As a former customer here is the glaringly clear issue:
Carrot on a stick. That is an analogy we can say is the effort vs reward component of playing any game. You play, you are challenged in the game, if you overcome the challenge you get rewarded. That is a simple formula that for thousands of games has produced successful titles.
I'm not surprised that the game in almost two years is still broken (and by broken drop rates, drop quality, lack of builds, hardcore lag deaths, pvp, etc). Why? In the most simple of terms the developers cannot determine how long to make the stick, or rather how far away they can dangle the carrot and keep the mule moving forward. It is as if they have never played a game of this genre to get an idea of what an appropriate reward system should look like. Maybe the majority never have before. If only they had examples to use as a guide to how random drops work. Hmmm.......
Look at the body of work of patches and design philosophies that this game has gone through. It is and always has been a beta test. Radical ideas and changes abound. You add the auction house, a portion of players leave, you take it away the same will happen. You add bind on equip like this is world of warcraft? And ROS will continue that trend. No focal understanding of how this genre works
It is clear reading the forums that the developers are sticking to their design philosophies. What isn't clear is why. Ignoring the thousands of posts about poor drop quality, not just drop rates, but the fact that getting a legendary drop to them is enough reward for the customer, no matter how useless. *Edit: They said today they will double the legendary drop rates (but not the quality).
If you had the plan for a successful game already provided in the previous two titles why wrap up the blueprints and toss them into storage? Hubris. The developers thought and still think they know better than the original developers, as well as the fans on how to play this genre game. They tell you how to play, where you can get the best items, how to get them, when you can progress, yet they continue to approach it like it is world of warcraft. In that game you have to spend months upon months to get the best gear only in the toughest dungeon. There is no random drop like the other diablo games. In the other games you could kick open a clay pot and a unique would fall.
OMG we cannot let them find items randomly in the world, that means they would be rewarded TOO much too fast and will not have fun. They have to toil for hours on end to enjoy it. when randomness was being tampered to keep the droprates low to funnel everyone into the auction house to create a microtransaction game you know this game was in trouble.
Now they're trying to quantify FUN by saying "how many hours can a player sit down in one complete sitting and play the game until they give up?" That is literally what they are saying. Grind for two hours and we may or may not drop a legendary that has a microscopic chance to be an upgrade? Aren't you thankful? Why aren't you kissing our feet??
The philosophy behind the reward system should be embarrassing to the team. Go play diablo or diablo 2 or LOD and in the first level you may get a unique by RANDOM chance. holy crap I want to keep on killing! this is exciting BECAUSE I'll never know when the next random cool item will drop. I want to kick over every pot because wow I can get a set piece.....wow what the heck is wrong with these people. Who are they to tell the customer what is a fun way to play a game with random drop rates. (they are the developers I know)
What does it say that they are trying to convince you to buy the expansion by saying "We promise that you'll only have to grind for 2 hours tops before you find a legendary or we've manipulated the system to force one on you with a timer." Which only should insult anyone because what is being left out is that the QUALITY of that legendary will still be worthless overall.
The world of warcraft shallow pit of attributes chokes the life out of this game. Who wants to grind 200 hours only to find +10 strength more on their gear on a legendary? Way to strip the game of any fun attributes. Way to make gear finding as bland as wow.
I think one of the original diablo developers gave a speech talking about design philosphy and I think it would apply to this. Carrot on a stick. The players have to be motivated to continue playing by giving them a reason to keep going. What this game does effectively is denies you any advancement and the challenge is artifical. It's a gear check. Like wow. Grats Blizzard that must have been hard to do. Copy paste coding I bet.
But you mention anything about the blizzard north team on this website and every employee who is paid to troll any criticism of this game will insult the old team like they were horrible. This current team may have sold more copies than the previous titles but it was BECAUSE the previous titles. No matter what excuse they use the expansion sales will be a testament to the quality of the work the CURRENT group implements. You can't continue to throw mud at Blizzard North and D1, D2, LOD when your ROS comes out and you get 1% of the sales from the original D3.
History is already proving that this game was a disaster and continues to be so. ROS does not appear that it will save it.
Stop this madness. Really.