Diablo® III

D3 is not scary - why?

Some of D3 has that "creepy" factor, but honestly you're older now and have seen a lot more stuff since the days of D1 so it will take more to wow you. D3 also caters to a wider audience and has a lot of humor making it feel more like an adventure and less like a scary story.
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Diablo 1 was not scary, but it was definitely darker. In everything.
The dungeons where darker, the monsters where more realistic and less cartoonish.
The plot too was not classic fantasy. It was a hopeless story, where humanity was forced to endlessly deal with the prime evils because there was no way to finally get rid of them.
Imho those who think that Diablo 3 was the game which changed things are wrong.
Diablo 2 was a lot less dark than its predecessor and the greatest sign of this is that it was revealed that soulstones could be destroyed, putting an end to the threat of the prime evils... that was a bad choice imho.
At the same time Diablo himself changed from a force of pure evil capable of corrupting anything and everything, to a standard fantasy villain. I mean the super-evangelion-like-prime-evil doesn't really compare to the dark unknowable evil that manged to corrupt everyone in tristram and that possessed the King's son after driving him mad.
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I went through a rift the other day where the entire level was plunged into darkness.. There was only a small circle of light around me. Still wasn't scary in the slightest.

Most of that is like others have said - time. Now that I'm older it takes a lot to unsettle me. The game Thief did it pretty well. The difference was how involved I got into the story and the atmosphere of the game. With D3, it's just a simple game, with relatively simple mechanics, made trivial by reducing the gaming choices. All of that really diminishes how much I through myself into the environment of the game. That's not to say I don't like the game - I do. It's just different. I'd liken D3 to Peggle in terms of mood. It just isn't there.

I'll backpedal a bit. I did really like the cinematic Tyrael's Sacrifice. That got me a little bit emotionally involved.
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Some scare moments would go a long way to make the game more intense.
What im really missing is some suprise effects.

Im generally a really skittish person in games. (in fallout 3 i refused to go into the sewers with the ghouls)

When i was younger and playing a zelda a link to the past i forced my dad to play the part in the dark forest where you get the big sword. I was to scared. Now that im older and look back too it i realize that the scary part for me was about.

Being suprised (not being able to see far helps a lot)
uncontrollable factors that make you lose progress.

The most scary stuff is mobs/bosses that appear out of nowhere and take down half your life, especially in a relatively peaceful part

perfect settings in this game here wher
Act 1 spider cave. When you walk out of it the spider pulls you back in the cave. It would scare the sh*t out of me.

in act 3 A monster knocking you down of the wall into a pack.

In general a boss that keeps poking you for 5% of your life throughout en entire act. Comming from the ground, hitting you and disappearing. constantly and completely random, even when your fighting other stuff.
The more you are off guard the scarier stuff gets!
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The fact that the story is terrible, both itself and its telling / execution, has something to do with it feeling like an 80's cartoon rather than a demon infested rpg
Edited by mvm199#2454 on 5/8/2014 12:11 AM PDT
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I'm honestly surprised that no one has mentioned how the followers act. Seriously, I don't need my Templar to yell about how awesome it is to fight elites. I also don't need him telling my Monk how great it is to be his pal while I'm running across the map. There are definitely creepy areas of Diablo III; nevertheless, they are invariably ruined whenever I hear the Templar scream, "WE HAVE DONE IT."
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90 Blood Elf Death Knight
Posts: 59
I think its because of the environments. D1 was the only one of the games that got this right. It was really dark, you never knew what would be down the hall. You never knew what was going to be around the corner. not to mention the background noises were well done. The act bosses were well done aswell. You NEVER see them until the point where you actually need to bring them down. Also the act bosses weren't mentioned much in the story, so it left a lot of it up to the imagination.

In D2 they brightened things up, in way of the story though D2 was in much the same way although there was less of an evil feeling as most of the dialog came from Cain and other NPC's not from dark tomes you find during your adventures.

D3 threw all of this out the window, the environment is bright and colorful. The story is in your face at all times as well as your follower spouting nonsense. Also all the act bosses are shown to you almost immediately as they are constantly telling you their plans and saying that you cant stop them. Seriously these "Lords of Hell" would be more at home in an episode of scooby doo.
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I think the biggest issue, as some have touched on, is suspense. Diablo 3 has very little of it. I don't feel that the "demi-god" like status of our characters in this game changes my opinion compared to the prior games. I didn't play a ton of D1, but played D2 more than any game I've ever played. The reason D2 (and D1) made you feel so mortal and fallible was the (poor) early skill system. You didn't unlock any really powerful skills til later levels. From a lore and story standpoint that makes sense to a degree, but at the same time it made those early levels frustrating. I don't find D3 not as scary because my character has more powerful skills early on.

It's the suspense that got you in the other games. Everyone cites the first Butcher encounter in D1 as the prime example. You know who you were looking for, but suddenly it' "Ahhh, fresh meat!" and a crazy carver-wielding demon is in your face. It's unexpected and terrifying that just suddenly, there he is!

Diablo 2 had some of that suspense still. It was a little more linear, but still left a lot up to the imagination and storytelling until you saw the boss. You hear many things about Andariel throughout act 1. You know as you descend into the Cathedral you'll find her. You even get the quest button pop-up to kill her once you entered level 4. Heck, even the big double doors leading into her lair was plenty of indication of what was about to happen. But you opened those doors, and a huge she-demon stomps up and sprays poison everywhere, and you're like "Oh $#!*!"

Duriel was right in your face before you realized what was going to happen. Mephisto had a scary appearance, and Diablo had a grand entrance with unlocking the seals and the ground shaking.

Diablo 3 misses the mark because everything feels so linear and scripted. Act 1 wasn't too bad since you didn't hear much from the Skeleton King or Butcher until you got there. There's so little suspense leading into the boss fights that you don't get that same sense of shock or surprise. You get the intro cut-scene, they make a show of their entrance, and start the fight with a nice warm up before getting into the hard attacks.

Imagine if you had only but a couple of passing remarks about Siegebreaker. Or even none at all? You think you're on the way to fight Asmodan, and as you click on the entrance to the tower of the damned (or whichever one comes first there), BOOM, Siegebreaker in your face! Who the hell is this guy? *Grabbed, roar/goobers in the face, let's fight!* Those are the kind of tactics that D1 and D2 used much better. The ambiance and lead-up to those fights wee much better. In D3 your hand is being held and a big banner is at the entrance saying "BOSS FIGHT GET READY'.

It goes without saying (though I will anyway) that the awful Bond Villain/Cartoon Character "Let me tell you every step of my plan HOW DID YOU DEFEAT ME?!" of Belial/Asmodan/Diablo ruined any chance of suspense for acts 2 through 4.

Act 5 was much better. You rarely heard anything from Malthael, aside from the occasional shadowy visage of him taunting you with "Nephalem....." the story telling wasn't perfect, but the atmosphere was at least a big step in the right direction.
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It's just a segment of the whole "D3 is cartoony and less serious" point, but to me a huge difference in the scariness aspect is that Diablo 1+2 felt much lonelier. You had a few merchants or NPCs in the towns with some dialogue, but otherwise it was basically you on your own. Your heroes weren't smug or obnoxious (the D3 Wizard dialogue in particular is really bad) and you didn't have constant banter going as you were out in the world. In D2 you and your merc were completely silent. It was/is cool to see guards or allies out in the wilderness fighting monsters, but having constant conversation has the side effect of making you feel safe and secure.

It's the same in the towns too. I get that they wanted to make the towns seem more like actual TOWNS, with people and stories, and this is good to an extent, but it just makes the whole situation cozier and less frightening. Look at the Pandemonium Fortress in D2 - it's you, Tyrael, Cain, and two repair NPCs. It's literally you against all of hell.

In D2 I liked necromancer because always having a golem by my side made me feel that much more confident. Just the presence of a "friend" had a powerful mental impact... and D3 is overrun with this. Sometimes you would play D1+2 for hours without hearing an NPC's voice at all. In D3 you can barely play for five minutes without a quest update.

All the music, the lighting, the script, the quest structure (much less guided) in the old games compounded this feeling that you're on your own. There's just a psychological effect when your character is alone and silent vs being loud and having constant dialogue with NPCs. Being alone is scary, and that aspect is totally gone from D3.
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06/03/2014 03:58 AMPosted by Crusic
I think its because of the environments. D1 was the only one of the games that got this right. It was really dark, you never knew what would be down the hall. You never knew what was going to be around the corner. not to mention the background noises were well done. The act bosses were well done aswell. You NEVER see them until the point where you actually need to bring them down. Also the act bosses weren't mentioned much in the story, so it left a lot of it up to the imagination.

In D2 they brightened things up, in way of the story though D2 was in much the same way although there was less of an evil feeling as most of the dialog came from Cain and other NPC's not from dark tomes you find during your adventures.

D3 threw all of this out the window, the environment is bright and colorful. The story is in your face at all times as well as your follower spouting nonsense. Also all the act bosses are shown to you almost immediately as they are constantly telling you their plans and saying that you cant stop them. Seriously these "Lords of Hell" would be more at home in an episode of scooby doo.
I agree with this somewhat, though i would argue that in Diablo 2 they retained some of the dark tone especially in regards to their storytelling techniques and the way they presented even the brighter environments such as Act 2 & 3. Gothic horror themes were very much present and strong in Diablo 2, and the soundtrack in particular retained a horror feel.
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For me it's a combination of setting, voice acting, wow style cartoon graphics, storyline, difficulty... basically the entire game is totally different from the original or even the sequel, apart from being an arpg set in sanctuary. Blizzard South just didn't capture any of the original game's horror and dread elements, and IMO, couldn't.

It really pisses me off that they took a fantastic dark fantasy game and turned it into a Disney film complete with over the top voice acting and cheesy villains. Sprinkle a few wow mechanics, and voila, d3. All they needed was diablo saying "Aaaargh! And I woulda got away with it too if it wasn't for that pesky nephalem!".

The game was made by Blizz South, and therefore must cater to as wide an audience as possible ie. 12 year olds. That's the real problem.
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I utterly refute the "i'm not a child anymore" argument, becuase my experience of the game.

I played Diablo 1 when I am 14 yo. I played Diablo 2 when I am 17. And both experiences were horror game experiences. See, it was not scary at all, it's dark, gore and anxious. The music, the dialogues, the mood of the game made us make sure we are all doomed in the end, and we were fighting a losing fight against it.

The first thing that started to bored me in D3 was the how lightly and joking companions were. We were fighting the great evils that we already defeated long time ago and probably we won't completly defeat ever. We saw the families of good folk being turned into undead, we saw husband kill wife (and thus have only 1 dialogue of sorrow), and still the freaking companions are still making jokes? NO.

The story was nice, but simple enough to turn bored at second time (of at least four you have to play) with zero modification from a dificult/class to another (some scratch narration changes, but only this, and do not affect the game at all). Even Magicka (which by story you have to play twice) make some modification between one time to another. The "random maps", "random encounters" were not really random, since select from a list of 4-6 and follow the same baselines with zero modification in the main story.

So basically, Diablo 3 was a simple game, not even the better ARPG in the market when launched. With a 2002 storyline running on a 2010 engine. Could be awesome, if the game enjoy all the new techniques of gameplay and history. D3 was a good game, if it was not Diablo.

This could seems a bit harsh or offensive. But this is the main reason I didn't like D3 that much, and for me Diablo history ended with D2:LOD and books. D3 was not even canon (as someone said in other post), and could bring me hopes when a cinematic of Cain closing a book saying to Leah in the monastery before the meteor fall: "This book is not even near the reality, isn't it Leah?" to end the D3 history circle, and start with a real scary and well produced history of Diablo 3...

Next time, contract a good writer to history the game plz. We have dozen of them being contracted for do Star Wars books, Forgotten Realms, and other universes. Why do we need to be happy wth less than it?
Edited by Oromeh#1321 on 7/28/2014 6:05 AM PDT
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11/10/2013 07:20 PMPosted by bearr
There are three reasons why the game isn't scary.

1. In D2, the character was in the dark with only a spot light on him (in a lot of places).

2. In D2, the poor animations made the monsters walk in a creepy way (which was great for the feeling).

3. The story telling is bad in D3. What is the scariest? Going in a dark place knowing Baal is there, and when he sees you he just comes at you and kills you. Or having Asmodan explaining to you for hours how he is gonna destroy you, and when you finally meet him, he's just there in a bright room.

I'd agree with this and would add that in D2 bosses would charge you and chase you without warning. In D3, there's always a cutscene that leads up to the fight and for the most part the boss just stands in the middle of the room.
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The bosses in Diablo III are certainly easier than they were in Diablo II. Sure, you can't Town Portal out of boss fights in III like you could in II, but neither do you have to.

Even to this day, the Arachs in the second level of the Catacombs in Diablo II make my skin crawl, whereas something about the giant spiders in Diablo III makes them more comical than frightful IMO.

In any case, I don't think that Diablo was ever particularly frightful himself (except in an "OMG, he hits hard!" way), which is odd for somebody called the Lord of Terror. I think Xel'lotath from Eternal Darkness and Avoozl from Quest for Glory are much better examples of what a Lord of Terror should be like.
Edited by Paviel#1438 on 2/26/2015 10:36 PM PST
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Like many have said, the game has this heroic feel more than anything. I think the story sucks, and the dialogue is ultimately cliché (from act 3 and onwards). They did an excellent job with Act 2 I believe, and Zoltun Kulle was probably the coolest villain in the whole game. Honestly, I don't mind the style of the game so much at this point in time, I just wished there was more scary moments. Remember that reveal gameplay trailer? When the Barbarian got chewed in half?...Moments like that, despite the tone of the game, make it very diabloesque...Wonder why they took things like that out of the game at launch?
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This has already been touched upon more than once but I firmly beleive it is because we aren't 12 and playing Diablo 2 in our basement. (Which is what I did through middleschool) that game creeped me out at that age. I would never compare the graphics to WoW or call them cartoony because they plain do not resemble each other, and I honestly can't see where that argument even comes from. The backgrounds are very detailed and illustrative, like 3-d paintings (check out the Festering Woods and you'll see what I mean.)

There is some seriously scary !@#$ in D3 (leorics torture chambers, Ghom's journal entry, spooky crypts, the blanket of corpses in reaper of souls) but we're all older now and basically numb to that kind of violence. Act II in Lut Gholein wasn't all that dark, people seem to forget that entire act in their light radius arguments.

I think another thing is how it was harder to get decent gear in D2 (especially if you played single player) so it was a lot easier to die and you had a larger consequences in dying. It made the boss fights a big thing that you would have to prepare for and large packs of monsters were risky (god damn Coldcrow). You can basically steamroll bosses in D3 on the first try and usually beat the game without dying at all and I think that takes away the fear factor. If bosses had a lot more health and were disproportionally HARDER I think it would be a little more interesting. I remember making multiple town portals to kill Duriel.

The third thing that kills it is the cutscenes before bosses and the ABYSMAL boss dialogue. It's seriously cringeworthy for the Prime Evils, like the cheesiest crap I've ever heard, and their voice actors are so talented and wonderful, it's just wasted on them. I would literally pay money to have the dialogue re-recorded, but I know they'll never fix it. The story and spook factor for Reaper of Souls was significantly better and I can only hope things will keep improving.

I have no problem with most of the characters and fleshing out the world (Lyndon is a treasure and Shen etc are a lot of fun) but I do wish the writing was better. Bioware games can really spoil a person on character development.

Edit: I forgot to mention how linear everything is, you barely have to locate anything at all, because that blinking yellow circle will just tell you where to go and you can tunnel vision through everything.
Edited by Leen#1728 on 3/5/2015 3:18 PM PST
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Diablo 1 is by far the darkest and most adult of the storylines. Diablo 2, comes a reasonable second but with much less claustrophobia. Diablo 1's genius was it's fixation on Tristram and the inescapable dread that emanated from the Cathedral, something the village NPC's were more than happy to testament to. As soon as the Diablo series became more geographically broad, it also watered down the atmosphere clearly present in Tristram. That village was cursed, and no other place in the lore ever came close.

and if you still have any doubt about how terrifying Diablo 1 in comparison to Diablo 3, PLEASE, just listen to the OST of both games for 5 minutes! you will realize that D1 OST is about terror and D3 OST is about epic battles.

D1 OST= https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcTAVQYMZv0
Edited by Brazillian#1229 on 3/7/2015 10:34 AM PST
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Bring back light radius! It has a huge impact on atmospheric "scariness."
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One of the main reasons I think D3 doesn't seem as "scary" is because of the graphics.. Not because of cartoon graphics in the slightest.

Reason 1 - Diablo has always been a "clay" sort of feel when it came to the monsters because thats how it was originally planned to be originally. This look gave it a sort of raw but "real" feel that wasn't familiar. And the dark lighting was used to draw you away from the fact that these graphics were in fact horrible at the time.

Reason 2 - Fast track to present day, we have more technology then we know what to do with when it comes to game making. And how to do you turn a game that used to cover up "!@#$ty" graphics with dark lighting into a similar feel of todays games? Simply put.. You can't. Why? If Blizzard had stuck with the same graphics being raw an under todays state of the art looks, us as a consumer/fan base would have been saying stuff as "They have the technology, why didn't they use it? The game looks like crap in todays standards!"

Reason 3 - You can only go so far - Realistically I am sure they could have improved upon the graphics in game play but honestly that would make the game even harder to process for consoles and pcs to have that many pixels and numbers flying everywhere. So they stuck with a more "polished-clay" look to keep it close to its home but far away enough to show "hey we upgraded it but we didn't go so far as to make it so our fan base couldn't play the game".
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diablo is scary as !@#$nut, ur just a bumbling jackalantern
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