My main man Malstrom,
I am writing you today after visiting your website and reading through your most recent post about D3. As a long time visitor first time writer you must have stirred my passions; obviously. The problem I have is that passion can derive from anything; be it Diablo 2 or gaming in general. All of the Blizzard forums are rife with complaining but not on the same scale as Diablo 3; does this suggest a problem with D3 or the D3 community?
I played for a while and quickly joined the masses of complaining but I didn’t hang around because my passion died when I realized the things I had a problem with would never change (artificial difficulty inflation to make content last and never having below 200 ping). I was in inferno a week after release so I guess that’d make me a ‘hardcore’ gamer. I left because progression felt flat; I can’t enjoy the same thing over and over without a reward and nothing that dropped would be an upgrade.. This has changed now with ilvl 63 dropping in a1 (some 4% of the time?). If the game isn’t balanced around AH why are the droprates so infuriatingly low so as to force players to choose between frustration of being stuck in one place for a long time or spending real $$$ or gold. This wasn’t why I quit though; I just quit because it was boring and the pings sucked. Picked up Divinity II Dragon Knight Saga afterwards and that was just a waaay better RPG in every way and fairly loot orientated (I spent most of time obsessing over loot and enjoying the fun quests anyway).
How is the balance not dictated by AH? I only ask because I think maybe your slight fanboyism is blinding the usual analytical genius whom I enjoy reading. They had to change the droprates to try and adjust the obvious AH dictated design of making only good loot drop in A3/A4 (where nobody would be in the first 2 weeks at least due to the irrational act 2 spike damage which has been nerfed). The only reason people got that far was exploiting design oversights by blizzard. I couldn’t find the game fun because if I didn’t exploit the game was frustrating, if I don’t run a bot 24/7, the game is boring. I have no will to kill the same things over and over for a chance to get a slight upgrade.. Maybe it’s because I’ve grown up since D2, or maybe it’s because there’s no depth in the game.
Let me jump in here.
It is intentional to say things here that are not being said in other places. If you look at game websites and gaming forums, they all tend to say the same things. So if I’m given a choice of saying something that other places are saying, I don’t say anything at all. It is more interesting to say things that are not being said.
I don’t play games as much as I did. So I cannot comment about message forum drama about a game since I often am not playing it. However, I was playing Diablo 3.
We’re doing no favors to us or to gaming by adopting irrationality. If gamers wish to provide feedback that is useful to game companies, they need to have some sort of standards.
There are three main reasons why I am scoffing at the Diablo 3 ‘reactions’ by the Gaming Message Forum:
1) “I put 200 hours into the game. Game is shit.” This statement makes no sense. Shitty games don’t have players invest hundreds of hours into it. One standard I’ve used is that I remember purchasing Final Fantasy VI for the SNES for around $60. I obtained around 30-40 hours of gameplay from it with replays every now and then. I consider that to be good value.
A more useful statement would be: “I feel like the game is playing me instead of the other way around. I feel like I am being leveraged.” The reason why it might feel like a job is because the definition of a job is you being leveraged. In jobs, when it feels like you are doing more and more but getting paid the same, you are being successfully leveraged. In Diablo 3, especially as you go further into Inferno, it definitely feels like you are doing more and more to get less and less results.
2) Diablo 3 was the bee’s kness for the first few weeks. So why the radical shift in some people’s opinions? Usually, that indicates something of a more personal reaction such as the game kicking their butt or something.
One friend I know was playing Diablo 3 non-stop when it came out. He decided to not sleep and keep playing. Once he got to Inferno, his playing slowed down (he was appearing online less and less). Now, he rarely appears at all. He can farm Act I Inferno successfully but gets mauled in Act II. By the way, he is a barbarian and uses like no resistances.
This guy started playing Diablo 3 on hardcore mode because he probably had a high opinion of his gaming skills (not even Kripparian started playing Diablo 3 on hardcore. He did softcore first and then hardcore). After losing several barbarians in hardcore mode, he switched to softcore and got stuck at the beginning of Act II Inferno.
He doesn’t want to use resistances. He doesn’t want to use a shield. He doesn’t want to use certain skills like revenge.
When he says, “The game sucks,” does it really suck? Or is it to avoid pointing out that maybe it is he that sucks? One very scary trend is that gamers are not actually gamers but are treating video games as a sort of ego-stimulation device (perhaps to shore up something wrong in their real life like a mediocre career or unemployment or something). I see this occurring with MANY players I know. They are getting their asses kicked.
To succeed at games, especially Blizzard games, you do require some analytical ability in order to improve yourself. For example, a good player would figure out how damage is calculated before declaring, “Oh! I need to get some more crit chance and crit damage for my demon hunter!” A bad player would keep trying to stack dexterity and have no crit chance or crit damage. A good player would wonder why he is dying a ton and say, “Oh! I need to add more resistance.” A bad player would keep stacking vitality because that worked in Nightmare and Hell.
I don’t think Diablo 3 is a bad game, but it is an extremely poor ego-stimulator. To the people who wish to prove themselves to the world, who wish to be special snowflakes, Diablo 3 does not do that. It wasn’t designed to do that either. Since loot is entirely random, someone getting better loot doesn’t mean they are ‘better’. It is the gameplay of the slot machine. Diablo 3 is an adventure through multiple slot machine systems.
But the thing is that we knew this going into the game. People are going to the slot machine and complaining it doesn’t play like Poker. How am I to take that seriously?
3) There is mass misinformation on Diablo 3. People are making up ‘facts’ on the spot because it fits their message forum post. The reasons for why the Real Money Auction House or why Inferno or various patches were implemented were given out by Blizzard. Players can agree or disagree with them. Instead, we are getting conspiracy diarrhea dripping down the message forum. I’m not surprised there is misinformation on the gaming message forum, but I’m curious as to why people feel emotionally compelled to make up this misinformation. I believe that emotional component is clue to why they feel dissatisfied.
And besides, it has been a while since I could dig into a current game. I’ve been talking about 8-bit and 16-bit games for years.
OK, now let us resume your email.
About your gold inflation theory; I think you have a good point, the bots are raking in the items; causing the gold value to drop so Blizzard adjusted repair bills.. Does this mean repair costs will increase every time drop rates are increased? Again; how is that not balanced for Auction house?
Time to interrupt the email again.
I never put out any theory that the repair costs went up was to combat botting. In response to the bots, things like pots dropping items was removed. The repair costs went up because players were adopting a death-zerg style of play which was never intended or foreseen. When repair costs are practically nothing, people would just suicide a dozen times with an elite mob in order to kill it. So Blizzard raised the repair costs and had the elite mob heal itself if it was not attacked very soon after.
I was wanting people to see Diablo 3 in the context of how Blizzard was making design decisions so the game wouldn’t cannibalize WoW. They were intentionally trying to make Diablo 3 into a type of ‘Anti-WoW’. Blizzard North wanted to make Diablo 3 into a MMO and Blizzard fired them for that reason. I believe Jay Wilson got the job because he saw Diablo in a way Blizzard wanted: as a game that co-existed with WoW and didn’t do the same job WoW does.
Blizzard can’t prevent botting entirely and they should’ve known this from the beginning; how have they not learned this after so many online multiplayer games? They finally nerfed vases/chests and all that other easily exploitable shit for bots.. The whole games design just smells of amateur to me; Diablo 3 could’ve been a flash game and delivered on the same experience.
The worst of it all; I was scammed by annual pass. Anyway, opinions will be opinions.
How were you scammed by the annual pass? Do you know what scam means? You got everything that was promised in the annual pass, did you not?
Concerning botting, the official Blizzard answer is that while they are concerned about botting, they are not as concerned about it for Diablo 3 than for World of Warcraft. Diablo 3 has no persistent world. Aside from the Auction House, which is entirely optional, a bot can have no impact on the player. The bot is not taking away your herbs or mining nodes such as in World of Warcraft. This position has been stated by Blizzard in various interviews.
I suspect this reasoning is why Blizzard feels they have the go-ahead to sell gold, to allow real money auction house, all because there is no persistent world. Every player is instanced.
Blizzard’s reasoning aside, when the game company offers something like ‘Real Money Auction House’ or ‘Selling Gold’, the audience will interpret it not as the company performing a quality of life act by making unsecure third party services now trusted and secure first party services but as intentional gameplay designs.
A good question to ask is: “Should there be a wall between the game company and certain services?” Diablo 3 is making it clear that when the game company crosses that wall, players will think the game company is after them no matter what is said.
Perhaps a better solution would be to create another company, owned by Blizzard, to perform those services. This way they would get the security and all but it would create a percieved wall between the development side of Blizzard and whatever company this is.