Ok, well, there were other obstacles too, but that aside...
I've seen speculation as to what is wrong with D3 and I followed this closely for a while before it got kind of old. I had my opinions but I'm a lurker, I rarely say much. In all this time I still have yet to see anyone post why I don't enjoy D3. Maybe someone has and I missed it. But if I feel so unrepresented then surely others who share my opinion might feel the same. Why not take the time to contribute, right? I hope my voice is experienced enough to deserve at least a small audience (and I only have two points to make).
Display of Progression
When I heard that the game lobby had been removed from D3 it was the very first time I had a sick feeling in my stomach that this was not going to be the "Diablo" I was excited about. How can someone make a new version of an old game and get this one simple thing so unbelievably wrong?
In D1 your chat room avatar was a generic picture of your class with a border around it. When you beat Normal the border changed color and you earned a single red dot. When you beat Nightmare it changed color again and you earned a second red dot. When you beat Hell it turned completely gold and you earned your 3rd and final red dot.
This display of progression was amazing, I had never seen anything like it before. I remember wanting to know how these guys were making their avatars look cooler than mine and I worked SO hard to catch up when I figured it out. I would earn a new dot and spend hours in the lobby, hopping chat rooms, just being proud that my avatar showed some proof that I accomplished something more than killing my millionth spitter while Fresh Prince was on TV in the background.
When D2 came out they took this idea and expanded it with titles. I admit to being bummed that the avatar border/dot thing had been replaced, but that's kind of the point here. It was replaced, not removed. Instead of my happy little Star-Trek lapel rank we were given titles. And titles were pretty freakin cool too. Who didn't get a swelling sense of pride when you were rewarded with this screen?
There were unique titles for each difficulty, male and female characters, and softcore/hardcore combinations of each. You were given a game lobby reward, an incentive to hang out and chat with strangers. Your generic class avatar was also replaced with your actual character, fully animated. You could see a game sized version of your awesome dude or dudette standing down there in all of their uniquely armored glory, slightly turning side to side like a Fox TV in-show preview. I loved popping into a room with all of my buddies where we could immediately compare characters.
The tacked-on chat room that we were given at the last minute as some sort of consolation prize was horrible. I tried to use it, but without the individuality or "rank" system it's empty and boring. The developers missed the point of a game lobby entirely and I've found that to be a key component of the soul of D1 and D2, especially after experiencing a Diablo game without it.
One Armed Bandit
I'm going to focus on D2 with this because, wow, did they nail the item game. D1 definitely did it better than D3, but I don't want to backtrack any more than I already have.
In D2 after LOD came out I played the Assassin... exclusively. I fell in love with that stupid class and to this day swear it's the greatest class ever made in any game in any genre (and I thought traps, other than death sentry, were for sissies). I lusted after Natalya's Mark;
I had the rest of the set, it wasn't hard to come by, but that freakin thing was near impossible to get. Holy crap did I try though.
In D3 I play a DH. I would give anything for nat's set, anything to satisfy that old feeling. But the entire set is &$*# near non-existent. Sure I can pop open the AH and search, yes the items show up there, but the few parts of the set that are actually worth using are INSANELY expensive. Forget that the weapon is worthless, forget that the randomization is taken to an idiotic extreme, making 90% of the nat items that drop complete garbage. Those arguments have been made and that couldn't be further from my point.
Why did I keep trying for these items in D2 but give up in D3?
The slot machine in D3 is rigged. The second I figured that out I was done.
In D2 when an item drops, the "randomizer" spins the wheel and picks an item type. In this example lets say, because of all my Assassin homies out there, it's a Scissors Katar. So the game has this scissors katar and it spins the wheel again to determine the base quality; normal, exceptional, or elite. It picks elite, sweet now we have a Scissors Suwayyah. The game spins the wheel again determining its color; damaged, normal, socketed, magic, rare, set, or unique. It lands on rare.
CRAP! It's so rare when a Suwayyah drops! I was so close to getting Nat's Mark that time! Next time maybe I'll be luckier.
That, right there, is exactly what D3 is missing in itemization. I "almost" got what I wanted, and it kept me running after the carrot on a string, aka I KEPT PLAYING.
In D2 each item type was a family. From the lowest cracked sash to the highest Arachnid Mesh. A sash was an item family with tiers which had the possibility of dropping various uniques in each tier, each dropping as an unidentified member of that sash family. And that was just one belt type. Each belt type had its own set and unique items. Each piece of armor, each type of weapon, each dropped their own items.
In D3 this is gone. Instead we have set items and unique items as totally different categories.
If a unique item drops, it's not an unidentified unique Hydra Bow that could have just as easily been a rare or magical Hydra Bow. It's an unidentified "Legendary Bow" with no type at all. I can't feel like I got close to having the RNG on my side when my Legendary items are pulling from a completely different pool of items. It's disheartening for the player at best, crippling for the game's long-term player base at worst.
I stopped playing D3 on a regular basis a few months ago. Up until that point I considered myself a regular, if dwindling, player. Hours on end and tons of pretty decent rare items, and a handful of crappy legendaries, were what I had to show for it. I have never to this day found a single set item.
By this point in D2 I'd have at least had 3 copies of Sigons (which is pretty decent for leveling!) and a couple dozen random set items with a number of duplicates. Most, if not all, of these set items would be mid to low level pieces. But this was enough to give me hope and keep me going that I'd find what I want, or find what I could trade for what I want.
D3 has a fraction of the items D2 has. The low to mid level game is almost nonexistent as the bulk of D3s items target max level characters. Unfortunately, this target audience has been given no reason to believe they'll be lucky enough to have these items drop because they've found absolutely nothing on their way to level 60. There's no trail to follow (oo piece a candy!) to keep us believing that the impossible drop is just around the corner.
When I play the item game in D3, killing each individual slot machine as it runs foolishly towards me to hand me my goodies, I see a bunch of random items falling to the ground completely unrelated to the set or uniques I'm here to find in the first place.
Nothing has made me feel like I "almost had it!"
I get bored, I get fed up, and I log out.
I hope this reads as constructive criticism because that's the intention. I've had this post in my mind, nagging at me, since the game was released. I feel much better having finally spent the time to put it out there with the sincere hope that it might make a change for the improvement of a game I want more than anything to love.