Hack’n'Slash Fic: On Diablo III Difficulty and Dumbness

By Alec Meer on May 22nd, 2012 at 5:00 pm.

I’ve been playing Diablo III solo, in snatched time during the wee small hours of the last few days. Late to the party as always I know, but the urge to muse ‘pon what I’ve played so far was too strong to resist.

I was unlucky, and yet incredibly lucky, to be away during Diablo III launch week. That means I’ve missed the worst of the server troubles resultant from the blatantly mercenary and ill-considered always-online DRM for singleplayer. That means I’ve been able to simply login and play the thing, leaving my my mind free to consider Diablo III itself, rather than its nasty corporate trappings. Like I say: lucky.

I’m glad I don’t have to give it a score. I’m not sure I could. I’m digging it more than John did, as despite being relatively basic in the graphical department it sure knows how to present a satisfying spectacle when it wants to. The escalating character powers are the greatest treat, turning into feats of gigantic, high-speed mudersurdity once some of the mid-game Runes have been added to them. Watching my Monk summon a giant iron bell from the skies then punch it to release a wave of death, or performing a Flash-style kick that clouts seven enemies in about as many milliseconds never gets old. truly.

At the same time I’m far more conscious than I’d like to be that it’s a stupid game for stupid people (or, at least, clever people acting stupidly). I include myself among the latter without hesitation, needless to say, but that doesn’t mean that I want any game to make me feel that I am indeed stupid. Click, click, click, collect, collect, collect – we all know that song so well and outside of the rightfully divisive auction house Diablo III doesn’t do much to remix it. It is purely about the methodical eradication of everything that moves, and the methodical collection of everything that doesn’t (and isn’t architecture).

There is nothing wrong with that. There is quite a lot right with it in fact, but there have been long stretches where my self-awareness of my own stupidity became undeniable. I’ve realised since that the problem isn’t quite what it appears to be. Yes, it’s intrinsically a hollow game, but it’s not been designed to be otherwise – it’s consciously a time sink, an unapologetic communion with that strange, silent, sleepless, social-phobic lizard part of our brain that so tirelessly hungers for ever-greater intangible numbers. Frankly, my eyebrows would have popped right off my face and flown to Saturn if there had been any attempt at depth beyond the mathematically tactical. Mathemactical.

There is, one might argue, The Story and The Lore, which will doubtless attract the sort of rabid fandom that Blizzard’s narratively generic but backstory-soaked fictional universes always have done. Despite gravitas and tragedy and aggressive attempts to put Diablo’s lead characters on pedestals, I don’t truly believe there’s been a concerted effort to make it a game with depth. The character animations, acting and writing are so openly pantomime, superficial and 90s videogamey that it simply seems impossible that so many development veterans could have waved it out the door believing it to be serious, moving or nuanced.

There is, I notice, a strange but palpable disparity between the cartoonish writing and acting in the game proper, and the more polished and dramatic in the between-chapter cinematics. Those go hell for leather in terms of spectacle, as is Blizzard games’ wont, and seem to have derived from an entirely different mindset to the kids’ TV banality of the in-game toy-people.

At the very least, I suspect plot, narrative and characterisation are treated by Blizzard as merely props for the game mechanics. D3′s characters, as were Starcraft II’s, are heroic and villainous stereotypes built upon the bedrock of countless tales of myth, cinema and comicbook. They are ambulatory sign-posts for the action to follow, possessing only as much personality as is required to instantly grasp their purpose in this surely consciously shallow tale.

I digress. Diablo III is certainly stupid on many levels, but its calculating heart is anything but. It’s computer chess writ at lightning pace and with countless bolt-on new pieces. That is to say, it’s always and forever the same thing. You can change the look of the board and you can raise the challenge of the opponenents, but the game itself is reliably unchanging no matter how far through it you play, no matter how many times you play it. What can and likely will change is you – your skill. And that – finally – brings me to Diablo III’s true failing. You can’t select the difficulty until you’ve completed the game. You’re stuck on Normal.

Normal is a piece of piss. Normal is insultingly easy. Normal is, very often, incredibly tedious when tackled solo, because it can broadly be played on auto-pilot. Finish the game and you’ll unlock a harder setting. I haven’t done that yet (I’m only just approaching Act III) but between web reports and studying the skills, runes and weapons carefully it’s very clear to me that the game intends to be highly tactical. Death is intended to be a constant and pressing danger, and keeping it a bay requires near-absolute understanding of what does what in combination with what and what tools will best amplify it.

Except, for the 20-odd hours playing directly through the campaign on Normal apparently takes, that simply isn’t the case. I can’t speak for the later chapters admittedly, but I’m some ten hours in now and I’ve died once. That was because I took a phone call while some goat-men were bothering me, and my muscular grip upon the left mouse button was briefly interrupted.

Especially coming off the back of Legend of Grimlock’s unblinking cruelty, I crave the higher difficulty settings. I want to be challenged, I want to be making agonising choices about which runes to equip and which skills to quickslot. Goddamn it, I want to die. Beat me harder master, harder! But I’ll have to finish the game on the numbing Normal first. I’m enjoying myself. I feel the desperate, urgent, constant craving for better loot, the attendant transitory sense of progress and the giggly delight whenever I use a new skill or briefly overpowered weapon for the first time.

But the thought of another 10, 20, who knows how many more hours of this tedium, pleasant though it may be, makes me do what it’s so terribly important not to do with a Diablo-like.

It makes me catch sight of myself in the mirror and ask ‘why am I doing this? Why I am spending these hours like this?’ Away, away foul thoughts, nagging conscience. Just let me indulge myself. So, game, treat me mean. Please.

Salvation, I’m told, may lie in co-op. So far, I’ve been playing the game in the strange twilight hours of 10 pm to 2 am and have no companions to call on, but tomorrow I’ll change that, and hope that more players = more monsters = more challenge, and a more involved way to plough through the campaign to then unlock Nightmare mode.

Or perhaps there could simply be an official update to make difficulty selectable right from the start. Yessir, that would do it. In the good old days, before that lord of hell that is unwavering DRM seized control of PC gaming, someone would have made a mod or a hack or a trainer. Now, our destinies, our choices, our histories, our ability to choose and change, even the option of when and where we might play, is all locked securely away in that damnable cloud.

I grieve for my lost power of choice. I grieve that I can only be a masochist on this game’s puzzlingly protracted terms. Yet I can’t wait until I can. Sock it to me, baby.

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358 Comments »

  1. kurtensen says:

    Beggining at Nightmare Act 3, the game starts to become really hard. And on Inferno it’s downright masochist. Remember those useless zombies you used to ravish in normal difficulty? Now they chomp a big chunk of your health with each hit…and they’re not those demi-god elite hordes that can appear from a corner of a map and nuke your whole party with ease

    • Hug_dealer says:

      thats fantastic, if you hadnt already wasted countless hours getting to that point, when it should be selectable from the very beginning.

      • Tyrmot says:

        It is damn peculiar that you can’t choose any harder difficulty from the get-go.. did blizzard ever give a reason for this? Or was it just an oversight? Presumably it was a design choice on their part, though it’s hard to see what it might have been..

        • Soon says:

          Maybe they determined addictive habits form easier with fewer obstacles in the way.

          • bfandreas says:

            Like for instance earning the gear to proceed? I’ve farmed a bit before I felt comfortable to proceed into hell. Also I familiarized myself with most skills and runes at my disposal.

            The game is paced in such a way that you actually can tinker in between levels with whatever new toy you got. I think I will be level 60 right after finishing act 2 in hell. And I think I really understand how to play a Demon Hunter by then. And I fully expect others who have managed to get into Inferno to be able to actually understand their class.

            You can’t complain about people who don’t know how to play a specific game and call them noobs, scrubs or whatever and also complain about a game with such a nice learning curve.

            The absence of single player and the pacing is nitpicking, really. Also it’s a bit short sighted. The absence of single-player isn’t DRM. It’s not a mere means to control if all players coughed up their entrance fee. It’s about having an online economy. And getting a cut from that. Bobby Kotick would gladly gift the game to you as long as you used the real money auction house.

            THIS IS EVIL!

          • bfandreas says:

            Yep, they want to re-addict you to Diablo. Evil. Works with me.

          • Soon says:

            I never said it was evil. I never said it wasn’t fun. It was a question of design, and it’s designed around compulsion (Alec even becomes aware of it and keeps on going). Many games are. Arguably, they’d be stupid not to design the game that way.

            People complain about having to play for 15 hours or whatever. But it just got them to click a mouse for 15 hours and they just want more. Broken design or smart design?

          • smiuywh says:

            http://www.videodetective.com/games/xcom/822900#.T7wRt-uWclc
            In Diablo II, you could finish the game on Hell with any class, using any skills, using level-appropriate weapons and armour.

          • Lord Byte says:

            And then they say that D2 is better because it was much more difficult.
            Also does the reviewer even know how diablo works? You select nightmare on creation and you won’t even reach the first town.
            A bit of a challenge would be nice, but trust me, it picks up in the latter part of act 3. It’s silly how people start complaining before they ‘ve even seen 10% of the game.

        • sonofsanta says:

          I think it’s just slavish adherence to Diablo 2, that was set up the same: a character had to complete Normal before you could progress to Nightmare and then Hell.

          Of course, in the offline single player of D2, you could use the console command to set the game to 8 player difficulty, which ramped everything up including the rewards. No such chance to do that here, unfortunately.

          • Gray0 says:

            Well, the concept, if I understood it well enough, is about building up a character before doing it at an harder diffiulty. Doing the game at nightmare before normal would just be impossible with a level 1 char. So there is no point. Should have an option for a sub difficulty setting (2 players monster power for a solo game) though.

          • Ringwraith says:

            Except I think the problem people are having is that Diablo II was never that easy on normal. You’d certainly die quite a few times, and some enemies were to be greatly feared for wiping you quickly if you weren’t careful. The meteor-calling wizards in enclosed spaces come to mind.

          • Jupiah says:

            Agreed. Neither Diablo 2 or 3 really has difficulty levels, only new game+ modes that scale the difficulty up. It’s not actually a difficulty mode if you can’t start a new character in it.

            Diablo 2 though at least had the “/players x” command that let you scale the monsters to more players then were actually in the game, that worked adequately as a real difficulty setting.

          • Ragnar says:

            The /players X command in Diablo 2 also increased the XP you got, so it made playing through the game slower, but not harder.

            I think D3′s difficulty is balanced to be accessible to everyone, which will obviously make it easy for ARPG experts. That said, I died as a Demon Hunter on one of the events in the Cemetery crypts in Act 1, died on the Act 1 boss in a 4-player game, and have died a few times in Act 2 co-op games.

            Someone that wants a Grimlock style of punishing difficulty could always turn on Hardcore, which will make even the easiest sections tense.

          • Phantoon says:

            Ragnar, that’s not feasible. Even if you overlook the account hacking snafu (in which your authenticator cannot save you), any server lag when playing solo can get you killed because all the higher difficulties do is add 0s to things.

          • Grygus says:

            HIgher difficulty levels add new abilities you did not see in Normal. It also introduces enemies with multiple abilities, which can result in brutal combinations. Incidental to difficulty but still relevant, there are a few new drops. Some of the trash remains easy and just gets more HP, yes, but saying that all that happens is added zeroes is not true.

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        • derbefrier says:

          well it worked that way in D2. Its part of the progression of the game. you start out easy and as your character progresses the difficulty progresses with it, like any other RPG. With that said though Normal and Nightmare where way too easy on my monk. I didn’t die once in normal and only a couple times in nightmare when i wasn’t paying attention but with 4 difficulties i guess they had to draw it out a little. which to me says they only need 3 difficulties to begin with. I didn’t mind it so much since the combat is so fun and playing with skills is a blast. but the second i stepped foot in hell…i started dieing like a little bitch, had to completely rethink my playstyle and character build. with 4 people it gets even worse since everything has more health and there is more of it. the chaos of those battles is quite enjoyable and can make for plenty of “oh shit did i just pull that off? /flex” moments. I am only in act 2 of hell haven’t got to try inferno yet but from the amount of crying for nerfs on the forums by people who are upset they don’t have inferno on farm status in a week means, to me, that they are doing it right.

          • Wreckdum says:

            It’s the same tactic Blizzard uses with WoW and Diablo. Force you to grind before you can have fun. Then they’ll just keep pushing the fun back and adding more grinding. The infamous dangling carrot that is forever out of reach. What a pile of shit. I finally retired this PoS game at level 59 with 4 bars to 60. It is so tedious and just plain not fun anymore I don’t even care about hitting 60. With Max Payne 3 and a whole slew of other AAA titles about to launch going in to summer Diablo III was about what I expected. A week of entertainment.

            I’m sure there will be people playing this all summer… What that says about them I am unsure of… They can probably find entertainment in other simple repetitive tasks like stacking boxes though.

          • Ragnar says:

            I think it says that others have a different idea of what fun is than you do. You want to be challenged, I want to relax. I like that Diablo 3 is easy enough for me to play with my 8-year old daughter, because as “dumb” as Diablo may be, it’s a lot more involved than watching TV. I also think that the co-op difficulty is just right for me, as I’ve already died a few times in Act 2.

            That said, I see no reason why they couldn’t add a difficulty selector like Torchlight 2 has, to increase the HP and damage of mobs, so that players such as yourself could be challenged from the beginning.

          • krispy_treats says:

            @Wreckdum

            The guy who’s looking forward to Max Payne 3 is insinuating that others are dumb. Nice one! I assume that was a great use of sarcasm.

          • Phantoon says:

            I don’t think you should be playing Diablo 3 with children, even when they appear cartoony like this.

          • Lemming says:

            @Wreckdum

            I don’t play WoW any more, but I did recently enough to know that’s not been the case since Catacylsm. Indeed, I find the world-questing and occasional 5-man far more fun than endless raiding, which is what I assume you are referring to when you talk about getting to the fun bit?

          • RvLeshrac says:

            @Phantoon Enough with the nonsensical “think of the kids” bullshit.

        • AmateurScience says:

          The difficulty is treated more like a new game + rather than a difficulty setting though. I appreciate that I’m arguing semantics but it sits better in my mind if I consider it like that.

          • zaphod42 says:

            Its not even new game +, its not a bonus mode, and you don’t start over.

            Rather, there aren’t difficulty settings in the game at all. Those are just names for the later “chapters” of Diablo3, and how they get harder.

            The game begins Chapter I, Act I. Then you go to Chapter I, Act IV. Then you go to Chapter II, act I.

            Just like mario, world 1-1, world 1-2, world 2-1. You know?

            They just named them difficulties because the game does get significantly harder on each chapter. But that is true of most games, they get harder as you go. Doesn’t make it a difficulty.

            What makes it a difficulty is the option to choose, having it be a skill balance setting. And you simply DO NOT HAVE THAT CONTROL in diablo.

            You’ll never see a player level 40+ running through normal, so it isn’t a difficulty. The loot you get, the level of the loot and the level of the monsters, is all directly tied to the “difficulty”.

            However, playing on a harder “Difficulty” is only truly harder if you’re too low level. Level up some, and suddenly this new “difficulty” isn’t. So really, its a misnomer.

          • Lemming says:

            @zaphod42

            So the game is really that big to accommodate all that? And you only fight Diablo at the end of Inferno?

          • Grygus says:

            @Lemming: No. When you finish Normal and go to Nightmare, you are starting the game over at Act I. Everything quest- and story-wise is exactly the same, the locations are unlocked in the same order, with the only real difference being that the enemies are harder even considering your gear and skill progression; i.e., Act I Nightmare is much harder than Act IV Normal. You start with NPCs available that you had to unlock the first time, you start with all your gear and money intact, and there is some minor randomization in the areas themselves, so it’s not quite an identical experience, but moment-to-moment it’s the same game again, only with more deaths.

          • mihor_fego says:

            So… there should be 12-15 acts to go from 1-60+ or whatever if not for restarting. If that’s the case, then there’s nothing “hardcore” about it, they just delivered less than 1/3rd of what the “full game”should be. This is not like a 7-boss raid you have to do again for more loot, it’s like when reaching level 60 in WoW, they’d take you back to the starting zone to re-do all quests till 85. That’s the analogy.

          • Afrodisiac says:

            Zaphod42 is technically incorrect. When starting a new game, from Chapter I, you can choose to play on any difficulty you have unlocked. This is useful (and probably mandatory) for those who want to get some of the more difficult achievements.

            http://i.imgur.com/dR7Nq.jpg

          • Lemming says:

            @Grygus Thought so. So basically people saying ‘the game starts at Nightmare’ or whatever are talking out of their arse.

            They’re pointlessly gated difficulty levels with an unbalanced ‘normal’ mode, then.

          • Smoky_the_Bear says:

            I agree about it being too easy at the start.
            The thing annoying me though along the same lines is that to get to level cap you have to clear the game twice and then play through half of the game again, they do this by masquerading it as “difficulty levels” but basically as far as im concerned they skimped on content while spending all that time on the DRM and the RMAH.
            What would have been wrong with them making enough content for one playthrough to get people somewhere around the lvl 50+ mark whilst ramping the difficulty up intellegently, without having to repeat content multiple times, THEN have the higher difficulty levels for people wanting to hit max level and farm gear.

          • lordfrikk says:

            I have this nagging feeling that literally none of your guys played Diablo 2 because you act very surprised when it comes to certain mechanics, which were all the same in the previous game. How surprising, a sequel being like the installment before it! Diablo game a lootfest and grindfest, well I never!

        • Zenicetus says:

          Forcing people to spend more time in the game to get to where they want, generates more items for the Auction House.

          • psyk says:

            What? :\

          • Ringwraith says:

            More rubbish items no-one wants as they’re all playing the higher difficulties and don’t need any items for Normal as it’s too easy?

        • zaphod42 says:

          It was definitely a design choice; Diablo 3 DOESN’T REALLY HAVE DIFFICULTY LEVELS. There aren’t really any, that’s why you can’t just choose the difficulty. They’re completely tied to your level, they’re really just additional game levels, not higher difficulties.
          Starting at level 1, you HAVE to start on Normal. Staring on Nightmare would REQUIRE them to both level your character up to ~30 instantly and give you loot up to level 30. They don’t want to do that. That isn’t the design of the game at all. (Not saying its a good design)
          Really, the game goes like this: Start Act I, normal. Go to Act IV normal. Act I nightmare comes next. Its not a harder difficulty, its the next level.

          They do this so they “can turn casual gamers into hardcore gamers” which I guess is a worthy goal, the idea being that people will play through normal, find it easy and accessible, and then want to keep playing, and be forced to learn to play better, as the game gets harder.

          The thing is, if you are a casual gamer and you just want to stay a casual gamer, you can play the game through on normal, and then re-roll a new character. So they don’t really make you do anything, but they incentivize it, so that’s something.

          I agree though that normal is BORING and takes waay too long. It was *okay* on my first run through with a friend, on co-op, experiencing the story for the first time.

          But now I’m rolling an alt, and compared to hell and nightmare, I’m FALLING ASLEEP.

          They’re kinda stuck now. They REALLY need an option for anybody who has ever played Diablo 2 before (seriously normal is stupid easy) to jump to nightmare mode. But doing so would screw up the game as they’ve designed it.

          If nothing else, I’d like to see the option to spawn a new character at level 30 once you’ve beaten normal mode once. No sense in having to do that multiple times >_< ugh.

          • Phantoon says:

            See, that was fun in Diablo 2.

            What the hell did they do to make normal mode so incredibly tedious?

          • wu wei says:

            I’m not sure what’s so difficult about letting me start on a harder difficulty by starting my character at a higher level and letting me assign 30 levels worth of skill points, because that’s effectively all you’re doing during Normal mode.

            I don’t care that I’m not starting out with powered-up items, the challenge to rapidly acquire what I need is part of the point of wanting an harder difficulty.

          • lordfrikk says:

            Yes, I’m sure it would be fun playing with all the dumbasses starting at level 60 and never having killed anything. At least people know how shit works when you meet them in nightmare and later instead of being absolutely clueless.

        • Artificial says:

          Well you need a higher level and better gear to be able to play through the easier difficulties. It’s probably best you have some experience of the game before you attempt the harder difficulties too. It allows you to progress smoothly from easy to hard to harder. It all makes perfect sense…

          …apart from when you get bored because you’ve now played through the game atleast 3 times already before you get to the most challenging difficulty. The combat is very addictive though so you find yourself forgetting that you’ve already been here and done all that a few times already, and you find yourself dreaming of the better loot that might drop too!

        • RandomGameR says:

          Diablo 2 didn’t have the feature at launch. I’m guessing it will get added in later at some point.

          But to repeat myself, they’ll never let you just jump to Nightmare. They’ll probably just let you scale up the difficulty as if you had other players playing with you.

        • Soapeh says:

          One of the greatest oversights is the fact that you can’t play co-op with your friend if you gave them a guest pass code, even with a brand new level 1 character.

      • RandomGameR says:

        You should not be able to select Nightmare difficulty without getting through Normal difficulty. That’s sort of a nonsense request that doesn’t make sense in the context of the Diablo series.

        You should be able to select the difficulty of Normal in the same way you could in Diablo 2. The game ramps up with the number of players you’re playing with, and in Diablo 2 you could say “pretend I’m playing with 4 people” and it would force the game to ramp to that difficulty.

        I really don’t know why they left that feature out. I am pretty sure that the ramped up difficulty doesn’t ramp up loot chances (the idea is that even with higher difficulty more players offset that and kill faster overall), so it would only add challenge.

        • lordfrikk says:

          This would be the best solution, I think. No scrubs going right to NM.

      • Carr0t says:

        All my friends who are ahead of me and now playing on Nightmare have rolled their same characters back round from the back of the Normal game, at about level 30-35ish. And they’re saying it’s now a lot more of a challenge and a lot more fun. I assume loot drops on Nightmare are also balanced this way, so the stuff you’re picking up right at the start of the game is for levels 20/25+. The game has been balanced to work like this. I strongly suspect that if you chose Nightmare (and *definitely* if you chose Inferno or higher) on a brand new level 1 character with only the 1 skill and a weapon and level 1 gear instead of already having basically all your skills but not all the runes that alter their behaviour the game would actually be impossible.

        The alternative would be to balance it for a brand new character, but then a good chunk of the game you can’t make that difficulty curve you want because players simply won’t have access to the tools (skills and runes) they need to be able to make the required tactical decisions to beat the monsters.

      • zagor says:

        it would be to hard to have nightmare or other dfc(as they are) from the start
        if u dont use ah like me,even normal is not so easy

    • Jupiah says:

      Um, no I’ve never “ravished” any zombies before. The thought leaves me rather nauseous.

  2. Hug_dealer says:

    i hear you man. Not being able to up the difficulty is one of the prime reasons i wont buy the game. And why i loved torchlight 2 so much, i bumped that difficulty up to the point where i was playing more tactical in an ARPG than i have ever before.

    • Malk_Content says:

      Exactly, I started playing the beta on Veteran and found it terribly boring after an hour or two. Came back a few hours later and started again on Elite and wowee was it awesome. I had to buy defensive skills and I actually had to make sure I always had enough mana to use them just in case, even then I would die because of a stupid decision like “I’ll throw these spider mines THEN chug a potion” rather than “I’ll chug a potion THEN throw these spoder mines.”

      • Hug_dealer says:

        Yep. So far T2 seems likes it going to be fantastic. Lots of enemy variety and different tactics and builds for classes to use. The game lends itself to combos very well also.

        The skill tree is fantastic, letting me pick the 4-5 active skills i feel i can use, and that work well together, and then throwing in passives that i want my character to specialize in. And im not restricted to wasting any points i dont want to spend.

        • Malk_Content says:

          I think the golden thing they did was adding the charge bar mechanic for each class. All of a sudden I’m no longer able to get by with just one skill with all my points plonked in it as the best skills for that don’t generate charge (or at least not as much) so I’m always using multiple skills per fight in order to balance my bar as well as worrying about damage output, conditions and my own health and mana. It sounds like a tiny thing, but one extra dimension to consider in a genre that comes across fairly flat makes a massive difference.

          • Hug_dealer says:

            It also helps that the charge bar isnt simply a fill up to unleash devestating attack bar.

            it has different tactical uses depending on what skills you decide to use when and where.

      • Carra says:

        Good hint.

        I got bored of Torchlight after about five hours. Now that I think of it, there was simply no challenge in playing normal.

        Maybe I can try out Torchlight 2 on a slightly more difficult level.

  3. RedViv says:

    The Monk is the new Paladin, so it is *the* self-sufficient class on the easiest difficulty level. I do see that playing one now.

    I did die quite a few times with the other classes. Even more often with the early barbarian than the entire wizard and huntress, due to the early emphasis on avoiding enemies rather than soaking damage, and possibly because that was my first class to finish the game with.
    The later difficulty levels are horribly cruel though once you meet the inevitable blue or golden fiend.

    • sharkh20 says:

      I never hear anyone talk about the witch doctor. I find it to be the most op classof all. I am mid act 3 normal and I have hit 400 dps. Playing coop is funny. I just do more damage than everyone else and it is aoe. I don’t know if I will make it much further in the game because it is just outright boring. Maybe it will level out when the difficulty ramps up.

      • Ragnar says:

        That’s because every sensible person takes one look at the jars of spiders, and says “No thank you. Next class!”

      • zaphod42 says:

        I had over 700 dps as a wizard in act III normal. That’s how it goes. You’re not OP.
        The game is just stupid easy until you get to nightmare, and then really gets going at hell difficulty.

        Just lame we have to spend 15 hours in normal first.

    • stretchpuppy says:

      I just got to level 50, first act of hell. I pretty much cannot solo with my monk. Starting on about Act II of Nightma

    • stretchpuppy says:

      For whatever it’s worth.

      I just got to level 50 with my monk, first act of hell. I pretty much cannot solo with my monk. I HAVE to join a group to survive – which is okay with me. Starting on about Act II of Nightmare is when this really happened. I’m all socketed out with DEX and VIT gems, and my weapons are always upgraded to the best from the gold auction house. I’m pushing over 2000 DPS and slight lower AL.

  4. Dina says:

    Normal is too easy, Nightmare is just about right, Hell is a proper challenge and Inferno is impossible for every class except Wizards and Demon Hunters.

    It sucks that you can’t start with Nightmare, but then again you probably don’t have the gear for that at level 1. Or they should have just made Normal harder.

    So stick with it. You say you’re in Act 3, which means just about 2 or 3 hours more and then you can start Nightmare. Keep it up. The faults with Diablo don’t come until in the upper half of the difficulty levels, imo, and they run deeper that always-online DRM or crashing servers because they lie at the core of the mechanics of the game.

    • Malk_Content says:

      Well they could have had you play through the game the same way Normal > Nightmare etc as it is a good (if really obvious) way of them being able to make a bigger game without having to put much effort into content but allow you do choose a difficulty option alongside that such as Normal Casual, Normal Veteran, Normal Elite.

    • Caddrel says:

      Your comment about classes is way off.

      The world first (or close to it) kill of Diablo on Inferno was by a Barbarian. There are also videos out there of Witch Doctors clearing Inferno bosses in under 25 seconds.

      • Dina says:

        Nope, Wizard was the first to kill Diablo with Energy Armor solo. There’s been groups killing Diablo ever since, but they are skipping Champion packs. Since the best weapons drop from Champ packs and not from bosses, you need classes that can clear those packs. Specifically, you need a class that can kill a Champion Pack past Act 1. Up till Inferno Butcher, you can still do it. Act 2 and up, that’s a different story.

        At the moment, both Barb and Monk die way too fast since they’re melee. WD doesn’t kite as well as the other two ranged classes do.

      • derbefrier says:

        there are but its not the bosses that are killing people. It seems the bosses are pretty easy. its the unique mob packs with crazy affixes that are owning everyone’s face in inferno. those you see killing bosses are fine but what you didnt see is that they most likely corpse ran all the way to the boss itself or avoided most fights. I haven’t been there myself but this seems to be the general consensus on the forums. personally i think people are not patient enough its only been a week no one could possibly exhaust all the different build and gear combinations yet. Those complaining are probably just pissed they cant figure out what to do and are blaming blizz rather than their bad builds or shitty gear. Blizz said they expected it to take months for anyone to clear inferno(assuming they didn’t cheese it like those that have cleared already did) and now we are finding out why. I just hope blizz doesn’t follow the MO with WoW and start nerfing content to please the baddies. fixing balancing issues is fine but i don’t want to see any nerfs unless we are 6 months down the road and we are still in the same spot then I would think it would be time to admit inferno is overtuned and needs a little nerfed but not when the game is barely a week old and we are all still noobs

        • Phantoon says:

          “Bad builds or shitty gear”.

          This was not ever an argument in the time of Diablo 2. It became a thing during World of Warcraft.

          This isn’t a sequel to Diablo. It’s a sequel to World of Warcraft.

          • derbefrier says:

            huh? what do you mean. bad builds and shity gear existed in D2. whats the argument here? either your geared for the content or not. i couldn’t run naked through all 3 difficulties in D2 and you cant here. i don’t get what your trying to say.

          • Vorphalack says:

            Actually there were quite a few builds that could beat D2 without gear, for example a Skelemancer, Blizz Sorc, and Trap Assassin.

          • FunkyBadger3 says:

            Exactly this.

          • RvLeshrac says:

            In Diablo II, you could finish the game on Hell with any class, using any skills, using level-appropriate weapons and armour. It was easier for certain classes with certain skills using certain equipment, but it certainly wasn’t impossible.

            Blizzard also continuously rebalanced Diablo 2 once it was determined that a class could solo through Hell on the highest settings possible. That’s not “nerfing” anything, and that term needs to die. The game shouldn’t be soloable by ANY class except under single-player conditions.

          • Sonicberry says:

            Derbefrier, there have been people who completed Diablo II solo with naked characters, characters with no abilities, and characters with no thought behind their gear and skill selection. Gear and build was only ever an issue when Blizzard ran out of ideas and introduced Über Diablo and Über Tristram.

  5. trjp says:

    The locked difficulty is the biggest issue with D3 for me – it is simply FAR FAR too easy for FAR FAR too long.

    Locking difficulties from scratch is stupid because it implies all players have the same skill level – wheras the whole POINT of difficulties is to cater for differing skill levels.

    Locked difficulties should be banished form gaming along with limited lives and ‘near impossible’ final levels – those ideas made sense when you pumped coins into a machine – they make no sense now.

    • Ragnar says:

      Diablo 3 doesn’t have difficulty levels, it just has New Game+ which is harder each time. If they just added difficulty levels, like Torchlight 2, for when you’re playing solo, it would have avoided this whole issue.

      I completely agree with you on “limited lives” and “near impossible final level”. Those are ancient relics that need to stay in the past.

  6. ohrus says:

    Selecting difficulty from the start is just not what the game is about though. Characters continually change throughout the difficulties which is something I quite enjoy (in terms of skills and gear). I agree that normal difficulty is too damn easy (at least with a monk) but I’ve found that the difficulty ramped up considerably in hell.

    • Toberoth says:

      I’m not sitting through twenty hours of boring clicking just to get to a difficulty level that’s to my tastes though; that’s the point that’s been made here and elsewhere numerous times.

      • Godwhacker says:

        Speaking as someone who has sat through about 15 hours of it, and has yet to reach the end of Normal difficultly, I fully agree. When I got half way through Act 2 I thought maybe it was just the Monk class that was boring me, so I went back and tried the Demon Hunter for a bit.

        It was like playing the Monk, but it took even longer to kill anything.

      • Phantoon says:

        Oddly enough, exactly the same defense was used for Final Fantasy 13.

        “This is boring.” “Well it gets good after ten hours!”

    • Malk_Content says:

      A game can still get progressively harder (or in this case essentially contain New Game + modes) and have a variable base difficulty. It isn’t exactly the hardest thing to conceive and would ameliorate the criticisms of “this game is no where near challenging enough for me for the first 10/20/30 whatever hours and as such without that challenge doesn’t make me want to play for that length of time.”

    • Ragnar says:

      That’s just a matter of separating difficulty from New Game+ (which is what Nightmare, Hell, Inferno really are). So everyone starts on Normal, but you can chose to play at the default difficulty of Novice, or step up to Expert or Veteran, each of which just applies a modifier to the mobs’ hit points and damage.

  7. OrangyTang says:

    What are people’s thoughts on games that let you change the difficulty while you’re playing? Whenever a game only gives me the option at the start I usually wuss out and go for ‘normal’ because I don’t want to get halfway through and get stuck on a difficulty spike. But then if it’s too easy I’ll give up completely because I can’t face doing the first third of the game again.

    • trjp says:

      I like the idea BUT I think it should lockdown at some point during the game.

      Many games allow changes to difficulty upto a certain point/level and I think that’s a great idea.

      Allowing people to change it at any time can be a bit fraught with issues tho – it’s basically impossible to tell if someone has ‘completed’ the game on a given difficulty if you do that – thus it’s hard to make their score/time/achievements make sense.

      • Ragnar says:

        I don’t really care about score / achievements / epride. I think being able to change at any point is great. I was frustrated with this in Devil May Cry 1, in that the default difficulty was too hard for me, while the lower one was too easy. Being able to toggle the difficulty down for really tough sections, then back up for the normal stuff, would have made it more fun for me.

        But if that’s a concern, you could always set the achievement / score / whatever to record the lowest difficulty level chosen through the playthrough.

      • Lemming says:

        I think the best way to make sure it isn’t abused is to only allow you to change the difficulty downwards. ie. You can make it easier if you find it too hard, but that’s it you haven’t ‘earned the right’ to go back to harder difficulties again.

    • Malk_Content says:

      I think a great way to get around this problem is to have the tutorial area, or just after the tutorial area be what is essentially a challenge mode that get progressively harder and harder until the player fails. Then the game tells you what difficulty level you got to and you can make an informed decision about your difficulty setting based of off that, cuz after all some games version of normal is anthers hard and vice versa.

      I’m also all for being able to change difficulty level up and down mid game. I mean afterall who is it affecting that you made the game easier self on the last boss just so you could finish the damn thing? Apart from I guess people who think achievement mean anything, but the less they influence game design the better.

    • misterT0AST says:

      My problem is mostly the opposite. I crank the difficulty up to extra hard at the very beginning, then after losing again and again and again I just give up.
      Completing Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 on the maximum difficulty level though was very, very, very satisfying.
      It’s weird though. The hardest setting is often broken, so you have to play dirty and exploit bugs to defeat enemies that kill you in pretty much 1 hit.
      That’s how I like it though.
      But sometimes it’s just plain impossible to play on the hardest setting. In A Valley Without Wind, lava missions of multiple rooms give you 4 seconds to be completed. That’s just not physically doable.

    • NathanH says:

      All games should allow difficulty changing at any time. If you’re the odd sort that cares about what difficulty somebody else played on, you can always have the option to fix the difficulty at game start if you like.

      • lordfrikk says:

        No, all games should not allow that because different games are designed to be played differently.

        • NathanH says:

          I can’t say I’ve ever encountered a game that required the same difficulty throughout in order to work properly, and I doubt you have either.

          • lordfrikk says:

            My point is not every game is made to be customizable and to accomodate every player. Some are just designed in one way and meant to be played that way. Like with roguelikes, they don’t allow to turn off permadeath because that would take away half of the game.

          • NathanH says:

            My point is that this doesn’t apply to changeable difficulty, because there aren’t any games I’ve ever encountered whose core design would be violated if you could occasionally change the difficulty.

  8. Hoaxfish says:

    I’ve heard two sides of this “difficulty” thing…

    1. That difficulties just ramp up monster damage and health. And the story bosses are almost as easy simply because they’re pattern-bosses (i.e. massively telegraphed attacks). I’ve certainly seen evidence of “bigger everything”.

    2. (predominantly from official Blizzard mouths) That difficulty introduces “smarter” AI, that it’s not simply bigger numbers but monsters will pull better tactics against you. No real evidence that I’ve seen, but “smartness” is hard to quantify anyway.

    • lasikbear says:

      I believe the difficulty also adds more “affixes” to the blue and yellow monsters. Meaning now they lock you in place AND shoot mortars at you. This seems to be the main increase in difficulty as some of those bonus effects are pretty nasty and combining almost any of them gets pretty tough. Having said that I am in normal act 3 so this is just from reading what other people have said.

    • Brun says:

      It’s not so much that the AI is smarter than the Attribute Combinations are more deadly. On normal, non-story bosses typically have one attribute or ability (things like “Waller”, “Jailer”, “Fast”, “Teleporter”, etc.). On Nightmare they have two abilities (“Fast Waller”, “Jailer Teleporter”, etc.). I assume the trend continues and on Hell they have three abilities. You can get some very, very deadly combinations like “Jailer Arcane Enchanted” at higher difficulty levels.

      I agree that Normal mode is too easy, though.

    • RedViv says:

      The second one is partially true, I would be inclined to say. Though it’s not like normal foes get much smarter, but that the devious combinations on special enemies are fully utilised by them. Even on normal difficulty, summoner and ranged type foes do flee rather than just stand around or even confront the player character. So it’s more like a more intricately complex web of scripted behaviour, rather than all foes being smarter.

    • SiHy_ says:

      I can’t say I’ve noticed any increase in AI intelligence, just an increase in hitpoints and attack strength. Also the ‘champion’ monsters have more special abilities.
      I think I must be pretty rubbish at the game though because I felt the jump from normal to nightmare was ridiculously steep. Especially with those aforementioned ‘champion’ monsters.

      • drdss says:

        For some reason blues on Nightmare would own me, where yellows and purples would not. Probably because there’s usually 3 of them, and they have OP abilities like rooting you then coming over with a 1-shot fire chain thing.

        After a while though – perhaps better gear and generally higher stats – it got easier. Which is kind of odd as you’d expect they’d also get better stats as you progress through the game.

        However, I could only take so long of the same quests, the same conversations between PC and NPC etc. etc. and stopped playing.

        I also find it odd that gear is really badly itemised – a level 23 item can have twice as much vitality and dexterity as a level 41 item for instance, so I’d just keep the same gear for ages. A socketed ring has the same stats – i.e. none, just a single socket – whether it’s level 12 or level 38, so what’s the point? Very strange.

        (I also missed a having a dog to carry my crap to town to sell for me (Torchlight?), and when the jangly guitar kicked in I missed the cool narrator from Bastion, but maybe that was just me.)

        • lordfrikk says:

          There is no itemization to speak of, all items (even legendary) are randomized.

    • akeso says:

      It does both. Playing on inferno right now and I’ll say the elites are using their abilities a lot smarter.

      For instance, inferno (the ability not the mode) elites now will box you in and and run around you intentionally.

      For example:
      Got a arcane, shield, teleport, inferno combo last night which used the teleport to cover the entire area with fire and dropped arcane blobs at all the safe spots.

      This article screams “I’m a reviewer and I haven’t played the game much.” Trust me… once you get to the higher difficulties you’ll be thankful you had the practice time.

      • Phantoon says:

        He didn’t give it a score, and this isn’t a “wot I think”, so you’re clearly new.

        Second, there is no game in which “well it gets better after the first ten hours!” is acceptable. There isn’t.

        • akeso says:

          Just about every game is like that.

          Part of game design is that you start off simple and get more complex.
          Pretty sure every blizzard game ever made has been like that.

          Also, never called this a review… called it an article; but he does talk about games like he reviews them (it has a particular play style that people should watch out for).
          In other words, take your self serving ad hominem and shove it up wherever ever your kind traditionally shoves things.

          • bigdeadbug says:

            “Part of game design is that you start off simple and get more complex.” Is not the same as the game being boring and monotonous for the first 10+ hours. A game can start you off simple while still being fun and engaging.

          • Grygus says:

            I do not understand this stance. Normal difficulty is pretty easy, but if you’re really not having fun with it then maybe you bought the wrong game, because the challenge level doesn’t change the basic gameplay elements. Does kiting and shooting really inject so much more enjoyment than just shooting? That’s the difference in a nutshell.

            If you are so amazingly talented that only higher difficulty levels could possibly entertain you, then you should breeze through Normal mode in very little time, and you should be used to games being too easy for you since you’re so awesome. At least this one has (eventually) Inferno mode, which may finally live up to your expectations; most games won’t have that at all. I’d think you’d be quite happy to get to this nirvana of gaming even if you had to take some time to get there, since in other games, no matter how many hours you put into them, they never become actively hostile (Inferno is out to kill you, every time, all the time, with no concession to the idea that you might just want to play a game.)

            In addition, hardcore awesome gamers (such as yourself) reached Inferno days ago. So why are you complaining about Normal? You should have already breezed through all that while the plebians struggled with Belial and should be solving Inferno already. Shouldn’t you?

            And if you’re not quite THAT awesome, then how bored can you really be? The vast majority of players won’t get through Normal without dying multiple times. It’s easy, but it’s not THAT easy.

            It doesn’t make sense to me.

      • nrvsNRG says:

        excactly, i wish ppl would hold off until making early game reviews like this.

    • Slinky MCPunchfist says:

      Difficulties that ramp up enemies health without changing the way the ai actually fights are the absolute worst. They just serve to make the game even more boring because things just take longer to kill instead of actually being more challenging…

      • lordfrikk says:

        There is no game that does this, though. It’s only a wishful thinking of us gamers and reason to complain about difficulty levels and dumb enemy AI.

  9. malphigian says:

    I belong to a minority. A fairly well sized minority as a I played for years with many others, but a minority none the less. A minority who played Diablo 2 on battle.net. And only hardcore.

    From my perspective, the only way to play Diablo 2 was hardcore. The entirely game was dullsville without permadeath. And the same holds true for Diablo 3. In hardcore the tension is always present. Character builds and item selection involves much more careful decision making. Co-op too becomes far better, as you really must depend upon your friends. The entire game is simply better.

    Of course, the same is true of Torchlight and other Diablo-alikes, but I just thought I would share the hardcore players perspective.

    • Primar says:

      Hardcore isn’t really an option for me, what with my slightly wobbly internet connection having a reasonable chance of completely dropping out at any given time.

    • Trelow says:

      The only way to play. HARDCORE

    • Lemming says:

      If the single player was offline with drop in/out four player co-op when online or LAN, I’d not only buy Diablo 3, I’d have played hardcore from the start.

  10. seniorgato says:

    If there is one thing Diablo 3 needs, and bad. It’s a working kick function. I’m sick of AFKers leeching. Right now if it’s you and a leech, your only option is to leave yourself. Resetting your progress. If it’s 2 v 1, you can kick. But if they come right back, well. Sucks to be you. You can’t kick them again.
    How the hell did Blizzard screw that up. They have WoW, the ignore system works just fine.
    But please, please someone tell me I’m wrong. Tell me there is a way to kick/ban/never see a player again. These idiots are ruining the game.

  11. frenz0rz says:

    I’d just like to say that was an excellent and very entertaining opinion piece. I too have been frustrated by the absolute lack of anything even remotely challenging for the first 20 or so hours of the game.

    Remember Andariel in Diablo 2? Christ, remember DURIEL? My minion-based Necromancer was doing great up until that bastard, when he eliminated my entire horde in a single swipe and I was more or less forced to start another character. But I liked that, because it made me think deep and hard about the long-term development of my character and his skills.

    • NathanH says:

      Duriel was a complete bastard in early versions of Diablo 2.

  12. SiHy_ says:

    There’s some fair points here but how would you balance the game if you got to begin on a higher difficulty? There’s no way you’d survive starting out without any equipment at level 1 on nightmare. That means you’d have to chop out the first 30 levels or so of character development, which is the most interesting part.

    • Bhazor says:

      If the first thirty levels are crap then why are they there?

      Blizzard had 7 frickin years to work on it. There is no excuse for such bad design at the start.

    • Hug_dealer says:

      no you wouldnt.

      Torchlight 2 just let me bump up the difficulty level from normal or easy to veteran and impossible from lvl 1.

      They can keep their nightmare, hell, inferno playthroughs, but they can easily add a difficulty modifier that increases simple things like hitpoints, damage, movement speed and such. Torchlight and hundreds of other games have offered that option.

      People seem to think that we are asking to start off on nightmare and be leveled up to that point. No we want to start at level 1, but be attacked by monsters that are tougher than normal.

      • SiHy_ says:

        It seems the game was designed with people completely new to the genre in mind. Just look at the default options settings (such as elective mode); all set to make the game simplified but completely backwards for more advanced people. That’s probably why normal mode is such a walkover for veteran players.
        I do have memories (fond and not so fond) of Diablo 2 kicking my ass from the start but that could turn new people away. To broaden the market potential of the game (as if enough people weren’t going to buy it already) it makes sense to start the game out easy to suck new players in and work its addicting charms on them so they’ll keep playing.
        Maybe they should have ramped up the difficulty of normal mode but added an optional casual mode for beginners?

        • Phantoon says:

          It’s fine, their competition will take people. Path of Exile is hard from the get-go, and Torchlight 2 lets you choose the difficulty. No idea how Grim Dawn will handle it.

          In the year of the Diablo 3 launch, it’s looking to be the most lackluster Diablo sequel.

  13. Stevostin says:

    Right now even @ 5€ I wouldn’t play JUST BECAUSE it’s stuck with normal. No matter the euro, hours are expensive. I don’t plan on finishing that more than once. So it has only one run to give me the real gameplay. For now, no chances it does.

  14. Kdansky says:

    > Grimrock’s unblinking cruelty

    I smirked. Grimrock is still a really easy game, miles behind Dark Souls, which isn’t too hard either, seeing how someone with my shitty reflexes could beat it handily. It’s nothing compared to playing Starcraft or BlazBlue against human opponents. Now *that* is properly difficult.

    As for D3: Keithburgun put it well, and I mostly agree with him. “Diablo 3 is not a game, it’s a very good slot machine.” That’s true, at least for Normal and Nightmare (which is harder, but still really easy, especially if you shop in the auction house for bargain gear (a few thousand gold per item; below vendor prices!).

    It tries to be tactical, and I am pretty sure it actually is, because the skills are really well designed, with drawbacks, advantages, many tough choices in skill selection, synergy with gear selection, and on top of that party setup. I just wished it had allowed me to start at Nightmare from the get-go. Normal mode isn’t “too easy” for many people, but I don’t want to have to play it first for twenty hours per character.

    Story: Actually, Diablo gets this right. The story is simple, easy to understand, pretty, and short. No giant monologues (Bioware), no need for boring exposition (Amalur), and no false choices (DA2). The story is just a frame of reference, like “Mario, go rescue the princess!”. A game is defined by its mechanics, and Diablo’s mechanics are not about plot. Diablo has the better plot than Mass Effect 2. Because it succeeds at what it set out to, instead of completely falling over itself already during the intro cinematic. I’d rather have fresh and tasty bread (bland, but tasty) than sushi from seven years ago (no matter what it wants to be, it’s just gross).

    • Phantoon says:

      Dark Souls is hard to play, not hard to learn. Comparing it with Starcraft does not make sense- you have to learn tons of build orders and stay endlessly energized for an exhausting game. Make one slip up, and the game ends, so you have to start over, again. The learning curve is completely different.

      Again,
      Legend of Grimrock you learn as you go, and is quickly learned.
      Dark Souls is ruthless, but not hard to learn.
      Starcraft 2 is insanely hard to learn, and exhausting to play.

    • jrodman says:

      Grimrock requires quite a bit more in the way of reflexes than you claim.
      Yeah, you can get good at it, but some enemies are quite fast and plenty deadly, and it can be a challenge to click fast enough. Some tens of people on the forums have talked about how they just *cannot* execute the actions at the requisite speed.

    • MonolithicTentacledAbomination says:

      That line stuck out to me, too. Grimrock was the first game in that genre I’ve finished, and I found it pretty easy, for the most part. All enemies are easily kited, and its only in the rare times when you may get surrounded that you are forced to deal with standing and trading blows. There is usually a better way.

      I’m only beginning Diablo III Act III on Normal, but I’ve died 5 times or so thus far, usually by near one-shot attack and/or standing in some fire or acid accidentally. I play a Wizard.

  15. Gnoupi says:

    Let’s report on this article:

    Alec Meer plays Diablo 3: “Goddamn it, I want to die”. New videogame pushes people to suicide. More on that with our panel of experts.

    • kastanok says:

      ARE VIDEO GAMES TRAINING OUR CHILDREN TO BE MASOCHIST SLAVES? Video game player Alex Mere admits he wants Diablo the Third to sexually assault him. “Beat me harder master, harder!” More on pg 11.

  16. psyk says:

    What damage do monsters do on act 1 nightmare and how much health do you have at lvl 1?

    • Phantoon says:

      Add a couple zeroes.

    • lordfrikk says:

      I don’t know precise numbers but the first zombie wuss you meet could smack your for at least 4 times the maximum HP you have.

  17. Fiwer says:

    Another article that seems to indicate that nobody at RPS has ever played a Diablo game before. The difficulty levels aren’t selectable because Nightmare mode is tuned for a level 30 character. It would not be particularly fun to jump into Nightmare with a level 1 character since you wouldn’t be able to kill the first zombie you encounter.

  18. piratmonkey says:

    20 hours?? Really? It didn’t feel like it.

    • Khory says:

      That’s what I thought. I just finished Normal last night and haven’t played since. When I get home, I’ll have to see how many hours I have on my Wizard.

  19. Jackablade says:

    If Co-Op increases the difficulty by spawning more beasties, I wonder how hard it’d be to make a mod that dumps a few dummy co-op players into the game to artificially boost the difficulty for single player jaunts. I know the game isn’t set up to be mod friendly, but something as theoretically simple as that might be able to work around it.

    • Namey says:

      You’d have to spoof false players to the Battle.net service. This sounds like something Blizzard would be very keen on not-letting-to-happen.

  20. Malawi Frontier Guard says:

    In a perfect world the game would be half as long, ramp up the difficulty up to inferno in a single campaign and could only be played on hardcore.

    A man can dream.

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      Do not mistake this as a recommendation to play Diablo 3 as it is on hardcore though. Even though it’s quite a thrill the first time around, playing through act 1 normal again after you die is incredibly boring because nothing can touch you anyway and it goes on for way too long.

      The best way to enjoy the product as it was released (for the greatest amount of pleasure) is to only play with friends, and to take your time exploring.

  21. Coriolis says:

    I wish that after a week, someone would actually review a game with a view to how it plays beyond the first 20 hours. I didn’t play xcom or civilization for just 20 hours, and I sure as hell didn’t play D2 for only 20 hours either. Normal difficulty is for tutorial, introduction, and relaxation. Considering that many people played D2 for years, normal difficulty is a footnote when it comes to whether you enjoy the game or not.

    The game may well have real issues (indeed I think it does and I can already see some of them in hell), but you sure aren’t going to find any discussion of them in most of what passes for reviews. Instead we’re bitching about online-only troubles that have largely been resolved in a week, and normal mode which isn’t the heart of the game.

    • Bhazor says:

      Instead we’re bitching about online-only troubles that have largely been resolved in a week

      If you exclude 8 hours down time yesterday AND thousands of hacked accounts AND if you exclude the fact that it still exists then sure its resolved.

        • GBoyzJay says:

          psyk, see my post below. Their official post mentions little to nothing about spoofing Session IDs, which aren’t detectable by a simple “Is your account being used by someone else?” check. Essentially, while we currently know nothing definite, we do know that there are several people (including one of the Eurogamer writers) who claim to have encountered this problem, with no official word on this specific problem yet.

          In short, we don’t have the full story yet, and unless other reviewers with Auth Keys hit the problem, or somebody tests the theory while recording, or Blizzard finishes investigating, we will continue to not know for certain.

        • nanowired says:

          People with the keys were hit.

          Just an FYI

          • GBoyzJay says:

            This is actually the problem we journos are having right now… there’s a lot of tales of it, but so far, I haven’t found a single one confirmed, for definite. It’s all anecdotal.

            However, if you have definitive evidence, Nathan, myself… heck, the guys at Eurogamer, they’d all be exceedingly happy about that.

          • Phantoon says:

            “They’re all anecdotal.”

            Well I should hope so, since you’re trying to get people to tell you their story of how the authenticator didn’t protect them from being hacked.

            What else would it be?

          • jrodman says:

            Perhaps s/he meant they’re all claims but no first hand accounts?

        • GBoyzJay says:

          Psyk, I’ve been watching the thread like a hawk, and I repeat, nothing has been confirmed, either way.

          EDIT: And believe me, you have no idea how annoying it is to go through what is now 103, 104 pages of arguments, claims, and hysteria with something like 6 mod/dev posts in the entire damn thing.

          EDIT 2: Interesting info that, on the one hand, throws doubt on the Session ID story, and may explain many of the people claiming they had authenticators on, but appears not to have widely been known, judging by the reaction when this was posted on a forum… “The Battle.net Dial-in Authenticator is not currently compatible with StarCraft II or Diablo III, though that may change in the future.”

          • psyk says:

            No one knows anything but they are pushing theory as fact. The hijacking speculation has been around for what 2 days? yet no one has been able to replicate it.

            Adding to the mess we also have people like the following

            “I run 2 firewalls, keep my antivirus and spyware protection up to date, and have a 12 year background in computer security.”

            Shouldn’t need explaining.

            Edit
            Trojans have been bypassing auth devices for awhile now
            http://www.net-security.org/malware_news.php?id=1811

          • Phantoon says:

            I’m not gonna lie, I hate this game. It’s made to take money from people in the Real Money Auction House, push Always-On DRM, and use the Farmville effect to drag people into a lackluster game.

            Don’t like it at all. But I can admit when my arguments fail. Ravenous fans of Blizzard cannot- which makes the running joke about “entitlement” all so more sweet.

            A lot of the people ripping apart Bioware for its terrible recent choices were Blizzard fanboys. Now they’re using the exact same defense, almost word for word.

            In fact, to go completely off the rails here, the argument I heard the most against SWTOR was “well you should’ve stayed with WoW since it’s just a WoW clone!” How much of that is justifying your time spent on the game, I wonder? I played WoW, and the only thing that ever dragged me back was someone asked me to come play community janitor again. I don’t regret my time in it… in vanilla, but after that, it became harder and harder to justify my time spent.

            Much like this article. Alec is finding it hard to justify his time spent in this game, like most Blizzard games. Oddly enough, when people defend this game, they’re quick to drag in Starcraft 2 as a example of good design. A game that’s exhausting to play, requires tons of time to play before you can be good at it and enjoy it, and requires learning outside of gameplay.

            Hey, if I generalize enough, all Blizzard games are the same!

            So to bring me back to the original point, since that was about the article and not your post, your fanboy is showing as much as my disdain for a game that ruins the legacy of two (expansions are not full games) stellar games that created the clicky genre.

          • GBoyzJay says:

            Yeah, alreadyt know about “Man in the middle”, Psyk, but thanks for putting it in the thread. I’ve actually stated in my own article that nobody seems to have a clue what’s actually going on, although I’ll probably have to change a few more “seems” to “allegedly”…

          • psyk says:

            “I suspect a larger proportion of customer service people will reset passwords for the crook then reset password and drop authenticator.” – polaritie bliz board

            http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5149539920?page=2#21

            Why not? you can get some real dumb cs people, along the lines of resetting passwords even if you give the wrong info dumb ;’(

            edit
            ip spoof + SE CS = lol?

    • Malk_Content says:

      The difference is I enjoy Civ, or hell any game I play for more than 4 hours, from the get go. If I had to play Civ on its easiest setting with one land setup and size before I unlocked higher difficulties and more options I bloody well wouldn’t. Because although I would find such a game challenging I would still have to waste bloody hours on it. I would also tell any of my friends not to get it unless they really don’t mind mindlessly clicking away for hours.

      Any sane person shouldn’t argue that a person must sit through an experience that is 1/3 boring, not even that whose first 1/3 is boring and maybe even the 2nd depending on their skill level, do get to something that is quite good, when there are literally hundreds of products that are fabulous out of the gate.

      • Coriolis says:

        If the game were actually “insultingly easy” at normal difficulty, I’d agree. But it’s not – I’ve played these games far more then your “normal” customer (years of D2 HC), and I still managed to die once to the A2 and a few times to the a4 bosses and had some close calls outside of that. It’s just normal difficulty for a mainstream game. Not the difficulty I prefer, but nothing terrible either. I find it particularly hilarious that the reviewer thought that legend of grimrock was “punishing”, because that was actually a game I set down after 3 hours after understanding that the main difficulty in the game consists of trying to find a stone with a chipped edge, and the combat boils down to clicking on four squares as they light up.

        I’d love to see where these other excellent games are that are so good that you’d recommend them over D3. I’ve been playing small roguelikes like DCSS and the like because hell there aren’t many games that are actually mechanically well thought out and non-trivial.

        • lordfrikk says:

          Yes, I feel the same. Also, Diablo III will probably be a vastly different experience a year from now. Not a different game, but I think lot of the problems people have will probably be remedied.

    • GBoyzJay says:

      No, what we reviewers are generally bitching about is that the heart of the game doesn’t come until around 20 hours in. Your average consumer (y’know, the people wot reviews are aimed at) isn’t going to waste 20 hours on a (mainly) insultingly easy difficulty just to get to the good stuff. And, to be honest, most reviewers follow Yahtzee’s rule that, if the game takes more than two or three days to get into enough to give it a serious going over, it’s not worth going over. Unless it’s an MMO, which Diablo 3 is not (despite having *features* of an MMO)

      As to the online stuff, there’s been launch issues (almost expected, nowadays, which is a sad comment on modern gaming), the alleged Session ID spoofing, the delay of the much hyped RMAH due to server issues and confusion as to whether the spoofing is going on or not (if they are spoofing/ghosting Session IDs, it’s not really detectable by a simple “is someone else using your IP?” test), and, of course, some really fun bugs (some of which have gotten fixed, others not)

      • Phantoon says:

        I found Guild Wars 2 to be fun and difficult from the get-go. I don’t think MMOs have a reason to be boring for any amount of time. They need to stop relying to heavily on the carrot-on-stick method, and instead focus on actual mechanics relating to the game itself.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Online-only is resolved when its removed.

  22. Lobotomist says:

    This is truly unexplainable.

    Why Blizzard dont let us just choose difficulty ?

    What is game design reason behind this ?

    … or at least let us choose difficulty after you unlock it with one character ?

    Can anyone explain ?

    • RedViv says:

      It’s less of a difficulty level and more of an enhanced new playthrough with bigger levels and bigger guns and bigger numbers. That is more difficult.

    • nanowired says:

      You must be new to diablo.

      you couldn’t choose the difficulty in Diablo 1 and 2 because At first, there was only normal. Getting Nightmare and up was a reward for beating the game.

      The initial game was challenging and fun. You didn’t wait until later to actually play the game.

      Since the only people left at blizzard, however, only have experience making WoW expansions they only know how to make you wait to do anything exciting.

      • jrodman says:

        How does a lack of difficulty selectability in 1997 excuse a lack of difficulty selectability in 2012?

  23. Bhazor says:

    Whenever I hear people talk about enjoying Diablo 3 it always sounds to me like a compulisive gambler defending their fruit machine.

    • Taintd says:

      Thats funny, because when I see someone posting multiple negative comments on every single Diablo 3 thread. It sounds to me like a compulsive arsehole deriving pleasure from badmouthing a game they obvously have no intention of playing.

      • piratmonkey says:

        +1

      • krispy_treats says:

        +1

        If Torchlight is so great, go play it.

      • Phantoon says:

        Actually, we’d be happier if you stopped supporting this garbage and DID come enjoy Torchlight, or Path of Exile, or Grim Dawn with us.

        Oddly enough, the angry internet men on RPS usually don’t want you to go away, just to realize you may be prone to cognitive dissonance and escalation of commitment. Really, we’d like to invite you into the flock.

        Oh, and unless you’ve lurked here for years, Bhazor and I have been here for longer than you have, so we do have seniority (as much as I hate agreeing with a pony).

        • Taintd says:

          I do enjoy Torchlight and surprisingly enough Diablo as well (gasp).

          I never did believe he wanted me to go away, and I am not suffering cognItive dissonace, but while we’re on psychology look up schadenfreude.

          Also I have been coming here for years thankyou very much, I just post very little, but in this occasion Im falling for the troll bait and getting angry at certain peoples pathetic behaviour.

          Like for instance pulling rank.

          • Bhazor says:

            Defend your enjoyment of the game without using the words “addictive” or “loot”. Then I won’t compare you to a compulsive gambler.

          • pkt-zer0 says:

            @Bhazor: I dislike the excessive loot-gathering and sorting. Optimizing builds and tactics for different enemy compositions is fun, though.

        • piratmonkey says:

          Pass. You and Bhazor both come across as ass-hats in the comments here.
          Maybe in another lifetime…or comments thread.

        • lordfrikk says:

          Did you… just pulled a rank on gaming news site? Ahahah. You might wanna get your head checked by the other senior guy, seems like you both are great self-proclaimed Internet psychiatrists moonlighting as trolls.

        • psyk says:

          “Oh, and unless you’ve lurked here for years, Bhazor and I have been here for longer than you have, so we do have seniority (as much as I hate agreeing with a pony).”

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

      • Answermancer says:

        +1

        I can understand people hating on the game (though I think hating on it without playing it is pretty offbase), but I’m pretty tired of all the people insulting those of us who are enjoying it with various diagnoses of how there must be something wrong with us.

        Not everyone likes the same things as you, I know this is the internet but that doesn’t mean you can’t be respectful.

        • psyk says:

          All 3 of them got fritzled by someone at blizz, it’s the only explanation XD

  24. MythArcana says:

    You can’t make smart cookies with dumb dough.

    Diablo died with LoD. This new streamlined mess of a disaster is…something else.

    R.I.P., Big Guy.

    P.S. Well, at least you weren’t late for the account hacking. Now you can enjoy some of the horror that others have been inflicted with. I hope you got your promo copy for free at least.

  25. Reefpirate says:

    Normal is a little too easy, that’s for sure… But I’m having a blast on Nightmare. I died several times last night and I’ve started pondering various new builds to increase survivability while maximizing DPS. Good good stuff.

    I understand people’s desires to modify the difficulty. But this would be less of an issue if Normal was more challenging. Diablo is kind of like an arcade game at heart, and I like the progression through the higher difficulty levels.

    This also adds depth to the economy, and adds value to those uber items. To me the economy is the most fascinating part of the game, and if all difficulties and all tiers of loot were equally accessible in the equal amounts of time/effort then the economy would be totally uninteresting.

    Many people around here would probably prefer Torchlight 2, and I just kind of wish they would stop hating/trashing this game so much because of that. It’s a different game, it does different things, and maybe if you don’t like those things you don’t need to rain on other people’s parades?

    • Hug_dealer says:

      or. I might want to buy diablo, but feel it would be a wasted investment because of just a few issues that could have easily been included for people such as myself.

    • Bhazor says:

      The RMAH is going to be a disaster. Filled with duped items, from hacked accounts sold at a pittance rendering every other item useless.

      At best it’s just going to ruin any sense of pacing when you can buy end game loot for pocket change at level one. At worst it’s going to prompt mass heists with thousands of characters being hacked open and emptied, possibly including their paypal details.

      it does different things

      Like making itself unplayable for long periods of time.

      • Salt says:

        Protection from item duplication is the one thing that always-online is good for.
        End game loot requires the character to be level 60 to use it, so buying it for a pittance at level 1 wouldn’t be much use.

        It will be interesting to see what happens with item prices. Seemingly everything can be resold after the player has grown out of it, so supply is only ever going to increase.

        • Phantoon says:

          Let’s not talk about red herrings like “always online protects from hacks and duplicated items”, because some people around here would deny such a thing to the ends of the earth, despite any amount of evidence which in this metaphor could be the size of the earth.

          Instead, let’s talk about the Real Money Auction House. How on earth do you think you’re not going to be constantly undercut by chinese gold farmers?

    • tlarn says:

      I’d like to hear what you think of the item economy when the Auctionhouse goes live and people are putting down hard cash for equipment.

      • Reefpirate says:

        Well, that’s exactly what I’m excited about… To see what happens. I probably won’t participate a whole lot, but there’s some interesting sites out there that are already set up to start monitoring exchange rates, etc.

        As for supply always increasing from the other guy in this thread… There are a few things in place to limit that effect. I suppose over time they’ll be adding more and more items, but there are ways for items to be destroyed in the crafting process. There’s also limits to how many items you can auction off, and basically it’s in Blizzard’s interest for this market not to crash so I’m sure they’ve put some thought in to sustainability.

        As for Chinese gold farmers, if they end up making money in the process, then good for them. Diablo might feed a few hungry families over there.

  26. Joshua Northey says:

    Good review, I agree with most of it. I have 40 hours into normal between 4 characters, and have died twice, both times just into my very irst hour of playing when I encountered a big tree army in act 1 and got surrounded by poison pods without realizing how dangerous that was. Everything is just too easy. No need to dodge, barely any need for potions, I have maybe used 1 potion every 5 hours?

    Still don’t understand lines like these:
    “blatantly mercenary and ill-considered always-online DRM for singleplayer. ”
    and
    “all locked securely away in that damnable cloud. ”

    A) Of course they are “mercenary”! Blizzard is a company, its primary goal is to make money. Making good games is a secondary goal, just as is the case with 95% of the businesses you deal with on a daily basis. Taking umbrage regarding this seems really odd. It is like you don’t understand how the world works.

    Yes when video-games were a fledgling boutique industry 15 years ago there was still room for idealistic people with no interest in making money to invest a comparable amount of time into a product as a studio would, but that era is mostly dead. Games like Diablo IIII are not 2,000-10,000 hour projects anymore. They are 100,000 or 1,000,000 monstrosities. These days all high production value games will be put out by major corporations who view them as a means to make money. That is just reality.

    B) “Software as a service” has been the industry watchword for like 10 years. It has been the goal of most software companies for most of that time. Are you really that out of touch with current trends in the software industry? Diablo III is exactly what you would expect from a big budget videogame in 2012 in terms of “software as a service”. It is right on par with Adobe, Microsoft, Oracle, EA, McCaffee, or whoever else you care to name.

    Anyway like I said I enjoyed your review a lot, but I just don’t understand the tenor of the site as regards DRM, and the broader issue of companies making games to make money first instead of great games first. That is the way the whole world works, you really thought videogames were going to be different?

    • Fiwer says:

      Because RPS has learned they can get more page views by stirring up controversy, I’m guessing. The really shitty articles that are blatantly trolling for more pages views started around the same time that some of their articles began appearing on Kotaku, and Kotaku are experts are driving up page-views with low-content posts.

      • zeroskill says:

        Critique = Trolling. Angry internet man logic.

        • Phantoon says:

          Actually, it’s Facebook logic. Angry Internet Men know exactly what it means.

      • dysphemism says:

        Yeah, that or, I dunno, they actually believe that enforced always-online DRM negatively affects consumers and want to make sure it isn’t seen by the industry at large as a practice that people accept or that doesn’t damage the reputations of those companies that practice it, especially since this game may prove to be a pivotal case study in always-online DRM schemes.

        But sure, yeah, they must just be trolling for pageviews, despite the fact that the RPS writers have explicitly stated their intent and reasoning exactly as I’ve written.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          You do realize “always on DRM” is what the entire software industry is doing. Not just games all of it. How or why RPS or it readers think they can stop this or even slow it down is beyond me.

          • Salt says:

            You must have a different understanding of the term “entire software industry” than I do.
            How fascinating!

          • dysphemism says:

            I gotta go with Salt here and call shenanigans. DRM requiring a constant internet connection is relatively rare and in many cases where we have seen it adopted the backlash has been such that it was later dropped. The Blizzard case is important because they may actually be able to pull it off.
            Your statement would be more accurate if it read “always on DRM is what the entire software industry would like to be doing.”

            If there’s something I’m missing though, I’m totally open to being corrected. I just need some examples to back up what you’re saying.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            This has been what every large software company has been migrating towards. I am not talking about 1 guy making braid, or 3 guys making terraria, I am talking about the firms where a few hundred people work on a project. There are not many of them, and they are all moving in this direction. Outside the game world the move is even more pronounced.

            Every piece of software our business uses where this is at all feasible has moved to this model in the last 5 years.

          • jrodman says:

            I work at a company doing a project of that size. We could probably use that model.

            We have no interest in doing so, at least currently, because it would just be a headache for ourselves and our customers both.

          • dysphemism says:

            As I said, SAS is more commonplace in enterprise-level software, which seems to be what you’re talking about when you mention software that your business uses. My argument is that it is a new development to the retail market. You still haven’t provided examples to refute that point.

          • kud13 says:

            so i”m guessing GoG and Kickstarter, with all that “DRM-free”talk is just trolling the software industry, huh?

            EDIT: don’t forget The Witcher 2. what a bunch of trolls CDPRed are, releasing a DRM-free AAA game!

    • Josh04 says:

      Understanding your ‘how the world works’ is not the same as endorsing it and supporting it. Your comment is incredibly condescending and no-one is served well by portraying capitalist mores as ‘reality’. Corporations are not automatons and legalism is not reality a series of people made a series of choices to cause certain things to happen. Some people oppose these choices. They are not ‘naive’ because they’re fighting an uphill battle.

      • Joshua Northey says:

        ???

        Ummm that battle is over. Say what you want about the virtues of Anglo American style capitalism, or European social democracy, of Asian style industrial policy, in all of them large enterprises are solely focused on making money over producing the most customer friendly product, which seems to be what RPS frequently advocates.

        If you want to fight that battle RPS really isn’t the forum I would think. It would be like complaining that X game is only made for PC because the Mac market is too small. It is a complaint that makes no sense as there is no audience whom can effect the changes you need.

        • jrodman says:

          When makers of products make choices that are not in the interest of their customers, it is right and proper for the customers to discuss, criticise, and resist those changes.

          The evoultion of commerce involves both sellers AND buyers, you know.

      • X_kot says:

        Well said – hegemonical forces need no sympathy.

    • dysphemism says:

      DRM schemes often times damage the product. That’s a fact. The nature of those schemes will determine how drastically the user’s experience is damaged; in some cases, the impact may be negligible, but the fact remains.

      RPS thinks that this particular DRM scheme is mercenary because it shows such blatant willingness to sacrifice user experience for the prevention of piracy, which they consider short-sighted. They are not arguing against a company’s right to pursue profit. They are arguing that this policy has damaged the product and, therefore, its desirability.

      Finally, SAS has been industry standard for some products, but it’s mainly been enterprise-level software, not personal entertainment. They’re completely different markets with completely different consumer expectations. That said, I think the nature of software “ownership” frankly makes it better suited to the SAS model than anything else, but let’s not act as thought Blizzard didn’t make a ballsy move here.

    • Hematite says:

      Software as a service has been the holy grail of commercial software development for the last 10 years, and reached with about as much success. Merchants want an ongoing revenue stream, customers want a one-off payment.

    • JackShandy says:

      “Blizzard is a company, its primary goal is to make money. Making good games is a secondary goal.”

      Call me a weirdo, but my primary goal is to play good games. I come to RPS to find out if a game is good. If a game is bad I’m not going to buy it because it’s going to earn a shitload of cash, and I don’t expect RPS to reccomend games based on how much money they’re going to make.

      Maybe I’m naive.

  27. Scrofa says:

    You go through normal to read dialogues, listen to audio logs, see some sights, get accustomed with your class. And then the game begins. Also: you can play hardcore without finishing with your normal character. Believe me, even on normal difficulty hardcore gameplay changes at least psychologically. And for hell’s sake play with friends!

  28. hbarsquared says:

    I’ve died three times (now in act 4), mostly because I wasn’t paying attention. That is not a good trait in a game.

    Between the server issues, the account hacks, the complete lack of innovation, and the enforced Easy Mode, I’m really starting to regret spending that $60. This game just doesn’t offer anything new.

    • lordfrikk says:

      I consider it a good trait in a game where the rest of the time past Normal all you will do is die, haha.

  29. andyhavens says:

    Overheard while playing Diablo 3 last week:

    Son: What quest are you on now?

    Me: I have to find the chamber of suffering.

    Son: Isn’t this whole level basically the bad guy’s torture chambers and dungeon?

    Me: Yeah. Hmmm… I see your point. They’re all chambers of suffering. The quest would be better if it was, like… “Chamber of Suffering 305.” Or “The Northwest Chamber of Suffering.”

    Son: Yeah.

    Me: Or “Frankie’s Original Chamber of Suffering.”

    Son: I like that. Sounds like fun for the whole family.

    Me: Right. “Come for the pasta, stay for the suffering.”

    Son: “Kids under twelve suffer for free.”

    [giggling all around]

  30. caddyB says:

    I’d play with you any night, Alec.

    Play diablo3, that is. I never play anymore though.

  31. Dominic White says:

    The reason I put down $10 on Path of Exile for a full early beta access key is specifically because they raised the initial difficulty significantly in a recent patch. It’s possible to die very easily if you’re careless, and the tutorial boss requires you to OD on mana and healing boosts just to stand a chance.

    It’s refreshing to actually be able to die, and for Hardcore mode to be worth a damn.

    • Phantoon says:

      Well, I’d say that about Hailrake, not the uh… big guy outside the camp.

      Hailrake will ruin you in any difficulty, and you face him at level 2 or 3 in normal!

      • Hematite says:

        I don’t think Hailrake’s ever got one of my hardcore characters, mostly because he scares the crap out of me so I’m really careful ;)

        Can’t get my melee characters past the new angry god on the ledge though. It sure is harder since that patch.

  32. Highstorm says:

    Speaking from 4-player co-op experience in normal, adding more players does nothing to enhance the challenge of the game – it seems to lessen it. Sure the enemies get more tough, but your party is an unstoppable ball of rolling death. Nothing we’ve gone up against survives for more than a scant few seconds, including bosses.

  33. SketchyGalore says:

    It’s becoming increasingly hard for me to continue my enjoyment of this game in the face of all this negativity. It’s one of those weird games where if I play it and manage to shut out the rest of the world and all it’s opinions, I achieve some kind of beautiful zen-like gamerbliss. 50+ hours and I’m still having a blast.

    But when the writers at my favorite game news website in the world take turns trashing the game every single day (and sometimes twice a day), it becomes difficult to keep my ears covered. I know Diablo III is a big deal, but I’ve never seen such outrage and negativity squarely focused on one game. I can understand reporting the latest foible of the embarrassing Blizzard/Battle.net service in relation to the game, but if the game itself sucks (which it doesn’t), can we just do a “Wot I think” and be done with it already?

    • piratmonkey says:

      I’m in the same boat as you.

    • Hug_dealer says:

      Actually, it all boils down to psychology.

      People get offended when they hear negative things about things they like, whether negative things are true, or not. Its easy to see when anyone says anything negative about a game that other gamers hold close to heart, like diablo. They defend it like its their child, because they dont want to acknowledge that there might be issues with the game, or that the game they play is flawed, they fear that it will then pass judgement upon themselves as well. Everyone is guilty of this.

      My opinion and all the others are merely opinions and are no better or worse than your opinions. And often the criticisms levied against games are simply areas that people want the game to do better in.

      Don’t feel bad for enjoying the game. I criticize D3 for many reasons, but the only reason i say anything is because i wanted to buy it, and wanted to play it. If i didnt care at all, i wouldnt even be in the thread.

      • piratmonkey says:

        I’m not sure what you described but it’s not psychology.

        • wu wei says:

          For a fantastic example of cognitive dissonance in effect, see any D3 forums thread about the recent hackings. Anyone who claims to have been hacked is lying, inept at IT security, and probably deserves it for having done something like download a cheat, if they even own the game at all. If you’re unhappy with the always-online bulshytt for SP, you’re a pirating thief who wants to play the game for free.The problem isn’t at Blizzard’s end, it’s an intricate web of long-deployed sleeper trojans, rooted smartphones with flawed authenticators, and key-logged PCs that also function as remote proxies.

          Regardless of whether the claims are true or not, how in gods name does it so obviously affect the enjoyment of these people so much to hear that something has gone wrong for someone else? What motivates a person to be a company fellationist apologist in the middle of someone else’s bug report?

          (The answer is actually pretty obvious: a deep yawning chasm of personal insecurity)

    • Brun says:

      A lot of the critics (probably not the RPS writers, but many of the commenters) are just eager to cram the “I-told-you-so’s” down your throat, to make themselves feel better than you.

      My response to them is: you told me so, but I didn’t (and still don’t) care.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      RPS is an indie games site and as such it and 60% of its readership is incapable of being pleasant to big budget games, and the writers write to please those readers. It would be nice if there were a game site that just focused on you know good riding about the actual games themselves. Instead you have the jock-sniffing sycophancy of the other sites or the “indie” ideology you see here. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy and support many indie games, but expecting Blizzard to operate the same as the 3 guys who made Terraria is just silly.

      • piratmonkey says:

        If only that was the case. SR3, DE:HR, Dishonored all get/got positive reviews/previews. I think it’s a case of when the majority of a site’s readership brings it’s weight to be bear on an issue, it sucks to be in the minority.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          You sort of made my point, none of those are really top flight games in terms of profile.

          • piratmonkey says:

            Er? Those were/are all AAA titles from big publishers. Absolutely nothing indie about them. Even AC was generally well received, apart from the DRM (I think).

          • Joshua Northey says:

            Not really close to the class of something like Diablo 3 though. AAA gets overused, those are AA or A titles.

            Civ, Diablo, Sims, HL, Battlefield, SimCity are the real AAA titles, things which fly off the shelves.

            Those other games you mentioned just aren’t the same and don’t get covered in the same way.

            IMHO

          • piratmonkey says:

            Hmm you make a point, but I’ll counter-point with:
            I think “AAA” refers to the time/monetary investment in a game, which in turn generates the huge sales numbers, not necessarily referring to the number of sales themselves.

          • Faldrath says:

            Er, Skyrim? Which also was their game of the year for 2011?

          • Phantoon says:

            Ignore Joshua. He’s incapable of keeping the discussion even slightly civil and comes across as far more mean and hateful than… the haters. Really, he makes the people defending Diablo 3′s faults look bad even though he acts like a Blizzard employee.

            Let’s talk about something more constructive- for the people that liked Diablo 3 and Terraria, which have you enjoyed more? (Since he mentioned Terraria and there ain’t anything else in his post that isn’t Rawr angry time.)

          • Joshua Northey says:

            If you read the several hundred posts I have made here, maybe 4 are uncivil, and they are all due to a huge sea of whining about things that aren’t changing. But you know, why stick to the facts when you can just shoot the messenger?

            As for terraria and diablo 3, I enjoyed terraria more, mostly because my wife liked playing it and it is a better genre.

        • Jimbo says:

          And they treated Starcraft 2 like the second coming iirc.

          Your argument sucks worse than Diablo 3.

      • Toberoth says:

        The writers write about the games they’re interested in, it seems pretty simple to me. And people read RPS because they’re also interested in those games. That doesn’t qualify as pandering in the way you describe it.

    • Spinks says:

      Here. check out my impressions of D3. I’ve included positive and negative aspects (and some neutral ones).

      I don’t think the writing is as poor as Alec does — yes it’s patchy and the main plot wanders like a drunken chicken and is very NPC-centric but the companions and crafters are pretty well written (few pages being taken from Bioware there I think).

      But the big thing is: D3 does away with talent trees and that tedious thing RPGs often do where you have to decide every time you level up “should I put two points into stamina and one into strength, or should I put one into int for a 0.0005% chance to resist petrification.” This alone should give the game a gold star IMO. Every talent or rune choice you take will have an immediate and noticeable effect on combat. And about time too.

      • Hug_dealer says:

        but thats what i love about them. I want to create my own character, not play the exact same one as the other person in my party.

        Take T2 for example. My engineer is entirely my own. My choice of stats and weapons make a huge impact, to the point i could be a spell casting engineer, with all my points in focus, or a 2h wielding engineer with massive amount of hps with my points in stamina. Or i could turn that same engineer into a glass cannon. T2 might have classes, but they have no restrictions on how or where to put your points, because you can always build your character different ways.

        • Phantoon says:

          Spinks is a nice lady, but really comes across as a blizzard fangirl at times.

          I don’t like the doing away with a system because it was too complex that they’ve done, and that Mass Effect 2 did. I want a game MORE like Diablo 1, not less. I know the game I desire can’t even be made right now, so in lieu of that, give me a Diablo 1 clone, rather than a Diablo 2-WoW clone. I want to be able to make miniscule changes that sets me apart from people. I want to be able to make massive changes like be a melee Sorceress or a healadin like in Diablo 2 where I may not be as good as a cookie cutter spec, but still viable.

          Blizzard removing talent trees down to “talent choice” makes sense, honestly. They’re going to have eleven classes, and each has three talent trees. That’s hard to balance. But they also never defined what each class did well enough to justify putting them in only one role, either. And when they homogenized abilities for the “bring the player, not the class” push, it further removed what made characters unique.

          The “resist more paralysis” or “+2% damage against targets facing away from you” may have been bad in WoW, but that’s just because it was hard to balance when they redid everyone’s classes every 2 years. It’s not a bad mechanic for a Diablo-alike, and Path of Exile shines because of it.

          Complexity is not a bad thing. There’s a market for Dwarf Fortress, after all.

          • Spinks says:

            Well he did ask for more positive reviews :) And the thing about the stats and talents is that Diablo at its core is a roguelike. All you ever have to pick for your character in rogue/angband is class, which new spells it gets when it levels (if you have the right spellbook), and what gear it wears.

            The talent tree/ spec isn’t a core part of that gameplay, and it was never necessary in Diablo either. It works just as well without. But as it is, every other diablo-like (at least that I’ve seen) copies the dratted talent trees as if they were graven in stone as core essentials. I can see why you might enjoy designing your own playing style, but I’d rather have less choice and more balance.

          • jrodman says:

            Just FYI: rogue doesn’t have class selection.

          • Hug_dealer says:

            What balance? you are playing a coop game.

          • Tupimus says:

            OH MY GOOOD ANYONE WHO ACTUALLY DOESN’T JUST BASH THE GAME IS A BLIZZARD FANBOYYYY/GUUURRRLLL

            No. Get out. If someone enjoys the game, let them. Your opinion is worthless because you’re making it worthless.

    • Coriolis says:

      Just play the game and enjoy it. I love this site for their coverage of indie games and strategy games, but when it comes to MMO’s and games that are effectively MMO’s like Diablo 3, they simply don’t understand the appeal. And yet feel the need to bitch about it. *shrug* Ce la vie, it’s dumb, but it’s a small price to pay for the otherwise good quality of RPS

      • FunkyBadger3 says:

        Factoid: the world would be a better place if MMOs had never progressed beyond the mud stage.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      You hear the RPS? Please lie about your opinions and lavish only praise on games from now on in case you upset people.

  34. begin66 says:

    /players 8 … why its gone baffles me

  35. Radiant says:

    This entire game is…
    clicken ‘em, clicken ‘em, clicken ‘em, clicken ‘em, clicken ‘em, clicken ‘em, clicken ‘em.
    For 20 + hours.

    • krispy_treats says:

      and … ? If you didn’t expect that, what DID you expect?

    • Tupimus says:

      Blizzard’s actually done some very good functionality on this one – you can mostly just hold left mouse down and, say, start pressing shift when you want to swing in a direction. Was riding down the carpal tunnel highway the first few days when I was playing non-stop before I realized this.

    • lordfrikk says:

      Yes, and sky is blue.

  36. Hug_dealer says:

    all i heard was blah blah blah, blah blah Diablo 3 is the greatest, blah blah blah.

    You cant even be objective, and obviously know nothing about the difficulty sliders, or the fact that t2 works the same was as diablo, without making it arbitrary choice by diablo.

  37. secretdoorinvisiblewall says:

    Yeah, the difficulty is the reason I haven’t purchased yet (and am considering not purchasing at all).

    I simply don’t have time to play games more than once, even the ones I really love. There’s an overabundance of great games waiting to be played, and very little time on my end, so there’s simply no way I’m going to complete a 20+h game, then turn around and start it again for another 20+h.

    So then that begs the question–if you’re only going to play Diablo III once, is it worth buying? Sounds like the answer is no, unfortunately, as things only get interesting on your second playthrough. So I guess I’ll hold on to my $60 and play Torchlight II.

    • lordfrikk says:

      No, that game is all about multiple playthroughs. (Yes, I did buy the game, BTW)

  38. piratmonkey says:

    Fie Boo Hiss! A curse upon Blizzard!

    In all seriousness, I felt Nightmare made it decently harder, no more running into giant groups of mobs without taking ridiculous damage. I’m really looking forward to Hell and Inferno.

  39. zeroskill says:

    In other news, PC Gamer praises the game like it’s the second coming of christ, totally oblivious to all the problems and flaws it has.

    • GBoyzJay says:

      Not totally oblivious… it’s odd. Tom Senior is mentioning the flaws in the game, and then… 90% regardless. I’m extremely confused.

        • GBoyzJay says:

          could be, but unless some changes happened behind my back, PC Gamer didn’t used to really care about PR folks standing at their back. Still, it just goes to show that reading the article as opposed to the pretty number at the end is quite important.

          • zeroskill says:

            However thats what , ehm…excuse me…90% of the people that read the article care about, the number. If you wanna make a statment that the game is infact flawed then why give it such a high number in the first place.

          • GBoyzJay says:

            Yeah, it’s something you normally see elsewhere, a text review that mentions flaws in the game, etc, etc, and then gives it a 9. Just never thought I’d see it from PC Gamer.

            As you say, though, lots of people really prefer the pretty numbers.

          • Fincher says:

            Bioshock and Dragon Age 2 were early indicators of PC Gamer jumping on the hype-mobile.

          • dysphemism says:

            Just goes to show what Alec says above: “I’m glad I don’t have to give it a score. I’m not sure I could.”

            How exactly should one score a game if it might work brilliantly for some and not so for others? The DRM here may not be an issue for person A, but would be totally and perpetually game-breaking for person B. And do you judge the game based on the first week’s server debacle, knowing full-well that in all likelihood it won’t be representative of the game experience in the weeks/months/years to come? This point rings less true for the issue of the game’s difficulty, but it still stands: if the game doesn’t feel challenging enough at the outset but fits better towards the end, how much do you dock it for that? Score systems just aren’t ideally set up for scenarios like this.

          • Hematite says:

            @dysphemism: Reviews definitely need to be scored by a box plot at the least (if they must be scored, that is). Variability of quality is one of the most obvious things that straight up scores gloss over.

            Depending on the reviewer, 90% isn’t that great for a game we’ve been waiting 12 years for. Remembering back to the days when I read reviews with a score at the end, 90% is like 8/10 – a notable game of the year, but definitely not THE game of the year. 93% is like 9/10, a contender for game of the year. 10/10 or 98% is like 93% but the reviewer got coke and hookers from an anonymous benefactor. Secrets of the mainstream gaming media revealed!

    • InternetBatman says:

      PC Gamer lost a lot of credibility with me with their DA 2 review, and then again with their ME3 review. I think the model they use to review games is broken, because they’re under so much time pressure. I’m sure the authors are perfectly nice people though, and I doubt it’s a corruption thing.

      • Phantoon says:

        I like to think it’s corruption, though.

        Makes this a lot more exciting- and also makes it seem like it was written by Blizzard, because all they do is write corruption oh no good guy is evil now plots. Look at the entirety of Warcraft for that. In fact, here are some names!
        Arthas
        Garrosh
        Illidan
        Kael’thas
        Vashj
        Neltharion (Deathwing)
        Alysra (Alysrazor)
        Sir Zeliek
        Mograines 1 and 2: Electric Boogaloo
        The dude that was in the Stratholme cathedral on dead side
        Scarlet Crusade (friggin all of them)
        Scarlet Crusade (with the new dungeon, the dude that goes insane alliance side)
        Anything involving the Worgen or Shadowfang Keep
        All the cultists from the demon to the elemental to the elemental pre-deathwing you know the guys in Silithius they’re still out there
        Sargeras
        Nerzhul (Lich King)
        All of the original Orcs
        Everything at Auchindoun
        The Arakkoa
        Archbishop Benedict
        etc etc

        (Notice how I didn’t mention Kel’thuzad? Because his story wasn’t mangled by the WoW lore-rewriting machine even though he totally had a corruption plot thing.)

        It’s really just to the point where everything is written insanely poorly (Jaina, Tyrande), was already evil, or was corrupted by evil.

        If Metzen wanted to write Diablo so bad, why didn’t he just do that rather than making his character (Yes, Thrall is his personal character) the most important character in the story several times for no damn reason?

        Also, I forgot. The greater dragons lost their powers, so I guess them too.

        Oh, and the expansion has evil spirits that take people over when they get mad, so the entire expansion is based around that.

        In fact, the only characters whose motivations aren’t “herp derp evil” are most of the city leaders, and most of them don’t get any exposure anyways. Or if they’re female, like Tyrande, her entire story is “MALFURION IS SO GREAT I WANT YOUR BABIES!”

  40. Bluerps says:

    I don’t think that selectable difficulty would be a solution, because the difficulty-levels in Diablo games are balanced for different character levels (while still being harder in general). So “Nightmare” with a level 30 character (or whatever level you usually finish the game with) is harder than “Normal” with a level 1 character. But “Nightmare” with a level 1 character would probably be almost impossible.

    What should be done, in my opinion, is to simply make “Normal” harder.

    Also, I think that it makes a difference what class you play. My wizard tends to die very fast if I’m not careful.

    • Hug_dealer says:

      Many other games allow you to carry your character from a previous play through into a new one that is leveled up to pose a challenge, and then you still get to select the difficulty level from there.

      That is flawed logic you are using.

      From Torchlight 2s webpage

      “New Game Plus

      In New Game Plus, the game’s not over until you say it is. Once you’ve beaten Torchlight II’s primary campaign, you can start again with the same character for a significantly greater challenge. You’ll keep all of the skills, gold, and gear you worked so hard for!”

      Now thats the same thing as nightmare or other difficulties. But torchlight 2 also allows me to select a difficulty from easy-normal-veteran-impossible also. Even after going to Nightmare/ New game plus mode.

      • Bluerps says:

        Yeah, I know, and I agree that this would probably be the better alternative, overall.

        However, Diablo has always done it the way I outlined it, and it has worked well in the past. So it should be possible to tweak the current system so that it again works well.

        • Toberoth says:

          The thing is, they’ve had twelve years to tweak it…

          • Bluerps says:

            I mean the usual balancing stuff. Nerf a skill here, make an enemy stronger there. I’m pretty sure, they couldn’t have done that for D3 during the last 12 years.

  41. AmateurScience says:

    But are you having fun Alec?

    • Phantoon says:

      It sounds like he’s trying to justify his playtime, which means no.

  42. psyk says:

    Can you start a new char and then get invited to a nightmare/inferno game? would be amusing seeing as a load of people are moaning on the forum about getting 2shotted by zombies on maxed chars XD

    • lordfrikk says:

      No, you can’t. You can’t obviously even join hardcore with your softcore characters and vice versa.

  43. eveningstar2 says:

    Hi.

    I don’t post much, but Alec, I really want to respond to this one.

    Background: I’ve never played Diablo 2. I’m new to this whole genre. I think there’s a growing generation of gamers who have never experienced the rise of ARPGs through Diablo 1 and 2. We’re familiar with Diablo as a relic, a classic of game design which has percolated down into the modern MMO. Anyway.

    I just finished Normal mode, co-op, as a demon huntress, with a friend, on Sunday. We started playing Wednesday in the evenings, and we did Normal mode together. We took our time. We explored every cranny, found every book, experimented with every power. It wasn’t terribly difficult, but it did give us an opportunity to acclimatize ourselves to a new game, to become comfortable with its nuances, to let the game sink in and just enjoy it.

    I think you’re right in describing Diablo as a game that satisfies that sociopathic lizard brain, a game you play alone, in the dark, just clicking and gathering and trying to push for the next level/gear upgrade/rune/whatever.

    I think that’s the mistake. I think, if you want to have fun, just slow down, grab 2-3 friends and push Normal mode. It gets harder, so there’s no hurry. Having friends along multiplies the fun and undermines that self-destructive soloist impulse, and scales up the difficulty as well.

    I was level 32 when I beat Diablo and unlocked Nightmare mode. I wasn’t bored for a minute because I savored the ride and played it with a friend. Now I’ve got Nightmare mode and it’s much more challenging and cool and rewarding.

    Take your time. Please, just try it. I really think Blizzard created this whole online infrastructure to help us get out of this soloist addiction, play with friends and turn what is otherwise a one-man slog into a party. Get some friends together and try it. Then get back to me.

    Thanks for another well-written article, by the way. Wish I had your way with words! :)

    • Bhazor says:

      To paraphrase Yahtzee.
      “Dying from cancer is more enjoyable if you have friends around. Saying something gets better in multiplayer does not excuse bad single player”

      • X_kot says:

        But Bhazor, Diablo III is a multiplayer game that you can choose to play alone! Welcome to the new normal!

        :(

      • Shortwave says:

        That was insane.

      • jwoozy says:

        Yahtzee, it must be disclaimed, is a misanthropic twit and hate goblin who’s only claim to fame is providing the angry sports rant of the videogame world.

        Someone is giving you advice about how to get the most enjoyment out of the game. If you’re too stubborn and arrogant to take it then that’s really your fault, isn’t it?

        • Dominic White says:

          You seem to be in deep denial that the vast majority of people played Diablo 1 & 2 offline. I’d honestly not be surprised if the figure was somewhere in the 90% mark.

          Almost every game I hear that is supposedly ‘only played online’ seems more popular solo.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            Indeed in the two games I worked on long ago we were always shocked and horrified by the number of SP only players. All the developers who bothered to play all of them, sunk 99% of their time into MP. And the MP servers were always busy so it must be an MP game eh?

            Nope, 90% of people never played MP. Of course they also tended to just play the campaign and never come back, whereas the MP players would play for years, so the total hours player were more evenly split. But we were just amazed. You think of the community as the people who you see on the servers and the people in the forums, but really that is just a sliver.

          • Lemming says:

            That comment keeps cropping up and it erks the hell out of me.

            It’s like it’s ok that everyone who bought and played Diablo 1 + 2 offline (what was the highest speed internet then? 56k?) is somehow an idiot because they picked up Diablo 3 expecting to be able to play it the same way.

            Those saying “but its a multiplayer game silly!” need to STFU now please.

          • Reefpirate says:

            Maybe it’s like Diablo 3 is to Diablo 2 like Ultima Online was to the Ultima series? You know, like a new game in a series tries something different. The online component of Diablo 3 has been public for a while, so it’s not like they pulled a bait and switch.

          • lordfrikk says:

            @Lemming

            But they ARE idiots because there was never any indication to the contrary. If you bought a game without informing yourself beforehand, you have only yourself to blame.

      • krispy_treats says:

        You know what else sucks? Starcraft II. Man, that game blew. The campaign was so boring and playing against the computer in the skirmish mode was a cakewalk. I sure wish the game wasn’t so easy and had more options to it. Sure wish it had some challenge to it.

        • Xocrates says:

          Starcraft 2 campaign had difficulty settings. You know, one of the things D3 doesn’t have.

        • Lemming says:

          Look, I don’t think Starcraft 2 is by any means the pinnacle of RTS (I mean really, it’s pretty low on that table), but the campaign at least played with the mechanics, trickled the units reasonably well and, in the end, the learning curve was well done.

        • dysphemism says:

          SC2 really isn’t worth buying for the single-player, sadly. That said, the multiplayer is exquisite. Folks need to recognize that the thing SC2 did over SC1, one of the main things anyway, was the matchmaking service. It’s just really good at what it does, and that makes all the difference in the world to a game that’s as competitive and fiercely multiplayer-focused as SC2 is.
          It is a shame they didn’t do a better job on the AI opponents, though. It shows where their priorities are and, while they happen to align with my own, I sympathize with people who prefer single-player. Because it seems like Blizzard really wants to encourage you to change your mind on that point.

  44. pkt-zer0 says:

    I’ve found that the way to get challenge out of Normal mode is to speedrun it while you can, ignoring trash mobs the same way you ignore trash loot. Died plenty of times that way. Alternatively, join up with a guy higher level than you.

  45. Shortwave says:

    I’d like to say this would be a game I’d buy on sale simply to play with friends sometimes.
    But then I remembered this is Blizzard and they don’t do sales. They are counter productive.

  46. Iconik says:

    If you want to be thrown into Nightmare from the get go, be my guest. This would be an all together different sort of article if that were so. Normal is meant to be a primer. It’s like running 5 man dungeons to get better equipped to be able to run hardmode 5 man dungeons, and ultimately, raids. Diablo certainly isn’t the first and only point and click, dungeon crawling ARPG that has a progressive difficulty playstyle. Beating it on normal will give you the gear and practice to tackle the higher difficulties.

    I played through normal in 30 hours, with the harder difficulties always at the edge of my thoughts as I progressed through each act.

    What you’re asking for is something that goes against the very design that was in mind. It’s just not for you. Move on to pushing blocks into walls to open doors 5 rooms away in Grimrock if that’s your thing.

    Normal is a way to just go at your own pace, enjoy your surroundings, the lore, the stories and backgrounds. I dislike easy games just as much as the next guy, but Diablo isn’t an easy game. You’re basing the difficulty on 10 hours on normal. I hit Nightmare at lvl 32. I’m 42 now and my buthole tightens almost every mob pack. I can’t even imagine Hell or Inferno right now. But you know what? I’m going to get there. And I’m going to play through the difficulties as is intended.

    I’d love to see you get through a pack of rare mobs that fear and mutliply with nothing but grey items.

    • Hug_dealer says:

      Many other games allow you to carry your character from a previous play through into a new one that is leveled up to pose a challenge, and then you still get to select the difficulty level from there.

      That is flawed logic you are using.

      From Torchlight 2s webpage

      “New Game Plus

      In New Game Plus, the game’s not over until you say it is. Once you’ve beaten Torchlight II’s primary campaign, you can start again with the same character for a significantly greater challenge. You’ll keep all of the skills, gold, and gear you worked so hard for!”

      Now thats the same thing as nightmare or other difficulties. But torchlight 2 also allows me to select a difficulty from easy-normal-veteran-impossible also. Even after going to Nightmare/ New game plus mode. Thats basically playing Nightmare mode/veteran, instead of nightmare/normal.

      • Iconik says:

        You can complain about the difficulty all you want, but none of you are flying through Nightmare right now with your eyes closed. If you’re even THERE yet. If you are, you’re dying. A lot.

        • Hug_dealer says:

          I am complaining all i want. I didnt buy D3 because i didnt want to piss about dozens of pointless hours on something that is to easy for me to enjoy.

          I choose to go with torchlight 2 and some other games that will provide me with a challenge from the start, and be just as difficult as D3 is in the nightmare and hell difficulties.

          yeah you heard me. Diablos difficulties are nothing special, every other game features them also, they just dont give them super cool fancy names.

          • Toberoth says:

            I hear that.

          • krispy_treats says:

            You didn’t buy Diablo 3. Just like most of the people who are criticizing it. Most of the people that are enjoying D3 are playing it, and leaving you and most of the other people in these articles to your pointless circle jerk. The only reason I’m here is because I’m at work. Otherwise I’d be playing D3, letting you enjoy your misery.

          • Hug_dealer says:

            No misery here lol. I am happy with my decision. I weighed all my options and not buying diablo 3 was in my best interested for many reasons.

            Currently im at work(that i own) and playing Galactic civilizations 2 while chatting on RPS. Nope, No misery.

          • Iconik says:

            You didn’t buy it, but complain about the difficulty which you know nothing about because, well….you didn’t buy it?

            That’s fucking brilliant.

    • Moraven says:

      I think for veteran gamers, Normal’s challenge and pacing is not enough.

      For the mass of people that are more casual, it fits just right.

      Hell and Inferno are for us, but as mentioned the road there may not be always fun. This was always the block for WoW raids in the past, since you had to progress from T1 of raids to access T4. Now there is only 2 tiers of gear every patch.

      I have having fun with it the first time, taking in the sights, reading lore, exploring everywhere. I know the next time I play on normal I will probably experience as said above.

      Games such as Torchlight and PoE are there to do things different because people want different things. I think they stuck to their D2 progression is because that is what D2 had and it is what the D2 fans want.

      • Iconik says:

        I like the progressive difficulty lay out. It makes me feel like what I’m doing NOW isn’t just to get through the current difficulty, but it’s helping me gear out for the difficulty coming up. Not to mention that as the difficulty ramps up gear with elemental protection and what not becomes more important.

        • Hug_dealer says:

          being able to select a difficulty doesnt mean the game doesnt get more difficult as you go on.

          • Iconik says:

            Normal on Diablo 3 ramps up a bit as well. So you’re right.

      • Phantoon says:

        T1 to T4? What? T4 was Karazhan, yo. AQ was T2.5.

        And no, Diablo 3 shouldn’t have raids. That is not a “feature” it ever needed.

        • Brun says:

          This has nothing to do with what he actually said – he was drawing an analogy to the way old-school WoW raiding required you to work through T1 and T2 to reach the T3 and T4 (and higher) raids, which is similar to how Diablo requires you to work through Normal and Hell to reach Inferno. It’s actually a pretty good analogy, and highlights the fact that the difficulty levels in Diablo are meant to be a continuous progression and not some kind of switch you can flip.

          He never said anything about having raids in Diablo.

  47. dysphemism says:

    A scathing piece, but it needed to be said. It cuts to the heart of all the backhanded compliments and half-praise that have piled up on this game.

    The way I see it, the problem is more existential than can simply be solved with a better system of difficulty. Yes, the pacing could be improved if the challenge were higher at the outset or could be adjusted on the fly. But the fact that it’s not only lays bare that, despite the polish and obvious thought that went into it, at its most basic level Diablo III is playing on the Cow Clicker impulse. Like you, I enjoy it — quite a lot, actually. But it’s a guilty pleasure, and one that makes you question what we’re doing playing games at all. For me, I’m able to justify it to myself by the fact that I only play the game with my decades-long friends who I can’t see in person; it’s a social event. And that certainly does add value to my life.

    But, boy, it really is the worst when that veil gets pierced and you see yourself in the Skinner box. It’s a problem that’s widespread in game design and, therefore, should be a topic of conversation.

    Also: One thing I’ve discovered is that the type of fun you have playing Diablo 3 is, in many ways, the exact opposite of the type of fun that Starcraft 2 provides, like the difference between downers and uppers. Anyone else feel that way?

    • Iconik says:

      When did Starcraft 2 become fun?

      • dysphemism says:

        I can’t very well say for you, obviously, so I assume you’re asking when it became fun for me! I took to it almost immediately, but it definitely was an up and down process since as you get better the difficulty ramps up and at each tier of play there’s a completely different metagame to acclimate to. Playing as zerg was challenging but rewarding as it took time to figure out what their strengths and weaknesses were relative to other factions and how they functioned in rather fundamentally different ways. To address your question directly, though, It became most fun at hour 13.5.

        Thanks for asking!

        • Phantoon says:

          I found it fun at the beginning, then ran out of energy when I realize I still had ten or more hours to go of gametime before I’d be able to play multiplayer well.

          You’re right in a way about them being opposites: Starcraft 2 puts a block of time in front of you and says, “EAT THIS, THEN HAVE FUN.” Diablo 3 takes you by the hand and then suddenly you’re fifty hours later and you’re wondering what happened. It has no REAL high or low points without Hardcore mode, which is unplayable because of the lag spikes, so you’re just sitting there wondering if you had fun or not. Then you think surely you did, otherwise, you wouldn’t have spent so much time on it!

  48. HaVoK308 says:

    Act III is when the game becomes a decent challenge. At least until you get the better gear during that Act. But it is still better than the previous Acts. 1 and 2 are insulting they are so easy.

  49. aliksy says:

    Game’s too easy on normal, probably because they’re chasing casual gamers. Diablo1 you could pretty easily die on the 2nd or 3rd floor if you were unlucky or careless. Open a door and BAM 15 archers. Run or dead. Can you imagine the earth shaking whining from non-hardcore gamers if diablo3 was like that?

    Adding something like /players 8 or torchlight’s veteran/elite mode would be great. Even if it didn’t change the drops/rewards/etc, it would be more fun. Almost certainly never going to happen, though.

    I’m in act2 nightmare and it’s kind of dull. Too few enemies and they’re too far apart. I think it gets better again shortly, but some of the shiny has worn off.

    • notenome says:

      Saying they’re chasing casual gamers makes no sense to me (which doesn’t mean they aren’t doing it, which they obviously are). Diablo I was a fairly tough game that was basically an action rogule-like and that made the franchise. This is what I never understand. You have a sucesful game that launches a franchise, and then you screw that game.

      “Wow, can you believe it? Our brand new game franchise sold millions of copies!”
      “Let’s never do that again.”
      “….”

  50. notenome says:

    Yeah yeah yeah I get it the game is easy and silly and badly written and has horrible DRM and is a gigantic time sink and has no permanence and dated, but on the other hand…

    It contains the greatest pun in the history of video games!

    “Justice shall fall upon the world of men”. Rewatch the opening cinematic. Get it? GET IT? Classic.