Home Editorial Review: The Diablo 3 demo disappointment

I really don’t know how to say this without sounding like a jerk, so I won’t try.

The Diablo 3 beta* is bad, and Blizzard should feel bad.

They’ve had a decade to plan, execute, and polish a sequel to the rapturously addictive Diablo 2. Hell, so many other games have tried to do it, all they really had to do was copy/paste the best features of each, slap on a story, and call it a day.

Instead, they’ve put together one of the most overglossed, soulless experiences available in PC gaming today.


PHL 203: Diabolic determinism

If there’s one thing the Diablo series** has always been about, it’s choice. The player, at many turns, had to make tough decisions that could affect him or her throughout the course of the entire game.

In Diablo 1, players had to carefully weigh the potential risks and benefits of using shrines, for instance. Some shrines might just top off health or mana, but others could permanently change a character’s stats, for better or for worse.There were a lot of other hard calls to make – should the player increase a magic ability, even if it would then cost all his mana to use it?  Part of the scare of the original was the dread of failure, not by monsters, but by one’s own decisions.

That trend continued in Diablo 2, where players were given precious few stat and skill points to allocate each level-up. Stat points always conferred a benefit, but choosing between additional life and the strength to wear more protective armor was often difficult. Likewise, skills were built into a broad but generally unforgiving tree. Spending a point on one ability might make choosing others infeasible later. It was a careful balancing act.

In both games (and their expansions), players also had to make constant decisions about the loot that fell around them. Was it worth picking up? Was it worth identifying, or carrying to someone who could do so? In Diablo, some Uniques had serious drawbacks that had to be measured against their benefits. In Diablo 2, characters often had to trade off raw power for additional magical bonuses, counterbalancing damage and versatility.

Diablo 3 has taken most decisions out of the players’ hands. Stats and skills are now automatically allocated along a strict schedule of leveling. The reasoning? Blizzard wanted to remove the “tedium” from the game’s beloved formula. They decided players would regret a misplaced bump in Agility, or would lament a poor decision in skill choice. The entirety of character progression is thus automatic, with the only customization available now being equipment: weapons, armor, jewelry.

While I understand new players may be daunted by systems like Diablo 2’s, it’s lamentable Blizzard couldn’t simply make auto-leveling optional. This option worked well in Mass Effect, where the game would give newbies a solid base of skills if they didn’t feel like calculating it themselves. Without this toggle, Diablo 3 effectively cuts a major component of customization out of the game.

Sure, abilities can still be used in a large variety of ways, even more so than in Diablo 2. The third iteration’s skill system is actually quite compelling, with (albeit nonsensical) runes giving the player the option to use each skill several different ways. The problem, however, is that these decisions are immediately reversible and thus have no gravitas whatsoever. Choosing an area of effect skill rune over an increased damage rune can be undone in any dungeon instantly. In essence, all top-level Monks are completely identical except for equipment, decreasing emotional investment in favor of (real money) loot auctioneering and simplication.

Blizzard essentially took the RPG out of action-RPG in favor of a fighting and leveling system more akin to a console brawler.


Characters that don’t build character

Speaking of console brawlers, I was dismayed to launch the Diablo 3 “beta”  and reach the character selection screen. The first person greeting me here was none other than Bayonetta: a sumptuous, tall woman in stilettos and leather, dual wielding firearms with a cocky smile. Her abilities included rapid-fire projectiles, insane acrobatics, and expertise in the conflict between divinity and demons.

Oops, that’s the Demon Hunter.

While I’m happy Blizzard added gender choices, none of the character classes grabbed me in the way the options in Diablo or Diablo 2 did. The aforementioned Demon Hunter is pretty much a mashup of the aforementioned Bayonetta,† give or take some Van Helsing and (of course) the Warcraft 3 Demon Hunter. The Witch Doctor continues the trend of mildly offensive voodoo bullshit we also saw in Warcraft 3, while the Wizard is so generic, one can only imagine she was included to prove Blizzard knows multiple synonyms for sorcerer/sorceress.

The Barbarian and Monk are fairly inoffensive as returning classes, though the latter got a big ol’ helping of Avatar the Last Airbender in his character design.

Regardless the actual appeal, I ultimately landed on Demon Hunter, since the description sounded interesting. Balancing Hatred and Discipline to use abilities? It had so much potential. Would using one empty the other? Would taking damage fuel Hatred? Would avoiding spam fuel Discipline?

Nope, they’re just two different (yet equally badly named) types of mana. They accumulate over time, they’re spent to cast spells, and they have no affect on each other whatsoever. I haven’t played all the other character classes, but I’d assume their resources (mana, focus, Vespene Gas, etc.) are all basically the same.

Getting past the stupidity of naming a resource Hatred (more on that later), I was floored that the very first ability available was essentially Guided Arrow. That’s right, kids: from the get-go Blizzard decided your default attack is incapable of missing its target. Later abilities included a gigantic trap that slows everything (including bosses) to a crawl, and the ability to become invisible. While certainly cool by all interpretations of the word, I felt like I didn’t deserve such power so early in the game. It made me wonder exactly what I’d be looking forward to later on.

At least the story and atmosphere were good, right?


The only scary part? Voice acting

No, the atmosphere wasn’t good. I wouldn’t say it was terrible; it had all the right set pieces: dimly-lit areas, monsters surrounding you from all angles, that sort of thing. What stood out was just how easy the game is. And while it’s certain to scale upwards with progress, there was no challenge whatsoever.

I disagree with players who’ve told me that Diablo and Diablo 2 are just as easy. In Diablo, many players first experienced death at the hands of the Butcher and the Skeleton King. In Diablo 2, Rakinishu and Blood Raven were all but impossible for low-level characters to face head-on. Both games featured geography that put the player at a severe disadvantage, with claustrophobic spaces in the original and open ranges that benefited ranged enemies in the sequel.

In Diablo 3, I only used three potions in the course of the 2-hour demo, and two were by accident. Half of my gear caused life regeneration, and the plentiful amounts of health orbs dropped by enemies made damage a joke. In the rare instances I was injured, it was easy to run from danger spamming debuffs, with most ranged attacks being laughably slow and easily dodged. Instead of an environment that made fighting difficult, the landscape was full of physics-based traps that easily crushed what opposition I faced. And when battles ended, the otherwise eerie atmosphere was shattered with COD-inspired killstreak bonuses.

Believe it or not, that wasn’t the worst part. No, dear reader, the worst part was the ear-shattering voice acting. I’m not going to pretend Diablo 3’s predecessors had astounding voiceover work. But by comparison, this third game’s narrative is grating, hokey, and poorly scripted. Don’t take my word for it, listen for yourself:

“Not enough Hatred.” Yep, that makes sense. As a professional writer, I couldn’t help but wonder if perhaps the Demon Hunter could have instead said, “Impossible!” or “I can’t!” with a “Not enough Hatred” tooltip appearing instead. This was how things generally worked in Diablo 2, which was great since they weren’t patently ridiculous.


“Catering to casuals” conclusion

Diablo 3 isn’t a bad game, it’s just a bad Diablo game. I understand that Blizzard wanted to make a title that was more action-focused, less mathematical, and more accessible to the teeming millions, many of whom haven’t played Diablo or Diablo 2. I also recognize that while I may have gotten my jollies building Bowadins and Melee Sorcs, meticulously collecting equipment and skill points for hours, most players just want to run a game and click things until they die.

I can’t change Blizzard’s course of action, and Diablo 3 will succeed regardless of my misgivings. Hell, I’ll probably buy it at discount at some point in the future, beat the campaign, and call it a day. But I hope like-minded gamers can understand that, as far as following in the footsteps of its antecedents goes, Diablo 3 appears to have failed my expectations. While many improvements are welcome (like the de-itemization of Town Portal scrolls), I can’t help but feel the gothic, choice-based legacy of the series ended with the fall of Baal.

I suppose I’d be more angry about it all, but my Hatred is too low.


* Read: demo.
** Including Diablo, Diablo: Hellfire, Diablo 2, and Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction
† For the record, Bayonetta is a wonderful game.

79 replies to this post
  1. It took me two days to finally get into the beta (thanks for telling me I had to set my region to America, Blizz. I mean, seriously, don’t put the fucking choice in there if the wrong choice means I can’t play) and I wasn’t impressed. Very easy, repetitive and boring.

    However, I didn’t find the voice acting that bad but I did play the original Resident Evil to death so I may be immune.

  2. Honestly the horrid armor designs are enough to keep me away from this game, I know Blizzard loves gigantic spikes and horns all over everything but I figured you know…they might do something different with Diablo 3.

    But hey! Why do something different when there’s money to be made from doing the same thing over again!

  3. Oh my god, Wing, you are my favourite, and I absokutely agree with you that it was stupid to simplify the Diablo game by taking out the majority of the levelup process. To be honest even Dungeon Hunter Alliance has more complicated leveling with skills and statistic points xD

    But Wing, I don’t care, this is such an awesome game!!! I had so much fun playing the beta with all 5 classes! I love this shit man.
    But thx for ur honest opinion =)

    • I’m often the first to say “Dude, it’s a beta, chill out” but remember that the majority of this article is saying “This beta is really bad” rather than “This is exactly how the game will be with no change whatsoever and I dislike it”.

  4. D3 is very overhyped in my opinion. And I think it looks pretty boring.. “I don’t have enough hatred to continue this comment.”

  5. To anyone who is just blowing this off because it’s beta does not realize that this game drops in less than three weeks and if the game is like that piece of shit I’m not buying it. I did not have any disagreements with the voice acting but when is Blizzard going to stop gutting games? First WoW went into the shitter now you are doing the same to Diablo. Way to fuck it up Blizzard.

    • To be fair to Blizzard, WoW was going to get pretty fucked up eventually anyway. Taking down the black dragonflight, the Illidan, The Lich King… sooner or later, you’re going to run out of baddies to kill. Personally, I think that killing Arthas and Deathwing was a bad idea from a story standpoint as really, who is stronger than those two? Sargeras?

      WoW fell into the trap of the players becoming way too powerful which is an easy pit to fall in but very difficult to climb back out of.

      Also, Blizzard, in my opinion aren’t really gutting games. If you want to see gutting, play the original Fallout games and then play Fallout 3.

      • There are *tons* of baddies, one more powerful than the other. Some that make Sargeras look like a level 1 critter, and some that would own THOSE with one finger.
        The only problem is, Blizzard’s already kind of at the cap of what you can believably make player characters do on their own, and unless there’s always one of the powerful doods suddenly wanting to do good, they’re going to run out.

        Just for completeness, the black dragonflight has a chance of salvation, as you fight basically the entire time when questing in the Badlands to save an egg. It’s enough to allow Blizzard to say “You did that, so now they’re all fine and nice again.”.

        But otherwise, I agree. Blizz isn’t gutting the game, the players are. I don’t know if you play WoW, but think back of doing heroics at the beginning at Cataclysm, back when Blizzard could stick to their “Epics mean something again” philosophy. When everyone had just the required itemlevel and there were no nerfs in place. That was what they had been trying to achieve with the xpack.
        But then the players came and whined for more, easier content.

        And they also have to award people for doing harder dungeons, of course. That leads to a constant 5% or so increase in ridiculousity of stats with every contentpatch.

        To ensure an equipment wipe with every xpack, there must also be maybe 50% or 75% higher stats than up-to-date epics on every crap item you get literally five minutes in.

        At least Blizzard “DLC” is free and what it’s meant to be. No unlocking what was already done, but adding more to the pile for a game that people pay for. That makes Blizzard just so much better than a certain evil company with just two letters.

  6. Completely agree with you assessment. Since you don’t have to make decisions you don’t really connect with you character. The whole thing stopped being an RPG and started being a button masher. No thanks.

  7. I loved the “tedium” of D2 and D1 – sitting for a good half an hour in town and messing about with inventory, waiting to get back to town after levelling up in a fight so that I could take my time and really think about how to portion stat points. Oh well.. still going to buy it!

  8. “If there’s one thing the Diablo series** has always been about, it’s choice”
    Nope thats wrong. Diablo was always great for me because of the loot not because of the choice of skills. Many MMOs use auto leveling for skills and it works great. People who want to distribute their skills on their own dont even want to have more choice imo they simply want to look at a guide skill a perfect character and be able to laugh at new players who skilled their char wrong. In Diablo 2 you had not much “choice”. You just had to look up a guide before you start playing which is retarded imo.

    Also saying the beta is too easy is really stupid. Ofcourse you dont need potions because everyone is forced to play the beta levels on the easyest difficulty. It wont be like that in the real game.

    People dont let you distract from the great game Diablo 3 will be by such fast written blog posts.

    • It’s ignorant to lump everyone together. I was one if the players that WROTE those skill guides. I liked experimenting with builds the same way I enjoy building decks in Magic. Players will still use build guides in Diablo 3 so I don’t even see your point.

      • As far as I see it there was no “experimenting” in diablo2. Sure in the beginning there was but soon players figured out the best “competitive” builds and almost everyone used them. And sure guides are great for equipment and stuff like that but having the “choice” for skillpoints while there are only 2-3 really good ways to skill your character is bullshit imo.

      • Saturo I can’t be responsible for what other people did, but I experimented in D2 all the time. I made Dragon Tail Assassins with fire charms, I made Defiance Paladins with 100 trillion defense and Warcry Barbs dual wielding wands.

        Did people use copy/paste builds? Sure. But I didn’t and now Blizzard has taken that away from my experience.

      • Okay I can understand that. Its just my opinion that there were some “optimal” builds in diablo 2. If every build was viable I could understand it even more and would probably feel like you about them removing it but for me it was a good thing to remove it but again thats up to everyone if you like it or not.

        However I cant understand at all why you say its a bad diablo game because its too easy… Its the beta and its supposed to be easy (you are forced to play on the easiest difficulty.) I am 99% sure that it will be alot harder in the real game and I cant really wait to play the released game.

      • I know it’s supposed to be easy but I did not use a single potion for 2.5 hours or come even close to dying.

        In Diablo it was very possible for new players to die to the Butcher (first quest). In Diablo 2 it was very possible to die to Blood Raven (first quest).

        In Diablo 3 I had no chance of dying even up till the 3rd or 4th quest. To me that is disappointing.

      • Yes but thats because in D3 you can choose a difficulty for each level as far as I know (even lower than normal unlike D2) and the beta is played on the super mega newbie easyest difficulty for some reason where its actually next to impossible to die. In the real game you can still play through the game on this difficulty but you will only get awful loot. Higher difficulty = Better loot.

    • I agree with Saturo. I was big into creating barbs in D2 but if you put one skill wrong its a remake never be good at pvp with ONE missed skill. D3 will be great. But it is the consumers choice to play or not. And blood raven was never a good match for me always owned her in a few hits with a noob barb. The Butcher on the other hand ._. D3 needs to be like D1 when it comes to looting and difficulty. But we will all find out on the 15th!

  9. When I was playing it I found myself bored, but I didn’t realise why. I mean, this game is supposed to be awesome right? After reading this I know why I felt this way.

  10. Yeah was kind of sad that the beta felt a bit different than other games, not to mention much easier. But it’s only a small portion of the game, for all we know difficulty can ramp up as that act was just a tutorial like thing. Another thing to think about is that many of these simplifications were probably made because of the console port, so that they don’t have that much trouble playing it. If you played diablo 1 in the ps1 you would agree it was harder to play than in the PC.

    • I highly doubt they made any changes to the GUI for ease of a consol port. They made public announcements stating that there would be no decisions made based on the fact that they want to make a consol version of the game.

      Not to mention, Blizzard is first and foremost a PC game developer.

  11. I had such high hopes for Diablo 3. I never played Diablo 2 competitively, just occasionally with a friend with completely unique characters.

    What always got me about D2 was how absolute your decisions were. Your skill points mattered because you couldn’t reverse them. If you died, you couldn’t load up an earlier save, you had to actually scamper naked into hell while the lord of destruction chased you so that you could pick up your stuff and open a portal out of there. Making auto level up compulsory seems like an erosion of what made the previous games good.

  12. @Binerexis: Maybe it’s because I never have played the original Fallout games, but I really enjoyed Fallout 3 and New Vegas, and I’d have to say they are two of my favorite games. *shrug*

  13. […] Diablo 3 Demo Review: Impressions of the Diablo 3 beta | Top Tier Tactics 5 reasons Diablo III might disappoint you – Washington DC DC PC Game | Examiner.com Unfortunately, I am disappointed after playing the open beta. – GameSpot.com Disappointment for Diablo 3 users – In Entertainment cal127 wrote: Really not worth getting? Where did you get that vibe from? […]

  14. I don’t disagree about the ease of the beta experience, but I don’t have much heartburn about it, either. When the game goes live, this is essentially the tutorial experience. I think it’s fair to say that, in general, the first bit of most games these days is pretty easy. If it’s still as much of a cakewalk throughout Normal, I’ll be a bit more disappointed.

    As to the stat/skill system, it seems obvious that Blizzard is aiming to broaden the appeal of the game, and my own experience with D2 leads me to think that this is a step in the right direction. Personally, the permanence of skill and stat allocations in D2 was a barrier to further replayability. I started with a bow-based Amazon with what was likely pretty poor point allocation. That didn’t prevent me from enjoying the game, but when I spoke with a friend about his spear-wielding ways, I’m pretty well stuck leveling a new character if I want to try it out, and that becomes a difficult proposition if my time is limited. With the new system, I can experiment freely without the additional time investment.

    Additionally, while I was initially skeptical of the lack of skill trees in D3, I think I’ve come to like it better. The fixed skill progression doesn’t end up being quintessentially different than the trees, even if you do lose choice in the strict order that you’d receive skills. While the loss in the fine tunability in point allocations is unfortunate, I think that the rune system is a more engaging replacement. I shan’t mourn the loss of stat allocations, as that was the most boring part of the customization process, anyhow. Perhaps a choice of auto/manual might have been a viable alternative, but I’ve difficulty feeling that it would have added much.

    I have to agree on the voice acting, though I’d put more blame on the writing. “The power of the fallen star awakened me” makes me think of the Robot Devil from Futurama: “You can’t just have your characters announce how they feel! That makes me feel angry!”

  15. I agree with WingSpanTT,

    Diablo and Elder Scrolls was an art for me. I had fun, applying my creativity. I enjoyed making unique and interesting builds/spells/enchantments, just to see how it would work out. Sometimes it crashed and burned, but to me, that was part of the fun.

    I didn’t write any guides or anything, but I definitely played like that. I enjoyed making from scratch, a successful necro who uses 60 minions. I didn’t use a guide, because if I did, I’d have felt like I’ve cheated myself. I would have lost the chance to use my own creativity.

    Now, I feel like Diablo 3 and Skyrim has taken that away from me. D3 stripped away the stats. Skyrim stripped away the stats AND simplified equipment/enchantment AND removed spellcrafting. To me, that’s a big yawn.

    • Skyrim not only lived up to the Elder Scrolls name, it also destroyed Morrowind and Oblivion. Those two games are shit compared to Skyrim. And I played all three. Hundreds and hundreds of hours into Oblivion and Morrowind. I loved them both. But Skyrim? Morrowind and Oblivion are child’s play compared to it.

      • Yes Skyrim was soooo much better than Morrow/Oblivion. The story/plot was short simple and uninspiring as were the characters! But hey at least he graphics were good right?

        Skyrim is worthless w/o mods! The story is crap and the gameplay mechanics are dumbed down compared to the past 2

  16. Heh. This review is crap. Keep in mind, yes it is releasing soon, but the dev team is almost always working on and playing a different version of the game than the beta testers. Plus you played a 2 hour demo. I didn’t use any potions in my first two hours in D1 or D2. You didn’t scratch the surface. Probably played it on the easiest difficulty as well. When it comes out pay your money like everyone else and play the finished product, and play on something harder then Normal.

  17. yeeeep. D3 sucks balls. no doubt about it. still gonna buy it for somethen to do but. also gonna buy Torchlight II. it looks like it’ll be fairly dope

  18. Don’t worry people, i’ll mod Diablo 3 with all the good features from the past games. And you’ll be able to actually enjoy the game. Fail more Blizzard, stop wiping your ass’s with money and produce a decent game. I don’t understand why people are even interest in Blizzard games… I could easily make a game to mop the floor with them.. hmmm not a bad idea.. I’ll call it The real D3..

    • Agreed, Blizzard is producing loads of shit lately. They need to hire people who actually care about the gamer.. Instead they just care about themselves. Shit guys if i was funded for that many years to make a game… Expect I’d make the best game ever seen. But we all know Jay is a lazy fail

    • Blizz said D3 will not be moddable.

      But anyway, if you really want to show Blizz that they’re making a crap game, just don’t buy it. If you’re buying it, then you are just telling them that they are making a game WORTH 60 bucks! And companies don’t want to put any more work than necessary to get that 60 bucks. Extra work costs more money on their end.

      Buy something else, like Borderlands 2, torchlight 2, or Path of Exile. Support developers who are actually trying to give you what you want! If you buy D3 anyway, you are basically telling the good developers to shove off. Which would be an immense shame (and kind of hypocritical on our part).

  19. Diablo was one of my favorite games of all time. Diablo 2 I liked even more than the first one. I put hours and hours into that damn game getting my characters up to the highest levels. When I heard Diablo 3 was in the works, you better believe that I was excited about it. Already in my mind I imagined either 2 things: a game that would look very much like diablo 2, with cleaner graphics of course but fixed camera angle and similar atmosphere, or a new dimension of Diablo in which a third person view is implemented and is treated more like a traditional MMO. Playing the Beta was the most disappointing experience in a while. Blizzard managed to make a game that’s SORTA like Diablo, but not enough to make me feel like I’m playing a new game in the series. If anything, it feels like a Diablo clone that some Indy dev might have come up with, but the sad fact is that some indy developers (like Grinding Gear Games) makes Diablo clones that are more deserving of the Diablo title than Blizzard’s attempt! Not to mention the Auction House is just another way for players to gain an unfair advantage by spending real money and the money you get from it is heavily taxed by greedy Blizzard anyway. Passing on this game

  20. I went through the whole article and I constantly had the feeling that the writer just wants to speak bad for D3. There are plenty of baseless exaggerations and comparisons.

    I don’t know the writer but I doubt he truly is a Diablo enthusiast. Run through the beta with only one character once? This was not an option if you wanted to have an opinion.
    He speaks for things in the previous titles like he played them once too. Options and choices in D1 on a Warrior or a Rogue? No “constant right-clicking until the enemy dies” in D2? I must have being playing different games. Don’t get me wrong I love these games and I grew up playing them, but they were not without flaws (still great though).
    About the difficulty, a diablo fan that followed the game through it’s development would know that Normal is meant as an intro for the player to meet and learn his character. It is easy by default and ACT 1 is characterized as Tutorial. The beta was the beginning of this tutorial.

    Diablo III is a rightful successor in the series. I enjoed the beta and I will surely have a lot of fun with the released version. If you want a game calculated by math (not ruining the mood…) play something else, your loss, I’ll stay a fan.

  21. Tanasis,

    You really need to brush up on your critical reading skills. He never said that there weren’t any “right-clicking until the enemy dies” business in Diablo 2. The author also never said that there were a plethora of options in Diablo 1.

    What the author said was that Diablo 3 is basically ALL “right-clicking until the enemy dies” and that there ARE no customization choices in Diablo 3.
    Stop trying to read between the lines when you clearly don’t possess the brain power to do so.

    As far as the difficulty goes, again you are completely missing the point. I played D3 beta with all the characters and beat the game with them. I never used a single potion.
    In Diablo 2, I had to use potions for things like Blood Raven and Andariel. Because it was difficult to a degree. I could be completely drunk, high, and have no fingers and still beat the D3 beta without using a single potion.

    In addition, you state that if we want a game calculated by “math” we should play something else. Who said anything about math? The key point here was that you can’t make your character unique except through gear (which, let’s be honest, doesn’t make you unique).

    Please try not to read between the lines. I realize that using higher cognitive functions can be difficult for some people.

    • Well as for the potion issue… I’m sure if there wasn’t an alternate form of healing (the globes) you would be using just as many potions as in D1 and D2. But the healing mechanic works. The potions are for oh-shit moments… in games with similar mechanics I find I never wound up using potions until later difficulties.

      The Math comment came into play because making a decent build would involve calculating the best way to spend your skill / stat points in D2. Some people viewed this as “Mathy”, guess it is something up to interpretation…

      I think your character is going to be unique… there is gear that gives bonus’s to skills… depending on what you trade / find your build and skills are going to be just as unique as in D2. Sure it isn’t coming through clicking a “+” button but it is still going to be there.

      The mechanics that made Diablo, Diablo, are still in the game, they have just been reworked to be more forgiving… which isn’t a bad thing.

  22. I would rate this article 0/10. Any intellect can easily tell that an amateur rant-article like this isn’t complete without the obvious nitpicking and made-up ‘statements’ which ultimately leads to disaster or trolling. WiNGSPANTT might as well spoon-feed us garbage out of his trash-can while he is at it.

    I read the entire article. Twice. And just about everything WiNGSPANTT wrote is one false conclusion/complaint after another. I’ve played both Diablo 2 (for years) an Diablo 3 Beta (since last october) and I know exactly what you are talking about in each section of the article. There is nothing wrong with stating your honest feedback about the game. However, you have managed to make everything you wrote to be complete unorthodox. It saddens me to think people actually take this article seriously.

  23. Just remember it is a beta it is easy and its only out to see how it runs… D2 was way to easy for me until I got out of act 1. And what do u know the beta is an act 1 play through. -.- Good day sir!

  24. I can’t believe all the improper references to other properties in this article. The questing structure was not “stolen from WoW.” That structure has been around since the days of Everquest and probably even before that. The monk design has nothing to do with Avatar, but more to do with real life monks and their portrayal in the media over the last 30 years.
    Lastly, the reason the skill points were removed was because EVERYONE END UP SKILLING IN A COOKIE CUTTER BUILD, which makes all the characters identical anyway. Have 3 or more viable combinations of skills is just a good as 3 or 4 viable talent trees or skill point builds. Having to follow a cookie cutter build in DIablo 2 wasn’t fun. It didn’t feel like my choice at all.

    • Sure, questing like that existed before WoW, but you didn’t see it in Diablo 2, did you? Diablo 2 was a contemporary of those early MMOs yet chose (for good reason) not to use their structure. In that sense, Diablo 3 is different. The comparison to WoW is only because Blizzard owns both IPs.

      What exactly do you think will prevent cookie cutter builds in Diablo 3? Nothing can prevent them, because as soon as someone posts a video or writes a convincing enough article where they dominate Inferno with specific skills, that build will become popular. In fact, it will become MORE common than in Diablo 2 since characters can respec to it instantly!

      Finally, yes, D2A1 is easy, but not AS easy as Diablo 3. It was VERY possible to die to Blood Raven, Rakinishu, and the Countess. For a seasoned player, maybe not, but going into those fights with zero knowledge was an uphill battle. There were absolutely zero challenges in this demo by comparison.

  25. To the people who complain about the game being too easy, let me remind you how much of a difficult bump occurred in the later D2 patches (1.09 to 1.10 changed a lot of things). The game wasn’t easy from the get go but Blizzard adjusted the difficulty and I’m sure they’ll do the same with D3. Plus Jay Wilson explained that the normal mode would be accessible and meant to be played by the casual gamers. The last difficulty mode (Armageddon) is supposed to be insanely difficult, much more than the original hell mode in D2. So difficult actually that developers don’t seem to be able to test it efficiently… So I wouldn’t be too worried about the difficulty of the game …

  26. :D*

    The game you played was in Beta, you dumb *CLUCK*, and certainly not a demo.
    Just wait for it to come out and see how it turns out.
    Of course, if the game is too easy to you even in Inferno difficulty, you are free to leave the game to rot in the digital void whence it came to haunt you even since the Beta days.

    Me? Hell yeah, i want to slash some more monsters!
    Go play Diablo 1 and try a melee Hunter in it. That should be of enough difficulty and while you’re at it, you can role-play as much as you want – in a loosely RPG Hack’n Slash game – to your hearts content and make all those difficult decisions for your characters stats. I hope you have a nice day in Hell.**

    Meanwhile in Diablo 3, those people not gone totally apesh*t because of the “unbelievably easy” hacknslash, will be screaming of joy even if they have no rage left, pummeling the undead creatures and violet-skinned little imps into bloody pulp, and ask for more of the same.
    I know that i will.
    The Beta made me crave more of that mortal punishment for those evil horrors. Imma get a ‘barian as my first character.

    *In case you did not notice, it is a big grin. You, sir, made me laugh.
    **Diablo: Hellfire – this was a shit expansion, that was more broken than broke. I had the “joy” of trying it out, and it looked like someone forgot to turn off the lights; there was a sun shining in the depths of the creepiest caverns… That’s cool! But rly, don’t mention that expac like it had any matter for the Diablo universe, as it isn’t on Diablo franchise’s level of quality, nor were it.

  27. I’m shocked by the complete lack of insight by some people. Just spend ten minutes with the character builders to realise how many builds you can do with the various skills and runes. I will admit that the way the game is presented gives you the impression that there is little depth and customisation, but this is certainly not the case.

    In regards to stat distribution, there are gems you can equip later in the game that boost stats. As for the game being easy… It’s a beta.. on the easiest setting. Oh, and it’s a beta.

    • Really, is it a beta when it is released 2 weeks before launch? How many changes do you think will really be made in between? Do you know how much lead time is necessary for a game to “go gold” to be shipped to retailers?

      • Well, if you had red the info what the D3 OPEN STRESS TEST BETA was all about, you would know it was a stress test for the servers.
        However, it seems you were hoping to get into D3 Beta which was invites only and since you did not get in, started to bitch about everything.

        You, sir, have no clue what was going around in that open beta phase, even though it was explained to you when you were getting the beta all along.

        From what i saw during the long beta development, things were changing alot from time to time, and if anyone was not able to realize the D3 Beta which was handed out 2 weeks prior to release of the final game was meant to test out the capabilities of game servers – which was stated clearly, remember? – were justfully left out of the development phase. You would have been nothing but a stick between the wheels in there, contributing nothing besides the clear signal to devs that you should have some knowledge about beta testing in order to even get a chance to be invited.
        Alas, there were many of your kind in there who just whined about the game not being perfect. SHEEHS! It’s in development! Ring any bells?

        Now that the game is out, it is great to see how people just shut the f up, and enjoy the game. If there are issues in the game, point them to the forums, but otherwise keep the small member of yours away from my sight, as it won’t grow, no matter how much rage.

  28. This article mirrors my feelings 100%.

    I’ve been debating the same points with the Youtube Diablo 3 fans, who always use the same kind of nonsense arguments as I see in these comments.

    They’re refusing to see the forest for the trees. Sure, maybe you can excuse each point individually if the rest of the game was faithful to the Diablo series.

    No permabuilds? Well, at least the atmosphere’s there!
    No identify scrolls? Well at least the permabuilds and atmosphere are there!

    But such is not the case. Too many things have changed at once, and this game is DINO (Diablo In Name Only).

    The only reason it’s still carrying the menacing name is because of BlizzVision’s attachment to moneymilking an existing franchise. A much more fitting name would be “Disney Monster Bash”. Maybe in the sequel?

    And while we’re removing core Diablo gameplay mechanics like permabuilds, identify scrolls, getting town portals replaced with hearthstones, teleporting players to each other instantly., all in the name of “reducing tedium”…

    … why not eliminate movement? Running from monster to monster is pretty tedious, why not just make everyone teleport between them?

    Also, why bother with equipment? Players can, by New Blizzard Logic, decide to stay with some poor equipment. Nobody wants that, right?

    Let’s just auto-upgrade their equipment to the optimal level as they grow in experience.

    And, you know, come to think of it, watching the same attack animation over and over is pretty tedious too. You know what, how about we just make a giant “WIN” button that you click and it showers you with gold?

    Someone, somewhere inside Blizzard, is taking notes.

  29. Sounds like you’re bitching for the sake of bitching. You want a reskin of diablo 2 and anything other than that will cause you to go into a furious sand-vagina tirade.

    The devs have answered questions about removing stats from the game. It was am illusion of choice, there was a mathematically right answer for stats and anything else was sub-optimal and frankly, useless. I am long-time diablo 2 player and I think the D3 skill system allows for WAY more customization than their ever was in D2.

    I won’t address the rest as you’re clearly biased and looking for a reason to hate the game simply because it isn’t diablo 2.

  30. The first act of diablo 2 and the first 3 levels down of the catacombs of diablo 1 are indeed just as easy. Its normal mode bro…I have no idea what you were expecting from one third the way into act 1 normal. You were speaking about how stats and skills are now automatic and how you did not like it, you do realize that everyone did the same stat and skill builds for certain skill types of the classes. They automated something that we would replicate. Basically all I understood was that you liked to see noobs suffer through 40-80 levels only to find out they fucked everything up and would have to restart their char. I think your just mad that it the game does not have a “stupid filter” built in.

  31. Diablo 2 is my favorite game of all time, Diablo 3 will never beat it. There are many things that make me sad about D3 and I’ve questioned how fun the full game will be compared to Diablo 2. That said, even I can see the vacuous bias gushing from this article. Hyperbole much? Half of your claims are exaggerated and described through rose-colored glasses.

    Oh and your complaints about customization? You realize D2 was completely gear based right? Skills and attributes always followed cookie-cutter builds which ended up abusing one or two skills endgame. Adding points to vitality and energy was stupid. Blizzard was worthless. Never put points into so-and-so skill. It was all the same. Not following prime builds usually led to a character becoming seriously gimped late-game. Try competing in PVP without a prime build, it rarely works.

    Will Diablo 3 have the same problem? Can’t say, but at least I can use more than one skill over and over and over and over and over, as well as not constantly restarting character just because I accidentally put a point into the work skill.

  32. For those saying that stat allocation was just an illusion…….. well you are dead wrong. As a long time HC player in D2 (93rd lvl HC Druid before committing suicide) I can tell you that being able to allocate more points to life was the way to go. So not being able to do so in D3 and not having potions for those oh *#@% moments really deters me from playing my favorite, HC mode. And after playing HC mode in D2 there is really no going back which means my interest in D3 is considerably lessened.

    I’m also quite disappointed in the insta changing of skills. While I thought that the perma choice in D2 was a bit harsh, they could have simply given us a one time respec quest and then made a respec stone a rare drop for those who want to keep changing their characters. There, problem solved.

    And no choice to level up skills to make them more powerful is just boring and one of the things that made D2 exciting. There were so many ways to play a class and even if one was playing the same skills, they still were never the same.’

    So I agree that the game feels much more dumbed down than D2 which I agree is a mistake. There should ALWAYS have been the option for choice, even if some claim it was an illusion. Let those that WANT choice have it, doesn’t hurt those who don’t want to bother so why was it removed?

  33. Nice analysis WiNGSPANTT.

    So it’s released and I feel very disappointed for all the reasons listed.

    I can’t say I wouldn’t have bought it if I’d read this first though…

  34. Wow. Everything I felt WiNGSPANTT said exactly. Blizz has always easymoded their games but not out of the gate like this. I still will play it, but disappointment abounds.

  35. Diablo 2 eventually added stat resetting because of the fact that each class only had 1 or 2 viable character builds anyway. In diablo 1 you would max out all of your usable stats at a pretty low level. I think people are misconstruing this issue.

    Diablo 2’s paladin class for instance was frustrating and terrible until you realised you were only an effective killer as a hammerdin. Paladin medic? Nice that those skills were there to try that build but it was useless no matter how you built it.

    Diablo 3’s classes seem much more versatile in fact.

  36. I still have d2 characters that kick ass, I play diablo 1 every so often and my sorc there is nearly lvl30 with most spells maxed. It’s still fun, it may look dated as hell but man it never gets old. I don’t see myself playing diablo 3 ever. If I do hopefully at that time there will be a functional torrent and keygen so I don’t have to support blizzards reign of terror. I think a lot of people know diablo 2-3 both have elements from dungeons and dragons but it’s too obvious now. Not many people saw that act5 in diablo 2 seemed a lot like icewind dale but it worked – it was one of the best acts and looked the coolest.

    I can’t believe they brought back the butcher, I knew king leoric was making another appearance regardless of being shattered in the labyrinth, but the butcher too? That’s so lame. Why not just revive Mephisto, Baal, The Smith, Hephasto the Armourer, Nihlithak, Shenk, Andariel, etcccccccc.

    Diablo 3 was going to be the only reason I’d ever upgrade my pc for future gaming but now there is no point in continuing with pc gaming. The only games worth playing on my computer still are the original deus ex and the baldur’s gate series.

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