Monday, May 14, 2012

Diablo 3: Jesse Ma is an Idiot

I don’t have anything to do until Diablo 3 is released on Tuesday. Rather than work in a soup kitchen while I wait for my CE to arrive, imma bitch about  a post Jesse Ma made on Kotaku about Diablo 3.
In his article, entitled, ‘The Dumbing Down of Diablo 3’, Jesse Ma laments the loss of character customization by way of stats. As numerous other persons on gaming forums have observed, Diablo 3 deviates from Diablo 2 in that every character’s stats are pre-set. Every character gains the same stats every level. Some people think this is a problem because, and I paraphrase:


See, since you’re super cool and great, your character needs to be uniquely super cool and great to express how outside-the-box you think. While most people’s sorceresses are spell casters, you’re going to make an Enchant melee sorceress whose only stat is strength. Cause you think outside the box, you see.

Since some people are, apparently, incapable of discerning the problem with the above mentality, I’m going to explain the problems inherent in the “imma snowflake!” position.

Problem 1: Diablo is not Fallout

In Fallout, players have the ability to construct custom characters who accomplish tasks in varied ways. You can make a super-combat oriented person who blows through all obstacles. You can make an influential sweet-talker who coerces and confuses her way to victory. The particular objectives of Fallout can be accomplished in numerous ways, and so players can construct different and unique characters in order to compliment their varied play styles.

Diablo, as I mentioned, is not Fallout. There are no alternate win conditions. In Diablo, you beat the shit out of things, to get gear, so that you can beat the shit out of higher level things, to get higher level gear.

Or, as Bashiok said:

Bashiok: The point of the game is efficiency... Killing monsters as quickly as possible to maximize your time to find the drops you want. That is the game.

The point of Diablo is to collect gear in the most efficient way possible. Since every character’s goal is the same, there’s no need to have different stat allocations. Every barbarian has the same stats, because every barbarian does the same thing: Beats the shit out of monsters. Either you’re beating the shit out of them in the most inefficient way, or you’re being a fuckhead. This goes to the second problem with the “imma snowflake!” position:

Problem 2: Inefficient Idiots are idiotic, and inefficient.

When someone allocated stats in Diablo 2, they followed one of two methods:

2) What the Internet told them to do.

Since Diablo 2 was not Fallout, one’s stat allocation was either ideal, or wasteful. The developers for Diablo 3 realized this, and so acted accordingly. By “acted accordingly” I mean they removed the ability for persons to fuck up their characters by incorrectly allocating stats.

Or, as Jay Wilson says,

Players wanted the ability to respec, so that if their build was problematic they could respect their stats and fix their character. By giving characters the ideal stat allotment automatically, Blizzard removed the possibility of a person fucking up their character so as to render it unviable in late-game play.

Since every character progresses in the game via combat, there’s no need to allow different stat alotments. One customizes, so to speak, their character by using different spells, not by dumping all of their stat points into Energy.

Blizzard made it impossible for you to make a shitty character.
You should thank them.

Having explained why you’re an idiot for wanting to arrange your own stats, I’m now going to point out a flaw in Ma’s argument.

Consider the following 3 quotes:

1: “Differentiation between characters was what made my Diablo II characters unique, not the items I had. Why can't I make a unique stat-heavy ranged barbarian or a melee wizard?”

2: “I want my characters to be tweaked how I want and not some cookie-cutter build.”

3: “I remember spending hours calculating optimal builds and skill placement in D2. I remember doing math on the fly about MF% ‘magic find' or CtB% ‘chance to block' or HP to MP ratios for the perfect PvP mana-shield sorceress.”

Did you notice the shift from the first two quotes to the second? The first two were the “IMMA SNOWFLAKE” mentality; Ma wants to make a potion barbarian and not make the same Barbarian everyone else made. However, in the third quote, he’s shifted to the mentality of a properly thinking Diablo player who utilizes Excel to construct their ideal character.

This brings us to the final problem with the “IMMA SNOWFLAKE!” argument.

Problem 3: You don’t actually want to be a snowflake, you just want to laugh at the people who fuck up their builds.

The real argument at work in the above sentiment is that persons who care enough about Diablo to have opinions about it also care enough to want to be better than other people. When the game assigns all stats automatically, it removes the possibility of a noob putting points into Energy rather than Vitality. When this happens, elitist assholes lose one of their means by which to mock people who don’t know any better.

While I can appreciate that sentiment, they ought to at least be open about it. You don’t want to make a potion barbarian. You just want other people to be able to fuck up their builds, so that you can mock them when they repeatedly die.


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