Tobold's Blog
Saturday, July 28, 2012
What do you think about Diablo 3 now?

I am subscribed to a print magazine with PC games reviews, and that magazine took the unusual step to post a correction to their review score of Diablo III, downgrading it by 5 points. They cited the endgame being bad, and the negative influence of the auction house on fun as reasons for the downgrade. Even Blizzard itself had to admit that their endgame is not sustainable as it is.

Of course one could argue that all this doesn't matter for Blizzard: They sold 6.3 million copies of the game in the first week, and as this is not a subscription game and most players don't spend big bucks on the real money AH, it doesn't matter so much for Blizzard if most people stopped playing by now. On the other hand, if everybody remembers Diablo 3 as a game that got boring really fast, it will be hard to sell Diablo 4.

So what is your impression of Diablo 3 now? Are you still playing? Is it still as much fun? Do you enjoy the "endgame", or did it turn into a grind real fast?

It's very close to being a fun game but it doesn't quite succeed.

The main reason for me is loot. Loot is simply too complicated to evaluate. Tons of rares drop and the process of IDing them, wondering if these stats will sell, testing that by AHing them and discovering that many of them don't is frustrating.

What they need is the simplicity of the set and unique based loot of D2. Gold grim helm - that's great loot. Yellow grim helm - vendor crap or leave it on the floor.

I'd also like to see a more robust fix to gear swapping for magic find boost. I dont want to open my inventory and frantically click a load of gear onto my paperdoll whenever a boss is at 2% life but neither am I happy killing it with 100% MF when most people kill it with 300% MF.
I stopped playing because the endgame isn't too much fun right now. However, I fully expect to return to it sooner or later. Diablo2 also was no game I played for years without end, I played it for a while, dropped it and returned half a year later. I guess I'll do that with Diablo3 too.

The sad thing is just that Diablo3 was actually so close to being a way better game. On the other hand, we now have a game that should have been wildly successfuly but stayed behind expectations because of some f2p-itemshop-stupidity. I hope a lot of other developers watched closely..
At maximum software difficulty, it appears you have to grind and vendor most drops and sell very few on the AH. Then you use that earned gold you buy very expensive upgrades on the AH in order to progress to higher difficulties. I only made it to defeating the first boss in inferno act 2 and haven't played since weeks.

I guess I might completely agree with the review of your magazine. At least once you reach inferno act 2, the way drops work and interact with the AH kills all the fun.
At maximum softCORE difficulty...
The biggest problem to me is that the loot is so damn boring. I have yet to see a single unique or set item, and all the rares are made from the same ol mods since level one, just in incrementally different amounts. Oh yay that's so great. From what I understand the uniques aren't really all that unique either, with little in the way of truly unique abilities. I guess they were afraid it would do something bad to their silly AH if uniques were too interesting? I don't know.

I'm still playing, a little. Mostly I want to see all the classes through normal, beyond that I don't know.

I don't think we'll have to wait until (wow) they try a D4 for them to take a hit from all this varied dissatisfaction. They'll surely want to do an expansion pack in the next year or two.
What magazine was this? I'm disappointed to hear that a magazine would review a game without playing it. Sounds like they didn't get to Inferno mode before publishing.

D3 is pretty much what I expected. "Endgame" is endless grinding for items, ala D2, but good items are much harder to find yourself and the base game is more difficult.

I'm still playing it, and I had expected to drop it after about 2 weeks before it was released, so I had my fun. Unless 1.04 comes out soon, I'm probably done after I reach 60 in hardcore mode.
I didn't buy it, never seriously considered buying it, and I don't regret not buying it.
Played because it was free with WoW annual sub (worst investment ever!). I duoed through to end of chapter 3 on normal, it was too boring for us to even bother finishing the clichéd story. The loot stats and AH have taken all of the fun and raison d'être out of the game. Very, very bad....
Considering how high my total playtime is, I can't really complain.

Inferno is the proverbial brick wall without gear from the AH, but everything up to that is fun. I still have three characters that aren't at max level yet, so there's still some enjoyment left in it.
Nine days after launch I finished the campaign and doing it again so soon bored me, so I dropped it. I figured I'd pick it back up again, but I haven't touched it since.

The AH sucks any fun out of finding loot, so the only real attraction was the storyline and that needed several times the amount of content that was there.
My impression of D3 as someone who has neither bought nor played it is that, judging from friends' and bloggers' opinions I'm better off revisiting molded Titan Quest and waiting for Path of Exile & Torchlight 2. I played many satisfying hours of D2 and it rests peacefully in memory.
Dropping a game's score retroactively after you finish a large amount of the content has direct similarities with dropping your opinion of pornographic material after you're "Finished" with it. You must have had your fun to score it that high, right?

That point aside, all Diablo releases have had expansions and this one will be no different, giving them a chance to "fix" the endgame. I will reserve judgement until I've seen the expansion release.
Wait, did Blizzard actually market this as a game that would last you for years, or was that just something players decided to expect?

I was under the impression that after playing through each class, you were supposed to put it away and play something else.
It's unfortunate that thanks to WoW everyone is of a mind that when they buy a game that 60 bucks is supposed to get thousands of hours of playtime.

It's unrealistic and silly. The only games that can pull that off are pvp games like StarCraft, and even then only for the hardcore crowd.
I expected to play D3 for hundreds of hours, not so much thousands. I still played D2 occasionally up until 6 months ago.

D2 had a HUGE community up until the release of D3 and I would venture to guess it still has one. I thought I was going to play D3 for the next 6 months because when D2 came out I played it for 6 months. I played through on 3 characters to the mid 80's when D2 came out.

I played D3 through to the 2nd act on the 2nd difficulty setting and then just... I don't know got bored. The actual gameplay is fun. I honestly think the class I played, Demon Hunter, was well done. The minute by minute play was fun... but I needed something more to make me play the game through on another difficulty setting. It wasn't there.

I actually trust reviews that aren't knee jerk and come a few weeks after release rather than at release. My friends and I always use to talk about our top 5 favorite video games of all time. It's a discussion that would come up every few months. Our rule was that a game had to be at least 6 months old to be considered because the newness of a game will skew your view.
It is a grindfest which is what I was lead to believe. I am still playing it. Mindlessly slaughtering mobs can be fun in moderation. And without a sub, there is no pressure. Certainly it was a great deal in terms of $/hour.

For me, I assume people comparing "D2 the brand" with "D3 1.0.3" are probably doing it deliberately (trolling) although perhaps just making a mistake. I.e., comparing D3 after some patches/expansions to late D2 would be more comparable.

Part of the problem is the large time frame. If you were to evaluate LotRO or DDO or WoT gold ammo or GW2 cash shop or much modern design with the normative values of a dozen years ago, they would be appalled that game companies are for profit businesses. The trends are that WoW 2 and GW 3 and D4 will have more "commerce" than their predecessors but GW 2024 will have considerably more than GW1 of a dozen years earlier.

I really like the AH - it would be so frustrating if a great piece of gear drops and most of the time it is not for my class. Cybercrime is so much sophisticated; trading with strangers over dubious web sites would not have appealed to me in 2002 and is out of the question in 2012. So I can't see not having the AH in a grind game. Unless it were just a cheat-code single person game that does not sound appealing to me.


My main take away from reading about D3 is not learning about D3 but lowering much further my opinion of the value of what the herd says. (Well I may read a few of the "zomg GW2 does not have a non-PvP endgame" screeds but I eat junk food as well. ) I.e., I will play D3 as much but spend less time reading what the special snowflakes are saying.
For me it was D2 hat got boring fast, so I haven't even bothered with D3.
I've just started Inferno and I'm having a lot of fun with it. However, I only have a few hours a week to play. If I had been playing 10-15 hours a week, I suspect I'd be a little more bored than I am.
I got fooled by D3. I spent $60 for a game I played for 12 hours.

The $10 I spent for Orcs Must Die last week has already gotten me 30 hours of play.

I knew that the ah would destroy the game and it did. I got sucked into the hype machine anyway.

Blizz is going to have to be very careful about its next move. Or maybe I'm just getting old.
>I got fooled by D3. I spent $60 for a game I played for 12 hours.

Same here. Maybe it was even 20 hours, but they were pretty dull. D3 is an okay treadmill, but I'm not sure it can be played for fun, really.

I've just recently played Nox, a Diablo clone from 2000, and it was much better in many respects.
I think that Diablo 3 is not an MMO and it is wrong to compare it to World of Warcraft.

The whole word "engame" come from MMO genre, there is no such thing outside the MMO. End of the game there means end of the game, not the beginning.

No one complain that engame in - say - Call of Duty, Prototype, Starcraft II or Titan Quest is bad and you can not play Call of Duty for years after reaching the end of the game (exept PvP).

Some hardcore funs can play for years and trade for real money evem without AH, but this is small minority.

In its genre Diablo III still the best (compare it to Diablo II, Torchlight, Titan Quest, Sacred - not WoW) or one of the best.

Most problems that you point out is genre specific - in other games of this genre (rogue-like, Diablo-clones) they are the same.

Diablo III not an MMO and not a WoW.
The $10 I spent for Orcs Must Die last week has already gotten me 30 hours of play.

Yeah, but this week I got Orcs Must Die with both DLCs for €3.49 from a Steam summer sale. ;)
I think it is a pretty good game, when played in moderation (this is true for all games i guess). Being the ultimate casual (3-4 hours per week, at most) i still managed to finish the normal and nightmare difficulty. Hell however proved too much for my mediocre (and steadily degrading) twitch skills...I also liked playing the generaly hated "AH-mini-game" btw. The hours played vs investment ratio is very good even if i got the rip-off version from the blizzardshop for 60 euros(?). (not that i care very much for that ratio though). It's the game i played the most (and even to an end of sorts) for a long time.
I think ill keep it installed and try another class some time in the future.
Still getting a lot of enjoyment out of it. I've got 143 hours /played according to my profile.. leveled one character to 60 and am up to late act 1 inferno.

While I loved normal, nightmare and hell, I have to say inferno is a bit too stressful to play exclusively, so I've been leveling some other classes, and also working on achievements.

The achievements give a fun reason to clear and reclear zones, beyond just xp and loot (hoping for the random events, side dungeons, etc. to spawn).

The actual minute-by-minute gameplay I'm still loving as much as I did the first time I loaded up the closed beta. It's light years beyond any other action RPG I've played, including the upcoming Torchlight 2 and Path Of Exile.
Until I stopped I played D3 for 73 hours which is very good value for the money compared most 10-20 hours single player games. Up until 59 I had a lot of fun, got to act3 hell.

Then I hit 60 and went to act4 hell but lost interest. Blizzard did a great job with the talent system, until 59 I would respec every couple minutes to adjust my playing style to the monsters I engaged. Such fun! Then suddenly at 60 I get punished for doing that (losing Nephalem buff). WTF?

Also as a melee there are elite packs that are not hard (which I like) but frustrating. 10 minutes on one pack because I have to run around like a chicken only striking for a second every now and then, not being able to adjust my talents... can't be bothered anymore.

I'll just wait a patch or two and see if it's more fun later.
I always found it unfun and grindy, despite the hype all my friends got caught up in. Sounds like that scenario is playing out the same for a lot of people.
Thanks for asking the question, I've been wondering what people thought.

I liked it and definitely got my money's worth. Never played D2. I got to Act III Inferno. Made $20 on the AH which will help pay for Mists.

I got pretty deep into Barbarian stat and gear analysis. The game went from impossible to easy again with proper itemization using resist gear. Kripparian's vids were great. Bought gear on the AH, actually found an upgrade or 2, never paid more than 100K for gear.

What finally broke the game for me was when you could buy gold on the RMAH.

I had carefully amassed 600K gold, selling carefully, etc. then suddenly I bought 1 million gold for about $3.

The instant I did that I had that "what's the point" feeling and haven't logged in since. It was like this sudden currency inflation that just made everything seem valueless.

I agree with other commenters that going back and revising a review is crappy. Reviewing a game based on what you hope it will be and then down rating because it didn't pan out? Or was it that you thought it was great but now you're done and want a new bandwagon?
@Robert Kazmierczak: Actually, your analogy seems to better serve to promote the practice of revisiting reviews.

When you're in the heat of the moment (porn or gaming), you're wired to go and not thinking critically. People aren't exactly known for making their best decisions when horny.

When the 'shiny and new' factor is in effect, and if you're just in the mood for it, you're going to get off regardless of quality. It's only afterward, when you've had time to reflect, that you can tell if it's something that you'll keep around for going back to, because of its quality, or just discard as being 'good at the time because it was new'. I'd love all reviews to have a 'longevity' component, because it definitely impacts my purchasing decisions.

My reasoning being: New games in Australia are $90-$110 retail. (And US folks whine about $60. Pfft.) If I'm paying that much for a game that I really enjoy while playing it, but only lasts 4-6hrs, I might as well have spent that same amount of money on going to see a few movies. Longevity makes a difference to my decision to buy now, or wait for discounting. Which, in the case of D3, is incredibly unlikely to happen for quite some time. As such, that information? Useful, and worth including in a review.

It might not be useful to you, if you are a die-hard fan who wanted to play it no matter what and didn't care about the dollar to entertainment-hours ratio.

Reviews these days have to be churned out so fast to stay current and of interest to the google-trained goldfish brains of modern gamers that there is never the luxury of being afforded time to reflect and digest.
"Wait, did Blizzard actually market this as a game that would last you for years, or was that just something players decided to expect?"

Given that I still own a copy of D2+expansions and give it a spin every now and then, and I wasn't even a hardcore devotee, I don't think that was an unreasonable or unfair expectation.

And I'm pretty sure that the only thing Blizz did to fuck with the winning formula was to make it online-only (ergo: no mods, character-editing, level-skipping, item-creation) in an effort to curb piracy and to better serve up-take of the RM-AH. Not only that, but in their efforts to boost AH-usage, they fucked with loot drops, such that you can potentially go almost an entire act without anything useful dropping, forced to hit the AH to beat whatever gear-wall gets thrown up, or continuously grind the act again.

@Everyone else who complained people are judging D3 as a MMO:

If it quacks like a duck...

Yeah, that's not entirely fair, and I've never heard of a single-player game having concerns about the 'endgame' which is probably the most telling sign of what's wrong. It's being sold as a quasi-MMO. If there had been an offline mode, and if the loot drops hadn't been tweaked to enforce use of the AH, I'm going to guess that many folks who write off 'end-game' complaints as being the province of the hardcore online crowd.

Blizzard made their bed, they can sleep in it.

A lot of folks I know grabbed D3 (or played friends' versions of it) just to book-end their adventures and fond memories of ten years ago, pouring one out for the franchise.
I played through to end of last act on 1st difficulty. Didnt see anything in the game that made me wish to go through it more times. (Killing last boss pretty much was end of game for me).
Personally I'm not sure why people took so long to see D3 for what it was. Thank goodness I didn't pay the inflated price Blizzard charged outside of the US (ie. MORE than $60), for what it's worth.
What I'm going to say is probably going to attract flames but here it goes.

What if part of the reason why D3 was percieved so harshly by the blogosphere and online circles is the same reason why games like rift and tor and even cataclysm have seen player drops. What's the common thread all these games have even though the games themselves are different?

Us "hardcore" (and if your reading this blog you are hardcore by mainstream standards) players have been there done that for years on end now.

Tobold you talk all the time about how your tastes as a gamer have changed. That's why tor didn't hold you. I'll dare to say Diablo 3 didn't hold certain people for the same reason. Ill even dare to say if you released a game exactly like Diablo 2 now with everything the same but the name it would flop. or at least not be a huge success. We as gamers have changed. Years ago grinding for the sake of grinding like we have in D3 was an acceptable endgame. What changed? We did.

To answer the post. I'm no longer playing D3. Got bored. Sorry if there are mistakes in this post. typing on my phone.
just to add on before someone brings it up; I don't believe that's the ONLY reason for number drops but I think its more a significant reason then devs/publishers and even us players think. Each game had other things that negatively affected them, but I think a fair amount can be chalked up to peoples tastes changing.
Current status: uninstalled it from my Bootcamp partition; kept in on my Mac partition to check for occasional updates (not to play).
Btw, to put that in perspective: I have 200h+ on my Demon Hunter, she is at 110,000 DPS in full Natalya set.

I might level up (casually) a monk, waiting for the PvP Arena patch.
I played for a month or so before getting too bored of the grind.

The problem is many fold but the two major issues are like this.

1st, The loot like everyone has said is incredibly bland. Each class has two stats that you want one of which is always vitality. The only major change between low level loot and high level loot is the numbers are larger and resistance gear becomes important. So everyone of the same class is basically competing for the exact same gear.

2nd, Inferno difficulty is so impossibly difficult that you need gear that has a sub 1% chance to be rolled even once it rolls as an item slot you need to upgrade. For some classes this is a bigger deal than others but the end result is that you either need to get very lucky a large number of times, grind for upgrade drops for weeks or months, grind for weeks or months for gold to buy upgrades, or some combination there of.

On top of all of that there has been at least one Wizard god mode bug that was being abused for more than a month after it was reported in exacting detail. It was hot fixed the day after someone posted the how to details on the public forums. But the number of people that fessed up to using it and complaining that it was out in the open was pretty sickening. Barbarians had a similar bug that while not god mode did give massive enough health regen to be able to avoid death except on one hit kills. Same thing, fixed after finally being posted to public forums, but abused for a good long time even though it had been reported.

I'm basically not convinced that Blizzard is interested in making a fair, fun and balanced game so much as keeping people playing and paying through the RMAH. And make no mistake, some people are spending absurd amounts of real money.
@George: Unfortunately this is all painfully obvious, but so is the subtext: I am no longer Blizzard's target audience.

That makes me kinda sad. It feels almost like betrayal, remembering them from a time when they were hand-in-hand with Interplay, working under a creed of, "By gamers, for gamers."

Not so much anymore. "By gamers, for gamers... for a price."

Indeed, Blizzard's target audience has changed and Diablo isn't the best indication of this direction but Mists of Pandaria is.

They are targeting a younger and broader audience with the end result being the older, hardcore players are left in the dust.
I am going to sound controversial to Blizzard's die-hard fans but they are no different to any other company. They used to care about quality, having released plenty of top, top games in the past. But I think they have become way more commercial and not in a good League of Legends way. What I mean is the reason why the Diablo 3 end-game has been criticised is due to Real Money Auction House which was aimed to serve as a cash-cow for Blizzard, hence the loot design. You can see the exact same things in WoW nowadays, with plenty of servers which have become deserted but Blizzard doesn't merge them together because why do that if people eventually will be forced to pay them and transfer to another server. Mists of Pandaria is another attempt to commercialise (and dumb down) WoW even further.

Good were those days when Blizzard were my favourite game developers, but no more.
I was playing Diablo 3 for a month, reached Leoric in the Act I, Inferno, and afterwards I got bored.

There main reason was that I don't think that it is a good design to make the engame in such a way that you have to do over and over again what you already did three times before.

I don't mind grindfest, after all it was the core of Diablo 2, but there you had a choice where to go: you might to just Baal runs, you might clear zones which were appealing to you aesthetically etc. But going through the same plot, listening to the same dialogues (or skipping them - but you still know what is happening) again and again gets boring very soon.

It would be cool if Blizzard adds any open zones for grinding which would be lorewise connected with the plot, but be a sandbox. More random events could also help.

In my opinion, Diablo 3 is amazing game of high quality, and the reason why many people blame it is that expectations were too high.
Diablo 3 is still garbage and never had a chance at being recycled. The dev team that Activision charged this project to are a bunch of quacks, which the complete lack of progress since release is evidence to. It's too bad because all that's holding this game back are the balance issues that make practically make the game not fun to play on purpose. The mismanagement of items ruined 99.99% of the rest of the game, while the impossibility for the community to fix this crap, due to online only, ruined 100% of it.

I think you're a bit confused, dude. The items in Diablo 3 are far simpler. There are no eye opening bonuses to speak of, just + to stats garbage that is all stupidly underpowered unless you get it from the AH. The fact that items alone and not your character in any fashion, rule this game, should be the reason why it's not fun to you.
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