Sunday, 5 August 2012

Diablo 3, in my opinion

I know it's not an mmorpg but it's a game that I've been playing for a while now, so i decided to give my opinion over it.

Diablo 3, been waited for players for nearly 12 years or so. This been quite an anticipated title for some time. The game is out for almost 3 months and rapidly came from one of the most anticipated games of 2012, to one of the most hated. I'm still not sure if it's Diablo 3 or SWTOR that's the most hated title at the moment, but these 2 titles been in the fingers of the mmorpg community not for the shiniest reasons. 

I'm not going to say if i agree or not with what been said about what been said of Diablo 3, just going to to try to give my own opinion about it.

Diablo 3, is latest release from Blizzard in the saga (and their latest product). The game is basically, and action RPG, where players take control of an character and fight over endless hordes of enemies, killing for gold, treasure and experience. The game isn't too focused on character developing except for the usual gearing up. There are 5 classes, Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor and Wizard.
As the player levels up, new skills will be available and besides the new skill, and besides the skills gain players can also gain runes (This is I think one of the nicest features in Diablo 3). Runes are like a small upgrade added to a given spell that will allow it to perform differently depending on a given rune. As a small example, the Witch Doctor (the necromancer sort of), has this spell Zombie Charger, that sends a zombie towards the enemy. If i place a specific rune called zombie bears, this spell turns into a quite impressive stampede of zombie bears that trash everything in their path. Any spell in game has a given set of runes and players can adapt skills to their own needs.
The game focus also heavily on gear, and it will make a big difference at Inferno difficulty where the game can be really frustrating if not properly geared. Many gear will drop but very rarely players find something that is really good for their character. So one idea was to save a good item and trade it with other players for something better for the character. Here enters the second feature of the game, that some players dislikes. 

The Auction House. Neither Diablo 1 or 2, feature anything remotely similar in the game. It was all player trading. For Diablo 3, Blizzard decided to implement this system. While personally i like to fiddle around the Auction House, i understand that many players didn't like because in order to succeed in Diablo 3, you would need to go to Auction House and get the gear. All would be fine, wasn't the fact that most good gear was insanely priced for most players, making players sometimes come to brick wall they couldn't overcome. So i think in some cases the Auction House made people  turn their noses. Oh and there is also the RMAH, which is basically the Auction House but this time with real money. You would put an item in the RMAH in trade for a certain amount of money. Again another feature some players are totally against it. To me, I can't complain.

But the biggest complain, and by far the thing that drove many players away, was the Inferno difficulty. The difficulty is just over the top and in most cases totally brainless. There were packs of mobs that would be impossible to pass to most players, which made them angry towards the game, and many would just rage quit over it. I had times back when i first reached level 60 (that's the level cap), i would rage quit because there were fights that would just be totally stupid for me as a Barbarian.

Another problem, was the lack of proper end game. Blizzard expected that item hunt would do the trick but i guess players want more then just the regular run over stomping hordes of enemies for some items that in most case weren't that good. Sometimes it's really tedious, and if I fail to get anything remotely interesting, I just log off and come back another day.

Also players complained about items, because it was really hard to get something decent. Like getting a shiny knew sword, identify it just to see that the dps (damage per second) is way too low, and that the stats aren't even remotely proper for the weapon. And that happens way too often. Oh and the legendary items (uniques) are 99% of the times really really bad.

Players complained also about the no single player version for Diablo 3. Although this doesn't affect me, i can understand that some would like to have that option.

Story wise it's ok, it's not Mass Effect or anything like that but it will do for the game. And the cutscenes, well that's Blizzard quality, probably the only thing that's reminiscent of the pre-Activision Blizzard.

I can point out what i think has gone really wrong on Diablo 3 for me. 
First off, level cap. I think it was really a bad idea from Blizzard to cap it at 60 and making everyone hitting it fairly easily. I remember back in Diablo 2, it was a nightmare to get to 99 (which i only did once in the expansion). It would give something to players to come and do besides the endless item hunt. 
Second, there is no proper end game, that makes people want to come back. Blizzard already admitted this. I think one idea would be some sort of ladder, that would track players killing of champions and elites for each giving act (since there is a level cap). The first 10 players would receive as bonus, an extra stack of naphalem valor as example (oh forgot to mention, this valor basically it's a stack of magic find that increases the chance of players getting more quality items - doesn't mean they are good, just getting more magic items). 
Finally, the difficulty although I've adapted to it, i do admit it's a bit over the edge for some players. Maybe a tweaking would be nice.

In any case i enjoy playing this game from time to time. Got myself a Barbarian and recently leveled a Witch Doctor which I'm really enjoying playing with (zombie bears ftw). I like sometimes doing a small item hunt, not that I've been much luckily but I have got some decent pieces so far. I'm not doing anything remotely different i would do on Diablo 2, except that in Diablo 2 i would do either endless runs to Pindleskin or a cow run. It's a bit more refreshing doing a complete act run and i think on this Blizzard did a good change.

In any case, i would like to see more meaningful end game, but since Blizzard keeps it's lips tight about what they will do to the game, i can't foresee any bright future for the time being. But at the moment time is playing against Diablo 3.
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