Wot I Think: Diablo III – Rise of the Necromancer

I’ll be honest, I couldn’t really see a space in Diablo III for a Necromancer. Another class that’s based on raising gross minions and smashing up mobs from afar? The Witch Doctor seemed to have that amply covered, commanding zombie dogs, harvesting souls and erupting towers of zombies from the ground.

Oh but it’s great to be completely wrong. I’ve been having a wonderful time, raising the dead and casting dark curses. Here’s wot I think.

(Note: this DLC review was based on playing the PlayStation 4 of the game. There are some minor differences between the base game on each platform, but the DLC is the same and everything expressed here is true of the PC release. –Ed)

Rise of the Necromancer adds just one major new thing to Diablo III [official site], a new class, bringing its total count to seven. The last one that appeared, the Crusader in the Reaper of Souls expansion, released – good lord, could it really be three years ago?

So it’s been a long time since Diablo III got anything as substantial as a new class. And it’s true that the Necromancer in Diablo II is much-loved. But with the Witch Doctor already performing a necromancing role so well, and the Demon Hunter providing all the high-goth skulls and pointy armour anyone could ever need, I just couldn’t see where a Necromancer could fit.

Yeah, sorry, I've been playing it on PS4. Look, Diablo III is just the ultimate lie-back-on-the-sofa game and it's SO NICE to play on a pad. And you get a dodge roll! It feels ... better than the one on PC :(

It turns out that the Necromancer really is something else. For one thing, the regal looks are a nice surprise. This isn’t some decrepit, tomb-loving pervert. The Necromancer is a proud priest of Rathma, sworn to uphold the balance of death and life.

Mind you, it feels a little odd to be spending so much time killing skeletons raised by dark magic with skeletons raised by dark magic, but the Necromancer’s male and female voice performances (Ioan ‘Poldark and Hornblower!’ Gruffudd and Eliza Jane ‘Mikhaila Ilyushin out of Prey!’ Schneider) are grimly histrionic enough to get you over all the vague incongruity.

More importantly, the Necromancer plays very differently to the other classes. The core resource is Essence, which is accrued through hitting with your primary attack. So far so Monk. But Necromancers have a second resource which makes all the difference: corpses.

For the other classes, dead enemies are just limp ragdolls, but the Necromancer gets to do stuff with them, blowing them up, transforming them into shards of bone that seek enemies, consuming them for essence, or raising them into briefly animated armies. It’s so elegant, producing a novel and finely balanced system out of the narrative point that necromancers raise the dead, and I love it.

The battlefield becomes a steadily filling reservoir, a shifting locus of opportunities to lay explosive waste to groups of enemies, to recoup Essence, or to create up to 10 enemies to fight for you. Fundamentally, you’re converting kills into kills. The more kills you make, the more kills you get. Kills upon kills. With many builds that use the Necromancer’s corpse abilities, you can become a steadily accelerating deathball, requiring you to start things off before you can start spending corpses and sweep onward. The only thing that can stop you is running out of bodies.

And there are ways you don’t even need to kill to get corpses. The Golem, which is one of the Necromancer’s more visually disappointing abilities because it so closely mirrors the Witch Doctor’s Gargantuan, has a Rune which belly-flops it into a targeted position and turns into a pile of corpses. This is handy for when you’re fighting bosses, where you don’t get an easy supply of mobs.

That’s not all. Necromancers have a third resource: their own life. Several high-level runes and skills take a percentage of health when you use them. Some take just a little, like Blood Rush, a dash-like teleport that gets you out of trouble. Others can be accidentally life-threatening, such as Corpse Explosion’s Final Embrace rune, which costs 2% life per corpse in return for the corpse homing towards the nearest enemy on scuttling limbs.

(Right at the end of the final Act in the campaign this actually nearly killed my Necro, which I’d called Gove, after Michael. (OK, yes, I wasn’t expecting to love him as much as I came to.) I found myself absently spamming the button, and only realised he was about to die when the screen went red. It wouldn’t have been so bad but I was playing Hardcore, where death is permanent.)

To mitigate this, many of the abilities are about recouping health, draining it from your enemies or gathered by your minions. Along with the sense of having constructed an engine of death as you trample across the levels, you also get the sense of constructing an engine of life as it shoots into your veins.

With this three-pointed triangle of things to spend comes surprising flexibility. You can go melee or ranged, damage-dealing or armour-based. Let me describe a couple of the builds I cobbled together.

Early on, I tried out one about raising as many minions as I could. I suppose you have to get these things out of your system. At maximum I had seven skeletons, one golem, 10 raised enemies and 10 Skeletal Mages rushing about. But as much as Gove was safe in a cocoon of skellingtons, it did curiously low amounts of damage and the screen was utter chaos.

What got me through the late game was my deathball build, which was all about running really fast and pumping out Essence-expensive Skeletal Mages. These ranged horrors did the bulk of my damage if I had the maximum of 10 out at once. To pay for them I used Devour’s aura rune to automatically suck up nearby corpses and turn it into Essence, complemented by a passive ability that increased my movement speed for each one, so I could gather them incredibly rapidly.

To extend the Skeletal Mages’ short lives I used Life Support, which cost 10% of my heath for an extra two seconds. To ensure my health didn’t go too low and to supplement my Essence gathering, I used the ranged Siphon Blood as my primary attack. To top it off, I cast the Frailty curse with the Volatile Death rune, so enemies would explode when they died. In practice, I got to run through dungeons with gathering speed, pumping out skeletons and watching waves of mobs explode before me. It felt dangerous, even foolhardy for a Hardcore character, and it was wonderful.

In fact, it took quite a lot for me to try something new, but I forced myself to try a build about being in the thick of the scrum, based around the Grim Scythes primary ability. I used Revive to raise the dead from around Gove’s feet and deflect attention, the Leech curse with the Cursed Ground rune to heal me for each enemy in an area, and Death Nova to deliver bursts of damage to everything around me. Blood and the raised dead were everywhere.

Diablo III’s moment-to-moment thrill was always about watching the utter power you’ve accrued expressed in gouts of blood, explosions and flames, and Necromancer has all of that. Maybe some of the Necromancer’s abilities are overpowered when applied in certain situations. A friend managed to game the powerful Singularity rune’d Skeletal Mage, which you’re meant only to have one of, so that he had six of the things. (If you’re interested, he used the Circle of Nailuj’s Evol ring’s ability to double the mage, plus the Simulacrum ability with its Blood and Bone rune to mimic the double mage twice, making six in total.) The combination is so powerful he can’t face going back.

But this is the kind of imbalance that exposes the depth and creativity that provides Diablo III’s lasting appeal. Should it be there? Probably not. Is it good that it’s there? Actually, yes. The Necromancer has turned out to be a fantastically gruesome expression of all Diablo III best qualities. With nice skills and good looks, it’s an enormous pleasure to tour all Sanctuary’s old haunts with a new special someone.

Diablo III: Rise of the Necromancer is out now for £13/$15 via Battle.net. It requires both Diablo III ($20) and Reaper of Souls ($20) to play.

81 Comments

  1. ColonelFlanders says:

    Cue the people who haven’t played the game in 3 years STILL complaining about RMAH, lack of endgame content and shit loot.

    • Mortomes says:

      Why isn’t it diablo 2?!?!

    • SaintAn says:

      It’s still always online where server problems and lag can screw up your games, the endgame is still mindless grindy garbage without modding, and loot is given out too easy making players numb to the upgrades.

      Shouldn’t defend games because you like the corporation behind them.

      • Asurmen says:

        Way to miss the point.

      • ColonelFlanders says:

        I don’t really have any feelings about Blizzard either way; they are ok, Diablo 3 is pretty fun and I still enjoy playing it every season.

        As for you so wildly missing my point, other than just pointing you towards my comment and asking you to read it again i cant really help you. Plenty of the criticisms levelled at this game are valid, I’m just dog tired of fucking idiots who have no idea what the current iteration of the game is like, banging the same tired old drum like they have a clue what they’re on about.

        And besides, how is the shitty-arsed endgame content from Diablo 2 any better? Once you got to max level there was literally nothing to do except the SAME boss run in the SAME room, then uber/cow farming. Wow.

        • Ragnar says:

          Don’t forget how awesome it was that if you wanted to try a different build, you had to level up the same character from level 1 all over again.

          And yet some people still regard that as a positive, rather than a complete waste of time.

    • Daymare says:

      Many different things killed it for me on different occasions. But the main culprit, for me, was always the level design. I’ve tried to put into words what it is, compared to D2 (and PoE) … dungeons felt less dungeon-y, not cramped and labyrinthine enough. Open spaces feel … meaningless. Too many long almost-linear corridors ending in wide open spaces, if that makes sense. And the linear ones are TOO linear, and the open ones TOO open. Just traversing the world felt like a chore, even in Adventure Mode. Never felt like I could run fast enough, for instance.

      I also dislike the setting quite a bit, there’s something slick and uninspired about the world, the monsters, they’ve built, I enjoyed the more grimey, gothic vibes of D2 a lot more.

      Then of course the story is garbage, but who cares about that? (Except back when you couldn’t yet skip any cutscene or dialogue.) Though I like the lore in pretty much all hack’n’slays more than in D3.

      I could go on and on, but.

      Did they change how the endgame works, yet? Are you still just doing, like, random levels with random enemies with increasing difficulty?

      I thought there was more joy in the progression of PoE’s mapping system. Not that THAT game was perfect, by any chance. But most things felt more meaningful there and more varied.

      • Daymare says:

        To say something positive: I like that you get a lot of loot, much of it tailored towards your class, and how responsive your characters and their skills feel.

        I also wish Necro came out a few years ago. Pretty much the only class I enjoyed was the Wizard, and I think I’d have gained more enjoyment from the game if there were more classes that appealed to me. I’m pretty sure Necro would.

      • ColonelFlanders says:

        All valid, measured and relevant criticisms. However my ire is aimed not at you, my esteemed colleague, but dick heads who post the same old shit about why D3 sucks when it doesn’t suck for those reasons anymore.

    • ludde says:

      For me it’s the pacing. I tried getting back into it with the Reaper of Souls expansion and started a new character, but I was nearing max level before I even got to the new content. Also the fact that you can switch difficulty at any time throughout removes all sense of challenge – not to mention game-y and immersion breaking. Then you have the awful writing and on top of that and it just doesn’t hook me like D2 did.

      I don’t think the auction house was ever the biggest gripe for me, it’s all the things put together.

      • Daymare says:

        Gosh I forgot that. These difficulty settings upon difficulty settings … that was probably the final nail in the coffin for me. That’s a big part of why it feels so meaningless. Sure, it means you can customize difficulty to your needs but as a result, progress is limited to increasingly bigger numbers without any change of pace. And if the game doesn’ dictate difficulty, how are you to feel satisfaction for overcoming its challenges?

        Because of it, items have to follow the same rule, so you can find item X at any level (which wasn’t a bad idea) and their rolls just scale up into ridiculous heights.

        • Chris D says:

          It’s not strictly true to say progress is limited to bigger numbers without any change of pace. There’s stuff you can only find at the higher levels and torment difficulty, such as armour sets and legendary gems.

          Forget the campaign, the campaign is dull. You want to be doing bounties and rifts. You also want to be periodically increasing the difficulty to maintain just enough of a challenge.

          For me the satisfaction is in combining skills, armour sets and legendary item powers to break the game in new and interesting ways. For example, my Demon Hunter now has 1500% damage for each sentry turret and can have 5 out at once. The sentries can each fire chakrams which hit multiple targets and do lightning damage which can stun enemies and I can do extra damage to stunned enemies. I can also have all my five turrets and me fire incendiary arrows to burn the ground they walk on and I increase attack speed and damage the longer I keep firing. That’s not even the half of it but I won’t bore you further.

          With all that I can now run Torment 11 without being one-shotted frustratingly often but there’s another two levels above that and I haven’t even come across ancient artifacts yet, and so the hunt goes on.

          So sure, it’s grindy but usually enjoyable so. You need to be willing to set your own challenges but thats not really so difficult from picking easy, normal or hard at the start of any other game. And you need be into the tinkering and optimising side of things to stay in for the long term, but if you do like that kind of thing there’s a lot to enjoy.

          Sometimes though its just nice to set up five turrets and have all of them fire cluster grenades then watch the survivors get eaten by your three wolves, two ferrets, raven and boar. Did I mention the wolves?

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            Mungrul says:

            My Monk’s my main, and my non-seasonal account is nearing Paragon 700. I”m sat at around Greater Rift level 68, and I can report that yes, it definitely isn’t about skill and is simply about having the time to put in the grind to get better stats so you can do exactly the same with slightly higher numbers.

            What I’m miffed about is that since the addition of Torment VII to XIII, they’ve nerfed the drop rate for Torment VI and below.

            I’m finding it’s quicker to gear my Necromancer by Grifting with my Monk, stocking up on Blood Shards, switching back to my Necro and spending the shards with Kadala.
            There’s something severely broken with your game if it’s easier to level one class by actively NOT playing it.

            And don’t get me started on Blizzard losing sight of the main playerbase and weighting season rewards to the minority, not the many.

          • Spudnik says:

            “For me the satisfaction is in combining skills, armour sets and legendary item powers to break the game in new and interesting ways”

            WHAT? WHAT THE FUCK?

            If I knew you I would have to burn your garden gnomes and fling you into space by your elbow skin.

    • Butler says:

      Nah. Everyone’s too busy playing PoE.

    • Spudnik says:

      Best game for loot: Monopoly.

      Ride the night on the wings of a petrified, oriental, ninja buffalo and you will soon agree with comments made previously and forever there after.

    • Fishslap says:

      And that is precisely why you should never launch a game in a shitty condition, relying on patches and DLC moneygrubbing to maybe sort of fix things later. Most people played it on launch when the game was shit and then uninstalled it again without too many fond memories of it. This is how most gamers do things. It is too late now to get people back into a game that was shit on release like Diablo 3 was. And this is 100% Blizzard’s own fault. They were told over and over again by thousands of fans during development that the RMAH was a terrible idea, yet, dollar signs blinking in the eye, they decided to include it anyway. They made all the wrong design decisions for all the wrong reasons, and now their game, and Blizzard itself, has a terrible reputation. And complaining about it will not change a thing.

      Personally, I have completely stopped buying Blizzard games, largely because of Diablo 3. Although Hearthstone didn’t help.

  2. poliovaccine says:

    I’ll need to look up this Necromancer on youtube or something just to see what “grimly histrionic” voice acting sounds like..! I would have thought that was a bit of an oxymoron, but I’m sure those two words were chosen for a reason. It’s probably gonna turn out to be something like “darkly comic,” or “profoundly stupid,” where it might sound backwards if you didnt know what it meant by an example, but it really does make its own bit of sense.

  3. hennedo says:

    Loved this, had a lot of fun. Felt very fresh and different. Very much worth the $15 for the fun and time I got out of it. It feels a bit like the developers took what they’d learned over years of fine-tuning the game and made a class that uses those lessons and fulfills the necromancer fantasy (for me, at least, and Necro was my favorite class in D2).

  4. ChrisT1981 says:

    I really like the Necro so far. I really love how he’s suited for melee and ranged combat. But I am already burned on him. Gonna try Season for the first time when 11 starts but with a demon hunter.

  5. stringerdell says:

    How do you get that cool UI in the gifs? Looks much better than the standard.

    Anyway, great game, great review!

  6. Grazor_09 says:

    The voice reminds me of death from Darksouls 2, and i love that game..

  7. Wednesday says:

    III was my first diablo. Got it on the exbone and played it with my missus.

    Enjoyed my lady Mage, but was staggered by how little there was to do. I understand that endless combat is the it’s thing, that’s fine, it’s what I signed up for, there’s just so…little.

  8. NailBombed says:

    Still always online. Still a hard pass. At least there’s always other games like Grim Dawn, Torchlight 2, Adventures Of Van Helsing etc. to get a better Diablolike experience that doesn’t require you to be wired up. If they drop the always online aspect somewhere down the line, then I may have a crack. May.

    • horrorgasm says:

      Have you tried not being poor?

      Not trying to specifically defend Diablo 3 here, but man, who else is an online connection a problem for anymore?

      • Premium User Badge

        Mungrul says:

        To be fair and play Devil’s Advocate, there are genuine reasons to criticise Diablo 3 for its decision to be always online.

        One is that lag can and does interrupt gameplay, which can be catastrophic if you’re playing a hardcore character. I’ve had one die because of lag, and I’m not on a poor connection.

        It also means that Diablo 3 will never get modded, and that the only way to play is Blizzard’s way or the highway. I absolutely hate this anti-community, online-only practice that is becoming more and more pervasive in triple-A games, and dictating terms to players rather than fostering community interaction.
        These games will all die when the developer or publisher loses interest or is unable to raise the capital to keep the servers running.

        And I couldn’t give a fuck about the anti-cheat benefits of always-online if it stifles creativity.
        But developers and publishers? If they decide you’re playing the game you bought in a way they don’t like, they can take it away from you. That’s just wrong, and I suspect, legally dubious.

        • Sandepande says:

          As far as always online is concerned, I treat it like I’ve bought a subscription. At some point it will end.

          • Daymare says:

            At some point, but generally Blizzard have been very caring about their old games. Diablo 2 has still running servers, for instance. So I wouldn’t worry too much about D3 in that regard.

            Especially since they just found they can sell one character for the price of a quarter new AAA game.

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          Herring says:

          Blizzard stated that the #1 complaint they got on feedback for D2 was about all the cheating online, dwarfing every other complaint. The only way to reliably stop that is always online.

          Now you could doubt their honesty but if you take them at their word it’s pretty much a no-brainer.

          • Daymare says:

            I’m not buying that justification.

            a) This complaint could only ever come from people who were already playing online. Why would people playing SP or LAN complain about cheating?

            b) They could’ve implemented a SP mode without the always-online component and STILL have a server-based MP mode. Kinda sorta like D2 did, a decade before.

            c) They then made a version of the game that’s not always-online (console). Now you can go and tell me “But that was made by a different team!” Yeah right. And so was D2, pretty much at that point.

            Mind you, I was never bothered by online-only. Just by the corporate garbo they’ve been spewing to explain their decisions about a bunch of stuff. Like, they also had a grand justification for the RMAH. But they doubled down on that, somehow.

          • Asurmen says:

            a) doesn’t render the point invalid though. Blizzard can only respond to the feedback they get. Also, people could easily play SP and Online as well.

            b) that very method in D2 allowed hacks to exist.

            c) console is far harder to near impossible to hack compared to PC.

          • Daymare says:

            I’m just gonna go for one part because I don’t feel like having a huge discussion but

            b) you believe there’s no way to have a single player offline version of the game co-exist with a server-based pure online one? One which mediates and controls hacks? And the other, which is just SP offline?

            There are no hacks for D3?

          • Asurmen says:

            Didn’t say it was impossible, but it did make D2 hacks far easier to do. You could also transfer SP chars to MP and vice versa.

            I don’t know about D3 hacks, but they were common and visible in D2 as the method of joining games made them easier to spot.

          • Daymare says:

            I think you’re confusing something here. There were two MP modes in D2. Open and Closed Bnet. You couldn’t transfer SP characters between SP and Closed Bnet. Closed Bnet characters were stored server-side.

            I played D2 in Closed Bnet for a decade, and aside from a few items people had in a few cowruns they said were duped, I didn’t really see any cheaters in either Baalruns, Cowruns, Severruns or any other levelling processes I joined. Were there a few scripters in there? Probably. Maybe I was just lucky.

      • Daemoroth says:

        I love such blatant stupidity and ignorance. You can have the world’s greatest connection, the most expensive and fastest everest in the world(est). And then maintenance happens, or the servers go down, or your ISP has issues, and all that money you pumped into your connection means diddly-squat.

        Fact of the matter is: You are not 100% in control of your connection, and THAT’s the problem.

        Not to mention that with D3, I still get the odd stutter on PC that is not due to my hardware, and another reason I haven’t tried a HC character on PC.

        It’s also the reason I play it (And LOVE it and the Necro) on console. Tried PC again when it came out, quit ten minutes later due to random stutters.

        Maybe it’s the engine, maybe it’s the server, maybe it’s the connection, so many potential causes and an online requirement doesn’t help the situation, and means there’s nothing I can do about it.

    • UncleLou says:

      None of these games is a better Diablo experience. Well, not on my opinion. Van Helsing is average at best, Torchlight 2 lacks depth, and I never got on with Grim Dawn (despite loving Titan Quest).

      Path of Exile is probably the best of the bunch, but that’s always online, too. No coincidence (neither is it in the case of D3).

      I am afraid you’re missing out on the two best ones. Neither of which will ever go offline.

      • Daymare says:

        Loved TQ too! Tried getting into GD like, three times around different points in its development, never really clicked. Maybe I’d just made a ‘bish character. It was more fun with friends, but they also didn’t stick around.

        Isn’t console D3 offline, though? (Screw Blizzard for doing that while never changing it for PC … but if one really wanted, one COULD play it offline.)

        • Ragnar says:

          D3 on console can be offline, and supports up to 4 player local co-op, and is a joy to play with a controller.

          I switched to the PS4 because my whole family could play together for $20, rather than having to spend $40 per person on D3 + RoS on PC, but after seeing how well it plays on console with a controller I don’t want to go back to playing with mouse and keyboard. I’ll miss playing with my friends, but I won’t miss the carpal tunnel.

  9. CalvinCoolidge says:

    Oh I played Diablo II for actual years. Grades and future be damned–I was working my way up the hardcore ladders!

    And then Diablo III. I played for about two weeks. Ugh. At least Grim Dawn was finally released and provided a good scratch to my ARPG itch.

  10. TimePointFive says:

    Why haven’t you disclosed that you are playing the console version of the game, which is a much different beast than its PC older brother????

    • Premium User Badge

      Mungrul says:

      I would guess that these are promo images grabbed from elsewhere rather than images from Alex’s own game.

      • Bostec says:

        If you mouse over one of the pictures it actually saids hes been playing the PS4 version.

        • Alex Wiltshire says:

          Yep, I’ve been playing Necromancer on PS4, but there’s nothing specific to the Necromancer on PS4 that’s different to the one on PC (I’ve played hours of DIII on both), so all my comments hold for both versions.

          • Graham Smith says:

            I’ve played Diablol on both PS4 and PC as well and can attest that they’re not that different. In any case, while we’d normally review games solely from PC versions, I made the decision that it was OK in this instance because of the nature of the DLC. And because I wanted someone to review it who had put the hours in and was expert in the particulars of the Necromancer class, in the way Alex is.

            I’ve added a note to the review now to make this clear.

          • TimePointFive says:

            Appreciate the response. I’ve been having a ball with all the new updates, but I’d smuggle a rare animal part for that roll move and controller support on PC.

  11. Shadow says:

    While the Necromancer looks somewhat interesting, I’m unfortunately past my peak of interest for Diablo III, and 15 dollars, well, 15 dollars can get you a whole game elsewhere. They’ve really overpriced it, being just a character.

  12. Nova says:

    So this review is completely based on the console version? A version that plays and feels quite differently, from what people keep saying.

    • Asurmen says:

      Other people are saying they play near enough the same.

    • Ragnar says:

      They’re really not that different. They’re not identical, certainly, but they’re not that different.

      The console version has the view a little closer in, the pace is slightly slower, there are slightly fewer monsters on the screen at once, and you have a dodge roll. With the exception of the dodge roll, none of the other differences were perceptible to me, and I wouldn’t have known had I not read about it in a dev post.

      Oh, and console supports offline play, and local co-op, and plays surprisingly lovely with a controller.

      None of which affects the DLC, as the class plays the same way on both.

  13. wombat191 says:

    i finally picked up the game and its expansion a month ago and enjoyed it but yeah the price ? screw that for a single character.

    wonder if this comment will get a blizzard fanboy yelling at me like the last time i complained about the price of it

    • Premium User Badge

      Mungrul says:

      Actually, in all the bits I’ve seen on the Necromancer update, this is what’s annoyed me the most. None of them mention the extra levels that have been added to the map and the new enemies and bosses. There’s a shedload of cool new art assets included with this. Worth $15? Debatable, but to those on the fence, not including this information in reviews is tantamount to misrepresentation.
      So yeah, it’s NOT just a new character (and the gear to support that character). It’s new content too, both story and gameplay.

  14. Chaoslord AJ says:

    I pick this up when they add a new act eventually. Can’t really go over the same content again just with another class.

  15. milonz says:

    Hello,

    i’m a seasoned World of Warcraft (5000-10000+ hours), Diablo 3 (2000+ hours) and Path of Exile (500+ hours) player.
    And yes, due to my old age, i’ve played Diablo 1 and Diablo 2 when they were released, in a time long past ;-)

    My first comment will be about the article and most of the forum’s comments : people don’t understand what these games are about, thus why where the fun and how they can and should be played.
    I know that is a harsh comment, i really don’t mean to troll or to anger people, but the fact is undeniable, for what i’ve read.

    Alice O’Connor should have reviewed the game, i don’t know her personnally, but she seems to be addicted to FTL, so she has the right set of mind for this kind of games.
    Diablo 3 has a lot of a rogue-like game, even if it doesn’t fit the strictest and historical definition.

    Diablo 3 is a pure gameplay-driven game, which is all about the “metagame” (the understanding and manipulation of the underlying game mechanics), opposing to most of games on the market, which are mostly narrative-driven (example : from The Witcher series to GTA V, to Assassin’s Creed).
    It’s about the player’s understanding of the items, of the skills (and the runes) and how to push your character as far as to be IMBA (so good as to make it imbalanced, unfair).
    Alex’s last line about the “kind of imbalance” seem to state that he couldn’t make it to the endgame, so that he didn’t get a grasp of what the game really is and why people play it.

    The game is all about the purely competitive “endgame” : the game’s difficulty is endless, there isn’t a final difficulty plateau where you’re supposed to stop the game, other than your personnal limits (because you’ve got limited playing time, or because you can’t improve anymore, as a player).

    Even if the game is heavily reliant on the item drops, the game is not as grindy as commenters suggest.
    Because it relies more on your **intelligence** than on the items you’ve dropped.
    For example, i can, on a brand new account, level from 1 to 70, equip myself to totally squash torment XIII difficulty in about 15 hours.
    And i’ll only be at the begginning of my journey towards the endgame …

    To summarize, the game is as smart or dumb as the player is.
    If you don’t care about game mechanics and “theorycrafting”, the game is pretty much pointless.
    If you are in the right set of mind, if you have the intellectual curiosity to browse http://www.diablofans.com site for “builds” and understand how your class can be played, what are its mechanics, you’re about to embark on a 1000+ hours honeymoon ! =)
    This is an important issue : regular Diablo players spend from 20% to 50% of their time on forums, documentation, research and engineering is a crucial aspect of the game, as it is in PoE.

    Diablo 3 is a online-only game, and there’s perfectly good reasons : although PvE only, the game is a competition between players (the ladderboards) and you shouldn’t be able to cheat, via the use of “trainers”.
    Historically, you could use trainers on Diablo 2 off-line solo mode, but couldn’t use them on online games (battlenet).
    Cheating would spoil your pleasure and shorten your experience, as well as your competitor’s : something Diablo 2 ladderboards, Diablo 3, or PoE have understood.
    The online-only mode guarantees that you’ve passed or failed a consistent, standardized test, that you’re reached a certain point in your curriculum.

    Therefore, the use of mods (or the stinking debate about the game “openness”) is mostly pointless.
    You can’t change the game, because each player has to experience the same challenges, the same difficulty.
    If you’re familliar with World of Warcraft, which is the only moddable MMORPG, WoW mods only can change the UI, and can’t change the gameplay.
    Because consistent gameplay is the core of why the game is a competitive one.

    PoE (Path of Exile), despite its marketing about being the “true” heir of Diablo 2 for old-timers, and being constructed in opposition of Diablo 3, has also understood that online-only and no-mods are paramount for the kind of goals it has, as a endless competitive gameplay-driven game.

    I can totally understand that gamers don’t care about metagame-driven or competitive games, or don’t have the time to spend 200+ hours on a game to begin to understand it, or do want a more relaxed experience.
    But for the orientation that Diablo 3 (and PoE) have chosen, their decisions are pretty smart and couldn’t be circumvented.

    Sorry for the lengthy comment, i think 99% of RPS won’t care about it, but i hope that for the people interested, it would clarify why the game developpers have made some game design decisions, and more important, what you should (or shouldn’t) expect of the game =)

    • Premium User Badge

      Mungrul says:

      I think you misunderstand Alice’s main gaming orientation.
      It’s less about rogue-likes and more about skill-based gaming.
      Devil Daggers, Binding of Isaac, Quake, that sort of thing. Endless treadmills where the gameplay essentially remains the same except for larger numbers don’t seem to be her thing.

      I appreciate Diablo 3 for what it is, but beyond theory-crafting, the required skill is very low.
      When looking for games to add to my group’s weekly co-op sessions, D3 is an incredibly hard sell, because there’s nothing beyond levelling. There’s no emergent gameplay at all.

      Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the knowledge of systems it takes to come up with some of the amazing builds in D3. But once an optimal build has been discovered, if Blizzard don’t tweak it, there’s nothing to do with it beyond improve the stats of the gear the build relies upon. That’s why you see no build variety at the top of each of the leaderboards.

      • milonz says:

        Ok, i’ve clearly misunderstood Alice’s gaming orientation then =).

        The skills required for Diablo 3 are as much intellectual as manual, it’s true.
        Maybe it’s my age (i’m 38), but it didn’t occur to me that the required manual skills are so low. At my level of competence, i’ve pretty much have a very good understanding about the game’s mechanics, but i’m limited by my manual skills and my reflexes (i’m doing greater rifts 80).
        I suppose that if i were 10-20 years younger, my reflexes would be better (i was once a semi-professional Counter Strike player)

        Your comment about emergent gameplay was interesting, it’s something i’m interested in (i’m not only a Diablo gamer =).

        However, i wonder how it would integrate in a online competitive game. Any suggestions ?

        • Premium User Badge

          Mungrul says:

          I’ve got 5 years on you; I’m 43.

          Basically, any game whereby stats heavily affect the outcome and there’s a power treadmill involved can never really be competetive.
          The person with the higher stats will always get better results than the one without.
          Then, if you remove things like friendly fire and an enemy that seeks cover or retreats and heals, you’re reducing the possibilites for emergent situations to occur.

          Emergent gameplay relies on systems that support it, that allow players to express themselves through play. The games that exemplify this are ones that allow the player to relay stories about how they played them, and for the audience to be engaged by said stories.

          I love D3 as a form of brainless catharsis; I click on things and they explode. But does it surprise me and provide me with experiences I can repeat breathlessly to others?

          No.

          If you want online games that challenge you and allow you to tell stories about your achievements, ones that really capture the imagination, look to your PLUNKBATs, your ARMAs, your HITMANs, your MGS Vs.

          If you have the reflexes, your Quakes, your Overwatches, your Rocket Leagues.

          But most of all, try and avoid anything that features MMO style gear and stat progression like the plague. These games will rarely allow you to regale your friends with experiences wholly different to their own.

          And the other thing to remember is that co-op in D3 is piss-poor.
          I mean, it’s REALLY bad. No-one feels unique, like they’re contributing in a special way, that their skills bring something to the table that helps the team succeed.
          No; they just feel like either they’re holding the team back because their stats are too low or that they’re being held back by under-geared team-mates.

          Play something like ARMA 2 / 3 in co-op and you build bonds, learn how to rely on each person you play with, where their strengths and weaknesses lie, and you try to be better in order to help everyone else.

          And co-op’s a LOT less stressful than competetive stuff when you’re getting on in years than trying to keep up with those younger and hungrier than yourself :)

          • milonz says:

            Really good comment, i’ve enjoyed reading it !

            For Diablo 3, i’m sure they’ve excluded the PvP because of the stats. Essentially, Diablo 3 is a competitive game without PvP, but with leaderboards and progression instead. It’s less powerful : your mates need to be aware there’s a leaderboard, and you must set your goals by yourself, be it ambitious or not. One could say that Diablo is less competitive than ARMA or CS or LoL, but it’s competitive nonetheless.

            I understand your reluctance about the stats, but i’m not sure they matter in the long run. Even LoL has a levelling system, be it ingame (how fast do you xp on your line, aka your “efficiency”) or outside the game (the summoner’s maximum level is 30).

            As i’ve learned with Diablo, the farming process is not only about how much time do you spend, but how smart you spend it : even if the infamous “Alkaizer Run” is now history, there’s optimal and non-intuitive methods to farm now.

            As a more generalistic approach, i think your skill at every single game can be summarized with two factors : the time you’ve spent on it and your brain. You don’t need sinews to play a video game, but a solid sense of observation and good reflexes. They are also intelligence, not less noble that pure intellectual feats.

            In the case of MMORPGs or aRPGs, this level of competence is explicit. But in the case of other games, be it ARMA, Hitman or whatever, this competence is implicit, a discrete one, but it exists nonetheless.

            Moreover, you’ll notice that in most MMORPGs, there’s a level cap. Everybody in Diablo 3 is level 70, everybody in WoW is level 110. So when competing with other players, you don’t have any significant advantage, apart from the gear you’ve already proved you’ve the skills for.

            So i think that taking advantage of the metagame, being smarter, can be a powerful personnal narration for the players.
            It’s the “hacker” state of mind, something that Blizzard and I share (i’m a computer sciences engineer, an über geek ;-)

            It can also be a powerful collective narration when the multiplayer factor fits in.
            I don’t know if this can qualify as emergent gameplay, but my raids in WoW, within a hi-lvl guild, were really powerful, as a team. A shared challenge, way above the team’s skill, collective failures, personal failures, then success.
            It really touched me as a gamer. I’ve tried to emulate this kind of experience with SWTOR (no success) or within Diablo 3 (with less success as i was always sticking with my irl friends).

            For me, this kind of collective experience, achievements, is what makes multiplayer games more valuable than any solo experience, be it even Dark Souls ! ;-)

            This is why i don’t really agree with you when you’re saying that in MMO’s experiences and collective stories are less powerful from other multiplayer games.

            My view on the D3 co-op is pretty mixed.
            There’s the good : meaningful strategies exist, as you would find them in Overwatch or Team Fortress 2 : a healer, a crowd controller, a zdps (zero damage dealer, essentially a buffer/tank), and a dps. It’s nothing new, but it works, everybody can have a specific role, there’s still potential for some wonderful experiences.
            There’s the bad : there’s not enough variety for any other roles than the dps. Every class should have at least one healer and one buffer, so that the teams could have all sorts of viable mixes.
            And there’s the ugly : if teamplay is viable and even encouraged in Diablo 3, there’s not enough tools to make it work seamlessly. No real guilds, no real “looking for group” search tool, as you would find in any MMO. This seriously limits IMHO the players interactions.

            As i was saying in a earlier post, i strongly believe that you’ll find friends in a game way more efficiently than you’ll find IRL friends ready to play a specific game (and this a remark for all online games). So for me, Blizzard had a good online strategy, but hasn’t completely achieved the goals it set for itself.

          • milonz says:

            PS : the problem with the skills gap in a team is mostly due to a … skills gap, not to a level / item gap, which can be easily fixed.
            It happens in every multiplayer game, especially when you play with IRL friends and not in a team focused on the same goal.
            That’s also why i think that’s especially difficult to play online with IRL friends.

          • Premium User Badge

            Mungrul says:

            Okay, is there ever a time facing an MMO boss where the mechanisms to defeat it allow for a different method of approach?

            I can’t think of any, and I’ve played WoW, Age of Conan, both Guild Wars games, D&D Online, Black Desert Online and plenty more I can’t remember at the moment.

            This is part of what I mean, and it’s often even more egregious, with many MMOs making it so half your skills don’t work on bosses, effectively removing your tools and restricting your options.

            You will play these scenarios the way the developers demand you play them, and you will play them over and over again in order to get better gear (which to mitigate your point about level caps ARE the new level caps post maximum level; to speak generally, a level 70 character with tier 1 raid gear is significantly less powerful than a level 70 character with tier 3). The strategy (and there is only one usually) you use to defeat the boss won’t change between one tier or another.

            It’s a sham.

            Any perceived notion of knowledge and skill is misguided in these games. You can be absolutely perfect in your timing, know exactly every last attack pattern of the enemy you’re facing, but if your gear isn’t up to it, you die. You can definitely be a better player objectively than someone with better gear than you, but you will fail where they will succeed.

            The only factor at play here is whether you have the time and patience to grind out the gear to enable you to beat the enemy. Your moves will be exactly the same as they were before, but you’ll win because yours stats are higher. Not your knowledge or skill, but an artificial barrier placed there by the developer to simply make you play longer.

            Note: the exception is the original Guild Wars, where level cap was low and maximum stat gear was readily available. The “End Game” was reliant on players adapting their builds to the given scenario, and learning those scenarios in order to understand what worked best. It still has the best gear, level and skill system of any MMO I’ve played, and was effectively a real-time card-based game before these things became popular. You’d collect hundreds of skills, yet only be able to equip 8 at a time. It was an incredibly elegant system that I was astonished to see them abandon in the second game, which was weaker for its absence.

            In the other games I mentioned, their systems allow for more than one approach, and reward actual skill rather than simply time spent playing. This is the real “hacker state of mind”. Being able to analyse a situation, come up with a unique approach that the designers may not have though of, and successfully execute it.

            See: Rocket jump.

            The now humble rocket jump is probably the best example of emergent gameplay in the history of the first person shooter, if not gaming.
            id didn’t design Quake knowing that this would be possible and an actually valid gameplay strategy. They just built a game that had systems open enough to allow it. It took enterprising players to exploit the physics system and get places map designers had never intended them to go.
            It relied on actual skill in control, and is an almost perfect example of risk / reward. Yes, you increase your mobility, but at the cost of some health.

            I feel pretty damn confident in saying that the rocket jump helped kick-start the entire speed-running community.

            When someone discovers something like this in an MMO?
            It gets patched out as an exploit.

            RPG systems have been corrupted by computer games developers. Where they existed in pen and paper as a framework to help players imagine scenarios, in computer games they’re too often used to restrict the options available to players.
            I grow less and less enamored of them the older I get.

          • milonz says:

            For my part, my first MMORPG played was The 4th Coming, a Ultima Online better clone by certain aspects.
            When T4C commercialization has stopped in France (first generation MMORPGs were a mean to sell paid telecom access, and unlimited broadband killed them), i’ve began to host a T4C server for myself.
            At this time, i knew the original tech team hosting it, and they gave me access to their tools.
            Then, i’ve tried Asheron’s Call and Dark Age of Camelot for some time.
            Then i’ve moved to Lineage 2 : i was developping with my dev team a branch of L2J, a open-source server-side replacement for the proprietary NCSoft hosting software, and i was hosting a dedicated server for people to play on, free of charge.
            Then i’ve moved to WoW, first pirate then the legit Blizzard hosted game, when i’ve began to work and to make some real money.
            Since i’ve stopped WoW, i’ve done some diverse MMORPGs, like D&D Online, FF XIV or SWTOR.

            It’s true that things like boss’ resistances and vulnerabilities are something very present in MMORPGs, but it doesn’t occur to me as a real weakness.
            It’s part of the trial & error process, discovering how a boss truly works is for me something fun.
            After all, all player characters have their own strengths and weaknesses, too, it’s logical that bosses would have their own.
            If you look at litterature, even Achilles, which was a true “invulnerable boss” character of the Illiad poem, had his weakness, his heel.
            It’s more than a simple gameplay gimmic, it’s a storytelling gimmic, it’s part of our shared culture.
            OK, i don’t think that every boss in a game should solely rely on weaknesses, but it’s a part of every game.

            We do agree when you’re saying that bosses should have multiple ways to be beaten, and that the player’s creativity should be more encouraged.
            It’s something that doesn’t appear in WoW, where the typical mental process does not vary : categorizing the boss’ strengths & weaknesses, learning his successive phases, figuring out the optimal strategy, repeating it till it works or rethinking it, till the team’s execution is perfect.
            Yesterday, I was playing at Dark Souls 3, which is a pure solo game, and i’ve followed the same process in order to beat Sister Friede ;-)

            For me, this way of doing things is not perfect in any way, but when done right, it’s quite enjoyable.
            Now, i understand perfectly that’s not the only way possible, and maybe when i’ll see some better gameplay, i’ll totally change my mind about WoW’s method ! =)

            But i do disagree with you when you’re saying that gear tiers in a game are useless.
            Some people can play without any reward, and set their own personnal or collective goals.
            But gear CAN (i insist on the conditionnal) have two concrete usages :
            – they serve as rewards, they’re marking factual progress
            – more importantly, they act as invisible barriers for groups

            As i’ve said in an another post, for me, bosses in MMORPGs are like standardized tests in a scholar curriculum.
            You’ve got to pass the test adapted to your skill before moving to another, more difficult test.
            It ensures that people have honed sufficient skills and it limits frustration because it channels players into honing their skills at a certain level, before moving on a higher difficulty.
            When you beat a boss in a MMORPG, you gain loot, but probably not enough to beat the next boss.
            Even without gear, this repetition would be quite a necessity, because a player needs to improve his skills CONSISTENTLY before being able to beat the next boss.
            That takes time and repetition, it’s part of the human learning process.

            In my experience, I’ve seen good groups beat a boss with crappy undersized gear, and i’ve seen bad groups fail consistently a boss, even with perfect gear.
            When a MMORPG is done well, the skills curve required to beat a boss progresses quicker that the gear’s utilitarian value.
            For me, gear is only a minor adjustement variable, which should be properly used to mark progress.

            But i do agree with you, gear in World of Warcraft doesn’t affect enough gameplay.
            It does affect somehow the player’s style (recent WoW sets give bonuses to skills, so it changes the player’s skill usage cycle, be it for dps, tank or healing roles).
            But the changes are minor, and they should be improved.

            Actually, Diablo 3 is far better at it, since Reaper of Souls.
            Item sets and gems are totally defining the player’s gameplay style, even within a class.
            For example, a barbarian with the Raekor’s Set will totally play his build differently from a barbarian with the Immortal King or Wrath of the Wastes.
            And gear, gems and skills / runes modulations are an ABSOLUTE neccessity for each gamer, regardless of what some build or some known Youtuber says.
            Because each character has its own progression, because each player has his own strengths and weaknesses.
            A veteran player can sacrifice survability for some more dps, because he’s skilled enough to avoid more damage than a less seasoned player.
            A weaker player should priorize damage mitigation or regeneration, even if that means sacrificing some dps.
            For me, discovering what your skill is at the current time, knowing what you’re capable of or incapable of, is part of the game, and maybe the more important and the more demanding aspect of it.

            Concerning the “hacks”, Blizzard has a balanced position, i think.
            Some strategies are good, and are encouraged.
            As i’ve said earlier, Diablo 3 core values are in finding a way to be IMBA, because the game’s difficulty curve is not linear but exponential.
            Thus, discovering ways to be IMBA is a inescapable necessity and the ultimate goal of the game.
            But the search of the imbalance and exploiting the game’s bugs or conceptual weaknesses can be a fragile border some gamers can easily cross.
            Some days ago, there was a new exploit, which made two different builds work so well together that players could litteraly cheat and progress way too fast.
            They were taking advantage of a technical weakness, and Blizzard issued bans.
            I don’t know what is the perfect balance, but i know they must encourage creativity but they also have a responsability towards their community, to keep competition clean and fair.

            I do agree with the rocket jump in Quake, that was a marvellous gameplay discovery, and it was pretty clever for Id to encourage this new gimmick !
            But as a dev, you know that your game is a technical mess, and you should thoroughly examine every case separately, to see if it adds something new to the gameplay or if it spoils your game.
            Ultimately, it’s your responsability to make the right decision.
            Errors can and will be made, but i don’t think that MMORPGs developers are less open than other multiplayer devs, when the balance is kept =)

            Eventually, this is not purely a multiplayer games problem, but it concerns all video games, even the solo ones.
            All games have bugs, have technical limitations and can be exploited.

            I’ve seen Half Life 2 or more recently, Bloodborne pretty fantastic speedruns.
            To most of gamers, this is a nauseating and bug exploiting experience, but as a engineer, i understand and love the concept in discovering the technical weaknesses of a game.
            But it goes far far more than gameplay, i consider that as being *outside* the gameplay, as a pure technical and intellectual feat, outside the game.
            Speedruns, as done by the agdq (awesome games done quick), are not gaming anymore, that’s a totally different discipline.

            There’s also some pretty legit speedruns, without taking advantage of any technical exploits.
            I’ve seen some awesome runs, and i’ve made some as well (in 1990, i had the crazy idea of playing to “Revenge of Shinobi” on my Sega Genesis without the TV, only with the sound).

            Speedruns are a organic and natural idea every gamer had at some moment.
            And they are anterior to rocket jumps ;-)
            Back in my time, speedruns were a inherent necessity, because most console games didn’t have saves files or save states.
            When you were attending school, doing your homework, you had a limited time frame to finish a game after dinner, and you had to finish it in one go before it was time to go to bed.
            So learning to speedrun was the only way to see the end of a difficult game like “Wonderboy in Monster Land”, “Alex Kidd in Miracle World” or “Ghouls’n Ghosts” =)

          • milonz says:

            Oh, and there was “Last Battle”, the worst unworthy piece of crap of a game, whose unfairness, bugs and tragic design decisions make probably one of the most difficult games in the whole gaming history !

    • Daymare says:

      I think the one overlying flaw in all your arguments is this:

      You think you’ve figured out the one REAL way to play all those ARPGs. That if a player’s not competitive, if they’re not gaming the underlying systems and not theorycrafting, then, to quote you, one “doesn’t get a grasp of what the game really is”.

      I’ve played WoW for half a decade before I stopped raiding; D3 for 150-250 hours (don’t know), PoE for 500+. In all those games I’ve never played competively; only theorycrafted in PoE (which was designed that way); and never, ever cared about any rankings or ladders. Ever.

      You say that’s what these games are “about”, but not only does that make you sound kinda elitist, it also means that you haven’t understood this very simple fact:

      People play games for many, many different reasons.

      Like, people just collecting as many pets in WoW as they can get; or playing D3 for its story.

      That’s all, I’m out, I put way too much time into this board.

      • Daymare says:

        A bunch of my friends never started theorycrafting in PoE. They just went along with the paths they needed at the time they played.

        So, my writing that the game was “designed that way” is already a huge assumption on my part — and in a way, not really true — because I’ve spent a lot of time with it and made up my personal rules and ideas of what it “is about”.

      • milonz says:

        As i’ve said, i don’t want to sound like a “elitist jerk” (if you’ve played WoW, maybe you’ll get the joke, hohoho)

        You can play a game as you like.
        But the fact is that game designers have made some decisions, so you more likely to have fun with a game if you choose the right game for YOU.

        Of course, aRPGs are not all like Diablo 3, i’ve played all the aRPGs on the market. Grim Dawn, Sacred 2, Dungeon Siege, Titan’s Quest, and titles i don’t even remember.
        Each game has its own vision, its own goals.

        You can have fun with any game, however you like.
        But with Diablo 3 or PoE, the “meat” is within the endgame and the competitive play.
        You can perfectly ignore it, but that’s why most people keep playing it.

        My personnal experience :
        – i was playing Diablo 3 with 2 friends : one that haven’t got the intellectual tools for this kind of game, he used it to “blow off steam”. He hadn’t made a single progress for 2 years. And one another who had a proper understanding of the game but didn’t really care. In other words, he wasn’t enjoying himself. The best decision we have made so far was to change for another game, which proved be more fun for them.
        – i’m currently playing PoE with 3 other friends. PoE is f2p, so it’s cool, my friends test it. I’m perfectly happy with one of my friends, he cares about the same things as me, and we have common goals (the endgame). The problem is with my 2 other friends, who are narrative-driven solo players. One has already stopped playing (he likes novelty, discovery), the other persists in playing the game as HE likes, doesn’t want to use builds or learn the UI or even how to choose items you pick up on the ground, . In other words, he’s having a shitty experience, and he’s making ours (the party) even more shittier. Nobody has fun.

        It’s OK to play a game as you feel, if you’re playing it alone. But people have the right to remind you that you’re missing its meatier, better designed aspects, so you can at least know that you’re missing something.

        When it comes to a mostly online cooperative game, if players don’t share the same common goal, if there’s a egoistic player who feels entitled to enjoy the game as he wants, then it’s becoming a long-term shared nightmare.
        It’s better, for the sake of the psychological health, to find a game better suited for everybody ;-)

        • Daymare says:

          Yeah, I know the term. I was such a guy a few years ago, I think.

          I absolutely agree that if you’re dragging your friends/group down, that sucks.

          OTOH, if said friend’s not having fun, why’s he playing it in a group in the first place? This feels more like a social issue, than one with the game, to me.

          I also agree that games are designed to cater to specific sorts of people and playstyles! You can absolutely criticise those decisions though.

          • milonz says:

            Because we are a group of friends, 37-40 years old, we have our family, our work, so we keep contact online in the evening, when the kids are already sleeping. One of the friends even lives 500km from us.
            We try to play some online games, and finding a game that everybody will enjoy is a real PAIN.
            Because everybody has his own vision about games ;-)

            The difficulty we had for now 4-5 years led me to think that it’s easier to find a community which is playing the same game as you, and who has the same goals (example : WoW raids) than to find a game which your already established community will enjoy.

            So far, we’ve tried a lot of games (Borderlands 2, WoW, Elite Dangerous, SWTOR, Diablo 3, LoL, Ark Survival, PoE), and we’re never really found one game everybody was perfectly happy with, we has a lot of internal tensions, friendships were damaged.

            The last one was on PoE, i’m sure we’ll have to change soon.
            I’m only wandering if we’ll be able to find another one, or if we’ll stop trying to play online.

        • Daymare says:

          Or … sorry, that’s what you wrote … if his version of fun is incompatible with his group’s.
          Maybe just approaching him nicely and helping him and giving him some tips?

          Btw, very much looking forward to PoE’s 3.00. Haven’t played it in over a year, friends and I will start over together once Oriath releases, too.

          • milonz says:

            I think he doesn’t like the game, simply put.
            He’s been playing for 10 hours, but i already knew the game wasn’t his cup of tea long before he began playing. He’s fond of narrative-driven games, like Baldur’s Gate, SWTOR, Mass Effect, and don’t care about a game like Path Of Exile, where gameplay mechanics are the most of the experience.
            He only plays PoE because we play it.

            Well, discussing, helping him seems like impossible for now.
            He’s a very successful professional, smart, academic, he has a huge assurance on the verge of stubbornness.

            The last time we argued, it was because i was telling him, nicely, that he was a templar, specialized in strengh and intelligence, and that he should mouse over the items and select the items he needs to pick up …

            Essentially, he was picking up all the items he found and spent 15 minutes in town browsing them for each 15 minutes he spent actually playing. And the party was BORED.

            He’s a proper gamer and a geek, he understands what a video game is. But he considers that he should play the game as he wants, and that everybody else has to adapt to his play style ;-))

          • Daymare says:

            To be honest, that still sounds like he needs a bit of help, more than anything else. Loot in PoE is crazy. It’s a complicated game that’s not always easy to understand on your own.
            Give him a loot filter that filters out all the garbage? Or just tell him everything white that’s not a 3L RGB is irrelevant. Just pick up yellows, browns and golds. You’re set.

            Ask him what sort of character he WANTS to play, and give him some tips. Don’t tell him what he SHOULD do, let him decide.
            There’s so much choice in skills, it can be overwhelming.

            You can play Templar as pretty much anything (just like all classes in PoE are just starting points). You can build him pure STR if you want, or pure INT caster.
            Pretty much the only thing that matters is that you build enough survivability, and that you remain CONSISTENT with the stats you go for in your build.

          • milonz says:

            Sure, i know all that.
            I’ve got 4 characters which have finished the merciless difficulty, and one fireblast totem templar, totally IMBA ;-)

            I can’t help him as long as he doesn’t acknowledge he needs help.
            He’s so sure of himself that he doesn’t want to hear any feedback and that he doesn’t communicate about how he wants to build his templar (if he has any plans at all).

            It’s not a problem of knowledge, but purely a problem of communication and attitude. I think he knows he’s drowned with informations, and that he won’t be able to go back up. PoE is as complex as any pen and paper RPG will ever be. Despite knowing his IRL friends for years, he probably doesn’t want to acknowledge he needs help, so he sticks to the only posture he knows : “I don’t need your help, i’ll play this game as i like, and i don’t care about your opinions. Mind your own business”
            It’s a pretty common situation, like this of a bad game developer who says “everybody has an opinion” to his customers ;-)

          • Daymare says:

            Welp, sucks. Especially because your success/fun depends also on his performance.
            Sounds a bit selfish.

            Friends can always figure something out. There’s so many games, one’ll ultimately fit.

          • milonz says:

            He’s a wonderful humain being, very smart in real life, but as a gamer as well as a roleplayer, he’s a selfish stubborn b*st*rd ;-)
            We’ll all aware of that, we’ll find a solution.

            I vote for a asymmetrical game, like “Dead by daylight” !
            He’ll be constantly playing the whimsy teenager everybody wants dead, and we’ll be constantly playing the sadists chasing him =)

            Rhaaaaaaaa *roars*

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