First off, in defense of Blizzard, I want to say I thoroughly enjoyed the first 120 hours I played this game, which is more enjoyment than I've gotten from many other games. Looking at it as a standalone game I got my 60 dollars worth and then some. It was fun for a long time and the gameplay was amazing for an ARPG.
That said, I can't look at this game on its merits alone. It's the sequel to one of my favorite games of all time, a game I played for more hours than I can count. It has to be held to the same standard and that's where my disappointment lies. Diablo 3 pales in comparison to Diablo 2.
I've read many well thought out and articulate posts theorizing where it went wrong and I've agreed with most of the points made, but I don't think they get to the very heart of it. I don't agree with the argument that the RMAH is responsible for this game's failures. If Blizzard was trying to cash in it would only make sense to make the best, longest lasting game they possibly could. I believe they attempted to do that.
I'm not the first to come to this conclusion, but wanted to express it in my own words. The issue with Diablo 3 is a philosophical one. There's a fallacy that simple, easy to understand games appeal to a broader audience of gamers, an idea that complexity will confuse and frustrate the masses, scaring them away, an underestimation of what the average gamer can handle if you will. Blizzard based the projected success of Diablo 3 on this idea. This is evident not only in the design of the game but in the many blue posts you see throughout these forums defending decisions that were made like removing character stats, ability trees, etc... They didn't want people to have to look online to find the best build. They didn't want to confuse people with the complexity of stats. They wanted to make it easy for everyone.
The key to successful action movie sequels is more. More action, more gore, more bad guys. You have to take it to the next level. I think the same applies to games so when I envisioned Diablo 3 I was expecting Diablo 2 and then some (yes, after LOD). That means more base items, more charms, more legendaries, more sets, more suffixes and affixes, more rune words and gems. More character types, abilities, and stats. More acts, bosses, and elaborate dungeons (visually and schematically).
Diablo 2 is probably the most complex game I've ever played. The market for item values was continually evolving. The number of builds you could make with your character varied from a cookie cutter frozen orb sorc to creating a whirlwind assassin using an obscure item ability. There were a ton of different things to do at any given time. Gambling, gold runs in Travincal, boss runs (and each boss had it's own advantages with better odds to drop specific items), uber tristram, farming keys for uber tristram, joining games looking for super diablo, crafting, Pindleskin runs, Baal runs for leveling, pvp stuff, ladder resets, looking for deals in the trade chatroom... I could go on. These are things that made the game last as long as it did, yet they in no way impaired a casual gamer from enjoying the game.
With all that complexity it would definately be a tough task to provide that and more, but I had faith, given the development time and Blizzard's reputation. However, instead of getting Diablo 2 and more we got Diablo 2 minus the complexity, basically an ill-guided attempt to attract more casual gamers. The problem with this is complexity did not scare casual gamers away from Diablo 2. Most of my friends are casual gamers and they loved it. If anything the complexity turned casual gamers into hardcore fanatics. The problem with removing complexity is that you are removing variety and variety is what will keep people coming back for more.
As the game currently stands the number of things to do are very few and mostly involve getting five stacks of NV and farming elites. The removal of character stats has resulted in basically three different armor types being viable since everything else has too low of an armor rating and ilvl (potential stats) to be worth wearing. You no longer have to worry about having enough strength to equip the heaviest armor. Limiting players to six abilities has forced players to use specific combinations in order to progress through inferno. Instead of trying to balance character types against each other why not balance character abilities so people can use different builds? Yes, I'm totally generalizing, but essentially we have players running around in the same armor, using the same builds, getting five stacks of NV and killing elite packs. How far they are along in the game depends on their skill and the level of their gear and when I say level of their gear I am talking about differences between an item with 100 DEX vs an item with 150 DEX, not in different item ability choices. That's Diablo 3 in a nutshell. It's fun for a while. It's a good game. It isn't Diablo 2.
I don't know if the game can be fixed. I don't think the "endgame" proposals that have been thrown around are going to save it, but they would help. All of the panic patches haven't even addressed this issue of complexity aside from making it worse by nerfing many of the options we had. I quit 3 weeks ago at around 160 hours I believe and won't be back for a long time if ever. Maybe an expansion will bring me back. Maybe they will get it right with Diablo 4. I've never posted on a game forum before, but I had to come on here and vent just because I keep dreaming of the Diablo 3 that was in my head. I'm still not over it.
I could probably write a novel on this (ok I practically did), but I'm going to stop here.
In regard to what KrimsonMask has written. +1 to you.
About the discussion casual vs hardcore gamers, i gotta say that when i started playing d2 back 2001, i started without knowing anything about the game obviously. Sure maybe I put some stats wrong, sure i skilled my skills not perfectly, but it was my char. Therefore i felt that my gameplay was unique, and ofcourse there was the try and error thingy, but i injoyed it. It was a blast to experience that you were getting better at the game and getting better at understanding the game mechanics and not to mention the feeling of progress. You get the satisfaction of your own achievement, and not some stupid popup achievements that pops up in nowadays games like d3, if you understand what I mean without bashing achievements in general.
Hell i am even playing d2 as of today, even though i have d3 as shortcut at my dashboard. And i cant even count how many hours if have spend at the local computer-café playing side by side with my casual-diablo2-noob-freinds back in the years.
So my point is considering what blizzard has done to d3 to make it appeal to a broader audience is and was unnecessarily. It is the one main reason why i keep getting back to d2 and skipping d3 although i have put some hours in it. But the feel is just not the same. Its not rewarding at all, and i am only speaking out my and my friends opinions here. and surely there is other gamers with the same opinion.
I am not some hardcore fanatic d3 stereotype, but a casual gamer or whatever people gonna call it. It just breaks my heart knowing how good d3 could have been. Then again who knows. D3 just came out and they have the power to make the game better, but I just think that the game's foundation stone is laid where it is impossible to move either left or right which can provide a big enough impact on the game to make it better.
Edited by ImTheUnknown#2488 on 7/6/2012 7:06 AM PDT
I have read alot of threads in the past few days. I have seen alot of griefers and alot of fanboys. I don't know where I fall... probably on the side of grieving fanboy... Either way I have to agree with everything in OP's post. When I played D2 oh so many years ago, it was for that complexity. It was because I was tired of running around in Liberty City, I was tired of fighting Dr. Eggman, Tired of simple games. That's why I was amazed by d1 when I was 7, d2 later on. Have never quit playing SC1/BW. It's because gamers like us WANT that complexity, and when you start trying to reach out to people like the wow crowd, it just doesn't work. You end up losing your core consumers in favor of people who like games that are a totally different style. When I heard d3 I heard D2 Succesor. Not an Ipad app version of it. 3 holy stats, 6 generic skills... Don't even !@#$ing click the gold anymore. I was expecting something like MEDIAN XL. Do you guys remember back when blizz said they were really impressed with the mod, and wished they could have done things do D2 like MEDIAN XL did? Like the almost endless dungeoning, the high level dungeon encounters, the crafting system, food. Everything to improve upon the original game. Sure MEDIAN wasn't perfect, there were flaws, but it was a mod. Blizz themselves were impressed. Basically EVERYTHING that was MEDIAN, that blizz was praising. Wasn't even looked at during D3 dev time. D3 doesn't have anything that mod did. To me MEDIAN XL was more of a D3 than the real D3 ever will be. Honestly when I play D3 I don't feel like it was made by people who even played D2. I feel like it was made by a subdivision of the WoW dev team. Which is really sad because IMO warcraft is your weakest universe and starcraft and diablo could really use the TLC that you give to your wonderchild. We're like the neglected middle children who don't get %^-* for their birthdays and watch their older brother eat all the !@#$ing cake. Get off your high horse blizz, make games on the gamer level. Not the conglomerate McMoneyMaker level. I've seen Bli$$ alot, I think it's true. How does it feel to be The Man, Bli$$? Knowing your roots were hating the man. Blizz, you've lost my loyalty as a customer, about 3 weeks ago, my only bastion of hope lies in HotS. Don't %^-* it up.
Edited by ImTheUnknown#2488 on 7/6/12 7:06 AM (PDT) In regard to what KrimsonMask has written. +1 to you.
Exactly, this was my experience as well. Even hardcore gamers don't go into a game knowing they will play it for years. They may hope they can, but it's the game itself that is going to determine that. Dumbing down the game is not going to change the casual gamers experience. They are going to play it for a while and move on.
Is MEDIAN XL still around? I hadn't heard of it, but it sounds awesome.
It's hard not to look at WoW and wonder if they based a lot of their ideas off the success of that game. I don't know how much of an issue that is, a lot of WoW concepts could probably translate successfully to Diablo. You just wonder if they focused on that too much and weren't paying attention to Diablo2 and what made that game great.
I was about to post something in this line as well, but will just add to it...
Like the OP I really enjoyed the first 120 hours... for me I don't regret buying this game, it was fun... let me stress "was" fun...
The single main thing that "killed" the game for me... I will not generalize, this is my opinion was the Magic Find change they made to environment... that single thing caused me to shelf this game for good... Today will be the last time I log in until a see a big change...
The game for me prior to the Magic Find change, I would farm Whimsyshire, Act III/IV on Inferno, and I would make gold runs playing thru Act I on Inferno...
Now I only farm Act I, Inferno, why because its easiest and to avoid the repair costs that Act III/IV give me with the increase deaths I personally get playing that part of the game...
So essential the changes they have made has ruin 75% of game farm spaces for me... yes they increased the drop rate... but why bother with Act IV when the chests/vases, weapon racks are garbage now... when I can farm Act I super fast...
I don't care about the entitlement opinions, or that I you need understand they did this or that to curb gold farmers... I honestly do not care for the logic or reasoning behind Blizzard's decision, I just know this simple fact to be true, the last 4-5 changes they have made to this game has ruined it for me...
So fun for a bit, but now a shelved game... for me at least...
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