"...instill the feeling that your next awesome item could come from anywhere, and is just around the corner"
I'm not really sure how I feel about that. I know this is not Diablo 2 and I try not to draw too specific of references, however, it will forever be compared, rightfully so. I will try and evaluate some of the concepts they both share though.I think this itemization model they've implemented leaves poor incentives for a player. I do actually strongly believe the game would be better off without a gold auction house, trading house would be cool, check your offers, deny, accept, etc, but gold I think really screwed everything up due to the farming. That being said, the way the items are generalized for all classes you wont see such high demand for such specific weapons that were needed for such specific builds in diablo 2. I wont disagree that Diablo 3 has some very entertaining qualities, they definitely are. I do believe that these encompassing qualities just don't stay lustrous as long. I think they fizzle out quickly because people start to realize that the game just needed some depth.
It seems to me that Blizzard wants people to have that gut feeling of "omg a great item" all the time because they think psychologically that makes a player spend more time playing the game. If all the items can basically work on everyone then everything you find is relevant and it makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. They also want to perpetuate this feeling by making it feel like it is obtained anywhere at anytime and you just dont know when its going to happen, much like the second coming of Christ.
I strongly believe that when you play a game it is good to go into it with a goal, plan, or objective of some sort. Whether it be gaining 10 levels, paragon levels, or finishing an act. I also think that when a player goes on a run that definite start and end feeling come into play. If you think about it, all of the games you grinded on (played repetitively for the sake of leveling, item hunting - I hate the term "farming") there was a very clear start and end. Also, there was likely an area of high difficulty where there were more than likely specific areas you were more likely to find things. Diablo 3 just feels convoluted and messy to me. First you have to play that story in normal, nightmare, hell, and then inferno, and then you have 1-10 monster power. The minibosses and boss fights are just flat out worthless, in some instances you can whoop the AI's ass so bad the game actually has to slow you down and prevent you from completely obliterating everything an drag out the telegraphed movesets and cutscenes. Theres no build of anticipation or suspense, it is just a "get it overwith" kind of moment. Honorable mention, I wish we had 8 player multiplayer, but the way the game is designed with the super narrow battle areas it just would suck. It just seems so damn clunky. We have a gold auction house where we can buy and sell our goods that just aimlessly play around for.
Diablo 2 was very personally fun for me because the builds were dynamic and often specific the way they needed to be set up both via gear and stat/skill points. Although I dont see a need for stat points in Diablo 3 - since most people ended up putting the points into vitality in its predecessor - Diablo 3 is modeled in a way that most players adopted at the end of Diablo 2. I'm actually okay with the skillsets that Diablo 3 has as well, what really makes it "boring" to me is the items. Itemization did not translate well from Diablo 2 to Diablo 3. The weapons in Diablo 2 had some very unique skill sets and stats - including some you would normally not have access to. You could find and create great gear. I'm not saying good gear, I mean GREAT gear - and they came in several flavors (blue, yellow and unique/set (cruel of quickness, ethereal cruel of quickness, etc,). The type of gear someone would trade you real money for, or a ton of relevant items. You could get some satisfaction from learning the market (which also happened to teach you a lot of the different builds because you'd learn why an item held value and who the market was who would like to trade for it.) And I think moving toward items you cant even trade or sell doesnt help with the giant elephant in the room.
It just felt to me that the the levels you earned had more intrinsic value, the items were more gratifying both in physical appearance as well as their stats and abilities. What I mean by that is the aesthetic model that Diablo 2 had was a more true to dungeon crawling look. Classic Medieval design. Diablo 3 has some really beautiful artwork, but, I feel that the design of like ilvl 63 shoulders, helmets, etc, are just so gaudy and unappealing. Same goes for Vile wards. Call me crazy, I just think the artwork in Diablo 3 is over-exaggerated and kind of "cartoony" - dare I say WoW like. Who knows. But aside from this over-exaggerated appearance you have an underlying dissatisfying and generalized item design. A Witch Doctor can equip a 2h bow or cross bow but cant use a damn quiver? But oh anyone can use a Skorn (a Massive two handed axe) or a Giant sledge hammer, basically every shield is hideous (I really think that) they are just flat out bad looking. I mean come on, it just doesn't add up for me. And on top of it because they were designed for everyone they cant have much deviation (unless theyre one of the very very few class specific gears) I liked that in Diablo 2 different character classes used different weapons and identical weapons in such a contrasting fashion. In Diablo 3 you have a class like Barbarian that has stunning passives and then other classes like the monk who have boring and, frankly, crappy passives. I mean its pretty obvious whoever designed the monk figured they would be dying a lot because they had to revolve everything around the monk in staying alive or healing. LOL my first class was Monk and I thought he was a badass who got ripped off with some really really crappy passives. They actually had a quote saying they designed the monk initially to be a character that goes into battle and does some quick damage and exits quickly. How does that remotely sound appealing? I want to be the guy who pops in, says hello, and pops out and lets everyone else have the fun. It's no wonder why some of the changes have come down the pipes that we see today.
The type of game play they shot for completely deviated from its predecessor and I firmly believe this was a very poor choice and it was executed very poorly. It's okay to try and innovate and implement some refreshing ideas but the latter is a little disappointing from a company that prides themselves on execution. One small example, the way the skills were designed you find yourself trying to combo out some cool skills and get some kills, I think this was largely due to Wilson's RTS background, its almost as if you're mind is tied into your left hand and you're pressing the skills in timed successions. Thats pretty fun, but the rest of the game doesnt really follow that flow. Look at all the kill bonuses and things you get, savior bonus, survival bonus, etc. Where can you look that up? The answer is you can't. Why the hell do you give people an indication of a new record of a stat you cant even look up again to try and beat, or compare with friends. I think that was a derivative of some Activision style gamplay, personally. I think if these stats are to remain relevant they should be locatable and you should be able to compete these milestones, objectives, or records across the board with other players and friends. I wont even get started on how something like even just a ladder would be awesome and EXTREMELY EASY TO IMPLEMENT.
But you know, there was also the approach of other things from the development community. Compared to other games without auction houses that directly bring in revolving revenue they wouldn't have otherwise been able to account for it seems to me that future content shouldnt be so lengthy or poorly designed. I mean with the way the community accepted Diablo 3, for them to so arrogantly (in my opinion) announce an expansion not even really a year later was a huge slap in the face for me. Diablo 3 already feels like an expansions worth of content to me, what the hell are you trying to get me to buy an expansion for? It seems that the game industry is getting VERY greedy. Expensive and perpetual expensive add-ons and expansions. What happened to the days where someone developed a game, it rocked, and a successor was developed. They didn't drag it on for ever in hopes to rake in the greens or undercut the content because they knew they could get away with add-on features within a couple of months. Call of Duty is notoriously famous for that and its no surprise we've seen it translate to other platforms and genres. This leads me to possibly my most cynical thought of all. I wonder, sometimes, if the way Diablo 3 was developed was intended to be wholesomely inferior to pay-for games like World of Warcraft. Oh you want in depth skill builds and level systems and worlds, etc, go buy our MMO with a monthly subscription. I fear that once they learned what that revenue was like they knew that they would never waste their time with how successful diablo 3 could have really been. That says a lot considering how many people bought Diablo 3. It will honestly make me question all of my future sequel purchases indefinitely (from credible companies).
If you took the time to read all of this, I commend you, because I'll be honest, after writing this for long I really started to feel like I should just save my breath. Most people will come in here and simply flame me for stating my opinion. I know theres no one easy fix for this game for me and I generally believe that the concept of the game is perfectly great. It is just all these small continuity problems and add up into one big headache for me. I could go on for ever and discuss this with you guys because I love this game, I love blizzard, and I love the community, but when people talk about what makes them happy or unhappy it can be such a subjective topic. It can also be so hard to quantify peculiar mechanics and oddities and verbalize them into a way that truly interpret what you mean. I'm interested to see what everyone else has to say about it..
Edited by TheSeanis, 20 March 2013 - 08:30 AM.