Dear Mr. Morhaime,
Thank you for your letter. I, and I would assume many others, are pleased (relieved?) to finally hear something of substance acknowledging your customers' concerns. I don't think the vitriol in the forums would have progressed as much had the CM's (Bashiok, et al.) been more forthright and less condescending, and had the lead designers not been so arrogant and presumptuous.
Unfortunately, many of the game design decisions punish the players for playing the game which, in my opinion, reduces the enjoyment of the game substantially. I have for the most part given up playing, especially since Legendary items and Set items aren't going to be retroactively buffed while the Increased Attack Speed items were retroactively "nerfed" is again, punishing the players. Many of the decisions that have been made recently only seem like knee-jerk reactions without fully acknowledging the consequences.
My friends and I had misgivings and were concerned about the requirement to always be online to play. Internet connections still aren't always reliable, but they have been imminently reliable compared to the appalling availability of the Diablo 3 servers that you require us to use in order to play. Even two months after release, last week the server up-time was around 80% with all of the "scheduled maintenance" down times 4 of the 7 days. That is exceptionally poor performance. That doesn't even take into account the lag spikes and the constant "rubberbanding" issues that have on many occasions killed my character.
I don't know how many other players are like us, but we only play with people that we know in real life or occasionally freinds of friends. We have our own demon hunting clan that we have honed since the Diablo 1 days. We hunt in a pack, and we read each other's movements, and have our own unspoken strategies. Unspoken because there was no VOIP back in the Diablo 1 days, and trying to type while avoiding acid spitters was tantamount to death. When we originally heard of an "economy" in Diablo II, we laughed. We never traded with anybody else, we never purchased items from the grey/black market. We used what the game provided us. So the Auction Houses in Diablo 3 are, in our minds, 100% superfluous and distracting the devs from addressing real game-play issues.
Which leads me to... game-play issues... It's difficult to know where to begin. First off, I believe the game has been polished so much that it's bland. It's like going to a friend's barbeque, taking the burgers, brats, steaks, shish kebobs, buns, ketchup, mustard, steak sauce, watermelon, cantaloupe, chips, lemonade, and beer and sticking it all in a blender for an hour then trying to drink it. It's homogenous, bland, and very difficult to stomach without vomiting it back up. No system in the game has a flavor any longer.
We, as players, aren't allowed to allocate attribute points. So we didn't build our characters, you took that away from us by doing it for us. We, as players, are no longer able to build or allocate skill points to focus on a particular play style that suits us or the character that we're building. There is no right or wrong way to build a character when we are in charge because that's what we're doing... building characters, not cookie cutter manequins. I personally love playing quirky characters such as a gnome wizard with 18 Int and 2 wisdom. Super powerful magic, absolutely NO common sense that tends to light her surroundings and companions on fire, or casting grease in the middle of delicate diplomacy situations. You couldn't make something like that with 5 standard preset classes which is what you've given us.
The skill cool-down after changing a skill is punishing the player. It's a stupid mechanic and punishes us for being adaptable to our environments. It needs to go. The health-potion cool-down is stupid. I'm sick and tired of hearing my Demon Hunter blandly sate "That wouldn't be wise." when running for my life from a stupid combination of Elite Champions. No, actually, that would be VERY wise at the moment. The wait for town portal to activate breaks the flow of the game. The wait to identify items breaks the flow of the game. The time to combine gems slows the flow. The time to craft items at the blacksmith slows the flow. Far too much of this game is waiting and in turn, boring.
Also, not being able to dodge attacks by moving out of the way or strategically standing behind an enemy also punishes us for being adaptable.
Co-op multiplayer: We have at least six people that would love to play together, but the focus on "flashy" spell effects apparently made things too confusing so you limited the number of players to four. Can we please get more players in a game? Everybody now has their own loot drops. Meh, okay. We can live with that. Now why in blazes is our magic find averaged between all the players? If I've got 150% magic find and my items drop for me, why should I be punished when a friend only has 5% magic find and his items only drop for him? You want us to experiment between different skills? Why punish us by removing nephalem valor (which we've earned by defeating elite packs like you want us to) when we change a skill? Again, being punished for A) being adaptable to our environment and B) by playing the game like you want us to. There's no over-arching logic to it. You're trying to "Fix" things for what I would imagine would be a small sub-set of players and damaging the game for the rest of us.
So please, stop refining the "experience" as you've mentioned more than a couple of times and focus on the game. Give it some flavor.
Due to the Community Managers sparse and troll baiting posts, the conceited attitudes of the designers, and the current general state of the game, I have lost faith in Blizzard. I have actively recommended that friends skip playing Diablo III because of all these issues. There are far too many high-quality and fun other games vying for our attention these days. You guys are going to have to earn our trust back. Blizzard isn't the only game in town anymore.
Sincerely, a long-time Diablo player.
[edited for more content]
[edit - Whoops, incorrectly spelled Mike's last name!]
Edited by CyberCrystal#1489 on 1/22/2013 11:39 AM PST