Diablo III Is Broken

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Diablo III Is Broken

How the Auction House sapped the fun from Diablo III's end-game.

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So true!!!
The problem is of course they don't care, as they only made this game to take a nice percentage of that cold hard real money AH cash flowing through.

I too have about as much hours into the game as you, and I ocassionaly play a bit to level up a new character, as that's the only thing fun.
NOT the end game, but learning to play a new class up towards Inferno.
But not IN Inferno because of the problems you mentioned.

lost 80% of its player base this quickly..ouch to say the least. i can see alot of players going back to diablo 2 at that rate

Well put, I can really see the problems.

I never got into d3. Oh sure, I played d1 and d2 heavily, but too much put me off and then with the problems after launch, discouraged even further. Leave it behind, better games out there.

200 hours is pretty good though, right? I mean even Blizzard has said that Diablo 3 doesn't really have an end game.

Personally you are more forgiving than I am. I played through it once, and I had fun, but I never could see the appeal in playing the same game over and over so you can get better items to keep playing the same game. For me the items are what allow me to explore new things, not an end unto themselves.

In the end Diablo 3 is simply one thing, a terrible failure from all angles. The world just needed to understand that, which took time. When Diablo 3 appeared everyone was like... nice.
Now, some months later, it's not much less a failure than Bioshock 2 or Crysis 2.

I personally couldn't stand literally anything from this game anymore already during the levelling of my second character.
Don't feel like going into detail anymore, I'm just waiting for the game I waited for from the start, Torchlight 2.

I used to play. Key phrase: Used to.
I did inferno with 2 classes: Wizard and Barbarian.

Which did I like more?
Barbarian, this comes from a D2 player that had 3 Sorcerers.

I disliked D3 because it wasn't a Dungeon Crawl. It was a MMORPG ability base game that looked like a Dungeon Crawl.

The entire point of the dungeon crawl is to travel around the world, killing monsters and bosses; Yes the god damn farming of bosses, and getting loot.

Abilities that have CDs don't belong in this game as this game is about fast pace explosive abilities, super natural talents, OP characters going against OP demons and monsters. Why is it that I play a half angel half demon child spawn that is capable of killing the lord of destruction: Diablo yet a small imp runs up to me and 1 shots me?

Sorry, but D3 was and is a continuation of the crap Acti-Blizzard gaming industry.
I believe this to be the year: 2012 that marks the down fall of these companies, not even another CoD will save them.

Burn you horrible companies so new companies can rise from you ashes and return us to our former glory of games for the purpose of gaming, not the purpose of business.

(to clear up any confusion, I'm not saying a gaming company cant have a business and only focus on games, but right now, most game industries only care about making a crap load of money which I blame WoW for as now everyone does it, TY SWtoR for failing and dropping the subscription fee, maybe more games will realize that you cant do that anymore. WoW is finding this out as they pop out crap content and lost 1.1 million subs in 1 qt.)

I put about 50 hours into Diablo 3 and that was definitely pushing it. I only played that long for some friends who wanted a monk to balance out their group. I tried really hard to see the appeal in the game that keeps people playing for so long, but I couldn't find it. Its like reading the same book over and over. Maybe I'll reinstall it when they release an expansion for it. I'd like to find out what happened to Leah after we threw her diablo form off of the crystal arch platform and she crashed back down to earth.

Strip the game of the auction house and have a more intelligent way that random loot rolls and they may be able to save it.

People were complaining that the problem with Diablo 3 was that it was supposedly balanced around the Auction House.

They were wrong.

The problem is that it wasn't.

And what almost certainly only started life as a small side feature in development meetings "hey wouldn't it be convenient if..." came to dominate a game that was never tuned for it.

Diablo 3 is unique among games as it stands because it's probably the first non-subscription-based game that people can play for 200 hours and end up hating. I know I did.

The first playthroughs, until you get to Inferno, are relatively fun and exciting. Then you get to inferno, and realise that you've rushed through only to hit a brick wall with a difficulty that's suddenly unforgiving and at times COMPLETE UTTER BULLSHIT.

But if only it was the difficulty. No, Blizzard has mechanics in place that make sure to punish you for losing - a steep repair bill would make sense in a game that wasn't this gold-centric, but here it's like sucking away your lifeblood.

All the auction house manages to do is get in the way of your fun. The AH is an element which, paradoxically, is the opposite of fun. It's always there, and to get through Inferno... no, getting through is easy. To ensure that your power keeps creeping upwards at a steady pace so the game becomes easier and easier, removing some of the chore of farming, you HAVE to rely on it. It's mandatory in Inferno, and thus D3 becomes a game of finance more than a game of hack and slash. If you're good at finance, the game is easy. If you don't particularly care fot it, the game is hard. And at times, complete utter bullshit, since there will be packs of elite monsters that will be impossible to kill. So you die, and then the game laughs in your face by taking away some of your gold. This is incredibly frustrating, and bad game design. In D2, you lost experience, which was a stat that you didn't rely on so much for anything save eventually getting that extra skill point out of the few you had remaining. D3? Gold is progression, gold is loot, gold is skill, gold is real-life money, gold is the universal stat that the entire game revolves around.

So it's no surprise when you begin to realize that the goal you have in mind isn't worth all the mind-numbing farming you have to do to get there. And without a goal, there's no reason to keep playing.

Very well made point.

Im still playing, doing oddball specs and such, but once I clear inferno with that, I dont see myself playing for much longer.

The main problem I found was that they tried to balance it:
-Removing gear-customability (weapon restrictions, skills paired with weapon types and adding basic stats instead of loads of oddball stats),
-leaving out PvP (should have just added totally unbalanced pvp, would still be fun. Was D2 pvp balanced? ahahahahaha)
-making certain glyphs baseline (not new functions, just X more dmg or "X chance to stun")

Balance does not equal fun. Fun is having loads of choices, not restrictions to make sure everything is equal. Fun is to be rewarded for what YOU like to do, not only gaining highest reward from the most boring things. Fun is to be able to mess around, not walk in a straight line.

200 hours, I'm impressed. I got bored when it became easier to farm one of the basements at the beginning of Act 1 for gold instead of getting items.

I would say that not the whole game was balanced around the auction house. At least the loot system wasn't.

Very good analysis. I personally didn't enjoy D3 as much as it's predecessor but mostly because I felt like it improved little upon the formula and took away some components that made it challenging. Trying to build into an MMO was a bad idea in my opinion, especially since I found the whole "public game" to be lacking in sociability. People would just rush through the dungeon with or without me, as an obsessive explorer I was better of going single-player all the time or playing with friends who were just as obsessed with exploration.

Yep, OP. You nailed it on the head. At the core, Diablo 3 is a loot game. It's just that the loot is so unsatisfying. There is no mystique and excitement from finding items. The AH cheapens the experience. Like yourself, I went 2 months of playing without finding anything I could equip, so I stopped playing too (and my gear wasn't great.)

John Funk:
People were complaining that the problem with Diablo 3 was that it was supposedly balanced around the Auction House.

They were wrong.

The problem is that it wasn't.

And what almost certainly only started life as a small side feature in development meetings "hey wouldn't it be convenient if..." came to dominate a game that was never tuned for it.

That seems like a chicken and egg paradox to me. Whether the problems of the game stem from the game being balanced around the Auction House or the Auction House unbalancing the game, the central problem is still the damn Auction House.

I'm glad I suck to my guns of of no offline single player, no sale.

None of my friends who bought the game still play. I don't think any of them made it past inferno 1.

But actiblizz made a pile of money so in the executive conference room and at the shareholder meeting it was a success.

Kenjitsuka:
The problem is of course they don't care, as they only made this game to take a nice percentage of that cold hard real money AH cash flowing through.

This. At some point Blizzard thought they'd devised the Next Big Thing to boost their ongoing profits, and the RMAH went from being a feature of the game to the sole point of the game.

Between this and WoW's latest sub fall they'd better hope that Mists of Pandaria goes over big, or it'll seem that the once mighty Blizzard have lost their golden touch. Honestly, I'd not be sorry to see it happen, they've grown lazy and decadent, and taken the loyalty of their fanbase for granted.

Why are people complaining about this?. D2 had an real money auction house, it just wasn't legal (stone of Jordan anyone?). Many, many people paid real money to buy those hard to get items through ebay and other means. Blizzard has just made that whole process more accessible to everyone in an attempt to get rid of the constant gold-seller spam (which hasn't worked, why are people still trying to sell gold?). But yeah, this poster is in complete denial about how D2 actually worked.

For my part, I never bought items for D2 and i've never used the auction house in D3. That's my choice and it hasn't impacted my enjoyment of the game in any way. People in complete denial about item sellers in D2, now whining about how it's no longer "underground" in D3... well that's just whiners for you I guess.

Seriously of all the things to complain about in D3, the auction house is the most stupid, baseless, asinine thing to complain about. It has absolutely zero effect on peoples enjoyment of the game unless they want it to. It's simply Blizzards means of getting rid of this:

http://d2items.com/?gclid=CObk4NGj2LECFYao4AodbnEAMA

http://www.d2craft.com/index.php?cPath=2_383

http://lewt.com/?gclid=CLatmNOj2LECFcJo4AodMVcAFw

Did anyone know that you can turn off general chat? Or that you don't have to open the auction house?

I never played it and don't intend to because I'm against that kind of drm and don't want to support it with my money (it's the least I can do), but I see your point.
From what I heard the absence of mod support may too be a major cause.

Although while I agree that the Auction House is a major problem in that it removes one core reason for playing I also believe the level cap of 60 is an equal one. With diablo 2 most people never actually hit the level cap. This means that even when they pretty much have all the gear the want they still have a reason to continue to play that character.

John Funk:
People were complaining that the problem with Diablo 3 was that it was supposedly balanced around the Auction House.

They were wrong.

The problem is that it wasn't.

And what almost certainly only started life as a small side feature in development meetings "hey wouldn't it be convenient if..." came to dominate a game that was never tuned for it.

No actually if you paid attention you would realise that the entire loot system and difficulty was balanced around the auction house. Without it the massive decrease in unique drops compared to D2 and the very wide variety in stats would not be possible.

The game then ramps up in difficulty where if you are using crafted gear or drops you basically cant continue anymore. You are forced to buy items off the AH or grind enemies until you are a higher level. The difficulty was very clearly balanced around AH equiped characters from very early on.

Lvl 64 Klutz:

John Funk:
People were complaining that the problem with Diablo 3 was that it was supposedly balanced around the Auction House.

They were wrong.

The problem is that it wasn't.

And what almost certainly only started life as a small side feature in development meetings "hey wouldn't it be convenient if..." came to dominate a game that was never tuned for it.

That seems like a chicken and egg paradox to me. Whether the problems of the game stem from the game being balanced around the Auction House or the Auction House unbalancing the game, the central problem is still the damn Auction House.

Agreed.

It's clear that the Auction House dictated the rate of useful drops in higher difficulties and inadvertently unbalanced them.

A lot of people saw this coming. The signs were pretty clear, but the hype train is a powerful beast.

his1nightmare:
In the end Diablo 3 is simply one thing, a terrible failure from all angles.

Except for the fact that it has sold over 10 million copies, which is a massive success from Blizzard's/Activision's perspective.

Also, I'm inclined to say that if you buy something and get 200 hours of entertainment out of it, that seems like a pretty good deal to me.

Though that doesn't at all invalidate the criticisms about the endgame and how some of their design choices have thrown off balance and replay value.

rembrandtqeinstein:
I'm glad I suck to my guns of of no offline single player, no sale.

Same. I balked at SC2's near online-only approach, but acquiesced because offline play was possible. Online only? If I want WoW I'll play WoW.

The only shock about this article is the author didn't reach this point months ago like the rest of us.

On the bright side torchlight 2 seems set to release soon so yay..

jon_sf:

his1nightmare:
In the end Diablo 3 is simply one thing, a terrible failure from all angles.

Except for the fact that it has sold over 10 million copies, which is a massive success from Blizzard's/Activision's perspective.

Also, I'm inclined to say that if you buy something and get 200 hours of entertainment out of it, that seems like a pretty good deal to me.

Though that doesn't at all invalidate the criticisms about the endgame and how some of their design choices have thrown off balance and replay value.

They would have sold these 10 millions regardless of anything. It's DIABLO 3. What counts is the amount of players still playing it. How many are there? ...Diablo 2 is being played by 14 times as many, this tells everything.
200 hours are a success? I guess more than enough people got 200 hours out of Tetris, having paid 1€. How many hours did I get from Diablo 2? It's within the X0 000's. How many from Torchlight? More than 200. Can I think of any of the games I stated, smiling? Yes. Can anyone think of Diablo 3, smiling? No².

Diablo 3 is a failure and every try to justify the money we sadly spent into it is just as broken as the game itself.

Luke Cartner:
The only shock about this article is the author didn't reach this point months ago like the rest of us.

On the bright side torchlight 2 seems set to release soon so yay..

It's been set to release for like 13 months now :(

Sad day.

While I'm really happy to see people in the gaming media finally starting calling out the brokenness of Diablo 3. I have a frankly huge amount of problems with your op-ed, but the fact alone that it's named "Diablo III is broken" makes me not want to try to pick a fight.

That said, I'll point out - tersely, because this topic is exhausted to me - a couple of failures aside from the AH.

The crafting is extremely boring on the gem side and extremely inefficient (and gimped, for no apparent reason) on the blacksmith side. The fact that it's missing the previously shown off mystic artisan doesn't help either.

The inferno difficulty does not come without problems. First, and most obviously, it's unnecessary. The first three difficulties range from piss easy to mildly challenging, making them a chore to trudge through on that aspect alone. Secondly, starting at the level cap isn't a particularly bright idea as far as the loot game is concerned, because the tiered nature of the loot found within does magic to depreciate the quality of whatever is found within the first couple of acts. This is fine in an actual MMO like WoW, where you generally have to actually earn the shit you wear, but in an ARPG, where trading is involved, it means your stuff isn't worth shit until you get to a certain tier.

There are dozens of other issues, but the nail in the coffin is this. No significant character customization, and no significant item customization. This alone turns Diablo 3 into a sad, sad set of two sliding scales. One for character power, and one for creep power.

John Funk:
People were complaining that the problem with Diablo 3 was that it was supposedly balanced around the Auction House.

They were wrong.

The problem is that it wasn't.

And what almost certainly only started life as a small side feature in development meetings "hey wouldn't it be convenient if..." came to dominate a game that was never tuned for it.

If you're going to take this line of thought, it's not that it wasn't. It's that it was, but they did a shit job of it. You don't get to say "but it wasn't made for the action house" (or anything to the effect of it) but still agree with the premise and then shift the blame to some other cause.

The fact that they've chosen to balance the game around the auction house came before their failure to succeed in doing so.

And your almost weird phrasing makes me read your post as if you're saying this correction of yours does something to put Diablo 3's current quality in a better light.

nikki191:
lost 80% of its player base this quickly..ouch to say the least. i can see alot of players going back to diablo 2 at that rate

While I'm normally quick to jump at the opportunity to laugh at Blizzard's misfortune, you have to understand that this is not out of character for the type of audience Blizzard has been aiming for the game. A huge majority of D3 players, I'd bet my hand on this, have played through the game a couple of times on several different classes, felt they had played enough (like you would of a God of War style game) and pretty much abandoned it.

So it's not really a failure on that front, as long as it means those people were satisfied with the game and will buy the next game, bash another Diablo skull in and put that one down too. Honestly, aside from the possibility of D3's player base dropping like below 5000 on average, I don't think there's even a way to gauge whether or not it's even marginally a failure as far as the market is concerned until the expansion drops.

Leviano:
Strip the game of the auction house and have a more intelligent way that random loot rolls and they may be able to save it.

There is so much truth to this that it just defied words.

I loved my first ~20 or so hours into Diablo 3. Then things started to go south - specifically that one out of maybe 20 rare items that dropped were useful to me, and maybe another 2 out of those 20 were useful to anyone. What idiot didn't put a seed into the random item generator to ensure that all (or at least most) rare items that dropped were useful to someone?

Using the blacksmith to make gear was equally frustrating. I'd spend 100 melted items worth of loot to make 10 new items, most of which were useful. It was just frustrating. I could forgive that most of the environments were retreads from D2. I joked about the largest castle in the universe. But the item thing just did the game in for me.

I can't imagine how someone made it 200 hours into the game without putting a bullet in their screen.

The game came out like 3 months ago. It's not really broken if you bought it at launch and you're still playing it. It's not really an MMO after all.

I enjoy the action, and don't have a huge issue with the dynamic of the auction house itself. It's saved me a LOT of tedious farming (Blood/Cow/Mephisto runs for days...)

The problem to me is that the items lost almost all of their personality/uniqueness. Sets are near non-existent, and the ones you can get have terrible incremental bonuses. Legendaries are fixed level, and there's only a handful that offer a useful mechanic (Justice Lantern, String of Ears, etc). For a game that is so much about the items you get, and where much of the complaints revolve around how you get those items, they sure did their best at making the items as generic/boring as possible.

The homogenization of the items (and the farming areas of the game) were intentional, with the purpose of "not locking players" into certain "required items" or farming routes. I agree with most of the philosophy behind the farming equalization, but purposely making the main rewards of the game less interesting... To me, was the single greatest mistake they made.

The other was the plot. It's SO BANAL. What little "dark" atmosphere they have left is quickly addressed by some npc spouting idiocy/being named a terrible pun (and I love puns, but this isn't Xanth). The other Diablo games weren't flawless examples of grim storytelling, but they managed to be interesting in their own ways without beating you over the head with puns and fan service. D3 does have its moments, but they are few and unsubtle, and usually quickly ruined/beat into the ground.

This right here is the closest D3 came to the previous games in terms of storytelling: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlhWqmVeDno#t=85s

Of course, I listed these as issues I've seen. But merely adding flavor to the itemization might be too late to revitalize the game - and the plot/act structure is certainly not going anywhere.

One thing I did see the other day was a random timed dungeon "Crumbling Depths". That gave you a few minutes to reach a vault, and was filled with unique packs. Unfortunately it was in a 4 player a2 Inferno game, with only one other player near me when we started the dungeon. Didn't exactly beat the timer. Also, with hundreds of hours played, this was the first time I encountered this dungeon (to be fair, I hate Desert levels, so generally avoid A2)

But interesting dungeon mechanics like that, if sprinkled throughout everywhere, would probably go a long way towards keeping the end game interesting. If they want to make everything equally viable (items or areas), SOMETHING needs to balance it by standing out in interesting ways.

Argh, I babbled about this for much too long. And probably repeated myself more then intended.

Also, Nightmare act 2 is the worst. NOBODY plays that longer then they have to. Which means nobody to group with when leveling.

It's things like this that should make all gamers wary of pre purchasing or jumping on the "big game of the day" wagon. Oh, it's Diablo of course it'll be good! Well, hold on there. If it was a single player game with multiplayer components like D1 and D2, it probably would have been very good. One of the biggest mistakes of D3 is designing it to be an MMO right from the get-go. That of course includes the DRM and RMAH (or just an AH at all).

I might pick up D3 when it's in the bargain bin. D2 is a very fondly remembered game and for that, I owe it to myself to play the sequel. But I cannot support this shit Blizzard is doing lately. Starcraft 2 campaign was atrocious. The level designs were ridiculous and constantly shackled the player, and the story was absolutely pointless for most of it. Doesn't hold a candle the SC1, which was easily one of the best games I ever played. Sure, they did a good job on MP, but not everyone is playing for that. Just like in D3. Some people, shockingly, want to play games solo and get that gear through their own work. Blizzard just seems to not realize this at all anymore, and care only about multiplayer/MMO type stuff.

Also, did you guys know people have made $10,000 to $20,000 USD from the RMAH?
http://www.reddit.com/r/Diablo/comments/xqv2r/ive_made_10000_legitimately_from_the_d3_market/

One thing you have to ask yourself before you claim there is no Diablo III end-game, have you actually killed Inferno Diablo? No? Then what's your problem?

The fact is that there actually is more end-game here then what Diablo II ever had. In Diablo II you could boost to Hell Baal in a matter of hours. And yes, you could lvl to 99, but face it, whouldn't you rather have an really badass boss then and eternal endless grind to lvl 99? (Edit: Before anyone comment, yes i am aware of the Diablo II clones and the über bosses, but the recuirments and luck needed to get to those bosses should not factor them in as end-game, they should be categorized as "completionists-bonus-content")

As for farming, it's odd that the items that actually matter are random generated and not stat-set uniqes like in Diablo II. It actually opens the possibility for more varied game-play.

And if we're to compare Diablo III to Diablo II one last time, in Diablo II you could farm Baal, Mephisto, Pindleskin or Forgotten Tower for runes. In Diablo III you can pretty much farm anywhere you want and still be effective about it.

This myth that there is no Diablo III end-game is more of an hate-bandwagon then an actual fact. Open your eyes people and realize that Diablo II was not that great of an game. Felt like this had to be said, take it for what it is and have a nice day.

Nimzabaat:
Why are people complaining about this?. D2 had an real money auction house, it just wasn't legal (stone of Jordan anyone?). Many, many people paid real money to buy those hard to get items through ebay and other means. Blizzard has just made that whole process more accessible to everyone in an attempt to get rid of the constant gold-seller spam (which hasn't worked, why are people still trying to sell gold?). But yeah, this poster is in complete denial about how D2 actually worked.

For my part, I never bought items for D2 and i've never used the auction house in D3. That's my choice and it hasn't impacted my enjoyment of the game in any way. People in complete denial about item sellers in D2, now whining about how it's no longer "underground" in D3... well that's just whiners for you I guess.

Because actually designing the game for such a feature as opposed to that feature not being there and being actively fought against changes things. It does so two-fold. Not only does the effect of a foreign currency - cold hard cash - now have a vastly bigger influence on the game's economy, but the game is now actually designed in a way to maximize profits from said feature. In a nutshell, a much bigger amount of trade happens in an out of game currency, and you are subject to finding more shit loot.

Neither this "choice" of yours, nor your complete ignorance on the matters of game economies or loot tables, make the realities of this design decision go away. And by the way, while you run around calling people whiners, keep in mind that it's just as easy to call your ass a sheep or a fanboy.

The funny thing is that Blizzard's official stance was adamantly against real money influence in their games right up until they decide to facilitate their own approach to it. Man, I gotta find that quote again.

his1nightmare:

jon_sf:

his1nightmare:
In the end Diablo 3 is simply one thing, a terrible failure from all angles.

Except for the fact that it has sold over 10 million copies, which is a massive success from Blizzard's/Activision's perspective.

Also, I'm inclined to say that if you buy something and get 200 hours of entertainment out of it, that seems like a pretty good deal to me.

Though that doesn't at all invalidate the criticisms about the endgame and how some of their design choices have thrown off balance and replay value.

They would have sold these 10 millions regardless of anything. It's DIABLO 3. What counts is the amount of players still playing it. How many are there? ...Diablo 2 is being played by 14 times as many, this tells everything.
200 hours are a success? I guess more than enough people got 200 hours out of Tetris, having paid 1€. How many hours did I get from Diablo 2? It's within the X0 000's. How many from Torchlight? More than 200. Can I think of any of the games I stated, smiling? Yes. Can anyone think of Diablo 3, smiling? No².

Diablo 3 is a failure and every try to justify the money we sadly spent into it is just as broken as the game itself.

Be fair, man, from a financial perspective Diablo 3 is a pretty much unmitigated, huge success. The next time you want to say something to the extent of what you said before, just say that Diablo 3 is a terrible failure from all non-financial angles.

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