Monday, September 5, 2011

Diablo 3 Preview

Assorted Random Musings Follow

Upon reading IGN’s massive preview for D3 (which I’m sure is duplicated at 20 other sites including battlenet) I was a bit taken aback. All of the 5 classes stuff sounds pretty standard, obviously with eventual expansions with more characters and what have you, but the actual game is sounding more and more like a free to play MMO instead of an infinite farm action RPG. Blizzard/Activision are basically falling into line and reproducing the same games over and over again for both ease of reproduction and enhanced profits due to morons purchasing whatever is put out.

My D2 experience was largely pre-WoW for about 4-5 months making several high level characters. Only the summoner characters were always fun for me though I did eventually make an Uber sorc just to farm stuff for more Necromancing. I did basically everything single player which on Hell is pretty damn difficult and I got quite a few props for doing it that way, though I did eventually miraculously get an Annihilus and not as miraculously a Torch for the wrong class. I never used D2 Jsp except to put an approximate value on my character for fun, but I certainly appreciate the system.

There’s a couple of huge things that make D3 an MMO instead of the research/experimentation based system that D2 had going for a while (until everyone eventually decided to be a Paladin or a Sorc). The first one is that there is no skill tree management whatsoever, instead you just automatically pick up spells as you level. This is for one thing really fucking weird, just make respecs possible and you solve the initial problem of D2. It also just screams grindy MMO design. Level up for a while, read up on what skill set works best, implement it, repeat ad nauseum killing whichever big baddy faces you next (Hint: It’s eventually going to be an Archangel). You might have to swap skill sets for whomever and solo is probably going to be more difficult than otherwise, but without some flawless balancing I’m sure some builds will tremendously overpower others.

D3 is also going to be setup as a continuous 4 player co-op potentiality, i.e. matchmaking in CoD or Random Dungeon finding in WoW. Much as this idea sounds not new at all it sort of eliminates the old “find a game by obscure title” system that you used to have in D2 and is relatively good. Ultimately I still think this just makes D3 a non stop 5 man but without as much tanking (still present in some form) or healing (sporadic at best). Now I really like 5 mans in WoW, they might be failing at optimizing them and virtually all of the legacy 5 mans beat the shit out of modern ones for various reasons but having that 1 tank/3 dps/1 healer setup is part of what I love. I don’t really know if they’re going to fix the loot system so it’s not who gets to the item faster but regardless this system will probably turn out to be zerg everything with as cliché and OP an ability setup you can think of. To be fair D2 definitely involved a bunch of this too but there was at least some strategery to various parts of the storyline but if I’m matchmaked with completely random people I’d much rather just stay alive and hope for the best.

The above section isn’t really all that bad until you realize there’s an Auction House in this game. That’s all well and good and streamlines the weirdass trading of D2 yore but since you have a vastly expanded inventory space D3 might just be turning into a wide scale farmfest, hoping you find something valuable to trade for real fucking money. This is something they could have done with WoW a long time ago to eliminate the gold buying/selling economy but I had built up some respect for them not doing so. Firstly it guarantees World of Starcraft will have the same system in place so you can essentially buy yourself a better character through the system (possibly even literally). Secondly, since D3 is officially going to be nothing but farming for phat lewtz to sell and not theoretically barter into barter points for bartering there’s not much reason to play it other than it’s Free to Play, unless you really want that rare as hell shit with a sub .001% drop rate off the last boss on the hardest difficulty. Thirdly, Activision/Blizzard will encompass 25-50% of the game world with 3 hugeass MMOs and a giant FPS to feed to the masses in about 5 years. If they could only incorporate Twilight in the mix they could brainwash the entire young population of the United States who undoubtedly would not have been quite as retarded to begin with.

Note: Of course I’m going to play it; fuck you. I like the storyline, I like War of the Soulstones, I like killing monsters, I sort of don’t mind grinding if it’s done creatively, I am also an asshole and a motorized machine built only for the funding of our new Tigole and Furor overlords.

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