Social Icons


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Diablo III, Boredom, and the Paragon System

I've never really understood the appeal of Diablo's endless, repetitive style of play - insert World of Warcraft joke here. The whole gameplay system revolves around the acquisition of items. Said items make you a more effective killing machine, enabling you to acquire more items, and so on. In Diablo III, you literally experience every bit of content the game has to offer by level 30 (or sooner, depending on how quickly you progress through Normal difficulty). From there, you slog through the content another two times to hit 60, which opens up exactly nothing new except the Inferno difficulty. The only thing you're potentially gearing up for is the PvP system, which Blizzard has already stated will be a "for fun" addition and not a balanced potential eSport.

Bottom line, people are getting bored with the game; I took a monk into Act 4 Inferno, wondered why I was still playing, and stopped logging on about two months ago. Player numbers are steadily falling, with some estimates from July putting the number at about a 65% drop-off. Fewer players means fewer items are being picked up, which hits Blizzard where it hurts - the wallet. Blizzard takes a 15% cut of every item sold on the real-money auction house (RMAH), so their potential income stream dries up a little bit more every time someone steps away from the game.

Blizzard announced yesterday that patch 1.04 would introduce the "Paragon" system, a secondary set of levels available to level 60 characters. There's no new content on the horizon, just another 100 levels that you can plow through by running the same content another 6000 times. Each level boosts your stats while also increasing your gold and magic find by 3%, meaning by Paragon level 100 you'll be capped at a 300% bonus for each of those stats. Hope you didn't spend any money on some MF or GF gear on the RMAH.

It looks like they swung the nerf bat in a pretty wide arc as well. From the patch notes:

  • Champion and Rare monsters will no longer enrage after prolonged combat, and they will no longer heal to full health after not being engaged
  • Jailer can now no longer appear with Knockback, Nightmarish, or Vortex
  • Invulnerable Minions has been removed as a possible affix
  • Fire Chains damage has been reduced by 20%
  • Shielding monsters will no longer shield if they are the last monster left in the area, and only one monster in a given pack can be shielded at a time
  • The spawn points of Arcane Enchanted beams have been adjusted slightly to be more spread out, and their damage has been reduced by approximately 30%

To make things even more interesting, on Sunday IncGamers posted an interview with David Brevik, the guy who created the Diablo series. He's no longer with Blizzard and talked about how D3 was "a very different game than [he] would have created." The current team at Blizzard caught wind of his comments and the following image popped up online:


As someone who didn't play Diablo or Diablo II (sorry Internet), I approached D3 as a newcomer. For me, the game just doesn't stand up as a unique and interesting title in 2012. Blizzard seems to have sold 10+ million copies of a game on hype and nostalgia, because they certainly didn't do it based on innovative gameplay. The game is ultimately a clickfest where the player only has 6 possible inputs, two of which are located on the mouse buttons. The only real challenges you face are in building and gearing your character, as actual combat involves not standing in bad things while hitting the bad guys repeatedly - it's more frustrating at times than difficult or exciting. It makes you wonder why multiple review sites gave the game a perfect score. The looting aspects of the game are mildly addictive, but after running the same content for a fourth or fifth time I was ready to gouge my eyes out with a spoon.

In the end, D3 isn't a terrible game, but it's no perfect 10. Blizzard better have some tricks up their sleeve for future patches and expansions because they'll definitely be fighting an uphill battle. A ton of people are still playing D2 here in 2012; will anyone care about D3 in 2024?


Post a Comment

Tom's Hardware Reviews
Ars Technica
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...