- 1. Online only. I realize there is no way around this now, but it remains the biggest issue I have with D3. It causes lag, disconnect deaths, and all manner of frustration when combined with the points below, especially in a game designed as an Action RPG. I also realize it was necessitated by the RMAH, which sticks in my craw as well, because I am philosophically and practically vehemently against it for all the reasons people have already outlined on these forums.
- 2. Elites and mob AI. The reckless, badly thought through ability combinations are game breaking. There seems to be a general design attitude of punitivity, which I suspect comes directly from Jay Wilson, who is responsible either way as the Lead/Director. Unfair mechanics in combination with each other result in unavoidable death. Unfair gameplay is not difficult or challenging, it is demoralizing and frustrating and infuriating and insulting. Unavoidable one-shot deaths from instant attacks either off the screen or at the characters feet... well, what can anyone say in response. When combined with ever-changing ping rates and server lag, and the focused action gameplay of the overall design, it's unworkably counter-intuitive and the diametrical opposite of any concept of fun.
- 3. Itemization and drop rates. Devs have said conflicting things about this, and so I don't know what to believe. However the experience of playing the game is that there are far too few good drops, far too many bemusingly bad drops, and far too many meaningless item stats on those drops (high strength roles on a bow for example). The entire system is broken and needs to be reviewed. After a couple of hundred hours of gameplay and farming (Highlands, Act 1 mostly), I found 3 useless legendaries, and no set pieces. In the end that removes any reason to push on. It became a frustrating chore very quickly. A prolonged, frustrating battle with an unfairly abilitied set of elites rewarded nothing over and over again, so why bother? The reality that you need items from future acts to realistically get to those acts is.. inane, and a pretty transparent plug for the AH's.
- 4. A climate of restriction and control. All the nerfs to fair farming areas, and the generally constrictive view of the designers ("play the game our way, not your way") - from not being able to move with map open to not being able to make more than a set number of games in an hour and all the many things inbetween - makes the overall experience disheartening. Say what you will about the reasons for doing this, the end result is a feeling of betrayal, discontentment, embitterment, and finally resignation. It has made the game poorer in many ways, and continues to.
- 5. The RMAH. All that can be said about this has been said many times over by those of us who oppose its existence. Suffice to say it has changed the game world fundamentally, and has devalued ingame achievement to the point where it is not compelling at all for many of us. No point arguing about that, it's just a fact, and means we simply won't play for long. Most of those who leave won't bother to post here, they'll just quietly log off and the game will never see them again.
Perhaps the final two things I can say are these: I am a member of a kind of old school gaming fraternity. A bunch of us who have been gaming for many years - since games began actually - who founded and worked on games websites, and now work in the industry as developers, meet up in every new game and journey through it together. It is a lifelong set of friendships that exist outside games, but which have gained enormous enrichment from gaming together. All of us without exception hold the same view after only a month playing D3, and are heartily disappointed with D3 and the new Blizzard/Activision.
Secondly, I was just recently able to play the Torchlight 2 beta. Although I have a strong aversion to the Wow-ified art style, the game is everything D3 should have been. The contrast on booting it up and playing was immediate and profound - and that was against my natural aversion to its aesthetic. The difference between the two games is absolute in concept and design ethos. TL2 empowers the player for fun at every point (single player, LAN, Online modes; modable etc.),where D3 blocks the player from control, freedom, and fun at every single point. D3 forces you to play "Jay's way" or no way at all.
And well, since that is finally the only choice D3 has given us, that is the choice many of us are making. I'm hoping 1.03 will fix things somewhat but if it doesn't, I'm sorry to say, I and my friends will be in TL2 come July+ anyway now, when we had all looked forward to another enduring adventure within the Diablo world.