on June 20, 2012
I have been hesitant to write this review for a long while, but after playing 3 out of 5 classes to 60 and 2 above 40 - I don't know how many times I have walked through the storyline and gone through enough classes to figure out the game at this point to make a fair judgement.
I did not want to believe it. I thought the online community was too quick to judge when D3 (short for Diablo III hereafter) was released as an online only game. I understand from Blizzard's perspective they needed to move on from all the hacking in D2 which ultimately ruined it for many. Even after all these years Diablo 1 and 2 both share extremely high praise for the originality, game design, and the meticulous attention to detail throughout the game design. They are what I would label as "gamer's game" because they're designed, tweaked, and balanced for the gamers' perspective. Simply put, they have been fun, and extremely memorable, which leads to such high anticipation and expectations in Diablo III with so many years in the making, by the gaming industry's gold standard - Blizzard.
But the sad reality is, something changed along the way of the design phase over all these years.
If you played through all acts many times, you would probably notice the same thing - Act1 is WAY more polished than 2, and then 3, and ultimately Act 4 simply is a piece of garbage. A very quick example would be how Act 1 has all these destroyable objects that you could interact and damage the enemies - the environmental factors are a part of the original game design. But by the time you get to Act 4 it's completely gone; Another example would be the storyline and non-linear quest style gameplay which was present in Act 1 turns into Act 4 where you basically go forward, hack and slash til you get to Diablo and suddenly you can't help but ask yourself, is this it? really? Something seems to be missing in the whole Act like a horrible movie where they spend the majority of the time crafting the plot, and by the time the plot is supposed to unravel, it comes to a quick and distasteful ending. Yes, that's Diablo III. The final boss fight came anticlimactic, boring, and childish - even comparing to Diablo *1* that came out some... 16 years ago. Yes I still remember building up fire resist, running around the map dodging Diablo's array of attacks and doing multiple portals with the other online gamers trying to take him down.
Both it's predecessors share the following traits - they're FUN, ADDICTIVE, and CHALLENGING.
Something changed along the way in the D3 design, where they dropped 2 of the 3 traits of the newest Diablo game - it's not fun, not challenging, and they simply made the attempt to make it addictive.
But why you ask?
The fun and challenging part goes hand in hand, because the real cream of the crop in this game is to get to level 60, the highest level in this game in Inferno mode where you cannot continue to advance in levels but you're greeted with supposedly extreme challenges to earn the best gears in the game and continue to tweak your character's gears. That's the design the Diablo franchise has always employed.
As of today, after 3 tweaks since early June 2012, the game is actually more broken than what it originally was.
First off the bet, the difficulty of Inferno is simply stupid. I chose my word here very carefully here, because I've been playing games all my live since the pocket games to Mario on NES to everything til now as a grown adult - yes Inferno is plain stupid. As an advanced casual gamer you will be stuck in Act 2 of Inferno because whatever gears that you can legitimately earn would stop you from advancing. The game isn't just hard - it's plain impossible. It's not only simply impossibly challenging, because if it's remotely challenging that would help separate the skilled and dedicated players from the rest, but nope - it is simply stupid impossible to a point it's just dumb.
How fun would it be if the elite mobs literally move at blinding teleporting kind of speed through your entire screen casting DOT damage all over the screen and putting up walls to avoid you from running (which you can't out run them anyway even if you tried) and there's not one but all 3 of them along with the other screen full of mobs. Sure, you can go back and try to work your way to improve your x-resist and defense and health and think okay you make some advancement and try again, but nope, you still die in an instant. You can teleport back with your group and try again, and nope you all die in an instant.
To solve your gaming frustration?
Auction House is there to the rescue
To level the playing field with the most advanced gamers who have farmed the game for the past month filling the online auction house with gears with amazing stats, there's the REAL CURRENCY auction house.
If you haven't earned enough gold to buy what you need? You pay real money to buy the top tear 1% of the gears to help you beat it all the way, and unfortunately for the 99% of the gamers that's the only way to actually meet the challenge set by the game.
Which essentially explains everything that seemed off with all that we have looked at in the above.
Diablo III started off being designed as a gamer's game, but along the way the game design dragged on for way too long and eventually the end product became something that's out there to do what every other product is made to do - to generate profit.
Since D3 cannot adapt the same monthly subscription model like World of Warcraft (also made by Blizzard in case you didn't know), the only way to continue to make a profit from the gamers who have already paid the initial payment for the game is to lure them into spending additional money for in-game items. Although Blizzard claims that they do not post items in the game to sell, they still make a fixed transaction fee on every item sold. With 3.5 million copies sold within the first 24 hours, mathematically it is a sound business model to make money out of a successful game.
The plot is set - we now have a game that's not fun, not challenging, and stupid difficult game that can only be beat that you either spend an unacceptable amount of time which you do not enjoy to farm to earn gold to buy, or hope for a very lucky that would never come because thats how they designed the drop/loot table; OR you take out your wallet and conveniently pay real money for the game that you already paid for to continue to advance.
With the newest patch as of today, Blizzard nerfed one of the most significant stat of the game - IAS (increase attack speed by a whole 50%), drops were decreased, and repair cost is now sky high
It is a tactical move - they needed to first populate the game with godly items, then re-balance the items to make other items also desirable, and finally increase the significance of in game gold and eventually make it more even so you have to pay real money for auction items.
This is when I decided to stop playing this game and to participate in Blizzard's money generating scheme. It is very unfortunate that a game highly anticipated like the D3 made by the gold standard of gaming industry would crash so hard that it is absolutely unbelievable. Maybe it's about time that we all realize that the gaming industry, like all other industries out there, are out there to make money but not to serve gamers like you and I.
Diablo 3 has grown up from Diablo 1 and Diablo 2 - selling it's soul to Diablo (the devil) and becoming Blizzard's attempt to create a cash cow, rather than what we all hoped for. Try it at your own cost, but be prepared for a very sour taste in your mouth and an awful aftertaste that you would love to forget about.
*** edit ***
Since some of you are thinking "why would he spend so much time on a game that's not even good?", I decided include the following in the original review to help you understand better:
The Diablo franchise share many similarities with MMORPGs except it's more of an action game with tons of RPG elements. And like most MMORPG games, it requires the players to put in a lot of game time to get to the "cream of the crop" at max level, where you would have access to most, if not all, spells, equipments, skills, etc. The beginning of the game simply sets you with the pace of the game and familiar with the game mechanics, design, enemies, etc, and the addictive part comes in when you continue to get better equipment, skills, etc to tackle even the toughest challenge. Diablo 3 too shares this very design which require the player to spend enough time to even get to level 60 to finally understand each class design, its pros and cons, and eventually find how you want to tweak your character.
If you do a little research on the internet, you'll find initial reviews for D3 is all positive all across the board. The reason is that during the initial game progression (Act 1 to Act 3 for example in Normal difficulty), is at least a 4-star enjoyable game. But when it comes to the real "cream of the crop" part of the game where you achieve once you get to level 60 where you cannot progress further in level, and the only way left to improve your character is through equipment, it fails miserably as mentioned above in this very review. Like many MMORPGs on the market, level 1-59 simply doesn't quite matter once you get to the level cap.
Just to answer some of the doubts:
- I did not spend 100+ hours in this game; I simply made pretty good progress. I shared my equipment with my other characters to help make leveling much faster.
- That being said, I did spend more than enough time in every class to understand my complaint really isn't about class imbalance. Out of all the hours I spent in this game I ultimately declared 1-star, the experience simply declined from 4/5 stars at the very beginning and dropped all the way to 1-star near the very end of it where it's supposed to shine.
on July 10, 2012
For the last 15 years, as I served as the constant whipping post for thousands...nay, MILLIONS of pathetic worms who have plundered my depths and banished me and my brothers to the soulstones time and time again! NO LONGER! On May 15 in the year of the Panda, 2012, my plan to claim victory over the Nine Hells and the High Heavens has come to fruition! Behold, the chronicle of my journey thus far!
Day 1: Millions of hapless insects gathered with their gold in hand and their steel drawn as they prepared to storm my doorstep, thinking that I, the Lord of Terror, would stand idly by as you farmed me for loot. Little did you suspect that my secret weapon "error 3007" would lay you all low! Those of you that happened to slip by my net came face to face with my uberlieutenants-- Lagmodan, The Serverbreaker,and Archbishop Disconnectus.
Day 2-5: See day 1...
Day 6: The delays caused by my impenetrable server defenses allowed me to fortify the Champions of Hell and overwhelm the puny Nephalem forces when they finally arrived...such awesome and destructive powers as: Molten QQ, Plague of Ridiculous Enrage Timers, and Arcane Orbital Repair Bills. To finalize my triumph, I ensured that any artifacts that my minions were carrying were at LEAST 5 levels lower and were utterly useless to the would-be plunderer. Truly the tears of the righteous are as music to my blackened soul!
Day 7: I rested...
Day 37: I have struck another triumphant blow! I have created a market place for the Nephalem, which is the only means of obtaining artifacts of any significant power. However, the true devious nature of this monstrosity is what makes it so delicious! In order to utilize it, the Nephalem are required to use a strange currency known as US Dollars, which they cannot access unless they willingly pay a 30% tithe to the forces of evil! MUAHAHAHAH! I really intended to slaughter them on day 1 with this device, but Belial was having trouble getting the Koreans on board with it.
Day 38: Once my demonic auction house of real money was fully operational, and the sniveling maggots were happily lapping up items of significant power with which to best my forces...I dropped ANOTHER masterful stroke on them, claiming yet another victory for Team Hell! I unleashed the Mighty Nerf-alem Hammer on all treasures under the High Heavens, making them nearly useless. Many who had spent their precious gold, real and virtual, were now banished to the Halls of Buyer's Remorse. I used the tears and subsequent blood of my fallen enemies to fill a bath, and washed myself in the Basin of Greedy Deception!
Day 45 and counting...: My saga continues to unfold, as many once-hopeful heroes have abandoned their quest altogether. Perhaps they will have an easier time slaying pandas soon... Those stalwarts who have chosen to stay, trapped in my Devilish Hamster Wheel of Doom and cursed to wander the Malignant Slot Machine of Rmah, do so in the vain hope that "things will get better." No mortal, they will NOT! Even when you are able to use the treasure you have purchased against EACH OTHER in Player vs. Player combat (no, really, it's coming...TRUST me...*evil laugh*), you will still be subject to my law of Eternal Internet Connection. Only once I've milked every last dollar and gold piece from these lackeys will I then pull the plug on the ServerStone forever! Just in time for Heart of the Swarm and Pandasy Island to be unleashed upon this ripe, unsuspecting world!
Lord of Terror
PS. Yesterday, my watchful eye spotted a 59 year old Hardcore Witch Doctor who was about to celebrate his 60th Season. I unleashed a Latency Storm on him as he was engaging 3 champion Heralds with "Waller, Plague, Arcane and Extra Life"...he is now a level 3 HC Monk. O tis fun to be evil!
on June 14, 2012
- Beautiful, updated graphics.
- New classes and interesting spells.
- Cinematics are great.
- Flimsy storyline, terrible voice acting, and "B-Movie" style bosses.
- Laggy and buggy online.
- No singleplayer offline mode.
- Servers consistently down without explanation.
- Game is focused on gold farming rather than the traditional item hunt.
- The central focus of the Auction House makes this more like a second job rather than a game.
In short, a very poor sequel to the Diablo series. I played it for two weeks before shelving it. Four years of Diablo 2 versus two weeks of Diablo 3. Sigh. It's a beautiful shell of a game.
on June 15, 2012
In most games like Diablo, no amount of gear will allow you to defeat an encounter if you don't know what you are doing. Skill is mandatory, gear is merely helpful.
Diablo 3 is the opposite. Neither are required until you hit Hell difficulty, but after that no amount of skill will allow you to defeat a mob or encounter if you are not geared for it. Gear is mandatory, skill is merely (slightly) helpful.
The overwhelming majority of your deaths are unavoidable. Mobs teleport to you from off the screen and kill you in one shot. They chain you, wall you, spawn under you, jump at you with no warning, surround themselves with invincible minions, and otherwise kill you in ways you absolutely CAN NOT avoid. Unless, of course, you have the necessary gear.
And if you think you can work around this by kiting or taking down mobs slowly and patiently, think again. If you don't kill difficult mobs quickly, you are punished by an unavoidable death (enrage/kill timers). That's right, you are killed for hit/run tactics, kiting, being patient, or otherwise trying to use skill instead of rushing headlong. They aren't exactly subtle with their cues to go buy gear.
So how do you get gear? Not by farming, that's for sure. The chances of getting drops that are useful are exceedingly low, and Blizzard has been quick to remove any farming spots players have found. The only option which doesn't involve months (literally) of farming is the Auction House. You are not going to farm your own gear, you are not going to progress without gear - you have to buy it. And the best items are naturally either on the RMAH or up for ridiculous sums of gold that you have to buy on the RMAH.
This led to another problem, of course: ridiculously-oversimplified skills, runes, mob mechanics etc. This is due to the one-hit mechanics mentioned above. If mobs could be countered with skill or cast spells/abilities which could be avoided with skill, then gear wouldn't be mandatory. Mobs only use gear-check abilities which can *not* be avoided or countered with skill. Naturally, once you have the necessary gear those unavoidable attacks no longer kill you instantly and you can progress so long as you know how to click your mouse.
There is essentially no skill involved in any aspect of the game. There is no reward system, either - you don't get any usable gear or special items or even extra gold for taking down a difficult mob/boss. Instead, you have one big frustration loop. You progress until you run into a brick wall, Blizzard's cue that you need to make purchases on the AH. You die until you get sick of it, go buy gear, and then progress with relative ease until you run into another brick wall.
And since gear-check mechanics are all that you ever see, your skills are all pointless. It really doesn't matter which you use, how well you use them, how you choose to play - none of those things has any real impact on your game. It's all about gear, which means the Auction House.
Like many people, I had assumed the RMAH would simply be a distraction, an optional feature some would make use of and the rest could ignore. That's just not the case. Every aspect of the game is designed to funnel players into the auction house, and the changes made to the game because of that fact completely ruined it. Nearly every complaint about the game can be traced back to the RMAH (even online-only play, as dupes/cheating/hacks/etc. are all just as prevalent - it only serves to promote use of the AH).
They'd already destroyed the WoW franchise. Now they've destroyed the Diablo franchise. Starcraft 2 is all that's which has any hope left for it, though it's currently also riddled with oversimplified mechanics. And since they can't turn that into a cash cow, it's been largely ignored since its release and the expansion is likely still a year away.
It's sad how this company has fallen from one of the most beloved game companies of all time to this pathetic greed-on-steroids shell.
on June 8, 2012
I looked forward to Diablo 3 for so many years. Like a lot of gamers, I played Diablo 2 for a long time, and consider it to be one of my favorite games of all time. I had to write my first Amazon review because I have never been more disappointed by a video game in my life.
Diablo 3 fails on so many levels it makes me feel sick to my stomach. The recipe to create Diablo 3 would be:
1) Take Diablo 2
2) Remove everything that made it fun
And you have Diablo 3.
My list of disappointments:
#1 The items are worse than not fun. They will bore you to tears. All fun item modifiers are removed. The only relevant modifiers are +Str, +Vit, +Int, etc. So boring.
#2 No character customization WHATSOEVER.
#3 No chat channels, no custom games, no community features at all.
#4 No PvP. What??? This isn't WoW, characters don't have to be balanced. Diablo 2 was never balanced, but it was still FUN AS HECK.
#5 Runes are gone.
#6 The AH has removed the item hunt. The sole purpose of the game is to get gold to buy items on the AH. A more boring method for acquiring items I could not possibly dream of.
#7 The game is ridiculously linear and short. You can't jump around acts or hang out in games with your friends.
#8 Legendaries (unique replacements) are actually randomized (what?) and are worse than blues or rares.
#9 Every single character of a certain class is the exact same as every other character of that class. Once again, there is NO CUSTOMIZATION.
There's so much more wrong with this game, but I don't want to think about it anymore. A lot of people ask why we don't just walk away from the game instead of complaining about it. Well, when our hopes are destroyed in this glorious a fashion, something must be done.
on June 13, 2012
The best part of this game is seeing the few minutes of cinematics. No, seriously. Just save your money and watch the cinematics on YouTube.
Where do I even begin?
*** Character and Skill Customization ***
There is no appearance customization aside from choosing your character's gender and using some dyes to change the color of your armor. I personally don't care about this, but some people do.
However, I DO care very deeply about skill customization, because different choices create different playstyles, which can make a game interesting. Boy, did they botch this badly. You are limited to using only 6 skills at a time (and forget about changing them during a gaming session in Inferno or you will lose an important stacking buff called Nephalim Valor).
Furthermore, the final difficulty level of the game (which is where most players will obviously end up and want to progress), called Inferno, is tuned to such an extreme degree that only a few class skills and strategies are even viable (Blizzard/Hydra kiting for ten minutes is fun, right?!) and other skills are downright mandatory (Energy Armor with Force rune, anyone? How about War Cry? Know any barbarians without it?).
*** Inferno Tuning ***
Simply ridiculous. A game is supposed to be fun. Don't get me wrong, I love a good challenge. I've spent countless hundreds of hours in World of Warcraft, during Vanilla and in every expansion thereafter, dying repeatedly (aka wiping) to progress on raid encounter bosses. Happily doing so. Because that is what you expect in the end game of MMORPGs.
But Diablo isn't World of Warcraft. Diablo is essentially a hack and slash game, an action RPG. Such games are supposed to be fast and furious and fun, blowing up hordes of baddies in the mad search for cool items. Therefore, not being able to withstand a sneeze from an enemy monster while wearing decent gear is just plain stupid.
Even after stacking Vitality (for health) and Resistances, my wizard dies after 3 hits from anything (and that's only because of a class skill I'm forced to take for survival; other range classes simply die after 1 hit and melee classes are pigeon-holed into tanking). So after three hits from anything (a stray arrow, the tiniest minion's slap, an unavoidable mortar because I'm jailed), I'm dead.
It wouldn't be so bad if you had room to move around or could see far enough away to avoid an ambush, but you don't and you can't. You are going to open a door or monsters will spawn from the ground, and you will instantly die. Don't even get me started on Vortex. So now you get to enjoy a resurrection timer before you run all the way back to your body, revive and die again. Rinse and repeat, and Blizzard just increased the repair costs in game, yay!
Furthermore, players routinely have to Leave Game because elites with certain combinations of abilities are simply unkillable. Is that good game design?! It doesn't get much better with better gear either. Gear which you can't afford or farm for anyway. We'll get to that later.
*** Dungeons and Items ***
You know that awesome feeling you got in other games when exploring a new, unknown dungeon? Wondering what you might face? What awesome items you might find to improve your character or party?
Well, forget about ever feeling that with Diablo 3. The dungeons are short and repetitive. Not to mention, you are proceeding along part of the same quest line for the 100th time just to face the same bosses (great, it's the Butcher boss again). If you were expecting truly randomized dungeons, where you could explore with your friends for hours, forget about it.
And you know, such tedious farming might actually be worth it if you got the rare gratification of actually finding a useful item for yourself. But you won't. You are going to farm the same trash, the same elites and the same bosses over and over and over again, only to vendor everything you find. If you're lucky, you might find an item worth selling to someone else. That brings me to my next section.
*** The Auction House ***
You are quickly going to realize that you are doing nothing in this game but farming gold in order to buy items from the auction house. However, due to bots (programs which farm gold around the clock) and duping (copying of items by exploiting the code), the market has already spun out of control. Blizzard is trying to wrestle some control back, but the damage has been done. Billions of gold is now floating in the market and prices are so inflated that you can't even afford to buy the kind of upgrades you will need to progress in Inferno.
Blizzard intends to make some better items drop (at a very tiny rate) in earlier Acts of Inferno in a future patch (to throw a bone to the vast majority of players who couldn't race to 60 and get into Inferno before prices spiraled out of control, due to pesky jobs and families and whatnot), but it seems to be too little too late. Who really wants to do yet another Butcher farm run? Just the thought of it makes me want to gag.
At this point, you can only hope that Blizzard's stealth game limit cap implemented in the last patch (to crack down on bots) combined with more determined players gradually grinding and farming their way through Inferno will eventually lead to a reduction in AH prices to something more attainable to players who can't spend 8 hours a day graveyard zerging their way through content.
*** Recap ***
You can't progress in Inferno without gear. You can't farm the gear you need yet. You can't afford it either. Your only solution right now is to pay real dollars on the AH and buy your way to victory. That will certainly make you feel like a hero against the hordes of hell!
What a disgusting disappointment for a longtime fan (I flew to the last two BlizzCons and have been playing the franchises since they began) and shareholder (soon to be former shareholder) in the company. After years of development and hype, this is the best they have to offer? With nearly unlimited resources, this is what they produced? It makes me want to vomit.
on June 14, 2012
Diablo 3 entreats us to try our luck and seek out ultimate treasures and magical shiny things to defeat diablo.
I ventured forth into Diablo land full of hope with treasure hunting stars in my eyes and and found pile upon pile of useless junk. About 50 hours later at the end of a long dark lonely repetitive questing journey, exhausted and disheartened I found the magical Diablo auction house.
The friendly auction house personal entreated me to return to the magical Diablo lands and collect junk for many additional hours to sell it to venders and use that money to buy the treasures that exploiters, cheaters, and paid-to-play people found in their oh so magically lucky adventuring lives and then posted for sale on auction house.
Leaving the auction house I returned to Diablo Land and proceeded to spend many more hours repeatedly killing the same monsters again and again, collecting piles of magical trash again and again. I returned to the auction house to buy my "end game" gear and finally progress my adventure.
A smile on my face I ventured into act 2 Inferno. Stepped off of the portal and into ... everything went black and there was sand in my mouth. Restart.... again sand....restart...again face full of sand. I think i remember hearing some kind of humming or buzzing noise but I can't be sure.
I returned to the magical Diablo land to collect magical Diablo land trash, sell trash to vendor, take gold from trash sale to auction house. Give gold to game exploiters and professional players or maybe even just plain lucky people. Have MUCH better level 60 gear and charts and diagrams on how to play and which skill to use.
I am ready to tackle whatever it is that is causing me to faceplant. I haven't really seen it yet but now I know I'm ready for it. This time its going to be VERY different. Very VERY different!
I step off the portal and yes indeed it is very different. I see a flash of blue, and then the sand, and then the blackness....I totally never saw the flash of blue before. I'm pretty sure I heard that buzzing noise again though.
I am older and wiser now, I exited Diablo land, the auction house people brushed the sand off of me and gave me some water to get the grittiness out of my mouth. They told me of shiny swords, sparkly rings of life on hit, and gloves with additional attack speed.
Do I really NEED to see diablo die a fourth time? Not this bad.
on June 8, 2012
A lot of noise has been made about the time it took for this game to be developed and released, and I was just as anxious as anybody. What a letdown. Firstly, people should know that Diablo 1 & 2 were NOT made by Blizzard, but rather by a different group of developers that Blizzard bought out and called "Blizzard North". Those guys started working on Diablo 3 shortly after the D2 expansion was released, but Blizzard's owner, Vivendi, wanted something less dark/gothic and more marketable. So they pretty much forced Blizzard North to scrap several years worth of progress on D3. As a result, most of the developers at Blizzard North left the company. Blizzard essentially started over on D3.
And it shows. The game is still a bit dark, but also wildly colorful. Enemies and scenery glow with all colors of the rainbow. If you liked the dark, grimy, visceral feel of Diablo 2, this isn't the game for you. If you liked the feel of character progression you got from choosing allocating skill and stat points whenever you leveled up in D2, this isn't the game for you. In D3 the game automatically allocates your stat points and gives you pre-set abilities every few levels. You'll be able to select a handfull of skills that will be active at any given time, but two different characters of the same class and level will always have exactly the same skills available with the same level of power. You can't for example, focus on building up your favorite summoning skill while a different character focuses on building up his fire skills. Skill power scales automatically, the same for everyone at that level.
Furthermore, the game's story and characters are just pretty terrible. There's absolutely nothing original or interesting about this game's plot or characters. There's a surprise about two thirds of the way through, but anyone intelligent enough to comprehend a coloring book will see it coming. The dialogue is embarrassingly stupid, and it's dismally clear that the Blizzard team cares absolutely nothing for the characters in this "story", or the intelligence of the players following it.
This brings me to what seems to me to be the real, fundamental purpose of this game; the Real Money Auction House. Diablo 2 generated a vibrant and lucrative market for the trade and sale of items outside of them game itself. One could argue that the main draw of Diablo 2 was the constant hunt for better items to either trade or sell. Blizzard seems to have embraced this idea, but in the worst way possible. Blizzard has set up its own Auction House for the buying and selling of game items using real money. Of course, the will be taking a cut of each transaction between players. This in itself wouldn't be such a bad thing, but Blizzard has designed the game in such a way that a player, by Blizzard's own admission, will not be able to feasibly progress through the later stages of the game without obtaining items from the Auction House. In fact, they've engineered the loot mechanics of the game with this in mind, making it so that an individual player on his or her own will most likely never obtain the items that he or she needs through playing the game alone.
"But isn't there also an Auction House where you can buy items with in-game gold?" you might ask. Indeed there is, BUT Blizzard has implemented a severe gold sink in the form of repairs. As Blizzard has stated, this cost becomes prohibitively substantial later in the game, to the point where it becomes much more viable to keep buying new items as opposed to trying to repair. Of course, this leaves one with a choice between farming for many hours to get enough gold to buy an item, or spending $5 for the item on the Real Money Auction House, of which Blizzard will get a cut. For me, at least, this kind of defeats the incentive of playing the game. The fun of Diablo, the thing that makes you want to keep playing, is the drive to keep killing monsters so that you can find better items and become more powerful. But Blizzard has designed the game so that you're almost guaranteed to not find the stuff you really want unless you just go buy it off of the Auction House. So why even bother with killing the monsters? And then, why even bother playing the game? The story blows, and you'll finish the game's "normal" mode in a few hours. You can keep playing on harder difficulties, and you might hear a lot about how each level is randomly generated every time you play and so it's different every time, but that's really a dramatic exaggeration. The specific layout of the levels is randomly generated each time you play, but it's the exact same scenery with the exact same monsters and you'll be doing the exact same thing, so this really isn't a big deal. And in an effort to ensure that the demand for game items stays high, Blizzard has made it impossible to mod Diablo 3, which is particularly obnoxious considering that's one of the biggest pros for games on PC.
If this game felt like a real successor to Diablo 2, it would be spectacular. It doesn't, and it's not. Sorry.
on June 10, 2012
Diablo 3 has been criticized to death for it's lack of single player offline play. It has also been criticized for Blizzard being money hungry due to the real money auction house. I will be taking neither of those into account in this review, and I will instead focus on the fun factor of the game.
I am going to go at this point by point, and realize that I only played as a demon hunter however, I did make it to Diablo on Inferno.
*First off the enemies don't take much skill to defeat and therefore can be cheap in killing you. Let me elaborate, there are enemies in each act the no matter what skills you have or how fast you react you will still die to. I enjoy games that have the enemies give subtle cues at to what they are about to do so that I can act appropriately and dodge what is coming. Perhaps that is what makes games actually take skill, and not just mindless button mashing? I can give you 2 examples:
1. Oppressors in Act IV: They have a charge that instantly kills in one hit, no way to dodge it and no animation that they are going to do it. You just die and then you wait for your death timer.
2. Soul eaters: You know the licker enemies that just basically lash you instantly with their tongues (killing you instantly).
*The gear is broken and doesn't have balance. I bought a pair of boots on the auction house for 750,000 which had 15% attack speed on them. The attack speed has been broken since launch, and frankly they've "hot fixed" many things since then (so why not my boots?). I guess Blizzard doesn't care enough about their community to fix this. Also I'm not excited to see legendary items because they are balanced so poorly that they end up being completely useless. The items also suffer from a lack of creativity. They are just boring stats, and don't change the way your class will play.
*The bosses are simply gear checks. That's right no matter how skillfully you play if you don't have the gear you do not pass. I don't like this particular aspect as I find the bosses are cheap and undodgable in many instances. It just doesn't feel like they are balanced well into the game.
*Level cap of 60 and lowering gear drop rates. Getting gear to drop is nigh impossible in this game. In the previous games you would get legendary items in normal difficulty. I have only ever seen 2 drop in 180 hours of game-play. I didn't see my first until Inferno Act IV. That in itself is ok although a bit annoying, but they took away the level 99 cap (which was really hard to achieve). The level 99 cap made grinding for gear a little more tolerable because you were getting experience at least so it felt productive. Now it feels tedious and stupid.
*Enrage timers on non-normal enemies. There is no room for enrage timers in the Diablo universe. Maybe I'm oldschool but this is not acceptable... Just because I've stayed alive long enough to continue to do damage doesn't mean I still lose because I don't have the gear. It means I'm skilled, and really trying. To thwart this kind of attempt is soul crushing, not fun, and doesn't encourage skill based play.
So ya there is a lot more, but I'll end there since I'm focusing on skill based gameplay only. I would recommend simply steering clear of this one... I wish I would have.
on June 9, 2012
I probably can't say anything that others haven't said, but I figured I'd say a little bit anyway...
I have been playing Blizzard games since D1 and have been a dedicated fan. I almost strictly play their games... I have had D3 in my mind since shortly after D2, which I thoroughly played and enjoyed for years (even recently). As somebody who probably plays games a little more than they should, D3 was supposed to be my next "fix". I liked the idea of something more casual than WoW, and wanted to play D3 for even as long as 5-10 years. I usually stick to one game. Long story short, I'm terribly bored after 3 weeks. I have probably gotten my money worth, but a lot of players intend to play these sort of games for a long, long time. Even Blizzard would never, ever admit that D3 is a game that you should only get a few weeks enjoyment out of and be done. Absolutely not.
D3 simply lacks any depth that D2 had. Everything has been "refined" and very simplified. You will never, ever need to make more than 1 of each class (non-hardcore) because nothing is fixed on your character. It sounds all good and well probably to most casual players, but it isn't. They've just taken one of the fun elements out of the game. Every D2 player will tell you starting new characters with new builds was fun and at the very least gave them something to do. Items are boring... everything is too fair and balanced, nothing is extreme. That probably also sounds reasonable, but some of the unbalanced imperfections of D2 were the best part. Instead of having items with say, a 25% on hit to do something, you might have an item with a 2% chance to cause an enemy with millions of HP to "bleed" for 200 damage. Woohoo. A D2 item might have a 25% chance to freeze enemies as well as a 25% chance of a Crushing Blow. Some items even gave you other classes abilities. A single item change could completely change the way your character played, they were that significant. The items were all over the place and crazy, but it also added depth to the game. ENTIRE builds could be made around single items in D2. In D3 Set and Unique items are much more rare (yes, more rare and more boring). In D2 I could log on, kill Mephisto, and get probably at the very least a Unique or Set item. In D3 you can literally go over 100 hours of playing without ever finding a Set or Unique item. D3 also doesn't stay true to the true nature of a hack'n'slash. I always imagined that in a hack'n'slash you kill hordes of enemies and collect loot. In D3 (Inferno) each enemy is like a boss and you will die many, many... many times. You will without a doubt find yourself being killed in one hit. Not fun. Other negatives, and this may just be my opinion, are that there is a 4-player limit per game. There is no PVP currently what-so-ever. There is little reason to play with other people. The game gets much harder, people are scattered and dieing and resurrecting constantly or going AFK, and that simply doesn't work out in D3 because you can't do anything with 2 people in a game with 4 players. Most people will probably tell you that they never play in public games with people that they don't know. The whole social aspect of the game is completely lacking. It feels like I'm playing a single-player game, for the most part. Finally, there are already bots and gold-spammers.
The game is also very prone to exploits or cheap tricks to gain exp, gold, or what have you, since you can start on any quest on any difficulty. You can also get to a "check point", leave the game, resume, and be able to repeat something you had just done. So... people find things (areas, monsters, what have you) close to starting quests or check points that allow them to do something very fast repeatedly. Let me give some examples in more detail. There is an area before the first major boss with a ton of pots that can drop gold, so, people continuously start on a quest after this area (so you can TP there) and break all the jars, which takes like 1 minute, collect the gold, then quickly do it again, over and over. These are referred to as "Crypt" runs. So, if you want gold, you do that. If you want EXP quick you find a quest or group of monsters close to a check point or starting quest. For example, people are just repeating quests over and over. Examples are the boss Zulton Kulle and the first quest of Act 3 where a group of goblins spawn that can be killed very quickly. All this matters because if you want to do anything efficiently you will find yourself repeating something over and over that takes about 1 minute each time. Yup, that's Diablo 3. Even if you want to play the game "normally" you will probably want to farm rare items, in which case you will do the same thing over and over, such as a "Butcher" run, or "Siege Breaker" run. You do these because they have been determined to be the best spots for farming. This probably seems fairly reasonable since it is a Diablo game and in essence you will probably be repeating something, but at least in D2 the game wasn't so hard that some classes couldn't progress, period (I'm being literal, unless you're a rich, hardcore play. A regular player trying to go through Inferno on a Barb will hit a wall that even with pretty decent gear they will not be able to overcome). In addition, the best items could drop on any Act in D2. Some puny zombies in Act 1 could potentially drop the very best gear. And beside that, there really isn't much else to do in D3. You can join General chat and try to make some friends, if that is your desire, but you will be slapped in the face by a wall of a gold-spammers.
The game just isn't rewarding in general. From finding items to killing enemies. Items are a bore, and enemies are too hard. It isn't an enjoyable experience. The abilities are even pretty boring. D2 was a faster paced game, in my opinion, and the resource system wasn't as strict. In D3 you can't spam multishot for an extended period of time, for example. Anyway, Blizzard had claimed that there were literally trillions (was it? Maybe billions) of builds. Maybe, but they consider each one of those builds apparently completely unique even if you simply switch a single rune. In addition, you will find that most abilities are simply not as efficient as others for Inferno. Nothing is impossible, but trying to have fun playing the game with certain abilities would be over-shadowed by the sheer difficulty increase that came with the decision to do so. Most classes use a "cookie-cutter" build already. I will literally never use certain abilities because they aren't as good as others, period. It's also unfortunate that most of the abilities that seem fun are the most useless ones. Meteor seems awesome and brutal for a Wizard, doesn't it? Too bad it simply isn't a good ability and will make the game even harder than it already is. If you haven't played the game yet and are considering purchasing it, you may be telling yourself at this point that none of this will be true for you. That you are a great player and you will use whatever build you like, and that you will breeze through Inferno. Or maybe even that you wont use those farming spots over and over and over and over. Well, that part may be true, but you will die countless times on Inferno, and will more than likely use a build similar to everybody else. And more than likely you will also get bored because the most important element of the game is lackluster. Let me tell you, I am a hardcore player. I already have 150 hours on my Wizard. I liked the idea of Inferno being difficult. I wanted it to be so amazingly hard that only the most skilled players could do it. That's the kind of player I am and now I'm here condemning it. The difficulty is artificial and lazy. It is not a "challenge". To me a challenge implies that with some level of skill you can overcome the said challenge. Inferno isn't something you can really easily overcome with skill. It's a gear check (well, even with really good gear you will die a lot), and maybe a tiny bit of skill is involved (I've been on Inferno Diablo for a while for the record). You will have to brute-force your way through while constantly dieing. Act 1 will seem reasonable, then, in Act 2, you will have enemies in your face faster than you can get away, and they will hit you 1 or 2 times and you will die. These aren't the type of enemies that are slow and powerful. Even the little fast ones that come in swarms (that you can't escape) will one-shot you. I'm usually stubborn about using defensive abilities over offensive, even if it makes things a little harder, but even I quickly realized I HAD to use defensive abilities that weren't appealing to me. This is just the truth of D3.
A lot of people would tell me this isn't D2, which is obviously true, but why change something that works? Some might consider D2 and unbalanced mess, but again, sometimes the flaws and imperfections of a game are what make it so fun. I'm not implying that D3 should have been made sloppily, or what have you, but they have overly refined and simplified it. Some things in D2 were indeed over-the-top, especially the items, but it without a doubt added depth to the game. I can tell D3 was designed around the Auction House, and that they wanted everything to be perfectly "fair" (IE no PK, for somebody might be "grief'd", which Blizzard wont have happen) and simplified for people. Unfortunately it left the game with no personality and no fun. In theory even I can admit it was a sound plan, but it surely did not work this time.