Diablo II's seventh ladder season started on new terms with the release of the publicly-tested patch 1.13. Bashiok made an initiative to see how long players wanted the new season and the ones to follow to last. Now, months shy of the winning full year, the results are in question:
Official Blizzard Quote:
One year won by a wide margin for length of time between resets. That's what we're planning to do unless everyone wants to change their mind. I'm willing to hold another poll, or, alternatively just say we cut it down the middle and do a reset every nine months.
After restating what the ladder resets actually do for players, the game, and the in-game economy, Bashiok opened a new poll to see what players are feeling roughly half a year after season seven began:
So, let us know, do you agree with the poll results from last time? Should it allow for as much time as possible to enjoy the ladder and last a year? Should it be the previous six months? Or be somewhere inbetween and reset every 9 months?
Get involved in all the action in the official poll here!
Hrmm...let's look at the obvious here blizzard. What you have on your hands is by far the worst ladder season ever, only one that can compete is the previous ladder.
What makes these 2 the worst ladders ever? Well quite simply 2 things.
The first of which is hacks. Mainly the obvious portion of hacks are all the bots. Spam bots are just annoying, and mf/exp bots remove any incentive to play. If you do bot, you can run your bot 23 hours a day, and for the hour you feel like playing you maybe just do a few duels, pk attempts(on bots, go figure), or trades. Realistically why would you shut your mf bot off just to manually mf? Its more fun to just play solitaire and watch the bot run in a window. I'll admit it, I botted before, so I'm speaking from experience here. The only thing lamer then botting is playing a game where you can't ever get anything you need because 3/4 of the players bot and whatever you have to offer is garbage to them. Prior to botting I'd get excited if a Pul rune dropped. Post botting I set my bot to not even pick anything up lower then an Ist rune. Even if you don't bot, every time you get a sweet deal in a trade, chances are it came from someone who just popped on to check his bot and wanted to clear up some space. You have two choices, bot and be part of a flooded economy, or don't bot and be part of a flooded economy, but either way those who do bot screw the game up for everyone.
Also jumbled into the hacks category is all the lame pvp hacks people use. Auto aim isn't even the bad one. A skilled player has the upper hand over an auto aimer, so let the noobs auto aim away, but can you please get rid of that annoying speed hack people use. Seeing a max ias/fcr/fhr guided arrow bow sorc in every duel game for the last month I played was a contributing factor to not wanting to play anymore. They aren't annoying because they are hard to kill or anythings, its just people blatantly rubbing impossible builds in your face just because they can. There's no way to max your fcr and ias on a bowsorc, anyone who knows the game at all could tell you this.
Now that my rant on hacks is over, on to the second factor that made the last two ladder seasons the worst ever...respecs. Respecs obviously dovetail with the bot problem, and its not too complicated to see how.
Let's say you want an auradin. Prior to respecs you had to have your gear in advance, plan your character in advance, and level in a certain manner. Regardless of the pros and cons of having to do this, the fact is you had to do it manually. You couldn't ever just get to level 70 and say sweet, now I can bot my auradin up to 95+. However, with the respecs, you can do just that. All you have to do is level a hammerdin to level 70, turn on the bot, and 2 weeks later you have a level 95, which can then be respecced into an auradin. Suddenly seeing a level 95 auradin didn't go from "wow thats a sweet character, thats not something I see often" to "wow wonder what bot that guys uses."
Even without botting as a factor, respecs still give me every reason in the world to play the top pvm class for each character. Gone are the days of leveling up a hammerdin, a smite/foh hybrid, a pure smiter, and an auardin all for various purposes. Now I level 4 hammers and respec 3 of them. This makes the game much easier and much more bland, as I'm sure everyone figured this out.
Now my other gripe with respecs. Was it possible to mess up a character before by misclicking and wasting a few stat points or a wrong skill? Yup. Was it more then likely at some point you'd have to remake characters because you got annis/torches/better gear and wanted to maximize stats? Yup. Was it possible you'd just make a weak character or think of an idea on how to improve your current build and want a tweak? Yup. So, here you have 3 scenarios that encourage making a fresh alt and playing the game more. However, respecs remove them. Why on earth would I remake my level 80 I want to tweak when its gonna take me maybe 6-8 hours worth of playtime to get back to level 80 when I could respec in 60 seconds?
Respecs are baby sitting a little chubby kid and giving him a cookie whenever he asks if the developer is the babysitter, and the player is the little chubby kid. Little chubby kid says COOKIE, and you give him one, and he eats it and leaves you alone for 5 minutes, all is well in the world. He comes back after that 5 minutes and says COOKIE, so you give him another, and all is well in the world for another 5 minutes. Instant gratification is a great thing!
However, after 2 hours of this the little chubby kid pukes all over himself and all over you and makes a horrible disgusting stinky mess. This is exactly the effect respecs had on D2, only instead of a horrible disgusting stinky mess your left with a dead player base. Before when you spent a month planning a character, leveling, deciding to try something different, deleting, remaking, releveling, and you finally hit that point where you said AHA! That's what I want! You felt like you did something cool. Its like you ate box of cookies, over the course of a month. Respecs just force feeds you that box of cookies all at once.
Now, time for the old "If you don't like it don't use it" argument. That's all well and dandy, but it still kills the game. I can't level a noob in a group anymore because everyone else is respeccing. Its not like the good old prior to respec days when you could meet up with a few new people in norm tristram and run with them all the way to hell. Its just like saying if you don't want to pick up dog poop, don't own a dog, then letting your dog crap in my yard.