Diablo® III

Jay Wilson: In his own words

95 Gnome Mage
12480
Posts: 219
During the development time of Diablo III, game director Jay Wilson highlighted many of the flaws that Diablo II had, which I wholeheartedly agree with:

Jay: "people’s memories of Diablo II were way different than the reality of Diablo II. They remember all kinds of stuff that never actually happened in that game."


It appears Jay Wilson failed to realize that, not only was Diablo 2 available for play leading up to Diablo 3 launch and beyond, but that the player base has been playing it off and on for years. Frankly, I remember fairly well what I played less than 2 weeks before Diablo 3 came out. Apparently Jay does not.

Jay: "when you ask them about game challenge, they remember what it was like in hell difficulty. They don’t remember what it was like in normal difficulty. They remember something that visually darker than it ever was. They remember a variety and depth of monsters that was never there."


Again, we remember perfectly well. And besides, the point is that (like in most games) end game is the majority of the experience. This would be akin to a future criticism of Diablo 3 wherein someone pointed out we only remember Inferno mode, and not normal. Inferno mode IS the game.

There is plenty of evidence (look it up on youtube) about how visually dark Diablo 1 and 2 are. Jay being in denial doesn't make him any less wrong. He has a better point regarding variety and depth of monsters, but Diablo 3 really isn't much better. If you'd like I can make up an itemized list comparing each monster type in D2 vs. D3.

Jay: "It’s one of those things where if you love a game (Diablo II), then the things that are bad about it become endearing. Everybody remembers Deckard Cain saying, “Stay a while, listen.” But the reason they remember it fondly now is because it was so damn annoying! He said it every time, and you had to talk to him so often!


I loved Deckard Cain because the voice acting was great and he was a constant character. I liked Stay a While and listen because it was an iconic phrase, and because I fondly remembered the Deckard Cain rap. You gave Deckard a truly pathetic death, getting killed by a butterfly attack and leaving the player to have that moment of, "WTF? That KILLED him? No, they can't be serious, that's absolutely retarded." The only two constant characters are Tyrael and Deckard (and maybe Diabla), you killed off one unceremoniously early on and gutted the other one of much of what made him awesome. The only redeeming quality was some great cinematic work showing still-angel Tyrael.

But thank you very knowing with such certainty what we are fond of and why. In all seriousness, please stop pretending you have any idea what we liked about Diablo 2, because you've CONSISTENTLY been way off base.

Jay: "In Diablo II, the most optimal way to play was to find the quickest boss you can do, and repeat that boss run forever. It’s our intent to create a system that encourage people to play a lot more varied amount of content, and have that be the most beneficial way to play, such that the boss runs are really mitigated as a primary things that people do and become more secondary."


First of all, you're wrong Jay. See, unlike Diablo 3, depending on the boss that you killed, the likelihood of receiving different loot changed. If you wanted to try to farm unique rings, you'd go kill Andariel. If you wanted to farm runes, you'd go kill the Countess, or perhaps go kill the Council. If you wanted the best loot in the game, you'd kill Nihlathak or do Baal runs. The decision was based more on strategy than on convenience, excepting for maybe Pindleskin who was slain more by botters than by players anyway.

And now let's suppose for a moment (erroneously) that people DIDN'T like that system that they continued playing for over a decade...

Your system is better how? You want to disincentivize boss-killing so that we can focus our energies on killing elite packs of fallen curs? That's really inspired gameplay Jay... How about you take advantage of all those random events you put into the game and make exploring and flavor events high reward scenarios. Wanna complete the crumbling vault? Congrats, better loot than a 5stack NV elite kill. (And apparently a LOT more impressive and valuable than a boss kill). People like doing things that feel epic. Killing an elite pack of cultists pales in comparison to killing a boss or completing a more interesting event. But that's not what you've done. Again, please stop telling us what we think is fun. You're just about always wrong.

Jay: "One of the pieces of feedback we got during the internal alpha was that skill points as an element of our skill system didn't really suit the game, It created a lot of conflict in terms of what the players would choose to do. So what we had is this system that has these six – it used to be seven, now six – slots, that implies that you should have six skills, but a system with skill points? Well, you really want to dump every single point into one skill. "

Jay: ""I feel that in a lot of ways the current system has more choice involved in it compared to Diablo II because that finite limit of how many skills you can take versus the number that you have means that you have to make a very restrictive choice, so we focused a lot more on restricting the number of skills you have and having that be the interesting choice, as opposed to skill points, which are really commitments before you even know what you're committing to."


When I first read these comments, this is what I was naively interested to see. Could Blizzard have finally discovered a way to promote endless build diversity? They've tried to pull it off in WoW for years, and failed every time as players still find the optimal and everyone specs it. Even the proposed changes in MoP are likely still going to end up condensing into 1-3 specs that everyone uses.

Well, Jay. Turns out your system is no better. But why? Well, when you make the game as "challenging" as inferno is, you start pigeonholing classes into certain behaviors. Tell me Jay, how many Wizards in Inferno right now aren't using Venom Hydra? How many aren't using Energy Armor? Excepting some rogue CM build users, the majority of players are using something like Blizzard, Hydra, Energy Armor, Teleport with alternating Shockpulse/MM and maybe Diamond Skin.

If you recall Jay, Diablo 2 had a cap of 20 skill points per spell, and you got a hell of a lot more than 20 skill points to distribute. I was defending the variety of spells in Diablo 3 the other day when pointing out I use about 9 different spells (12 if you count re-runing). My last Diablo 2 sorceress on the other hand only used: Teleport, Frozen Orb, Meteor, Chilling Armor, Thunderstorm, Static Field, Fireball, and Energy Armor. That doesn't sound like an interesting selection at all? Especially when you consider that I could use all 8 at one time, instead of the 6 I'm restricted to in Diablo 3 due to Nephalem Valor.

Which brings me to my main critique of your "build diversity" approach. If the whole point of the game is the farm game/trade game, then NV becomes a pre-requisite of play. And if you want NV, you have to pick 6 abilities and corresponding runes and THAT'S IT. So what in the hell made you think that we wouldn't find an optimal build?

Because of course in Diablo 2, I couldn't possibly play a sorceress built around: Blizzard, Frozen Orb, Nova, Lightning/Chainlightning, Meteor, Hydra, Enchant (lol), Firewall, or even Fireball, right? The best thing about Diablo 3 is that, unlike Diablo 2 which still ended up with a respec system, I could switch between all those options with considerably more ease. You know, until I found the one that was most effective and never swapped out because of NV...

06/04/2012 07:48 PMPosted by celebrei
Jay: (Regarding DII's Skill System) "What you probably did was go up on a website and find out what the optimal build was, because there's just too much math involved for you to really get involved in it. A small number of players will go in and do the math… but the majority of players will go 'I don't know, I guess I'll just put it in whatever I already have'."


Already answered. Players have done this for a long time, they won't stop any time soon. Maybe if Inferno wasn't super hard, people would find something fun and stick with it. Unfortunately, given the difficulty (a good thing) you don't have the diversity of builds you pretended was realistically available to us. (Not capable of clearing the game with it = not viable build diversity). The nicest part is that (if you dont care about NV) beating the game the first time is easier with the ability to swap between clearing levels and fighting bosses, etc.

Jay: (Regarding Stat Distribution In D2) "Stat progression as a system is very difficult for a lot of players to understand because you get these 5 points, but you don’t exactly know where to put them or what benefit you’re getting with them. You might make some obvious choices, for example, with Diablo II’s Sorceress, you might put all of your points into energy because that’s the obvious choice, right? Except that for almost every build out there, you’ve just made the wrong choice."


Did Jay forget that you could mouse over stats in Diablo 2 and that they would tell you exactly what they did? Did he forget that the whole concept of a character screen that gives you information isn't an entirely new technology that he graciously put into his game? It's not hard to realize without looking it up on the internet that strength was a prerequisite for gear, and added to melee damage. It wasn't hard to figure out BECAUSE IT TOLD YOU, that Dex was a requirement for certain weapons, and that it affected your attack rating, or that armor affected your defense rating. Hell, it even told you what attack rating and defense rating did for you! But yes, Jay. We're all idiots who need to have our hands held. We're illiterate (which your game doesn't fix). And for the record, Energy is not a wasted stat, and wasn't until it became obsolete due to one particular runeword or group play with a particular paladin aura. But go on, tell us more about Diablo 2, you expert you.

And lastly:

06/04/2012 07:48 PMPosted by celebrei
Jay: "Any system where you have to go up onto the Internet to figure out what the right answer is, is not a good customization system. Any system where there’s a “right” answer is not a good system for customization. The truth is, with stat point systems, they are simple math. It’s not hard to figure out what the absolute best choice is so we decided we didn’t want that as a customization system. With that being said, we do have another system we’re working on. The specific intent of it is to capture the imagination of what stat point spending was supposed to do, which is, “I want to be stronger. I want to be tougher.” These kind of simple ideas are not contextualized well within a skill system. The skill system is about what the player is doing, not higher ideals about what their character is. So, we’re going to work on a system that really satisfies that feeling, but is way easier to understand and also has some true customization to."


So, by definition, Diablo 3 is "not a good customization system." Thanks. Apparently neither is World of Warcraft (don't tell your friends down the hall). I guess you had to completely scrap that "I want to be stronger" "I want to be tougher" system, because all we got was a bunch of variety. Perhaps if we combined runes in specific abilities, so that when you leveled up you collected runes, instead of having to pick one. That might make us feel stronger. You'd still have a ton of choice, but each choice you made would feel VERY strong in its own way by the end of the game and provide tons of different potential utility. But that's not what you gave us. We get stronger from leveling up (same as D2) and from getting good gear (same as D2). What we DON'T get in D3 is the chance to take the spell that we like and make that particularly powerful. We don't get to base our character around a few iconic spells. What we get is a ton of variety to pick any combination of spells that are (theoretically) similar in capability, to best accomplish the task at hand.

...Unless we want to keep our Nephalem Valor stacks.

Your team has done a lot of good with Diablo 3. They should be proud of themselves and we appreciate their work. The overall design philosophy is inherently flawed, and the true lessons of Diablo 2 are clearly lost on you. You owe it to your player base and to your employees to right the ship.

You can start by humbling yourself and realizing that there is a growing consensus that you have no idea what we think is fun. You don't know why Diablo 2 was/is fun, and you therefore cannot possibly bring the necessary fixes to Diablo 3.

Prove us wrong, please.
Edited by Aanallein#1895 on 6/22/2012 2:20 PM PDT
+1
you should've linked the rap... here it is!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMAbNFptzAA
95 Gnome Mage
12480
Posts: 219
And who could forget Deckard Cain Shufflin'

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ddPb8PAZrF4&feature=p%C2%ADlcp%EF%BB%BF
+1, good post man
Posts: 627
Very nice post. I pretty much agree with everything lol.
Apparently Jay Wilson feels everyone played Diablo 2 the same way, and "hardcore." Back then I had myself and 4 other friends of mine playing together in LAN games, sometimes on battle.net, and we didn't go online to find the "best" build per class. We just played whatever classes we wanted and experimented with different things. We found that many "best" builds were "better" for solo play, and you could maximize things if you combined certain skills across classes and worked together.

Plus, the reason all of us played D2 together for so long was because of the endless skill combinations we COULD try by making new characters. For us it was fun to just make characters and try different builds, it was what kept us coming back.
I see his concepts as the root of the problem
Posts: 1,188
I hate to laugh but his responses compared to reality makes me laugh, then get sad.
96 Human Paladin
4160
Posts: 1,916
Your team has done a lot of good with Diablo 3. They should be proud of themselves and we appreciate their work. The overall design philosophy is inherently flawed, and the true lessons of Diablo 2 are clearly lost on you. You owe it to your player base and to your employees to right the ship.

You can start by humbling yourself and realizing that there is a growing consensus that you have no idea what we think is fun. You don't know why Diablo 2 was/is fun, and you therefore cannot possibly bring the necessary fixes to Diablo 3.

Prove us wrong, please.


Nailed it.

+1
Posts: 1,214
How is he passing judgment when he never played D2?
in d2, the game STARTS when you're level ONE, not level SIXTY
I don't know why he had to look at D2 with such negativity...
95 Gnome Mage
12480
Posts: 219
Apparently Jay Wilson feels everyone played Diablo 2 the same way, and "hardcore." Back then I had myself and 4 other friends of mine playing together in LAN games, sometimes on battle.net, and we didn't go online to find the "best" build per class. We just played whatever classes we wanted and experimented with different things. We found that many "best" builds were "better" for solo play, and you could maximize things if you combined certain skills across classes and worked together.

Plus, the reason all of us played D2 together for so long was because of the endless skill combinations we COULD try by making new characters. For us it was fun to just make characters and try different builds, it was what kept us coming back.


Thanks for this. I feel the same way.

I'm 25, and completely geeked out in anticipation of d3. I invited a bunch of my friends who had played D2 together over for some lan a few weeks before D3 came out. We had a fantastic time playing through the game together, picking builds to complement each other's play style. There's that fun moment where as a sorc you're super underpowered and suddenly your fireball really starts to pack a wallop and then the tables turn and you get to do some carrying for a change. I loved it.

We had the D3 site up playing with different builds and trying to find optimal playstyles for each other in D3, giving advice on theorizing on how to best make gold or item find, etc. etc.

It was very disappointing on release getting passed Skeleton King. It just sort of feels like the soul of the game is wrong.

This could have been a phenomenal game. Unfortunately we can no longer change the story, but the gameplay can still be fixed to the point where it becomes a great game.

No single player offline though = :(
Posts: 369
06/22/2012 02:58 PMPosted by Knightwing
in d2, the game STARTS when you're level ONE, not level SIXTY
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