One of the core RPG elements of D3 will be the PARTY itself. As Blizzard said, the main focus on D3 is on cooperative game play, and the whole game is build around that concept.
The first issue regarding the PARTY I think it is the maximum number of players allowed. That number usually is determined after intense testing of the cooperative game play, when the 5 characters design is complete with all skills, animation, effects.
I’d like the number 5. To have in the party at least one of every class, but the tests will tell us if that it is possible or not. The maximum number of followers and summoned pets will influence that number as well.
And the average screen size. For D2 LOD I think the standard was 17’’, and the maximum number was 8. For D3 the standard has to be at least 21’’.
Another issue regarding party game play is the cooperation between characters in the battle. In D2 the cooperation was good, but has numerous flaws. In D3 all skills are designed to fit with other class skills. And this could be seen in game play videos of the alpha D3 version that we now have. But this could be further improved with some bonuses that the monk gives to the party (as auras for the paladin did in D2), because he is the holy man of the party and the spiritual leader. From the lore point of view, at least, he is in right to boost party morale and improve party member’s skills. Currently I think only the barbarian does that with his battle-cries.
Another problem in party play is the way the monsters treat players like a party not like individual members. So the scripted tactics could take in consideration that weaker party members are in the back of the formation. And some monsters could ignore the front of the party (the barbarian and witchdoctor pets normally) and head for the rear were the wizard and suppose the 5’th ranged class is.
It would be nice if the NPCs would talk with the party as a whole, not only with the individual character that is talking with them. And like in Dragon Age, to treat the party according with the classes that are in the party (if in the party are only barbarians and wizards the NPC will react differently, then if in the party would be a witchdoctor as well).
There could be quests designed specifically for the party, that require all party members’ involvement to be completed.
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