Diablo 3 - After 3 months; Good Hook, Rough life.By: KradisZ posted at Aug 05, 2012 7:07 am
Diablo 3, you had a good hook and a bad end.
The game is still ongoing and I have no idea how long the people who reviewed it played it for. But I'll give you that I've played it for at least 127 hours as a Wizard, 89 as a demon hunter, and a couple on barbarian and witch doctor and a few on a hardcore monk.
(Edited line in August 12, 2012): All of this and below before patch 1.0.4.
**WARNING; Spoilers may be present below if you have never played Diablo 3. you have been warned! ***
Why does this game get so much attention everywhere?
It's due to the fact that the game has been a franchise that was widely recognised as a big success in its earlier editions; Diablo I, Diablo II mostly the latter gained the fame for the series. The other thing is it's developed by Blizzard.
What people don't know is that it's not developed by Blizzard North which is where most of their key employees that were involved with Diablo I and II left and founded the(Amended, August 7, 2012) now known Runic Games.
Before I go into talking about the game, place this in your mind,
"What if Blizzard's trademark company title wasn't associated with Diablo 3 would you even play it if you saw screenshots of it let alone pass out 59.99$ for it?"
My answer is definitely not, I'd pay probably half the price for all the other options I can consider on the market for something else rather than spending it here for this. Don't get my wrong the game isn't bad, it just has no longevity at the moment and I don't think its worth 59.99. Mass Effect 3 was that much and I felt more compelled to play that again and I mean the multi-player not the story again. But the story was even then far greater than what Diablo 3 presented.
What's good about Diablo 3?
It's fluency in combat is something to praise about. Combat is bloody and destructive, enemies are fairly detailed and nostalgic to Diablo 2. Killing enemies is definitely fun in Diablo 3, things going splat, or splurging blood, getting blown across the screen from a barbarian's strike.
The cut scenes are amazing. In between acts you're always given a full motion video cut scene of the characters. They impress and make it feel like the reward of traversing through all the trouble just to get a mini movie to sit and relax and reap the reward of beautiful motion art.
All 5 classes bolster a different type of game play. Witch Doctors being the most unique, and the Demon Hunter resembling much like an Amazon from D2. Your Barbarian is a straight revisit to D2 with most skills seemingly familiar in a way. Monks are more for your martial artist fans with a russian influenced style mixed with the orients of martial arts. Wizards are more along the lines of a sly-type class with a heavy rock kind of outlook.
Intense difficulty is something Diablo 3 has. Although the difficulty may be somewhat ridiculous at Inferno up to Hell its challenging enough without frustrating the player to quit.
What's bad about Diablo 3? (I'm sorry folks but after 200 hours there's more bad than good at the time being.)
Weapons in Diablo 3 have no restrictions/differentiations except a handful of items. Anyone can wield sword or a dagger or an axe or a spear or polearm, shield, two-handed axe, two-handed sword. I may be wrong on the two-handed ones but you get the point. There is no proficiency or difference between all of them for all 5 classes. They are just one category; WeaponLeftHand/RightHand/BothHands.
Elemental effects are just gimmicks as flashy things for the player. Lightning will not fry water to cause steam burns or anything, fire will not get owned by water, and arcane type(or magic as some would say) have no bonus effect on anything alone. The simplistic design from a once reputable company has dumbed down these things to just brilliant fireworks that serve nothing more than just that.
Extremely linear game play. This is a big issue here coming from at least 5 years of development for the current version of D3. (Yes I know it took 11 years don't quote me on but the first 6 years D3 looked MUCH better than it is now and I will not go digging screenshots for you because it is posted in Kotaku and if you see it vs. now you might even hate yourself and I will not subject you to it. Lol.) When you throw a comparison between other games that took 5 years you have amazing content with many different things to do. Diablo 3 the core and gist of it sadly is, run through, kill stuff, grind, get items, repeat until end. End being you stop playing. You don't make any choices along the way. And I really mean you don't make ANY.....(except your character name and gender. Psyche!)
To get to Inferno you must play through the story at least 3 times, Normal Nightmare Hell then Inferno. Think that's bad? If you want to try another class be prepared to go through it 3 more times and a 4th on traversing through Inferno getting to that area you wanted to get to to look for rare items. With 5 classes to try anything end game with all 5you must go through the game a minimal of 15 times before getting all your toons to Inferno. 15 times of the same story over and over no difference in between.(Added: August 7, 2012)
The game is entirely linear, some may say "oh the maps are random", no they are not. There are about maybe 3-10 versions of each map easily memorized. They are not randomly generated like Diablo 2 where I was lost 99% of the time.
Examples: Leaving town from Diablo 2 could be .. exit NorthEast or.. sometimes South East.. and rarely what the NorthWest?!?. However Diablo 3, My exit is always static from New Tristram; NorthEast and NorthWest both to same areas of their respective monsters they never switch. The ancient waterway is always somewhere in the southeast or southwest, or once you come across the naga guard preaching about lord belial trying to stop you then you know you're on the right way, those who play a lot you know what I'm talking about. There are MANY instances of this type of static entrance/exits of maps and these are also part of the story. The story never branches off in
anothe r multiple directions. I don't care if your game all ends up the same at the END but seeing it unwind in different ways would make replaying it much more fun.
I've read many suggestions but here's great few I've come across and agree upon. Since the game runs on the last remaining Lords of Hell i.e. Belial and Azmodan why not do something cool? "Lord of Lies" "Lord of Sin", one being great for deception and the other for tactician. BOTH with GREAT potential to develop a GREAT game. Diablo 3 does not succeed into GREAT, it succeeds into MEDIOCRE and below for what it's worth.
1. Lord of Lies -> Give decisions to the players to attempt to unveil Belial and deceive him back or find the truth behind him through game making decisions where you want to go, find Zoltun Kulle or have you scour through Caldeum searching for Belial's identity or something instead. Anything is better than a 1-way scripted story.
2. Lord of Sin -> THIS was a BIG one, for a guy who was a tactician and you had to fight him, AND you're the hero who everyone's counting on to do the right thing at Arreat. LET THE PLAYER DEPLOY GUARDS OR SOMETHING TO AREAS AROUND THE KEEP, Order groups of soldiers or something to attack certain areas of Azmodan's invasion. Have it be an ongoing updated battle between the keep and the outfield and the breaking in of the castle from underground. Apply siege forces and works to counter Azmodan's attacks. If a nephalem lost most of its power from the Worldstone event from the lore of Diablo it only feels more natural to guide some help with you into battle. Have certain areas be more swarmed with different enemies approaching the castle if you wanted to fight more mobs or harder groups or something it would be a fluctuating battlefield for the player. It would make more sense to co-op. But sadly the soldiers are nothing in Diablo 3 their blades which look the same as yours do absolutely nothing because they have no stats. I'm surprised they weren't overrun earlier before you even arrived and fully taken over.
Skills aren't chosen they are simply unlocked and given upon levelling. Which in turn begs the question why is there an achievement to raise 2 characters of any class to max level; 60? At any given point in the game when you are level 37 you are the exact same 37 as someone else if you both had no gear. This sad fact lead to 99% of my game play time to be solo just because I'd be unique and the only one around with these abilities. I didn't want others coming in doing the same thing I did. It's lame to see 4 arcane orbs flying across your screen in a 4 wizard co-op. You're impression would go along the lines of like "Haha omg we're all using the same thing", moments later or many hours of game play later "... everyone has the same skill as me -_-;;.."
Statistics aren't permanent they are just determined by gear. I have to say that just because the gear makes you different doesn't mean your base stats are. And in Diablo 3 you have no pick or say to whatever your stats are other than gear. Gear dictates your stats meaning luck of the draw find or Auction House upgrade is the only way to improve your character. You don't get anything to do with customizing any stat of your char without having to pay gold or killing a monster for it.
Skills don't amplify with anything. Another really really bad thing about Diablo 3. Blizzard advertised the game to be highly different in the sense where you can make many different builds and be unique with your skill set and experiment a lot. In my days of extreme gaming and all the games I've played this was a big fat lie that slapped across my face harder than I could say wtf in time. This pissed me off and I will admit it, I still played Diablo 3 but being a Guild Wars player this statement just did not fly with their game after playing it. The game funnels into cookie cutter builds for Inferno; the end game material, you're no longer looking for a skill set, you're looking for x gear, x skills, and everything else disregard, whatever works you can't do any funny stuff or interesting without copying someone else. Tell me about a Wizard in Inferno who doesn't use Frost Nova or Diamond Skin? and I don't mean co-op, I'm talking about solo. Or how about a Barbarian that doesn't use Frenzy in Inferno?
Here I'll even do Combinatorics for you TL;DR scroll to End of combinatorics
A wizard has 25 skills to choose from, from all their categories, without passives being included, I'm talking about active ones only. You have 6 slots. That's 25 choose into 6 slots. So you have 25!/6!19! = 177100 combinations. That includes all the selections where some of them are exactly the same so you remove them. You're obviously not going to use 4 primary skills on your bar like Spectral Blades Magic Missile Electrocute and sparks you can't even use all 4 at the same time your weapon attack only animates one of them at a time! So you're definitely not going to have 4 of the same categorized skill on your bar at any given so just remove a category from the total aka -6 (4choose4, 5 choose 5, 3 choose 3, 5 choose 5, etc. all 1s). that leaves us with 177094 combinations remaining.
If you're going to use only one skill from each category that's
4 choose 1 x 3 = 12. ( x3 for Primary, Secondary, Defensive)
3 choose 1 is 3 (For Mastery)
5 choose 1 x 2 is 10 (For Conjuration and Force)
So categories here is 3 + 2 + 1 which is 6! yeay!
The results we have 3 x 12 x 10 = 120 x 3 = 360 different combinations if you choose one skill from each category. Fairly sad! With a million+ players all the newbies will have an approximate 360/1mil chance to be an exact copy of you. Should they have a wizard since that was our case
Meaning roughly 2777 players have the exact same build as you do at any given time in a population player base of 1million. Or maybe I did my math wrong.
Unless you discover elective mode. then that total chance if you include joke builds will be the total population /177100 and that's how many players that may have your build.
We could always take the sample data of most popular skill mentioned for Wizards in Inferno; Diamond Skin and reduce the slot to 5 slots only and a defense armor skill like... oh I don't know ENERGY ARMOR? You don't need anymore defense after that just disables and damage. That will then remove 2 categories for you, Defensive and Conjuration for Energy Armor unless you include magic weapon and familiar then you have only 1 attack slot left which won't amount to anything so It'd either be only magic weapon OR familiar not both. so 2 choose 1 is 2 choices.
So you're left with Diamond Skin, Energy Armor, Frost Nova, Teleport cause we know how bad Jail and Waller is or Arcane Sentries all over your screen, 2 slots for attack. certainly not a buff if you want to live, and destroy in Inferno. Your choices of attack is Explosion, all Primaries All Secondaries and some forces which is 14 different skills into 2 slots. 14 Choose 2 = 91.
Only 91 different choices with a survivable build in Inferno as a Wizard with cookie cutter choices because the rest won't let you do anything and you'll just be watching a death timer. With those 91 combinations to your attacks there's not much room for experimenting without massive fail and death in end game material to actually feel like your build means something.
So once again for every one million players that's about 10989 players that have the same build as you. That's not looking so unique any more is it. That's about 1% of the population for SURE has a build like you. Seems small but how many actually have two primaries. Lets say we remove primary from the mess and you only use crazy arcane power consuming builds assuming you have arcane power on crit. So that's four skills gone from the choice into 2 slots. Now we have 10 choose 2 = 45. 1 mil / 45 = 22222. The amount practically doubled just from 4 choices gone. For every choice missing the chance goes up exponentially and for those who find skills horridly useless they get filtered out and we all end up using the same thing.
End of some bad Combinatorics on my part.
LOTS OF PLAYERS HAVE THE SAME BUILD.....
The skills don't change with gear or anything they're barely noticeable and most skills aren't even used. It's painful to play if you've played Guild Wars.
But enough about linearly game play. Blizzard made their choice and stuck with it even with the plentiful amount of games out these days with branching story lines to take example from.
Hidden modifiers - What makes most players angry who don't do research and find out later are hidden modifiers. When a game boasts such hype about their difficulty and stat system they have all these hidden little nuances that wreck the player in developing a strategy to beat their developer's game. It's their way of saying "This is how you're going to play OUR game". Not so much like "here's a game have fun with it." Think of it like Chess. You have to defeat your opponent by getting checkmate yet your opponent has no King to checkmate, you find out later he placed the King in your pocket. Dafuq? hidden modifier. My proof?
1. Enrage Timers - These things just prohibit the game and act as a gear check, which I find is absolutely intuitively backwards for any kind of game progression/accomplishment. They don't tell you about them you just wonder what they are upon first encounter.
2. Lifesteal - This % isn't even accurate in Inferno, it's reduced to almost nothing you have 2.0% lifesteal it amounts to about 0.75% in Inferno but they won't tell you that, people have tried and done tables of digits to make sure its right with what they were seeing then complained about it. so a static Life On Hit is much better...
Graphics - In this day and age making something pretty is worth checking out. Diablo 3 doesn't do that with their game graphics. It's so low and World of Warcraft-like that I think it should be shamed; NOT because it's like WoW but because they didn't pursue higher detail. At most you have 4 characters on screen, that's about it you won't have hundreds ever unless they change that and make a lobby to see millions of clones of each other. A zealot in SC2 makes my Barbarian look like's from the 1950s. The worst part is the graphics have already been shamed and none other than by a PC hardware magazine. The article I remember reading entitled "It took 11 years for this?", speaking about how it doesn't push the engine or today's hardware to any stressing level, let alone be a benchmark for any video card to test on. The game does not have normal mapping. What is it? It's the illusion of depth and detail in 3D games. None of which Diablo 3 has. The textures are flat you can clearly tell a shine on an armor, if any, isn't protruded in anyway and is a simple blend is what gives it away. For game that focuses on a dark story about chaos and the eventual release of a god of evil it certainly does not cater towards that direction. The elements are far too colorful and the dialogue isn't terrifying at all.
Gameplay - May be the only saving attribute of this game so far is that the combat is fluent. However that vs. everything else is badly underestimated. I have to give this a 3/10. Mostly because they destroyed their own hype, saying this and that but didn't deliver. Having to be connected online all the time is hindering. Especially during maintenance. I play this game solo 99% of the time. The 1% with my friends just redoing easier difficulties since its their first run through. Because I don't see a point in playing Co-op, there's no cool skill combines with other classes. General design is overall flawed in several ways. One being entering a general chat upon starting a session, in which case someone spoiled the entire game story for me during my first play through which I found wrecked the entire experience because someone decided it was good to auto-join general chat upon starting your game. Good one...
(Added August 10, 2012) You want an extreme game design flaw? Here's one, Why do the death timers increase upon death when I'm playing solo and monsters regenerate to maximum hp by my 3rd death anyway? I'm sitting there for 30 seconds just to respawn to fight the same monster on a different attempt with it at full hp. First death is like 3 seconds which is okay then like 5 then 10 then 15 then 30 and so on it just gets longer. Doesn't make any sense at all. The game has me wait longer and longer just frustrating any player and questioning who came up with the idea eventually leading them to hit escape and return to lobby or quit altogether. The monsters regenerate to full upon successive deaths not to mention you have to wait longer and longer just to respawn and be going "oh i'm alive now and you guys are at max hp np..." Don't forget hidden modifier of enrage timer, which counts as you're in death. My Wizard can tank enrage timer, its just this mechanic itself is like what the... If I want to zerg into mobs over and over and die repeatedly so I can get used to their attack you should let me do so, not place a DotA 2 level 25 death timer on me.
Sound - Works well with most of the game, however music seems to be absent or isn't very memorable at all. Voice acting is good and spot on with the characters from what I remember during my first play through. If I don't judge this with the story line I will say it deserves a 8.5/10.
Originality - Cliché and done before. Nothing new story line is simplistic and maybe even satiric at some points. The game's been done before and it's been revamped... but not very well executed. The skill system is nothing to brag about either there's been plenty of games that have adopted the change your skill around system. Examples? Top one being Guild Wars which boasts at least a million different combinations compared to the 177k x 5classes = 885k here and in Guild Wars skills from the same category aren't abhorrently useless either to the approximated 885k with joke builds such as 4 primary skills in 4 slots. Phantasy Star Online is another. I have to say the skill system resembles Guild Wars 2 A LOT... and I know GW 1 came first before Diablo 3's skill system soooo... that's uh.. rather shocking when I had the realization. Character classes aren't exactly innovating or new either. I've heard of Wizards Barbarians and Demon Hunters and Monks before or Witch Doctors. Why not try different things rather than just "Let's move away and not resurrect old classes from D2" yet they did Barbarian. The whole fiasco is an inconsistent mess.Your Witch Doctor is practically the necromancer lets just put flesh on our skeletons and call them zombies. For the flat story line and many things that have been done before I'd have to give originality a sad 1.5/10.
Visuals - The graphics are outdated. I've seen people saying other games' graphics are outdated are ugly I point them here and laugh a little... and cry too. This game looks like it was made for year 2003. Just look at games in 2003 it looks the same. *Shrug*. Other than the cut scenes the main majority of the graphics are low and lack detail
and bad. There's no option to increase it either it's the fact that the range is so limited and so low-end it's kind of disheartening to have such a powerful computer to game. I know not everyone has a strong computer but for those who want to see what a big company can push out and visualize the new big details on a large franchise but didn't is very disappointing. The coloring and environments in work in tandem with the game but diminishes the overall mood of the story and gameplay itself for what Diablo was known for. Thus generating my score for it to be a low 3/10. The skill effects aren't exactly impressive either. I've played Torchlight and it runs on my laptop which has garbage specs and it can't even run Diablo 3 'cause of the amount of resources it takes up, which also leaves me questioning why since I know a bit about computer architecture and instinctively makes me compare it to a game of similar detail level such as Torchlight. Although this isn't about Torchlight they at least used their low detail to an advantage of making it cartoony which works. Striking for realism like Diablo 3 not so much.
Story - If this was a free to play game the story would be good but since I had to shell out 59.99 I don't feel I got what was worth in that $59.99. A point and click adventure game like Escape from Monkey Island is about 1/3rd of that price when it first launched on Steam. The story in Diablo 3 is linear, big scary horrifying guys tell you what they're doing. What? The story could've taken a much better route then what happened here in Diablo 3. It's just a scripted book.
The author is sub-par and can't tell a story very well.
Added: August, 7, 2012 The design of the story is sub par and can't explain it beyond the first time through. Why not with every difficulty increase you get other sidelines or even flashbacks or behind the scenes development of in-game characters and NPCs? Ever heard of Breath of Fire: Dragon Quarter; although it didn't retain its hype to its previous iterations it at least unlocked scenes with every replay through. 3 TIMES through just to get to Inferno. If you have a level cap of 60 most players will want to attain that next level not stop at the first difficulty where your level is only about 20-30. It's because it's not an indie developer behind it either unless you're going to tell me Blizzard is downright poor which I don't think anyone will seriously.
A character dies and its not even that memorable, not the first one, the very last one. I thought for sure you'd be able to bring them back within the game or at least put them to rest but they cut them out like they didn't even matter to begin with and the thing that replaced them was even more anti climactic it's what led me to believe the big guy itself was androgynous.
The fact that you're in general chat upon playing is stupid too. My first playthrough someone spoiled it for me because the general chat popped up on the bottom left and I was curious and looked and read it then hated the game for half an hour wondering who designed that. I know leaving the general chat channel is possible but disabling auto-join to the chat is not even an option. The experience was utterly ruined. The story is weak and linear and ends in such a way where an expansion doesn't seem possible without pulling something out of their head that makes no sense at all. For that it deserves a 2/10.
Gameplay - 3/10
Sound - 8.5/10
Originality - 1.5/10
Visuals - 3/10
Story - 2/10
Challenge - Easy to Ridiculous, Highly inconsistent.
Lasting Effect - None, by the 4th time through most are done with the game. The fans and hardcore players continue but even most have left. I don't speak for everyone or anyone for that fact but on account of friends quitting who were serious fans of Diablo 2 they tried their hardest to stay but quit abruptly or to barely playing after feeling extremely autonomous to the item grind. (Added, August 7, 2012)
Total: 18/50 * 2 = 36/100 - Evaluated on August 5, 2012.
End comments: A poorly executed Action RPG which has a good hook for the first few times but won't last for a player longing for more and will end abruptly upon reaching Inferno and being highly discouraged by all the little problems. If you weren't playing since May 15, and any time you join now it's much harder to get gear from other players in the Auction House market.
Edit: August 08, 2012 On my first playthrough if I quit directly at the end of Normal I'd give the game maybe a 40-50 out of 100 because I won't know the other 3/4 and half of the material that I didn't play and can't write accurately about if I didn't play it. What drove me to 200+ hours is achievement whoring. If any game has achievements I go ape over bonkers playing it regardless of how great/crappy it can be. *Shakes fist at whoever invented the idea* :D
Comments are always welcome just please keep it civil.
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