Diablo® III

Why is D1 so moody...?

Diablo was meant to be a dark atmosphere. Diablo 2 stayed sort of close to this. And then D3 came along and messed it all up. So long as you don't remember "diablo" in the title, you'll get by fine with it though.
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The whole plot of D2 looks like a perfect teamwork on the part of Prime Evils. Diablo went east to set Baal free. Then they both went to free Mephisto. Together they opened the gate and sent Diablo to rally the forces of hell. Mephisto guarded the gate to buy time for Diablo. Diablo posed a big threat which had to be dealt with, and was drawing attention from Baal. Baal's job was to corrupt the soulstone, and he succeeded. They weren't underestimating their enemies, even though the adventurers were just humans. Instead they executed a plan that could not fail. This is why D2 was awesome.

Now we have a bunch of insecure dimwits who never live up to their titles yet can only be beaten by a superhuman.
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A lot of the "grimdark" aspect has to do with lighting and due to the way games are made, D1 and D2 with their primitive "lighting" solutions could realize better atmosphere.

In d3 light is more realistic ergo can't bend to the way of the designers so it's darker somewhere and brighter somewhere else. They put a light source and attach some characteristics and let it fall on the level design.

I remember before the launch when they released some screens of D3 and some people made them look awesome grimdark with just a touch of photoshop. Blizzard actually answered this saying lights are not that smart and photoshopping a screenshot is easier than making a 3d game and putting realistic lights in there.


True, when you look at D1 the lighting makes the creeps actually look like shadows in the dark, until you come close with the light radius. Creepy.
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"Disagree on the caves, you go all the way down to the catacombs, crypt etc then BAM blinded by the lava that was about as bright as a neon lamp. Glad it is only one level set and the lava is not everywhere."

Had forgotten about that, true.

"Not true, there was the staff of lazarus and depending on the game seed, the sign for the tavern to give to snotspill. These were mcguffins as well. Its not as large scale as the other two games on mcguffins but so what? Not sure a mcguffin ruins plots."

Forgotten that as well. But in comparison the Staff feels more natural in it´s appearance, and doesn´t set the quest with a ton of exposition like in D3.
Edited by Solidpontus#2324 on 2/25/2013 2:25 AM PST
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Wow, I wanted to make a similar thread. Neither Diablo 2 or 3 have been able to emulate the moody, atmospheric nature of Diablo 1. The closest they came to capturing these elements, I think, is after entering the edge of the abyss and descending into the depth of the Arreat crater.
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D1 was dead. It was dull. It didn't have any mood, it was a static world where the only things with life were you and the things trying to kill you.

Granted, D3 isn't really much better, but at least there's some characterization going on.
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D1 was dead. It was dull. It didn't have any mood, it was a static world where the only things with life were you and the things trying to kill you.

Granted, D3 isn't really much better, but at least there's some characterization going on.


for a role playing game in 1996 it wasn't dull, and it was very moody
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there are many reasons why D1 is the moodiest. Large part of that was the game was hard, and dying SUCKED. Now you just run as fast as you can and if you die, oh well. Click to revive start again, pay some gold for repairs.

Lighting is a big thing which others have mentioned. The graphics weren't so saturated blurry and while D1 had "bright colors" (something i've read in interviews from the dev team about D3 graphics), they weren't the oversaturated neon beams that D3 has everywhere.

Sound design and music was another thing. D3 music sounds like a Michael Bay movie. D1 sounded like Rosemary's baby (old horror flick). Also, there was a slower pace in D1 that made it eerie. Things moved slow and were very deliberate (in my opinion). You heard a grunt every time you were hit, you heard every individual hit. There was a magical rhythm in hearing the mob, seeing the mob, engaging the mob.

D3 is just run with crazy hollywood music, where a crap ton of noise (attacks), and then things breaking or dying over and over again with no breaks. No flow.

Sure the walking speed sucks in today's go go go mindset. But it allowed space for some great sound design to not only be heard, but to effect you mentally. You heard a certain mob first (got scared), saw it run towards you slowly (more scared) and then in a split second you had to decide if you were going to fight or run away! ;)

ah....miss D1. Will admit I didnt play D2 as I stopped PC gaming in that era of my life. But D1 definitely holds a special place in my heart.
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Sound design and music was another thing. D3 music sounds like a Michael Bay movie..


Haha! I have been thinking the exact same thing for a long time. Ive acutally ment to make a thread about it but never did.

One thing that D3 fails with miserably is the music. D1 and 2 have memorable music. Its creepy, you get a sense of danger and urgency, it really sets the mood.

Music in D3 is hardly even music at some points. Its just some background noise you hardly pay attention to. And when it does turn into music it just feels shallow and pompous. Its trying too hard to be something its not. Just like a Michael Bay movie.

I have even maxed out the music options, turned down everything else to 10%, and after 5minutes i dont even notice the music anymore, wondering if I even have it on. Ive tried to like it but it just falls flat. It doesnt set the mood at all when you dont even notice it...
Edited by dLux#2874 on 3/14/2013 4:32 PM PDT
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100 Blood Elf Paladin
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Posts: 5,056
That lore narrator you speak of is Paul Eiding.

Same guy who did Roy Campbell from metal gear solid.

Hes got an awesome voice.

Shame i didnt hear him in d3.


You know.. reading this thread immediately brought the guy's voice back into mind.. and I immediately knew it was Roy Campbell.

This man voice acted my childhood along with Uncle Phil from Fresh Prince.
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Posts: 417
I've spent a lot of time considering this issue as well. Like those who have posted before, my reasoning for posting my thoughts is not simply to troll Blizzard - rather, I want to point out some things that made Diablo and Diablo II into memorable experiences for me, and that I felt that Diablo III lacked.

First of all, I play all Blizzard games at one time or another, and I remember how much I enjoyed Wrath of the Lich King; one reason being because Arthas showed up during normal questing - that is, outside the final battle with him. So, when I heard that Diablo III intended to do some similar things, it intrigued me.

I say that to point out that I understand where the inclination to involve the villain came from. Unfortunately, it didn't work. I've asked myself "why?" many times over the last several months, and I believe that it comes down to genre. At it's best, Diablo is a horror-action RPG, and, in the end, the less we know about the villain in horror, the better.

I realized that the Lord of Hatred of Diablo and Diablo II was, on the whole, unconcerned with my character - and that made him frightening! I wasn't his nemesis. I was just a guy - a powerful hero, to be sure - but certainly not a lord of hell or angelic being. In the end, I was one hero, fighting alone in the darkness toward an unstoppable power, not knowing when I would reach him and hoping that, when I did, I was powerful enough to stop him. It made Diablo into an impending doom, rather than a character. The story revolved around me and my decent into madness - not Diablo's rise to power. In reality, the dungeon itself was the closest we ever came to really meeting Diablo before the final battle, and, upon looking his horrible dungeon in the face, I am not ashamed to admit that I shuddered more than once.

Along those same lines, I think that lore books had a negative impact on the game as well. While the lore is interesting and it is nice to hear story without stopping the adventure, something is lost when everything in this gothic world is explained or even laughed at by skeptical writers. It seems that the more I understand a monster, the less I fear it - even when the explanation itself is scary.

Another point is the characterization of angels. In Diablo II, I often found angels to be a strange combination of foreboding, cold, and awesome. Other than a oft-repeated greeting, angels were silent. Even Tyrael, the most vocal angel, constantly expected more from mortals than was possible (ie. "I did expect you earlier," "You must find the courage to walk through that gate [into hell]"). In Diablo III, angels speak to you as an equal, or, in the case of Imperius, as a rival, which makes you feel equal to them. Tyrael praises you and other mortals regularly as well.

What this adds up to, in my opinion, is a feeling of exceeding expectations, which is antithetical to horror. Because you are doing better than anyone expected, you know you are the most qualified person to face Diablo. Certainly this would come with astounding weight in real life, but, in a video game, this breeds confidence.

What I believe made Diablo such a memorable game is that, while the townsfolk tentatively hoped you would succeed, you always knew that many others had come and failed. The odds were always on Diablo's side, so the battle was terrifying and the victory was jubilant.

... Okay, so I've waxed rather verbose, though I didn't intend to do so. I've considered other small things that harmed the mood, but these are my primary concerns.

Do you agree? Let me know!

Lord Dreadman
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the music..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9uRc7t1gGM
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03/28/2013 11:49 PMPosted by Dreadman
The story revolved around me and my decent into madness - not Diablo's rise to power. In reality, the dungeon itself was the closest we ever came to really meeting Diablo before the final battle, and, upon looking his horrible dungeon in the face, I am not ashamed to admit that I shuddered more than once.


in Diablo 1,diablo is the lord of terror, yet it was the only game to actually make the atmosphere fit.

D2, He was not really frightnening at all, act 4 was cool but far from scary.

D3, Sad to say this, but health globes in whimsyshire are scarier then anything else in the game including diablo himself :P.
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How exactly were they supposed to do Heaven as "moody"? When the lore expanded, the goals of the franchise did as well and it had to ramp up at some point. Plenty of areas in D3 are like you said and recapture the feeling of wandering through the dark cellar not knowing what's ahead, but other areas have the blockbuster one against many feeling. I don't think it's a bad thing.
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You were also a lot younger and easily scared when you played Diablo 1.
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I've spent a lot of time considering this issue as well. Like those who have posted before, my reasoning for posting my thoughts is not simply to troll Blizzard - rather, I want to point out some things that made Diablo and Diablo II into memorable experiences for me, and that I felt that Diablo III lacked.

First of all, I play all Blizzard games at one time or another, and I remember how much I enjoyed Wrath of the Lich King; one reason being because Arthas showed up during normal questing - that is, outside the final battle with him. So, when I heard that Diablo III intended to do some similar things, it intrigued me.

I say that to point out that I understand where the inclination to involve the villain came from. Unfortunately, it didn't work. I've asked myself "why?" many times over the last several months, and I believe that it comes down to genre. At it's best, Diablo is a horror-action RPG, and, in the end, the less we know about the villain in horror, the better.

I realized that the Lord of Hatred of Diablo and Diablo II was, on the whole, unconcerned with my character - and that made him frightening! I wasn't his nemesis. I was just a guy - a powerful hero, to be sure - but certainly not a lord of hell or angelic being. In the end, I was one hero, fighting alone in the darkness toward an unstoppable power, not knowing when I would reach him and hoping that, when I did, I was powerful enough to stop him. It made Diablo into an impending doom, rather than a character. The story revolved around me and my decent into madness - not Diablo's rise to power. In reality, the dungeon itself was the closest we ever came to really meeting Diablo before the final battle, and, upon looking his horrible dungeon in the face, I am not ashamed to admit that I shuddered more than once.

Along those same lines, I think that lore books had a negative impact on the game as well. While the lore is interesting and it is nice to hear story without stopping the adventure, something is lost when everything in this gothic world is explained or even laughed at by skeptical writers. It seems that the more I understand a monster, the less I fear it - even when the explanation itself is scary.

Another point is the characterization of angels. In Diablo II, I often found angels to be a strange combination of foreboding, cold, and awesome. Other than a oft-repeated greeting, angels were silent. Even Tyrael, the most vocal angel, constantly expected more from mortals than was possible (ie. "I did expect you earlier," "You must find the courage to walk through that gate [into hell]"). In Diablo III, angels speak to you as an equal, or, in the case of Imperius, as a rival, which makes you feel equal to them. Tyrael praises you and other mortals regularly as well.

What this adds up to, in my opinion, is a feeling of exceeding expectations, which is antithetical to horror. Because you are doing better than anyone expected, you know you are the most qualified person to face Diablo. Certainly this would come with astounding weight in real life, but, in a video game, this breeds confidence.

What I believe made Diablo such a memorable game is that, while the townsfolk tentatively hoped you would succeed, you always knew that many others had come and failed. The odds were always on Diablo's side, so the battle was terrifying and the victory was jubilant.

... Okay, so I've waxed rather verbose, though I didn't intend to do so. I've considered other small things that harmed the mood, but these are my primary concerns.

Do you agree? Let me know!

Lord Dreadman


Lords of Heaven, I love this post! Seriously, I agree with you.
One of the things I always liked with D1 was the simplicity of it: You don´t save the world - you just save a small town! And your character isn´t some Chosen one - you´re just an adventurer who heard a rumor. It´s like the old sagas, like Beowulf. Here we have a monster, kill it for us!
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Diablo games have grown less Grim and Gothic.
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03/14/2013 04:30 PMPosted by dLux
One thing that D3 fails with miserably is the music. D1 and 2 have memorable music. Its creepy, you get a sense of danger and urgency, it really sets the mood.

Matt Uelmen is the difference people... last I hear he went on to join the original developers of Diablo
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A different company made D1.

Blizzard bought them and changed their name.



Eh? When I play D1, blizzard was splattered all over the opening credits.
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Please, listen to me, the archbishop lazarus... he lead us down here to find the lost prince... the bastard lead us us to a trap!

It was a fine opening to a quest, to the butcher quest.

It was the randomness of the quests that made it replayable,
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