Posted by: seanmalstrom | July 12, 2012

Email: Actual reasons why Diablo 3 is bad

I put about 30 hours into Diablo 3. The thought of playing through the
game again on Hell made me sick to my stomach, because the gameplay is
bad.

I have followed the talk around Diablo 3 to see if anyone would ever
realize why they dont like the game, but nope. Everybody keeps saying
the same stupid shit and whining about the Auction House or grinding
or other nonsense. Nobody seems to realize that the reason Diablo 3
isn’t fun is because the gameplay is bad. No matter what the stupid
hardcore message board whiners say, these are the REAL reasons they
don’t like the game.

Let me interrupt you here. No one is complaining about the gameplay. You admit that no one is complaining about the gameplay either as people are coalescing around other topics.

OK, let us resume the email.

1. Combat is throttled and not fun

Because secondary attacks are throttled by energy, the game is
designed where your area damage skills are always stronger than your
single target skills, because one is free and the other is not. That
feels very awkward and plays bad. It means you are using an attack
rotation instead of choosing the best skill for the job. The game also
uses cooldowns on skills. This is crazy. This is an action RPG! Some
of these skills have minute long cooldowns! The end product is the
game feels like an MMO instead of action RPG.

What are you talking about? The primary attack can be better than the secondary ones and in many builds it is. A Demon Hunter’s Hungering Arrow with Spray of Teeth is extremely powerful. The Monk’s Fists of Thunder is very powerful.

Some abilities have a minute long cooldown. But you don’t have to use them at all. The entire point is that you can choose to use them or not to use them.

2. Environment doesn’t affect combat

In Diablo 2 you had a lot of variety in level design. There were lots
of doorways, thin hallways, ledges, rivers, and other objects that let
you setup chokepoints or lure enemies around. This was much more
interesting than the huge, wide open spaces that comprise every single
area in Diablo 3. There are no memorable areas in D3 because of this.
Diablo 2 had the infamous maggot lair as one example. Varied level
design means that you could fight the same enemies in different areas
and it feels and plays different. A ranged enemy in an open space is
different from a ranged enemy up on a ledge, or around a corner, or
behind a door, or on the other side of a river. Another reason that
interesting level design is essential is that otherwise you end up
with melee being forced into the tank role as we’ve seen in Diablo 3.

You use the environment to your advantage extensively in Inferno. Once you get there, you will see.

3. Pointless item slots and boring item design

Weapon and armor upgrades are identical. There is no difference
between equipping a piece of armor, a weapon, or an amulet. Usually
when RPGs have multiple item slots they use them for different
purposes. Certain stats would appear in greater or lesser quantities
in one item slot over another. Amulets might have resistances and
magic find. Chest pieces might have defensive stats. Weapons would
affect damage. This variety makes items more interesting and fun to
find.

The thing that Diablo 2 did correctly more than anything else is that
it had a “collect-em-all” approach to items. It focused largely on
uniques (and later runewords) for many item slots (although magic/rare
items were good in certain item slots). This sort of design produces a
lot of longevity, because everyone will want to collect all the items
and is excited to find them. It is exciting to keep killing a boss
because you hope to find an awesome bow like The Windforce or kill
mobs because you want an amulet that will give you both resistances
and magic find. It is not exciting to kill a boss in hopes of finding
Generic +500 Bastard Sword when you are already wearing Generic +490
Bastard Sword.

They DO have different stats available depending on the item slots. Only boots have movement speed available. Only a few slots (weapon, rings, amulet, gloves and a legendary chest piece) have attack speed. Only a few slots can have gems. And gems do different things depending on which slot it is in. A green gem in the weapon improves crit damage but in other gear it boosts dexterity.

The differences in which slots is noticeable when you play multiple classes. Demon Hunters are on the lookout for crit chance and crit damage which are available only in a few slots. Monks and Warriors are interested in Life on Hit which occur with weapons and rings.

The Legendaries (the uniques) tend to have abilities that seem to be unavailable in typical gear. For example, there is a helm that has crit chance that a class, who wants more crit chance, will try to get.

4. Bad statistic design (and thus no alternate builds)

There are no meaningful statistics. Everything is only MOAR DAMAGE.
Because all statistics are the same, there are no alternate builds.
You can’t have a cold wizard, a lightning wizard, a fire wizard, a
melee wizard, a fast wizard, a single target wizard, an area damage
wizard, a wizard that turns into a bear, or so on and so forth. There
is no such thing as equipping a different set of items and becoming a
different character (aside from the MF thing). The situation is so bad
that every class also equips the same gear; everyone wants exactly the
same stuff. That is why people feel like the AH breaks the game. The
AH wouldn’t feel so bad if everyone wanted different things for
different classes and different builds.

Also, exponential statistics are never fun. They don’t feel good.
Going from an item that does 10dps to 15dps feels good. Going from an
item that does 10dps to 100dps feels awkward and horrible and fucks up
progression.

It sounds like you haven’t played the game much. To give an example, Demon Hunters can go Glass Cannon build, tank build, or even do something crazy with a melee + shield build. And does that Demon Hunter use a bow, a crossbow, or two one-handed crossbows? Each of them is very different and have different uses. And that is just one class. There are definitely melee Wizards out there. There are barbarians who have a whirlwind build. All sort of variety out there.

5. Load-out skill system and lame skills

This was a good idea in theory but Blizzard has completely failed to
meet their design goal of making all the skills good. Part of the
problem here is Elective mode. Instead of having strict categories of
skills that would allow the skills to be balanced against others in
their same category, all skills need to be balanced against every
other skill. This is completely impossible, since skills can serve
WILDLY different purposes (movement, defense, control, offense, etc.)

Also there are too many passives disguised as active abilities. I
played a Wizard and between Energy Shield, Familiar, and Magic Weapon
that meant I really only had three buttons to push. Bad design!

How is it bad design when YOU chose those abilities? I have all classes in Inferno. My Wizard uses Energy Shield but doesn’t use Magic Weapon or Familiar. I don’t believe those are optimum.

When I leveled up my Wizard, I did use a similar build. But once in Inferno, I had to switch to abilities that slowed and manipulated the enemies (spells like Blizzard).

The abilities begin to distinguish themselves more in the higher difficulties. For example, how many Demon Hunters thought Cluster Arrow with grenades was stupid? I bet no one leveled with that ability. Yet, it is extremely useful in Inferno. But so are many other abilities. The Wizard becomes more interesting at the higher difficulty.

6. Leveling up is meaningless

There is no benefit to leveling up. The gameplay doesn’t change. This
feels shitty. They looked at Diablo 2’s click-to-add-a-stat-point
system and said “this system doesn’t work” so they scrapped character
progression completely. That’s dumb. There are other character
progression systems (ie: feats) that could have been used. A level 10
wizard plays exactly like a level 60 wizard.

No. A wizard in Hell plays exactly like a wizard in Normal. Why? Because all of that is easy mode. I never see Wizards just slapping on Energy Field, Familiar, and Magic Weapon in Inferno.

7. Rune system waters down the skills

The rune system screws things up. Choosing skills is plenty of
customization on its own, adding in runes just ended up watering down
all the skills so they don’t feel powerful. If runes didn’t exist,
then the rune modifiers could be baked into the skills themselves.
This could even be used as part of a real character progression
system.

The runes are to give differentiation to the abilities. I actually expect the runes to be added to WoW’s talents in the expansion after Mists. You would be able to choose a talent and then choose a modifier for it. So for ‘Falling Star’ talent, it would be ‘Falling Star’ with ‘chipmunks’ or ‘Falling Star’ with ‘Big Explosion’. I expect it to be the future of Inscription.

8. Its not easy to get to the game

The shit story we are all familiar with is crammed into the game so
thoroughly that its very difficult to actually get at the gameplay.
You’re constantly talking to NPCs. And how do you farm? Where do you
farm? The game doesn’t make this clear. If I want to go back and farm
normal difficulty, what should I set the quest progression to? Why am
I setting the quest progression at all? I just want to double click on
my character at the select screen and start killing monsters.

Aside from the first half of Act I, I can’t see why you’d complain about talking to NPCs. You do it rarely and you can escape through it all.

Figuring out the optimal way to farm is a big part of the game. It is for the player to figure out. For Act I Inferno, I start on ‘Imprisoning’ quest where you need to start at Leoric’s Mansion. I start at the Festering Woods (?) (its the wooden area where you get the two blue orbs to put on the pedestals). Two elites are at the orbs for certain and a few more are in the map. It is also a small area so it is fast. I get 5 stacks, then I go to Leoric’s Mansion and proceed to Halls of Agony Level 1, 2, then Cursed Hold to kill the Warden, then Halls of Agony Level 3 and then I kill the butcher. Then I go to the Cemetary, kill the elites and goblins there (it is fast). I then go back to Leoric’s Mansion and go through the Act backwards. I stop whenever. The reason why I do it this way is that if I have a connection problem, I will have already killed the butcher. (since I head off to the butcher once getting five stacks of Nephalem Armor). After killing the butcher, I always feel like the pressure is off and I just bounce around, killing elites, taking gold, having fun. I won’t farm the spider cave (I hate it) or early areas such as the Cathedral (not much drops there). I don’t know if this is the optimum way to farm the zone, but it is fun and quick for me. Sometimes, I might change it up a little just for freshness.

—-

These are only the basic problems with the game. There’s also the
terrible crafting system, the annoying design of preparing gear via
gems, the horrible storyline, the fact that many enemy attacks can’t
be avoided. Its just horrible. The AH, Inferno difficulty, none of
that matters. The problem is that the basic game design is bad.

I’ll grant you the storyline (Blizzard doesn’t know how to World Build anymore).The crafting system is an alternative way to get gear which becomes extremely useful if you don’t use the Auction House (it is where you put in your excess gold in hopes of getting a cool item to appear).

Since the entire game revolves around gear, people feel like cogs in this loot-slot machine. What to do once you get better gear? Why, you use that to get more gear. It is a moebius strip of gear.

There are legitimate complaints about Diablo 3. However, people with illegetimate complaints are trying to piggyback onto the legitimate ones. For example, if a player is getting his ass kicked by the game, he might declare the game ‘sucks’. But that is his bruised ego talking. Some people might have bought gear from the Real Money Auction House and regret that decision. Instead of blaming their bad decision, they blame the game instead. There are all sorts of different people out there.

In your case, you sound like you are getting your butt kicked in Hell or early Inferno and aren’t adapting to the increase in difficulty level. It doesn’t sound like you understand the gameplay of Diablo 3 too well. But this changes when you progress through through Inferno when choice of skills, gear choice, all begins to matter.

You might have a point that from what you experienced with the earlier parts of the game, there wasn’t much interesting going on in the gameplay. Normal, Nightmare, and Hell are not that interesting. If you haven’t done much in Inferno yet, you’ve only scratched the surface of the gameplay.


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