How Diablo III’s Solo Experience Reveals A Hollow Game

By John Walker on May 18th, 2012 at 10:00 am.

The game starts satirising itself.
My companions have stopped following me. The map has suddenly blanked out. The dungeon doors aren’t opening. And despite my just having cleared out a two-storey dungeon for the second time, there hasn’t been a checkpoint in over a half an hour. If I quit out to fix it, the entire area map will be reset yet again (a previous quit to see if there was any way to raise the difficulty had already done this to me once, and is how I discovered the dungeon wasn’t checkpointing), so in total an hour’s play time lost, and, well, here’s the thing: Diablo III just isn’t brilliant enough to warrant this.

Diablo III is mostly very slick. It’s a very decent game. The first three hours are very gratifying, a sense of having everything done right. It’s an aRPG born of decades of experience, streamlined and minimalist to the point of diamond-like perfection. But much like a perfect diamond, it bears a lot in common with a bit of glass. That all-encompassing need to Just Keeping Clicking is there, the sense of continuous, satisfactory progress is in place. You’re never not improving your equipment, skills and crafting abilities. It’s the concept of Diablo, and of a decade’s Diablo clones, refined. But with absolutely nothing new.

As I explore Act II, I’m still bewildered as to how they could have taken so long to make a game that adds so little. The engine is pretty enough, lavishly detailed, it does the job, but remains extremely dated in concept – there’s no analogue zoom (you can uselessly zoom right in on your character, which is great for screenshots and not a lot else), you can’t rotate the camera, you can’t interact with the world while the map’s on screen, the inventory covers up the map, and the tool-tips for loot seem completely arbitrary as to whether they’ll show up or not. No, rotating cameras aren’t necessary. But it’s important to keep in mind how relatively primitive the game is, when then taking into account its failings.

And they all come in the form of the always-on DRM. Yes, people are sick of the topic. But that doesn’t make it something that can be ignored. It was because the connection dropped in the solo game I’m playing that all those events in the first paragraph took place. Eventually, about fifteen minutes later, it admitted the connection was gone, and restarting yet again put me back at the last checkpoint, one dungeon and an entire map ago. And nothing – absolutely nothing – interesting lies between me and where I’ve reached twice before.

These failings, the DRM-based brokenness of the game, breaks the spell. While you’re able to just endlessly progress, endlessly improve, endlessly move forward, the illusion is cast around you and there’s enormous fun to be had. But in repeatedly forcing you to pointlessly repeat swathes of the game, it reveals just how little there really is.

Right, but quickly, here are some things I am loving about the game. That seems fair. I love how loot bursts out of chests. It’s so rewarding. I adore how much of the scenery can be smashed, and how satisfactorily it crumbles apart – and especially that it then awards you a bonus for doing this. I love that you can, on occasion, use the environment in fights, albeit infrequently and mostly ineffectively. I love how much care has obviously gone into so much of this stuff – nothing crucial to how the game actually plays, but the set dressing, that belies a love for the sheer act of creation.

But what does Diablo III actually add to the franchise, and even to the genre it created? The skills are made more simple, but in doing so actually end up feeling restrictive. Switching off those limitations only seems to confuse things. The inventory is less of a Tetris-frustration, but in that regard just means you portal to your base, sell all, return, and it plays no meaningful factor. (And the Act II base is hopelessly poorly laid out, meaning running to the one merchant is a bore, and the nearby town a chore.)

Monsters don’t attack in interesting new ways. While what almost everyone wanted was a click-fest, it would have been nice for there to be a reason for having those extra skills. I forget they’re there until I reach the toughest bosses, and then just hammer randomly. I think I’ve died four times thus far, playing solo, and try as I might can find no way to increase the difficulty to anything halfway interesting. I mean, I’ve 87 health potions in my inventory – what are they even for? The game drops so much health in every fight that it’s mostly impossible to get hurt.

The only novel enemy attacks I’ve noticed are the waspy dragonfly things, who just fly away from you, meaning if you’re not playing a ranged character they’re just tedious to fight. And there’s the beasts that cast fear on you, constantly taking away your controls, which has been fun in this many games: none.

The other huge problem is loot and shops. I’ve bought almost nothing from a merchant, since their goods are always generations poorer than anything I’ve looted. And worse, weapon drops haven’t meant anything since the merchant I helped out in Act I sold me weapons literally twice as powerful as I’ve found since. The balancing here is utterly dreadful, and that’s perhaps the most crucial thing for an aRPG to get right.

Of course, people will argue that to solo Diablo is to miss the point. Two responses to that. Firstly, the game does offer a solo game, and is designed to be played that way, so it’s absolutely vital that it be balanced and worthwhile. And secondly, and perhaps more crucially, of all the points above the solo aspect really only affects the difficulty levels – the rest remains an issue no matter how it’s played. Oh, and if you’ve not had server issues, others have, and that doesn’t make server issues okay – kind of a crucial one to remember there.

And yet, all these gripes, all these issues, I’d likely have just clicked past were the game not so woefully and deliberately broken. It’s fascinating to realise just how important the spell is to Diablo, and quite how damaging it is to have it broken. What’s revealed is a hollow game, that in no way fills in the gaps with the frankly abysmal writing. Of the three companions so far, none is even tolerable, and my monk is a sanctimonious moron. My NPC accompaniment repeat their lacklustre lines of nothingness with the sadness of a dementia patient, half the time talking at the same time as a book I’m reading. And as I face repeating the same damned map for a third time, watching my characters stagger about trapped in lag despite my strong, steady internet connection, I just start thinking about Grim Dawn and Torchlight II, and how much I can’t wait to see what they add to the genre. Because as far as I can tell Diablo III, as fun as it is when the spell lasts, has added little more than wantonly stupid DRM.

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601 Comments »

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  1. MythArcana says:

    This game is New Blizzard’s pinnacle of failure. It’s so perfect and elegant and stylish that it misses the mark (and the point) in nearly every way and comes off as incredibly sterile to me. Care to spend $200 for a CE version? Why not knock a zero off that price and spend that on Torchlight 2…you can even play it in the woods on notebooks if you dare. I ran out and bought the D2 CE when it came out, but I don’t remember paying $200 on the black market; more like $70 at CompUSA right off the shelf. What is happening with the D3 CE is shameful, and the Starter Edition invite system is even more ludicrous. They give the game FREE to their beloved WoW subscribers, yet completely hide the Starter Edition from the public…unless you are sent an invite from another user. What is this, a yacht club now? C’mon, Blizzard.

    I believe the huge difference between D2 and D3 respectively are functionality versus marketability. It would appear that they spent the majority of time working on the auction houses and copy protection schemes while the core game in question just lingers in mediocrity and barely competes with its’ Big Brother Diablo 2.

    Even though I did not purchase D3 (but did the beta thing), I feel a huge amount of disappointment with this title and it’s not due to any one thing, but a legion of issues that I don’t feel comfortable with. The Old Blizzard is what I love, not this new stubborn behemoth that simply doesn’t listen to reason. I voted with my wallet this time and I truly wish the rest of you did the same.

    • Brun says:

      I’d argue that among the big publishers Blizzard has a pretty good track record of listening to its fans. Diablo 3 appears to be a black mark on that record, but their communication on other games (WoW in particular) really stands out when compared to other companies like BioWare. For all of their other faults, I definitely noticed a huge change in Blizzard’s PR/Communication stance right around the time Wrath came out – before that, they had CMs on their forums being openly hostile and telling hybrid classes that they were second-class citizens. Afterward they had developers posting repeatedly and asking for feedback.

      • Emeraude says:

        I’d argue that among the big publishers Blizzard has a pretty good track record of listening to its fans

        Except when they don’t. See SC2 LAN removal for example.

        I wouldn’t even start talking WoW on this matter because of the giant MESS of intertwined communities that forms the body of players. I’ll give them that though: I don’t think they did an awful work of it.

    • Shooop says:

      The worst thing is it’s not a failure at all. It’s been nothing but a resounding success in all the ways that matter (financially).

      I’m starting to wonder if modern gamers are just masochists. They hear the bad news and complain, other people explain why it’s even worse news than it seems at first, they still buy the game, and then complain more about everything they already knew.

      It’s little wonder the industry treats its customers like idiots. They are.

      • 153351 says:

        It was the most “preordered game of all time,” according to Amazon. I wouldn’t call gamers idiots because they trusted Blizzard to make the game they’ve waited 12 years to make. You sound like you haven’t played the game yet, so where is your butthurt coming from?

        • Shooop says:

          Unless you’d been living in a cave somewhere on a far-away island with next to no internet contact, it’s incredibly unlikely if you were interested in Diablo 3 that you didn’t hear about Blizzard’s DRM plans.

          Everything related to Diablo 3 made headlines on gaming websites and magazines. There was absolutely no surprise about what they were doing. There were daily discussions over how the almost hilariously terrible DRM/item-selling system wouldn’t work the way Blizzard described: like one could only expect it to in an otherworldly utopia.

          These discussion went on every day, describing in detail why it was a stupid idea that would cripple the game, no matter how good the game itself turned out. But fast forward to release day and almost every one of those same people can now be seen complaining about that exact same system failing just like some of them even predicted.

          That my friend can only be a form of massive stupidity and/or masochism. There’s no excuse for Blizzard to do it to them, but nearly all those dissatisfied customers saw the disaster waiting to happen. And jumped right on board anyway.

          My personal issue with these events because I didn’t buy the game is that it’s set a precedent for the entire industry. I may not play Diablo 3 but I do plan on playing other games that will appear in the future. But because of Diablo 3 every game publisher knows there is one more hellish type of DRM they can cram into their games and the majority of customers will happily just go with it, stopping only to complain on the forums for a week or so and then shut up while they rush to buy the next DRM’d product.

          But it seems I am just wasting words on another fallacy-hurling “HOW DARE SOMEONE NOT LOVE THIS GAME AS I DO THEY MUST BE TROLLS!” moron. Go figure.

        • copernicus_phoenix says:

          More homophobia – classy.

      • Reefpirate says:

        And then there’s people like me… Who has loved almost every hour out of 20 I’ve played of this game so far, and can’t wait to get home for the weekend and really dig in. It’s a great game.

        • Shooop says:

          And then there’s people like me… Who either have inexplicably and exceedingly rare good luck to always have my internet connection and Blizzard’s servers working perfectly or am absolutely lying through my teeth about the problems and frustrations I experience.

          Fixed it for you. You’re welcome.

          • wulfstein says:

            Exceedingly rare good luck to always have my internet connection? Huh? I don’t remember the last time my internet crapped out on me. Do most people live under a rock? It’s 2012, how do you not have stable internet connection? And the servers a lot more stable now. I’ve played the game for 15 hours and have had no errors at all. Probably because I didn’t play it right on release like everyone else.

          • Shooop says:

            *Sigh* The “Well I have something so why don’t the rest of you!” projection argument again. Remove your head from your pompous “EVERYBODY SHOULD BE RICH” ass and then post again please.

    • Moraven says:

      So you are mad that the Collector’s Edition is double the price on the aftermarket? At least it is limited unlike some other Collector’s Edition. I have 3 coming Monday that I ordered in October during BlizzCon.
      I did this after getting screwed over from TigerDirect(First and Only time shopping from there) ordering halfway to release of Wrath. All it shows is its popularity and what fans what. People pay extra for the goodies, not to throw more money into the game.

  2. Satheus says:

    This story was a bore. Just tedious whining about things in the game. Well I knew there would be tedious whining about thing in the game but somethings are just stupid. Server issues, they told us before release that it will be server issues. It still isn’t okay that they are there but if you didn’t wanna play it with server issues just wait a month or so to play the game. By then it probably will not have it.
    I find the skills really interesting, the fact that there is runes is making them more fun. That you can use such “few” skills are just not seeing the game as it is, that’s seeing the game as you would want it to be.
    That you didn’t take the time to look into the options to see if you could customize the game into how you want to play it, is not the games fault.
    The fact that all weapons sold from merchants early in first act is just how it is. Of course they will be better you haven’t even started looting good stuff from monsters.

    Now I haven’t played it solo so I shouldn’t say all is the opposite of want you think. And it is not the opposite what you think. You think what you think and if you don’t like some stuff about the game then fine.
    I only wrote this to express my thoughts about this article.

    • Shooop says:

      Does it hurt to be so stupid as to miss every point RPS makes about this game when they complain about something in it? Does it? I really hope it does.

      • 153351 says:

        Does it make you feel better to troll the dissenters when you haven’t played the game? Is this what you’re doing instead of actually playing the game? Because it’s adorable. Please, don’t stop.

        • Shooop says:

          Oh hey look, another projection fallacy! How adorable.

          • 153351 says:

            So…you haven’t played the game yet. Right? Have you played the game?

            I’m sorry your only comeback is that I’m projecting. My comeback is: you haven’t played the game yet, so shut the hell up.

            Where I come from, calling people stupid morons is weak. And trolling. Try again.

          • Shooop says:

            Awwww, how cute. It thinks it can just render other people’s opinions about completely different subjects totally invalid based on its own made-up criteria!

            And now it smells like kipper in here. Someone get an air freshener.

  3. Moraven says:

    One of the enjoyable aspects I like is how each creature dies differently depending on what ability kills them. Nothing like goatmen heads and body go flying after bola shot explosions. Or they might keel over from frost ray as a frozen heap. Or agony of flames. Or arrow lopping off piece of them.

  4. deadly.by.design says:

    333 Comments.

    Half way there, guys!

  5. Hug_dealer says:

    Here are the facts.

    1 these threads are not here for us only shower praise on a game

    2 the fact that other people dislike a game and criticize it should have no effect on your enjoyment of the game

  6. Khatzen says:

    A problem I have came across which is only there due to the Always-Online single player is the following:

    http://eu.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/4077728154?page=1

    This issue has caused me to lose 5 hours of gameplay/a level15 Witch Doctor.

    By default the EU Client with an EU License key has automatically selected the Server region as “The Americas” which it never prompts upon login and you can only change by running the Launcher >> clicking Play >> on the main screen before you login click “Options >> Account >> Server Region” which is a rather hidden but very important option.

    I only realised due to my Battle.net friends list behaving weirdly/missing friends – after searching for Battle.net friends issues I came across someone suggesting changing your Server region which lead me to search for the same issue I have- in case they could transfer my character to the EU region; to which a BLUE in that very thread says they cannot do.

  7. Maliko says:

    The only abysmal writing I see comes from these RPS articles.

    • zeroskill says:

      The butthurt is strong in this comment section.

      • 153351 says:

        We’re trying to match or exceed the butthurt in this article. I think it’s working.

      • shizamon says:

        Good job showing your immaturity with that term. Most people around here don’t subscribe to homophobia. You can try to defend that term, but it is used as a slight against gays at many times.

        Go back to XBL please.

        • CalleX says:

          You are to politically correct for your own good. People have the right to express whatever they want. You seem like the opressor here.

          • Premium User Badge

            drewski says:

            And other people have the right to call them out on it.

          • copernicus_phoenix says:

            “You seem like the opressor here.”

            Moron.

            “Opressor” (sic) has an actual meaning – people are being killed in Syria right now for fighting oppression, people are being actually oppressed right now in China, living in fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones if they speak out.

            Calling out homophobes (an ugly, bullying and sadistic group) is not oppression. And you, sitting behind your computer, are not standing up for the oppressed. Get. A. Grip.

        • zeroskill says:

          @shizamon: Let me take a wild guess here, you are American are you. Dear lord.

  8. alundra says:

    That first pic is priceless, looks like a game from the SEGA genesis/megadrive era.

  9. Premium User Badge

    Foosnark says:

    Is the UK version of the game completely different or something?

    I’m having a great time with it. I want to get up in the morning and play it and blow off work and forget to eat meals and stagger up to bed 16 hours later, and find it unfortunate that I’m a responsible adult.

    I have had exactly two incidents of getting kicked offline while I was playing — and one of those was my ISP. I’ve had one time where I wanted to play, servers were down, so I played something else instead.

    I’ve encountered no major bugs and almost no weirdness from lag.

    Yes, it’s still kind of stupid that a single-player game relies on an internet connection. You’ve made that point, and I don’t think many people disagree with it.

    While it sticks to some of the old-school stuff that Diablo 2 did without picking up some of the little quality-of-life improvements that other ARPGs have done since, it’s still fairly smooth to play. And it did actually pick up quite a few things: Rapid regeneration of mana/spirit/hate/etc. Identify and Town Portal as abilities that don’t require inventory items. Dye. Customization on the fly instead of needing to create an entirely new character and level them up to try something new. Achievements (amusing at least). Many more waypoints than Diablo 2. Classes not tied to gender.

    Storytelling in Diablo 3 is much better — both in terms of content and medium — than in Diablo 2. I was really pleased at Lachdanan’s story for instance; it worked very well with the serial format. Nothing ever gets in the way of clicking and killing and looting, either.

    My wish list for Diablo 3 is pretty small:

    — Wider gold-scooping radius. Or, much like Hellgate or Dungeon Siege, press a key to scoop gold toward you and/or run around automatically picking it up and/or send your follower around to scoop gold.
    — Single-player without a connection (and this isn’t even a high priority since the servers have stabilized a *lot* since the launch and it hasn’t even been a week yet).
    — That’s about it.
    — Oh, and having a week or so off of work to play.

  10. Zyrxil says:

    This is really an awful article, John. You’re channeling all of your rage over the online DRM and inexcusably shitty launch into incoherent rants about the gameplay. I’ve played the Titan Quests, FATE, Torchlight, Path of Exile, etc., and nothing can compare with Diablo, even if you factor in the budget prices. I’ve played them all and am certain I will not be interested in any of their ideas until it’s the 7th or so year between Diablos again.

    Titan Quest- Nice Graphics. Lots of customization ending up with 90% of combinations playing exactly the same. No randomized maps.

    FATE & Torchlight: FATE is essentially Torchlight 0. Classes interesting. Enemy variety bad. Loot bad. Bases all innovation on the pet (fishing for pet food and using pet to sell).

    Path of Exile: Graphics hugely D2 nostalgic. Skill system using socketed gems ultimately too restrictive. 95% of the time you are using exactly 1 skill. Giant skill tree of passives is extremely uninteresting and ultimately serves as the best example of why Blizzard was right to ditch them.

    You can blame Blizz for not revolutionizing dungeon crawlers all you want, but ultimately there’s not a ton to be done, and the changes made for D3 as well as the solid -feel- of the combat makes it a game the competitors can’t touch.

    • Hug_dealer says:

      plenty of game have better combat than D3. one happens to be DS3. Yes alot of games arent as good, but alot are better.

      You are simply a Diablo fanboy.

      • Zyrxil says:

        That’s a laughable assertion. My total play time on Diablo 1 & 2 combined is probably 60 hours. Blizz is simply good at scratching the hack/slash/loot itch better than anyone else. FATE/TQ/Torchlight get tiresome at an exponentially faster rate than Diablo. They only are even memorable because they popped up during the huge gap between Diablos.

        • HarrietTubgirl says:

          Torchlight is designed by a much smaller team than Blizzard had to create this 10 year old abortion. Not to mention Torchlight has original Diablo dev’s on the team and it shows.

          • Zyrxil says:

            Yeah, that’s totally not an emotionally charged reply devoid of any logic. I did say even taking into account the smaller team size and budget, Titan Quest/Torchlight and the rest can’t compare. That means graphics, voice acting, and animation don’t count. Even then Diablo is simply more fun. Gripe about wanting more change in 10 years all you want, its competitors somehow are still playing catchup.

          • Lowbrow says:

            Your argument seems to be that his/her opinions of gameplay are emotion and yours are somehow logical. The fact that you found Diablo more fun does not make it objectively better, or vice versa. This discussion will go better if everyone realizes that differing opinions do not make people evil, dumb, or fanatics, and that some people dislike things you like. Someone not liking what you like doesn’t make it worse.

    • CalleX says:

      I agree that this is a bad article. IMOR most of John Walkers articles are. He is somehow very prone to get personal. I think RPS should replace him.

  11. 153351 says:

    Please get past Normal mode and review the difficulty again. You sound ridiculous.

    • Reefpirate says:

      Just beyond Act 2 would nice too… I know it’s not a review, and I’m interested in further opinions from RPS. I love them even when I don’t agree with them. Pretty cool, huh?

    • Malk_Content says:

      Why? The game isn’t amazing for him out the box (note he does find it fun) and why should he, or anyone, have to play through something to easy for them in order to access a more appropriate difficulty. This is what difficulty levels are for and forcing people to play on normal first means people are allowed to judge how the game plays on normal difficulty. People level the same argument with most mmos “oh it gets good at the end.” Well why shouldn’t it be good at the start?

    • Shooop says:

      You wouldn’t get the point if it were fired out of a cannon at you would you?

      Please continue throwing out your insipid little fallacies, they only confirm my prejudices that the dissenters of this article are mentally challenged angry little people.

      • Brun says:

        Internet Comments Rule #1: Anyone who disagrees with me is an idiot.

        • Shooop says:

          Given that the article’s point is very clearly, “This is a fine game. If only I could play it.” and people are still missing it, yes. Yes they are idiots.

          • Brun says:

            Actually, the point is very much “This game is decent at best, on top of all of the connectivity issues.” The comment was relevant, since one of the issues that kept the game at the “decent” level was the difficulty curve.

          • Shooop says:

            Alright so not a “fine game” but a “good” one. At least that’s what this line suggests to me:

            And yet, all these gripes, all these issues, I’d likely have just clicked past were the game not so woefully and deliberately broken.

            It’s because of the DRM the game’s flaws are put under a microscope.

    • copernicus_phoenix says:

      Why should he? That’s like saying that you shouldn’t mind being wrongly imprisoned for a crime you didn’t commit, because you can get a juicy book deal when you’re freed on appeal ten years later.

  12. Mabans says:

    I find it interesting that everyone is up in ARMS about the DRM but no one has really address the issues that this always connected has benefited Hardcore players. I see alot of comments of people saying their single player experience is lost or robbed and I’m going to call you out and say you are liars and never had any intention of buying the game or much less know enough about the game to really have an informed opinion. See D1 had the system where no need to log in but play Single player then carry that guy over to play online. Borderlands does this, for PC however you have a serious issue with people coming in with Modded weapons, characters, etc.. D2 came out and you had the option to play by your lonesome or play multiplayer, issue with that is you have all the best items are found online. So you have to create a whole NEW characters JUST to play online, sound familiar right? This almost of negates the whole real need for single player option if you ultimately get into it hardcore. I wasn’t even into Diablo and just played online because there were many more benefits to playing online than not. Most of their user base aren’t playing just single player, willfully anyway. you aren’t even considering how Blizzard has pretty much REMOVED the bot spam aspect of people selling items by legitimizing it. there

    The Diablo experience has ALWAYS BEEN THIS SHALLOW! There are other possibilities of having to be connected all the time but I guess it’s easier to just shut down all rational thinking and default to “it’s DRM!”. It’s like arguing with Christians where anything unexplainable defaults to “God”. So annoying and intellectually backwards. Do some fucking research and see how DRM is a bi-product.

    You f—ers haven’t even noticed the subtle DLC put in the game.. *facepalm* Enjoy momentary sense of superiority.

    • Emeraude says:

      I find it interesting that everyone is up in ARMS about the DRM but no one has really address the issues that this always connected has benefited Hardcore players.

      I have twice reiterated in past D33 threads how I do not understand how one can think so, personally.

      Won’t bother people again, but I just don’t see how this can be someone’s opinion.

  13. Uthred says:

    While I agree in general (and holy shit having to re-do maps due to Blizzards servers going tits up is annoying) I think John’s wrong about the skills – or at least I feel quite differently about them. At first I did feel that they were rather restrictive, but once youve unlocked all the various types of skills and a few runes it begins to get interesting. I did find it hard to initially shake the “Skills unlocked later must be better” mentality and view later unlocks as added options as opposed to automatic upgrades. Once I grasped that I started to enjoy fiddling with skills, runes and passives in order to customise it to my playstyle, or to synergise with gear, etc.

  14. rockman29 says:

    I agree with the fundamentals behind this article. As the summary on the main page said, Diablo III is just not good enough to warrant these sort of issues. I am having fun playing Diablo, but it’s not as amazing as it should be after 12 years. The money invested into Diablo III seems wasted after 12 years and we are receiving this product. Again, it is a great and fun game, but after 12 years and all these play requirements, there is a lack of depth, novel material, and still not enough explanation for the Auction House debacle causing the online requirements other than the fact it benefits Blizzard to no end.

    After 12 years we have fundamentally the same game, and no mods. I mean… that’s not something to get very excited about. I’ll just play it because I like Diablo, and I like ARPGs. I do feel bad that in buying this game I am promoting this behaviour by companies though… it’s disappointing to say the least. I hope in the future eventually we will be moving away from these problems for consumers.

  15. Hug_dealer says:

    i have literally played hundreds of games that offered higher difficulty levels from the start of the game. I didnt have to put training wheels on to start if i didnt want to.

  16. Doughboy says:

    I’m dating myself but years ago PC Gamer reviewed (I believe) Lords of Magic and gave it a low score. Not a big deal, but a couple of months later they said they received a new version of the game from the publisher and they felt they deserved a second, updated review. PC Gamer said, that in a nutshell the low score review stands. While the update helped the game, it should have been that way from the release. I earned a lot of respect for PC Gamer that day.

    They got it right, you want to release a game that is buggy, doesn’t work from day one and isn’t fun, it’s not the reviewers fault for telling the truth. Yesteryear I would have bought this game without a thought. I’m glad to know about the issues and until they release a version without the online requirement, and I could care less that it’s Blizzard. Since that’s never happening I guess I won’t be buying this game.

  17. Joof says:

    Am I the only one having a lot of fun with this game? Apparently, based on the comments. =/

    • Freud says:

      It’s a fantastic game. It gets even better at Nightmare and Hell when the game starts challenging you. It’s a much harder game than most games in the genre and certainly harder than D2 ever was. Sometimes you end up with five minute long fights against rare monsters or groups of champions, where you have to be very careful about how you fight them and slowly pick one of them to kill first while trying to avoid being killed by the others.

    • BluElement says:

      Nah, I’m having a ton of fun. I can’t wait to get home from work so I can keep playing it. It’s just that the majority of people enjoying the game are playing it and everyone that is not playing it has nothing better to do but troll places like joystiq and rps so they can tell us that we’re wrong and not actually having fun.

      Granted, there are plenty of complaints for the game which a few people bring up. But for the most part, it’s just a whole lot of trolls that have infested the gaming blog in the last couple of days.

  18. MonolithicTentacledAbomination says:

    Diablo III is the worst loot-centered clickfest I’ve ever played.

    Except for all the others.

  19. BluElement says:

    I’d have to say this is a horribly unprofessional review done by someone who seems to have no idea what he’s talking about. I like D3, but I’m completely open to valid complaints, and there are a few in this review. But points like him exiting the game to check if he could up the difficulty basically proves he did absolutely no research on one of the most hyped games of the year, which would seem pretty important for a video game reviewer to do…

    And then there’s no variety in how enemies attack? I guess if you ignore the numerous champions that all have special attacks such as “walling” or “jailing” or “vortex”, there are giant trees that create poisonous plants, charging bull-like creatures, summoners, shapeshifters, etc. How is this no variety exactly? Probably something a good reviewer would have elaborated in as well.

    And then in the last paragraph, he states that he could overlook all of his complaints if the game wasn’t so broken. So aside from everything else mentioned in the review, there’s some major reason overshadowing all of that that makes the game broken, but writer doesn’t think it’s important to elaborate? Again, something a good reviewer would probably do.

    I guess the main problem is lack of elaboration. For the most part, the review says, “This is bad, this is bad, and this is bad”. But why is it bad? And obviously reviews are all about opinion, but this review reads like it was written by a jaded gamer who already hated the game before it was even released. Just horribly unprofessional and a worthless read if you want a good review of the game.

    And I mean good review, not a praising review. Like I said earlier, I’m completely open to valid complaints.

    • HarrietTubgirl says:

      Sorry but John could write a better game review than you ever could. He actually has experience doing so, it isn’t just reviewing a bad game for views like some sites. It’s actually an honest, true opinion that needs to be said.

      And with that being said, it’s an opinion. If you don’t like it move on, your paragraphs won’t do anything.

      • BluElement says:

        If you’re not going to read my “paragraphs”, then don’t respond to them. And you’ve never seen me review a game, so you have absolutely no idea how poorly or how well I might write a game review. Also, the “you can’t do any better” is a pathetic argument.

        Regardless, I never said I could write a better review. That doesn’t mean this one is any good. And again, if you even read what I wrote, I state that I understand it’s an opinion. Everyone has them. It doesn’t mean everyone can write a review.

        The fact still remains that he eludes to some gamebreaking feature that overshadows all of his other complaints, but then fails to even hint at what that complaint might be. That has nothing to do with his opinion. That’s just incredibly poor writing.

        And I don’t care about his experience. Experience doesn’t make a bad review any better. And it’s not an “honest, true opinion that needs to be said”. It’s an opinion that he’s entitled to have, but it was poorly executed into a review for the public to read.

        And if you’re insinuating that I shouldn’t have written anything because my “paragraphs won’t do anything”, then you probably should have never replied to me. Because your comment will do just as much as mine.

        Apparently your view that everyone is entitled to their opinions doesn’t apply to me, though, since it would’ve have been better for me to just “move on”.

        • HarrietTubgirl says:

          Your opinion is worthy, just when you try to span it into multiple paragraphs it loses any meaning in a comment section full of angry. Angry that someone talked bad about their new favorite game. I’m just here for the rollercoaster of emotions that Diablo players provide. If a game I like is reviewed badly, you won’t see me there complaining or berating the writer. You continually berate him for bad writing yet don’t prove you are any better. You are obviously just overly annoyed that he had something bad to say about this lackluster game. But please, continue the entertainment.

          • BluElement says:

            Wow, a troll admitting that he/she’s a troll… Thanks for giving me the heads up so that I can take anything you say with a grain of salt. Also, you admit to this like you’re proud… That’s rather pathetic.

            I don’t have to prove that I’m a better writer. I never said I was better.

            And I don’t care that he has complaints about the game. A lot of complaints are warranted with the “always-on” DRM, the launch day failure, and gamebreaking bugs such as the templar/shield bug. I never said anything about how I disagree with his complaints and I never attacked him for his opinion.

            I’m seriously doubting your ability to read, honestly. Especially since a couple paragraphs is apparently too much for you. God forbid you ever crack open a book and get overwhelmed.

            You completely ignore the points I bring up, and instead go for the “Don’t disagree with John, waaaaah” reply. I didn’t know the reviewers name and I don’t know if I’ve ever read another one of his reviews. All I know is that this one is poorly written and unprofessional. It has nothing to do with his opinions.

            I guess that your responses are explained by the fact that you admitted to being a pointless troll though, so I guess I’m done responding to you.

          • HarrietTubgirl says:

            You are so worked up you can’t even see clearly. It’s really amusing, as are most the comments trying to dismantle his horrible review. If you didn’t care so much why do you keep responding? I’ll keep checking back, this amazing discussion is too good.

          • Shooop says:

            Two posts, not a single insult, and you try to play the “Well you’re a troll!” card?

            Wow. Someone’s really grasping at straws.

        • Toberoth says:

          It’s not a review.

        • Lowbrow says:

          By your own criteria, you fail at research. Your review would probably be very knee-jerk, and in no way concise. This isn’t a review. You clearly don’t read the site. Go back to reddit.

    • Bhazor says:

      “When he exited the game” he lost an hours progress.

      What part of the research you claim he didn’t do justifies that gigantic “fuck you”?

      The broken part refers to the always on DRM that renders the game unplayable.

    • Eric_CC says:

      These are all great points – especially about attack variety. This is some of the poorest content I’ve encountered on RPS

    • shizamon says:

      This is not a review genius

      • BluElement says:

        He’s writing an article about his experience with the game and going over the pros and cons. Reviews don’t need to have “review” in the name, nor do they need to have a numbered score.

        Genius.

        • shizamon says:

          ‘Reviews’ on this site are called “Wot I think” and “Judged” articles. This is an opinion piece concerning why Diablo 3’s Always-Online ‘functionality’ ruins the game’s immersion. When one of the aforementioned articles comes out concerning Diablo 3, then you can call it a review, Genius.

        • Lowbrow says:

          As shizamon says, not a review. This is an article about how the server interrupts made the author feel about the hollowness of the gameplay that he might not have noticed otherwise. The clue is the title. Another clue was the content of the article.

          Genius.

  20. Sidion says:

    This is one of the very very few crap games I’ve been utterly PISSED off at.

    I dealt with not being able to play the day the servers opened. (Even though I’d pre-ordered months ago.)

    I accepted that paying $59.99 for a digital copy was just what had to be done due to Blizz’s constant downloadable price-gouging.

    I even came to terms with the fact there’d be a real money auction house (While i detest all things that monetize games in such a fashion.)

    But never once did I think I’d be butt @%^&ed this hard by this always online crap. I’ve not played with a single person, because in all honesty I’d like the entire human race to jump in a fire. Yet here I am a few days into release lagging every couple of minutes.

    And why? Because my computer isn’t right next to my router. So the signal is crappy. It ruins the entire experience when my monk is attacking and nothing happens, only to seconds later warp back to the spot I was in and die.

    I’ve got a connection that can let me play BF3 without lagging and keeping my ping under 100, despite my shoddy connection to my router, yet playing D3 forces me to contend with monstrous game ending lag?

    Hell ban me from B.net just let me play my single player OFFLINE so I don’t have to contest with lag on top of this horribly easy game.

  21. HarrietTubgirl says:

    Thanks for an honest, good review. It’s funny how much people will buy into a game because it’s developed by a specific company or it’s a sequel. I personally wait to see if that game is actually worth buying before throwing my money at a company.

    • BluElement says:

      Just because you don’t like the game doesn’t mean that everyone who bought it is ignorant and only bought it for the name.

      I was in the closed beta and I enjoyed it enough to warrant me wanting to buy it.

      For someone who replied to my comment and accused me of not allowing someone to have an opinion, you sure don’t have a problem assuming everyone who disagrees with you is brainwashed.

      • HarrietTubgirl says:

        Please continue to reply to me, maybe that will validate your purchase. You sure are brainwashed hurrdurr.

  22. Fiwer says:

    Wow, John writing a shitty and completely dishonest review about a popular game. That’s never happened!

    • HarrietTubgirl says:

      Looks like someone can’t handle other’s opinions. What a surprise.

      • BluElement says:

        You seem to thoroughly search through the comments to find anyone who doesn’t like this specific person’s reviews. Does somebody have a little crush?

        • HarrietTubgirl says:

          I’ve acquired a fan. I just pick the easy ones so I can get crazy people, such as yourself, to follow me around with replies. Although I do think John and I would make a splendid couple, thanks!

    • Yuri says:

      This was a review?

      • subedii says:

        It wasn’t a review.

        I’m guessing someone posted a link to this in a major Diablo forum, and the RAAAAGers started coming out in force.

  23. oceanview says:

    the butthurt over this shitty game is glorious. XD

    • Shooop says:

      Yes, everyone, including game journalists like John should stop talking about their impressions of the most anticipated games of several years just because you think it’s shit. How selfish of them.

  24. Eric_CC says:

    I have liked this site for a long time but really your constant b!tching about Diablo 3 is beginning to turn me away. Diablo 3 is a great game – because it is fun. Relative to the genre, it is the best of the best. That the game is always-online is a huge plus for most regular people. That it is streamlined adds to the overall fun for most normal people. Don’t lose track of what PVE gaming is really about – fun.

    • Bhazor says:

      Always online DRM as a “feature” that “The vast majority” wanted?

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        It’s in the water.

      • Eric_CC says:

        You say that like DRM is the only thing accomplished by an always-online setup. It’s not.

        • oceanview says:

          indeed you forgot lag and disconnects :D

        • shizamon says:

          How does the always online feature benefit those who want to play single player? As has been stated in this comments section, 60% of Diablo 2 players never went online.

          • Eric_CC says:

            Those who want to play single player can look for a different game. If I want to play Tetris, I don’t break out Mario Bros. Diablo is an Online Action RPG.. it’s what it fundamentally is.

          • shizamon says:

            You’re skirting around one of your original points. The previous 2 games in the franchise had mostly single player users, I’ll repeat my question about your point again. Why does an always online ‘functionality’ help the single player users?

          • Eric_CC says:

            Always-on helps single-player gamers in the same way that Dropbox helps people and how iCloud helps – cloud syncing. But let’s face it – this is a multiplayer-focused design decision. It’s neither a bad or good design decision in and of itself.

          • Bhazor says:

            It is a co-op game with no private servers and no lan capabilities meaning you are forced to play on the same cramped servers as everyone else. Magnifying lag massively *and* ensuring all their personal details (including paypal details) are stored on a large server that is going to be hacked sooner or later.

            Is that a feature as well?

            For people playing in single player it also prevents them using mods or custom maps. And from playing it when they want.

            Is that a feature as well?

            When the only benefit to single player you can come up with is that it backs up your save then, yeah. I’ll take my offline mode back thank you.

            Always on DRM is always an abhorent decision. I can not believe that point is up for debate.

          • Velvetmeds says:

            “60% of Diablo 2 players never went online.”

            So that’s how many used some form of cheating? Good thing this DRM is there then, gtfo my game!

      • Shooop says:

        Since almost everyone interested in the game knew about it but bought it anyway, Blizzard has every reason to think so.

        • Brun says:

          You’re such a shining example of responsible consumerism. How could all of us dullards – who were just looking to have a bit of fun – have been so misguided? Surely we are to blame for any future DRM packed into a game by other companies. Surely.

          • Shooop says:

            1) I don’t make the rules the industry runs by. I just cringe as I observe them.

            2) Did I say anything about anyone pulling this kind of thing justified to do so? I can’t find anything like that in my post even when I read it backwards. Perhaps sideways? Or inverted?

        • Bhazor says:

          Assuming everyone who bought it knew about the always on drm is assuming a lot. Not everyone who plays the latest blockbuster games frequents game sites.

          • Shooop says:

            Most the people who are now complaining about it did though. And that’s a really bad sign for all of us – it means the industry can ignore complaints about a game’s more dubious “features” because most of those same people will buy it anyway.

            This entire debacle made the future of AAA PC gaming much more bleak.

          • Bhazor says:

            You’re assuming the people criticising it also bought it. Again, big assumption. I know I didn’t.

            The real proof will be the quarterly report where we find out how much D3 actually cost and how much it made. Bearing in mind it’s essentially costs as much to run as a full mmo (everything is run on the server) and has been in developement for like 8 years I’d be surprised if it cost less than $100,000,000. Add in running costs of servers and the profit margin begins to look a bit threadbare.

            Blizzard really need the RMAH to succeed. If it doesn’t then I don’t think the D3 servers will last for long.

    • alundra says:

      That the game is always-online is a huge plus for most regular people. That it is streamlined adds to the overall fun for most normal people.

      I don’t even know what to say, how do you call this kind of disconnection from reality?? Psychosis doesn’t even come close to this.

    • subedii says:

      Call me “irregular” then, since I don’t see having lag in my singleplayer gameplay as a huge plus.

  25. tkioz says:

    I’d have to agree with almost everything in the article. It’s just not that good a game, if it wasn’t for the Diablo name the reviewers would be panning it, but since it is a Diablo game they are letting nostalgia rule.

    I had more fun with Torchlight, a game that was 80% cheaper. I’ve hit Act II and so far I’m very underwhelmed with the skills, I don’t like the graphics they are very dull and drab, Torchlight vibrant and interesting colors missed, and the loot (one of the key things in these games) is just plain bleeeeeeh. There is almost no customizing, I spent a good 30mins looking for a talent tree or skill allocations… only to find nothing more then a glorified spell book…

    Frankly I’m regretting the purchase, even leaving aside all the DRM issues.

  26. Ateius says:

    A friend of mine, devoted Diablo fan that he is, bought not only himself but also me a copy (since I wasn’t going to purchase it myself, always-online DLC yadda yadda yadda). We’ve been co-opping the game, and I’ve gotten to see him go from fanboyish exuberance to jaded resignation over the course of Act 1.

    Here’s the problem: Diablo 3 is a good game – and nothing else. It’s well designed. The combat is visceral and rewarding. The pacing is good. It’s a good, solid ARPG. But that’s all it is. It doesn’t do anything NEW. If I squint a little bit and mentally replace the biblical references with those of ancient mythology I’m playing Titan’s Quest: Eternally Slightly Too Dark Edition. Except TQ actually posed a challenge, and I literally did not use a single health potion until the end of Act 1 in this game, nor did my friend.

    For a game with this much hype, with this kind of legacy, I expected something revolutionary. I expected it to be the next Diablo 2, with the same sort of game-changing, genre-creating impact. Instead, it just is Diablo 2, in a shiny new engine stuck permanently on Easy Mode. If it weren’t for the painstakingly created CGI cinematics I could believe this came from any one of a dozen minor developers.

    Speaking of those cinematics. While I haven’t faced anything game-breaking so far, the quality on those aforementioned cinematics is dreadful. The sound in them is spotty, popping in and out, and frequently desyncs by up to 5 seconds from the visuals. At one point it literally froze halfway through a cutscene, and I had to exit the game and re-enter (fortunately since we’re doing co-op I just popped back in next to my friend, losing no progress). I don’t know if I’ve got corrupted files or it’s the stupid DRM lagging me out (as it does in combat sometimes much to my annoyance) but it’s pretty shoddy either way.

    Bottom line? I wouldn’t own this game if my friend hadn’t bought it for me, and quite frankly, I wouldn’t be playing it if I weren’t doing co-op with him. If I want some solo ARPG fun, I’ll be going back to Titan’s Quest.

    • BluElement says:

      Your comment was infinitely more professional than this article and your points are completely valid. I do disagree with you on the cutscenes though. I’ve only seen the first one (right before act 2), but I thought it was amazing. I don’t think your problems stem from the DRM, though.

      it’s funny that you bring up how it’s too dark, because one of the main complaints from Diablo fanboys was that it was too bright. :P

    • Bhazor says:

      Blizzard haven’t pushed the envelope or revolutionised anything since Warcraft 3.
      All they’ve really done since is release updates.
      Starcraft 2 was just Starcraft HD
      WoW was basically Everquest with cartoony graphics and a much more accessible design.
      Now Diablo 3 is Diablo 2 but with the Guild Wars/Magic the Gathering skill deck system.

      I have to wonder how many more “perfectly fine” games they can get away before the Blizzard fans realise most of their best guys have left by now. Or until Activision are finished choking the rest out.

      • Lowbrow says:

        Credit where credit is due: the D3 skill changes were a bold move that alienated some fans. Personally, I find it has made my single-player gaming a lot more fun as I switch my skills around whenever I level to try everything out and switch again when I fell like I’m getting too in a click-not-think zone.

        It’s not revolutionary though, so your point still stands.

    • cavalier says:

      You make a good point, better than Walker did in the actual article. I still enjoy the game immensely. Other than shaming blizzard for the shaky launch I am liking the game a lot. I do wish there wish there was more depth to the classes, but really, if you look back at diablo 2 there were only a few build that were viable in the harder difficulties. i will miss being able to make crazy builds to play through normal with. Its a solid game, its just not the genre breaking game we were all expecting and the disappoint is showing.

    • UncleLou says:

      I’ve said it before: I loved Titan Quest to bits. I’ve played it for hundreds of hours, through all modes, but TQ on normal is *so* easy all the way through that it’s not really the game to replace D3 with if you’re looking for more of a challenge from the beginning.

  27. Gary W says:

    For the sake of videogame historians, someone must write a working crack / emulator. Otherwise future generations will be doomed to watch D3 replays.

  28. FunkyBadger3 says:

    I *heart* you, John Walker.

  29. Elmokki says:

    I think Blizzard failed slightly with the difficulty. With monk and apparently barbarian the normal mode – which I bet many will exclusively play – is ludicrously easy indeed. I think I died total of like 3 times in the whole campaign. With mage it was a bit harder, but still not hard. When it’s a multi hour timesink every character has to do to advance to higher difficulties, I would’ve hoped it had been at least mildly challenging so that it won’t feel like a boring grind.

    Funny thing is, though, that the things nightmare and hell (and presumeably inferno) add that make it really hard aren’t really the bosses. It’s the random elite trash mobs. Some of those ability combos are just batshit insane and with a party of monk, barbarian, witch doctor and demon hunter take a fairly long time to kill.

    But yeah, all in all, solid if not overwhelmingly awesome game as can be expected from Blizzard. Shitty drm though, but it hasn’t really mattered since the launch night. I’ve had fun playing with friends and I bet I’ll have fun with Torchlight II and possibly Path of Exile too.

    • MrMud says:

      Its intentional that the hardest part of nightmare/hell/inferno are the really tricky elite/champion modifiers. It was the same with D2.

      With regards to the article I cant say anything about the outages because they are inexcusable. However claiming that D3 is a hollow game after not having finished it on normal is ludicrous and akin to claiming that WoW is simplistic after playing the first 30 levels.

  30. Camreth says:

    Diablo 3 has two major problems as a single player game, requiring a always on internet connection is obviously good for the real money auction house, but as someone who only plays solo and without any intention of using the rmah it is just annoying. Almost every play session i have at least one point where i expeience lag and twice random dc (and this is with one of the best connections available in my country).

    Also not being able to choose difficulty at level 1 is just absurd, normal difficulty is essentially holding down auto attack with the occational skill or healing potion. Having three-four base difficulty levels that scaled with level would have made the game a lot more enjoyable imo.

    A minor gripe is also the heaps of utterly useless loot, a white axe that takes up two inventory slots is worth ~3 gold while 100+ gold is randomly dropped by a single monster.

    Then again I’m only playing d3 to pass the time until torchlight II release, Diablo’s story is better but torchlight is better designed as far as i’m concerned.

    • Hematite says:

      Path of Exile has a really great solution to the trash loot problem.

      First, it has a much stronger socketing system than D2 had. Skills are all on gems, which need to be inserted into a socket of the appropriate colour (you can take them out for free too, it’s just how you equip them). Sockets can be linked too, so you can add support gems to your favourite skills for multiple projectiles, mana leech, added fire damage, whatever. Having a large number of appropriately coloured, linked sockets makes an item very valuable even if it’s white.

      Second, there’s not gold in the economy. It’s a barter economy (even with npcs) based on crafting items. Selling trash items is only worth one fifth of the lowest value crafting item, so you’d better learn quickly that the white items aren’t worth muling back to town to sell. Even blues aren’t usually worth it because you have to use an identify scroll, which is a crafting item, to identify them so you’d lose massive amounts of money by hauling and IDing every blue.

      Third, the crafting system works by taking a base item and upgrading it somehow, so if you’ve got the dosh you can start with an ok item and build it up to be amazing. One of the best ways to do this is to get a white item that has a good base type with nice sockets and start crafting it up. You could start with a blue, but first you have to ID it (which uses crafting credit) just to find out if its random abilities are any good so it’s not a big advantage over starting from white.

      In summary – every item that drops, even whites, has the potential to be useful for your character, and you can tell that while it’s still on the ground, and there’s little benefit to picking it up if you won’t use it yourself.

      It takes away most of the inventory management minigame even though it’s still inventory-tetris style because you’re only filling it up with things you might actually want to use.

      For comparison purposes, the Torchlight pet’s ability to sell your trash for you still requires more work because you actually had to pick up and shift that stuff in the first place rather than just leaving it where it fell.

  31. pantognost says:

    I think that this article:
    1) is written in rage after a disconnect, which is very unprofessional,
    OR
    2) is active campaigning against the horrendous always on DRM in which case you should be more subtle to be effective ;) case of note: chekpoints being hours away is simply not true.

    Your opinion is valid. The always online debacle is corporate bullying. Just fight it smart.

    • copernicus_phoenix says:

      Perhaps it’s:

      3) John Walker’s genuine opinion.

      As you grow up, you’ll realise that people have their own minds with their own opinions. It’s a realisation which will make you much happier.

      • pantognost says:

        I never said that ot was not John Walker’s genuine opinion. I just said that it i think that this opinion is affected by either an agenda or emotion. Last time I checked this was still allowed. The reason I thought that, is because he is nitpicking and bashing on a subjective level every design decision in D3.
        I already mentioned that, having played the game I call false, to put it mildly, his statement that checkpoints are hours apart. Taking into account other articles about the debacle of always on DRM and the expressed fear into these articles, that the apparent success of D3 would bring about a wave of new games-as-services products i am legitimised to say that this unusually subjectively negative article is a product of agenda and emotion.

        When you grow up you might learn that actual arguments might fulfill your self esteem vaccum better than snide remarks and thus help you on a happier life.

  32. UncleLou says:

    That reads disappointingly like dictated by an agenda rather than an independent look at the game, to the point where it sounds almost like a satire, but I guess it just goes to show how the general attitude with which we approach something colours everything (that obviously works both ways).

    Some points I find a bit strange, like the complaints about enemy behaviour/encounter design. It’s one of the areas where the game absolutely shines and raises the bar.

    • Velvetmeds says:

      Do you think these hipsters could have possibly viewed this game objectively? Of course not. RPS gets worse every year.

      • Davie says:

        Ah, “hipsters”. The word just refers to people whose opinions you disagree with now, doesn’t it?

        I’d much rather read a subjective review from a writer who was genuinely interested in D3 than a bland, lifeless “objective analysis” by some guy paid to give the game a medium-high score.

        You want objectivity, I don’t think RPS is your site. And if all you’re going to do is complain about it, I don’t think anyone’s going to miss you when you leave.

        • Improv says:

          Yes he is a hipster. None of his points are true. At all. He is hating on the game just to hate. And payed reviews? Let me get this straight. Blizzard has gone around and given money to EVERY single publication in one giant conspiracy that has somehow not been blown to give the game a high score? Yet not one voice, not one publication has been leaked or someone came out and said it. I see so you’re one of those people. *rolls eyes*

          • copernicus_phoenix says:

            “Hipster”. What is this nonsense?

            Oh – you mean he has his own opinion that he hasn’t run past ‘the internet’ first? Some of the groupthink in this thread is truly shocking.

      • Reefpirate says:

        Strangely you sound like the hipster, what with noticing things getting less ‘hip’ every year…

        This article was written by Mr. John Walker, who is only one of several voices on RPS. And even though I disagree with his seemingly negative take on the game so far (I’m having an absolute good time), I anxiously await more writing from him and the rest of RPS to hear a good discussion that is hopefully a little more intelligent than this comment section.

        • Velvetmeds says:

          Wooo here comes the defence force *holds up hands*

          There is nothing intelligent about what is going on there. RPS writers are jelly that a game with this DRM is breaking sales records and is genuinely good. The battle is lost, shut up, get over it and have fun.

          If D3 felt hollow for him.. It’s cause he’s hollow, not the game.

          • StevenM1988 says:

            “Hipster”? “Defense force”? “Jelly”? I think you’re confused, this isn’t Reddit where you can throw buzzwords at someone else’s opinion until it goes away.

            You can disagree with the article but at least the writer is able to articulate his feelings on the game without resorting to “it’s fun, any opinion that isn’t mine isn’t “”objective””, get over it”.

  33. Reefpirate says:

    Just thought I’d stop by once more to let it be known that I spent a whole bunch of hours this evening/this morning playing this game and I happen to think it was totally excellent. Can’t wait to dive back in… Then ‘beat’ it on normal, then carry on into the higher difficulty levels… Then make another character, etc. etc.

    Connection problems are annoying occasionally, but never did I end up noticing this game being ‘hollow’.

  34. Improv says:

    Sorry but I think this is John Walker having some sort of vendetta gainst blizzard due to the always on DRM and once again acting hipster like hating on a popular game. With 15 reviews in it stands at an 89 metacritic. The lowest scores are 3 80’s. Rest are 90’s and up. Every review has the opposite opinion of what you have and playing the game myself I don’t know where you came up with these points. This is easily the best ARPG out hands down. Incredibly polished and very, very fun to play even in SP mode. There is NOTHING broken about this game.

    We get it. You enjoy overly complicated or indie games. Any game that dares to be a little too casual for you is a bad game and an “ungame.”

    PS: Get over the online requirement.

    • copernicus_phoenix says:

      Have you read the post? Or any of the text of the reviews? No one likes the always on DRM. Don’t assume that because the (meaningless) numerical score of a review is high, that the author loves being treated like a freeloading, pirating criminal. It’s perfectly possible to like the game, and dislike the DRM!

      • pantognost says:

        I hate this always on DRM BS. It is pure corporate bullying. I just think that RPS should carry the fight with more gusto than that. It is my opinion, at this time, that this was a rage piece.

    • JackDandy says:

      No, fuck that noise.

      As a costumer, I refuse to bend over to always-online DRM that only serves the developer’s pockets. Especially when there are better, cheaper, DRM-free alternatives.

    • Bhazor says:

      Every single professional review points out that the drm is bullshit and that the game itself doesn’t do anything new.
      Also Torchlight has a metacritic score of 84.

      Your point?

    • Milky1985 says:

      “There is NOTHING broken about this game. ”

      My experience of trying to play on sunday during the “unscheduled maintence” (which all the blizzard fanboys were saying is perfectly fine its just maintence, not accepting the fact that in computer terms “unscheduled maintence” means anything from “oh god we turned of the wrong machine” to “the server room is on fire”, either way they screwed something up) says hi and begs to differ.

  35. ZX k1cka55 48K says:

    You guys are so entitled.

    • pantognost says:

      Yes entitled to our right to play the game we purchased and has a clear single player component that has no business requiring a connection other than Blizzard’s money printing auction houses.

  36. pipman3000 says:

    you guys are trying too hard to convince yourself buying this game was a good decision.

  37. shiptonator says:

    I think it’s bad that I have regularly died via DC’s and just as I got the Barbarian to level 10 he’s disappeared… so no difficulty unlock yet. It take the piss really. An otherwise enjoyable game.

  38. Premium User Badge

    SpakAttack says:

    Yet more error 37 goodness today.

    “We are currently addressing an issue with the Battle.net service. During this time the Battle.net servers and any online games will be unavailable for play.”

    Funny, I thought all Diablo 3 games were online?

  39. Thefallenhun says:

    Meh, I’m not sure I agree with this review. Normal difficulty is not tough at all, but once you get to nightmare, you’ll be dying more frequently. Also the enemies get much more entertaining then too. You’ll meet unique mob combinations like “jailer frozen arcane” which will mean the enemeis are dropping lazer turrets, trapping you and hurling icebombs all at the same time. As for loot drop, I don’t know what to tell you, sometimes I get great stuff, sometimes I get nothing. That’s the way it works in a game like this. As for the server issues, I can’t comment because I haven’t experienced any, but I know many people have had trouble.

    I don’t at all agree with always online or the way blizzard handled the launch, nor do I like the real money auction house, but the actual gameplay is pretty good. The author just seems really frustrated with the server issues and generally unhappy at what blizzard is doing.

  40. SwiftRanger says:

    Well John, this article makes little sense outside of your rightful complaints about possible login and lag issues. It’s something I thought I’d never say about a RPS article but I don’t know how on earth you could claim some of these things.

    Diablo III has some little tidbits that could be better (imo especially in the UI/menu parts) but it still overtakes the crown as new leader in the genre. It was totally worth the wait.

    It’s definitely new as it breaks up with DII in a lot of ways. Enemy design (vortexers, wallers, nightmares,… wonderful stuff) and the action gameplay especially are the primary advantages it has now imo but the skill system which borrowed a lot of great things from Guild Wars 1 is also worth mentioning. It’s quite the opposite of restrictive (do you select elective mode though).

    Zooming in is nice during lore conversations. Rotating the camera isn’t necessary, we’re still talking about an isometric game by design here. The Act II town might be less of a chore if you clicked on more characters than just the merchants. It’s not as infuriating as the Act III town setup in DIII.

    DIII Normal is like DII Normal. Really. Go play both again I’d say.

    Spamming potions would have been better then? No.

    I buy at merchants, craft items and find great gear on monsters. I don’t see the balance problem.

    Followers do sound repetitive after a while idd but that’s not about writing, that’s about the frequency of their lines in the action parts. Hear them out in town to get more out of them. The story is fixed of course but that’s not poor writing. It’s how pretty much every ARPG works.

    All I am saying is: DIII is great fun and probably better than DII.

  41. lorigga says:

    Thanks for this review, it really made me think and evaluate how I feel about D3. While I would have appreciated a few more details regarding enemies and gameplay, I enjoyed the article’s composition. I think addressing that sense of “magic” we have all felt, and how it was broken by technical issues only to reveal deeper flaws was brilliant.

    Personally, I think expectations have been a huge point of contention through this dialogue. When I see a Blizzard game with an incremented number at the end, I expect it to refine and iterate it’s predecessor. For that reason, D3 has been exactly what I wanted from a sequel to D2. At the same time, that’s also why I expect Titan to be innovative and feel completely new. I expect Titan to cast a new “spell” on me. I’m also really concerned that Titan will let me down because I can understand that Blizzard hasn’t released a new IP for a very long time.

    So essentially, I’ve withheld expectations regarding innovation and really didn’t want D3 to deviate from the groundwork laid by D1 and D2. It’s totally just my opinion, I have absolutely no reason to believe that anyone else should feel that way or change their viewpoint simply because of my insignificant comment. I understand that Mr. Walker wanted something different than myself and don’t begrudge him in the least for it. I think it’s nice that people that feel disenfranchised by Blizzard and D3 have felt enough comfort from this article that they can voice their concerns.

  42. Kdansky says:

    John Walker: “Why didn’t they add more crap to D2???!!”

    Game designer: “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

    Guess who’s right.

  43. iob says:

    I only got Diablo 3 to play it together with friends. Those friends live all across europe. Thus, I need to be online to play with them anyway.

    Diablo 3’s single player experience is mediocre at best. 10 hours and you are done with the game. You only get most of your money if you play it again and again anyway.

    I don’t know if many players want to beat hell, inferno etc in single player (or if it’s even possible to do so) but imho this game doesn’t “suck” for me because of the always on.

    Other games which have always on which i want to play offline (settlers, other ubisoft titles ) suck a lot though.

    Other games which i would love to play in lan with friends but can’t (Dota2, Sc2, Lol) suck more.

    But I can’t figure out why blizzard has to do it again – a good hack and slay that just works. Why can’t any competitor bring out a title of that quality?

    Is it that hard to code a game like this?

  44. Kanakotka says:

    Stop your inane whining, John Walker. Your opinions on the game are moot. Boo hoo, the shop keepers in act 2 didn’t have the best items avaible in the game? Seriously? This is a rant, not journalism.

    I’ve had little to no trouble with D3, love the online only system, because unlike you, i actually played Diablo 2 and know why this is quite necessary.

  45. reggiep says:

    RPS has been hating on Diablo for a while now, while also propping up Torchlight. That’s a rather intractable position. You have to be engaging in some serious double think to believe that Torchlight even approaches 1/5 of what even Diablo 2 offered, let alone D3.

    This article seems like little more than sensationalist junk. What’d you do? Play the game for 2 hours and then write this to rile up the haters? You didn’t even give the game a fair shake, and that’s just poor journalism. Sadly, I thought RPS had higher standards than this trash.

  46. Final says:

    I have a question for everyone, What happens when Blizzard decides that it will not support Diablo 3 anymore, (I do not care why, i can come up with 100s of reason why but that is not the point).
    The point is if they stop supporting this game then even though I bought the game I would never be able to play the game again.

    The always online DRM is the only reason I did not buy Diablo 3.

    Another thought for everyone, what was the fun part about Diablo 2, was it blizzard’s server games, or was it the mods that people made and gave out freely to all?

    Well I am off to play a good aRPG, Dungeon Siege 2 Broken worlds, with the Aranna Legacy Mod.

    • reddy67 says:

      As final says above me DRM, sealed the no deal for me as well, i will wait for torchlight 2 :)

  47. reddy67 says:

    Well, i have to say im disappointed,and i was looking forward to this game… living in Nz, i think its inexcusable to make a game online only…..if u didn’t want a solo mode, don’t make one, and especially not online only…
    For one we don’t have dedicated servers, and those iv read who are playing it , its utterly unplayable trying to play during the day here, with getting pings of 500/ 600 and above, if u play after 6pm here the lag improves, but then there is stil dropouts, and times when it is just not playable…….AS GAMERS, we should not have been put in this position to fight with lag..
    Secondly most of gaming has been for the single player experience, i have not bought diablo 1 and diablo 2 in the past because they are multiplayer games, i play my games on my time when i have time, not when you have to fit into a bracket , and hope for the best !
    i have noticed there is a MULTITUDE of Diablo3 merchandise out there, which obviously is to cah in on the popularity of Diablo, and i wonder if this Auction house is of the same ilk, and therefore getting the most people online possible…hmmm, nevathe less i did buy a t-shirt, but certainly
    i can’t see me buying the game and i was looking at the collectors edition, , im just not in the market of being forced to do something that is not needed, sooo sorry Blizzard Thanks but no thanks….:(

  48. SnuffSaid says:

    “I think I’ve died four times thus far, playing solo, and try as I might can find no way to increase the difficulty to anything halfway interesting.”

    Seriously?

    You play solo on Normal difficulty to Act 2 and are complaining the game is too easy? The majority of players don’t die at all on Normal, it might aswell be a tutorial. Try playing Hell and Inferno difficulties, or better yet, either of those difficulties on Hardcore mode, which is without a doubt one of the tensest and most demanding game experiences ever.

    You may love RPGs, but all I see here is somebody who got butthurt about losing a minuscule amount of progress due to a disconnection and wrote an angry review. I lost a level 40 character thanks to Blizzard’s bumbling, but I just started again, because despite a shaky start this game is still one of the best ever made.

    • impsy says:

      Yea i think this guys a little butthurt. The servers are pretty much impeccable now as well other than the server maintenances. I also played Path of Exile, I still have my level 80 character on the legacy server, it’s a good game but the polish still isn’t their and Diablo 3 just feels better. I’ll still play PoE/Grim Dawn because they have their own unique ideas implemented but for now Diablo 3 is one hell of an amazing game. I play Hardcore exclusively in D3 and I have lost I think one character to lag at 60 but the rest have been my own stupid decisions, granted I have had 14 level 60’s so far haha :)