Friday Flame Wars: Does Diablo 3 Deserve a 90 or a 60?

Friday Flame Wars is a recurring feature on Game Front. We present a hot-button issue, and then encourage a no-holds-barred commenting battle royale healthy debate within our community.

The controversies surrounding Blizzard’s release of Diablo III continue to rage, and many a player is angry about review scores. Plenty of outlets presented the game with 90s or better, gaining the undying hatred of locked-out players who felt the game deserved less than that. And then there are those who scored the game a little lower, and the inevitable backlash of Diablo fans who feel the offense dictates beheading.

Our own CJ Miozzi felt Diablo III deserved an 85 — solidly great but not incredible. And he has received ire from both camps, unsurprisingly. He also did an analysis not long ago about this very phenomenon as well as about the magic number 90 for Blizzard review scores.

Anyway, obviously we need to take to the comments and hash this out. Is Diablo III awesome, or is it terrible? Follow-up question: Are the people who think Diablo III is awesome/terrible incredibly stupid, or the incredibly stupidest? Let us know where you stand!

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27 Comments on Friday Flame Wars: Does Diablo 3 Deserve a 90 or a 60?

Jackson

On May 25, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I feel like the game itself deserves an 80-90, but the servers can go to hell

Michael

On May 25, 2012 at 3:01 pm

First of all if I was a video game journalist rating this game I wouldn’t rate it. I will tell people to not buy it. Reasons being that I believe this doesn’t feel like a game that was worked on for the past 11 years since lord of Destruction was released. Compare this game to Lineage Eternal by NC soft and you can tell what real work really looks like. The game is boring, the story is mediocre and rushed, combat is slow, classes are uninspiring, the gothic feel of the past game is gone, the original development team didn’t work on it, DRM, constant disconnects becomes annoying when trying to loot upgrades from chests and bosses and have to restart from the beginning of the dungeon, full price for a stream version etc. I think people who rate it high scores are afraid that if they give it a low score blizzard will stop making more diablo games. I say, “Good, I hope they don’t make anymore.”

Sharkey

On May 25, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I have yet to pick the game up, simply because of the required online issue. I completely agree that as amazing as the game may be, it should def lose points on the online requirement as you can only play the game on Blizzard’s time. To me, that’s a deal breaker, and the real money auction house only adds incentive for hackers to break into people’s accounts so they can score real cash. Just a lot of real dumb business practices that’s keeping my $60 in my pocket.

DJS

On May 25, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Set aside the fact that you have to be connected to the internet, I feel let down. I don’t think it deserves a 60, but it definitely doesn’t deserve a 90.
Pros:
Fun to play
Easy to get into
Pretty good sound overall
Deeper story
Cons:
Cheeseball voice acting
Lack of customization (on many levels)
Predictable story
Sound balance issues (sound drastically pans to the left or right, throws off my equilibrium)
Outdated graphics
Limited graphics card options
Broken skill system (some skills become unusable at higher levels, requires you to use the same skills as all other players to progress in Inferno)

clamsarehot

On May 25, 2012 at 6:11 pm

In a nutshell Blizzard has betrayed fans of Diablo. The game is broken in every way I can think of, and in a way such that it won’t likely ever be fixed. I’ll just focus on the most glaring problems. Believe me, I’m ignoring a lot of less serious complaints like the fact that you can’t just take waypoints between each act like you could in Diablo 2, which is one of countless examples of beloved functionality from Diablo 2 that they removed. Instead of focusing on these nuisances which still should never have been problems since Blizzard had Diablo 2 as a template of how to make the game right, I will focus on broader issues.

Online play – Limited to 4 players instead of 8 in previous games, but you can’t create your own named game anymore so unless you have friends online you are limited to trying to join public games. In higher difficulties many players are AFK and most games are not full, so you’re usually going to be playing with only one other person or nobody. Furthermore the servers are laggy, prone to disconnects and maintenance, and let’s not mention the fiasco of the first few days.

Itemization – Itemization is completely out of whack. The best items in the game are generally blue items, the lowest quality magic item. Rares generally are of poor quality because the affixes on items are not handled properly and legendaries are poor because the stats on these very rare items are lower than even blues. Blizzard decided to change the affixes drastically to simplify them, and even after beta testers complained and Blizzard promised they would add more, the final game shows otherwise. Because affixes are so poorly done, the best items in the game are boring: they are blue items with +vit, +main character stat, and +weapon damage on them, basically. Even wizards (why did they feel the need to change sorcerers to wizards?) pick up two handed weapons with +damage on them because for some reason, weapon damage improves spell damage. Gone are the days of getting faster cast, +skills, or anything other than +damage to increase DPS.

Gameplay – Too easy in normal, too hard and cheap (1 shot kills and immortal mobs) in Inferno. Boring, repetitive gameplay, short levels. Any time a build is viable in Inferno, Blizzard nerfs it by removing whole class abilities without warning. Why? It seems they want to control the economy and prevent the market from being saturated with overpowered weapons too soon. In essence, they are treating it like it’s WoW, where players are supposed to grind for months to do the hardest difficulties by passing gear checks. Blizzard controls the economy so they may make more money off the real money AH if it’s ever released.

Graphics: Blurry graphics with bright cartoony colors that don’t belong in a Diablo game. Everything is awash in neon green, orange, or blue light. If you run Diablo with the Dark D3 filter or something similar the game looks much better, you can connect with the gritty world of it, and it looks like a Diablo game. Otherwise, it looks cartoony. You don’t like it? The developers decided to mock you by introducing a retarded My Little Pony level for all the little effeminate bronies out there instead of a real cow level – it doesn’t belong in this game. And this is what Blizzard does now – rather than responding to the playerbase they ignore them and mock them.

Blizzard’s attitude: When people complain on the forums, the community managers either ignore them, mock them, or delete their threads. When someone gains a viable build in Inferno, Blizzard destroys their build utterly. When someone decides they’d rather farm a boss for experience than play Act1-4 over and over and over, Blizzard nerfs the boss so it doesn’t give as much experience. And they don’t just nerf it so you still get the quest reward exp after the first time so you can’t “exploit” it, no, they nerf it for EVERYBODY by removing the quest reward exp entirely. Blizzard doesn’t seem to really care what we think, they want to make the game how they want it, so they can make the most money off the RMAH. They have ignored beta testers and internal testers for almost a year who told them about all the flaws of the game, and why unlike previous iterations it has zero longevity. They were mocked and ignored. Now that Blizzard has a glaring security flaw, they tell the player’s it’s their fault, and oh, buy this authenticator (which they make $ off) and you’ll be protected. They have terrible communication with the player base, and a terrible attitude in general.

Let’s see, what else? The auction house is broken, people are losing items and gold. And they’re supposed to have a real money AH soon? What happened to thorough testing? Has Blizzard even admitted to this. Not that I’ve seen. They took the AH down for a bit and mentioned something about making it more efficient for selling gems, but the bug is still there, and they haven’t said a peep about. Some people even question whether the security flaw has something to do with the auction house itself. And with how broken it is, it wouldn’t surprise me.

For anyone who claims “oh this happens in every big release, you get a bunch of people complaining about the game, it’s no big deal, it’ll all be fixed in a matter of months”: Not even close. Diablo 2 and WoW, for example, had complaints, but they were minor. People overall loved the game. On the other hand people complaining about Diablo 3 are complaining that it is thoroughly broken in all the most important ways, that it has no longevity at all. They aren’t making minor, easy to fix complaints, they aren’t planning to keep playing anyway. There really is no fixing what’s wrong with this game because there is just too much to fix, and it is too deeply ingrained in the software. The decision to take this path was made years ago by the higher-ups in Blizzard. They decided they’d scrap what worked in the franchise, ignoring all the feedback from diehard fans, removing most of what made Diablo 2 successful, and adding in their WoW-inspired ill-advised ideas.

They might be able to fix itemization in, say, 2 months at the earliest? Maybe they’ll have pvp by the end of the year if lucky? And balanced a year later, at the earliest? They don’t seem to ever want to balance Inferno, instead claiming that cheap one-shot kills no matter how geared you are is “working as intended”. What, are you going to wait for an expansion to fix all the bugs in what amounts to a $60 beta game? I’m certainly not.

What happened here is Blizzard changed from a company that made quality games first and made money because of it, to a company that makes games for money first and foremost, with quality a second thought. They really don’t care what the fans think as long as they make money. And sure, they sold a bunch of copies of Diablo 3, just like really crappy Hollywood movies sell in the millions, but that’s not the end of the story. They were banking on making millions on the real money auction house. That’s why there’s no offline single player, that’s why you have to buy multiple cds if you want multiple people to play in your own household, that’s why they released an unfinished product that couldn’t possibly be considered finished without an expansion for pay. That’s why the customer service is horrendous. The problem is, Diablo 3 has no longevity. Their projections of huge profits from the auction house will not come to fruition. Very few people will still be playing in a few months. Heads are bound to roll for this failure.

clamsarehot

On May 25, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Disclaimer: The statements I’ve made here are pure conjecture. I may very well be wrong about Blizzard, and ponies and carebears are just the new direction they’re taking, which shall be a shining success. Please don’t sue me Blizzard.

Friar

On May 25, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Any reviewer who gives it a 90+ lacks a set of cajones and are part of the problem. This game has to many issues right now to even think it deserves a 90+. But in recent years it looks like 90 has become the “acceptable” bad score to give. I have a joke, well guess its not really a joke, with my friends that the AAA game scale is just 90-100 anymore. Only with Indy games are rated on the 0-100 scale. Which is why I give props to reviews that gave D3 anything below an 90. Any reviewer that gives D3 a 90+ is just sucking blizzards, well, you know.
To be fair, I would rate this game around a 60ish (based off of my experience in the beta and starter edition, as I will not buy this game as is). The reason it is so low is mostly because of the DRM (as explained below). The consumer in me wants to overreact and give it a flat out 0, but alas, you can still play the game. Granted you give up control as to when and where you can play. You know, when Battle.net will let you, when its not being overtaxed, or down for maintenance. I should be able to play when I want too, not when some DRM server can handle the stress of people wanting to play. Granted I understand you need to be online for multiplayer, but the “Diablo” series, to me, should always offer a single-player/LAN option, or else make it an MMO (which would be a huge mistake). Reasons for my 60 score.
1) “Always on” DRM. This is “THE” issue with me, and the reason I WILL NOT BUY IT! This is, at least, -25 pts right off the bat. I feel that this practice will continue until game reviewers help give us customers a voice and a platform to speak out on. I feel DRM should be included in every reviewer’s review process, as DRM is part of the game and should be reviewed as such. Obviously this DRM system is draconian and flawed, it is the developers easy way out. Think for a moment, if a AAA dev/publisher released a game, today, with the first unreal engine, how do you think it would fare? Exactly. Then why do we allow DRM schemes like this to get a “free pass”? THERE is no need for always on DRM. Sure it makes it “that” much harder for pirates, but that’s just the point, they will still crack the game. And as a result of this antiquated DRM “feature” paying customers get shafted on all other accounts. Unacceptable.
2) D3 was rushed out the door incomplete. I’m still not sure why blizzard did this… Declining WoW subs? Shareholder/Publisher pressure? Excuse to charge for “removed content” with first expansion (D2 all over again)? Didn’t want to compete with Pandaria expansion? All of the above? I would rather have seen them take a few more weeks/months and get the game ready and launch with all the things in place and working Hint, better server stress testing, (but if this wasn’t an always on DRM, it wouldn’t matter as much). It really ends up screwing over blizzard’s die-hard, loyal fans the most as they are likely the ones that pre-ordered or picked up an early copy of the game. Which I guess blizzard feels is alright and they will be dumb enough to stick around since they are loyal fans, or they would have pushed back the launch.
3) Diablo’s overall “WoWification”. (Skill system, low poly models). Not really to surprised by this, considering the dev. group that made it. Its not as bad though as the previous two issues, but it is definitely a negative.

There are other small glitches, weak story line, ect. But those are the 3 main issues with me.

clamsarehot

On May 25, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Anyway, thanks for the podium. I do appreciate what you guys do here. I don’t really feel CJ’s review was as thorough as it needed to be, or as boundary-pushing. It came off as lackluster, much like Diablo 3, and for both I was really expecting something astounding.

Oh, and, if you actually like Diablo 3, well, your mama and stuff.

clamsarehot

On May 25, 2012 at 6:35 pm

Oh, if you really want to see Friday flamewars, all you need to do is check out the D3 forums: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/3354739/

You’ll see plenty of threads with people rationally and calmly pointing out the problems with Diablo 3, followed by a bunch of children trolling with stuff like “QQ”, “Good riddance”, and “You just wanted Diablo 2.5″.

clamsarehot

On May 25, 2012 at 6:58 pm

Details about itemization and its relation to the real money auction house: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5235708039?page=1

clamsarehot

On May 25, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Blizzard has security flaw, blames players, tells them to buy an authenticator:

Additionally, rollbacks for Diablo III accounts are extremely limited; there are only two for the life time of an account. Any account that uses its first rollback is unable to use the Real Money Auction House unless it uses an authenticator. Any account that uses its second rollback is permanently unable to use the Real Money Auction House.

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5271601844

clamsarehot

On May 25, 2012 at 9:04 pm

I guess I’m the only one who cares, which is a good thing because that means people aren’t playing Diablo 3.

Amusing thread: old blizzard vs new blizzard:

http://us.battle.net/d3/en/forum/topic/5150112190

From the thread:

The old blizzard would never had let Battle.net 2.0 exist.

The old blizzard would never had relied on a pay to win model for there games

The old blizzard would never let CM’s treat the fan base as they do

The old blizzard would never have fired the original voice of Sara Kerrigan( because Chris Metzen thought Tricia Heifler was Hotter)

The old blizzard would never have made the overmind (good)

The old blizzard would never have allowed a bland loot system like the one we have today

The old blizzard would never try to pass off the current stat/rune system as customization

The old blizzard would never let the Lead Designer for Command and Conquer 4 work on Diablo 3( destroyer of genres)

Feel free to add to the list.

R.I.P Blizzard , keep riding the success of your old developers.

this game blows

The old blizzard cared about its customers.

The old blizzard was about quality of quantity

The old blizzard has a functioning support system

The old blizzard would tell players about issues right away

The old blizzard actually communicated with players instead of ignoring

he fact that so many of us are on the forums posting about our displeasure with numerous aspects of the game pretty much sums it up.

The old blizzard would never release this abomination in an unfinished state

The old blizzard cares about fun , not how much money was on your credit card

The old blizzard didnt gloat about how awesome they were and how you were devoted to quality yadda yadda, It was implied. (but I get it your old developers want the customers to think nothing at blizzard changed)

http://i.imgur.com/pKOJx.jpg

Blame this stupid dingus

Thanks bobby for ruining blizzard for a quick buck. It wont pay off in the long haul.

Alright, back to playing Diablo 1.

clamsarehot

On May 25, 2012 at 10:31 pm

why infernal is frustrating and cheap
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6f0PSE3tj4

Axetwin

On May 26, 2012 at 1:38 am

@clamsarehot. I would say a half a dozen posts and only one of them actually has to do with the article topic. Funnily enough, you perfectly demonstrated the problem with the amateur side of game review and why there are so many “60′s”. You ended reviewing the company and not the game. This is a very common mistake amateur reviewers make.

As for your review itself, it started strong and well written. You pointed out issues with the game that are a legitimate issue. However starting with your gameplay section is there things start to fall apart. “Normal is too easy and Inferno is too hard”. Thats all you said, how about the middle 2 difficulties? The rest of that section is you reviewing the company, not the game, so its a moot point. As for the graphics section, well, youre on even footing with the typical amateur reviewer.

“The colors are too bright but there is a filter you can turn on to make the game look like previous Diablo games”. Um…..ok then I fail to see the problem here. Theyve given you the option to make the game look as dark and gritty as the previous 2 game, which is a little ironic because if you really want to split hairs, Diablo 2 wasnt really that dark of a game, especially when compared to Diablo 1.

Everything starting with your entitled rant about the ponies on down is either conjecture, conspiracy theories or is just useless information in regards to a review.

clamsarehot

On May 26, 2012 at 2:39 pm

I read the first and last sentences of your response, Axe, to determine you’re nothing but a troll. Either make an argument and refrain from ad hominem attacks, or go crawl back into the whole you came from, fanboy.

Baker

On May 26, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Yea… Axe made a good point. You’re mostly reviewing Blizzard, not Diablo 3. There are some chunks in there about D3, such as the itemization issues (which I actually agree with, it’s god-awful), but you wrap it up with pitchforks and torches against Blizzard.

Should problably post a few more replies, though.

Digression:

Comment sections such as these have given players’ too much voice. It reminds me of a trite version of high school: everyone is in their little click with their own opinions, likes, and dislikes, and they feel like their voice is the only one that matters. You graduate, realize you were a complete fool, and move on. Except, in this case, gamers seem to be held back every year, and just get worse; it comes to the existence of this article. But, I guess, if that’s the trend then so be it.

psycros

On May 26, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Clamsarehot nailed it. /thread

Axetwin

On May 26, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Hang on clams, which am I? Fanboy or troll? On a topic like this you cant have it both ways. You know, what, it doesnt matter. Its obvious my last post was too much for you to handle, which means a proper response here would go WAY over your head.

Hows THAT for an ad hominem attack? If youre going to use a term to make yourself sound smarter than you really are, then the least you could do is use the term correctly.

Axetwin

On May 27, 2012 at 1:55 am

Ok so I know my previous post wasnt fair.

The point of my first post is simply this. When it comes to user reviews on sites like Metacritic, amateur reviewers tend to focus on the wrong details in their review. Like Ive already said, more often than not, they review the company and not the game. When theyre not reviewing the company, they’ll zero in on one specific feature and then tank the score based on that one feature. For Mass Effect 3 it was its ending. For Diablo 3 its the RMAH.

There are 2 problems with focusing on the RMAH, the first is simply the fact that the feature hasnt even launched yet, so how are you going to sit there and critique a feature that isnt even there. The second would be that Ive seen ALOT of people say “noone asked for the RMAH” to which I say….bullsh*t. Diablo 2 had a thriving RMT black market that was so lucrative the guy who ran it made millions off it. That says to me actions speak louder than words. You can be as patronizing and condescending towards the people that bought these items all you want, in the end, their actions spoke louder than your words.

The following is short review written, taken directly from Metacritc, Im not including the reviewer name, but this is a REALLY good example someone focusing on 1 feature and tanking their review score because of it:

“May 15, 2012
0
I’m a fan of Diablo 2 and many of the Diablo 2 clones largely because they’re all similar while Diablo 3 have added a bunch of features to try stand out and by doing so have turned it into an ugly, casual baby game. The franchise once known for witchcraft, demons and gore isn’t even rated an 18+ anymore! Blizzard are well aware their fans from World of Warcraft will buy any cash in they throw at them but this time have made the game exceptionally easy to keep them playing to milk them for more money with the ridiculous ingame cash shop. The cash shop being the biggest reason this game is getting a big fat zero from me. Cash shops are only allowed in games that didn’t cost anything to play in the first place and even then should only sell cosmetic items while with Diablo 3 not only are they over charging for a PC game they’re going to push players into continuously spending a lot of money to buy the best weapons which will kill any fun or motive to dungeon crawl to find loot which is exactly what these games are all about.”

Unfortunately there’s another 4 thousand other reviews written by uninformed gamers looking at D2 through nostalgia glasses. Now dont get me wrong, Im not saying D3 is worth the 9′s and 10′s but giving it a 0 or 1 is just as ridiculous.

quicktooth

On May 27, 2012 at 5:28 am

I was suckered into buying Diablo 3, and I’m very glad I was. Despite CRIPPLING CONNECTION AND DRM issues, the game *itself* is absolutely fantastic. One of the best ever. Far superior to Diablo 2, and I’m still playing Diablo 2 (and loving it). The game is superb! The everything else is TERRIBLE. I’d never have bought it, no matter how perfect, due the DRM alone; but like I said a friend talked me into it (at high speed, and at the last minute). And whenever Blizzard F*CKING. LET’S. ME. PLAY. it’s so very fun.

Charles Dancin'

On May 27, 2012 at 11:33 am

Good points about amateur reviews Axetwin. As for the Friday Flame Wars topic (does Diablo III deserve a 60 or a 90?), I suppose that clamsarehot has the right spirit. He’s in the 60 camp, and has already begun flaming people who disagree.

I have to say that I agree with most of clamsarehot’s complaints about both the game and the company. I’m another one of those long-time Blizzard fans, but last week I returned my copy of Diablo III because I just couldn’t stand it. I really really really wanted to like the game, but I found that I wasn’t having any fun.

This is because I kept comparing it to Diablo II. And I feel I should. After all, Diablo III is the supposed sequel. It isn’t just nostalgia that’s getting to me. I loaded up Diablo II last night with some of my friends and had a blast. After doing so, I could pinpoint the reasons why Diablo II is a 90 and Diablo III is stuck at 60 (for me).

Let me start by saying that there are no games like Diablo II. Sure, there are games that try. Dungeon Siege. Torchlight. Heck, even Diablo III. All of these games try to borrow on the success of Diablo II, but they each fail to identify what it is that makes Diablo II great. They fail to capture the core of Diablo II’s greatness.

What makes Diablo II great? It’s a sandbox game in disguise. Last night, I was on the Diablo II servers and there were 25k players. 25,000! I’m talking about a game that was released in 2000, 12 long years ago. How is there so much replay value?? It’s because Diablo II is really many games in one.

(1) First you have the skill-picking game. The Diablo II skill trees are intricate and asymmetrical. They all have a unique personality, and branch out in inexplicable ways. When you commit to a path, you feel that it is yours. In contrast, look at Diablo III. Every character has the same rigid pattern of skills with six rune modifiers. They may look fancy, but no one feels special picking any of those. You can say it’s an illusion, but entertainment is nothing but compelling illusions, so the point is moot. In Diablo II, the skills are a game themselves. In Diablo III, they’re frills.

This type of game attracts a certain type of player. There’s no name for them, but I’ll call them Explorers. They like to explore different builds, silly builds, CRAZY builds. These guys like to test each skill to the limit, even the useless ones like Telekinesis. The guys who made Diablo III claimed that the D2 skill system just led to “cookie cutter” builds, but this is simply not true of some people, these Explorers. These guys will typically make character after character, trying out new wacky things. Because they can. Diablo III lets these people down.

(2) Next you have the item hunting game. In Diablo II (including Lord of Destruction), EVERY item has a unique version. Every. Single. One. That means you can find a special named item at any stage of the game. Each of those items has a story. I don’t just mean the “best” of these. Even the crappy ones have a story. The unique long sword inexplicably gives +2 to fire skills. Why? Because it’s called Hellplague, that’s why.

Explorers can take advantage of this. They can make an Enchant Weapon sorceress that only does fire damage, and has all fire themed gear. That option is available.

But obviously the items matter far more to another kind of player. You know the type. The MF Whore. These guys (or gals) will kill Mephisto over and over and over. In theory, it’s to get better gear. However, I think the real reason is because finding magical items is really exciting. It’s a fantasy/horror world with cool magic in it. Every time the Mephisto “pinata” pops open, you never know what to expect.

Obviously, Diablo III lets down this type of player too. The ritual of boss MFing is completely different, if not absent entirely. The bosses don’t drop colorful displays anymore, and the auction house is only one click away. The developers of Diablo III claimed that everyone just bought items on the black market anyhow, but this wasn’t the case. Maybe in the last years of Diablo II, this is true, but for most of the game’s lifetime, finding items was more of a hunting than a shopping experience.

(3) This brings me to the third game, the trading. If you’ve played Diablo II, then you’ve gone into the Battle.net chat channels and seen the carnage. Even without bots, the trading channels are spammed to high heaven, completely filled with people trying to find the right deal. Obviously Diablo III lacks this. The Diablo III chat channels are a ghost town.

This brings me to the Trader. The Trader is the type of player that might not even play the regular game. They just love trading. They may have started off playing Diablo II like normal, turned into an MF Whore later on, but now they live to advance their wealth. They have an account full of “mules.” Heck, they may have more than one account by now. Sorry Traders, Diablo III is not for you. The only people similarly obsessed with the auction house have the mentality of stock brokers, not flea market bargainers.

(4) The fourth game in Diablo II is the competitive ladder. This is an amazing feature that the vast majority of players may have disregarded, but it was still an essential part of Diablotown. What can be said about the ladder? It’s a race. The first person to get to lvl 99 gets seen by everyone. Their name is displayed for all to envy (or scoff at). The level 60 level cap in Diablo III completely removes this aspect of the game.

The Ladder Climbers were usually seen doing boss run after boss run. All day. All night. Groups of friends took shifts. That’s right. These people took shifts to play a game. It was competitive, and this is what competitive looked like. Apparently, this kind of behavior has no place in the casual game that is Diablo III. That’s fine, but Blizzard loses out on another type of player.

(5) The fifth game in Diablo II is the Player Versus Player combat. PVP could happen any time, any where. Between friends or between strangers, whatever. The 8 player cap per game meant that PVP matches could have teams. Or audiences. Or referees! This is a game that constantly changed as new items were released, or new patches came on to balance skills. The variations were incredible. People started to restrict matches based on level, and low level dueling was sometimes the most popular kind. (And certain items which weren’t good for anything else became quite valuable because of low level dueling.) Diablo III’s PVP is forthcoming, but I really doubt it will measure up.

In the early days of the game, players could “go hostile” on others without any warning. All of the sudden a “PVM” experience turned into a PVP duel…or chase. Certain players loved this. I’ll call them the PVP greifers. These guys took great pleasure in killing as many other players as possible (and collecting their EARS, just another little piece of Diablo II personality). They didn’t like mowing down endless hordes of CPU generated actions. These guys liked to interact and confront other people. It looks like they have nothing to gain from the straight Co-op of Diablo III.

(6) And last but not least, we have Hardcore mode, Naked challenge, Ironman challenge, and the rest. Of all the games Diablo II offers, this is definitely the last game that most people try. In my opinion, this is actually the most balanced of all the games. This is really the game that lets Diablo II last for a decade (for me). It doubles the replay value. Once you’ve tried everything else, you can try it again, but on Hardcore, or Naked (without items), or Ironman (without purchasing/trading/twinking), or without the use of skills, or only level 6 skills, or only using auras, or minions, or skills that involve melee. The list is almost endless.

I’m sorry, but these games just aren’t possible in Diablo III. Hardcore mode with the current connection problems? Heck no. Furthermore, the game is too item-based. Many skills don’t work without a weapon. Naked is impossible. Ironman would be ridiculous, as the game is designed AROUND the auction house. Just another set of players that don’t get represented, and another chunk of replay that disappears.

So there are at least six separate games in Diablo II. Six! Not everyone participated in all of these, but you were generally aware that these other types of players existed. And that gave you a sense of community. Diablo II wasn’t only a game. It was a little world to dive into, full of people with their own preferences and their own way to play. You could express yourself through the game. That’s powerful.

Please, don’t deny that these people existed. I personally know one of each of those types of players: Explorer, MF Whore, Trader, Ladder Climber, PVP Griefer. I knew them all. And I was a Hardcore player. One game supported us all, Diablo II. That’s a game with depth. I don’t deny that it’s a hard act to follow. I also don’t deny that Diablo III is a lot of fun, but it’s incredibly shallow in comparison. And that makes for a horrible sequel. 60/100 is all I can give it.

Charles Dancin'

On May 27, 2012 at 11:43 am

Good points about amateur reviews Axetwin. As for the Friday Flame Wars topic (does Diablo III deserve a 60 or a 90?), I suppose that clamsarehot has the right spirit. He’s in the 60 camp, and has already begun flaming people who disagree.

I have to say that I agree with most of clamsarehot’s complaints about both the game and the company. I’m another one of those long-time Blizzard fans, but last week I returned my copy of Diablo III because I just couldn’t stand it. I really really really wanted to like the game, but I found that I wasn’t having any fun.

This is because I kept comparing it to Diablo II. And I feel I should. After all, Diablo III is the supposed sequel. It isn’t just nostalgia that’s getting to me. I loaded up Diablo II last night and had a blast. After doing so, I could finally pinpoint the reasons why Diablo II is a 90 and Diablo III is stuck at 60 (for me).

Let me start by saying that there are no games like Diablo II. Sure, there are games that try. Dungeon Siege. Torchlight. Heck, even Diablo III. All of these games try to borrow on the success of Diablo II, but they each fail to identify what it is that makes Diablo II great. They fail to capture the core of Diablo II’s greatness.

What makes Diablo II great? It’s a sandbox game in disguise. Last night, I was on the Diablo II servers and there were 25k players. 25,000! I’m talking about a game that was released in 2000, 12 long years ago. How is there so much replay value?? It’s because Diablo II is really many games in one.

(1) First you have the skill-picking game. The Diablo II skill trees are intricate and asymmetrical. They all have a unique personality, and branch out in inexplicable ways. When you commit to a path, you feel that it is yours. In contrast, look at Diablo III. Every character has the same rigid pattern of skills with six rune modifiers. They may look fancy, but no one feels special picking any of those. You can say it’s an illusion, but entertainment is nothing but compelling illusions, so the point is moot. In Diablo II, the skills are a game themselves. In Diablo III, they’re frills.

This type of game attracts a certain type of player. There’s no name for them, but I’ll call them Explorers. They like to explore different builds, silly builds, CRAZY builds. These guys like to test each skill to the limit, even the useless ones like Telekinesis. The guys who made Diablo III claimed that the D2 skill system just led to “cookie cutter” builds, but this is simply not true of some people, these Explorers. These guys will typically make character after character, trying out new wacky things. Because they can. Diablo III lets these people down.

(2) Next you have the item hunting game. In Diablo II (including Lord of Destruction), EVERY item has a unique version. Every. Single. One. That means you can find a special named item at any stage of the game. Each of those items has a story. I don’t just mean the “best” of these. Even the crappy ones have a story. The unique long sword inexplicably gives +2 to fire skills. Why? Because it’s called Hellplague, that’s why.

Explorers can take advantage of this. They can make an Enchant Weapon sorceress that only does fire damage, and has all fire themed gear. That option is available.

But obviously the items matter far more to another kind of player. You know the type. The MF !@#$%. These guys (or gals) will kill Mephisto over and over and over. In theory, it’s to get better gear. However, I think the real reason is because finding magical items is really exciting. It’s a fantasy/horror world with cool magic in it. Every time the Mephisto “pinata” pops open, you never know what to expect.

Obviously, Diablo III lets down this type of player too. The ritual of boss MFing is completely different, if not absent entirely. The bosses don’t drop colorful displays anymore, and the auction house is only one click away. The developers of Diablo III claimed that everyone just bought items on the black market anyhow, but this wasn’t the case. Maybe in the last years of Diablo II, this is true, but for most of the game’s lifetime, finding items was more of a hunting than a shopping experience.

(3) This brings me to the third game, the trading. If you’ve played Diablo II, then you’ve gone into the Battle.net chat channels and seen the carnage. Even without bots, the trading channels are spammed to high heaven, completely filled with people trying to find the right deal. Obviously Diablo III lacks this. The Diablo III chat channels are a ghost town.

This brings me to the Trader. The Trader is the type of player that might not even play the regular game. They just love trading. They may have started off playing Diablo II like normal, turned into an MF ^-*!@ later on, but now they live to advance their wealth. They have an account full of “mules.” Heck, they may have more than one account by now. Sorry Traders, Diablo III is not for you. The only people similarly obsessed with the auction house have the mentality of stock brokers, not flea market bargainers.

(4) The fourth game in Diablo II is the competitive ladder. This is an amazing feature that the vast majority of players may have disregarded, but it was still an essential part of Diablotown. What can be said about the ladder? It’s a race. The first person to get to lvl 99 gets seen by everyone. Their name is displayed for all to envy (or scoff at). The level 60 level cap in Diablo III completely removes this aspect of the game.

The Ladder Climbers were usually seen doing boss run after boss run. All day. All night. Groups of friends took shifts. That’s right. These people took shifts to play a game. It was competitive, and this is what competitive looked like. Apparently, this kind of behavior has no place in the casual game that is Diablo III. That’s fine, but Blizzard loses out on another type of player.

(5) The fifth game in Diablo II is the Player Versus Player combat. PVP could happen any time, any where. Between friends or between strangers, whatever. The 8 player cap per game meant that PVP matches could have teams. Or audiences. Or referees! This is a game that constantly changed as new items were released, or new patches came on to balance skills. The variations were incredible. People started to restrict matches based on level, and low level dueling was sometimes the most popular kind. (And certain items which weren’t good for anything else became quite valuable because of low level dueling.) Diablo III’s PVP is forthcoming, but I really doubt it will measure up.

In the early days of the game, players could “go hostile” on others without any warning. All of the sudden a “PVM” experience turned into a PVP duel…or chase. Certain players loved this. I’ll call them the PVP greifers. These guys took great pleasure in killing as many other players as possible (and collecting their EARS, just another little piece of Diablo II personality). They didn’t like mowing down endless hordes of CPU generated actions. These guys liked to interact and confront other people. It looks like they have nothing to gain from the straight Co-op of Diablo III.

(6) And last but not least, we have Hardcore mode, Naked challenge, Ironman challenge, and the rest. Of all the games Diablo II offers, this is definitely the last game that most people try. In my opinion, this is actually the most balanced of all the games. This is really the game that lets Diablo II last for a decade (for me). It doubles the replay value. Once you’ve tried everything else, you can try it again, but on Hardcore, or Naked (without items), or Ironman (without purchasing/trading/twinking), or without the use of skills, or only level 6 skills, or only using auras, or minions, or skills that involve melee. The list is almost endless.

I’m sorry, but these games just aren’t possible in Diablo III. Hardcore mode with the current connection problems? Heck no. Furthermore, the game is too item-based. Many skills don’t work without a weapon. Naked is impossible. Ironman would be ridiculous, as the game is designed AROUND the auction house. Just another set of players that don’t get represented, and another chunk of replay that disappears.

So there are at least six separate games in Diablo II. Six! Not everyone participated in all of these, but you were generally aware that these other types of players existed. And that gave you a sense of community. Diablo II wasn’t only a game. It was a little world to dive into, full of people with their own preferences and their own way to play. You could express yourself through the game. That’s powerful.

Please, don’t deny that these people existed. I personally know one of each of those types of players: Explorer, MF #$%^-, Trader, Ladder Climber, PVP Griefer. I knew them all. And I was a Hardcore player. One game supported us all, Diablo II. That’s a game with depth. I don’t deny that it’s a hard act to follow. I also don’t deny that Diablo III is a lot of fun, but it’s incredibly shallow in comparison. And that makes for a poor sequel. 60/100 is all I can give it.

ted

On May 27, 2012 at 12:19 pm

How Diablo pronounces terror says it all for me. But if need me to sum it up, this game is pretty lame. After this long of a wait since diablo 2 it was a let down.

Kevin

On May 27, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Axe,

People place different weight on different features. For some players, the RMAH is about a bit more.

They don’t like how the game is DESIGNED around the RMAH. That includes the absurd DRM, and why single player games feature nasty lag and disconnects. Some believe that the true rares are a lot more scarce than they were in D2. While it is conjecture (and should be stated as such), a very compelling case is the increase in scracity is to drive people…… towards the RMAH.

These kind of things are perfectly valid to criticize on, and for some reviewers, can carry significant weight.

Now you may think a 0 is absurd. (I’d agree with you.) But that’s ultimately for the market to decide. For the record, I’m doing this as a disapassionate observer. I don’t have the time to play D3 now, and probably won’t for 5 months, at least by then all the kinks will be ironed out.

Zach

On May 27, 2012 at 3:52 pm

60, to short repetative gameplay, no rc auction house at launch, no pvp at launch, etc…

MPSewell

On May 28, 2012 at 12:13 am

If “Diablo” wasn’t on the title there wouldn’t be one reviewer, anywhere, giving it above a 75. At best. We all know it, including the reviewers. ESPECIALLY with the awful DRM.

Mary

On May 31, 2012 at 9:20 pm

Sorry, I am a diehard diablo fan, or at least I used to be. This game isn’t a 90 and it isn’t a 60 either. This game lacks everything that a good RPG game should have. This is a socialist world where we can’t make decisions for ourselves (redoing missions results in less and less exp/loot every time, loot is crappy forcing us to go to the auctions, etc). You are just supposed to go from A to B to C to D. You can not even choose what games to join, they do. Cant even play without the internet, the biggest sin of all possibly. The story is decent at best, lacking all the spark of the second game. The only thing I can say is that at least with all the hand holding, the PKing seems to be over. Don’t even get me started about the customer service. I have never been so betrayed by a company. Blizzard has crossed the line.