Diablo® III

Things Diablo 3 Can Learn From: *Borderlands 2*!


Diablo 3 couldn't afford to waste as much time as Borderlands 2 did since it has the 'three playthrough into inferno' setup.


Why not?

Borderlands has multiple playthroughs. But this is going *way* off topic.

I don't consider 'we didn't have the time' to be an excuse for a crappy story and abysmal characters in a AAA title. ESPECIALLY from a company known for good stories and memorable characters in previous games.


They had a ton of time. So much time. I think a development cycle of ~8-10 years is pretty decent.
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Starbird, amazing post man!

You have described so well the differences between the story in the two games. Borderlands was as very comical game, and yet it still managed to have some element of "dark" storytelling in it. This is very lacking in D3. The humor is there, but as you have described, for many reasons "we" are not drawn to the characters and the story has no real impact. I would actually say that I cared more for Marius from D2 than anyone in D3.

And finally, a cheers and a drink to Bloodwing. I honestly could not believe it when he died because I really liked him and did not expect the game to be so full-on. Ha, little did I know, before long I would be losing other characters. The tenseness of the story was such that when Maya was captured, I actually expected her to die. As for Cain's death, I could not believe that he had died in such a way either, but I had no attachment to him at that time in the game and it happened in a very crappy little game animation that held very little emotional power.

Really, it is more fair to compare Borderlands 2 to earlier Grand Theft Auto titles. They have the same tongue in cheek style, with a 'serious' overtone that is never really taken too seriously.

Diablo 3 couldn't afford to waste as much time as Borderlands 2 did since it has the 'three playthrough into inferno' setup.


And this, really? I would say the humor in D3 is one of the few things they got right in most places (maybe not the vegetables bad, meat good bit), but I would not say that Diablo 3 has a 'serious' overtone by any stretch of the imagination. Sure, this is very subjective, but I would not say it is more serious that Borderlands 2.

And the four playthrough setup was one of the worst ideas that any game company has ever implemented in my opinion. This idea does not take any extra time because all it is is a scaling of numbers. There are no meaningful changes between the various playthroughs and this just makes the whole thing tedious beyond belief.
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Going to not respond directly to your post because I don't want to take up half the page with old information.

I was 'moved' that Bloodwing died because I played Mordecai in Borderlands 1. The same way I was 'moved' when Cain died in Diablo 3. It was very much a "God Dammit" moment for me.

The question you pose, 'what is story?', is an interesting one. The truth is, story is unimportant. Star Wars The Old Republic taught us that. Pacific Rim, the monster versus robots movie, also taught us that. When you play SWTOR you are bombarded with story. A lot of it is really good, but the delivery is underwhelming so as a result your experience suffers as a whole. Pacific Rim is another example of this. The whole movie storywise makes no sense what so ever, and on occasion it contradicts itself, but most people who walk out of the movie remember the monster fights. It is a great experience.

I never played Metal Gear Solid but I can say that Arkham Asylum had a very good story and they did a very good job of putting you in the boots of Batman. It was a whole package, full experience deal.

I can recall a lot of characters in from GTA 3 and GTA 4. Admittedly, I did not play a lot of Vice City or SA, but even then the short time I did play some of them still come to mind when I recall my experience. The characters were made to be stereotypical, loud, and iconic, just like in Borderlands 2.

Truth be told, after fighting along side Lilith, having Brick smash up robots with his bare hands, and having Mordie pop fools from his crows nest, I was having a very difficult time believing I was as badass as everyone made me out to be. Sure, they threw badass points at me and the NPC cast constantly told me how badass I was, but they fed that to me. I never bought it.

I don't really think it is a case of 'we didn't have time' like you're making it out to be. I don't think I ever even suggested that. The issue is that they can't boggle us down by forcing us to sit through story like Borderlands 2 did.

Just like in Diablo 2, the option to explore the different characters exist. You just have to talk to them and click on their conversations. This was done so that those of us that want to just power through Nightmare and Hell can do that without having to sit through long cutscenes or blocks of speech.

It isn't really going 'off topic' when you compare a game that was tiered to have two playthroughs, then waited six months to add a third to a game, and another six months to release a fourth, to another game where you're expected to play through three times before you unlock the never ending loot mode.

I agree that at its base level, Blizzard could have done more to make us like Leah and sympathize with her, but you always had the option to chat with her. All of her conversation options are there. You're just not forced to do it like you are in Borderlands 2, where every character gets an 'epic introduction' cinematic.

I hit max level on my Psycho, but I can't bring myself to start a fifth playthrough so I can get the gear I need to start the Digistruct challenge.

And this, really? I would say the humor in D3 is one of the few things they got right in most places (maybe not the vegetables bad, meat good bit), but I would not say that Diablo 3 has a 'serious' overtone by any stretch of the imagination. Sure, this is very subjective, but I would not say it is more serious that Borderlands 2.

And the four playthrough setup was one of the worst ideas that any game company has ever implemented in my opinion. This idea does not take any extra time because all it is is a scaling of numbers. There are no meaningful changes between the various playthroughs and this just makes the whole thing tedious beyond belief.


I will quote you however.

You're just being contradictory for the sake of being contradictory.

Everything about Borderlands 2 was comical. It started with the opening cinematic. If you think "but I would not say that Diablo 3 has a 'serious' overtone by any stretch of the imagination. Sure, this is very subjective, but I would not say it is more serious that Borderlands 2.", like honestly believe that, then I don't have words.

As for the four playthrough system, the 'three playthroughs' system is kind of a stable of Diablo games. The fourth one was a cool choice on their part.

They must be doing something right, Borderlands 2 adopted it.

In fact, the comical overtone of the game was a device so when they did introduce 'heavy' moments they hit harder.
Edited by Yuujin#1136 on 11/4/2013 7:35 AM PST
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Please, TC, change Borderlands 2 to Borderlands in your topic title, Borderlands 2 is the alter ego of Diablo 3: terrible, terrible story.

Edit: Also, why do I feel this is a troll topic?
Edited by Yoomazir#2905 on 11/4/2013 7:26 AM PST
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Note: Didn't read entire post but skimmed some highlighted points.

Borderlands 1 & 2 absolutely blows all loot hunt games out of the water in terms of storytelling and investment in the actions you take. Diablo 1 & 2, and PoE try to create an atmosphere but never compel the player into action. I don't feel for Tristram in these games or aspire to please Cain. They just provide context for what I'm doing. They are generic quest givers rather than actual people.

Cain's humorous line delivery and appearance in all 3 title certainly gives him a nostalgic charm and appeal. But he's still not a character that makes you care. He's just an exposition dumping quest giver. His shoes can be filled by anyone and I wouldn't feel like the game lost anything emotionally meaningful.

I consider Borderlands to be the shining leader in this category of all ARPG's I've ever played and it's hardly something that just Diablo 3 would have benefited from.

P.S) I don't mean to offend fans of Diablo 1&2 storytelling. I've never enjoyed it and remember joking about it with my friends growing up given how campy it was. It wasn't until much later (Diablo 3 forums) that I was surprised to read how a lot of people took it as seriously scary and well done. That's fine if you feel that way. Just keep in mind from my perspective it's like hearing someone say that Army of Darkness was a compelling horror movie that kept me on the edge of my seat.


Diablo 2 was an example of the 'other' kind of empty protagonist games that work.

It didn't have much of a story overall. Instead it managed to have an incredibly compelling and richly textured world and atmosphere. A lot of the story was left up to the player's imagination...and it worked like gangbusters.

A recent example of a game in this vein was Dark Souls.
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I just scanned over the post and read about 1/2 of it, but very interesting analysis of how a story is told. I take it you have some education related to writing? I especially liked how you pointed about the differences in 'types' of antagonists. This is how I felt about Azmodan & those other bosses posing as a 'rival', but didn't know how to put my finger on what was wrong. Azmodan in particular just pops up over your head and starts talking crap, but you have no idea who he is.
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IMO, 90% of the story problems with D3 could be removed by just completely re-writing all the character dialogue in the game. Azmodan and Diablo shouldn't talk at all, except when youre there in person in which case they can say "im gonna kill you now". Tyrael should be more of a cain-like guide, offering wisdom and direction once cain is dead. He can even still hit things with his sword if he wants. etc...
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I just scanned over the post and read about 1/2 of it, but very interesting analysis of how a story is told. I take it you have some education related to writing? I especially liked how you pointed about the differences in 'types' of antagonists. This is how I felt about Azmodan & those other bosses posing as a 'rival', but didn't know how to put my finger on what was wrong. Azmodan in particular just pops up over your head and starts talking crap, but you have no idea who he is.


I don't think Blizzard designed any of the characters in Diablo 3 to be your 'rival.' Nor do I think Angel was an omnipotent being or Handsome Jack was your 'rival.'

Angel fit the guide archtype. Obi Wan, Gandalf, and Tyrael in Diablo 3.

Handsome Jack was never a 'rival.' He was always presented as a coward and weaker than you. Implying he is your rival is a bit silly. He was a plot device just like Angel was, to move the story along. Jack existed for the sole purpose of opening the vault because the vault could not be opened on its own.

With that said, Jack had some amazing dialog.
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You're just being contradictory for the sake of being contradictory.

Everything about Borderlands 2 was comical. It started with the opening cinematic. If you think "but I would not say that Diablo 3 has a 'serious' overtone by any stretch of the imagination. Sure, this is very subjective, but I would not say it is more serious that Borderlands 2.", like honestly believe that, then I don't have words.

As for the four playthrough system, the 'three playthroughs' system is kind of a stable of Diablo games. The fourth one was a cool choice on their part.

They must be doing something right, Borderlands 2 adopted it.


Alright, first of all, we are going to agree to disagree on the number of playthroughs. I think that more than 2 playthroughs makes sense if things are drastically changing. For example, new enemy skills unlocking, new enemies, substantially more powerful enemies (I would argue that immunities filled this role, whereas an extra affix does not) etc. You like the 4 playthroughs, I do not, that is it. I think it could work, but I think that the way it is done is horrible. It looks as though they are reducing this number from the datamined information I believe.

I agree that Borderlands 2 started out comical, but the thing is that it then became much "darker" and by darker I mean involved, emotionally impacting etc. I would argue that it became "darker" than D3 ever reached. I think that Diablo 3 perhaps tried to be dark but as Starbird has pointed out, the storytelling and things like enemies popping up in your face telling you their plans means that you can't take the game seriously.

It seriously depends on how you define "dark", and I understand you saying you do not agree with me. I would say to you, "Is Shaun of the Dead dark"? I would expect you to answer no, and then I could say "But why not? It has zombies, people being dismembered, his best friend dies man!!! What is wrong with you?" I would argue that it is not dark because of the story. Without the right mood, these things have no real impact, and for me this is how D3 felt, for the most part.

Edited for clarity
Edited by DrK#6576 on 11/4/2013 7:45 AM PST
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Starbird, amazing post man!

You have described so well the differences between the story in the two games. Borderlands was as very comical game, and yet it still managed to have some element of "dark" storytelling in it. This is very lacking in D3. The humor is there, but as you have described, for many reasons "we" are not drawn to the characters and the story has no real impact. I would actually say that I cared more for Marius from D2 than anyone in D3.


Bingo.

Diablo 2 was a perfect example of giving us just enough information and motivation to keep us moving forwards while leaving a lot up to our own interpretation and imaginations.

11/04/2013 07:21 AMPosted by DrK
And finally, a cheers and a drink to Bloodwing. I honestly could not believe it when he died because I really liked him and did not expect the game to be so full-on. Ha, little did I know, before long I would be losing other characters. The tenseness of the story was such that when Maya was captured, I actually expected her to die


YES! I was constantly going 'oh man...please don't let her die. I will feel *so* bad if they kill her...'.

If I have time tomorrow I will edit this into my main post because you've hit on exactly what I was trying to say.

In Borderlands 2 I was compelled to keep playing. One of the reasons was that I was genuinely worried about/expecting to lose characters that I had grown attached to. In a non RPG game...this is quite something.

In Diablo 3 I couldn't give a crap whether the majority of the cast lived or died.

11/04/2013 07:24 AMPosted by Yuujin
The question you pose, 'what is story?', is an interesting one. The truth is, story is unimportant. Star Wars The Old Republic taught us that. Pacific Rim, the monster versus robots movie, also taught us that. When you play SWTOR you are bombarded with story. A lot of it is really good, but the delivery is underwhelming so as a result your experience suffers as a whole. Pacific Rim is another example of this. The whole movie storywise makes no sense what so ever, and on occasion it contradicts itself, but most people who walk out of the movie remember the monster fights. It is a great experience.


I think you and I have very different ideas of what makes a good story.

SW:TOR had a *great* story for most classes. The issue for me was the constant sidequests and grind quests that stopped me from spending time enjoying it. It felt like a really good KOTOR RPG with a bad MMO stapled to it's back.

Pacific Rim didn't really have a story. It did have a really cool concept, good dialogue and some great characterization. It's a Del Toro movie so that's pretty much to be expected.

11/04/2013 07:24 AMPosted by Yuujin
Truth be told, after fighting along side Lilith, having Brick smash up robots with his bare hands, and having Mordie pop fools from his crows nest, I was having a very difficult time believing I was as badass as everyone made me out to be. Sure, they threw badass points at me and the NPC cast constantly told me how badass I was, but they fed that to me. I never bought it.


I think you watched the Yahtzee review...or have similar tastes to him. I agree with him about 75% of the time. But that's okay. Different strokes, different folks.

11/04/2013 07:24 AMPosted by Yuujin
I don't really think it is a case of 'we didn't have time' like you're making it out to be. I don't think I ever even suggested that. The issue is that they can't boggle us down by forcing us to sit through story like Borderlands 2 did.


You mean 'bog us down' certainly...?

I never felt bogged down by the story in BL/BL2, so long as it was skippable. On the other hand, Diablo's cinematics and set pieces felt more intrusive (that stupid bloody quest waiting for the catapult to raise...ugh).

The characters were made to be stereotypical, loud, and iconic, just like in Borderlands 2.


Again...I think we have different tastes. One of the reasons I liked BL2's characters were that they were *not* stereotypical - or that they were, but once you got to know them they got really fleshed out and gained a lot of depth. Roland is the exception.

11/04/2013 07:24 AMPosted by Yuujin
It isn't really going 'off topic' when you compare a game that was tiered to have two playthroughs, then waited six months to add a third to a game, and another six months to release a fourth, to another game where you're expected to play through three times before you unlock the never ending loot mode.


But if I want to discuss this...I'm going to go off on a totally different tangent.

I would have *much* rather seen a Diablo 3 with 2-3 playthroughs and a BL2 quality story and level of immersion than what we have today.
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Please, TC, change Borderlands 2 to Borderlands in your topic title, Borderlands 2 is the alter ego of Diablo 3: terrible, terrible story.

Edit: Also, why do I feel this is a troll topic?


A matter of taste, maybe.

Also...TC?

11/04/2013 07:30 AMPosted by Zero
I take it you have some education related to writing?


No formal education, no - but I love reading and writing stories and have always had an interest in games as a medium for storytelling.

11/04/2013 07:41 AMPosted by Yuujin
I don't think Blizzard designed any of the characters in Diablo 3 to be your 'rival.' Nor do I think Angel was an omnipotent being or Handsome Jack was your 'rival.'


You misunderstand what I mean by rival.

A rival in a videogame is a frequently present threat with:
a) a compelling story of their own
b) actions that affect the player's own quest
c) the player develops a desire to defeat that becomes a driving force in the game itself.

Handsome Jack was never a 'rival.' He was always presented as a coward and weaker than you. Implying he is your rival is a bit silly. He was a plot device just like Angel was, to move the story along. Jack existed for the sole purpose of opening the vault because the vault could not be opened on its own.


Again, 'rival' has inverted commas for a reason. That's just the broad name I give the archetype.

Handsome Jack is actually built up to be really powerful (even one of his weaker minions smashed all the heroes from the previous game), utterly ruthless while at the same time being arrogant and spiteful. Later on he is really nicely fleshed out into a very 3 dimensional character.

All antagonists eventually devolve into a tool for moving the plot along. As does every single character and event in a story.
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I agree that Borderlands 2 started out comical, but the thing is that it then became much "darker" and by darker I mean involved, emotionally impacting etc. I would argue that it became "darker" than D3 ever reached. I think that Diablo 3 perhaps tried to be dark but as Starbird has pointed out, the storytelling and things like enemies popping up in your face telling you their plans means that you can't take the game seriously.

It seriously depends on how you define "dark", and I understand you saying you do not agree with me. I would say to you, "Is Shaun of the Dead dark"? I would expect you to answer no, and then I could say "But why not? It has zombies, people being dismembered, his best friend dies man!!! What is wrong with you?" I would argue that it is not dark because of the story. Without the right mood, these things have no real impact, and for me this is how D3 felt, for the most part.


Bingo. Very well said.

BL2 is a wonderful game in that it manages to handle a very wide variety of tones and tonal shifts while still feeling cohesive. You have some really funny stuff introduced initially...that later on is turned into something completely epic.

You have some characters that start off very cheesy or overly comical...and are fleshed out in such an amazing way that before long you actually start to care about them...to the extent that you really don't want to lose them later.

You have one or two genuinely silly seeming plotlines or stories (Tiny Tina's Tea Party) that out of nowhere blindside you with a genuinely pitch black twist.

I always like to give characters the 'Mr Plinkett Test' to decide whether they are good or not.

Basically, this test involves describing a character in as much depth as possible without:
- repeating yourself
- describing their physical appearance
- describing their role in the story
- describing their job or 'class'.

I can write a good paragraph on Lilith, Maya, Jack, Mordecai, Tiny Tina and a few others in BL2 (okay...maybe not Brick or Roland). I can do it with *maybe* two of the followers in D2. And that is all.
Edited by Starbird#1360 on 11/4/2013 8:00 AM PST
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Please, TC, change Borderlands 2 to Borderlands in your topic title, Borderlands 2 is the alter ego of Diablo 3: terrible, terrible story.

Edit: Also, why do I feel this is a troll topic?


A matter of taste, maybe.

Also...TC?


Topic Creator.
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Posts: 10,663


A matter of taste, maybe.

Also...TC?


Topic Creator.


Aha.

Well, not a troll topic. And I'm surprised that *anyone* would praise BL1's storyline :)
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This aint no place for no hero... Money don't grow on trees....

Like what I did there?
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Go play Borderlands then?
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Aha.

Well, not a troll topic. And I'm surprised that *anyone* would praise BL1's storyline :)


I'm not praising it either, BL1 story was scrapped from a lot of his original plot elements for some reason (see older trailers/non shaded gameplay/interviews).

BL2 went with a new writter that pushed far too much the crappy humor and focused the plot around the BL1 heroes, with revamped personalities for the worse, and some antagonist that simply wouldn't !@#$ (<--- keep his mouth shut, thx censorhip) during the whole game.

I could go on and on and on about it, but far better people than me have already explained why BL2 story is terrible... in the BL2 forums, you might go and check there.

Like I said before, BL2 story equals Diablo 3 story, both are terrible beyond epic proportions.
Edited by Yoomazir#2905 on 11/4/2013 4:23 PM PST
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I totally agree! Borderlands 2 was an epic adventure.
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As long as you only intend to learn from bl2's story. Story and graphics aside, the game was worse on many levels than borderlands 1. To this day it remains one of the most disappointing game sequels for me, up there with dungeon siege 3.
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