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[Table] I'm Jeff Galak, Professor of Marketing & Social and Decision Science at Carnegie Mellon University. I have published dozens of academic papers on decision making, consumer behavior, and more. I have also recently launched a new YouTube channel called Data Demystified. AMA! (pt 1/3)

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Questions Answers
Hey Jeff! I'm a minimalist & find that I'm happier with less stuff & when I give/receive experiences rather than items. Do you find consumer happiness reflects this shift towards minimalism since that is a (small, but seemingly growing) trend, especially among Millennials? Great question! There is some relatively new research looking at happiness from experiences vs. material possessions. Most of it shows that happiness from equally valued (e.g. price) experiences is higher than for possessions. HOWEVER, and this is a big however, all that work tends to ignore long run happiness with highly prized possessions. For instance, if you have a sentimentally valued object, happiness that stems from that object lasts for a long time. What most possessions don't do is provide long lasting happiness. You buy a new shiny toy and it DOES make you happy...but that happiness goes away quickly. My collaborators and I have termed this idea "Hedonic Decline."
So as for minimalism, there is not evidence that I know of that shows that less possessions make you happier. There's plenty showing that more possessions don't make you happier, but that's not the same thing.
One more layer of complexity: there are two routes to happiness: hedonic and eudaimonic. The former is what we usually think of when we think of happiness: how much joy does XYZ bring me. The latter, however, is closer to self-actualization. It's the happiness the comes from a accomplishing something....even if there was pain involved in getting there. I wonder if minimalism can increase eudaimonic happiness.
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That's interesting. Thank you for responding. In the minimalism community, self-actualization is reflected in endeavors such as achieving certain goals (like, paying off debt) that usually involves some amount of self-discipline &/or self-sacrifice. I'd say that the vast majority of research in happiness excludes eudaimonic happiness, largely because it's so hard to measure. My personal, non-data supported, take is that eudaimonic happiness is far more important than hedonic happiness. The latter is fleeting, whereas the former can be life changing.
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Beautifully said. Thank you.
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How does depression affect eudaimonic happiness compared to hedonic happiness? Great question and I don't know the answer. Social Psychology typical studies what we very poorly term "normal" psychology, which excludes clinical conditions like depression. Sorry!
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What’s your take on “pay to play” - as in, some “hedonic” purchases at are required to signal you’re in the game, making progress on eudaimonic happiness. When you get older and into your career, I’d venture many people have already figured out that hedonic happiness doesn’t do squat long-term, but there’s a balance in terms of how much hedonic happiness to have to acquire for the ultimate long-term eudaimonic happiness. Example: in sales, which I’m in tech analytics sales, companies want to spend for solutions to business problems, but they also want to see, visually, that the person they’re paying is a good representative for them. High cost equals a person that can represent that taste. Nice. Tailored suits, a nice watch and latest tech gadgets. There’s a pay to play aspect that signals to the world who I am, and that in turn actually allows me to get what I want- student loans paid off and early retirement.. I don't think there's any conflict here. If you will find some form of life satisfaction by succeeding in your career, there's no harm in also purchasing items that help you reach that goal. Those items can, in and of themselves, make you happy...nothing wrong with that. More to the point, hedonic and eudaimonic happiness don't have to be in opposition. You can have both!
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I really like this response. While i can jive with basic premise of experiences over possessions...i’m find it used a lot by people who actually just want to shirk obligation. I run HHiring and there is a persistent trend of people not wanting to act like their job is important..just because it’s easier to justify bailing on work/shifts to go do things when you can say you’re doing it for the experience, not focusing on the money you make at a job. I’m trying to figure out the best way to respond to people who think i’m some big bad money grubbing boss for wanting people to do their jobs. Meanwhile, in my personal life...i feel like i’m getting a lot of push back socially from people who think i should only work where i can just make my own schedule and dip put for an “experience” whenever. At the end of the say, it feels like people will just wax philosophic reasons for demanding leisure with all the material perks of having jobs and working. Great point. This relates to intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation. The former is the desire to do something because it's inherently interesting/rewarding. The latter is doing something for compensation. This is more in the realm of organizational behavior, and you'll have to wait for my wife who is also a professor, but of organizational behavior and theory, to do an AMA for more on that :)
Hello, thanks for doing this. Are you familiar with "loot boxes" in video games? I feel like the topics of a lot of your papers would fit right into why consumers/businesses use loot boxes. How does a loot box mechanic differ from gambling and should it be treated the same? (Regulation, age restriction, etc) If they are the same, how do you feel about video games including a loot box mechanic? Sticking with gambling parallels, what are your thoughts on video game companies targeting "whales" given that gamers can be any age nowadays? I'm not a gamer myself (though I do love TTPRGs and run a D&D 5e campaign), but I'm pretty familiar with loot boxes. Mobile games and social media platforms in general have become very good at continuous reinforcement. It can be the allure of getting a new outfit in a loot box or just an upvote on Reddit...the point is that we are wired to love small rewards, even if those rewards are meaningless. Casinos have mastered this art and loot boxes are an capitalizing of the same basic psychological mechanisms: need for positive reinforcements. So are loot boxes the same as gambling? Probably not the SAME, but damn close. As for regulation, I am strongly in favor of making gambling of all forms only accessible to adults and even then providing access to counseling for those who suffer from gambling addiction.
I have a lot less sympathy towards wealthy adults who choose to gamble as a form of entertainment. The problem is that it's not always obvious who's a whale and who's just pretending to be one for the attention. The latter is highly susceptible to financial ruin and I'd want them protected just the same as they are with standard gambling.
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Do you find the researcher in you observing and asking questions about the players' decision making processes in your D&D campaign? My old DM minored in psychology, and I often felt like a rat in his experiments. I enjoyed it, though. It kind of added an extra facet to the game. More than my research, teaching has made a huge difference in being a DM. When I lecture, I am forced to be quick on my feet to understand student questions, reply accordingly, and make sure that I'm moving the lecture along. That is the same with DMing. I need to be able to understand the motives of my players, respond appropriately with NPCs, and keep the story going.
I'm sure that my knowledge of psychology helps, but I wouldn't think it influences the way I DM (or play) that much.
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Studying business Psychology in Switzerland and leading the yawning portal atm, seems like I need to start teaching :p Ha! Check out this thread: https://www.reddit.com/WaterdeepDragonHeist/comments/fcc89a/the_yawning_portal_a_drinking_song_and_boss_music/
I used that for my game and it was great.
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Could I join your 5e campaign? Ha! Sorry, no. It's just close friends and we're months into it. I'm running Waterdeep, if you're curious.
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I'm applying to Carnegie's MBA for what it's worth! If I'm accepted, may I join then? ;-) How about you get in and then we discuss!
Hi Jeff! What is your favorite heuristic or logical fallacy when it comes to decision making? Can you teach us about one that people might not know about? Easy: Diversification Bias. That's where I started my career 15 years ago. I didn't discover this bias, but have built on it. Anyway, it's the idea that people choose more variety than they should. For example, if you are going to pick some snacks for the next few days, you might pick: chips, pretzels and an apple. Those are fine, but really chips are your favorite and you picked the other two because you thought you'd get tired of chips every day. Well, turns out you'd be wrong. A day is enough to reset satiation/hedonic-decline in most cases, so you'd be better off always picking your favorite option! Doing otherwise means eating snacks that are less preferred.
A new one that my doctoral student, Julian Givi, and I recently published: The Future Is Now (FIN) Heuristic. It's the idea that people believe that future events will be like present events, even when evidence points to the contrary. An example: if it's sunny today, you're more likely to think it'll be sunny tomorrow, even if the forecast clearly predict rain. What happens is you treat information about the present as having evidentiary value for future events, even when that's just not true.
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I really like that you give your student credit. PhD students do all the hard work. Professors just bask in the glory :)
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I think diversification bias is how I ended up with 5 shades of blue nail polish that are virtually undistinguishable from each other! Interesting to consider. Ha! Just might be...
Tell me about your paper "Sentimental value and gift giving: Givers’ fears of getting it wrong prevents them from getting it right". From what I read of the abstract, it seems that gift-givers undervalue sentimental value, seeing it as riskier. Why is that, and how can we give better gifts? Sure, this is a paper with my former doctoral student, Julian Givi. Basically, people are risk averse in gift giving when they shouldn't be. If I know you like coffee and I have a choice to give you some nice coffee beans or a framed photo of the two of us (presumably since we're friends), I give the former b/c it's a sure bet. But as the recipient, overwhelmingly, people prefer the latter. So givers should take the risk and give the sentimentally valuable gift over one that is more a sure bet.
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Interesting. When giving presents, givers focus too much on the recipient's known wants, which gets in the way of giving a meaningful present. Thank you! I'll be sure to keep that in-mind next Christmas. That's exactly it.
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I sometimes hesitate at this. I don’t want to come off as the selfie culture of all about me in pictures! But relatives do love getting pics of the kids for gifts. Still, how often is this perceived as a form of narcissism by the gift receiver? Edit: pictures of my kids not just me! One trick we do: every Christmas holiday we print full size calendars with our kids pictures on them. That's our holiday gift to all the grandparents. They LOVE it.
We also send small photo books to the grandparents throughout the year of some of the best pictures we take.
We have yet to send too many, but that's specific to our family.
The best advice I always have for something like this is: just ask! People are often worried about asking gift recipients about their preferences, but our research shows that a) recipients don't care about being asked and b) you can give better gifts that way.
Hi Jeff ! I have a question regarding involvement in a purchase, is there an increasing trend to become highly involved in the purchase of even low value object ? I find myself doing this during the pandemic doing comparison searches for a bulb which costs 10 dollars. Is this an exception ? Or is there some underlying psychological reason isolated to me ? Absolutely. Two reasons this could be happening. 1) With more free time, the threshold for what merits deep research drops a lot. 2) Many people are facing financial hardships, and so making sure every dollar is well spent becomes really important.
Hi Jeff, Thank you for the great AMA. Where do you see the future of insights departments in consumer companies? Most companies looks like giving up on ethnographic and in person research and focus on data analytics. I speculate management is under great pressure and in the meantime aspire to Google, Amazon etc. What is your take of insights departments future in large companies? Thank you! Exploratory research like ethnographies, interviews, and focus groups is really useful for brainstorming. But they are a poor substitute for quantitative data. Now, that doesn't mean "big data"...just data that has larger samples and is better representative of populations. Surveys are still amazing. When we want to forecast an election, we don't use big data, we conduct a political poll. They work.
But yes, right now, AI and machine learning are the hot new ideas on the block and everyone wants in on them. There is plenty of amazing applications of AI/ML, but what they can't do is tell you "why". As in, why did someone choose this option over that one? Or why are people motivated by this goal or that goal? Those types of answers allow you to apply knowledge in completely novel contexts. AI/ML needs to be trained on a specific type of data for a specific type of task. It is AMAZING at that. But as soon as you introduce a new context or new set of experiences, it fails. That's where good old fashioned surveys and behavioral experiments come in.
If a program was built to help us make better decisions, do you think we would use it? Do you think we can listen to a program’s advice better than we do from experts? We already do. Weather forecasts tell us how to dress. Facebook tells us what to think. Tinder tells us who to date. Etc... etc...
A program that EXPLICITLY tells you what to do won't work too well. People like to feel like they have free will. They don't, though. We are greatly influenced by our environment (not just technology) whether we know it or not. As one example: I can guess your weight reasonably well just by knowing your zip code (please don't make me actually do this as I'm not in the business of public shaming!). If we had true free will and agency, that should be impossible. Instead, we are the products of our environment.
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60641 Chicago? I believe Illinois has 30-35% obesity (I'm doing this quickly and not looking at your zip specifically), so pretty high weight.
Hi Jeff! Since I'm a 14 yrs old and knew nothing about what you study, I have very limited questions I can ask. But as I have observed, people are often sheepish and will consume as the trend goes. What is the most unexpected trend, worldwide? P.S. will defo check out your channel I don't expect most people to know my work (I like to think my ego isn't THAT big!), so no worries!
You're right. Trends will drive a lot of human behavior. We are social creatures and follow what others do much more than we care to admit. As for the most unexpected trend, that's really hard to say. Maybe this is too broad, but I'm surprised by how short people's attention span is when it comes to current events. News cycles used to last for weeks, now they last for hours. I suppose I know that people don't have long attention spans, but I'm still surprised.
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Any underlying reasoning for this? For the short attention spans? We can invoke evolutionary psychology, which I'm not a big fan of, and it would suggest something like a tensions between exploring and cultivating. So it would argue that our ancestors needed to have some reason to leave their immediate tribe to find new resources. So perhaps our attention spans are short b/c of this and the current environment exaggerates that behavior.
Have you done(or can you point to) any research relating to the decision making/not making around getting rid of possessions? I have a relative who keeps anything that has a perceived value as in could be sold on ebay/garage sale which they never sell. They are otherwise rational, clean, don't over consume..def not hoarder territory.. but I struggle to convince them that the old digital camera that's been sitting for 3 years could just be disposed of. Hoarding is definitely a thing. There isn't much in the study of item disposition in the empirical world of research (lots of interesting qualitative work that I'm less familiar with). The big exception to this is the Endowment Effect. The short version is that you value items you own more than if you don't own it. So a mug sitting on a store shelf is worth, say $10 to you, but as soon as you own it is worth, say, $20 to you. Nothing changed except your ownership of it. That explains some of hoarding behavior, but not all of it.
For a qualitative research paper on the topic, see here: https://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/mcb/216/2010/00000013/00000001/art00001
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I suppose I have the Endowment Effect. Everytime I find something valuable i dont have the will to let it go. Even though i can sell it and re buy it later, or buy something similar haha. It's like I want to take the most of it and use it til it brakes, go missing, or whatever. The endowment effect isn't infinite. As in, it's not that you won't be willing to sell your items for ANY price, it's just that your willingness to sell is higher than your willingness to buy.
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Hey Professor, appreciate the AMA. A couple of questions: 1) Just from my own thoughts banging around in my head and observations I've made during the pandemic, do you see the pause our society went through and the economic downturn effecting the psychology behind materialism? It seems the American "push for more no matter what" mind state took a eating and I think I'm seeing some consequences of that. 1) It's possible, but my pretty strong prediction is that within 1-2 years of the pandemic ending, we will be back to where we were beforehand in terms of materialism and general behavior. Extreme events like a pandemic seem like they are life changers. For some, that's true (e.g. someone loses a loved one), but for most it's not. We are inherently myopic and think that the thing in front of our noses is the only thing that exists.
2) I'm a current medical student and we get inundated with so many studies that it's overwhelming. Trying to practice evidence based medicine is really hard in an atmosphere that prioritizes publishing with little regard to quality. Do you ha e ways of navigating that I could apply to my day to day? Thanks again. 2) I can't speak to medical research, but that problem exists in all academic fields. The best thing to do is to let science happen. There will always be flashy new findings, but the ones that really matter will get replicated over and over again...and will get built on. The BS ones tend to just die out. That's not a full proof approach to vetting research, but it's better than just assuming everything you see published is true and/or important.
I am a former CMU student. How do you feel about CMU's decision to appoint Richard Grenell as a senior fellow? And how can we do something to fight against it because it seems they are not listening the current student body? Recently, the fence was vandalized against BLM (they wrote "all lives matter" over the previously written "black lives matter"). How are you working to build a more inclusive community at CMU and to fight for those who need it? How can former students help? I signed the petition to revoke his appointment and stand by that completely. I do understand why the university is upholding it, but I am embarrassed to have him associated with CMU.
As for the fence, the CMU Provost sent a really great letter immediately after it all happened condemning the vandalism and supporting BLM. Personally, I try VERY hard to do things like call on students of all races and genders and not let white men (of which I am one, btw) dominate conversations. I try to make sure that examples I use to highlight ideas include more than just typically white and/or male oriented products. I have been trained in Green Dot deescalation for sexual assault and violence. I am on the university academic disciplinary committee and have direct say over infractions like harassment or discrimination. And I sit on my college's Faculty Diversity Equity and Inclusion committee with the hope of including representation and inclusion of URM and female faculty. I care about this topic a LOT and do what I can...still probably not enough.
As for alums, if you see behavior at CMU that you think is antithetical to inclusiveness, let the administration know. Get your fellow alums to weigh in. The university wants your sweet sweet alumni donations. If you are all pissed off, they'll reply.
Hey Professor! I absolutely love to give. But I feel so awkward being thanked. And I dont really like receiving gifts. What would the psychology behind that be? Great question. It's hard to know without more detail, but I'd guess that some of that anxiety is about attention...as in, your lack of desire for it. As for not liking receiving gifts, maybe you have just not received that many good gifts? Again, it's really hard to say without knowing a bit more about you and the gift giving contexts you're involved in. If you want to share more, I can try to answer better, but totally understandable if you don't!
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Well, if I think more deeply....whenever I need something, I feel like it's up to me to make me happy. I usually don't really ask anyone else. Whether I need a massage, have a getaway, or get my dream dog, I just do it myself. As an aside, self-gifts are great! You get what you need, and nothing else. No issues there.
To your question, though, I do wonder if you just haven't receive that many great gifts. Yes, gifts can fall flat and the recipient might not love them, but when they hit, they not only provide the value from the gift itself (e.g. a great bottle of wine) but ALSO the sentimental value from the associations that the gift brings up (e.g. who gave it to you and under what circumstances...like for a birthday or graduation).
Hi Jeff, I have a job application at a place where they do conjoint analysis, something I have never done before. Got any tips? Do you have any thoughts on the technique in general? Personally as someone who takes surveys I find it very abstract (e.g. "Would you rather buy a $5 toaster with two slots vs. a $20 toaster that takes bagels?" I don't know!). First, good luck with the job application! Conjoint is a really useful tool when used correctly (like any tool, I suppose). The short version is that it lets you extract utility weights for different dimensions (e.g. price, product size, product speed, etc...) without directly asking people to answer questions about those dimensions. So instead of saying "how important is price to you?" you would come up with product profiles that have varying price (among other things) and then have people choose between those profiles. You can then extract, using nothing more than regression analysis (though, practically, no one does it that way...they use software like Sawtooth or SPSS Conjoint), how important those dimensions are for any given person.
the technique is tedious in that respondents have to make LOTS of pair-wise comparisons, but the end product can teach you a lot about what people actually value.
One key is to make the task as simple and realistic as possible. So the example you gave is confusing and wouldn't work too well. But I asked you to choose between a $20 toaster with 2 slots vs. a $30 toaster with 3 slots" that would work (in reality it would be more complex than that). You'd be forced to tell me if you prefer a cheaper toaster with fewer slots or a more expensive one with more slots. There's not right answer, but I would learn about those two dimensions for you. I'd need a lot more pair-wise tradeoffs to do this right, but that's the general idea.
Do you find that there are significant differences between particular groups? Does age influence gift giving habits more then sex, or some other factor? Just curious about the general trends of gift giving between groups. Super general question I know, so feel free to just call me out on it Definitely difference across genders as you would expect. More jewelry given by men to women. More gadgets given by women to men. Not so much in terms of age, though I've never really directly looked at that. The reality is that most gifts aren't that exciting. They tend to be things that are popular in a given year or old standbys like gift cards and ties. There certainly are amazing gifts and gift givers out there, but the vast majority of actual gifts given are pretty mundane. But that's not a bad thing if the recipient still likes what they get!
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Yeah, sounds about right. And yeah if everyone is chipper it's all good :) Is there a sort of gift quality vs quantity data? Like is it better to get more frequent smaller gifts or largemore expensive gifts less frequently? Smaller more frequent gifts every time. I have some new work on obligatory vs. non-obligatory gifts. Basically, you can make someone very happy by giving a small gift on a random Tuesday compared to a much nicer gift on their Birthday. More random-tuesday gifts every time!
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Thank you! :) will the results of that be on ur channel? Probably not. The channel isn't about my research, but rather about how to understand data more broadly. But the results will hopefully be published soon!
How extensive are the consumer psychology divisions in companies like apple? Lots of variation. Places like apple, google, amazon will have a lot of depth in terms of psychologist and consumer behavior researchers. But those are the gold standard. Most will rely on consultants to help out
How does education on finance and economics affect consumer behavior? Does knowing the way our brains make consumer decisions or how businesses try to get you to buy change how you shop? If you understand better how firms are trying to entice you to buy their products, you can absolutely counteract that better. For instance, $1.99 is really just $2...we all get that. But it turns out, having a 9-ending price really drives demand. That's nuts, but it does. IF you understand that, you stand a shot and not being duped by something so trivial. So educating yourself can be a big help. On finance and econ eduction, also really helpful, but in other ways. When you go to get a 30-year mortgage for your home, understanding how interest rates work, how inflation might affect home prices, how amortization tables work, etc... will help you make a much more informed decision about what is right for you.
hi! how do you predict consumer happiness/decision making etc during unprecedented times like this, when such a scenario may not have taken place before and you do not have much data to go on? also since the research you do and the data you collect are relevant to sales, do you see advertisements being affected by the pandemic in the long run from any changes in consumer mindset? It's really hard to predict much of anything right now. There are some basic behaviors and experiences that we can expect during a pandemic (e.g. increased anxiety, defaulting to familiar experiences, increased online shopping), but the reality is you're right...we just don't know. There's virtually no data on pandemic psychology/behavior, and all the pop-science stuff you read is just guessing at what will happen.
As for advertising, I think that once the pandemic is over, life will be back to what it was beforehand in almost every respect. People are amazing to adapting to changing circumstances. We are all doing that now with the pandemic and will all do that again when it's over. I don't think that advertising will be any different. Give it a year after we're all vaccinated (or whatever winds up being the solution) and most people will largely forget that we even had a pandemic. Yes, some will have big changes like lost loved ones or lost jobs, but for most people, life will return to what it was before Covid hit.
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thank you for answering, that is very interesting! the data you collect seems to be applicable to so many different fields. i asked about advertising as a student interested in media, but i can see it being useful in various types of companies be it internet security, food, travel etc. your job sounds really cool and i will definitely check out your YouTube channel :) Thanks!
Did you ever get to meet Herbert Simon? Wasn't he interested in similar things? I wish! I've been at CMU for 11 years. Simon passed away in 2001, so I missed him by a few years.
And yes, Simon was one of the original researchers into what's known as Bounded Rationality, it's the idea that humans don't act like computers and process all information simultaneously, but rather use heuristics and shortcuts to accomplish most tasks.
How influential was the work of Daniel Kahnemann to your current teaching? VERY! I don't know Danny personally, but my advisor got his PhD at Princeton when Danny was there, so lots of indirect influence that way. More generally, the field of decision making was build on his (and others) work, so hard not to be influenced.
Do you have any opinions on investors behavior during covid 19? More specifically how certain financial firms may have targeted people who have or would dabble in market that have recently lost work due to the pandemic? Caveat: I am not a finance professor. That said, my read is that fear of missing out (FOMO) is driving a lot of unexpected behaviors. The market has rallied like crazy since the March low and everyone wants in on that. It's hard to sit by and watch others make a killing while you don't.
As for practices like getting people who don't typically to invest to do so, there's two sides to this. On the one hand, getting more people involved with investing is a great thing. It used to be only that the very wealthy could invest and reap the benefits of the market, but now with places like Robinhood and fee-free trading on Schwab and the like, everyone can participate. On the other hand, MANY people don't understand risk well at all. They just see the possible upside and ignore the possibility of losing a lot (see that guy that committed suicide b/c of a terrible options trade...that's horrible). So firms and gov't have a responsibility to both educate investors and provide safeguards against uninformed behaviors.
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Hello, I just want to specify something in your comment! The young college student who committed suicide did so because a misprogrammed number on the trading site, Robinhood. Of course at the time he did not know it, but the value loss that was near $800,000, was showing the loss of the entire option, not his equity in the option, which was -$1,000 - -$2,000 if I remember right. It was Robinhood's terrible interface, not his misunderstanding of risk, which is horrible. If you would like a misunderstanding of risk on trading platforms, look no further than wallstreetbets, of course as you said FOMO is a huge factor, or if you're interested, some trading platforms intentionally advertise to consumers without properly representing risk. Thank you very much for this AMA, it has been quite insightful! Thanks so much for that clarification!
I have a question re: dating sites / apps. Is there a way to structure incentives so that the company is motivated to find good pairings between users? It feels like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, etc. don't have such an incentive currently I think they do have an incentive to make good pairings. Word of mouth is their strongest asset so having good matches is key. The challenge is that good matches are hard to come by and not everyone agrees on what good is. Is good marriage? Is it a fun night? Not clear.
Hello Professor and thank you for taking this time. As a professional that works in marketing and a person who suffers from mental illnesses, it is often disheartening for me to see so much valuable research and findings be easily made available for use by companies for marketing and consumer exploitation while it is so difficult for those who are struggling to find information that could be beneficial to living their lives more freely. What are your thoughts on this, and do you think there are ways we could change the system to better benefit individuals needs directly? The connection between marketing academia, marketing industry, and consumers just sucks. No one outside of academia reads marketing academic journals. Few in academia care if their work has applications (even in an applied field like marketing). And consumers can't be bothered (rightfully) to read through academic work to learn.
Some solutions that I've seen that work: - Marketing Science Institute: this is an organization whose entire goal is link academia and practice. They have conferences where they invite folks from both sides to collaborate. More of this please! - Pop-science social science books like Freakonomics, Blink, Predictably Irrational, etc...: They all have plenty of shortcomings, but the authors all do an amazing job of conveying the ideas of academia to the public. I think that's fantastic. More of this too please! - Consulting for non-profits. I do this and many others do as well. We use our knowledge to help non-profits do their amazing work. This is a way to avoid that "exploitation" you mentioned and instead use what we know to help others. There's not much money in this kind of consulting, which is why few do it, but it's really important. Maybe some kind of granting agency could earmark money for non-profits to hire academic consultants to help them use what we know to help the world. That would be awesome
hey, I'm a recent advertisement graduate, it's good to see someone from such a familiar field here anyways, when I do groceries, I always follow the list to a T, and I take no time at all getting the items, basically, I go against every little trick supermarkets have to "seduce" the customer, so my question is: what makes someone a "good customer"? is it someone highly susceptible to the marketing tricks at the market or someone who spends both their money and time more efficiently? Good can mean different things here. You sound like you're probably super loyal to products. That's pretty great for most companies. The fact that you don't succumb to unintended purchases definitely makes you less attractive in one capacity, but your predictability makes you very attractive in other ways. If I could run a company where every customer always bought the same thing every week, I would LOVE that. I would know how to schedule raw material purchases, delivery schedules, etc... I would have a steady and dependable income. If, however, I relied just on getting lucky and catching the eye of customers as they passed my products on store shelves, that would be a whole lot more difficult a business plan to execute.
Hi Jeff, I have always geared my life towards maxing out the benefits and deducting the losses for example leaving my family in order to search for better life oportunities, ditching jobs where I felt safe in favor of new and more promising ones. And by this logic I have reached quIte far in my life. But at the end achieving all this goals don't yields the expected satisfaction. However I'm pretty sure that don't doing this would be even worse. Why does it seems that no matter if the desitions taken are the best at my point of view it still seems like I need more than the goals I have achieved. Why is disatisfaction the expected result? Wow, that's a lot to give up for goals! People are inherently likely to make what are known as upward comparisons. We don't look at the people who we have done better than, but instead focus on the few who done better than us. The classic example is Silver Olympic medalists. They should be elated, but instead they just covet the Gold medalist.
Beyond that, in your specific case, it's hard to say for sure, but we know that close relationships are the number one driver of life satisfaction. If you've given those all up in pursuit of some other goal, that might explain things a bit. Take that with a grain of salt as all I know about you is summed up in 100 words or so!
Hello Jeff, glad to see this AMA here! I'm a statistics student in Brazil (one of my professors got his doctorate degree at Carnegie Mellon University, in fact!). Much of what we learn nowadays is related to careers pertaining the finance fields. Other stuff includes academic research mixed with other fields. I see myself as a data analyst for a big bank someday, but I always think: is there any career for a data scientist thats underrated by modern standards but still awesome and rewarding, in your opinion? Go work for a non-profit! It's now where the money is, but many need help from data scientists. You can actually change the world that way!
Which US dollar bill is your favorite? Cash? You still use cash?
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For coke yeah Oh, in that case.... Nope, not replying and losing my tenure :)
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Prof, you have a bias. OP mean Coca Cola. I don't drink soda either :)
submitted by 500scnds to tabled

Diablo 4 Feedback (MMO-ish elements, Open World & non-linear story, Scaling, Gameplay fluidity, Classes, Class identity, Archetypes, Balance, Items & Itemization, PvP, Endgame and PvE, Clans, Crafting, Seasons, Respec, Customization, Monetization, Dark Theme, The Future of Diablo 4.)

Some things you might want to know while reading this:
I’m a casual player. And by “casual” I don’t mean I’m a bad player. I mean that I play games for fun or out of passion. I don’t care to be as efficient as possible. My favourite types of games are RPGs, aRPGs and RTS games. In general the most important things in any video game for me are: Story, Class Identity where possible, Lore, Gameplay, Immersion. All that being said I will try to be as objective as I can.
As you can see this is literally my first post on the website. In fact I made my account just to post this. (Tho I have to admit I discovered that Reddit is a great place where you can find every kind of discussion.. and less serious stuff if you need a laugh. So I’ll definitely stay.^^) So please excuse me if it gets chaotic at any point and definitely give me your advice if you have any. English is also not my first language so excuse me for any mistakes I likely made.
One last important thing: This was originally a YouTube video that I still plan to make but I decided to wait until the next quarterly update on D4. And I also have very little time. The only thing I know is that I will make it at some point, it will probably contain more than this post and it will have visual examples.
Ok, let’s begin.
MMO-ish elements
Let’s start with the big one. Introducing MMO elements is good as long as they fit the overall theme of a Diablo game and make sense within its world. Great example – world bosses. This idea is great, it’s a cool activity and it just always feels awesome to fight a monster so powerful that you wouldn’t stand a chance against it if you were alone. Now I’m a 99.99% solo player so you might think I wouldn’t want Diablo 4 to have any content that cannot be completed solo. And while I absolutely think it’s very important to make the game solo viable, there can be small exceptions here and there especially if they make sense. Diablo Universe is extremely harsh especially during the times of D4. Add to it the fact that we are no longer playing as the all mighty Diablo Ball Z nephalem who can destroy the prime evil.. and Malthael.. and Malthael after he was empowered by all the.. ok you get the idea. Also – world boss encounters seem to work like some form of layering. So normally players will be phased out into different “layers” but the area around the boss seems to be shared between an X amount of layers. So when you approach the world boss you will notice other adventurers doing the same. After the fight you will all go your own way and once you all leave the world boss area you will go back to your separate layers. So that’s great! It’s even much more immersive in my opinion. Very important thing to say here is – any content that can’t be completed solo cannot have exclusive rewards unless they are only cosmetic – trophies, mounts, transmogs etc. Why? Well because it will upset the solo players. Devs will have to find a way to make playing with groups or clans more convenient, easier, more efficient but never required to obtain something that alters your stats or gameplay functionality. There has to be something that encourages grouping up and joining clans that does not take away anything from a solo player. Remember – it’s not an MMO. And more importantly – it’s a Diablo game. If it was an MMO than I would say having content that is impossible to do solo is an obvious decision. But D4 is simply not an MMO. I think adding content that is impossible to do solo is very against the Diablo spirit unless it’s done correctly like world bosses appear to be and as long as that content is not an exclusive way of obtaining anything that influences your stats or gameplay functionality. So what other MMO elements and RPG elements I think should be in the game? I’ll get back to it later in the post.
Let’s talk about the “shared world”. There is one issue I have with this idea. From my understanding at first your world is something like a private instance. After you complete the story quests in the zone you will begin to see others around you. Now the developers said that it is important to keep that hostile world vibe and that you will not see others very often (thanks to layering I assume).. From an objective standpoint it is pretty much a great idea. It makes sense that you are not the only one capable of fighting monsters out there. You are no longer the chosen one with the plot armor. So in a perfect world this would actually increase the immersion and it would fit perfectly in the Diablo Universe and especially D4.. except…. Well I don’t know if you have maybe.. played like.. uhh.. ANY ONLINE GAME EVER MADE?! Ok. I think it’s pretty obvious that there will be a ton of toxic people running around and ruining the experience of especially people like me who enjoy the story and lore, for whom immersion is extremely important and who simply like to play solo. So while the idea in principle fits well within the Diablo Universe – in reality it won’t. Not because of the feature itself but because of the players. So what should be done? Well blizzard is not going to change it and to be honest I don’t think they should. It’s going to be a great factor when it comes to making the world feel alive and it will definitely contribute to the game’s longevity. But I think it should be optional. I think there should be a switch that allows you to swap between playing privately and playing in a “shared world” any time you want.
Open World & non-linear story
As you probably know D4’s world will be open. It will of course have dungeons and whatnot. But the main game world will be open and the story will be non-linear. And honestly this is simply a 100% positive. It is much more immersive that way, it will feel more familiar to many MMO players that will surely be attracted to check the game out due to D4’s MMOish elements and because Blizzard will undoubtedly offer rewards in other games for playing or buying D4. But most importantly it provides A LOT of space for endgame activities like dungeons, repeatable quests, random events, world bosses and whatever you can think of – which is great for the game’s longevity – and obviously Activision Blizzard CEOs and shareholders want the game to live as long as possible and make money as long as possible. And it also works perfectly with the “shared” world idea which is great…. as long as this “shared world” thing will be optional.
I think it’s pretty obvious that I really like the idea of an open world Diablo game with non-linear story. But I don’t have much to say about it in this post. I could go on and on how it’s a great thing for the game in every measurable way, especially if it’s supposed to live for a long time but Blizzard clearly knows this.
I think monsters should never.. absolutely NEVER scale down. It is important at the beginning and during the leveling process that the player knows they are in a very dark, harsh and messed up world. They need to know they cannot just go anywhere right away because they will be killed. The world should include areas with monsters or bosses that have significantly higher level than most of the monsters in that area and there needs to be some content that is way more difficult than most of the content in that area. The player should get stronger, better equipped and more experienced before they access content that thematically is clearly more dangerous. For example (imagine here with me) let’s say that a starting zone is full of wolves, there is a cave full of undead a bit further, there is some camp full of cannibals in the distance and in the middle of the zone there is one ruined fort occupied by demons. You are playing a level 1 character. The wolves and other usual monsters for this area should start at level 1 with maybe some being at level 2 so you can start fighting them right away. The cave full of undead should be a little more difficult but the regular undead are not very dangerous so they should probably start at level 1 but there should be a lot of them so you can go there now but you will die if you get overrun. The cannibals are clearly more organized and dangerous than everything else so they should start at let’s say level 7 – you’ll deal with them later. The fort occupied by demons should be much more difficult to do – it should be impossible at first. Demons are very obviously more powerful than other enemies of this area and they should start at let’s say level 20.
So in short – I think enemies should have their minimum level dictated by what they are and I think the devs should put few locations here and there that contain enemies with much higher level than most enemies in the zone. Why?
- It would further improve immersion.
- It makes sense.
- It adds a little more depth and decision making to the leveling process. (Because you could try to kill the high level monsters earlier and maybe through the use of strategy you will succeed – and surely doing so will feel awesome.)
And it’s a way of directly representing your progress through the gameplay itself.
As for scaling monsters up – I think it’s more immersive if the don’t scale up because if you get more powerful you should clearly feel it. But from a gameplay perspective, monsters will have to scale up because otherwise it might get boring very quickly.
Gameplay fluidity
During Blizzcon 2019 Luis Barriga basically stated they will be taking what’s best from each Diablo game out there. And while for many Diablo 3 was a disappointment – especially its release and art style – many forget that Diablo 3 actually did have the most fluid combat of any aRPG out there. D4’s gameplay and combat should be fluid. And from the things we’ve seen it appears that it is. The only thing I can really add to this is - the devs should avoid adding game mechanics or abilities that do not fit the fluid “feel” of the combat. Using a certain ability should never feel off or clunky compared to everything else.
Classes, class identity, archetypes
So far we know there will be 5 classes at the game’s release. 2 of them are still unannounced. The ones we know about are the Barbarian, the Sorceress and the Druid. We also know that there will be classes added later, most likely through expansions and hopefully never through class packs. Let’s start with Class Identity. In a Diablo game class identity is incredibly important. Each class has to capture its own fantasy, feel and theme. They all have to be unique in as many ways as possible, but of course there will be similarities – and that’s okay especially after more and more classes are added. And even if some classes functionally work in a similar way they can have a completely different theme. From what we’ve seen the revealed classes do have a strong class identity.. I mean let’s be honest – it’ Diablo we are talking about here. Diablo games always did and still hold the crown when it comes to class identity. But let’s quickly go over the things that will make classes unique: If possible – class-unique systems, an amazing example of this is the D4 Barbarian with the Arsenal System, being able to carry 2 2-heanded weapons and 2 one-handed weapons, swapping between them during the fight and having effects In the game that work well with it. I think each class should have their own “thing” – their own unique gameplay mechanics. Visuals – well that’s kinda obvious but still: Classes need to have their place in the world. A player has to know that a class belongs here just by looking at it. They should be stylized accordingly so that they look distinct, fit their fantasy and clearly have their place in the D4’s world while also providing a visual progression – devs will have to strike balance between the 2. Class-unique gear pieces that only this specific class can equip and that work well with that class. There could also be items that can only be equipped by some “type” of class – for example it would make sense if a staff could be equipped by the Sorceress and the Druid but not by the Barbarian. Class-unique properties. Class unique transmogs and other cosmetic stuff. And obviously every single ability should fit the class both from the gameplay perspective and the visual perspective. It’s basically very important for all the visuals of Diablo 4’s world and it’s classes to fit well together.
Now Archetypes. Rhykker made an amazing video about this and he truly nailed the explanation of why archetypes are important in a Diablo game while also providing some history and background of how the classes we’ve seen so far have evolved in each game. But in short: Every player always has their favourite “style” of gameplay. The most obvious archetypes are: A melee damage dealer (Like the Barbarian). A ranged, non-magical damage dealer (Like the Demon Hunter). A ranged magical damage dealer (Like the Sorceress). And in the case of MMOs a ranged healing class – but we don’t want that in D4 that stuff is for kids. But seriously – it just doesn’t have a place in a Diablo game and the devs confirmed they will not try to make a support class. But as any Diablo player knows, the community will find a way to make support builds even if the devs would actively try to stop it. And that’s really cool in my opinion. So those are the main 3 archetypes. Then, each archetype can branch into potentially infinite versions of which all have their unique fantasy and flavor or they are hybrids of other versions. As an example a Melee damage dealer can be a Paladin, Barbarian, Assassin and A magical ranged damage dealer can be the Sorceress – with the Druid and Necromancer both being a mix between 2 archetypes while adding their own theme and fantasy in the for of shapeshifting or summoning. What the developers need to do is to make sure that all of those 3 main archetypes are covered. Than they need to add classes that will cover as many fantasies of those archetypes as possible, starting with the most popular ones like summoning fantasy. And they should also add classes that we have never seen before in any previous title. For example it seems to me that D4 is a great opportunity to introduce a Witch class that would likely focus on blood magic, curses, poison and maybe even some kind of demonic powers or demon summoning. But more on that later.
…. Balance.
I mean balance is hard and everything from items and abilities to in-game activities should be as balanced as possible in order to avoid one of the worst things that can possibly happen to an aRPG – having a very narrow op meta of gear and behavior. This just renders everything - the itemization, class identity and choice – actually meaningless. But there isn’t much more to say about it. D4 devs have a great example of what to avoid based on the D3’s meta. And only they know best on what they can do to balance the game.
Developers already said that legendary items should be as or more powerful than set items. Which is the most important thing. D4’s legendary items and item properties in general should avoid D3’s giant damage bonuses that in reality just reduce the number of choices you have. And while we are on that topic – I want as many different stats, effects, damage types as possible. If the game is supposed to live as long as possible and make as much money as possible it needs to have enough depth to not become boring as long as possible and it should introduce this depth gradually. This applies to literally every single part of this post. Everything I’ve talked about, everything I will be talking about and everything that will be in the game that we know nothing about – there should be as many of all those things and possible, they should be as unique as possible and should have as much depth as possible – but they should never be annoying or inconvenient.
I think there should be more 2 and 3 piece sets. And while I don’t like the full 6-piece sets as they were done in D3, here in D4 they are a great opportunity to introduce a certain specific class fantasies – as long as they won’t be more powerful than legendary items. You might think that a full set should be more powerful - it makes sense. And while yes in principle it does – in reality it limits your choice. And again – there needs to be as much choice and variety in itemization as possible. The full sets should capture a specific play style or fantasy and be more powerful than some random legendary items someone put together without any thought. But they should be clearly less powerful than legendary items that work together well. But that being said devs should avoid legendary items, sets and mythic items that buff the damage of one specific ability. There should be some of those as well but most legendary properties should change how the ability works or add a proc chance, add an effect to the ability or increase the damage you deal with a specific type damage. But increasing damage of a specific ability only leads to one thing – a very specific meta.
Now.. Mythic items. I really hope I’m misunderstanding this but I think they will have 4 legendary powers and they will all be random? David Kim said In Rhykker’s interview that a chance of finding a mythic item with the exact 4 powers you want is pretty low. So that implies they will be random. And I really, really don’t like this. At some point RNG becomes purely annoying and frustrating. Not only mythic items are the most unlikely items to drop in D4 but you will also have to find one that has exactly the 4 legendary properties you want. Good luck with that. Unless there are also Unique Mythic items that have let’s say 2 legendary properties always the same and 2 random. I was thinking about this one for a while and I think the ideal solution is to have both. To have Mythic items that will have 4 random legendary powers AND to have unique mythic items that will have 2 of their legendary properties set in stone OR even better: they will still be randomized but only from a pool of properties that fit the theme of the item. So for example a Unique Mythic staff of fire will have 4 random legendary properties chosen from the pool of legendary properties that have something to do with fire.
Diablo 4 should definitely have PvP activities. Personally I don’t understand why you would want to do PvP in a Diablo game but as long as it keeps some people playing – it makes the game more successful and that’s what we all want. There are many ways of doing this. There should be a duel option. Major towns could have arenas for both 1v1 and team v team matches and each arena should have leaderboards. There should be cosmetic rewards and titles for let’s say winning 1000 duels. I don’t think the servers could handle clan v clan battles with like 20-40 players on each side but hey – if Blizzard can do that - then they should. But one thing is crucial and absolutely required when it comes to PvP in a Diablo game – the devs shouldn’t try to balance it. The entire game and all its aspects should be balanced around PvE. PvP cannot be a priority. It should be something optional that’s just there in case you want have fun – and that’s it.
Endgame and PvE
Diablo 4 should have as many viable endgame activities as possible. There should be many dungeons all around the world and each one of them should have a solo version and a group version as well as at least 3 difficulty levels. The more players enter the more difficult the dungeon enemies are and obviously the higher difficulty level you choose.. the higher difficulty you get. You should have to unlock the difficulty levels through completing the previous difficulty in case it wasn’t obvious as well. With greater challenge should come greater rewards in a form of gold and magic find bonuses and cosmetic rewards for completing the highest difficulty. ESO for example gives you a head or a trophy of the boss you kill in a specific dungeon and you can hang it on the wall. Each dungeon should also have a leaderboard – that’s just for people who want to compete – I think it would be much more interesting for them (especially to the very best players) to be able to push the leaderboards for each dungeon separately because a) each dungeon is different so it’s more interesting and b) they would have a possibility of being the number one in multiple leaderboards which sounds tempting even to someone like me who doesn’t normally care about leaderboards. Important thing to say hear is – there should be no items that drop exclusively on some dungeon difficulty. All the players should be able to get every item that affects their stats regardless of the difficulty of the dungeon. That being said – the higher the difficulty the higher the drop chance should be. This way a solo player like myself can still obtain the best items in the game – it will simply probably take much longer. And I think some cosmetic items like trophies, titles or achievements should be only obtainable by completing the highest challenge – just as long as it’s cosmetic. I will talk about dungeons more in later segments.
Greater Rifts and Nephalem Rifts while maybe not under the same name and probably with a different theme should be in D4 and they should work pretty much the same. Randomized maps with randomized enemies and shrines, with some differences: GR levels from 1-100. You unlock new levels one by one. And instead of GR levels simply increasing the damage and health of your enemies I think something should also happen every X amount of GR levels. Like for example:
- from level 40-60: all elite packs have one bonus property.
- levels 61-80: all elites get 2 additional properties and you lose 2x more time per death.
- levels 81-95: all elites have 2 additional properties, you lose 4x more time per death.
- levels 95-99: elites have 2 additional properties and death means failure.
The max level should be impossible to reach imo unless the cap will go up with every expansion due to the likelihood of the level cap also being increased with each expansion. There should also be cosmetic rewards given to the player for reaching certain GR levels.
But.. I never pushed GRs very far in D3 so I’ll admit I might be wrong with this one. Not about the cosmetic rewards tho – those I’m definitely right about =D
Bounties Should also return but as a form of repeatable, daily and weekly quests. I think each major city should have a notice board (something like in Witcher 3) and there you could accept randomized bounty-like quests. Each notice board would spawn 5 random bounties that you could accept and complete separately. They should respawn on the notice board after some time, maybe like 20 minutes, to avoid situations in which people would just “abandon the quest” and effectively reroll until they get the “more optimal” bounty. There could also be daily and weekly bounties that have better rewards. Completing the bounties could also earn you a reputation in a given region and after reaching some level of reputation you could unlock a transmog themed after the region, some other form of cosmetic rewards like titles or if there will be a hideout/housing system – unlock a possibility of buying a house/hideout in that region.
I think clans should be expanded greatly in Diablo 4. I’m not sure about raids.. I don’t know if Blizzard could do it – if they could tho, it would be great. But I’m going to assume it won’t happen. Clans themselves should have a clan-wide system similar to Wolcen’s city management but limited to very small clan wide bonuses to gold find and magic find that a clan can purchase for gold and to the ability to spend a special type of currency that your clan earns only through completing the dungeons and possibly other activities on other special items. A clan master and those he gives his permission could spend the currency to buy those special items that would give temporary clan-wide bonuses or even ( for a high amount of currency ) special dungeon keys that really “upgrade” the dungeon by making it even more difficult and even more rewarding. Important thing to say here is – dungeon keys and the ability to modify them should also be available a solo player. Again – everything that influences your stats or enhances your experience should be obtainable solo. Clan leaders should have the tools available to create custom ranks with a system of permissions within the clan. And the maximum number of clan members should be as high as possible. Other than this – I think there should also be communities. Communities would have no real functionality other than: a) being able to see all it’s members and being able to invite them to group up more easily. B) they should also allow custom ranks If possible. C) They should have a very high member limit, or no limit if possible – this is a priority.
Basically ESO crafting. Just show and talk about all the aspects of ESO crafting. Including writs and writ “treasure” maps etc.
It is important to say that I think crafting should not be required. I think the best gear shouldn’t be crafted in an aRPG – it should be looted. But the best potions, poisons, enchants, food and other stuff like that you can see in ESO or the Witcher 3 for example should be obtained through crafting. It would be a way of further improving your gear permanently or temporarily. You should be able to craft different potions, healing potions, mana potions, speed potions, resistance potions and so on. Or poisons and oils that you can apply to your weapons for a temporary effect like slow, damage, poison or apply some other form of debuff to your enemies when they get hit. Enchantments would simply a type of rune that you can apply to your gear to add new effects for example a fire rune would add a chance to ignite your enemies when added to a weapon, fire resistance when added to your armor or resistance to fire related debuffs when applied to jewelry. Or runes that increase your flat health when added to armors, add life per hit when added to weapons and increase your max health by x% when added to jewelry . You get the idea. The list of possible effects and ways they could work is endless.
Crafting in ESO is especially cool because you basically have a separate very small passive trees for each type of crafting and you can allocate your skill points there to be better at crafting. You advance your crafting level simply by crafting or dismantling items. The higher your crafting level the better materials you find in the world and the more crafting passives become available. And some of those bonuses are really cool. Let’s take blacksmithing for example: first passive allows you to use higher level materials, second one highlights the resource nodes in the world so they are easier to spot, next one basically sends you small amount of blacksmithing materials every day and the last one increases the chances to improve the quality of items. Let’s have a look at alchemy now: first one also lets you use higher level materials to make higher level potions and poisons, next one highlights materials, the third one increases the duration of potions you consume by 10% - which is really cool because it impacts the gameplay more directly. The next one makes you produce more potions and poisons each time you craft them, next allows you to make potions that have more effects, and the last one reduced the potentially negative effect of potions you consume.
And you can even get “certified” at all the types of crafting by completing a short tutorial quests that introduce you to each type of crafting in order to get access to special daily quests that tell you to create something from each type of crafting and deliver the crafted items for a bunch experience, a little gold and a chest that contains random rewards like crafting materials and rare items that let you improve the quality of an item. They can also contain special surveys that will point you to a random place in the world where you will find A TON of resource nodes. In Diablo 4 this could be done in a form of maps that point you to a dungeon and once you enter the dungeon that map will be destroyed to add a lot of resource nodes to that dungeon or simply add a lot of crafting resources as a reward for completing the dungeon. So doing a lot of crafting would still encourage other activities. And also, the higher your crafting level the better rewards you get and the higher the chance of obtaining very rare items that improve the quality of your gear.
Honestly I just love ESO crafting system. And I’m a solo player who usually only cares about the story and singleplayer RPGs. Initially I started playing ESO only because I like The Elder Scrolls games and I wanted to know the story but I hated the fact that it is an MMO. I still play solo but I do a lot of crafting and I genuinely enjoy it. Diablo 4 should have as many different activities as possible, just as long as they are optional and none of them is absolutely OP, and I think when it comes to crafting – ESO and many RPG games like The Witcher 3 are great places for the D4 devs to draw inspiration from.
Now I don’t think crafting materials should be obtained in the same way as they are in ESO. At least it shouldn’t be the only way because running around with a pickaxe and mining rocks is not exactly the kind of activity that most players would fall in love with. I personally wouldn’t mind that because crafting is optional anyway but still, most players would probably hate it. So I think crafting materials should be scattered around the world but they should also be obtainable through completing bounties for example. And ideally doing bounties and other activities that involve killing monsters would provide you with enough materials to craft your own gear, but if you want to really focus on crafting you would have to find materials in the world because that way would be faster but wouldn’t reward you with anything else other than crafting materials.
Seasons should introduce new items, mechanics and things to do. That’s about it.
But here is my personal opinion on seasons: I absolutely hate them in their current form. UGH. They are so awful. I absolutely hate the reset. I’d rather have a slow meaningful progression and a ton of endgame activities to the point of seasons not even being really necessary. And on top of that still have seasons but without the reset. If seasons will add new stuff to do, whatever it will be in the end the best way of doing it will be at max level. That’s why I would personally prefer if there was no reset and no seasonal characters. I’d rather if the seasonal themes would simply add new endgame mechanics and the “theme” of a season would be applied to everyone – now the problem here would be – what if devs add a seasonal “theme” that people don’t like? And that’s something I have no answer for. In the end I know seasons will work like they usually work in aRPGs – there will be a reset and separate seasonal characters which will result in leveling being eventually boring and pretty fast and non-seasonal characters having no point at all. That’s how I personally feel.
But there is a world in which I would be fine with the reset. And in that world the seasonal mechanics and themes would affect the leveling enough to change it a bit and to keep it fresh and fun every time. And there either should be a good reason to still play non-seasonal characters as well or there needs to be some kind of account-wide progression that will reward non-seasonal characters for playing seasonal characters. I just wish this account wide progression won’t be anything like paragon levels – paragon levels should not exist unless they have a reasonable cap. Why? Because if this progression system is infinite or has a cap that if way too high will mean that in the end the primary thing that will affect competitive players will be the amount of free time they have to play the game and this should never be the case because competition should reveal the best, most skilled and most knowledgeable players.
The possibility of trying out new things, different abilities and play styles based on what cool items you find is very important, especially in a game where legendary items and their properties play such a giant role. Not being able to respect is not a difficulty – it’s an annoying inconvenience. Personally I think respec should be free or have a reasonable cost.
This is again a big one. Let’s start with the transmogs. I think transmogs shouldn’t mess with the visual representation of your character’s power. What do I mean by this? Well.. you shouldn’t be able to look like a level 40 character while being a level 4 character. I think D3’s way of unlocking the transmog options is fine – once you loot an item you unlock it as a transmog option. But I don’t want it to be account wide. I think whenever you unlock a new transmog it should be unlocked only on the character that looted the item and whenever an item is generated it should only be able to give it’s transmog only to the person that first picks it up. That idea aims to make your character look as realistically as possible and it would work well with the visual progression the devs surely have in mind. Transmogs should never mess with the visual representation of who and how powerful your character is at any given moment and I think there is even a good way of making it possible while still having the transmog options being unlocked account-wide in case most players would disagree with me. What if each transmog piece would have a level requirement on it? The same level requirement that the original piece starts to drop at. I think it’s a good solution because probably 99% of your playtime will be on a max level character anyway. My idea only impacts the leveling process and aims to make character progression as visible and immersive as possible.
All that being said I think there should be A TON of transmogs, as many as possible. I think devs should just be allowed to let their passion loose and add as many unique transmogs and items (or really any kind of content) as possible. To be fair to Blizzard as a company – adding new cosmetic options every now and then makes financial sense because making them (especially simply re-skinning and re-coloring the existing ones) is relatively cheap but it definitely keeps the game fresh. And some of those cosmetic items could be in-game shop exclusive. Customization is extremely important especially for D4’s success. So ideally there should be enough transmog options to make everyone happy. I’m not so sure about being able to change the colors of the items. It would be really cool especially if regular colors would drop rarely from regular enemies (like in Wolcen) and other more cool colors like gold for example could drop from a specific boss or dungeon. But.. – D4 is supposed to be dark. And as much as I love to have options I think it’s best to not include dyes in D4.
But there are many ways of customizing your character. Mounts, trophies, housing system, pets, titles and other things we see in D3 and MMORPGs. I welcome it all – as long as it has it’s place in the dark world of D4 and ideally as long as every cosmetic item has it’s place in some part of D4’s world.. or at least has some lore justification.
I also think there should be as many options as possible when it comes to character creation and I think there should be an option to change the appearance later by appearance change token. Yup. I mean pain appearance change token.
I think it’s pretty obvious that there will be an in-game shop in D4. I don’t like it. Most of us don’t like it. But I’m fine with it because it’s not really something devs can influence. Remember – the devs do not make decisions. If they will be told to do something that will generate profit they just have to do it. And we all know they were told. So what do I think the monetization should be like in D4? It absolutely cannot be free to play or a subscription based. It should be a one-time purchase with paid BIG content expansions (Like The Witcher 3 expansions) that include at least a new class, story and expand the world of sanctuary to eventually let us explore it in its entirety. And since it will have an in-game shop it should be cosmetic ONLY. And NO there shouldn’t be an option to buy stash space. It directly impacts the gameplay. So in order to keep this shop cosmetic only I’m fine with having a lot of cool unique transmog sets, mounts, pets, enchant effects and all kinds of stuff also being added to the shop with each expansion but again – only as long as they stay true to the Diablo 4 style. So no cosmic wings. I am okay with character slots but only if the number of character slots you have for free is at least the same as the number of classes at any given time. So 5 or more free character slots at launch and whenever you buy an expansion that includes a new class or classes it should also include as many bonus character slots as there are new classes.
Dark Theme
No matter what aspect of the game we are talking about – Diablo 4 should stay true to its theme and to the Diablo spirit.
The Future of Diablo 4
I want Diablo 4 to release big expansions that adds new areas, story playable classes to eventually reach the point when we can explore the entire Sanctuary. I am sure Diablo 4 is being developed with longevity in mind and Activision Blizzard CEOs and shareholders want D4 to live as long as possible and thus they will want to add new content as long as possible so that D4 can make money for as long as possible. And that’s fine. It’s a good thing as long as the expansions will be an actual expansions and as long as the in-game shop will be cosmetic only.
I also hope they will introduce entirely new classes. (again – as long as they fit within the Diablo Universe). Some examples would be: previously mentioned Witch. I think since the Sorceress is now focused on elements unlike D3’s wizard, there could be a separate class called Wizard at some point in the future that focuses on dealing Arcane damage and has skills like Magic Missile, Arcane Orb, Spectral Blade, Arcane Torrent, Wave of Force, Slow Time, Magic Weapon, Familiar, Teleport, Mirror Image, Black Hole, Archon etc. People have been talking about a Death Knight type of class and I think it’s also a great idea I just don’t know if it should be a hybrid between the necromancer and paladin. In my opinion it could be some kind of a dark Paladin that broke the oath and is using more dark abilities to fight fire with fire. I also think Witch Doctor should be completely reworked and added at some point because in D3 WD is basically a necromancer that looks goofy. They could for example make Necromancer more focused on bones, disease, corpse mechanics, curses, give him/her more passive summons and make the witch doctor more focused on spirits and weird confusing voodoo magic and more active summons.
IMO the most important things out of everything I said:
You should not be forced to see other players.
Every piece of content (except world bosses and other content that makes sense to be too hard for a one person to complete) should be soloable and every single item that affects your stats or gameplay in any way should be obtainable solo.
The End
Remember - in the end it's just an opinion of an "old school" player.
and see You in Hell!
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