know what dropped if the number of drops is very low. The fewer items a player carries, the more value each item has and the more meaning it has for the player.
  • The fight against the undead king-type boss looks very interesting! Walls of bone and a vortex that sucks light away from the scene make for interesting gameplay situations!
  • This has nothing to do with gameplay, but the graphics and the art are really nice, I love the different settings and sound effects (e.g. wind sounds in the caverns), the introduction of climbing and jumping, and yah … horseys!!!

Questions that remain :

  • Shouldn’t skeletons and zombies be immune to poison damage? That would make dealing with the undead more interesting. Typically they would get extra damage from fire and holy attacks, maybe insta-death from some « turn undead » spells, but be resistant or immune to poison and slashing/piercing weapons, even empowered in certain situations (e.g. if living enemies are killed in the vicinity, certain types of undead might gain strength from the released life force, so players would need to dispatch the undead first). Perhaps they could also be vulnerable to mind control from necromancer spells (whereas, say, animals could only be mind-controlled by e.g. druid spells). Maybe rogues would have no great way to defeat undead enemies, it might create an interesting « blind spot » of sorts, forcing rogue players to team up or hire NPCs or avoid certain areas entirely, increasing the game’s replay value with other classes. Having undead creatures come back to life after being defeated would also create interesting situations by adding a premium on skills that blow enemies apart (e.g. explosive arrows), burn them to ashes… or teleport them to another dimension :slight_smile:
  • Shouldn’t a bow-wielding rogue be especially vulnerable to melee attacks? It doesn’t make much sense (I think) to shoot arrows at point blank range while getting slashed at with swords. If there were huge penalties for getting hit by melee attacks while wielding a ranged weapon (e.g. being interrupted, stunned or temporarily disarmed, suffering double damage, ten-fold loss of weapon durability on the bow, etc.), this would make crowd-control skills (e.g. the rain of arrows could immobilize enemies.), magical shields, decoys, obstacles, defensive dashes, etc. (role played either by the character’s own skills, special items or an allied player, NPC or minion) a necessary combo to ranged attacks, creating more depth in play.
  • I wonder if it would make the game more interesting to limit the usefulness of certains skills depending on whether the player is indoors or outdoors e.g. what if the rain of arrows could only be used in large caves or outdoors? That would force players to rely on different skills and tactics while in a dungeon, castle, underground lair, etc. It would force players to be mindful not only of their enemies, but also of their surrounding ; they would need to plan their trips to certain locations more intelligently (i.e. choose good items / skills to take along on their journey, listen carefully to NPC advice). Similarly, perhaps that certain spells could only be used when certain environmental conditions are met (e.g. in the dark or in sunlight, when it’s raining or snowing, when a source of fire, water or ice or when plants are present, etc.).
  • Dodging without actually getting out of the way has always felt weird to me! Maybe dodging should not be possible if a character doesn’t have room to side step, jump back or crouch?
  • I’ve read somewhere that the devs want players to be able to tailor their characters to their own play style. I really hope this idea won’t make it into the final build. What makes a certain class fun and interesting is the constraints and play style it forces onto the player. Some significant fights or areas of the game should even be impossible to overcome with a certain class, which would force players to pair up, hire complementary NPCs, or even create and level up another character of the appropriate class. The requirement that all classes should be able to complete all areas of the game implies that all classes must be adaptable to all situations, which is very bad because it means the choice of class is merely cosmetic and irrelevant from a gameplay perspective. I still have a haunting memory of playing Final Fantasy III and equipping all my characters with the Ultima spell, which dealt 9999 damage to all enemies on the screen… It made all characters identical in value and equally useful in all situations, which broke the game and made it super easy and boring in the later stages, which is exactly the opposite of what would be good to build up to the most challenging endgame fights. D4 being open-world works very well with limiting the effectiveness of each class to certain areas.
  • Enemies falling down and getting back up (e.g. like in beat-them-up games) would really add another layer of complexity to the game.
  • I hope that the array of possible drops will depend on the enemy type (e.g. killing a cow should not drop a piece of armor or a crossbow, unless it is a magical cow of course ; crafting materials like bones or fur shouldn’t drop from e.g. a golem or a ghost) This would entice players to hunt down and farm certain enemy types depending on which kinds of items they need to adapt their build to the specific challenges / quests they are currently trying to complete. Having certain enemy types show up only in certain circumstances (e.g. at night, during a blood moon, after a flood or at low tide, during a heatwave or a blizzard, depending on the season, etc.) would make the hunt even more exciting.
  • Lastly, I wonder if it’s a good thing for health and mana to replenish so fast. Situations should arise where both values can only go down. This would force players to clear areas with a limited amount of resources, forcing them to retry several times until they find the best way to go about it. Some areas could be so challenging that players would need several days or even weeks to find and acquire the correct build. Maybe some skills could draw from a second « special » mana pool that never fills up, unless certain items are found. In the same vein, it would be interesting to have certain severe status effects (e.g. debuff or death curses, poisons, injuries/ handicaps, etc.) that are impossible to remove unless specific cures are found. These game mechanics would force players to look far beyond any one encounter and find creative ways to adapt to long-lasting impediments. They could even tie in with quest lines. I’m thinking of e.g. the magnetic cave in FF2 where players lost the ability to use metallic items.

So anyways… I feel super bad telling devs what to do, I know they have more experience and game knowledge than I could ever have, and they’re trying to make all their fans happy (including themselves as players of their own games), which for sure is impossible. I guess I’m just hoping to get the « perfect » action RPG game I’ve been waiting for! I know that other players will be pushing for a completely different take on the Diablo formula. But at any rate, at this point after seeing the last gameplay footage I’m really looking forward to trying out the final product, I really feel that D4 will be game of the year for me when it comes out, whether or not it’s « perfect » relative to my own personal tastes.