Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Diablo 3: Probably a Failure

Diablo 3 was released about one week and six hours ago.  Having played it for a week, I'm ready to predict that the game will, most likely, be considered a failure.

Let me explain what I mean by "failure".

Diablo 2:  Lord of Destruction was released June 27, 2001.  Nearly eleven years after its release, players still log in to farm gear, beat mobs, and grind out levels.  The game remains compelling eleven years after its release.  I sincerely doubt that we'll be able to say the same thing about Diablo 3 eleven years from now.

This is not to say that every game not still actively played 11 years after its release is a failure.  Some games are great successes, and they shine in their particular spotlights for little more than a few months, or even a year.  For some games, a short lifespan is fine.

But Diablo is not Angry Birds.

We assess instantiations of the Diablo franchise by the Diablo 2 rubric.  And by the Diablo 2 rubric, Diablo 3 terribly, horribly fails.

The game has been out for one week.  I've logged 106 hours and 32 minutes of gameplay.  After this amount of time, here's where I am:

- Level 60 (level cap)
- Act 1 Inferno, beating Skeleton King in a party of 3.
- Soloing Act 4 hell-difficulty bosses.
- Acquired 1.4 million gold from mobs, to which we add about 800K via AH sales.
- 169% Magic Find
- Wearing almost entirely level 60 Rare items, all of which are optimized for my class.

This should not be possible in one week of gameplay, in DIABLO.

Now, admittedly, that's an insane week of gameplay.  However, the point remains that 100 hours into the game, the "game" has ended, and now I've only the grindy grind gearfest to hold my attention.  There are no more levels to attain.  There are no more significant quests to do.  It's just item acquisition from here on out.

And that would be fine, if it weren't for the god damn Auction House.

On my last MF run I found a Blade of Prophecy.  As far as I can tell, it's one of the only weapons that has +Magic Find on it.  That's kinda cool and neat and rare, right?  Well, no, because there are 58 of the damn things on the Auction House.

That's the situation to which I point when proclaiming that Diablo 3 is, most likely, a failure.  One week into the game, nigh-all of the items are available on the Auction House.  All you  have to do is farm the gold to purchase them, or happen upon them while farming your gold.

The lifespan of a Diablo game is directly related to the difficulty of item acquisition.  Diablo 3 has NO difficulty of item acquisition.  In Diablo 2 one had to farm and farm and farm and farm Bosses hundreds, if not thousands, of times to get an SoJ.  In Diablo 3, it is all literally nothing more than a question of farming gold.

There is still a part of me that, every now and then, wants to log into bnet to play my Diablo 2 characters.  I still want to farm Baal in the hopes of seeing an SoJ or a Grandfather drop.  That's not a feeling one has in Diablo 3.  There's no urge to grind to discover to acquire.  The thing that makes Diablo 2 a compelling game after all of this time isn't a component of Diablo 3.

I am glad that I purchased Diablo 3.  I've had a blast playing, and learning to survive without sleep.  The quest to level cap is a great amount of fun, and farming shall most likely remain enjoyable for quite some time to come.  I'll keep grinding through Inferno, farming gear, and checking AH prices to try to nab some MF gear from a noob who can't add.

That being said, I am immensely happy that I decided to frontload all of my fun in this game.  My decision to dump 100 hours into Diablo 3 during its first week was a fantastic, wonderful decision I would definitely make again.

Because this just doesn't seem like the sort of game that's going to be around for very long.

Which is why Diablo 3 is, most likely, a failure.


I sincerely hope that I am incorrect.

64 comments:

kylebrown said...

I'm inclined to agree. I refuse to go to the Auction House for that exact reason. I still want the game to be Diablo for me.

_J_ said...

Part of me wishes that I could get into your mindset. That part of me wishes that I was able to ignore the auction house and simply play the game as if it were D2.



The other part of me just upgraded my gear again.

To be fair, though, that other part of me is a gigantic asshole.

_J_ said...

Just so you know, the loot I've been giving you was not attained via the AH.

It was, however, generated by my asinine MF, that is the result of the Auction House.

So, take that as you will.

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