2.4 anti stun mechanic and its impact on PvP

Dear Blizzard,

First and foremost, i want to thank you for the interest you are giving to Diablo 2 Resurrected. Diablo 2 was probably the most loved game in my whole life, and i can’t even start to express how much the perspective of seeing it evolves and grows thrills me. I’m a PvP player, and i have always seen diablo 2 PvP as some sort of hidden gem, created almost by luck. Indeed, Diablo 2 vanilla was awesome, but i dont think it was planned with PvP in mind as a real goal. Regardless, the result was incredibly fun and fast. While not perfectly balanced, it was highly skill expressive. It felt great to get better at it.

I fear the current change planned in 2.4 threaten that, menacing to destroy a part of the game identity in PvP.

PvPers understand the game is mainly PvM oriented, and they understand they could be impacted by PvM changes greatly (for example, FoH buff or Bone Spirit buff). We aren’t really happy about it, but we get it. Diablo 2 is first about PvM, not PvP. However, the change i want to discuss today is only about PvP : its the anti stun mechanic, the so called “diminush return on hit recovery”.
First thing i want to say is, thats NOT a diminush return at all. Here a definition of diminushing return in gaming context :

In gaming, the law of diminishing returns (DR) governs the gradual loss of effectiveness of a spell or ability on continual use. Simply put, the more you abuse a skill, the less effective it becomes

But what you did isnt “gradual” at all. Once you get put in Hit Recovery anime, you simply win a invulnerability window once your anime is over, and you can’t get put in Hit Recovery again for a short period of time. Its a stun immunity that trigger almost instantly. In other words, it destroy a commonly used mechanic in PvP called stunlock.

What are the pros of doing that ?

-PvP meta was affected by the change from D2lod to D2R, WSG is gone, most desynchr are gone. As a result, stunlocks got stronger, and particulary long stunlocks from Assassins MindBlast. Thus, Assassins (who were already strong in D2LOD) became stronger. Escaping in TvT to stun combinaison such as Leap + Mindblast also became even more difficult. Currently, its easy to see both Assassins in 1v1 and stun based team are a little too strong. This change nerf (to not say DESTROY) both of them. Escaping a whole trap field under mindblast with zero fhr become easy, hit that would normally put you in recovery don’t stagger you at all…

-Getting stunlocked can be frustrating, especially if you are new in PvP.
Those are undeniable issues. However Blizzard, your solution comes with his own set of problems, and i would argue they are most bigger than what you are trying to fix :

Are stunlock being frustrating a reason to retire them from the game ?

When you start to play Wow in PvP and you are cc’d by a Rogue for 10 sec straight, you are frustrated too. When you play LoL and an Ashe arrow hits you and freezes you into place for 3 long sec, you don’t exactly enjoy it. Does that mean those things are bad ? I daresay they arent. Same goes in Diablo 2, stunlock also got his uses. By destroying it, the game is impacted in all sort of ways :

-Some people seem to think removing stunlock just nerf Assassins and Barbarians… How wrong they are. Stunlock is much more instrumental to the game than that. It rewards offensive gameplay for every class : by nature, stunlock as mechanic favorise agressive players. Someone randomly spamming projectiles and hoping to win that way won’t have the namelock much of the time when their target get hit. That mean they arent likely to react and capitalize on the target getting put in hit anime recovery. But when you telestomp someone, you probably have namelocked that player and you know perfectly where you are aiming at. Hence, you are in perfect position to benefit from the stunlock. And its fair, as you were probably the one chasing your opponent and putting yourself at risk of getting hit by his random projectiles. Promoting aggressive and dynamic play is generally a good thing to do for a video game. When you play, you are most likely looking to have fun, not a boring 2 screens away spamfiesta.

-Consequently, removing stunlock favorise defensive play. And defensive play is already as big a problem as stunlock is in diablo 2. Classes such as Necromancer, Sorceress, Hammerdin and in a lesser mesure, Druid and Assassins, are all good at playing overly defensive and boring gameplay, especially when they end up outnumbered in Team vs Team. Stunlock is often the best way to finish them. And with out stunlock, it will be way harder to catch them.

-Among those defensive classes, Sorceress are the most noticeable. In PvP, they use their energy shield to tank most damage inflicted on them with their mana instead of their life. That mean you can never really chunck them, as they will just run away and regain their mana, and you have to kill them in one go (unless you are using openwound). The only way to do that is… stun lock, you guessed it. If the sorc isnt stunned, she will just tele away before her mana ran out. It means basically, with out stunlock, 95Es Sorc got currently no counter play beyond open wound and maybe very very high elemental damage. Its a gigantic and unhealty buff for them, because they are by far the most defensive class around. While i dont think its wrong or bad for the game to have a class such as the current sorceress in the PvP ecosystem, is that really the kind of gameplay you want to promote and encourage ?

-Stunlock are a structuring factor in team vs team. By nature, Diablo 2 PvP is full of players moving really fast around. Put 4 casters in each team, and its a gigantic chaos fiesta and most of the players probably got very little idea about what is happening around them. Stunlock allows people to play together by designating a clear focus. Thus, the battle tends to focus around characters able to stun. Deleting completly that possibility would just make the whole thing feels more random.

-Stunlock are also an answer to camp bowa based team. In diablo 2 PvP, the most powerfull 4v4 setup is generally considered to be Bowazon, Necromancer, Paladin and Barbarian. Its a team built around the idea to protect and to buff the Bowazon, and then to play defensively while protecting it. One of the only way to contest that team with out playing it yourself is to play Assassin Barbarian based team and to coordinate around stun and control to neutralize the Amazon, or at least her protectors. With the current hit recovery change, the Amazon team will definitively reign supreme, and they are far from being the most fun form of Team vs Team.

-Destroying stunlock remove the core identity of the Assassin gameplay in PvP. Assassins don’t have burst damage. They mostly rely on stun to kill their prey progressively. They are aggressive hunters who alternate chase phase, stunlock setup phase, and melee attacks. While strong, this gameplay isn’t in itself problematic or toxic, at least not in 1 vs. 1. Removing their ability to stunlock risks pushing them to play more defensively – ie, camping their trap field. Indeed, if they go in melee range with out being able to stun their foes reliably, they run a high risk to get outdamaged and punished by most classes.

Also, the current OP-ness of Assassins is not simply due to their stunlock gameplay. The “can’t miss, can’t be blocked” attribute of kick and finishing skills (which wasn’t a thing in Diablo 2 prior to D2:R, also played a role) as well as the attack speed buff implemented in D2:R also contributed to this. Blizzard resolved part of that problem by making finishing skills able to miss and be blocked, as long as you don’t have charge from the other martial arts skills, which typically which aren’t used at all in PvP.

TLDR of this : Nerfing Assassin is fair. However doing this by destroying stunlock isnt good.

-The new Hit Recovery mechanic is very different from the Weapon Switch Glitch (WSG), so it’s wrong to understand this change as a rollback to the Diablo 2 LoD meta in PvP. Some people even went so far as to name the proposed change “auto wsg”. But WSG was only something you trigger yourself. It implied you were reacting fast enough, and you still had to input precise actions while spamming your switch hotkey. By using WSG, people also ran the risk to get themselves desynched, sticking themselves in hole or against an obstacle. Futhermore, using WSG mean you spend some time with your swap weapon. It can result into having less fhr, less block, less damage reduce, less resistance… To keep it short, you are exposing yourself to a risk while doing so.
Finally, it’s important to note than WSG wasn’t as reliably usable as the new mechanic, which seems to counter stunlock much more efficiently and completely.

-The new mechanic doesnt work well with the FHR stats. Depending how much FHR you have and how fast you are getting hit, having less FHR can sometime be BETTER that having more FHR, and its really hard to evaluate those situation. FHR is a defensive stat supposed to counteract stunlock. It should NEVER be detrimental to have it.

I could probably add some more, but i feel like the core of the argument is already here. So i’ll instead expose some of my conclusions.

  1. While answering an existing problem, the new Hit Recovery Mechanic is just going way too far. It has to be severely nerfed or removed as the hole before patch 2,4 goes live.
  2. Blizzard has to make the difference between long stunlock and short stunlock. Long stunlock are generally created by Assassins and Barbarians, and are at the core of many frustration. While i dont think they need to be completely removed, its fair to say they have to be nerfed a bit. Short stunlock, however, are important for every class and must stay there, as they promote aggressive and flashy gameplay instead of boring defspam fiesta.
  3. Blizzard. Take. Your. Time. PvP meta has been stable for years (since 1,10, except if you take into account the passage from D2lod to D2R). The next patch is mainly related to the ladder, and no one is going to PvP in ladder for a long time. Hell, even no ladder players will probably take some time outside PvP to farm forum golds in ladder. And as the hit recovery mechanic is only PvP related… You dont need to do it now. Take time to analyse and to really test things. Improve it or change it to make it better, then put it in another patch. There is absolutely zero need to rush for a change that could nuke down the whole PvP community.
  4. And yes, i didnt say « nuke down » inocently. The PvP community isnt big by any means, but they are passionate players. They are people, who, for a good part of them, played that game in PvP for over 15 years. When D2LoD was ruined by bots, had server problems and everyone was leaving, those guys stayed ! They are probably among the players who love and know the game the most of anyone ! But now, i can see more and more of them starting to run away. They talk about Lost Ark. They talk about going back to D2Lod, or about having private servor for D2R PvP, because the AntiStun mechanic is going to break the game as they know it. Not all of them would do those things. But you know how the less we are, the more likely we are to leave as well as time keep passing, until the PvP of this game really dies.
    And make no mistake. Sure the PvP community isnt currently big. Sure PvP is a niche thing in D2R and D2 in general. But its also a important thing for the game in general. PvP provide option for what D2 lack cruelly : end game. PvP is also important for the economy : who do you think track with passion specific items like rare claws or great crafted fcr amu ? PvPers. Who buy High Life skiller gc ? PvPers. Which kind of players are the most likely to spend a lot of time in baalrun to up their characters to a high lvl (92+). PvPers. And if Diablo 2 Resurrected is to prosper, to expand and develop beyond what it is now, more and more long term players will come to play in PvP.
  5. Don’t only take your time. Take also into account what the PvP community thinks. A good lot of suggestions have already be done regarding stunlock and some of them are, in my opinion, really great. I’ll use this thread to expose my own idea : Since you talked about « Diminush Return », what not really implement a mechanic that fits this definition ? What if, after being put 1 or 2 time in a row in Hit Recovery, you would start to win fhr frame every time you are getting put in anime recovery again in a short time ? For example, Sorc A (86fhr aka 7 frame) get caught in a mindblast lock by assa B. After 2 mindblast, Sorc A start to gain more and more fhr (6 after 3 mindblast, 5 after 4, etc…), until reaching enough fhr to escape easily if the others teams isnt quick enough to capitalize rapidly on the stunlock. Your fhr reset to its usual value once you havent be stuned for 0,5 sec (thats an example obviously, you could make longer or shorter).
    That option allows you to nerf long stunlock but short stunlock will still work.
    As having more fhr make your reach quickly the fhr bp where you can easily escape, fhr stay relevant as a stats.
    Also, the more problematic stunlock in Team vs Team are caused by combinaison like Mindblast + leap or Mindblast + foh. Those combinaison will charge the mechanic faster and allows the target to escape after a shorter time.

TLDR : The anti stun mechanic isnt real diminush return, and its overkill. Implementing it as it is is risking to upset the whole pvp balance and to make leave a good part of the PvP community. Blizzard has to take its time adjusting or changing that mechanic before implementing it, and it should be removed of 2,4 to be put back later, as their is no need to rush to include a PvP mechanic in a patch focused on PvM and on ladder.

eddit for formating

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Legendary topic.
Everything is said.
Fix it, bring wsg back.

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Truth has been written here. Can you imagine WoW or LoL with stun mechanic being limited to half a second before it’s gone, across the board??? Oversimplifying the game will make it much worse.

Ty for covering this, i hope blizzard will play attention

very good work

I understand your position; but for example playing Bowazon, I need 95%ias (I have a bow) and a lot of FRW. It’s frustrating to be automatically killed by a player with only one button.
If the passives worked against that, I’d understand what you’re saying. But either the change from 2.4 is made or it is implemented that the thrown stun can be dodged/avoided by passive.

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Great job ! hire him

You mean mindblast against bowazon ? I dont understand the end of your post honestly.

Anyway, its true that assa vs ama was one of the best matchup in D2LoD and its really poor now…
But actually, Blizzard already planned some change regarding that : dodging attack wont prevent you to attack anymore. While thats not directly related to hit anime change (you go in dodge anime not in hit recovery), its a step in the right direction. Hard to say if its enoug , too less or too much tho.

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I mean in the current version of the game, without ‘‘Diminishing Returns’’, a Rogue can perma stun an amazon bow class for hours.
I’m fine with being stunned for a while, but then having less of an effect. The current feeling is similar to when in classic WOW mage could turn you into a sheep for a minute ><
Anyway I would like that in the next version of the PTR it puts predefined PvP characters (annihilus+tortoch+9 skiller…etc to test this)

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Couldn’t agree more!

Nope, perma stun lock is abusive and should’nt exist. You clearly never played any real pvp game to make such a post against DR.

DR should be implemented no matter what. I can’t say for sure if the current version in 2.4 is viable, but in any case, perma stunlock is not skill based and any player who’ve been abusing this will get a reality check in the coming patch ( Hi sin).

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And you clearly never played D2 legacy PvP to even say something like that.
This game is not like other PvP games stun is essential for many chars to work. Also this implementation punishes good eq its absolutely insane how badly its implemented.

This video shows it:

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Did you even read my post before answering ?
I said long stunlock are actually a bit too strong. Its easy to agree on that, but that doesnt mean blizzard solution to fix it is any better. The 2.4 hit recovery change is like nuking the whole house to fix a problem in the bathroom lol

I even said DR was actually a good idea, but the current mechanic implemented in 2.4 isnt anything like DR. If you cant read before answering or if you know nothing about what you are talking about, pls abstain for answering, thanks…

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Kudos for not pulling a “hurr durr bRinG baCk WSG”

Everything you said is correct, you obviously know PvP well. However I’d like to hear you speak more about your proposal to fix/change the situation? You mention reverting the change and taking more time to balance it.

My opinion is that if they implement a TRUE diminishing return on FHR (and tune it well), then it would be better than any previous solution.

So there is several possibilities i think. A lot people actually proposed things, and some of them are good. There is mine (and yes, its also rely on implementing TRUE DR). I actually put it at the end of my post but it was fairly long and dense so i guess you didnt notice it :slight_smile:

“Since you talked about « Diminush Return », what not really implement a mechanic that fits this definition ? What if, after being put 1 or 2 time in a row in Hit Recovery, you would start to win fhr frame every time you are getting put in anime recovery again in a short time ? For example, Sorc A (86fhr aka 7 frame) get caught in a mindblast lock by assa B. After 2 mindblast, Sorc A start to gain more and more fhr (6 after 3 mindblast, 5 after 4, etc…), until reaching enough fhr to escape easily if the others teams isnt quick enough to capitalize rapidly on the stunlock. Your fhr reset to its usual value once you havent be stuned for 0,5 sec (thats an example obviously, you could make longer or shorter).
That option allows you to nerf long stunlock but short stunlock will still work.
As having more fhr make your reach quickly the fhr bp where you can easily escape, fhr stay relevant as a stats.
Also, the more problematic stunlock in Team vs Team are caused by combinaison like Mindblast + leap or Mindblast + foh. Those combinaison will charge the mechanic faster and allows the target to escape after a shorter time.”

Thats the direction i would want blizzard to take. Nerf long stunlock but still let them be a thing so people can capitalise on it in tvt, but make it so they have to be fast to do it (if your team react slowly, then the stunlock doesnt deserve to be successful)

An other option, who would fix the 1v1 problem of the “long” stunlock, is just to nerf Assassin. Remove the most unfair part of its kit aka :
1-Make it so the shadow master cant mind blast at all (so no free catch because random mb from shadow master stopped your target at the wrong moment)
2-Remove the auto aim function from Psy Hammer.
Both those nerfs change absolutelly nothing in PvM but they nerf the assassin quite a lot by denying her free opportunity. She can still mindblack lock you, but at least she need to earn it by finding the namelock by herself.
3-Remove the auto hit of finishers from martial art, but blizzard is already going to do that so… :slight_smile: . Dragon fly is also a bit of a problem (you can just dragon fly your opponent, proc open wound and run away with ever having to get the nalock), but i dont think blizzard needs to do anything about that, PvP communities will just ban the skill on their own in GM duels.
However, doing those things wont remove the Team vs Team problem, when mindblast is complemented by leap, or foh (and even by prison).

Thats why i think something should indeed be done. Even the immunity to stun window might be not that bad, if you make it proc it later and less often. Right now it proc every time you got put in hit recovery, but what if it only started when you get put in fhr 5 or 6 time in a row, then reseted itself so you wild have to be put again in hit revoery 5 or 6 time before its proc again ?

I wont deny its a complicated matter. Its hard to balance and if done poorly it can nuke both the pvp meta and the current community. Thats why i would like for blizzard to take more time testing, understand better the pvp as well, and find a good balance for it

Thank god they are adding diminish return to stun. Chars still will stun, but not perma-stun, if you need your enemy to be completely still in order to deal damage, it might be better to change your playstyle

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It’s not real diminishing returns in the current implementation of 2.4 ptr. If it were we wouldn’t be complaining. The current implementation is like a fixed interval duration of stun free time, it’s not what you think of when you think diminishing

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I think you didnt test the mechanic on the PTR. As Instigmata said, this is nothing like Diminush Return. You just get a short time of invulnerability to Hit Recovery that trigger EVERY TIME after you get once in hit recovery

If you would check above I posted video that showcases how badly its implemented.

Good post - Thanks a lot Harg for this work.

Ya, I think we all agree, diminishing return needs to be an actual diminishing return.

As for increasing FHR after each hit, I think it would make more since to reduce the hit recovery frame by 1 after each consecutive hit. Until it reaches 0. So FHR is still important and no more stun locks after ~6 hits. Each class has different starting recovery frames from 7 to 15. A paladin with 86fhr would still get locked for 4 hits, and then immunity would trigger with 0 frame hit recovery. The reset time is important though… It needs to reset fast, like 15 frame reset ~.5seconds

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