My Application for Game Director

  • #1
    Just kidding I already have a job, although game director would definitely pay off my house faster...

    This is a short list of what I identify to be the key areas of concern for D3. Some of them are a bit broad, and I will try to give some suggestions for each. Not really looking for agreement here, just what I think.


    1. Why do people play D3?

    - To play with friends? - A short-lived reason; plenty of games out there that have longer lifespans for social play. (See my newest obsession Chivalry in youtube).

    - To gain a sense of achievement? - This comes down to the player...once they have achieved their subjective benchmarks they are likely to stop playing. Whether it's getting your first Hellfire ring or your 100th - no one cares! (Account-bound anything has always been a mistake for Diablo).

    - <Insert other generic explanation> In a saturated gaming market, there will be other games that do a similar if not better job.


    So asking why people play D3 is equivalent to asking:

    1.1 What makes Diablo...Diablo?

    - Gambling - No I do not mean that Gheed business...When a player fires up Diablo they go in with an anticipation, that the time they invest is like putting coins in the slot, with a hope that something valuable or at least useful will drop. Every aspect of the game is one RNG after the other - from killing a monster to identifying an item. The brain chemistry behind what is essentially "harmless" gambling is what keeps people coming back.

    - Trading - What is it that the player wants to do with his valuable finds? To show it off and trade it of course! It is this social aspect, the "playing the market" metagame, that attracts people. With today's generation we are desperate to show others what we get up to. This is an ongoing, engaging, player-driven and systems-driven activity that has longetivity far beyond what comes in the box. Blizzard has really failed to capitalise on their playerbase and their Bnet infrastructure in that regard (more on this later).



    2. What went wrong?

    Blizzard should really have known better - that the current crop of gamers have been largely influenced by their previously successful titles (WoW in particular). There is now an overwhelming crowd of gamers who are obsessive goal-setters and power gamers. Even if they do not have the faculty to figure out the optimal way of playing, someone else would and they will be just one step behind with just the same determination. This helps us reach the following few conclusions:

    2.1 Content and goal-driven gameplay merely delay the inevitable - Paragon and Account-Bound items are not engaging - sure they give players something new to do for a few days after the patch, it will all be consumed in a matter of days (even Paragon 100 didn't take that long)...

    2.2 Adherence to "balance" is counterproductive - The moment players step into D3 they will notice Blizzard tippy-toeing around the awkward issue of "balance". This is apparent in their Skill-design, Monster Design and blatantly obvious in their itemisation...using the RNG is one thing, using it on bland stats on items is hard to forgive.

    2.3 Homogenising items for the sake of Auction House devastates player motivation - Itemisation deserves a closer look because it is what Diablo is all about. Blizzard designed its items so that there is a smooth upgrade curve that is readily reflected on the Auction House. The reality after a few months is that only the very best items retain any value. While this seems like good news to players who just reached inferno...soon they will realise upgrading to the next level of gear, or even farming something which enables them to, becomes enough of a chore to suggest using real money, but not enough of a boost to really shell out that money. I'm sure there are players who reside on the tip of that upgrade curve, but the majority of players are staring at a wide chasm of unaffordable gear.

    2.4 The auction house itself - coming from a quantitative analysis background myself, I feel that the AH is too efficient (in an economic sense). When there are enough flippers, botters and bargain-hunters sitting staring at the AH for days on end, the market will shape itself too quickly to a state I mentioned in 2.3. The way that the AH is designed is so that any price discrepancies are picked up almost immediately, leaving a market that is saturated with very similar items at very similar prices, at which point it becomes an exercise in volume undercutting which individual players aren't going to have much interest in. The AH is mechanical, impersonal and ultimately boring.



    3. Next steps...

    This is the part where I fantasize on being the new game director, and list some of the things I would focus on.

    3.1 - Introduce an alternative to the Auction House.

    3.1.1 - Establish specialised ingame "trade environments" with capacity for sizable numbers of players, with real face-to-face auctions and tools to display and make and receive offers on your listings. These environments can be categorised based on classes or reserves for example.

    3.1.2 - Increase AH fees to encourage use of this system

    The point here is to make trading a more social and tangible exercise, but without the painful lack of features that D2 had.


    3.2 - Remove Account-Bound

    Everything deserves a market in a Diablo game.

    Account-bound is Blizzard's reaction to an overly efficient auction house. It's like saying "we cannot stop the immediate saturation of our shiny new content so we are too afraid to put it on the AH".

    Given my suggestion in 3.1 - make these items at least tradable on a more direct basis.

    Do not listen to the players who claim they need this "sense of achievement". They will not be there to play your game when they finish their "achieving".


    3.3 - More interesting items - items which characters will build around

    This will encourage build diversity without trivialising game difficulty, which is pretty much what Blizzard has done so far - made the game easier so more builds are "viable"...yet everyone still plays the same skills and even the same class because it is the path of least resistance.


    If you've read this far, I thank you for your time and feedback. I've written this because Diablo still does something which no other franchise can do.

    If you are a Blizzard recruiter, feel free to contact via PM and we can work something out ^__^
    Marsh Boxer - Fair Dinkum Multiboxing...
    Quadbox MP7 Ubers Video Thread
    My Youtube Channel
  • #2

    3.2 - Remove Account-Bound

    Everything deserves a market in a Diablo game.

    Account-bound is Blizzard's reaction to an overly efficient auction house. It's like saying "we cannot stop the immediate saturation of our shiny new content so we are too afraid to put it on the AH".

    Given my suggestion in 3.1 - make these items at least tradable on a more direct basis.



    I enjoyed the read. I am ecstatic to find yet another D3 player that isn't a fucking dumbshit kid. Good job with that.

    Toward your comment above; People are attributing WAY too much of D3's issues directly to the RMAH. People have accused them of manipulating drops to create greater revenue for them via the RMAH. Yet....they're prepared to release account bound items that seem to be very capable of BiS qualification. These items do not generate revenue for Blizz via RMAH.

    So......thank the thousands of idiots that were constantly flinging accusations toward Blizz supposedly running a cabal on it's players for the appearance of AB items. Their action on this front directly challenges assertions that they're strictly funneling people to the RMAH.

    3.1 - Introduce an alternative to the Auction House.

    3.1.1 - Establish specialised ingame "trade environments" with capacity for sizable numbers of players, with real face-to-face auctions and tools to display and make and receive offers on your listings. These environments can be categorised based on classes or reserves for example.

    3.1.2 - Increase AH fees to encourage use of this system

    Social needs fixed badly. If they can accomplish this, there is no need for what you suggested above.

    I say this because if social was uptempo like we saw in D2, you would have a sizable Friends List. You could then trade through your network of friends, using your rules, no middleman.

    I like the GAH. One thing I do not miss from D2 is the constant harassment from idiots, scammers and numb-skull children while trying to trade. I personally enjoy the cold, sterile and impersonal nature of the GAH.

    If you want to trade, use the trade channel. Enjoy the litany of scammers though. Same thing you'd see if your idea above came to fruition.

    2.1 Content and goal-driven gameplay merely delay the inevitable - Paragon and Account-Bound items are not engaging - sure they give players something new to do for a few days after the patch, it will all be consumed in a matter of days (even Paragon 100 didn't take that long)...

    Did you just say Para 100 "didn't take that long"? Yikes dude....really? You missed the mark there.

    There is now an overwhelming crowd of gamers who are obsessive goal-setters and power gamers

    You touch on an important point. One of the most serious issues Blizz has had to tackle while developing D3 is that D2 was spawned in an entirely different gaming age.

    Gamers now are EXTREMELY aggressive, well connected to instant information and jaded hard in respect to visual/graphic design. Hence the reason why so many changes were necessary.

    NOTHING is more important to the health of this title than the games core integrity i.e. hacks/dupes and the illicit item trade via online "shops". Love it or hate it, the RMAH/GAH dramatically cuts down on the illicit trade (many of which are scams used to rob players).

    People also have espoused a great deal of HATE toward the always online play. Yet......we all play online. We all obviously have internet. 8-9 months in and dupes are still the thing of myth. So why are people still demanding offline mode? Are they stupid? Ignorant? Scammers/hackers that want the door to fly open so they can ooze their filthy slime into this game?

    I LOVED DIABLO 2!!!!

    But straight up, the key factor that led me to retire in 2008 was that the integrity of the game had been fatally compromised due to offline mode. Hacks and dupes made the economy based on fools gold. Heavily involved in the melee underground duels........many of my opponents simply bought all their gears, often with money they made selling items themselves.

    The RMAH has changed nothing.
    BurningRope#1322
  • #3
    spot on! will edit with some comments soon
  • #4
    This is a great read, you really hit the nail on the head with your points!
    Bashiok - Blizzard Representative - 08/01/2011 -"So how many skill combinations are there now? Well taking into account 6 active skills, all the rune combinations, and 3 passives we currently expect each class to have roughly 2,285,814,795,264 different build combinations."

    "Hey, I thought you'd like the witty irony of grub-on-glowie violence!"
  • #5
    very interesting read
  • #6


    Social needs fixed badly. If they can accomplish this, there is no need for what you suggested above.

    I say this because if social was uptempo like we saw in D2, you would have a sizable Friends List. You could then trade through your network of friends, using your rules, no middleman.

    I like the GAH. One thing I do not miss from D2 is the constant harassment from idiots, scammers and numb-skull children while trying to trade. I personally enjoy the cold, sterile and impersonal nature of the GAH.

    If you want to trade, use the trade channel. Enjoy the litany of scammers though. Same thing you'd see if your idea above came to fruition.



    I do agree with these points - it's the social aspect that is the core issue to address...a suggestion like mine is only one of many things to consider trying.

    I actually enjoy the Auction House myself in some aspects, it's just that - being the sole source of player to player trading, and also gear progression for most people, makes for a very solitary D3 experience as a whole.

    Other avenues of trading ought to be facilitated more competently...devil in the details and all that.
    Marsh Boxer - Fair Dinkum Multiboxing...
    Quadbox MP7 Ubers Video Thread
    My Youtube Channel
  • #7


    Social needs fixed badly. If they can accomplish this, there is no need for what you suggested above.

    I say this because if social was uptempo like we saw in D2, you would have a sizable Friends List. You could then trade through your network of friends, using your rules, no middleman.

    I like the GAH. One thing I do not miss from D2 is the constant harassment from idiots, scammers and numb-skull children while trying to trade. I personally enjoy the cold, sterile and impersonal nature of the GAH.

    If you want to trade, use the trade channel. Enjoy the litany of scammers though. Same thing you'd see if your idea above came to fruition.



    I do agree with these points - it's the social aspect that is the core issue to address...a suggestion like mine is only one of many things to consider trying.

    I actually enjoy the Auction House myself in some aspects, it's just that - being the sole source of player to player trading, and also gear progression for most people, makes for a very solitary D3 experience as a whole.

    Other avenues of trading ought to be facilitated more competently...devil in the details and all that.


    Agreed. Even though I have several active friends I play with often, the experience is nothing close to what it should be.

    In D2 and Guild Wars1....I met new people almost daily.....full Friends List and not enough time to hang with everyone that wanted to play.

    Since MP was implemented, I never play pubs anymore. I only meet people through friends.
    BurningRope#1322
  • #8
    I disagree with you on most points. I was worried about accound bound before it was introduced but after I've seen it in action it fits into Diablo perfectly. I love that I will always have something to craft because I will never have perfect hf ring or any of the other perfect account bind items. I will always be crafting and hoping for a new and better hf ring or some other parts of the new recipes.

    Trading was one of the most horrible things in Diablo 2. It was so tiresome to try to find other people who actually would like to trade the items and it usually would take hours or days even to get the trade done. I want to use my time playing! But I still want to have awesome items by playing (gold/items I find and I sell in ah). With these I can try to find the upgrades I would really want to get.

    I don't want to get too long to this so I'll stop here.
  • #9
    Give this man a job... the end.
  • #10
    All I've ever wanted Blizz to do in regards to the economy, is to disable in some manner the practice of flipping.

    These individuals only help themselves while serving no purpose to the economy as a whole. It is because of flipping that regular players can't afford ANY upgrades once they reach 100-150k dps.
    I blatantly refuse to flip items. It will not happen. I did not pay $60 to play a flashgame of American Pickers.

    Lock items brought from AH to the buyer for 30 days, or SOMETHING. I don't care. But it needs to be done...
  • #11

    All I've ever wanted Blizz to do in regards to the economy, is to disable in some manner the practice of flipping.

    These individuals only help themselves while serving no purpose to the economy as a whole. It is because of flipping that regular players can't afford ANY upgrades once they reach 100-150k dps.
    I blatantly refuse to flip items. It will not happen. I did not pay $60 to play a flashgame of American Pickers.

    Lock items brought from AH to the buyer for 30 days, or SOMETHING. I don't care. But it needs to be done...


    Bind to account on first repair.

    Or just do what I do... play HC ^^
    Winter is coming...
  • #12

    Trading was one of the most horrible things in Diablo 2. It was so tiresome to try to find other people who actually would like to trade the items and it usually would take hours or days even to get the trade done. I want to use my time playing! But I still want to have awesome items by playing (gold/items I find and I sell in ah). With these I can try to find the upgrades I would really want to get.

    This!


    Lock items brought from AH to the buyer for 30 days, or SOMETHING. I don't care. But it needs to be done...

    Adding an opting like in GW where you can customize item to give it some (+10%) additional damage/armor and at the same time binding it to account would be a possible solution to flipping.


    And please don't start forcing 'social' aspects to every single game - some of us like to play alone.
  • #13
    @ 1 (motivations) agree.

    @ 1.1 (what makes Diablo): I personally feel that in Diablo 1+2 it was only gambling, because many many players did not trade (or at least not with people other than their close friends). In fact, I don't know anyone personally who ever traded something in D2 with anyone who was not a close (i.e., real-life) friend. However, with the introduction of "trading for everyone" in D3 that also changed gambling, because you always evaluate "is it better to gamble or to trade". Take, for example, Leoric's Signet; in D2 many people would've just farmed the hell out of act 2 normal to get one, in D3 you actually calculate that a few hours on grinding will give you enough money to bypass the "act 2 normal gambling" part. Therefore, I think trading as in D3 had a huge impact on gambling and Blizzard has not fully reacted to this change yet.

    @ 2 (what went wrong):
    2.1 (paragon no incentive): Disagree. There are 8400 paragon 100 players in softcore worldwide right now, and how many copies did this game sell? 15 million? Less than .1% players have reached the finishing line, or in other words, for more than 99.9% of the players paragon is still an incentive, ~4 months after its inception.

    2.2-2.4 I somewhat agree. In particular, I think a mixture of 2.3 (too homogeneous itemization) and 2.4 (AH simplifying trading and changing the game) are the main things that "went wrong" or, in other words, "need to be tackled".

    @ 3 (next steps):
    3.1 (AH alternative) hell no. Please not. Let's face it: most people complaining about broken game are end-game players with couple of hundreds of hours on their account. These players will always find a way to trade, even if it's like in Diablo: Hellfire with the Cornerstone of the World and you would have to solve Schroedinger's equation for every trade. The majority of players, however, and in particular the often so-called "casual gamers" would not trade if it wasn't so easy. But these players also don't complain too much about the game. Therefore, an AH alternative would fix nothing, in my opinion.

    3.2 (remove BoA): erm, except for the Hellfire Ring, there are no BoA items yet, so how can you request to remove them? Wait for it to happen. Look at the history of Diablo 3 development: Diablo 3 was originally developed to be an MMO just like WoW. Even after its complete overhaul and becoming the game it is now, the early beta still saw BoA items; Blizzard decided to take these out because they figured Diablo 2 worked without BoA items and so should Diablo 3. However, neither in Diablo 2 nor in the D3 beta there was a massive community flooding the auction house with items. And before you say "they should've learned this from WoW", keep in mind that WoW always had BoE/BoA items (i.e., top-tier items never made it into the AH) and WoW auction houses are realm-wide, at least last time I checked, which means that only a pool of about ~5000 players contributes to the amount of items.
    => BoA is absolutely needed in order to provide players with an alternative incentive to gearing up rather than just farming/buying gold and equipping completely through the AH, which is what 99% of players do. Furthermore, making BoA items through crafting is pretty clever as it works as a nice gold and item sink (hopefully, at least).

    3.3 (more interesting items): this is the usual D2 comment like "give me enigma back". I think we will never go this way again. What D3 lacks, however, are more legendaries with unique stats. Some legendaries have absolutely no "unique" value except for a slightly higher stat, i.e., take Tasker and Theo or Vile Ward. Then there are legendary items offering a stat on one slot and making them so overpowered that they're a must-have for everyone (Witching Hour, Lacunis, Mempo). We just need more meaningful legendaries. Give us shoulders with a built-in pickup radius. Give us another belt with massive EHP bonus as alternative to WH. It doesn't need to be a helmet that turns you into a werewolf, but since Mempo became so dirt cheap everybody has one and all other helmets are auto-salvage.


    I was looking at some of the threads from recent weeks where people provided ideas on how to fix the system, and Blizzard took some of these ideas and is gonna try them out in 1.07. I have no doubt that in later patches we will see even more of these changes; after all, 1.07 is mainly "the PvP patch", itemization fixes just came as a bonus.
  • #14

    All I've ever wanted Blizz to do in regards to the economy, is to disable in some manner the practice of flipping.

    These individuals only help themselves while serving no purpose to the economy as a whole. It is because of flipping that regular players can't afford ANY upgrades once they reach 100-150k dps.
    I blatantly refuse to flip items. It will not happen. I did not pay $60 to play a flashgame of American Pickers.

    Lock items brought from AH to the buyer for 30 days, or SOMETHING. I don't care. But it needs to be done...


    Sry, but that idea really does not help in my opinion.

    The price results from supply and demand. The demand stays the same because the same amount of people want to have good items. The supply would go down because the items can not be sold because of the restrictions.

    Hence the prices for the items would go up and not down as you assume.
  • #15

    All I've ever wanted Blizz to do in regards to the economy, is to disable in some manner the practice of flipping.

    These individuals only help themselves while serving no purpose to the economy as a whole. It is because of flipping that regular players can't afford ANY upgrades once they reach 100-150k dps.



    Here's what I don't understand about comments like yours.

    Items are only worth what people pay for them. You have the same opportunity to buy the same item targeted by a "flipper". How does an item become higher in value because a flipper bought it?

    I don't get it?
    BurningRope#1322
  • #16


    All I've ever wanted Blizz to do in regards to the economy, is to disable in some manner the practice of flipping.

    These individuals only help themselves while serving no purpose to the economy as a whole. It is because of flipping that regular players can't afford ANY upgrades once they reach 100-150k dps.



    Here's what I don't understand about comments like yours.

    Items are only worth what people pay for them. You have the same opportunity to buy the same item targeted by a "flipper". How does an item become higher in value because a flipper bought it?

    I don't get it?

    because he doesnt constantly sit at the AH looking for underpriced items - there are players that literally stay on that screen for hours
  • #18



    All I've ever wanted Blizz to do in regards to the economy, is to disable in some manner the practice of flipping.

    These individuals only help themselves while serving no purpose to the economy as a whole. It is because of flipping that regular players can't afford ANY upgrades once they reach 100-150k dps.



    Here's what I don't understand about comments like yours.

    Items are only worth what people pay for them. You have the same opportunity to buy the same item targeted by a "flipper". How does an item become higher in value because a flipper bought it?

    I don't get it?

    because he doesnt constantly sit at the AH looking for underpriced items - there are players that literally stay on that screen for hours


    Yeah that is true that there are people playing the ah. But they barely have an effect on the prices of items if they can not build a monopoly in a niche market. The more competetive a market is, the better for the community.

    These ah players are constantly undercutting each other untill the demand is high enough to buy out the items. In long term I think they are "good" for the prices.

    Sure they may find underpriced items faster than you and you have to buy the items to the normal price. But otherwise the normal price will be much higher, because the lack of competiton.

    So what is the reward if prices go up beacause you are lowering the supply with those changes, while demand stays the same? I do not think there is any.
  • #19



    All I've ever wanted Blizz to do in regards to the economy, is to disable in some manner the practice of flipping.

    These individuals only help themselves while serving no purpose to the economy as a whole. It is because of flipping that regular players can't afford ANY upgrades once they reach 100-150k dps.



    Here's what I don't understand about comments like yours.

    Items are only worth what people pay for them. You have the same opportunity to buy the same item targeted by a "flipper". How does an item become higher in value because a flipper bought it?

    I don't get it?

    because he doesnt constantly sit at the AH looking for underpriced items - there are players that literally stay on that screen for hours




    Are you people seriously gonna bitch about not having the same opportunity to bargain shop as unemployed losers? Is that what this is about?
    BurningRope#1322
  • #20
    Well thanks all for your replies.

    Whenever discussion happens around elements of game design, folks pitch in with normatives which are actually their own personal benchmarks.

    Example 1: Paragon...sure a very small % of folks have reached 100. You assume that this is something everyone finds desirable. Perhaps you believe the real farming starts when you reach 100 because you no longer need to wear MF. It should occur to any observer that the reason why all the customers are not racing to 100 is maybe...They don't care? I felt like I've been there and done that when Alkaizer finished the first 100 - that's fantastic, I can imagine the effort and planning he went through, almost as if I've done it myself. The extent of my desire to do the same ended there.

    Example 2: Account Bound Craftables...Everyone sets their own benchmarks on how good their HF rings get before they call it a day...some do not have a limit. At this point, unless you come onto boards linking your profile, proclaiming that you have a quadfecta hellfire equipped...no-one will know! I understand that you don't want your neighbor to swipe his credit card and get a better ring - but here is the irony - you do not want your "achievements" to be any less meaningful due to trading...and yet without trading, your items mean nothing in the first place...

    To give you all some perspective, my personal benchmarks have been:
    Finished Inferno on all classes.
    Finished the Ubers on a reasonable MP(7).
    Enough dps to feel like farming MP5 isn't too slow (around 140 unbuffed)
    HF ring with a couple of DPS affixes (after about 8 crafts)
    Enough paragon to equip some of the legendary and set pieces which don't have MF and still maintain 300.

    It does not matter that I clock in around one elite per minute or two while quadboxing, or that I have enough Keys for almost 100 machines...personal benchmarks mean nothing until the motivation behind it is communal - and making items tradable is a start.
    Marsh Boxer - Fair Dinkum Multiboxing...
    Quadbox MP7 Ubers Video Thread
    My Youtube Channel
  • #21
    I think you're overlooking the fact that many people don't have benchmarks. Diablo has always been a game that's about striving for an unreachable perfection. Meaning, you can play this game for years, improve your character a little bit every now and then, but you'll never reach the perfect maxed-out gear.

    I can only speak for me and my friends, but we don't have any benchmarks at all. We have been on and off playing Diablo games for 17 years, sometimes taking a break and then coming back and keep on improving the old character (or creating a new one, just for fun). In D2 the breaks were quite long and coming back became boring soon because there was nothing else than running Baal over and over again. So far the endgame in D3 offers more incentive for us (although it's not possible to compare 12 years of D2 to half a year of D3 yet).
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