There are tons of people raging about Diablo 3 for various reasons, but one particular complaint I see over and over isn’t really about the bruised ego of a player. It’s about the lack of motivation to continue the item hunt, and how D2′s item hunt was more compelling.
In Inferno, the chance of finding a reasonably good item (ie, one you can use to progress) is so low that the motivation to hunt for items is rarely validated. In D2, uniques and sets dropped much more often and were good enough to progress with, regardless of their stat rolls (the variance on rolls for uniques wasn’t so high as to make a poorly-rolled one useless). They dropped often enough that players were continually motivated to farm some more. In D3, you might eventually find some items with the stats you’re looking for… but the variance on rolls is far higher than in D2, so you often get high ilvl gear that rolls lower than something you got earlier in Hell. It’s pretty demotivating to ID a pile of high ilvl rares that are total trash. I know not every item is supposed to be awesome, but I’d be more motivated to find the amazing items if I got merely adequate ones sometimes.
What do you think? Have you found the Inferno item hunt rewarding?
What I find rewarding about Inferno is that I can still grow, even at a small pace, and it reveals this growth for me. If Hell was the last level of difficulty, how could I tell I was getting stronger when everything is already dying so fast?
Like with every RPG and even Classic Zelda, I love when a game’s content starts off as ‘I am scared of this. It is too hard,” to where I become, “I am no longer scared of this. I can mow it all down quite easily.” At the beginning of Dragon Quest I, I struggled against the slimes with my bamboo stick. But at the end of Dragon Quest I, I walked proudly across the countryside with magic and ancient armor and easily slew anything that came to me.
I actually haven’t found a problem gearing up my characters (and I have five classes so it takes much longer than someone blitzing through with just one character). I will share with you the frustrations I have with the game, and this is Jay Wilson’s fault (let’s blame the people responsible. It is ridiculous to see people blame Jay Wilson for the story or box art or things that he doesn’t have any control over).
-Total Reset with a few seconds loss of connection
If a game is going to be required to always use an Internet connection, it should be designed around how real life Internet connections work. When Internet connections consisted of modems, games were designed around that fact. They didn’t expect the game to be played with T1 connections since T1 connections aren’t widespread. Internet connections, at this point in time, are not 100% consistent. Blizzard’s servers are also not 100% consistent. Anyone playing WoW has seen raiders disconnect in a middle of the fight or Blizzard’s servers malfunction and wipe the raid.
I was playing Act III Inferno last night after finally having soloed Belial on my Demon Hunter (who has ZERO resists, total glass cannon). The third quest has you going through a maze of rooms underneath the Keep. I had to do that quest three times because either my Internet or Blizzard’s servers went kaput for like a few seconds. It reset the entire floor for me, all the elites, all the monsters, which I would have to kill all over again. It was not fun.
I can’t tell you how many times I have lost five stacks of Nephalem armor due to a connection stutter. Twice today, and I just quit.
A voice from Blizzard says, “We demand constructive feedback. What have you to say to this?” Why is Nephalem armor reset? If someone has 27 minutes left of Nephalem Armor and goes offline for ten minutes, he should reappear with 17 minutes left of Nephalem armor. Blizzard can do this in WoW. So why not in Diablo 3?
This game needs to be designed around always being online. And with so many millions of people and various set ups, it should be taken in account for imperfect connections. Not all of us live right next door to Blizzard’s servers. Changing Nephalem Armor to be timed with the server (as Auction House times are) will make me want to farm more and has no downside. If the power goes out, I won’t have to waste so much time regaining Nephalem Stacks.
“But the elites you killed to get the stacks come back when you log back online.”
So what? I can’t exactly cheese this. Even if I get 5 stacks, kill the Butcher (or another boss), and keep restarting to continuously kill the Butcher, I can’t do that long. Perhaps a solution to that is to have a boss consume one of the stacks of Nephalem Armor. So if I have 5 and kill the Butcher, I end up with 4 after the loot drops. This would prevent cheesing.
-Uneven difficulty spikes.
Why is Ghom the most difficult boss in the game? Why is Act IV Inferno easier than Act III Inferno? Why does Act II Inferno just flat out suck monkey balls in every way? Why is the beginning of Act I Inferno (like the spider cave or the fast moving creepers in the early forest) so much harder and more frustrating than the final dungeons?
When people refer to the unevenness of getting ‘good gear’, I suspect they are actually referring to the unevenness of the Inferno level. You are melting the content just fine until WHAM you encounter a gear check boss. And it isn’t a gradual gear check but more like a big fricken wall. Ghom is a good example of this.
The uneven difficulty ruins the flow of the game. How many people, once they are able to farm Act 2 or Act 3, bother killing Belial or Ghom all the time like they do the Butcher in Act I? Once slaying Belial or Ghom, people say, “Never again will I do that boss!” It shows the difficulty spike is way too much and not matching the rest of the content.
These uneven difficulty spikes (and Blizzard’s insistence that they are ‘great’) do give credence that the game is being designed around the Real Money Auction House. Blizzard is too much of a polished and experienced game company to have such uneven difficulty spikes. The only reason why they would remain is if Blizzard wants people to become so frustrated that they turn to the Gold Auction House or Real Money Auction House in order to continue.
-Enrage timers don’t belong in a loot hunt farm game.
Why are there enrage timers? If this game is about farming and not about progression, who cares if someone progresses by killing the boss slower than someone else? If the game is truly about the loot hunt, someone killing a boss extremely slowly is someone who does not know how to farm items.
The presence of enrage timers also gives credence to the idea the gameplay is being influenced to boost the Real Money Auction House.
-The game is intentionally confusing about how to improve your gear.
Having all the classes in Inferno, I can tell you that upgrading their gear is very different for each and every class. My demon hunter wants crit chance and crit damage (whose existence and effects are not easily known. That Sharpshooter Passive Buff is incredibly confusing as it makes it seem your DPS is improving by a TON but not really). My barbarian wants life on hit gear. My monk wants +All Resistance and +An Elemental Resistance for the ‘One in Everything’ passive buff.
In terms of understanding what is required to upgrade your character, there is a massive gap between Inferno and everything else. I believe most of the frustration people have with Inferno is that they don’t know how to upgrade their character. So what good is farming if you aren’t sure how to upgrade your character in the first place? Go to any class forum and you will find posts from people not understanding what it takes to upgrade their character once they hit 60. This is massive failure on Jay Wilson’s part.
-Auction House Interface
An upgrade should be seen by holding the mouse cursor over the item just like in the game. You should be able to search for more than three affixes for an item.
“But with the AH Interface not being designed well, Malstrom,” whispers the joker, “no one can say the game was designed around the RMAH.” Perhaps. But I suspect the three affix limit was put in there by choice so people have to ‘make choices’. I wouldn’t be surprised if the lack of the game showing you if an item is an upgrade was also intentional.
I don’t mind that the gamer is a hamster spinning in a wheel of loot roulette. But being a game of loot roulette doesn’t explain why you lose Nephalem Armor for a two second disconnect or the uneven difficulty or the AH interface or the obstacles of players understanding how to upgrade their Inferno characters.