Diablo III proved to me that it definitely takes more than equipment with gold text and high statistics to keep me playing these kinds of games. I’ve only finished Blizzard’s dungeon crawler on Normal difficulty with my Monk and although it only took 20 some odd hours to complete, it felt like it took me 40.
I frequently grew bored. It was primarily due to the lack of challenge which could have been rectified if Blizzard allowed me to select a higher difficulty level right off the bat, but I was told that wouldn’t be very Diablo-like. I was also unimpressed with the lack of variety in encounters and situations. The boss fights were the highlights but the levels themselves? They often felt like slogs.
I understand randomly generated levels and I appreciate Blizzard’s efforts make it seem like they’re not just a mish mash of parts but couldn’t they generate more interesting situations? A switch puzzle or two? Something more than beautifully drawn backgrounds and handful useless background traps would have gone a long way towards providing more variety. But I guess that’s not what the fans want is it? They just want to kill things and collect loot.
While Blizzard kept the fundamentals intact, they did make some significant alterations to other areas. They added a game breaking Auction House. If I wanted to make the game even easier, I could buy more powerful gear and slaughter my enemies in one hit instead of two. They also gave the game more of a voice, so now I can hear more pieces of the lore. I wish it was better, but it’s better than scrolls of text that no one will allow me to read during a co-op scenario.
The most significant change was the persistent internet connection requirement. If the internet was rock solid and I was never disconnected from Blizzard’s servers, I wouldn’t make a point of it. However, I did lose progress because of connectivity issues and that irked me a bit. I don’t care about the Auction House and would have been more than happy to live offline or in a LAN environment. Hell, I would have even tried Hardcore mode if I didn’t have to worry about network issues.
As critical as I have been of Diablo III, there were moments of brilliance. To say I didn’t enjoy seeing hordes of spiders explode by my hand would be a lie. Exploring new areas was fun and there was a tinge of excitement when a flurry of items came flying out of a downed demon boss. Finally, getting rid of the classic skill tree and offering players the ability to customize their skills on the field via a perk like system was ingenious. That move alone allowed to keep things fresh given the limited variety elsewhere.
I was expecting a bit more with Diablo III. I guess I was expecting the kind of leap forward found in Blizzard’s other medieval franchise. The Warcraft II to Warcraft III transition was significant. The core mechanics were the same but they added so much more breadth and variety. Diablo III felt very safe and for fans of the franchise, that’s probably fine. But for me? I’m hoping Torchlight 2 infuses some more innovation to this formula.
For Fans Only
For more information on Diablo III, visit the official website.