D3 is not scary - why?

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Aside from the obvious: you are now 14 years older....

I agree that D3 is not "scary". BUT D2 was not scary either. I can't quite explain it, but Diablo 1 is the only game of the three I would call something like "scary, hoepeless, and desperate". I have played D1 again few years ago just before D3 came out (but not after) and it was still as foreboding as I remember it.

Like I said, I can't exactly explain why that is so but Diablo 1 definitely had a more horror-esque atmosphere than D2 or D3 which are about the same in my book, Even though the gore and effects got more detailed in the later games, something was lost that made it special

Some maybe reasons I can think of:
- Later games are much larger in scope so for every scary dungeon you have some pretty forest to balance it out
- Later games have much more fluid and faster action so you don't feel nearly as defenseless. Your mana and health resources are generally alwaysfull as well unlike in D1 were they were often half empty due to no regeneration.
- Later games are more open and "surface-based". In D1 you were going DOWN 14 levels and each time you did you were going further and further away from civilization and into the unknown.
- The later games have a lot more color to them.
- I have biased nostalgia about D1.

That's all I can think of.
10/25/2013 01:52 PMPosted by Solidpontus
I found Diablo 1 truly creepy throughout the entire game; The Butcher's room, the boy sacrificed, the darkness...
Diablo 2 also made chills crawl up the spine at some places; The Monastery and the jail with all the naked, mutilated bodies The sunny desert and green jungles were not as creepy, but cool nontheless. Act 4 - Hell - was really macabre and terrifying.

But Diablo 3... doesn't frighten me. Not at all, anytime. Even though it has the torture Chambers with streaks of blood, instruments of suffering with attached victims, caves, dungeons. But it does not scare you.
Why is that? Share with me please.


D1 was scary because it was basically groundbreaking for it's time. The music, the atmosphere, the graphics. I can't really think of anyone that played D1 that doesn't still get nightmares from hearing "AHH, FRESH MEAT".. not only because of the way the Butcher was portrayed and the way his room looked, but because at that level, he was a legitimately terrifyingly powerful enemy.

D2 wasn't scary at all to me. Neither was D3.

It's hard to recapture that same magic that makes an original game a classic. Sometimes it's impossible. Sometimes your audience ages just enough that the same tricks don't work anymore, and finding new ones in this day and age is exponentially harder.

Just like WoW bosses. It's hard to find boss mechanics that aren't either recycled from older bosses (the ONLY exception I know of being Burning Essence of the Red from Vael) or are mashups of two mechanics from older bosses. After awhile, technical limitations coupled with experience as a gamer throw up a hard wall on what you can and can't throw at people to surprise them.
I think that fundamentally, Blizzard in the 90s made games for adults, and around the early 2000s when Warcraft 3 came out they and many other houses transitioned to making games for teenagers as the audience changed. I feel that early PC games were targeted at men in their 30s and 40s who had grown up playing pen and paper RPGs, which is much less of a factor today. Just look at the Starcraft 1 trailer. A couple of space-hicks are drinking beer when a giant Protoss ship appears out of nowhere, opens fire, and a guy's head explodes. That's it. I was around 12 then, and it created quite a sensation. It was also about that time the Diablo 1 trailer was making the rounds, and that was equally amazing. When I watch those trailers now they are every bit as entertaining and powerful as they were then. Somehow, no matter how violent or gory Blizzard makes anything now, it's never the same. I was introduced to Blizzard games by my dad and we used to play together, and now he won't even touch them. It may be because it's a bigger company now and they don't have the same ability to just let it rip and take the same risks. And now younger people are the big demographic for games, so they aren't being targeted at us old-timers anymore.

I recently re-watched all of the D2 cinematics. The opening cinematic with the Wanderer at the inn is straight out of a John Carpenter type movie and completely different from anything you see today. Yet by the time you get to the D2X cinematics with Baal blowing up the gatekeeper, things were already changing. Act 5 of D2 feels quite a lot like D3, more action-adventure, battlefields, etc.

To me there are 2 ways a game can scare you. One is atmosphere and things being genuinely creepy and horrible, which in my opinion the Diablo games never really had. I mean, did anyone really find the lava cave areas of D1 scary? Or the Arcane Sanctuary? The other is by surprising you like with the Butcher or Duriel busting out of nowhere. Or in the Resident Evil remake when the zombies you killed an hour ago got up and ran after you without warning - that made me scream out loud. There was nothing like that in D3, which is a shame. And it all wears off the more you play the game.

Also, let's face it: scariness and replayability/gameplay don't always go together. I don't play the Silent Hill games anymore because they're too scary and the gameplay is horrible. I'm not always in the mood to be scared. Conversely, I've played the Dead Space trilogy so much it doesn't scare me at all, even though they did the first time through.

What I wish Blizzard had done was at least set aside areas or events of the game that were more darkly lit and creepy so players had the option to explore that content. Or they could have looked at the Dead Space games to see how to blend action with horror a little better. But ultimately I don't think the gameplay engine or design of the game in general allows for anything to be scary. The atmosphere of RoS is a big improvement over D3V in any case. You have to admit the music in RoS is pretty ominous, the monsters look like something out of Clive Barker, and overall it's very grim and morbid. And in some of the rift levels they actually incorporate darkness and a light radius that made me feel like I was playing D2 again.

The issues with the bosses being chatty and annoying is a separate issue in my opinion. Apparently they can't fix that for Acts 1-4, but they at least toned it down in Act 5.
D1 was scary because of the setting. You were a mere mortal who had to descend into a dark cataclysm, fight through the minions of Hell itself, and finally confront and defeat the Devi himself. So long as you didn't really try to delve into the story the game maintained this horrifying setting. But once you did try to delve into the story it all became hogwash.

By the time Blizzard North made D2, it had already lost hold of the atmosphere that made D1 such a horror.
Ironically Mephisto doesn't sound as scary as his host..... what's his name? Oh yes..... Sankekur....One of the most powerful mortals on earth....

It also seems Sankekur wasn't fully transformed into Mephisto when we killed him(his appearance and voice alone prove that) so his terrifiying voice is infact his own. Not suprising considering he was one of the most powerful mortals at the time...

Baal's voice hadn't fully regained it's petulantly childish and yet also villianous vigor until he got his Soulstone back and transformed Tal Rasha fully into himself. His true voice(which is the same in both Lord of Destruction and Reaper of Souls) is less scary and more petulantly childish than Tal Rasha as well despite sounding more human....

Diablo is the only one of the 3 Prime Evils to sound more terrifying in his true form which is most likely because he's the Lord of Terror and not Hatred(Mephisto sounds like a hateful old man with a demonic echo in his voice which is fitting) nor Destruction(Baal sounds like a childishly destructive villain which is also fitting).

Duriel sounded like a gurgling abomination from WoW(as befits Pain) while Andariel sounds like an exasparated woman(befitting Anguish).

Belial sounds like a deluded madman(as befitting the Lord of Lies) while Azmodan sounds deep and demonic(befitting Sin).

Malthael sounds empty and like that of cold Death(WoW's Yogg-Saron is the same).
Maybe it isn't supposed to be scary.
Mephisto and Baal obviously weren't supposed to be scary they were supposed to look like a hateful old demon(his powerful host's human voice was the only scary thing about him) and a childish villain who destroys things for the evulz(the destruction is scary but he himself isn't scary).

Diablo on the other hand is supposed to be scary since he's the Lord of Terror(despite revealing his plans when he's aware of you).

Azmodan was only supposed be scary during his introductory cutscene and when casting spells during his boss fight and nothing more. His minions actions were meant to be scary due to the implications(showing the depths of Sin).

Belial was an obvious villain from the start despite his disguise yet the scary part of Belial wasn't that he was a liar but that the first form he took after ditching his disguise was another disguise and that his true form was much larger and more scarier.

In other words Belial's emperor illusion was meant for the empire while his small demonic form illusion was specifically meant for you so that when he revealed his true appearance they would be demoralized.
I actually think Belial's giant demon form was the true lie and his small demon form was his true form.

Belial's shtick is lies that distort reality, even to the point where he can make you believe something is there that isn't there. It's a "your mind makes it real" sort of thing when you take damage from Belial's giant demon form. The lie is revealed when you kill him and his destruction of the palace is immediately undone, because that was just part of the lie.

When the "Lord of Lies" tells you behold the "true vision" of anything, you should be doubtful.
His trickery in that instance was still scary.
Light Radius was a factor in D1 and 2. not in D3. You can see the whole screen in D3. Thats one of the main reason. Another reason is.. D2's background tracks are mostly silence which is the most terrifying sound of all.
1. For most of us we were much younger when D1 came out. Younger people are more easily frightened.

2. Diablo 1 used light radius a lot more. To the point, you could not see what was about to hit you till it was right in you face. But you could sure hear it ages away.

3. "Ahhhh Fresh Meat". And the fact in Diablo 1, he one shot your character till you were seriously levelled. In Diablo 3 his entrance is just not as good. And he does not say Ahhhh in Diablo 3.

4. Diablo 1 and 2 had some amazing music that really helped the scaryness. I think the only music that comes close in Diablo 3 is the act 1 cellars. Like the ones before and in Old Tristram.

5. The art style in Diablo 1 was just so good and semi realistic. And made the game feel scary. The Diablo 2 areas felt scary with the music but the monster and spell sprites just felt so cartoony. best example of this is Chain lightning, Diablo 1 vs Diablo 2. The same spell, but it looked so much better in Diablo 1.

6. Diablo 2 out door areas had day and night as well as rain options. Really added to the effect, running out in act 1 if it's dark and raining, you really felt in the zone.

7. A big reason. In D1 and some of D2 you don't know what's going to happen next. All the suspense was good. in D3 it's just, you will kill this, then you kill this. Then repeat.
Apart from the above reasons, another one is that in Diablo I you always walk. You have the time to look at the background and see the mutilated corpse, the bloody walls..etc...all the time. In Diablo II and III you always on the run so you only look at the character and the demons, while the background is blurry.
Diablo 3 is alot more colorfull and the NPC's are often poorly written and have ridiculous comments. Together this all makes the game feel more cartoony. RoS improved on this a bit.
I'm surprised you say that. Apart from the characteristic graphics (not really comic style, but not really realistic either) I found D3 to be pretty scary overall. The music adds a lot imo. I just finished the expansion yesterday and I thought the whole experience of playing through RoS with all the corruption and destruction and how dark and hopeless it seemed, it was pretty scary.
Only game who got me to feel like I felt playing Diablo 1 was, Amnesia 1-2.

I think that fundamentally, Blizzard in the 90s made games for adults, and around the early 2000s when Warcraft 3 came out they and many other houses transitioned to making games for teenagers as the audience changed. I feel that early PC games were targeted at men in their 30s and 40s who had grown up playing pen and paper RPGs, which is much less of a factor today. Just look at the Starcraft 1 trailer. A couple of space-hicks are drinking beer when a giant Protoss ship appears out of nowhere, opens fire, and a guy's head explodes. That's it. I was around 12 then, and it created quite a sensation. It was also about that time the Diablo 1 trailer was making the rounds, and that was equally amazing.


this is so true, back then, developers were employers and employees at the same time. and they were developing games for their age group, it was a passion. they wanted to create games for oldboys who grew up like them and think alike.

It was more amateur than today so they weren't bound by the rules like today. they were more free-spirited.
D1 had a very claustrophobic, mystical and gloomy atmosphere. You had no idea in what you adventured yourself when you launched the game for the first time and the intro was creepy has !@#$ man. It was the first of it kind. So it's was new and we were all untainted by the internet too. Take that into consideration.

Today we're over saturated and spoiled. it's never going to be the same.
03/31/2014 09:03 PMPosted by hiplnzdriftr
I think that fundamentally, Blizzard in the 90s made games for adults, and around the early 2000s when Warcraft 3 came out they and many other houses transitioned to making games for teenagers as the audience changed. I feel that early PC games were targeted at men in their 30s and 40s who had grown up playing pen and paper RPGs, which is much less of a factor today. Just look at the Starcraft 1 trailer. A couple of space-hicks are drinking beer when a giant Protoss ship appears out of nowhere, opens fire, and a guy's head explodes. That's it. I was around 12 then, and it created quite a sensation. It was also about that time the Diablo 1 trailer was making the rounds, and that was equally amazing. When I watch those trailers now they are every bit as entertaining and powerful as they were then. Somehow, no matter how violent or gory Blizzard makes anything now, it's never the same. I was introduced to Blizzard games by my dad and we used to play together, and now he won't even touch them. It may be because it's a bigger company now and they don't have the same ability to just let it rip and take the same risks. And now younger people are the big demographic for games, so they aren't being targeted at us old-timers anymore.

I recently re-watched all of the D2 cinematics. The opening cinematic with the Wanderer at the inn is straight out of a John Carpenter type movie and completely different from anything you see today. Yet by the time you get to the D2X cinematics with Baal blowing up the gatekeeper, things were already changing. Act 5 of D2 feels quite a lot like D3, more action-adventure, battlefields, etc.

To me there are 2 ways a game can scare you. One is atmosphere and things being genuinely creepy and horrible, which in my opinion the Diablo games never really had. I mean, did anyone really find the lava cave areas of D1 scary? Or the Arcane Sanctuary? The other is by surprising you like with the Butcher or Duriel busting out of nowhere. Or in the Resident Evil remake when the zombies you killed an hour ago got up and ran after you without warning - that made me scream out loud. There was nothing like that in D3, which is a shame. And it all wears off the more you play the game.

Also, let's face it: scariness and replayability/gameplay don't always go together. I don't play the Silent Hill games anymore because they're too scary and the gameplay is horrible. I'm not always in the mood to be scared. Conversely, I've played the Dead Space trilogy so much it doesn't scare me at all, even though they did the first time through.

What I wish Blizzard had done was at least set aside areas or events of the game that were more darkly lit and creepy so players had the option to explore that content. Or they could have looked at the Dead Space games to see how to blend action with horror a little better. But ultimately I don't think the gameplay engine or design of the game in general allows for anything to be scary. The atmosphere of RoS is a big improvement over D3V in any case. You have to admit the music in RoS is pretty ominous, the monsters look like something out of Clive Barker, and overall it's very grim and morbid. And in some of the rift levels they actually incorporate darkness and a light radius that made me feel like I was playing D2 again.

The issues with the bosses being chatty and annoying is a separate issue in my opinion. Apparently they can't fix that for Acts 1-4, but they at least toned it down in Act 5.


100% agree.

I'm a little bit perplexed at how the original D3's team didn't notice they were making an adventure game in a fantasy setting -not dark fantasy, just fantasy.

Try this: Take the original Diablo manual. Read it. Good, now take Storm of Light. See the difference?

Tone changed A LOT. In my opinion, that is to have a bigger appeal to teenagers and, yes, kids. The Lust Spider in act 3 whose name I can't remember exactly is kind of a cartoon of lust, very distant from the naked demon women we fought at the end of Diablo.

RoS was a step in the right direction (fighting in a bed of corpses? That's more like it!). Even if you listen to D3's soundtrack, it's not very different from WoW's soundtracks. Again, RoS made distance with that and I feel RoS is a return to Diablo's identity.
Even the music was superior
First music is amazing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VP9NZPAX_dA

Best dungeon music https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cH8ZwL3A7Q
04/21/2014 11:56 AMPosted by WhiteZombie
The Lust Spider in act 3 whose name I can't remember exactly is kind of a cartoon of lust, very distant from the naked demon women we fought at the end of Diablo.

That's an odd complaint as "dark fantasy" as a genre itself is in fact a cartoon. As a cartoon by definition is something only making use of a certain number of elements in order to portray a specific tone or idea. Frankly, Diablo's probably the most cartoonish property Blizzard has, as the player character is basically a Terminator running through the plot in every game, as the only important contribution they give is killing everything that they come across.
This is an easy one for me to address. The first diablo was more about fighting the "unknown", love craft-style. It was a small village at night, sharing tales and rumors about what goes on/comes out of the cathedral at the end of town. The cathedral is a character, of sorts. It's ever-present and ominous, and the stories of creatures coming out of it at night make it even more horrifying.

Diablo 2 was awesome, but not scary, because it made us explore a vast world with different exotic locations. There was no looming, mysterious threat. It's kind of like comparing the film Alien to Aliens.

To go back to their horror roots, the franchise would have to focus on new lore that no one knows much about, with only one dark, creepy location. Haunted woods outside of a town or something.

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