Diablo 3 is just too short (and other annoyances)

While it’s an enjoyable game, Diablo 3 just disappoints on too many issues.

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?


5 thoughts on “Diablo 3 is just too short (and other annoyances)”

  1. I'll be shameless here and state that in all those accounts torchlight 2 will be better, how do I know this you ask? I was able to play the game for about 5 hours yesterday and I hope I'll be able to add a couple more today. I think that in the long run I'll like torchlight better. But enough about that!

    So my thoughts about Diablo 3. I have to agree in almost all accounts here. While a nice game, it could have been a lot better. I don't think I can add anything more substantial.

  2. You may have discovered this already, but the skill system gains a lot more depth when you turn on elective mode in the gamplay menu.

    1. Yeah I knew that already. It's the reason I didn't complain about the skill system. That I agree has quite a bit of choice, albeit I am not sure how viable most of the choices are, or if it will end up that people will just find the 2-3 best skills of each class and use only those.

  3. I disagree about the stat system. If you've been paying attention to the wizard forums you'd know that there was a very popular non-vitality build (nerfed but still doable). Similarly, paying attention to resistances is important especially once you hit the later difficulties. I don't know on what your experience is based on, but the other stats do matter, it's not just as apparent anymore because it's not negative when you hit a new difficulty.

    I'm more surprised you didn't comment on the actual story itself though, and the (to me) apparent anti-feminine discourse found within it. It's pretty obvious to me that masculine power is idealized within the game, and how one cannot trust anything feminine (betraying mothers, independent women being dangerous).

    To me the story is most likely the biggest disappointment of all. I understand and accept that Diablo has moved away from the survival horror the first game focused on and moving more into dark fantasy, but this is ridiculous. It's as if Blizzard decided to let their 12-year-old kids write the story. They also pretty much ruined so many bosses by letting them voice act. I felt that a silent Diablo was far more intimidating than a Diablo that keeps telling me that I will fail for the xth time.

    1. I agree with all of what you say of course. I didn't mention the story because it's absolute rubbish which I thought most can agree on. This post was more about gameplay.

      Again, I do not think the stats variation is as high as your protray. There's still no reason for any class to play with a non-primary skill +vit. That particular build you mention only serves to focus on 1 stat instead of 2, which is part of what made it overpowered. Yes, resistances become more important was the game becomes more difficult but that's not really a build decision, but rather more of a tactical decision, perhaps even made before a specific battle.

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