Extreme Makeover: Diablo 3 Edition

General Discussion
It occurred to me last night, what if the fundamental issue of the game is that it's too similar to Diablo 2. I know that while many of the complains leveled at the game by fans are that it diverges too much from Diablo 2, but consider the following:

Jay Wilson said at GDC that 1 million people still log on each day, and that 3 million a month. That's been 8.3%-25% of the original playerbase somewhere between still interested and "Let me log on for 15 min to see how the game's changed."

After nearly a year is that good? If that 3 million a month figure only includes people who are actively playing more than like 3 hours a month, then yes. If not, then not really.

But, would a game more similar to Diablo 2 have better numbers? I thought long about this, and I'm not convinced it would.

People today like things to do. They like shinies, and they like constant feedback. Diablo 2, I believe, would suffer from the same problems that modern Diablo 3 does - a lack of shinies to keep people interested.

So, it got me thinking, how could you totally remake Diablo 3 over, and keep people interested? I know the current trend at Blizzard to move away and marginalize the Auction House, and I initially agreed with them. However, after much thinking I believe that totally upsetting the previously established Diablo paradigm would be necessary. To create an ultra-addictive Diablo 3, I believe an extreme makeover would be necessary. However, it would be one of the fundamental game-systems like many people have proposed.

Rather, I believe a truly addictive Diablo 3 would resemble an ungodly abomination of modern F2P trends, and a trading card game. It would require:

1. Hundreds or thousands of legendaries. Each with unique art, and unique, mind-blowing effects. Each individual legendary would have an extremely low drop-rate, balanced by the fact that legendary drop-rates aren't low themselves.

2. BoE legendaries. A player could trade unwanted legendaries for something he/she desires, but that item could not be traded indefinitely as currently can be done.

3. Competitive, ranked PvP. The game would now be a PvP game first-and-foremost, and a PvE game secondarily. With hundreds of legendaries with unique effects, and the limited supply due to BoE gear and in combination with existing skill-rune diversity, the game would effectively balance itself, because of nearly limitless gear+item possibilities providing counters to each situation. The chief problem with this system would be that players would need a way to communicate, and arrange their gear properly before each match, while inspecting their opponents gear, to properly strategize their equipment. Otherwise, every match would be a crap-shoot. Probably a 2 minute timer during which players can argue and discuss their gearing while inspecting the other time would be best.

4. Monthly legendary packs adding new items into the game.

As everyone knows, competitive team PvP is the hot thing right now - LoL, DoTA 2 demonstrate this. WoW's arena failed to match these games, not because they're F2P, but because of its limited shiny factor. A Diablo 3 game based on farming and trading loot for usage in competitive team-based PvP would blow them out of the water in popularity.

But what about PvP rewards? Gold prizes for match victories! But how do you prevent rampant inflation as we see now? Legendary gambling of course! Buying unidentified legendaries for gold from an NPC would be the perfect gold sink.

An other option would be the ability to win vanity item skins. These would level 1 items with no stats, which are account-bound. Blizzard has stated they plan to add a transmogrification feature. Under that scenario, you could transmogrify your items to resemble those vanity level 1 items.
People kept playing D2 because they re-rolled new characters often to try new things.

There was build diversity, which meant you could have 4 different necromancers that you created, all built differently.
Well they say 1 million a day 3 million a month. You do realize that if you and I were to play and do say a half dozen Act 3 runs a day each, they're counting that as 12 logons between us...

Add in the bot factor.. how many games get created each day because of bots? I know that Act 2 cave of the betrayer run can be done in less than 4 min fairly easy.. now considering bots probably run 24/7.. how many times could a bot do that run in 1 day.. if they ran all day.. were looking at 360 log-ons just for that 1 bot. Now suppose there is only 25,000 bots (which is pretty damn conservative considering I've seen former botters admit running over 100 accounts). That works out to over 9 million.

Obviously bots are running different things at varying times, and not all run 24/7.. but I'm sure you get the idea where these logons are coming from. They aren't unique log ons.. Jay never said they were unique. Even if they were unique, bots probably make up anywhere from 25-40% of the player base.. leaving around 500,000 players or a bit more.

500,000 players out of 12 million copies sold is not a good retention rate, not for a company like Blizzard. 500,000 players won't be playing this game 12 years from now (like people still are in D2).

I think you get the idea...

Anyways, there are things they could do to lure people back.. basically building off what D2 had (much like franchise sequels do) and adding in all new features items and expanding the game would have been a fabulous place to start!
People kept playing D2 because they re-rolled new characters often to try new things.

There was build diversity, which meant you could have 4 different necromancers that you created, all built differently.

People kept playing D2 because they re-rolled new characters often to try new things.

There was build diversity, which meant you could have 4 different necromancers that you created, all built differently.

I was a man (or boy) who personally had two 98 necromancers, a skelemancer and a poisonmancer, along with several other necs of different varieties. My favorite being a blood golem+iron maiden-mancer.

That said, I think that the addictiveness you saw in Diablo 2 was largely due to the crappiness of its competitors. In the modern world, people don't have the patience or desire to reroll over and over. People like shinies more than anything. Second, they like competition. Diablo 3 offers neither shinies or competition.

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