Technical designer Wyatt Cheng wants gameplay to slow down so players have time to "react" to combat.
Writing on the Diablo III forums recently, senior technical designer Wyatt Cheng offered some thoughts on game pacing and things that he thinks could be done to improve gameplay, especially when it comes to healing and damage.
"A health pool that quickly goes from full to nearly empty implies that there's not a lot of room for variance in incoming damage," posited Cheng. "When incoming damage is that high, a 15% increase in monster damage [can] result in death. This leads to comments like 'As soon as I turn up the Monster Power I get 1-shot.'" In turn, he'd "like to see a game where a clever player can handle a higher Monster Power by reducing incoming damage through good play."
Diablo III is an action RPG set in the dark fantasy setting of Sanctuary, where players must face demonic hordes in order to equip themselves with epic equipment and face down the Lord of Hell.
While overly high damage rates are arguably problematic, Cheng would also point to speedy healing rates as an issue that needs to be addressed. "Healing very rapidly back to full also loses all the fidelity of small attacks," he wrote. "If players are regularly going from full to nearly empty and back to full again on a regular basis, then there's no room for mechanics which act as a slow drain on your health."
The cost of these issues in his view is the lost "of tactical combat opportunities." According to Cheng, "Tactical combat requires that the player can properly assess the situation and react accordingly. When your health pool moves up and down rapidly you are no longer reacting to dangers. A rapidly changing health globe means you are playing in a predictable pattern and crossing your fingers hoping that you live through it."
Despite being able to cite these issues however, Cheng acknowledges that he can't "[point] at any specific solutions" and that there "are no instant-fix solutions." "It's a challenging problem that we're actively working on. Things aren't going to be perfect overnight, but improving the pacing of combat is something we constantly work on."