It’s either me or the game that is a little bit wrong. I played Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction(LoD) several years ago and played that game for a few years. This game touched my heart and made me crazy. However, I feel unsatisfactory to this newly released sequel, Diablo 3.
Let’s begin with some comparisons.
Big Changes compare to Diablo 2 : Lord of Destruction
Diablo 2 : LoD
Each leveling up, your character gains 5 points. You may allocate those points freely to 5 attributes, including strength, dexterity, energy, stamina, and vitality. For characters in different classes, they share the same formula of calculating basic above 5 attributes.
You no longer control the development of your characters by allocating basic attribute points. Your characters will gain points automatically.
For our old legacy players from Diablo 2: LoD, this change is very hard to get used to. Since in Diablo 2: LoD, we have to carefully calculate the points to meet some equipment requirements. Interestingly, a brutal sorceress (with high strength points) is very powerful since she not only usually generate high damage, but also is able to wear some heavy armors, which provide great physical and magic protection. This character development invariance introduced by customized points allocation strategy really inspires player’s imagination of playing Diablo 2. I am not playing WoW, Diablo 3 should have their own culture. So for this change, I have a negative impression.
Diablo 2: LoD
Same as attribute points, you gain 1 precious point after each leveling up. You can freely allocate this point to any available skill. In a battle, you may quickly switch between the skills you learned and cast different skills.
You no loner need to worry about choosing skills, you own all the available skills. Yet you cannot cast all the skills in one battle. There is only 6 slots for active skills and 3 slots for passive skills. Normally you have to carefully fill the skill slots before entering a battle. Plus, 6 slots corresponds to 6 categories respectively, you cannot use skills from the same category at the same time.
This change converts the problem of choosing skills to learn to the problem of choosing skills to fight. It’s very hard to say which one is better, at least this is an innovation to the Diablo series. However, the fixed number of slots is a very annoying design, at least for me. In fact, it’s possible to replace the skills during a battle, yet when a skill is in CD, I can’t change it. Even if I have switched to another skill, I still need to wait for this switching time penalty – switching CD, which means that I have wait for another CD to use this new skill. In a boss fight, time is too precious to wait for this long switching CD. Moreover, I only have 6 skills to use in a battle, and those 6 skills are from 6 categories. You cannot choose 2 skills from same category at the same time. This restriction eliminates much trouble from designers, however, it kills much joy from us as well. In all, I am not sure about giving all skills to players, however, the fixed slot and categories do hinder the imagination of players.
Heritage from Diablo 2 : LoD
Random Labyrinth, Random Equipment, and Random Elite Monsters
Repeatable levels are one of the keys to success of Diablo series, and the randomness is the core of repeatable levels. The above 3 factors compose a random level, and they always motivate players to play more. Hoping encountering another horde of monsters, hoping for another better equipment (even if a tiny bit better), players are enjoying their time in rewarding of slaughtering or getting a better weapon. In Diablo 3, we see that designers keep playing this trick to entertaining players. Now we may only need a bit more exp. to level up, or we simply run another place to tick the quest list, or we just get a new equipment and can’t wait to try it on. All those easily reachable rewards build the core of Diablo series.
There is one more part that I want to complain about Diablo 3 – imperfect teamwork system. In multi-players mode, especially in low-difficulty modes, like normal or nightmare, you may feel your character is omnipotent, you don’t see the point of owning a witch doctor in your team, or you don’t understand why a wizard is necessary even if you want to speed up the slaughtering. It is true that in inferno levels, tank is needed and high DPS is welcome. There is no big difference in owning a demon hunter or a wizard. Plus, the bad balance between multi-players mode and solo mode ruins much the fun of teamwork. Yet the good news is that Blizzard have already notices this problem and promise to alleviate this problem in later patches. (currently 1.02c)
Diablo 3 inherits most of the culture in Diablo series, and like most of Blizzard games, it’s well balanced and completed. Blizzard’s games have incomparable data balance. Also, their games are famous for high completion and great details. You can feel the tears and efforts of developers when playing the their games. However, in recent years, hindered by its fame, Blizzard is hesitate to innovate, like WoW, StarCraft 2. Surprisingly, Diablo 3 took a great step in breaking the old rules of Diablo series, although some innovation are controversial. Yet this brave action worth lots applaud. We not only believe in Blizzard’s great balance adjustment ability, but also long for a great innovative giant in game industry. In conclusion, this game is a well polished game, and deserve high score. However, this game bears too much expectation, we need another higher standard.
One more words, in metacritic, the score for Diablo 3 is 88, however user score is very low, only 4.0. I guess we players are too strict to Blizzard because we love she so much as well.