Tag Archives: Diablo III

How Diablo 3 is worse than Diablo 2

Cover art from Diablo II, a game designed by S...Like a lot of PC gamers, I was quite excited that Diablo3 was finally coming out after 11 years of development (at least according to wikipedia) and I played it quite extensively back in May, but after a month or so, maybe even less, I stopped playing and I have not even logged in since. I simply have no interest in playing anymore. The bright sheen of excitement was worn off and I can now only see the failing of the game.

I’ve spoken about this in the past, so I won’t rehash my arguments, however today I saw an article linked on reddit, which linked to the blizzard forum, which then linked to a very detailed explanation of why D2 was better, and this is not just nostalgia speaking. This really expressed my lingering feeling that D3 was just shallow in some way, so  I thought I’d repost it here.

“D2 hardly had any depth either, it was a point and click game too after all”
“You’re just being affected by nostalgia, D3 is just as good or better”
“After you beat inferno so what if that’s it? You got your hours’ worth didn’t you, what else did you expect?”
“Diablo 3 is the best Blizzard game I’ve ever played, thank you!”

NO, just NO. Screw you guys. Below is a comprehensive list of what exactly makes D3 so bad:

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* Extremely dumbed down from D2, with insulting amounts of hand-holding present everywhere. This ranges from autostats, all skills enabled, no skill levels, freespecing, restricted skill choices without elective mode enabled, simple skill tooltips, removal of almost all combat mechanic affixes, no weapon swap, 4 socketables vs the hundreds of D2, generic/boring legendaries, etc.

* Lack of social support – poorly implemented chat channels, automatched game joining only, ghost town effect (similar to SC2’s major problem with Bnet 2.0), 4 player limit = even less socializing.

* Cheesy B-movie story-telling, cliche one-dimensional characters, corny voice-acting, non-sensical/comical actions by villains, predictable twists and plotline.

* Lack of diverse character types within and among classes – no more physical/caster/hybrid – all character types now rely on weapon damage like physical characters in D2. This destroys a huge amount of itemization/gearing choices, as there’s no longer a deviation between decentralized gear (caster) vs centralized gear (physical) vs a build that needs to balance the two (hybrid). In D3, there are no more physical barbs (frenzy/ww), caster barbs (singer), or hybrid barbs (BvC), there are only barbs that all base their gear on weapon damage (physical).

* DRM online only – no offline single player, no lan support. Laggy servers, and all the same issues of botting, duping, spamming, and trade exploits present in a game that’s over a decade old.

* Crappy UI that’s designed by a console developer – convoluted to navigate, clunky, and inefficient at utilizing screen space.

* Approx FOUR times less legendaries (uniques/runewords) in the game than D2:
* 9 chest pieces vs 37 uniques + 14 runewords
* 18 swords vs 35 uniques + 26 runewords
* 6 shields vs 22 uniques + 8 runewords
* 7 helms vs 23 uniques + 5 runewords
* 7 bows vs 19 uniques + 16 runewords
It’s actually more like 20x less if you consider that all but 1-2 legendaries per category are completely worthless – low/mid-level legendaries are unusable due to a general lack of utility mechanics present in the game, and no way to upgrade the base item to the next type (which would increase base damage or defense).

* 4 gems vs 7 gems + 8 unique jewels + 33 runes + a NEAR LIMITLESS variety of magic/rare jewels.

* Legendaries are generic, boring, and don’t have the flavor that D2 uniques/runewords did. Legendaries hardly seem to have themes or any effort done to them anymore, and most are just cookie-cutter molds that have been pasted onto every Legendary item type. Randomization of 1-3 entire affixes also makes the item much less iconic or powerful than before.

* Lack of combat mechanic affixes compared to D2:
% CTC Skill on Striking
% CTC Skill on Struck
% CTC Skill on Attack
% CTC Skill on Death
% CTC Skill on Level Up
% CTC Skill on Striking
% CTC Skill when you kill an enemy
Aura on Equipped
+Skill (off-class)
+Skill (class)
Charged Skill
Fires Explosive Arrows or Bolts
Fires Magic Arrows or Bolts
Knockback
Slain Monsters Rest in Peace
% Crushing Blow
% Open Wounds
% Hit Causes Monsters to Flee
Freezes Target
Cold Damage (Slows Target)
% Slows Target
Cannot Be Frozen
Drain Life
Hit Blinds Target
% Reanimate as (Monster Type)
Displays Full Set Aura
Natalya’s Permanent Fade State
Trang Oul’s Permanent Vampire State

vs D3:
% Fear
% Stun
% Slow
% Immobilize
% Chill
% Freeze
% Knockback
% Blind

And stun, slow, immobilize, chill, and freeze all pretty much do the same thing…

* The removal of attack rating (accuracy), faster hit recover, and faster block rate equates to a severe loss of having to balance such stats on gear, and represents yet another dumbing down of the decisions you make in the game.

* Much weaker bonuses on items in general aside from pure stats – less attack speed, less damage reduction, less run/walk speed = items feeling much less powerful than before and gear choices becoming much less meaningful or strategic. Set items also have extremely weak, almost laughable bonuses.

* Inferno mode is broken. It’s not more difficult, it’s just cheap. 1/2-shots everywhere, melee is severely handicapped. A number of retarded monster affixes that should never have been put in. Most builds except for a select few aren’t even viable. There’s no semblance of strategy, just having the best gear possible and dumb luck in not hitting the wrong champions. Since when did Diablo change from a game where you mow down monsters and feel like a god, to one where you repeatedly get cheap-shotted over and over again in a boring grind?

* Quests feel a lot more forced and non-optional than in D2.

* RMAH diminishes the sense of achievement of finding items. Spending hours finding a great item just doesn’t feel as rewarding when you know you can find something similar at the RMAH for a couple of cents. Although buying items with money was prevalent in D2, at least it was hidden away and not endorsed for all players to see and use.

* Farming has shifted from item finding to gold finding – mainly due to the rarity of legendaries, the low cost of legendaries, as well as gold being a readily attainable universal currency. However, gold finding is considerably less fun than item finding. To give a comparison: D2 was like playing the slot machine, each pull of the lever and you had a chance at something amazing. D3 is like going to work everyday, earning a paycheck, then buying what you want with the money.

* Outdoors feel a lot more linear, which is amplified by their completely static nature – there’s less vast open areas with less monsters at a time compared to D2 = less opportunities to kill hoards of enemies at once. The cow level – which was one of the most iconic vast open areas with hundreds of monsters, has been reduced to ponyville – a cramped twisty area with few monsters.

* No ethereal or superior items, no ability to create items with such properties or transmute it onto items you own, no gambling, no charms, no way to reroll item affixes. Mystic used to be able to do this, then got scrapped. All this just represents more dumbing down of features.

* A late game character doesn’t feel sufficiently stronger than an early game character. In D2, you felt weak in the early stages of the game, and like a complete badass in the later stages. Yet in D3, every spell is over-the-top and makes you feel powerful even 5 minutes into the game. Increased attack/cast speed are at much lower values than from D2 and inferno difficulty actually makes you feel a lot weaker than you did in the mid game.

* Lack of character uniqueness/identity/ownership – all builds are freely changeable, many builds in the late game are similar or identical – no character permanence + lack of customizability = lack of character attachment.

* Lack of in-depth customization – skills only have 1 level each so it’s impossible to specialize in certain skills to the extent you could before. You can’t specialize in builds that aren’t predetermined for you through the passive trait system. Because there are no points to allocate, there’s no more tinkering with unique builds, thinking about your build, or calculating your allocation of skill points/synergies. Although stats played a lesser extent (due to most people putting enough str to wear gear, and rest into vit), removing stats still removed some unique build options such as pure dex amazons, pure energy sorcs, pure str barbs, half/half varieties of the aforementioned, and max block vs 50% block vs passive block depending on dex allocations.

* Lack of good PvP support – not even in the game yet, but when it does eventually arrive, it will suck. There’s no 1v1s, no 2v2s, no in-game pk/pvp, no true team on team matches – only continuous-respawning deathmatch style matches on a timer. Furthermore, players are automatched by skill, so even players that are doing well will never truly feel like they are as there’s nothing to show for it without a rating system. RMAH also pretty much equates to buying power.

* No immersion or horror atmosphere – minimap with blinking dots and arrows, text messages and numbers popping up on screen for each attack or effect, annoying and repetitive character dialog every step of the way. Horror atmosphere is almost non-existent. Sure there’s “gore”, but the abundance of a bright colors, the cartoony almost surreal nature of the game, and the well-lit dungeons make it impossible for the game to scare you.

* Low replayability – no point in making more than 1 character for each class. All unique builds can be tried out in the timespan of a few minutes, instead of a few weeks. Unique builds aren’t practical in Inferno. Not enough depth in customization. Not enough depth in itemization. Bad pvp = low incentive to find loot. Bland loot = low incentive to find loot. Gold farming = low incentive to find loot. Low social support = less fun while playing. After beating inferno, is there even a point in continuing to play a game that’s no longer fun?

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Face it, this game is dying. People are leaving in droves after running through the game and reaching max level. This game is just too dumbed down and too badly designed to have enough replayability to support it for the years to come in the same way D2 did. This isn’t an action “RPG”, this is an action beat-em-up – this is Gauntlet Legends online. And don’t you dare think that any of these issues are because “an ARPG can’t do well in modern times”. It can. And it’s a darn shame that it very well could have, had Blizzard not hired that clown of a director Jay Wilson who ran the series into the ground. I’m done with D3, and my respect for Blizzard has suffered a large blow. Somewhere along the way, Blizzard simply lost respect for their customers, and it’s just not right.

 

Diablo 3 is just too short (and other annoyances)

So obviously I’ve been playing D3 in the last week and while the game is quite enjoyable (albeit far too easy on Normal mode) I find that it is unexpectedly short. The game follows the same pattern as Diablo 2, of having 4 acts, of which the 4th one is very small comparatively. Each act takes around 3-4 gametime hours to complete, if one is not completely rushing. But the whole game can be completed in 5 hours if one just rushes the main questline. People had reached level 60 on the first day, which means 3 complete playthroughs within 24 hours, probably less.

What I can’t understand is why the game is so short! The freaking thing has been in development for as long as any MMORPG, perhaps even longer, and yet we get an amount of content that is normal, if not short for any AAA game coming out. Why didn’t we get a huge campaign to play through I do not understand. MMOs typically have 5 year development cycles and then come out with content that is vastly larger than what D3 delivered. Just look at the size of the world that World of Warcraft has when it launched, or the size of the world that Guild Wars 2 will have.Did Blizzard get rid of their design and graphics department once they’d crafted those 4 acts? It’s a bit disappointing to tell the truth.

Other than that, while I’m having a lot of fun, the shine of  a new blizzard game does quickly start to rub off and I start to notice the defects below. Except the disappointingly short length of the game, I am not sure I like the way that things were overly simplified. A few things that bothered me:

  • Why are there so few socketing items? There’s only 4 types of gems available, that are all very very similar and downright bland. One gem for each base statistic, and they don’t really have a lot of variation for where you slot them. I really miss having a special ability for slotting them on shields or off-hand items.
  • The way the base skills work is just boring and does not promote any diversity in characters. Basically, for each class you get one primary skill that has the same effects as the other primary skills for the other class. They add both damage resistance (in some form) and damage increase. Because your base skill increases the two things one most needs in the game, there is absolutely no reason to increase your other skills except vitality. This is just brain-dead. There’s practically no decision-making required whatsoever as all you need to do is look for the items with the most primary or vitality stat, depending on if you want more damage or survivability.
    I remember in Diablo2, I was playing a wizard that used to go into melee range and use close range powerful magic. Maybe not the best build but it was fun. To do it, I had to increase my strength a lot, in order to be able to equip heavier armor, which was cool as I ended up as a mage in plate armor. But there’s no such experimentation here. Whatever build I go for, the same choices are always the best: Primary stat + Vitality. Meh.
  • The Auction House seems to cheapen the whole experience. When we first started playing, we had a lot of fun and excitement for finding good drops, even if not good ones for our class, since our team mates could use them. But then one of us started using the Auction House to pimp themselves out. It started with them buying some high quality gems to put in their weapons but soon enough it was better items. Given that you can buy on the Auction House far better items than you can craft or find (within reason), most of the time, there was very little reason to even check if what you found was better than what you bought on the AH. 99% of the time, it isn’t. That, coupled with the fact that 90% of the magic item drops you get are complete junk that you just sell, even rare items, and there is very little excitement about finding anything. It becomes a mindless item harvest to sell for gold to buy what you need on the Auction House.
  • The weapons you use are almost always just cosmetic. There is no functional difference between any weapon type. Swords do not differ from Axes do not differ from Polearms, except for attack speed and using 1 or 2 hands. There’s no cool weapon specialization as there was in Diablo 2, where one could become an expert on a particular weapon type and get some cool abilities out of it. Other than some small decision on what kind of skills to use depending on your weapon’s attack speed, you can interchange weapons with impunity. That’s possibly a conscious decision, but it’s boring.
    Why don’t hammers work better to bypass armor? Why don’t swords and daggers work better against unarmed enemies? Why don’t polearms have a longer reach? Everything is the same.
    Add to that, that the spell casters of the game can equip any item but never use it. I equiped a honking two-handed sword on my Witch Doctor that I never swung even once. I had fun with my two handed-carrying wizard in Diablo2, because I would smack people with it, but now it’s just used to calculate the damage of your spells? I’m left unimpressed.

What do y’all dislike about D3?