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Evil is Back
May 14, 2012 3:00 PM   Subscribe

You may have heard that evil is returning to Sanctuary tonight. Your Diablo 3 launch day preparation guide includes opening cinematics, a cartoon, the story so far, a primer on the new Auction House (now with real money), and build guides for the Demon Hunter, Barbarian, Monk, and Witch Doctor. Since no one at Blizzard beat Diablo 3's Inferno difficulty, death is guaranteed.
posted by Avenger50 (311 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Requires always-on internet connection. Boo.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 3:05 PM on May 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


I totally don't trust Activision, and I think anyone that does is very foolish... those guys will never, ever leave a dollar on the table. That auction house is such an incredible conflict of interest. I can't imagine them not abusing it.

Consider: say Diablo has Item X, which is highly coveted. If they just randomly drop it, then most of the items stay in private hands. That's leaving money on the table. Easy fix: weight the "random" number generator to tend to give people repeats of things they already have. They will then trade the 'surplus'. (artificially generated by you, of course.) You get a 15% cut when they trade, and then another 15% cut when they cash out.

I wouldn't get anywhere near this game if they gave it to me for free, much less charging me $60 admission.
posted by Malor at 3:06 PM on May 14, 2012 [14 favorites]


Argh, I hit post too soon -- wasn't finished converting from second-person to third-person. The 'yous' at the end of that paragraph refer to You The Game Publisher, aka Activision.
posted by Malor at 3:07 PM on May 14, 2012



I remember a Diablo simulator that made the rounds a few years back and it was basically a VB app that granted a new level for every 20,000 mouse clicks.

It was still relevant when I played the D3 beta a few months back.

I've got some fond memories of drunken Diablo lan parties, but I'm not so sure I am fond of the direction Blizz is taking with this; the auction house and so on.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:08 PM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, it's not a game anymore, Pogo, it's a business, where they're cashing in on artificial scarcity. I'm sure it will be very slick and very clean, and it's designed to separate you from your dollars. Blizzard has turned into Zynga, more or less.
posted by Malor at 3:11 PM on May 14, 2012


I'm going to buy and enjoy this game. I have a sneaking suspicion that I will buy and enjoy torchlight 2 more. And, of course, nethack is the all time winner for best dungeon crawl.
posted by poe at 3:11 PM on May 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I'm going to wait a while to see how this plays out. I always like to delay a bit on new games to let the early adopters locate the bugs; with this one, I'll keep a wary eye on it, and pick it up in six months depending on its reputation then.

Back when D2 came out, I loved it; but then, I trusted Blizzard.

For those of us that can't wait to get back into some old-school third-person clickfest action, Torchlight II should be out shortly. I figure that will tide me over while the DIII auction house weirdness plays out.
posted by MrVisible at 3:12 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Im totally looking forward to this. The haters can go soak their heads. I dont care one bit about the always-on connection and the dual-format auction house I see as a step in the right direction. Its the videogame world equivalent of giving junkies needles - its going to happen anyways, lets make sure its a good safe transaction in a regulated environment.

I'll see you in hell!
posted by H. Roark at 3:13 PM on May 14, 2012 [15 favorites]


I am sure of the direction: they stand to make way too much money.

Things I'm willing to bet on given the trends of certain game companies as of late: DRM server crashes within first 24 hours. Paid DLC within 2 weeks (assuming there isn't Day 1 DLC I'm unaware of). Auction house hacked within 1 week. Terrible ending.

Back to Portal 2
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:14 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Incredible amounts of cynicism in here. As a lifelong Blizz fan, their merger with Activision meant nothing to me, as they're still under independent management. You're right-clicking at windmills big time. Don't like the auction house? Never use it. Enjoy looting the way you always did.
posted by Avenger50 at 3:15 PM on May 14, 2012 [13 favorites]


Its the videogame world equivalent of giving junkies needles

No, it's the videogame equivalent of creating and distributing heroin. It's creating the harm, not mitigating it.
posted by Malor at 3:18 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm sure other people can write a positive post about Diablo because right now my brain is going NEW DIABLO IN EIGHT POINT FIVE HOURS AHHHHH!
posted by Diskeater at 3:19 PM on May 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


DRM server crashes within first 24 hours. Paid DLC within 2 weeks (assuming there isn't Day 1 DLC I'm unaware of). Auction house hacked within 1 week. Terrible ending."

Again, I'll bet you the game you're hilariously wrong. This is Blizzard we're talking about, not EA. Where were your doomsday predictions when SC2 launched?
posted by Avenger50 at 3:21 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was in the beta (although I didn't know it until I tried to participate in the open beta and found I already had an account set up; Blizzard forgot to email me) and went from basically not caring much (as I'd never played a Diablo game) to feverish excitement overnight.

Now I've gone to boredom as I want for the login servers to stop crying and let me in.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:23 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


No, it's the videogame equivalent of creating and distributing heroin. It's creating the harm, not mitigating it.

In many probably more enlightened places than the United States supplying properly manufactured, clean heroin to people who have not had success with methadone is considered harm mitigation. I don't know if this is that, what with the for-profit corporate entity and all, but it at least prevents people from getting scammed.
posted by monocyte at 3:23 PM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


So far, the hardest enemy of the game seems to be Error 37. I think Blizzard's servers are on fire.
posted by ymgve at 3:26 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


The livestreams are currently showing people attempting to log in.

Oh, internet.

ymgve: "So far, the hardest enemy of the game seems to be Error 37. I think Blizzard's servers are on fire."

Error 33 for me. I feel special!
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:27 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am literally cooking up my Diablo III Installer .dmg in a spoon right now, guys. Because the stress test reminded me a lot of Farmville, and also some other metaphors.
posted by cortex at 3:28 PM on May 14, 2012 [11 favorites]


Where were your doomsday predictions when SC2 launched?

I'll admit I was expecting SC2 to have those issues. Instead anyone who doesn't have reliable internet access just got hosed and didn't buy the game. The main thing I laughed about for SC2 was the blatant money grab by splitting it into the main game plus two expansions. $50 + $? x2 to get the "whole game."
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:29 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


As someone who has participated in both the D2 black market and the WoW account market, I think the move towards a legitimate auction house is actually a good thing. The fraud and scamming in the black markets is utterly rampant, and being able to move to a secure and reliable transaction model is a good thing in my books. Blizzard is making these changes for their own peace of mind: b.net 2.0 is basically a textbook of lessons learned from WoW's endless account hacking nightmare.

I think the biggest problem will be gold-farming though, as by legitimating real money transactions, there is a legitimate path to turn gold into USD. Ironically the rapid economic development in China in the last decade may have finally killed this business model, but it was pretty vibrant in WoW last I played it, so there could be a huge inflation problem if gold-farming is a go. (Gold inflation itself is controlled via crafting, supposedly, but that will only last as long as crafted items remain in demand.) Global Play will not stop it, as any half-decent goldfarm outfit is VPN'ing through the States anyway.
posted by mek at 3:29 PM on May 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


There are plenty of other cool action-RPGs coming out soon if you don't want to give Blizzard and EA your money. There's the aforementioned Torchlight II, there's the online Path of Exile (free to play, and payment only gives you cosmetic upgrades, not gear), Grim Dawn (developed by the people who did Titan Quest) and Age of Decadence (which is supposed to be much more story-oriented than your typical hack 'n' slash game). It's a good time to be a fan of the genre, whether or not you're actually planning on purchasing Diablo III.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:32 PM on May 14, 2012 [14 favorites]


Instead anyone who doesn't have reliable internet access just got hosed and didn't buy the game.

I mean, it's 2012. Blizzard's probably been the last game developer to pull this move, now assuming most of their fanbase has a "reliable" connection.

The main thing I laughed about for SC2 was the blatant money grab by splitting it into the main game plus two expansions. $50 + $? x2 to get the "whole game."

Shrug. There's more new content in Blizzard expansions than there is in entire games made by other companies. For SC2 specifically, it's new units and a new campaign. Sweet.
posted by Avenger50 at 3:32 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Error 33 for me. I feel special!

ArmyOfKittens, this might be because the game appears to default you to the US region. If you're in Europe, you might have to manually change the settings to EU.
posted by ymgve at 3:33 PM on May 14, 2012


Pretty sure you can't actually turn gold into USD. Just USD into gold.
posted by dobie at 3:34 PM on May 14, 2012


I take it back; I don't think Age of Decadence is actually an action-RPG after all.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:34 PM on May 14, 2012


The main thing I laughed about for SC2 was the blatant money grab by splitting it into the main game plus two expansions. $50 + $? x2 to get the "whole game."

...

Shrug. There's more new content in Blizzard expansions than there is in entire games made by other companies. For SC2 specifically, it's new units and a new campaign. Sweet.


Yeah, I mean...whatever other faults Wings of Liberty might have had, the amount of content was not one of them. I think splitting SC2 into three games is pretty legitimate (if not stretching people's patience a bit thin).
posted by HostBryan at 3:34 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pretty sure you can't actually turn gold into USD. Just USD into gold.

Not directly, no, but both can be exchanged for items.
posted by mek at 3:35 PM on May 14, 2012


I think the question remains about whether having an item market with real value puts the game into gambling territory. It was deemed so in South Korea, if I recall, as they claimed the cost of auctioning without the certainty of return constituted gambling. I think you could argue a gambling point on many other grounds too.

Will be interesting to see what kind of worms come out of this can when you have account loss leading to the withholding of virtual items with market values and all kinds of other shenanigans.
posted by AbsoluteDestiny at 3:35 PM on May 14, 2012


Also the CE is on its way from Amazon for me right now and I have a sort of nervous anticipation thing going. Especially 'cuz I'm teaching a course about video games right now and wouldn't that be the irony if the instructor didn't have a lecture ready 'cuz of Diablo 3.
posted by HostBryan at 3:36 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


ymgve: "Error 33 for me. I feel special!

ArmyOfKittens, this might be because the game appears to default you to the US region. If you're in Europe, you might have to manually change the settings to EU.
"

Yeah, I figured that out a few minutes ago :)

Now I have a new kind of error to stare sleepily at.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 3:37 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


(OK maybe that is not irony but whatever, semantics.)
posted by HostBryan at 3:37 PM on May 14, 2012


There are plenty of other cool action-RPGs coming out soon if you don't want to give Blizzard and EA your money.

And in top-down RPG land, there's the Baldur's Gate HD, along with update of the original Avenum and Avadon on both Steam and iPad from Spiderweb. So it's a great year for fantasy-RPGs in general.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:37 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm teaching a course about video games right now

what's the course? where do you get to do that?
posted by Avenger50 at 3:38 PM on May 14, 2012


(And how can you say no to a company that digitized the office dog into the game?)
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 3:39 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


As a single player kind of guy I couldn't care any less about the complaints. Bloody hell, Diablo III is here and even the mere thought of grinding and doing inventory micro management makes me exited.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 3:39 PM on May 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


There's maybe five games in the last twenty-five years where my interest was sustained over months and years. SimCity. Civilization. Doom/Quake. Half-Life. And Diablos I and II. (Well, also Master of Magic, but that's more particular to me, possibly).

I didn't realize that Diablo III was shipping today, but I definitely got very excited when I read this post. I spent so many hours playing Diablo — and, interestingly, I always found it just as fun playing solo as when playing with someone else. (I really do like cooperative games, though.)

But while I played and enjoyed Torchlight for a little while, for some reason I never got sucked into it like I did Diablo. I really enjoyed and was impressed by Bastion, but my interest waned about half-way though and I just stopped playing it. Maybe it's that the first experience of a class is often the best. Maybe it's that I'm almost 50 and I find that I videogames don't sustain my interest the way they used to. But I do wonder if maybe I'll be disappointed if I were to buy and play this. But watching the gameplay video made my fingers itch to play it. I dunno.

I can't imagine that I wouldn't just ignore the auction house. Hell, I pretty much ignore the auction house on WoW (which I've played for about two months every two years since the week after the game shipped). The always-on internet connection bothers me some, though. Malor's objections seem to me to be more relevant to a certain class of gamer and not all gamers, or even all who are very enthusiastic about games.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:41 PM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm excited for it - this is the first time I think I've ever had a computer capable of running the new Diablo game on the day of release. But now I'm old enough to know that it'll be worth waiting for a bit to get it - let them sort out the bugs and avoid the disappointment of the servers being crushed for the next little while.
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:43 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I mean, it's 2012. Blizzard's probably been the last game developer to pull this move, now assuming most of their fanbase has a "reliable" connection.

I'm pretty sure the only other significant PC developer to assume that was Ubisoft with their Assassin's Creed II DRM, and they caught hell over it.
posted by skymt at 3:46 PM on May 14, 2012


Haters be damned, I'll be there at 3am CST, clicking the login button like a madman.
posted by thanotopsis at 3:47 PM on May 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's starting to look like Sanctuary is one of those ironically-named places.
posted by clockzero at 3:48 PM on May 14, 2012 [5 favorites]


With its flashy effects and emphasis on getting loot, Diablo has always leaned too far towards the slot machine side of the gaming spectrum for me. When I see how cool it looks and hear how excited everyone is about it, I want to jump in and join the fun, but from past experience I know that it won't hold my attention, there's nothing there for me.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 3:48 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't really understand why you're posting in the thread, Malor? If you don't want to play the game, that's cool. Don't play. But sort of insisting that no one else should have fun with it on principle seems bizarre to me.

I'm at work until 10pm PDT, then the drive home and a short wait to log in. Comparing it with the gameplay from D1 and D2, it is whole universes of improvement away. It's going to be very, very fun.

And the absurd reduction of "20,000 clicks" is just... dumb. Writing a novel is merely a few hundred thousand keystrokes. Designing a machine in AUTOCAD is just some combination of mouseclicks and keystrokes. Etc.
posted by kavasa at 3:50 PM on May 14, 2012 [8 favorites]


Why all the hate on the pay model? Every other hobby/sport/leisure activity requires and rewards you for further economic investment. Why not computer games?

Diablo and similar games are not one-off experiences. They are like hobbies unto themselves, that people play for years and years. Yes they are addictive - but then again, what good hobby isn't? Are football fans not addicted to football? Are music fans not addicted to music?

PS Ivan Fyodorovich: Master of Magic was an amazing game. Many, many hours of enjoyment.
posted by jet_manifesto at 3:50 PM on May 14, 2012


Keith Burgen has some great thoughts on diablo that are worth taking a look at. He argues that from a mechanic perspective (and we can fight about how critical a mechanical understanding of games is at some other point) Diablo is essentially indistinguishable from Farmville. Both are games with what is essentially a progression ratchet; the death penalties are so limp that you will finish the game if you put the time into it.

He doesn't talk about the way loot works, but the unpredictability of loot drops plugs into a deep-seated desire of ours to become addicted to unreliable outcomes. When every kill is a chance (even if it's vanishingly small) for some game-changing loot, we rapidly become addicted to pulling that level.

In a very real sense, the single-player version of Diablo is barely a game at all. There are very few meaningful decisions (except perhaps skill choices, although there aren't really wrong choices there) in the course of a playthrough, and the mechanics make it impossible to feel any real fear because death has no consequence.

This puts my solidly in the hater camp, but I wish Blizzard would use their unspendable wealth to actually do some novel game design at some point. They've gotten awfully good at polishing old ideas, but I'd love to see them take some design risks on some new experiences. But lets be realistic: getting acquired by Activision sort of put the brakes on that.
posted by heresiarch at 3:54 PM on May 14, 2012 [9 favorites]


The real money auction house is the most interesting thing happening in Diablo III, IMHO. It's definitely fraught with potential problems. It's also a smart move for Blizzard to try to assert control over the clandestine economy that's grown up around both Diablo 2 and Warcraft. By supporting it and regulating it, it might work out best for everyone. It'll certainly be an interesting experiment.

Unfortunately fees are very high so I don't think we'll see a very liquid real money trade. Buying and reselling is nearly impossible to be profitable when you're paying 15-50% fees on trades. Also Blizzard's not done anything to publish auction data; there's no web view, no scriptable client. So the market will be unnecessarily opaque. I'm optimistic they'll open up a data view over time.

The always-on-DRM unfortunately goes hand-in-glove with the real money auction. It's as much an anti-cheating measure as it is copy protection.
posted by Nelson at 3:55 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I doubt Mr. Burgen would make it past Act 1 on Inferno mode, seeing as he's expecting no skill or effort beyond Farmville.
posted by thanotopsis at 3:56 PM on May 14, 2012


And the absurd reduction of "20,000 clicks" is just... dumb. Writing a novel is merely a few hundred thousand keystrokes. Designing a machine in AUTOCAD is just some combination of mouseclicks and keystrokes. Etc.

Well, no.

Diablo, aside from a decent story and graphics has exceedingly simple gameplay.

If I were introducing someone to gaming, I would start with that, for that reason alone. Click click click click....

It's a fun game, don't get me wrong. But complicated, it aint.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 3:57 PM on May 14, 2012


In a very real sense, the single-player version of Diablo is barely a game at all. There are very few meaningful decisions (except perhaps skill choices, although there aren't really wrong choices there) in the course of a playthrough, and the mechanics make it impossible to feel any real fear because death has no consequence.

Tell you what - go play Diablo 2 on Hardcore mode all the way into Hell mode and let me know that a) there are no wrong skill choices and b) death has no consequence.
posted by never used baby shoes at 3:59 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'll admit I was expecting SC2 to have those issues. Instead anyone who doesn't have reliable internet access just got hosed and didn't buy the game. The main thing I laughed about for SC2 was the blatant money grab by splitting it into the main game plus two expansions. $50 + $? x2 to get the "whole game."
It was 3 games over several years. None of the expansions have even been released yet. It's much more like two sequels using the same engine - rather then calling them starcraft 3, starcraft 4, etc. Given the jump between Starcraft and Starcraft 2, people will probably expect a similar jump for #3.
posted by delmoi at 4:01 PM on May 14, 2012


Oh, Hardcore mode is definitely a game. But lets be honest - very, very few people will play Hardcore mode in D3.
posted by heresiarch at 4:02 PM on May 14, 2012


Since no one at Blizzard beat Diablo 3's Inferno difficulty, death is guaranteed.

Actually they kept incrementing the difficulty until the in house testers said that it was hard enough, but still beatable. Then they doubled that for release.
posted by Splunge at 4:04 PM on May 14, 2012


Whether or not Diablo III qualifies as a "game" has exactly zero bearing on how much fun I plan on having tomorrow and for the next eleventy thousand days after click click clicking away.
posted by incessant at 4:05 PM on May 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


But lets be honest - very, very few people will play Hardcore mode in D3.

Probably true - I suspect those of us playing HC Diablo 2 were also the minority; I have no clue, though, as to the gamplay mechanics and feel of D3 yet so I don't want to make any judgments about its play style.
posted by never used baby shoes at 4:05 PM on May 14, 2012


The Peter Chung background animation was interesting for featuring the same voice talent I've come to grow sick of playing World of Warcraft. Especially Culling of Stratholme where you had the dialog split between Mr. Shouty, and Mr. Punctuate. And. Capitalize. Every. Damn. Word. During. A. Mandatory. Pause. Like. A. Terry. Pratchett. Character.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:08 PM on May 14, 2012


I'll admit I was expecting SC2 to have those issues. Instead anyone who doesn't have reliable internet access just got hosed and didn't buy the game. The main thing I laughed about for SC2 was the blatant money grab by splitting it into the main game plus two expansions. $50 + $? x2 to get the "whole game."
It was 3 games over several years. None of the expansions have even been released yet. It's much more like two sequels using the same engine - rather then calling them starcraft 3, starcraft 4, etc. Given the jump between Starcraft and Starcraft 2, people will probably expect a similar jump for #3.
This is pretty much it. It's 30 missions spread over seven story arcs for a single race.
For those of us that can't wait to get back into some old-school third-person clickfest action, Torchlight II should be out shortly. I figure that will tide me over while the DIII auction house weirdness plays out.
After the clusterfuck that was the Mac version of Torchlight I won't be buying a Runic Games title ever again.
posted by Talez at 4:10 PM on May 14, 2012


the death penalties are so limp that you will finish the game if you put the time into it.

The hardcore mode takes care of that, where death is permanent. I guess Im in the minority where thats pretty much all I play - the "high stakes" combined with the fact that I generally enjoy the lower levels anyways makes it a great fit.
posted by H. Roark at 4:11 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm so very glad I weened myself off these games years back. D1 & D2 are pure, distilled crack. I can't imagine how addictive D3 will be. So many hours lost...
posted by kjs3 at 4:11 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why all the hate on the pay model? Every other hobby/sport/leisure activity requires and rewards you for further economic investment. Why not computer games?

The problem comes when the business starts to affect the game design. For example: if you're developing a subscription MMO, you want to keep players playing and paying as long as possible. You have a finite development budget, so you can only make a certain amount of content. To extract the most possible hours from your content, you need to stretch it out through delay and repetition, without the player becoming bored enough to quit. Hence the infamous "kill 20 monsters" quests found in many MMOs: poor game design, but excellent business.

One-time-purchase "blockbuster" games are often the opposite. They blow their content budget on 6-8 hours of setpieces and trailer shots. Each moment of the game is carefully crafted to impress, but it's over with quickly enough that it doesn't keep the player occupied and not-buying-games for too long.

I'm not sure how or if this could apply to the Diablo III auction house. Malor's first comment in this thread has an interesting guess.
posted by skymt at 4:12 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really can't help but feel that people who are hating on Diablo a lot haven't played much of the game.

Playing D2 required skill and forethought. If you built your toon wrong, you found it extremely hard to progress once you got to hell difficulty. Hell Andariel would eat you for lunch over and over and over and over and over again if you hadn't allocated points correctly or gotten adequate gear. It's exceedingly frustrating to have spent tens of hours of time on a character just to find out that you built it all wrong and have to start from scratch.

And death has serious consequences, in that you want to spend your time playing, not running around naked trying to get to your body (or having to restart and lose all your progress). Dying is not fun. Wasting your time doing not fun things is a genuine consequence.

People are wrongly conflating simple execution of gameplay (clicking) with simple game. The difference between Farmville and Diablo is legion. My mom can play Farmville. I have no doubt I will struggle mightily to beat Inferno, and I plan on spending a ton of time on D3.

They've gotten awfully good at polishing old ideas, but I'd love to see them take some design risks on some new experiences.


This has always been Blizzard's MO since way before Activision. Never first in genre, always best in genre. See, Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, World of Warcraft (their only 4 titles). They do not innovate, they perfect.
posted by shen1138 at 4:13 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I was a beta tester for Diablo 3 for a long time. Many changes have been implemented over the last 6-8 months. At times it seemed they were dumbing down the game but after I got used to the changes I enjoyed the game more. So either I'm dumber than I think I am or the game's going to be as fun for as many people possible. No comment on the RMAH as I didn't get near the place during beta ... and its absence never intruded upon my gameplay. Though I am curious to see how various laws around the world are going to be wrangled to deal with the abuse its going to get...and then how that might translate into some international law.

Torchlight II is also going to rock. All the other ARPG's coming up, well not so much I think.
posted by PapaLobo at 4:13 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Mac version of Torchlight was bad? I played that record until it was a three mile thread of vinyl. So I don't know what "clusterfuck that was the Mac version of Torchlight" means.

Also I will not WILL NOT buy D3 right now because I have too much work to do and I know myself too well.

Final word to the wise: if you haven't played Pocket RPG on iOS, you are missing the best Diablo/Torchlight experience on that platform up to now. I keep going back like there is some poison in my system it is the exclusive antidote to. And it keeps ratcheting up the difficulty. FUCK.
posted by seanmpuckett at 4:15 PM on May 14, 2012


I'll be waiting for Grim Dawn.

Kickstarter open for 4 more days here.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:15 PM on May 14, 2012


Oh, Hardcore mode is definitely a game. But lets be honest - very, very few people will play Hardcore mode in D3.

Why does game over on death make a game out of something that isn't a game? Game over on death gives a reward for skillful play, which in turn tends to create more of an incentive to become a skilled player, but that's not the only correct way to design a game. Portal, for instance, is probably one of the best puzzle games of the last decade or so and it's purposely designed around never being so difficult that someone will get frustrated and give up before completing the game. Roguelikes are fun and all, but by far the biggest difference between a game over on death game and continue on death game is that there is much more repetition of the early parts of the game with the former.
posted by burnmp3s at 4:17 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


This has always been Blizzard's MO since way before Activision. Never first in genre, always best in genre. See, Warcraft, Starcraft, Diablo, World of Warcraft (their only 4 titles). They do not innovate, they perfect.

I don't know about that. The Lost Vikings was pretty darn innovative.
posted by skymt at 4:18 PM on May 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


I feel like I missed the boat on Diablo. My little stepbrother was hooked on the first one for ages, but to me it looked like an updated Gauntlet, which was never my fave game. Am I way off on that comparison?
posted by Hoopo at 4:19 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Consider: say Diablo has Item X, which is highly coveted. If they just randomly drop it, then most of the items stay in private hands. That's leaving money on the table. Easy fix: weight the "random" number generator to tend to give people repeats of things they already have. They will then trade the 'surplus'. (artificially generated by you, of course.) You get a 15% cut when they trade, and then another 15% cut when they cash out.

15% applies only to commodities. Selling items that drop has only a $1 transaction fee regardless of final sale price. They are definitely leaving a lot of money on the table, if you assume item costs to be similar to pricing on ebay for D2 items.

http://us.battle.net/support/en/article/diablo-iii-auction-house-general-information;jsessionid=B5F270A38AF80A2232693001941E916C.blade32_03_bnet-support#q4
posted by shen1138 at 4:19 PM on May 14, 2012


So, would someone that never really got into video games, but started playing skyrim and enjoys it also like D3? Or Torchlight? And are either of those games the kind of game where you have to talk to real people on the internet?
posted by amarynth at 4:21 PM on May 14, 2012


The Mac version of Torchlight was bad? I played that record until it was a three mile thread of vinyl. So I don't know what "clusterfuck that was the Mac version of Torchlight" means.
When they passed off the development of the Mac client to whatever idiots coded it they forgot to include the savegame specs or the idiots that wrote it couldn't figure it out or something along those lines. The tl;dr is that characters couldn't go between Mac and PC versions of Torchlight.

Cut to me, who had just swapped from a PC to a Mac about six months prior, loading up Torchlight on my MacBook Pro for the first time. Characters are gone. Ok, WTF? Check support forums and find their sob story. So I basically was forced to toss out a couple dozen hours of play out the window and I would be locked to playing on that platform from now on. They had no plans to address this and I was basically stuck on the proverbial river of excrement in a native American watercraft with no means of propulsion.

I cut my losses at that point and never played the game again. They joined Ubisoft on my gaming shitlist. Thankfully I did because I switched back to a PC for gaming two months ago and again would have lost the hypothetical progress.
posted by Talez at 4:22 PM on May 14, 2012


So, would someone that never really got into video games, but started playing skyrim and enjoys it also like D3? Or Torchlight? And are either of those games the kind of game where you have to talk to real people on the internet?

you'd like it. and you don't have to talk to a soul. if you do want to talk to a soul, bring a friend along for co-op.

if you're still nervous and more of a single player guy, try the first Torchlight to get a feel for the genre.
posted by Avenger50 at 4:23 PM on May 14, 2012


In a very real sense, the single-player version of Diablo is barely a game at all.

To a lesser extent, I agree with this sentiment, including the caveats on hardcore mode that others have mentioned. None of the Diablos were particularly sophisticated games. However, they were still pretty damn fun, so I'd say they deliver on the entertainment front. These games are pretty straight-forward click/reward systems, of which there are many, many examples. Have you ever seen someone get hooked on solitaire? It's not pretty. However, I wouldn't make the leap to comparing the experience of playing single player Diablo to gambling, based solely on the existence of the auction.
posted by Edgewise at 4:25 PM on May 14, 2012


A large group of people on another gaming centric forum that I frequent are planning on playing hardcore exclusively once they play enough to unlock it. I'm pretty sure it's more common than the casual gamer might think.
posted by Splunge at 4:26 PM on May 14, 2012


once they play enough to unlock it

Lucky for them, in D3 that means "hitting level 10 with 1 character"
posted by thanotopsis at 4:27 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


i don't really dig all this money moving around so close to the game

perhaps this makes me a fool, but i needed to say that. just because the whole "art" thing is a mess does not mean that we should go full in the other direction?
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 4:34 PM on May 14, 2012


also always-on-internet is not something i have or can easily get
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 4:35 PM on May 14, 2012


I just want to have my barbarian dual wielding scythes and throwing axes with the ricochet effect turned on. I call it the "Bardralisk".
posted by Grimgrin at 4:35 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yup.
posted by Splunge at 4:35 PM on May 14, 2012


Um... that was to thanatopsis.
posted by Splunge at 4:37 PM on May 14, 2012


So is there no way to just play against the computer?
posted by Renoroc at 4:45 PM on May 14, 2012


The problem with the auction house (even if you don't use it) is that it makes them need to make a lot of vital items rare drops. If stuff isn't rare, it won't be valuable enough to sell for real money, so a lot of stuff has to be rare. The problem with that is that rare drops are crappy game design; they encourage repetition and decouple skill from progression. Stuff can be a little rare, but it should never be so rare that you're bored of fighting whatever drops the item. Diablo II was already in the territory where you would get well and truly bored before anything meaningful dropped, and now they have incentive to make it WORSE. I really have no desire whatsoever to play this.

Triple-A gaming is really going downhill as the profit motive starts to become more and more of an objective and good gameplay becomes less and less of one. It's a good thing that indy games have been taking off.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:49 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Re: the 20,000 clicks thing, there always seem to be people who completely fail to understand how to play a game, be it World of Warcraft, or Diablo, and then they ascribe their failure of understanding to the fact that the game is "not a game" and that there wasn't anything to learn about it in the first place.

Typically the argument goes is that the game is purely gear based, the guy with the most gear wins so it's not a game. Or that it's just a matter of hours spent grinding the game, for the highest level, and then the person with the highest level automatically wins.

In games with actual skill rankings / brackets, the people who're doing the complaining are usually in the bottom 5% of ability. Funnily enough I've known people who were in the bottom 0.1% of skill (as rated by the game system) - it's like IQ, by definition, there must be some people down there. And usually, to rationalize their lack of ability, they denounce the game as being shallow, having no worthy mechanics, etc, oh you know, you could just click 20,000 and gain a level and I'm obviously too smart to fall for such a thing.

Rest assured that Diablo, just like WoW, will richly reward skill: the E-Sport market is growing too large to ignore. With millions of dollars of sponsorships in Starcraft 2, and DOTA2 (which Blizzard missed the boat on) you can bet they are planning something big for Diablo3 - something along the lines of Tournament Servers in WoW (where everyone who plays on it has equal gear), but definitely learning from their experiences in WoW - the main thing holding WoW back from becoming a proper competitive E-Sport is that it was never designed for spectators, and spectators are what drive your revenues. I am quite certain that much of the design of Diablo3 was focused on keeping it a spectator friendly game - this is why it looks so much simpler than WoW or Diablo2. For example, the removal of complicated Talent trees and reduction of skills you can bring into combat. WoW is just unwatchable, you can't expected to track a 5v5 match where 10 players have unique talent specs, 40+ skills with individual cooldowns etc.
posted by xdvesper at 4:50 PM on May 14, 2012


I really don't think the real money auction trade is designed as a new, nefarious way for ActiBlizzard to make lots of money. The profit motive doesn't hurt, but I think it's mostly them trying to regulate (and get a piece of) something that players have already been doing. Blizzard doesn't feel like Zynga to me.

There's a play money auction house, too, you can buy and sell items strictly for in-game gold pieces. That's not been obvious in a lot of this discussion. If Blizzard really does nefariously program item drops to force players to trade for items they want, there's still a way to do those trades that generates no money for Blizzard. Given the high fees in the RMAH, I suspect most action will take place on the gold AH. It'll be interesting to see what happens.
posted by Nelson at 4:57 PM on May 14, 2012


- They're repeatedly claimed that D3 won't be designed as an esport. It sounds like balancing WoW for esports was a major pain for the devs, and they'd rather let PvP just be a fun thing.

- As for "vital items," the crafting system in D3 basically guarantees all players a minimum gear level, just from salvaging drops and funneling gold into the blacksmith artisan. Thus you're unlikely to hit a progression wall in terms of gear.

I spent a lot of time in the beta, and D3 really feels like a quality game put together by people who love to make and play games. If you want to be a critic, play the thing first. There's lots to be grouchy at in the gaming world, but this isn't it. If you don't want to buy to play, get a guest pass and play the demo/"starter" edition.
posted by Wulfhere at 4:59 PM on May 14, 2012 [7 favorites]


Keith Burgen has some great thoughts on diablo

That's Metafilter's own keithburgun. Mostly because of me, but still. His feelings on Diablo largely mirror my own.

If you play with permadeath off then it's a long game that's ultimately a foregone conclusion; you don't lose much when you die, so why bother not dying?

I you play with it on, then it's got the same problem many long roguelikes have (I am allowed to say that, I am qualified), you work progressively longer each time in order to waste more and more time when the inevitable death comes. Permadeath works best as a play mechanic for shorter games. It can be made to work in longer games if the game itself is legitimately fun to play, but that isn't there for me in Diablo. It's got all the grind of Angband but none of the wit and weirdness of Nethack.

Some people enjoy that, and if you do, I won't try to convince you that you're having some kind of blasphmeous anti-fun and working to the benefit of Darkseid. But I think the game could be better, yes.
posted by JHarris at 5:00 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Y'know, it's a shame that they have the always-on internet connection requirement. Because the Rune system sounds interesting. I'd like to play it, really. But my internet connection hiccups every 15 minutes or so, so it's really not something I can do. (Yes, I've tried everything short of satellite).

I suppose that it's not like there aren't enough other games out there. But still. I'd like to be able to play singleplayer, and I can't imagine that people with bad connections are *that* rare.
posted by CrystalDave at 5:04 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


The extent of my self-restraint on this game is that I won't be going to a midnight release or skipping work. Won't use the money auction house, but I can see why Blizzard would put it in even absent the profit motive - people were buying and selling Diablo 2 items for real money ten years ago, and getting scammed doing it because there was no way to make the transaction that was actually trustworthy. This way there are no stories about people getting their credit card info stolen by some shady Diablo site. If you want to make a black market safer, you make it legit.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:15 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


If you play with permadeath off then it's a long game that's ultimately a foregone conclusion; you don't lose much when you die, so why bother not dying?

Because if you have to keep repairing your shit over and over and over you'll run out of cash relatively quickly.
posted by Talez at 5:19 PM on May 14, 2012


xdvesper: In games with actual skill rankings / brackets, the people who're doing the complaining are usually in the bottom 5% of ability.

Casual assertion with pseudo statistics to give it an air of authority.

Funnily enough I've known people who were in the bottom 0.1% of skill (as rated by the game system) - it's like IQ, by definition, there must be some people down there.

That's useless without insight into the methodology the game system uses.

I don't doubt that there's some skill involved. And I really don't have a way of telling how much, since I have not played Diablo 3 and don't know much about its game systems. But I have played a great deal of roguelikes, the genre of games that Diablo sprang from (UMoria, a predecessor of Angband, is mentioned the original game's credits). I'd still rather play Nethack.

WoW is just unwatchable, you can't expected to track a 5v5 match where 10 players have unique talent specs, 40+ skills with individual cooldowns etc.

This sentence reminds me of everything I hate about modern CRPG design.

Hoopo: I feel like I missed the boat on Diablo. My little stepbrother was hooked on the first one for ages, but to me it looked like an updated Gauntlet, which was never my fave game.

It's actually a completely different kind of game than Gauntlet, but to explain why would require examining the two games in more detail than you guys are likely to want to read through, so: broadly, yes.

burnmp3s: Game over on death gives a reward for skillful play, which in turn tends to create more of an incentive to become a skilled player, but that's not the only correct way to design a game. Portal, for instance, is probably one of the best puzzle games of the last decade or so and it's purposely designed around never being so difficult that someone will get frustrated and give up before completing the game.

This is part of a ploy to reclaim the word "game" in the older sense, partly informed by the resurgent popularity of board games. Until computer games came along, the word mostly implied a pastime where you had winners and losers, rather than a raw experience kind of thing. I admit, I tend to like explicit games, or at least games in the older arcade style, more myself these days.

Pogo_Fuzzybutt: Diablo, aside from a decent story and graphics

DARK DEMON DEVIL CORRUPTION DEATH DARK DARK. Can't say much for D3, but 1 and 2 turned me off with that relentlessly grim storyline. Makes me want to wash out my brain with PONY.
posted by JHarris at 5:19 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Of my three personal computers, Diablo III will only run on my laptop. Which is probably all that will keep me from becoming a junkie.
posted by ColdChef at 5:25 PM on May 14, 2012


Because if you have to keep repairing your shit over and over and over you'll run out of cash relatively quickly.

Then death is not without a penalty, or at least one that doesn't resolve down to spending time grinding out cash. Even so though, one of my own problems with Diablo games relates to grinding, so I don't consider that a benefit itself.
posted by JHarris at 5:26 PM on May 14, 2012


JHarris: DARK DEMON DEVIL CORRUPTION DEATH DARK DARK. Can't say much for D3, but 1 and 2 turned me off with that relentlessly grim storyline. Makes me want to wash out my brain with PONY.

Everything Blizzard makes is like this, and it's incredibly annoying. It's a crapsack universe where everything possible bad happens but evil somehow never actually wins, despite doing enough damage to the 'good guys' that they should be destroyed three times over.
posted by Mitrovarr at 5:29 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I've only played the demo for diablo 3, and i think it's kind of set for super easy mode, but there is definitely some level of skill. It seemed pretty comparable to league of legends to me.
posted by empath at 5:30 PM on May 14, 2012


If anyone wants to play with me tonight: empath#1805
posted by empath at 5:30 PM on May 14, 2012


As someone who's never played a Diablo before and is not super-hardcore: if I want to play in permadeath mode to raise the stakes and piss my pants a little, but don't want death to be frequent enough that I just stop playing, what's a good balance? Hardcore mode + average difficulty setting? Hardcore mode + easy?
posted by naju at 5:35 PM on May 14, 2012


There is no toggle on difficulty in Diablo, instead after you beat it on Normal you get to replay it in Nightmare, which is basically a New Game+ which becomes increasingly more difficult. Basically in HC you will progress until you die, and if you are not familiar with the game you will die a lot.
posted by mek at 5:38 PM on May 14, 2012


This is part of a ploy to reclaim the word "game" in the older sense, partly informed by the resurgent popularity of board games. Until computer games came along, the word mostly implied a pastime where you had winners and losers, rather than a raw experience kind of thing. I admit, I tend to like explicit games, or at least games in the older arcade style, more myself these days.

Well I think a solo or co-op game is going to be fundamentally different than the traditional one player versus another player type of game anyway though. With two human opponents playing chess or table tennis or whatever it's test of relative skill between two equals, whereas when you have a player versus a computer it's just a test of skill relative to some sort of benchmark. In pinball or older arcade games the benchmark was your score, and people would use that as a proxy to measure their skill against each other. These days the default benchmark to at least get to all of the game's standard content is pretty low, and people who want to go above that level use things like speedruns, conducts, super high difficulty levels, hacks to make the game harder, custom maps, etc. to raise that benchmark in games where you don't directly compete against other human players.
posted by burnmp3s at 5:39 PM on May 14, 2012


I've only played the demo for diablo 3, and i think it's kind of set for super easy mode, but there is definitely some level of skill.

I should respond to this, because as I said before there is some skill to the Diablo games, but for some reason that I haven't exactly, yet, put my finger on it seems less interesting and fun to me than Hack-style roguelikes. I've tried to put it in terms of grinding, and that's part of it, but there's something else there too, I think the grinding is just a symptom of something underlying.

Then there is its opposite, something that Diablo seems, in taking its lessons from roguelikes, to have purposely discarded. That thing is present in Nethack, but when you become expert in it it becomes harder to to recognize. Shiren for the Super Famicom has it until you win the game once and the game becomes a grindfest. Rogue, however, has lots of it. Angband seems surprisingly deficient in it.

Part of it relates to the "wit" of the game, which is a term I'm using in the sense that a bold, risky, move initiated by the player can give you a sizable advantage for a while, like purposely promoting a monster in Shiren so you can kill it and gain a level or two at once. Or stealing from shops in Nethack. Or abusing a scroll of Scare Monster in Rogue. It has to do with how a certain amount of exploitability can actually improve a game, if there are suitable tradeoffs for it. I feel like there should be a word for it, but I don't have it yet. Maybe one should be coined.
posted by JHarris at 5:42 PM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Funnily enough I've known people who were in the bottom 0.1% of skill (as rated by the game system) - it's like IQ, by definition, there must be some people down there.

That's useless without insight into the methodology the game system uses.


All skill rating systems are the same: every player is assigned an arbitrary rating to begin with based on an average starter rating or based on player preference: then the rating adjusts upwards or downwards based on your win / loss ratio. The system aims to keep you at a rating that gives you a roughly 50% win rate, and that's your true skill at the game. It's just the formulas that differs, the aim and end result is the same - over a period of time, the system learns your rating based on your actual performance.

This is basically how Chess does it.

By 0.1% of skill, it literally means that he's lost enough games that he's dropped into the bottom 0.1% bracket, where he finally met people poor enough at the game that he's able to achieve a 50/50 win ratio.

This is ironically why skill ratings work even in gear-influenced games like Diablo and WoW: because I won't care that I use gear that's, say, 10% less powerful than my opponents: I will just get adjusted downwards in the skill ladder to a point where I achieve 50% wins anyway. Ultimately, player skill + gear get combined together and reflected in your skill rating: as long as I'm given "competitive" matches I don't care how they arrived at it.
posted by xdvesper at 5:42 PM on May 14, 2012


Master of Magic

"Old man, you speak the Spell of Mastery..."
posted by Phalene at 5:42 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


You CANNOT have a Diablo thread without Deckard Cain Raps.

And yes, I swore off Diablo 3. But they offered me free winged horses in WoW, and a "free" Diablo 3 account. I took it, since I was going to keep my WoW account up anyway. Then they set me up with a little taste of beta.

I am a sad, sad, man.
posted by Xoebe at 5:49 PM on May 14, 2012 [4 favorites]


Diablo, aside from a decent story and graphics has exceedingly simple gameplay.
Diablo one had an extremely low skillcap, mostly "stand in the doorway so you can't be surrounded" and "kite mobs until their AI breaks".

Diablo 2 had some lessons learned and had more room for skill, but the rigid talent system meant that there was one correct build for any class, and that correct build mostly revolved around spamming a single ability (yay hammerdins).

Diablo 3 has learned from Blizzard's experience with Broodwar, SC2, and WoW and is an extremely skill-deep game. The higher difficulties are going to be brutal and are going to require intelligent decisions in how you gear, where you stand, when you kite, stop-shoot micro, what you use and when, who you're playing with, etc.

If you played the d3 stress test beta and didn't immediately see the mechanical depth in the gameplay, I honestly don't know what to say to you.

It's not like you have to play or anything, but these insistences that it's mechanically shallow are fantastically incorrect. The ways my boyfriend and myself approached the stupid normal difficulty (and tbh "normal" is "tutorial") skeleton king encounter as the exact same class with very little difference in available abilities were striking.

If you try to play d3 by clicking on the mans until there's no more mans, you're going to run into a brick wall, possibly even in normal difficulty.
posted by kavasa at 5:50 PM on May 14, 2012 [12 favorites]


I should respond to this, because as I said before there is some skill to the Diablo games, but for some reason that I haven't exactly, yet, put my finger on it seems less interesting and fun to me than Hack-style roguelikes. I've tried to put it in terms of grinding, and that's part of it, but there's something else there too, I think the grinding is just a symptom of something underlying.


It's a different kind of skill. More thinking on your feet and hand-eye-coordination. It's a lot closer to the Starcraft/DOTA style of game than a rogue-like. It's one of those games that puts you into a trance like tetris, not a game where you ponder your options calmly like chess.
posted by empath at 5:52 PM on May 14, 2012


xdvesper, by no means are all skill rating systems the same, there are lots of systems, for even an arcade game rates you by skill by you score, does it not? Diablo games are player, or players, vs. system. They aren't win/lose. So the system you pose doesn't work. (And to speak pedantically... it's not how "Chess" does it, it's how FIDE does it.)

But in PvP-oriented games, the fact that they don't take gear into consideration disproves your earlier contention that it's purely measuring skill. Because gear isn't considered, the system will assume you're less skilled because you win less. Being in the lowest 5% might just mean you're using off-the-rack equipment, or at a low experience level; even the best player in the world, with bad gear, will do badly, because player skill means a lot less than level and gear.
posted by JHarris at 5:53 PM on May 14, 2012


Sorry, I had a confusing sentence in there. Should have broken it up.

My boyfriend and myself both did the skeleton king as level 9 demon hunters. There are very few differences between two instances of the same class at level 9. The content is also very easy, meaning that there's very little pressure to play well and use your choices between abilities. Nonetheless, we completed that encounter in totally different ways.
posted by kavasa at 5:53 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I got sucked in to the excitement at MefightClub about it, and tried to purchase the game.

After jumping through a ludicrous number of hoops -- involving registering a 'i-PIN' account with the Korean government, and having to use Internet Explorer to do it and being forced to install 2 Active X controls in the process because Battle.net's account registration process does not recognize foreign resident registration numbers (only id numbers for 'real' Koreans'), I have discovered that I can only buy the game in Korean, which is, apparently, a 'language-limited' version (which is amusingly appropriate). Buy it with an account based in any other region, it seems, and you can merrily switch it to use any language you want! Not so for the Korean one. Yay.

And, of course, given the always-online DRMed nature of this thing, I am quite certain that if I registered a new Battle.net account using a fake address info or whatever from Canada to try and get a version of the game I could actually play in a language I speak reasonably well, the account would get flagged and banned, and I'd lose my 60 bucks.

So screw you, Blizzard, you dummies. I tried to give you some money. If I decide to play it, I guess I'll just torrent it and play the single player, because that will be orders of magnitude easier.

If this is the kind of crap that buying games that are not on Steam involves, well, I'll just keep using Steam and eschew the annoyance, I think.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:53 PM on May 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


It's a different kind of skill. More thinking on your feet and hand-eye-coordination.

No, I don't think that's it either, speaking as someone who over the past few days has put some effort into one-crediting an old arcade action RPG. (Cadash, specifically.)
posted by JHarris at 5:54 PM on May 14, 2012


even the best player in the world, with bad gear, will do badly, because player skill means a lot less than level and gear.
Categorically untrue.

And yes, fast thinking and accurate hand-eye coordination are a lot of its skill.

Stavros - did you try calling Blizz CS at all? Their billing people often seem able to fix stuff like that. Although sometimes not.
posted by kavasa at 5:56 PM on May 14, 2012


I did send a support ticket. Given the way that servers are apparently falling over and catching fire, though, I'm not confident about gettting a quick response. I will wait to hear from them before I think about getting the game through illicit means; I'm still willing to give them my damned money if they want it.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:58 PM on May 14, 2012


As someone who's never played a Diablo before and is not super-hardcore: if I want to play in permadeath mode to raise the stakes and piss my pants a little, but don't want death to be frequent enough that I just stop playing, what's a good balance? Hardcore mode + average difficulty setting? Hardcore mode + easy?

Hardcore is absolutely a blast, and I'm glad to have you on board! It also has another unmentioned benefit: the game ends. At some point, you will die. And it will suck. But it creates a wonderful, natural limit on the hours you can sink into the game. Each time a character dies, you get to choose if you pick back up again, or if you go on vacation for a while.

As for finding a good "balance" in difficulty, here's a primer: Diablo has four "difficulty" levels: Normal, Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno. But they're a linear progression, not a setting like in other games. Once you finish Act 4 Normal, your character progresses to Act 1 Nightmare, and so on. Each difficulty level brings stronger monsters, new abilities (for both you and the monsters), and new types of loot. The content is essentially the same, but much more challenging. To wit, you'll see the same skeletons in Act 1 Hell as you did in Act 1 Normal, but they'll hit a lot harder and may have new tricks in store.

Going straight through (an "ironman" run) is nearly impossible in hardcore mode. Rather, you may finish Act 4 Normal and opt to re-play that particular act a few times to gain strength before progressing into Nightmare. Which is fine: you can revisit previously completed quests and areas to continue leveling at any point during the game.

I'm personally going to rush to level 10 (to enable the "hardcore" option) and then immediately re-roll in hardcore. If any MeFites want to join me, my battletag is in my profile. (Even if you're new to the series; I'm happy to play with anyone.) Similarly, you folks might be interested in the forums over at The Amazon Basin. The Basin is very much the Metafilter of the Diablo world: An older, mature, awesome Internet community. See you guys in game!
posted by SemiSophos at 5:59 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


JHarris, have you spent any time playing LoL? That's a mechanically simple but tactically deep game, and that was probably the closest thing that felt like playing the D3 demo. I've spent hours playing a single build in that game, using the same character, playing the same positiong, buying the same skills and items in the same order, and I feel like I've barely scratched the surface of it. I think Diablo is going for more that style of game, and less 'puzzle-style' game play.
posted by empath at 5:59 PM on May 14, 2012


Well, I haven't played D3, so maybe some of that *is* there. It wasn't in D1 back when I played it though.

Categorically untrue.

Then I invite you to explain, maybe with an example (that doesn't involve spending 60 bucks for a game that probably won't run on my hardware). It's not useful to any of us to just read a flat rejection. I am open to convincing here, I'm honestly trying to figure this out.
posted by JHarris at 6:00 PM on May 14, 2012


JHarris, have you spent any time playing LoL?

Could you unpack that acronym for me? It is singularly unsuitable to Googling....
posted by JHarris at 6:02 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, I haven't played D3, so maybe some of that *is* there. It wasn't in D1 back when I played it though.

Oh come on. You're better than that. I played Diablo when it came out and loathed it. D3 feels like a very different game, even on a cursory examination. Blizzard has had 10+ years to figure this out.
posted by empath at 6:03 PM on May 14, 2012


League of Legends, a DOTA-clone which I also deeply enjoy. If Diablo 3 manages to have the mechanical complexity of LoL, I will be pleasantly surprised.
posted by mek at 6:03 PM on May 14, 2012


have you spent any time playing LoL

League of Legends
posted by empath at 6:04 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh come on. You're better than that.

Look, I can't play D3, my hardware isn't up to snuff and I don't have the or money time to sink into that kind of thing right now anyway. I've mentioned above I haven't played it. I can only assume it's the same kind of thing as the earlier games. Let's put it into a question: how is it different?

I'll look into League of Legends, thanks.
posted by JHarris at 6:07 PM on May 14, 2012


kavasa, I certainly hope that's true, but how much will paying for gear let you ignore skill entirely? Are the people unwilling to pay more money going to categorically lose to those who shell out hundreds a month?

Sure, for the single-player portion of the game, this may not be a big issue. But we can't simply ignore the multiplayer portion, and if money becomes a gap only a ridiculous amount of grinding can overcome, the game will suffer greatly for it. Simultaneously, Blizzard will profit greatly for it- and that's what people are seriously worried about. All the excellent beta testing in the world won't tell us what Blizzard will do to the economy a month from now, especially when their actions will have an instant effect on their quarterly profits.

I don't believe it's an either/or situation here, and I'd like to believe these guys know what they're doing. But this is pretty much the first time Blizzard has tried running a game like this. I can only hope they observed Mobage and Zynga very closely before pulling the trigger.
posted by Maxson at 6:10 PM on May 14, 2012


Categorically untrue.

Then I invite you to explain, maybe with an example (that doesn't involve spending 60 bucks for a game that probably won't run on my hardware). It's not useful to any of us to just read a flat rejection. I am open to convincing here, I'm honestly trying to figure this out.


I don't think you can be convinced, but I guess that's just proving my point. If you haven't played in the top 5% skill bracket of any game (any game you pick: Tennis, Chess, DOTA, WoW) then you will have never seen true skill at any game. And it's a fair call: from a person's perspective, if he hasn't seen it, then he might well say it doesn't exist.

When I talk about bell curves and percentiles then of course I'm talking about PVP games: but

Anyway, in most games, say like WoW or SWTOR, the typical difference in gear accounts for maybe 10% to 20% difference in damage done - last season Yet there are multiple occasions where I end up winning 2v1 fights. There are plenty of 1v1 fights where I win and have 90% of my hp remaining. Clearly those outcomes aren't influences solely by gear: they're won with a combination of anticipating what skills they are going to use and countering it (watching for the telltale windup of a big hit and popping my 2 second skill that gives me 100% dodge) ... being fast enough to interrupt a quick spell cast (1 second cast skill that I can interrupt if I hold my GCD open and clear).. able to LOS a spell that I can't interrupt (keeping a pillar or rock or some obstacle nearby to block the spell)... it would be trivial to absolutely destroy bad players even if they somehow had twice the damage output I did.
posted by xdvesper at 6:13 PM on May 14, 2012


Categorically untrue.

Then I invite you to explain, maybe with an example

Your initial conjecture was that skill was irrelevant without good gear ("even the best player in the world, with bad gear, will do badly, because player skill means a lot less than level and gear.").

I agree that this is untrue. Namely, a handful of people have completed Diablo 2, without dying, "naked." No gear. This directly refutes your claim, since the players had only their skill, and no gear at all, to rely on.

So good players, with bad gear, do not invariably do badly.
posted by SemiSophos at 6:13 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I did send a support ticket. Given the way that servers are apparently falling over and catching fire, though, I'm not confident about gettting a quick response. I will wait to hear from them before I think about getting the game through illicit means; I'm still willing to give them my damned money if they want it.

The game isn't live yet so I'm not sure how servers are apparently "falling over and catching fire".

If there's one group that I would trust to be able to scale their shit properly it's Blizzard.
posted by Talez at 6:14 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Talez, the game is live in Asia and Europe. And the servers definitely fell over for Europe: Most people weren't able to get in for upwards of an hour. :)
posted by SemiSophos at 6:15 PM on May 14, 2012


Then I invite you to explain, maybe with an example (that doesn't involve spending 60 bucks for a game that probably won't run on my hardware).
I mean look, obviously, it depends on the game. It would be possible to design a game with a low skillcap such that gear was more important than skill.

These games are not blizzard games. I'll go with wow as an example.

To begin with, you can't really conflate level with gear. They're irreducibly different.

Skilled WoW pvp players can massacre unskilled ones, almost regardless of gear. Unskilled players tend to have empty time in between ability use, they do things like use stuns at random times, they neither purge nor debuff, they don't juke spell interrupts, on and on.

WoW death knights have an ability called "dark simulacrum." You cast DS on another player, and then the next thing they cast, you get to copy. Noticing that you have DS on you and choosing a whimsically useless ability to give to your opponent is a super basic element of wow pvp skill, but if you use DS in a random battleground you will get all KINDS of powerful abilities. Watching my boyfriend steal blink (a short teleport) and use it to kill a mage is hilarious.

Anyway.

Talez - Euro and Korean servers have had lots of issues. A cynic might even hope that they were using the EU and KR servers as launch-day stress tests to make the US rollout smooth. =x

Maxson - I'm honestly not sure what your concern is. Honestly. Some players are rich in time, they'll grind for gear. Some players are rich in money, they'll buy their gear from the time-rich players.

Most of us will play the game for fun, with friends. What the other two populations do has very little effect on us.
posted by kavasa at 6:17 PM on May 14, 2012


The game isn't live yet so I'm not sure how servers are apparently "falling over and catching fire".

It's live in Asia and Europe. The American servers are the only ones still locked. The Asia launch went smoothly, but the whole shebang went down for an hour when Europe got the green light.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:18 PM on May 14, 2012


The game isn't live yet so I'm not sure how servers are apparently "falling over and catching fire".

Well, this, to start. Your faith in Blizzard may be misplaced.
Here is the current situation for players from the ASIA region:

-Everybody with the digital version is getting "Error 12- No license attached".
-In Korea, GMs have a thread going to manually flag digital accounts to allow them to play. Currently, there is no other way for Digital Edition players to play and they have to wait for the GMs to flag the account one by one.
-In Taiwan, there are no GMs around to flag accounts.

Hope this doesn't affect the EU and NA accounts when the time comes. We're over 7 hour into the ASIA launch, and most people can't get in.

http://kr.battle.net/d3/ko/forum/topic/1380288015?page=1

You can always check here for server status:
http://us.battle.net/d3/en/status

UPDATE: Asia server shutting down in 10 minutes (~2:20PM PDT)

UPDATE 2: Asia server is now down.

UPDATE 3: Servers are back up. But Error 12 has not been fixed.

UPDATE 4: Servers are down once more.

UPDATE 5: Servers are back up. Error 12 has still not been fixed.

UPDATE 6: EU has launched and many are experiencing "Error 37" which basically means the login servers are over capacity, which is expected. There are a few receiving "Error 75 temp outage of BNET" as well.

UPDATE 7: EU is now completely offline

UPDATE 8: EU has been up for several minutes now. Lots of people getting in. Some are still getting Error 37, but keep trying.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:18 PM on May 14, 2012


GUILD WARS 2.

THAT IS ALL.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:19 PM on May 14, 2012


Hmm... yeah. I don't know, it seems awfully unappealing from the play video. I have no doubt that all the jargon that announcer is shouting means something, on some level, but as a casual observer it is difficult to parse. What jargon I could understand involved things like "cooldowns," which doesn't fill me with confidence that this kind of thing will appeal to me.

A lot of PvP games are of the type where, instead of making a more broadly accessible game using ingenious play mechanics, they decided to take the old systems and drill deeper into them, adding a lot of special case abilities. I don't know this kind of thing has really gotten old for me. Classic gaming, and the new European board games, show conclusively that gaming can be more than adding a slate of new abilities with different costs each of which doing a different type and shape of damage and with meticulously balanced cooldowns to the same old game structure. The fact that there has arisen jargony names for these things, like "buffs" and "cooldowns," itself demonstrates to me that there's some stagnation happening there. The prospect of playing a game like I'm seeing there fills me with dread.
posted by JHarris at 6:24 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


(Oh, and Shale#1151 if anybody needs a nocturnal Mefite to party with)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:26 PM on May 14, 2012


Damnit. I cleaned my room yesterday. What do you fucking think happened today? I went to see if I needed to update the beta client and when I went to just see if maybe maybe maybe I could get on early (I know, stupid thinking), I went to grab my authenticator. IT IS NOT THERE! I looked everywhere and I can't find it. It's ALWAYS in the same spot (or nearby).

I have a feeling it somehow got taken out with the rest of the trash :\

I am now waiting for support to disable the need for authentication. I don't like doing that, because I like having it handy (Hell I even made sure that it was always authenticating, none of that "once a week" crap). HURRY UP BLIZZARD SUPPORT!
posted by symbioid at 6:26 PM on May 14, 2012


Oh my god that's gold.

I've just come off the back of a god awful Tera launch too. God help me if D3 turns into a clusterfuck. PSO2 α2 has so far been the most stable game I've played over the past three months.

GUILD WARS 2.

When I can buy it, install it and play it then we'll talk. I'm not "pre-purchasing" a game without an official release date to "play" on the occasional beta weekend.
posted by Talez at 6:26 PM on May 14, 2012


kavasa:Maxson - I'm honestly not sure what your concern is. Honestly. Some players are rich in time, they'll grind for gear. Some players are rich in money, they'll buy their gear from the time-rich players.

Most of us will play the game for fun, with friends. What the other two populations do has very little effect on us.


Here's the issue. The third, "fun" group- the one I want to be a part of, and the one I'd like to believe most gamers want to be a part of- is distinctly different from the other two. It is also the one that will make Blizzard the least amount of money.

The people rich in time will grind for great gear and get it. They will then sell their slightly less good gear on the AH, and Blizzard gets a cut. The people rich in money will buy the gear, and Blizzard gets a cut.

The people who are just hanging out and messing around are not grinding to sell stuff, nor are they spending tons of cash to buy stuff. Simply put, they aren't using the auction house enough. Blizzard has an instant cash incentive to squeeze these people into the grinding group or the money group. This can be done in various ways, some of them carrot-based, some of them stick-based. A clear stick-based version would be making drops dry up without serious grinding time.

Now, I give Blizzard respect for making fun games, but as I mentioned earlier, I don't recall any previous games they've made where they've had direct control over their money flow like this. Such games do exist, and I certainly hope they've done their research to make all three groups somewhat happy. But this is why I can't be comfortable buying Diablo 3 without watching a bit to see what they do first.
posted by Maxson at 6:27 PM on May 14, 2012


A clear stick-based version would be making drops dry up without serious grinding time.
Um, you should read about Nephalem Valor. They've introduced a highly artificial mechanic solely for the benefit of us "fun with friends" type players.
posted by kavasa at 6:32 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have heard of Nephalem Valor before, and I applaud the way it prevents min-maxing grind. But it doesn't change the fact that they can still make grinding essential. The devil (heh) is in the details.
posted by Maxson at 6:34 PM on May 14, 2012


I agree that this is untrue. Namely, a handful of people have completed Diablo 2, without dying, "naked." No gear. This directly refutes your claim, since the players had only their skill, and no gear at all, to rely on.

What level were they? How long did it take them? How much grinding did they do to get to that point? Level and gear can be added together, because they are both external variables to the skill applied by players in specific situations. I don't see how you can claim they must be considered separately in this discussion. Anyway it feels weird to see people say things like this to me with that kind of "behold mortal and stand astounded" tone; I've reported on Nethack pacifists before, yer not gonna shock me that easily, buddy.

Skilled WoW pvp players can massacre unskilled ones, almost regardless of gear. Unskilled players tend to have empty time in between ability use, they do things like use stuns at random times, they neither purge nor debuff, they don't juke spell interrupts, on and on.

Well sure, and I have no doubt a field rat could kill an armored knight if he'd been given a lobotomy. But after a certain basic level of competence, level and gear do matter for a great deal, otherwise they wouldn't partition battlegrounds based on level. It's disingenuous to pretend otherwise.

In any case, we're talking about a game that's primarily PvE, that's how I've been thinking about D3 at least. Is it more of a PvP game than I've been thinking? Because if it's not then I find it difficult to see how that's relevant.

Honestly guys, I didn't come here to attack this whole genre of gaming. I admit that's what it's looking like, but I'm just responding to what people are saying to me at this point. I feel like a huge party pooper right now.
posted by JHarris at 6:41 PM on May 14, 2012


kavasa: "Skilled WoW pvp players can massacre unskilled ones, almost regardless of gear."

Yep, at one point I was is the top 0.5% of WoW pvp players, had the custom Gladiator title and the Frostwyrm mount and everything. For fun I would park my priest in Wintergrasp in blue gear with my fishing pole and hat and wait for someone to try and jump me. Nine times out of ten I would come out on top, it was great practice. I haven't played for a while (I got overly enthusiastic about auction house pvp and had to take a break after took control of several markets for a couple months and made more gold than I could ever spend) and the thought of needing to relearn all those skill has kept me from going back.
posted by the_artificer at 6:44 PM on May 14, 2012


D3 doesn't have PvP at all at launch. It'll be patched in later (free DLC, essentially).

I'm not sure how exactly it translates to Diablo, but I can't help thinking of TF2's money shop, where the devs did almost everything they could to make buying from the store useless - overpriced items that are also available for free by playing the game and they're rarely objectively better than what you start with, just different - and they still make money hand over fist with that thing. I'm wondering if Blizzard will even have to try to wring money out of the AH. They sure didn't need to tweak D2 to get people paying for the rare stuff.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:45 PM on May 14, 2012


Classic gaming, and the new European board games, show conclusively that gaming can be more than adding a slate of new abilities with different costs each of which doing a different type and shape of damage and with meticulously balanced cooldowns to the same old game structure. The fact that there has arisen jargony names for these things, like "buffs" and "cooldowns," itself demonstrates to me that there's some stagnation happening there. The prospect of playing a game like I'm seeing there fills me with dread.

Pretty much all pvp games tend more and more to abstraction, because one of the first steps one has to take when going from a casual player to a pro level player is to ignore the lore and look only at the numbers, that counts as much for magic the gathering as it does for poker or chess, or Starcraft. Ultimately, all games are the manipulation of tokens and points, and if you want to be good at a game, you can't lose sight of that.

What makes a good pvp game is whether the game is balanced and unpredictable, and how interesting your choices are, and how quickly and often you have to make them; not how richly simulated the world is.
posted by empath at 6:45 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


In any case, we're talking about a game that's primarily PvE, that's how I've been thinking about D3 at least. Is it more of a PvP game than I've been thinking?

PVE games in general are a terrible means of judging skill in games.
posted by empath at 6:48 PM on May 14, 2012


Here's a positive statement then: that "Nephalem Valor" thing, although I hate the name, sounds genuinely interesting, although I don't know how it'll interact with the auction house.

And to return to League of Legends for a moment, I will admit there might be something there that's interesting, but I'm worried that I'd have to play the game so much to experience it that by that time, like the Scientologists who advance to OT levels, I'd have too much invested in the game not to like it. I don't have that much time at the moment sadly -- no, not when there's Metafilter threads to obsess over, dammit!
posted by JHarris at 6:49 PM on May 14, 2012


Regarding skill in WoW -- for most players gear really is a big hurdle, especially playing a character that hits the level cap deep into an expansion when there are already a lot of people geared up. Remember, most people are going to be in the large mass of mediocre players, doing battlegrounds and maybe a bit of arena for fun and points. But there are always the outliers. For example, see Mercador, who set out specifically to demonstrate that skill trumps gear. The video isn't particularly interesting if you don't know what's going on, but suffice to say he plays a rogue that consistently outplays opponents while wearing a tuxedo and dual-wielding fish.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:51 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


that correct build mostly revolved around spamming a single ability

That's my least favorite part about these games. The way the skill trees are set up so that you're gimping yourself if you try to diversify and put points into three or four abilities instead of pouring everything into one or two. It's just so dull spamming the same two or three abilities over and over. I'd much rather have a game that gave you more tactical choices, encouraging you to choose from (at least) 10-12 abilities in different situations.
posted by straight at 6:54 PM on May 14, 2012


Already have it installed and waiting for the servers...
posted by tribalspice at 6:56 PM on May 14, 2012


TF2's cash shop is a great example of how treating your players well can still be very profitable. Thanks to the relatively decent drop rate and (after a one-time any-level purchase) unlimited trades, it's similar to games where the only things you can buy are cosmetic items that have no effect on gameplay. The idea of charging for trades is what makes Blizzard's outing an unusual one, and one to watch.
posted by Maxson at 6:56 PM on May 14, 2012


Besides the difference in setting, I would love to hear an explanation for why someone who dislikes Farmville would like Diablo. They are basically the same game.
posted by keithburgun at 6:57 PM on May 14, 2012


Straight, that's why Blizzard killed the skill trees for D3 and made it so your "build" is just the six abilities you choose to equip at any one time. I'm looking forward to actually experimenting in this one for a change.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 6:59 PM on May 14, 2012


You're shifting goalposts, sir. You came in and stated that skill is irrelevant or close to it. That position was refuted with specific examples and then you said "well sure ok skill matters BUT" and tried to make analogies to minimize the difference. That's kinda not cool. Two people of the same level playing the same game is not the same as your kooky analogy.

And you can't conflate level and gear because BGs are partitioned by level and because it's balanced around capped characters with their full suite of abilities available to them. Killing a healer without any instant-casts or fast-casts is markedly different from killing one with.

Stated differently: level establishes the baseline. It's your control.
PVE games in general are a terrible means of judging skill in games.
Sort of. If you've got a bunch of people aiming at the same goal, ranking them by "who gets there first" is a rough guide. The first people to beat inferno are going to be pretty freaking skillful (in addition to probably being time-rich). The first people to beat inferno on hardcore - whenever that happens - will be very very good indeed.
That's my least favorite part about these games.
Blizz came to the same conclusion and has been trying to eliminate this problem from WoW and tried very hard never to design it into D3. I'm - well, I'm hopeful that they've succeeded. It's too early to tell if they actually have, however.
Besides the difference in setting, I would love to hear an explanation for why someone who dislikes Farmville would like Diablo. They are basically the same game.
You are 100% wrong. Read the thread again. Or just play the damn demo. Or don't play it, but also don't say such stupid things.
posted by kavasa at 6:59 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


Diablo 3 has 6 active abilities and 3 passives, which can be reconfigured between outings from a very large pool of possibilities. It's a very different system from previous games. There are no hard talent/skill trees you are locked into.
posted by mek at 7:00 PM on May 14, 2012


Hmm. That sounds like it could be a lot more fun. Thanks, mek & Holy Zark.
posted by straight at 7:13 PM on May 14, 2012


PVE games in general are a terrible means of judging skill in games.

But that's an entire category of computer game you're discounting, and ones that offer specific kinds of play that are wholly missing from PvP gaming.

Ultimately, all games are the manipulation of tokens and points, and if you want to be good at a game, you can't lose sight of that.

This is not true, although it's not far. A more universalized theory of gaming might consider these elements:
Twitch (decision making under time pressure)
Resource management (which is the manipulation of tokens and points thing you refer to)
Positioning (too complex a concept, I think, to be relegated to mere resource management)
Tactics (that is, immediate decision-making)
Strategy (long-term decision-making)
Knowledge (brought in by the player from outside the game world)
Laughter, Generosity, Honesty, Loyalty, Kindness, Magic

But there are edge case games that upset even these elements! Because of this, I don't like to think of games in terms of a limited number of elements, it's too reductive. It's not useful as a construction tool because it'll force your mind into narrow channels. It's better used descriptively -- you create the game and then you can categorize it along these axes, instead of proscriptively. And one of the dangers of focusing on computer gaming is that it can blind you to much of the wide breadth of gaming.

I know you were talking about fluff, and I already know about how it's important not to be distracted by it. But there are also games where the fluff is inseparable from the play (the up-and-coming genre of storytelling RPGs), and indeed games that are no fun at all without the fluff (Strange Adventures in Infinite Space and its sequel). If you look at these games without the fluff, you will immediately discard them without further consideration. I urge you not to do that!

I have no doubt that this will be one of those things where I go off on a vague, airy tear and everyone just shakes their heads sadly and mumbles something about me going off medication. Yeah, I can't say that I blame you. I still say I'm not here to dump on Diablo 3, or League of Legends for that matter.
posted by JHarris at 7:15 PM on May 14, 2012


You're shifting goalposts, sir. You came in and stated that skill is irrelevant or close to it.

WHAT I SAID WAS, AND I QUOTE:

"I don't doubt that there's some skill involved. And I really don't have a way of telling how much, since I have not played Diablo 3 and don't know much about its game systems."

Later:

"I should respond to this, because as I said before there is some skill to the Diablo games, but for some reason that I haven't exactly, yet, put my finger on it seems less interesting and fun to me than Hack-style roguelikes."

Saying I said something I didn't, that is not cool. We seem to have gotten off into World of Warcraft here somehow, which might be where the confusion lies.
posted by JHarris at 7:31 PM on May 14, 2012


:|

I quoted you in my original response. What you said (to quote again) was:
even the best player in the world, with bad gear, will do badly, because player skill means a lot less than level and gear.
I declared that to be categorically untrue, you requested examples, and I came up with examples from WoW because that's the game I'm familiar with. It happens in stuff like CS as well though, where really good people can dominate a server with a handgun vs. people wearing armor and using sniper and assault rifles.

I mean I hate to badger you into going "ok, that was incorrect," but it was. Equating level with gear is incorrect, and stating that gear is more important than skill is incorrect, at least in well-designed games. There are definitely games with low skillcaps where gear is everything. Blizzard moved past that point a long time ago.

In D3 specifically, the levels of skill look (to me) to be quite deep.
posted by kavasa at 7:49 PM on May 14, 2012


You Americans have four hours to finish this discussion. At which point, the half that cares about Diablo and enjoys playing it will, um, be busy.
posted by Nelson at 7:51 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


I destroyed my wrists and couldn't use a keyboard for about 2 years after Diablo 2. I HOPE DIABLO 3 IS AS GOOD.
posted by Justinian at 7:53 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Or sleeping. Stupid alarm clocks.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:54 PM on May 14, 2012


Everything Blizzard makes is like this, and it's incredibly annoying. It's a crapsack universe where everything possible bad happens but evil somehow never actually wins, despite doing enough damage to the 'good guys' that they should be destroyed three times over.

Eh? I mean, Diablo's like that, sure, and maybe Starcraft in places. Although I never got the vibe that life on the main human planets or among the Protoss was particularly awful before the Zerg showed up.

The Warcraft universe certainly never struck me as crapsack - not any more than any other Tolkien knockoff, at least. And in the World of Warcraft incarnation, it's positively warm and fuzzy, on its own evidence (even setting aside the constant humor and in-jokes, there's not much grimdark outside a few specifically and intentionally shadowy areas like Felwood or the darker corners of Northrend) or in comparison to any of its competitors.

I mean, more crapsack than the worlds of Guild Wars (about even, I'd say), Age of Conan (waaaay darker), Warhammer: Age of Reckoning (do I need to say it?) or Lord of the Rings Online (slightly darker, very much more serious). Never played Everquest so I'm not sure about that.
For crying out loud, in the next expansion you and all your guildmates all get to quest in the land of fucking anthropomorphic panda bears. I'm pretty sure that the end boss will be Princess Celestia.

What always bothered me about Diablo wasn't the darkness but the way its basically the book of Revelations with the serial numbers filed off. Also, the box art and title scared my mom off letting me play it or any other Blizzard game back when I was a young'un (but she ended up buying me a healthy-looking historical RTS as a substitute, which introduced me to Age of Empires, so all's well that ends well, I suppose).
posted by AdamCSnider at 7:59 PM on May 14, 2012 [6 favorites]


Nelson: "You Americans have four hours to finish this discussion. At which point, the half that cares about Diablo and enjoys playing it will, um, be busy."

Unless our lost authenticator means we're locked out of our accounts! *grumblegrumble*
posted by symbioid at 8:03 PM on May 14, 2012


RockPaperShotgun: Three Hours With Diablo III. "Always-on was a predictably stupid thing to enforce, and no matter how it’s dressed, it’s DRM, and tonight it’s proven itself to be game-breaking DRM."
posted by Nelson at 8:07 PM on May 14, 2012 [2 favorites]


even the best player in the world, with bad gear, will do badly, because player skill means a lot less than level and gear.

I think it's fair to say that this is overstated, because the best players tend to be able to do amazing things with two walnuts and a slice of cheese that the rest of us can't replicate with a sentient flying chainsword, but at the same time, I think it's completely fair to say that for the vast mass of everyday, unwashed players, all else being roughly equal, gear heavily outweighs skill. Especially in WoW.
posted by Sparx at 8:41 PM on May 14, 2012


I am willing to be 100gp that anyone who disagrees with the above, by the most astonishing of coincidences, also has better gear than me.
posted by Sparx at 8:43 PM on May 14, 2012


Could you unpack that acronym for me? It is singularly unsuitable to Googling....

Like D3, perhaps you should try it before forming an opinion.
posted by ryanrs at 8:58 PM on May 14, 2012


Sparx - meh, not really, neither in pve nor in pvp. I could go into examples at length, but it would be tedious. You can compare your toon's gear to my main's, if you like: her armory is in my profile.

Nelson - the "I dislike the online requirement" argument is one I'm sympathetic to, although it doesn't really apply to me, as I'm unlikely to ever actually play d3 single-player.
posted by kavasa at 9:10 PM on May 14, 2012


AdamCSnider: Eh? I mean, Diablo's like that, sure, and maybe Starcraft in places. Although I never got the vibe that life on the main human planets or among the Protoss was particularly awful before the Zerg showed up.

Well, it's more about what happens during the first game and its expansion. All three of the main races get absolutely wrecked and yet apparently they can still continue fighting like it doesn't matter. I'm sure the zerg are controlled just as well by one sort of humanoid abomination as they were by a brain the size of a building. The Protoss can just go on teleporting their buildings in from... uh... somewhere, now that Aiur is destroyed. The Terrans get the influx from Earth, so that's kind of explained, but they don't exactly do great, and there's no real explanation of how they keep going. Maybe it's explained in the sequel, but I tuned out before that.

My point is, all of the worst-case scenarios happen and everyone just keeps on going like it doesn't matter. And that just robs the narrative of weight. Even a crapsack world has to be plausible, and Blizzard makes it too crapsack for this to be true. It's true of Starcraft, it was true of Diablo as of D2, and Warcraft certainly didn't sound any better last I heard of it.
posted by Mitrovarr at 9:24 PM on May 14, 2012


I declared that to be categorically untrue, you requested examples, and I came up with examples from WoW because that's the game I'm familiar with.I declared that to be categorically untrue, you requested examples, and I came up with examples from WoW because that's the game I'm familiar with.

1. Well, you're damn right I requested examples. You don't get to say things like "categorically untrue" as if they were obvious without backing them up, mister, whether you're talking about World of Warcraft or Ayn Rand. The example rightly should have been in the same comment as "categorically untrue."

2. Damn this long thread. I finally found the quote you were referring to. That statement was a bit hyperbolic, yes. But it doesn't change the fact that the highest 5% are using either near-optimal equipment, or in cases where there's a R-P-S-style cycle, one of the sets in that cycle. The rating system WoW uses measures win percentage only, I believe, it doesn't account for anything else. It also seems likely that their ranked characters will be at the top end of that level tier; a friend of mine has his character locked at Level 19 specifically because he's chosen to optimize his play style for that.

What was my point? I'm not sure anymore. It is not easy to keep up with these conversations in a non-threaded system.
posted by JHarris at 9:26 PM on May 14, 2012


You're just arguing for the sake of arguing.
posted by ryanrs at 9:37 PM on May 14, 2012


Like D3, perhaps you should try it before forming an opinion.

I've tried D1 and D2, and a number of other games of the type. It's possible D3 or LoL is different, better. I've specifically tried not to dump on them, to put it in terms that they don't agree with me -- at this point it looks like I've failed. I don't think any of you shouldn't play them. I just don't want to try the Green Eggs and Ham myself. I'm only filling up the threadspace to even say this because I'm responding to you, your statement was dismissive enough that I felt it needed a response. Yes, it is deciding before I've played it. We all must make decisions like that every day.
posted by JHarris at 9:38 PM on May 14, 2012


In a serendipitous turn of events, I was sent home from work early tonight. Now all I have to do is wait until 3 AM EDT. Of course, I will be attempting to log in at 1 AM. And 2 AM. And 2:30 AM. And 2:45 AM. And 2:50 AM. And...
posted by Ducks or monkeys at 9:41 PM on May 14, 2012


You're so caught up in your argument that you don't even realize I was talking about Google, not some video game.
posted by ryanrs at 9:59 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did you really, seriously post a link to lmgtfy? Maybe you could disengage with jharris rather than hectoring him some more.
posted by boo_radley at 10:53 PM on May 14, 2012


Don't worry, we'll all be taking an extended break from this thread in approximately 50 minutes.
posted by mek at 11:08 PM on May 14, 2012


Anyone else choose release date delivery on Amazon? Hello? Anybody?
posted by Kale Slayer at 11:17 PM on May 14, 2012


Australian folks who preordered through the now-defunct GAME will have their purchase honored by Blizzard.

I've been trying to avoid D3 news, since between ME3 multiplayer and WoW my time's spoken for. ... But they did throw in that free copy with the WoW sub. ...
posted by rewil at 11:20 PM on May 14, 2012


I think the most telling example of their profit expectations from the cash auction house is the free copy with a year of WoW promotion.
posted by Drumhellz at 11:22 PM on May 14, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gold inflation itself is controlled via crafting, supposedly, but that will only last as long as crafted items remain in demand.) Global Play will not stop it, as any half-decent goldfarm outfit is VPN'ing through the States anyway.

God, I just have to say it, we're living in the future. And it's kind of awesome. I mean, it's terrible, but it's kind of awesome too.

Look at that sentence again. Gold inflation is controlled via virtual item crafting, and the Chinese gold farmers, aka massively multiplayer online virtual game money launderers, are setting up virtual private networks using pubic key cryptography and routing so their source appears to be coming from the US.

It's like everything the cyberpunks wrote about is right, except with more gnomes, cooking fetch quests and murlocs.
posted by formless at 11:44 PM on May 14, 2012 [10 favorites]


Heh, formless. I don't think Neal Stephenson intended Snow Crash as a documentary, but it's eerie how accurate, in some ways, his future world was.
posted by Malor at 11:50 PM on May 14, 2012 [3 favorites]


Aaaaaaaand servers are busy. Unsure why I'm even up at this hour, but it's clear this this game will be unplayable for a few hours.

Awesome.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:03 AM on May 15, 2012


Error 37.

Two million open beta stress test?
Did we just watch this same shit happen in Asia?
Then watch it happen again in Europe?

GG Blizz. Good to see that always-online model working like a charm.

Good thing I got this shit for free.
posted by Talez at 12:08 AM on May 15, 2012


37 is the number of the beast.
posted by the_artificer at 12:08 AM on May 15, 2012


Hisssssss! Do not speak of the dread 37!
posted by Drumhellz at 12:15 AM on May 15, 2012


Getting authenticated then timing out on retrieving hero list. Anyone else the same? There was no way to create heroes before right?
posted by Elminster of Labor at 12:16 AM on May 15, 2012


Ha, it almost worked then it timed out. Wooooo!
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:16 AM on May 15, 2012


"Gold inflation is controlled via virtual item crafting."

It looks like Blizzard is setting up a Black Market Auction house to drain the gold out of people like me that have ten characters gold capped and dummy guilds to hold the excess.
posted by the_artificer at 12:16 AM on May 15, 2012


Correct, it is timing out on the retrieving hero list.

Mmm, I love our new online only overlords.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:16 AM on May 15, 2012


My buddies and I are having the same problem Elminster.
posted by Drumhellz at 12:17 AM on May 15, 2012


ERROR 37? NOBODY COULD HAVE PREDICTED THIS!

On a more serious note, has anyone else noticed that since pretty much every piece of equipment in the game appears to be socketable, and statistics are distributed through gems on *any* non-weapon or helm piece of equipment, that there's actually *more* possible stat customization than there was in Diablo 2?
posted by The Confessor at 12:23 AM on May 15, 2012


servers are down for the count. cant even ping 'um now. Serves me right for staying up.
posted by H. Roark at 12:25 AM on May 15, 2012


I mean, it's 2012. Blizzard's probably been the last game developer to pull this move, now assuming most of their fanbase has a "reliable" connection.

I'm pretty sure the only other significant PC developer to assume that was Ubisoft with their Assassin's Creed II DRM, and they caught hell over it.


Don't remind me of that. Earlier this year I got myself a decent game computer; nothing ridicolously high end but finally I had a pc powerful enough to run modern games and that was one of the games I bought to try out on; still haven't gotten it to play (installing was a chore already) as it kept hanging on online authentication. So now it's a coaster.

I liked the original Diablo, one of those quick to play games where you mean to play for only fifteen minutes and then it's midnight again and I would like to play Diablo III, but since I'm only interested in single player I don't want to rely on a possible flakey online authentication system. As with all anti-piracy measures, I don't want to be hassled just because I was stupid enough to buy the game rather than torrent it.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:26 AM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Stay a while and sit at the login.
Oh well I'm going to go Thunderhammer Orks in Space Marine
posted by the_artificer at 12:33 AM on May 15, 2012


They are directing people to this page from the twitter account. Looks like basic internet troubleshooting to me. I am still getting error 3006 whenever I can actually connect for a second. I haven't entered the game so the info on the demon hunter shield swap error doesn't cut it here.
posted by Elminster of Labor at 12:38 AM on May 15, 2012


Ah, yes, your single-player game that doesn't work because it was made into a online-only game, when it didn't need to be.

The problems are completely of Blizzard's manufacture. It didn't have to be this way. If they were less greedy, you'd be playing right now.
posted by Malor at 12:56 AM on May 15, 2012


lol Malor, I was wondering if you would be staying up to rub our noses in it!
posted by H. Roark at 1:03 AM on May 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I didn't buy D3 to play single player, so I guess I'm not too grar about the servers not working.

Then again I stood in line for 3 hours in unseasonably cold weather for southern California just to get WoW on launch night. Blizzard actually had to send a truck to get more copies because they underestimated the size of the crowd that would show up. People were lighting fires in shopping carts. It was pretty awesome upon reflection.
posted by Drumhellz at 1:08 AM on May 15, 2012


lol Malor, I was wondering if you would be staying up to rub our noses in it!

I just happen to be up, as I'm on an offset schedule. But since I'm here anyway, you can bet I'm pointing out that their greed is directly stopping you from playing the game you paid for, probably full retail price.

And, from now until they take the servers down, most times when that game doesn't work or crashes, it will be because of that fundamental greed, not because it needed to be that way.

Welcome to being monetized.
posted by Malor at 2:22 AM on May 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I got in to the game about 5 minutes after my last comment. I have to work in the morning and I'm not a 20 year old who can live on mountain dew anymore or I'd still be playing. I agree with you on a lot of points Malor, but I think that rather than calling Blizzard greedy, I would compare them to a midnight movie release with too few screens.
posted by Drumhellz at 2:30 AM on May 15, 2012


Seem to be able to log in a play fine now. Storm in a teacup.
posted by jet_manifesto at 2:59 AM on May 15, 2012


What is the value proposition in writing a 0 day farming script for this game? Can I sell the script itself, and are there marketplaces for that?

(someone that has not played more than the diablo 1 demo, and is kinda curious, but not enough to drop 60 bones)
posted by jonbro at 3:03 AM on May 15, 2012


For all of you guys complaining that this is not a game, there are totally barrels that you can break, which drop coins.

Hopefully that clears it up for you.
posted by dobie at 3:04 AM on May 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


Just played for about two hours. I was "removed" from the game a dozen times before I gave up.
posted by ColdChef at 3:48 AM on May 15, 2012


Ah, yes, your single-player game that doesn't work because it was made into a online-only game, when it didn't need to be.

I don't like online gaming (other than Minecraft) and would only want to play the single player game so this really turns me off. Again, I'll just wait for Torchlight II to fill my dungeon crawl needs.
posted by octothorpe at 4:21 AM on May 15, 2012


The only reason I'm not bitching up a storm about the online-only thing is that Diablo II was essentially online-only for me (and a heck of a lot of other people) anyway. Assassin's Creed DRM was and remains moronic, but this is more like killing single-player Team Fortress (not identical, but not that far off).
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 4:45 AM on May 15, 2012


I have been counting down the days for AGES but now early reports seem such bullshit that I think ill wait a week in the hope that all these (predictable) consequences of always-online get hammered out. After 10 years what's another few days?
posted by moorooka at 5:17 AM on May 15, 2012


You hear a lot of reports of problems only because everyone who didn't have any issues is too busy playing to write comments.

Luckily, I have this other computer right here, so I can tell you that I've been playing for an hour now, and it's working very well.
posted by helicomatic at 6:06 AM on May 15, 2012


You hear a lot of reports of problems only because everyone who didn't have any issues is too busy playing to write comments.

This. Except for the expected business with the login servers at 2am, it's been smooth sailing for me. I've gotten in over 5 hours of continuous playtime without incident.
posted by thanotopsis at 6:11 AM on May 15, 2012


Btw, if you want to watch people playing, twitch tv has a bunch of streams up right now.
posted by empath at 6:27 AM on May 15, 2012


I got a half hour in this morning before work with no problems.
posted by garlic at 6:28 AM on May 15, 2012


Yes now that the game is up and working all this complaining and theorizing about Blizzard's motives is going right out the window. At least, for the folks who were going to play the game anyway. And the folks who never were going to play, well, aren't playing.
posted by Nelson at 7:23 AM on May 15, 2012


Hey, come on, it's been a great thread. Everyone waiting for the NA servers to come online had a place to hang out until they could log on, the folks who dislike the business model for D3 (or the Diablo games as a whole) had a place to complain, and now everyone can go on their merry way.
posted by never used baby shoes at 7:45 AM on May 15, 2012


Yes now that the game is up and working all this complaining and theorizing about Blizzard's motives is going right out the window. At least, for the folks who were going to play the game anyway. And the folks who never were going to play, well, aren't playing.

And there are probably a larger number who will wait for the demo to open up, read the early reviews, and think about it until there's a promotional offer, price cut, or open slot in the budget.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:51 AM on May 15, 2012


Come on, Malor, lighten up. It's only a game.
posted by Pendragon at 8:04 AM on May 15, 2012


Possibly the most comments I've ever seen on an FPP full of nothing but product advertisement links.
posted by Kevtaro at 8:20 AM on May 15, 2012


It's Diablo Blue.
posted by thanotopsis at 8:44 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've seen a lot of complaints about the business model and some design choices and whether or not the game is over simplifying things in this thread and on the rest of the internet, but I haven't seen much talk about how the early game progression feels which is my biggest beef so far.

In a game all about progression like Diablo, you want to be an ordinary chumbley schmoe at the start and a resplendent demi-god of battlesomeness and badassery by the end, right? That's the experience I want with a Diablo at least.
But, after playing as a monk for a few minutes on my lunch break today up to like level 6 I already have to chose from a hadouken like move and a punch that blinks me to the target every swing. And those are just my basic attacks.

Those moves are super cool and all and I understand the need to make the game full of shiny gee-whiz attacks, but giving them to me right off the bat takes away some feeling of growth. Oh and my only useful special move so far? A kick. That's it. Amazing flashy basic attacks and a kick move. At least it does some knockback I guess.
posted by cirrostratus at 10:46 AM on May 15, 2012


CBrachyrhynchos: "And there are probably a larger number who will wait for the demo to open up, read the early reviews, and think about it until there's a promotional offer, price cut, or open slot in the budget."

I'll be waiting for the $20 GOTY edition with all the expansions a year or two from now, like I always do.
posted by charred husk at 10:47 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I only played a few levels of the first 2 Diablo games, but I can say that playing it at 2AM last night with all the lights out and the sound on low was hell of fun. They do a good job of getting you those intermittent rewards.
posted by dobie at 10:49 AM on May 15, 2012


DRM server crashes within first 24 hours. Paid DLC within 2 weeks (assuming there isn't Day 1 DLC I'm unaware of). Auction house hacked within 1 week. Terrible ending."

Avenger50:Again, I'll bet you the game you're hilariously wrong. This is Blizzard we're talking about, not EA. Where were your doomsday predictions when SC2 launched?

I so called it. Thanks for playing.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:10 AM on May 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Everyone knew that the servers were going to crash on day one.
posted by empath at 11:15 AM on May 15, 2012


Everyone knew that the servers were going to crash on day one.

Quite apparently that wasn't the case, even in this thread.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 11:17 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


The servers would be crashing with or without DRM. People want to play online.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:17 AM on May 15, 2012


Quite apparently that wasn't the case, even in this thread.

Yeah, i dunno what Avenger50 was talking about. Blizzard's servers crashed when SC2 was released, too. Hell, the d3 open beta test was non-stop crashing, too. I think their servers crash regularly when WoW updates go live, too.
posted by empath at 11:21 AM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've been playing pretty much non-stop from when I first managed to log in early this morning up to about a half-hour ago, when I left the game to find the auction house function slow and spotty, and reentering the game made impossible by errors. Given the poor reports I read, I was surprised not to encounter any errors before... especially because my obsessive-compulsive playstyle had me leaving and resuming the game multiple times to check for auctions.

I prefer a minimally challenging experience, at least to begin with, so my practice while playing has been to restart the current quest from the start whenever I gain a level, and to check the auction house for upgraded equipment that meets my criteria.

Due to my poor experience with Magic Find in the beta, I'm building my character (a Barb) with a focus on Gold Find and Pickup Radius. I managed to nab a 10%/2-4 Lucky Amulet of Wounding before the Auction House ceased working, so when I get back in-game my Gold Find should be 96%, and my Pickup Radius 16 yards at Level 14.
posted by The Confessor at 11:23 AM on May 15, 2012


Ok, I asked above if I would like D3 since I'm not a big gamer but recently picked up Skyrim and like it, and I can tell by the more recent comments that D3 sounds much more complicated. Is Skyrim, like, a RPG for babies, or something? Or is this kind of complexity more typical of an online game?

Also, several folks have mentioned that D3 and games like them just reward clicking. Is that to say that there's no strategy involved in the game? Are there any RPGs that don't just reward clicking? The only other RPG that I've played is Betrayal at Krondor, and that was in '93.
posted by amarynth at 11:55 AM on May 15, 2012


D3 sounds much more complicated. Is Skyrim, like, a RPG for babies

They are so different it's hard to compare. Is Doom an FPS for babies compared with Deus Ex? (Hint: No.)
posted by straight at 12:09 PM on May 15, 2012


They're just very different sorts of games. Skyrim is an open-world sandbox high-fantasy talkie sort of thing, very much about the setting and the lore and the exploration of little nooks and crannies and all that.

Diablo 3 is what usually gets called an "action RPG", an umbrella term that covers a lot of ground but mostly means that the emphasis is primarily on the hacking-and-slashing action as the core gameplay with the RPG elements more of the dressing around that. More like an arcade game: fast-paced, very combat-centric.

So Skyrim has plenty of combat, especially if you go looking for it, but fights are mostly going to be very contained things, where you spend a minute or two dealing with two or three baddies, maybe a half-dozen, and then there's a breather and probably some plot. Whereas with the Diablo games you'll do a bit of talking/listening in between large chunks of frenetic stabbing and spellcasting and spider summoning and so on. Individual enemies go down in one second, give or take, except for the occasional bigger bads.

Both games have depth, but it's in different areas. Skyrim's combat is not particularly well-developed as combat systems go; it works well enough for the game it's in, but you don't have a whole lot of chances to develop a really elegant combat playstyle because that's not where they put their focus. Diablo 3's core gameplay is the combat, so there's a lot of room to get into the weeds with that, to really sort of refine your approach to dealing with nasties.

Also, several folks have mentioned that D3 and games like them just reward clicking. Is that to say that there's no strategy involved in the game?

It's a mouse-driven game, so everything you do is driven by what you click on. Mostly what you click on in baddies and loot. Again, sort of arcade-y in feel; it's all about cutting a swath through the great piles of nasties (by clicking on them, by triggering special abilities with the 1-4 keys) and garnering the loot they drop.

So lots of tactical decision-making, lots of in-the-moment decisions about whether to trigger a special ability or hold off for a better moment, whether to quaff a potion or backpedal or both, whether to confront a crowd of nasties or kite them down a hallway so you can deal with them more one-at-a-time.

In terms of strategy, of high-level decisions, that's almost entirely going to be about which skills to equip, which equipment to keep or replace or swap in for a given situation, etc. It's a gear-and-stats game in terms of it's actual RPG elements. The actual plot you (barring a massive and unreported change from D1 and D2) won't have any real control over; it's more atmosphere around the gameplay than a game of actually deciding what happens in the world. You're here to kill lots of things to fight evil; people will tell you where to go and what to kill and why.

So, if what you like about Skyrim is mostly the world interactions, the talking and the poking about, and not so much the killing of stuff, Diablo 3 won't have much in common with that. If you like some satisfying killing-lots-of-nasties arcadey gameplay, you'll probably enjoy it. I like both games an awful lot but they're about as different as two things called RPGs can be.
posted by cortex at 12:09 PM on May 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


I so called it. Thanks for playing.

Blizzard's servers crashed when SC2 was released, too.

It's true, SC2 had server problems, but it was nothing like this. My response to Mister "Fabulous" was more about his still-ridiculous claims about paid DLC nonsense and the hacked auction house.

I was clearly wrong about DRM servers crashing, but then again, Amazon says Diablo 3 is "the most pre-ordered game of all time" so I'm not completely surprised. Is it the tyrannical greed of power mad Activision? Only for the most cynical.

Indeed, the truly obnoxious gloating of miserable persons like Mister Fabulous and Malor in this thread won't prevent me and everyone else from enjoying Diablo 3 once I can actually login and play. Keep coming back in here and telling us how happy you are that we aren't playing, though.
posted by Avenger50 at 12:38 PM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yes now that the game is up and working all this complaining and theorizing about Blizzard's motives is going right out the window. At least, for the folks who were going to play the game anyway. And the folks who never were going to play, well, aren't playing.

There are also the folks who would have liked to play but don't feel like buying a game that demands to be always on when its single player would work fine without it just like SC or Diablo (II). Blizzard won't miss my quid, but I don't want to support practices I consider bad. I've seen many companies fold and I'd rather the games I buy don't depend on company servers.
posted by ersatz at 12:43 PM on May 15, 2012


I like both games an awful lot but they're about as different as two things called RPGs can be.

see that's funny, core, b/c i recently tried going back to Diablo 2 after several months of essentially IV Skyrim and, well, I immediately thought "what does this give me that Skyrim doesn't?"

and even as i thought it, i thought "i wonder why i think that," and i still do now.
posted by fetamelter at 1:06 PM on May 15, 2012


What I want from the genre is to get to lopping off heads in under a minute. If I want expansive plot and strategic development with dozens of variables developed through dialogue and combat that might come back to haunt me in the endgame, I'll load a Bioware or Bethesda game.

Online activation ME3 annoys me because it looks like I have to authenticate twice before I can even load a saved session. Meanwhile, my home network is buggy enough to be annoying, but not annoying enough to switch services. So every now and then, my game will just stop for a minute to tell me I no longer have a connection. Thankfully, the game still (mostly) works in that state assuming it authenticated the first time.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 1:31 PM on May 15, 2012


and, well, I immediately thought "what does this give me that Skyrim doesn't?"

Action smashy crushy woo! Is I think the technical term.

I really had fun with Skyrim (like 100+ hours fun) but for the most part the actual combat was just a thing I would do in service of the stuff I was mostly interested in. Like chewing and swallowing. Not that I had no fun with the combat, but the shine came off pretty quick. And even at that it was a big improvement over Oblivion, a game I liked very much but played mostly in spite of the combat mechanics.

But this is all personal taste stuff. I like Diablo and I like Borderlands for pretty similar reasons; they're rather different approaches to something that scratches a specific itch for me, and on the matter of that itch they have more in common than does Diablo and most of the RPGs I play for what I think of as actual RPG content. But some folks aren't going to care much about that stuff, and so it goes; everybody likes different things about different games. It's part of the reason it's so nice that there's such genre diversity in gaming.
posted by cortex at 1:33 PM on May 15, 2012


I like diablo alot.
posted by empath at 1:48 PM on May 15, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well that didn't take long
posted by T.D. Strange at 3:12 PM on May 15, 2012


Last Night’s Diablo III Debacle Demonstrates The Problem With ‘Always-Online’ Games
posted by homunculus at 3:50 PM on May 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


I got 37d for a couple hours, and a much different definition of "debacle" than that author.
posted by flaterik at 5:34 PM on May 15, 2012


The Beginner's Guide to Diablo III
posted by Evilspork at 6:20 PM on May 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I really had fun with Skyrim (like 100+ hours fun) but for the most part the actual combat was just a thing I would do in service of the stuff I was mostly interested in.

I had tons of fun on my last character trying to turn Skyrim's combat into something vaguely like Dark Souls, mainly through Duel - Combat Realism, 3x stamina regen and the higher difficulties. It only really makes any difference for melee punchy stabby characters, and the careful, dangerous block-and-poke combat does kind of peter out as you get to the level 30 range and better gear and can just flail at stuff, but for a while it's a huge improvement. Like, it's still Skyrim's combat in the end, but enemies guard intelligently and react to your turtling with power attacks, the stamina regen lets you back off and regroup, and unblocked hits are horrifically dangerous.

If I had the time I would seriously try to write something that added a vulnerable drinking animation for potions and a limited number of slots for healing stuff you wanted available in combat, because if there is one RPG tradition I just utterly loathe it's the 'time stops, the hero eats sixteen cheeses and drinks twelve gallons of potions, is fine' thing.
posted by emmtee at 5:31 AM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Had to turn the lights on going through "The Caverns Of Araneae," I kept thinking something was crawling on me.
posted by the_artificer at 6:19 AM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The game is fun, but Blizzard's uptime performance for launch day has been pretty terrible. I don't have exact stats but the game was down in the US from roughly 10:30am to 3:30pm and again 8:30pm to 11:30pm (California time). Eight hours of the first day, most being in prime time. That's about par for the course for a big MMO launch, and if you think of Diablo as an online server hosted game it's somewhat expected. But all the folks who just want to play single player and were unhappy with the Internet connection being required have a lot more reasons to be pissed off. I'm still optimistic Blizzard will get it together and will have a fully stable service within a few days.

Here's a roundup of people criticizing the launch.
posted by Nelson at 7:19 AM on May 16, 2012


Supposedly the last (and longest) round of server downtime was dedicated to patching a day-one item duplication exploit, which if true is justified (although it's less excusable to have a day one duplication exploit).

For my part, I went straight from work to GameStop yesterday, picked up my copy of the collector's edition, and was able to log in and play immediately. Lag was an issue at first, but it was pretty smooth going this morning and I've yet to fail to connect.

Their friends system is borked, though. Send friend request → “Error 5012” → play alone.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:27 AM on May 16, 2012


Do you have more info on the possible dupe bug, Holy Zarquon? A quick search I did turns up some rumors, but no confirmation.
posted by Nelson at 7:46 AM on May 16, 2012


Unfortunately not. I'm not actually part of any of those communities – it's all friend-of-a-friend stuff at best – and nobody seems inclined to leak specifics. Nobody seems to be acting like they're taking the piss, but it doesn't mean they're not being misled themselves.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:01 AM on May 16, 2012


I bought it at lunch yesterday and played last night for about 90 minutes (10 - 11:30 pm EST). No problems at all until my computer froze up completely - maybe a driver issue. I didn't continue after that so I don't know if it's going to be a problem. My PC is also about 3 years old and it ran super smooth.

Very fun, and annoyingly addictive. There's basically no point at which you can't get/complete another quest, or go up a level, or get some kind of achievement if you just play FIVE MORE MINUTES.

Easy at first (monk), but at about level 6 I had to start using potions and a bit of tactics. I love the art - it's like being inside a Frazetta painting or something. Great monster animations too, especially the big guys that explode into a bunch of worms which then attack you. It's pretty linear but that's how I generally expect Diablo to be.

The launch day griping just attracts a certain type of person. Generally the same type of person who buys it, plays it 48 hours straight and beats it, then complains that it's "too short". Nothing wrong with that but I have more fun taking my time.

After my one play session I'd guess that people who loved Diablo/Diablo 2 will love this much more, and people who didn't love those games won't like it at all.
posted by freecellwizard at 8:09 AM on May 16, 2012


I rather enjoyed Diablo 2 -- though I never really understood the point of Nightmare and Hell modes, because why would I want to play the game *again* with my same character? (I did a Necromancer, though before it was nerfed, and played a bit with all the other characters.) On the one hand, I'm sort of curious to try Diablo 3. On the other, it's summer, and I don't actually know anyone who will play Diablo 3 with me on occasion.
posted by jeather at 10:07 AM on May 16, 2012


The Auction House is wonky at the moment, which is more annoying in a way than the entire game being inaccessible... since searching the (gold) auctions for equipment with just a speck more magic find or gold/orb pickup radius after each level-up is one of the greatest pleasures I've discovered while playing this game.

I'm on Act II now, with a level 21 Barbarian, and I've got +125% Magic Find and +29 yards gold/orb pickup radius. Any radius greater than maybe ten yards is kind of useless for a non-ranged class, but I'll probably keep trying to upgrade along those lines for an eventual Demon Hunter, Witch Doctor, or Wizard... especially because some classes use the Pickup Radius stat to enhance other skills.
posted by The Confessor at 10:22 AM on May 16, 2012


And checking, since I have a boring (but new) laptop with whatever standard video card came with, I do not think I could run Diablo 3, which is sort of a shame.
posted by jeather at 10:56 AM on May 16, 2012


You might want to check your hardware against the system requirements before you assume that. Diablo 3 is designed to run on anything more advanced than a cardboard box with a single hamster wheel inside.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:00 AM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's the graphics card that is the issue, the other requirements are not (I think) a problem, but I have some integrated graphics card that is, supposedly, bad for gaming. I cannot figure out whether it's sufficient -- I don't need absolutely perfectly gorgeous graphics, just adequate ones.
posted by jeather at 11:08 AM on May 16, 2012


I think I read somewhere that there's a "Starter Kit" demo, initially using a pass that came in boxed copies of the game, and then open to everyone after a month.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 12:10 PM on May 16, 2012


I shall endeavour to obtain the pass or wait a month. That might also help me see if my internet connection will support the server, and if I really enjoy playing it on a 13" screen. Though I doubt my old screen was much bigger, in Diablo 2 days.

Metafilter is so expensive. I mean, sure, there's the one time five dollar cost, but then there are all the "oh, what a good idea, I should get that" purchases. Today alone I have finally decided to sign up for knife skills classes and buy a video game.
posted by jeather at 12:51 PM on May 16, 2012


I've got four passes burning a hole in my digital pocket, so I can shoot one over to you after work.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 1:00 PM on May 16, 2012


Thanks! You're a total enabler awesome.
posted by jeather at 1:49 PM on May 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


"especially because some classes use the Pickup Radius stat to enhance other skills."

Huh. I kept wondering about the pickup radius and why it mattered, since it seems like you could just... walk a little more. I'm playing a demon hunter so maybe I should figure these things out.
posted by flaterik at 3:55 PM on May 16, 2012


flaterik

I noticed in the beta that when I clicked on bookcases in the Cathedral, the gold would often end up in an inconvenient location, behind a stack of books or something. A little bit of Pickup Radius means you don't even have to try to reach it.

Also, in multiplayer games where your companions are powering through areas, having a good amount of Pickup Radius means that you can receive some of the gold rewards of their efforts without having to walk in their exact footsteps. This perk is also wasted on me at the moment, unfortunately, since I'm making my first run-through of the game a slow, considered affair to better absorb the story and lore.
posted by The Confessor at 6:40 PM on May 16, 2012


A solo, damn it! In case it's not obvious, I'm operating under a sleep deficit.
posted by The Confessor at 6:59 PM on May 16, 2012


Diablo III Launch Update, in which Blizzard apologies for their server problems and claims everything is much better now.
posted by Nelson at 7:58 AM on May 17, 2012


Man, I am once again reminded how grateful I am that I don't work at Blizzard. Their community team probably hasn't slept in 48 hours.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:12 AM on May 17, 2012


Due to my poor experience with Magic Find in the beta

talk to me about this? i'm trying to focus on magic find right now.

problem is, do i sell my blues or do i salvage them at the lower levels?
posted by Avenger50 at 10:42 AM on May 17, 2012


It's weird. In theory you should be salvaging them and crafting better blues with the proceeds, but in practice you actually turn a profit by selling your unwanted magic items to vendors and buying whatever crafting stuff you need at the auction house, where Shimmering Essence currently goes for 25 gold a pop. New economies take some time to balance out.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:12 AM on May 17, 2012


So they say there is no cow level. There is, however....
posted by JHarris at 11:14 AM on May 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Avenger50

The beta content corresponded to Act I up to the Skeleton King battle. My complaint with Magic Find in the beta was that even after acquiring perfect gear for a +66% bonus (+70% for perfect gear on the Templar as well; +95% with a Fortune Shrine), I found only two rares apart from the automatic Rare drop from the first time killing the Skeleton King.

My experience with later game content leads me to believe that the frequency of rare drops was artificially constrained, perhaps by low monster levels. While playing the later quests of Act III, I often find about one or two rares per run, even with only incidental Magic Find.

So long as the (gold) auction house remains well-trafficked, however, I think there's a case to be made that Gold Find is still a more valuable statistic than Magic Find. So long as you're not looking for something of incredible rarity, you're far more likely to find what you need earning gold and trolling auctions than from Magic Finding.

I'm currently at Level 32 with my Barb, running the final quest of Act III. Current Gold Find is +152%, and Pickup Radius is +39 yards.
posted by The Confessor at 3:39 PM on May 17, 2012


Anyone else playing hardcore? My hardcore wizard dude(ette) is about level 14 now. Really ups the tension playing hardcore on a first playthrough. Every time I meet a new type of monster I get worried. I almost croaked earlier because some stupid tree things sprouted pods which promptly exploded and knocked off 3/4 of my hit points. Easy to avoid, but I hadn't seen it before.

hardcore taters 4 life.
posted by Justinian at 3:44 PM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I did not start on hardcore (I am sooo not hardcore, it sounds awful) but I made it to about level 13 before those very same pods croaked me.

Just finished my first run with a monk, probably going to try another class before I switch to Nightmare. (See above, re: not hardcore.)

I have to say, while the main storyline is not mind-blowing, the sheer depth of content is impressive as hell. The backstories for the companions, the bazillion books/bestiary guides, the vast number of side dungeons and events... definitely a keeper.

I am looking forward to finding some excellent stat priority guides. Are there any floating around from the beta?
posted by restless_nomad at 5:50 PM on May 17, 2012


I've been playing for hours and I could not tell you the first thing about the story. I've skipped all the cut scenes and dialogue.
posted by empath at 6:54 PM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Took me 8.5 hours for Act I and 9.5 hours for Act II but I'm obsessive about exploring the whole map and smashing every barrel/urn/egg-sack. Now on to Act III.
posted by the_artificer at 7:33 PM on May 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Diablo Wiki has an excellent summary of the story before Diablo 3 if you want to keep up. It's actually a little interesting, becomes relevant in Act 2. Much of it is from the novels which I've never read.
posted by Nelson at 7:55 PM on May 17, 2012


I'm doing Softcore, of course; there's no way I'd be running around with the silly Pickup Radius gear in Hardcore. That said, I've died only a few times: once in the very situation both Justinian and Restless Nomad describe, once to the Act III boss, twice (so far) to the Act IV boss...

...and once to damned latency. I was in the dungeon just before the Act III boss, and I misjudged how soon it had been since I'd last fired off a potion. There's a Healing Well a short distance away, and I'm running towards it, trailed by a huge mob of spear-throwers, scorpions, and god knows what else. I make it with just a sliver of life remaining, and click furiously... to no effect. Just before I died, I saw the characteristic "rubber banding" of server lag.

(Just managed to beat the Act IV boss, with no modifications to inventory; just had to adjust my skills for one-on-one rather than group melee. Frenzy instead of Cleave, basically.)
posted by The Confessor at 10:25 PM on May 17, 2012


I died about 6 times to the Act II boss before I figured out that I needed the invulnerability+heal instead of the group heal, but none of the others gave me any particular trouble that I recall. All of my other deaths were either new monster with some instakill ability (those damn exploding gremlins!) or a combo of big pull + ground effect that kept me trapped in the fire too long.

I was actually a little disappointed in the Act III and IV bosses. Didn't tweak my setup at all for either one, didn't grind the least bit, and they both went down pretty easy. I am now suspecting the Monk is one of the better classes for novice players, due to the combination of very simple melee/aoe attacks and excellent heals. (And a pet! God I love my little spirit clone.)

My new barbarian seems pretty solid too, and can I just say that I LOVE that finally a video game makes a warrior woman that actually looks like a) a real (if far-end-of-bell-curve buff) woman b) who could actually pick up that axe? But she seems to be taking more damage than the monk, and her AoEs don't seem as useful, so we'll see how it goes.

What companions are people playing with? I tried them all out for a little while, but ended up sticking with the Templar. Seemed odd to have two melee classes, but he stayed out of trouble and seemed to do useful damage. Possibly I specced the others wrong...
posted by restless_nomad at 7:36 AM on May 18, 2012


I got to the skeleton king and with the lag and my complete inability to tell which one was me (probably due a little to my turning the graphics way down, as otherwise my computer gets really hot) and the stupid laptop trackpad, I died a few times (level 8 or 9, so no damage). But I haven't played long -- I think I'm playing a monk, maybe -- and I want to try a few other classes.

But yeah, totally going to end up buying the actual version.
posted by jeather at 7:45 AM on May 18, 2012


restless_nomad: "and her AoEs don't seem as useful, so we'll see how it goes."

For me it really picked up when I got the 'enemies blow up rune' for Cleave. I really enjoyed stomp/stunning a pile of enemies and killing 20+ with a single swing in an exploding cleave chain reaction.
posted by the_artificer at 8:03 AM on May 18, 2012


Ooh good point, I *just* got that before I logged off last night and haven't hit anyone with it yet.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:05 AM on May 18, 2012


May main is a barb, up to 22 now, and I've been using her mostly with cleave + extra fury fueling whirlwind as my fury burner, with ground stomp + pull to gather stuff in close and charge on in! or whatever it's called for when I want to land myself in a the middle of a group.

So I tend to have a lot of folks around me all the time, and the cleaving hits a bunch of 'em, and the fury stacks up quick, and then I lay on the whirlwind and begin TWIRLING, TWIRLING, TWIRLING TOWARD FREEDOM.

It's pretty great. I'm liking the possibilities of different playstyles here even if I'm pretty much married at the moment to the one I'm using. I've switched over to Frenzy a couple times for big bads and it's nice to have that option.

One thing I haven't tried yet is going into Elective mode, tossing Cleave on left mouse and Frenzy on right, eschewing a main fury eater entirely, and grabbing the passive that gives you +25% damage when fury is full. It seems like with that set up and judicious alternation between frenzy and cleave I could end up cleaving really fast with lots of bonus damage for each hit.
posted by cortex at 8:16 AM on May 18, 2012


That rune is magnificent. I'm playing a female barbarian as my first character and the swing axe-->EVERYTHING EXPLODES chain reaction is more hilariously satisfying, in a “die demons die bwahahaha” sense, than any experience I had with D2.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:20 AM on May 18, 2012


My Witch Doctor alt (who is amazing fun, don't let the terrible 1-15 or so put you off!) FRICKIN' KILLED THE FINAL BOSS AND THE SERVER WENT DOWN BEFORE IT REGISTERED. Gah!

AoK's Demon Hunter and my Monk made a dent in Nightmare tonight. It still isn't super hard, but it's nice to get more than a couple of punches in before things explode. Also I learned Dashing Strike + Molten champions = delicious crispy monk. I'm loving mixing up the spirit-building combo attacks - using the first couple of hits of Fists of Thunder for the quicker spirit gen and dodge rune, and the third strike of Crippling Wave for the pile of debuffs. And I just got the rune for cheap Wave of Light - now everything dies in a flurry of GIANT ETHEREAL BELLS, which makes me unreasonably happy.
posted by emmtee at 8:54 PM on May 18, 2012


Well I finished the game. First time I've played a game start to finish like this since probably the last Diablo. They did leave a couple pesky plot threads dangling but I suppose that is left for an expansion.
posted by the_artificer at 1:58 AM on May 19, 2012


Hit level 20 with my hardcore Wizard. Starting to take more damage now. I may have gone overboard with the crafting when I noticed I could craft rare journeyman helmets for some reason. (Why only helmets? Who knows). I crafted like a half dozen of them and still didn't get what I was hoping for. Might have to grind some money to buy more crafting materials.

I'm very torn with between loading up on Vitality items or getting Intelligence. Intelligence is the prime stat for wizards but each incremental point doesn't do much, while vitality items really add up with the health and on hardcore nothing matters except survival.
posted by Justinian at 2:17 AM on May 19, 2012


I imagine Vitality+Primary stat items are going for a premium on the hardcore auction house. I kinda want to play a hardcore run through but my biggest fear would be dying to server lag or internet interruption.
posted by the_artificer at 2:28 AM on May 19, 2012


If you're playing in Normal and finding the game boring, take heart - Nightmare and Hell is a lot more interesting. It's not that the monster hp and damage is stepped up - it's actually the complexity of the game that starts to ramp up. Which is a good thing - I was considering quitting the game after the story was over in Normal, but I started Nightmare and it totally sucked me in.

Going from Normal - Nightmare - Hell seems to be like this.

Normal - just jump in and start killing enemies without much thought. This is the StoryMode, where you wade through hordes of enemies and push through the storyline. Blizzard intends that 100% of players will be able to complete this mode regardless of player skill.

Nightmare - some magic / rare monster packs will actually kill you: you need to read the monster description and figure out a strategy before jumping in. Some combinations of monster abilities will be harder than others: also more debuffs are present in the game, giving the enemies unexpected synergies. Kill order will be important: for example, witches have an attack that reduces your armor by 50% - which can lead you to quickly getting destroyed if you're currently engaging a pack of demons with heavy physical damage. On the other hand, trying to kill witches first as a melee can be difficult if you don't have a stun or movement impairing ability, because they will turn and run and kite while the other witches + melee attackers shred you.

Skill selection also becomes more important: it's important to have a balanced toolset with at least one AOE and one Single Target damage skill, and the rest should be utility - enough mobility to escape bad situations, enough defense to survive burst damage, etc. Gear starts to become important: you will need to spend some time thinking about what stats you need to get on your armor.

Basically I've found the game "proper" starts here.

Hell mode: Something like the jump from Normal to Nightmare : not only do monsters have more hp and hit harder, but their complexity goes up as well.
posted by xdvesper at 5:04 PM on May 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Normal is a little too easy. I guess based on their playerbase analysis of D2 it's understandable (apparently a lot of people got stuck in act 3 normal), but still, you can basically ignore EVERYTHING in terms of game mechanics and breeze through normal, and all of a sudden the first elite pack in NM will push your shit in, and you realize all of a sudden you need to have a build.

I've killed Hell Diablo on my monk, which is really a pleasure to play, but unfortunately I'm still level 59 so can't start Act 1 Inferno yet. I'm not sure what the logic on forcing caps on difficulty was, it's the only part of the game I've found to be a chore. Typically one or two of my party is slightly underleveled and can't move on with us, so we have to grind act 3 ten times over. Who thought that was a good idea?
posted by mek at 6:58 PM on May 20, 2012


Just starting Nightmare I died for the first time since Belial when I ran into a rare monster that cast some kind of laser beam turnstiles of death and I didn't react quick enough.
posted by the_artificer at 9:35 PM on May 20, 2012


Oh my god the laser beam turnstiles of death. There are definitely a bunch of new champion attacks on Nightmare to look out for - the fire chains, for example, are not too bad when you know they're coming but I got fatally clotheslined the first time they showed up.
posted by restless_nomad at 10:20 PM on May 20, 2012


So I've been wondering, why are none of the 'Dead Villager's women? Is it an ESRB thing, sexism or am I to assume that then men are killed and the women are eaten leaving the 'Pile of Bones'?
posted by the_artificer at 1:53 PM on May 23, 2012


I figure the women are smart enough to stay in town and not get killed by demons.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:06 PM on May 23, 2012


And why are they all villagers? No members of autonomous collectives, no tourists, only one crazed hermit and he's not even dead when you meet him...
posted by cortex at 2:12 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are some adventurers, which seems apt.
posted by restless_nomad at 3:14 PM on May 23, 2012


Decided to chime in on the game here.

Alright, so I played a lot of Diablo 2 from ages ~13 to ~19 (and maybe once every two years I'd run through a mod or regular run of the game just for ol' time's sake). I don't know if it's because I'm older, or what, but I loved this game at first, it hit every note right, and then at around level 55 I had a moment of 'why am I doing this?' I gave all of my items to a friend, quit, and haven't really felt compelled to go back.

There are some things that I like. Combat is fun this time around. I played a monk and was able to teleport all over the battle field, healing, buffing, dealing AoE, and debuffing enemies. It was fluid and visceral, and I loved being able to tinker with my build. That part is great. I have to say that the engine and art are both beautiful, and aside from the reported hacking and understandably shaky launch, I don't mind the DRM.

The main problem comes from two areas: the quest structure and the loot.

The quest structure is boring. I didn't mind the story the first time, but I've come to hate it after seeing it once in Nightmare, once in Normal, and about a third in Hell. D2's sucked too, but it was easier to ignore (might be rose colored glasses in effect here). The maps are all pretty boring, the side quests that are cool can be counted on one hand, and are too rare. Killing a boss for the first time in a difficulty feels like a necessary and unrewarding chore, and ironically most packs of monsters are far more difficult than any act boss. Really, the whole formalized game part (quests, npcs, level progression) feels like something I'm just going through the motions on to reach a certain number where the game says, 'alright, you've put in enough time, here are your rewards'. It's boring, and as I began to find myself hitting more and more resistance in Hell, instead of feeling invigorated by the challenge I felt a dull sense of dread that I had this same boring slog to go through in the rest of the difficulty, and then for any other character I'd play in the future. This isn't helped by my other major area of dissatisfaction...

The items are poorly implemented. I can appreciate why they moved away from certain high-end legendary items, but legendaries in this game are a joke. Apart from a few godlike items that were included seemingly solely in the name of fan service, multi-stat rares seem to be where it's at. Since stats play such a vital role in survivability, each upgrade is just boring calculus about 'is X more DEX at the expense of -Y less VIT worth it?' My play process went from finding interesting loot and equipping it to running a really cynical metagame of evaluating how much I could flip something for on the AH and then trying to find deals for +X of stat1 and +Y of stat2 for a good price. I can't imagine real money will make this any better. I actually even found plans for a shitty legendary item that people were inexplicably paying way too much for on a regular basis, and it felt like I'd just put in a cheat code. I examined the probable course that would take: hours and hours crafting fake junk to sell to chumps so I could buy fake junk for myself and do the bland calculus of hitting all of my breakpoints to be more competitive in hell.

It felt like the AH was the real game, and everything else was just a monotonous chore that gave you access to it. I had no connection to my character, since any customization I did to him had no meaning and could be quickly reversed by respeccing, and quickly optimized by putting in enough hours of clicking to earn enough gold to maximize my stats with loot I bought. Maybe high-end play solves this, but I don't care to find out. Even playing with my friends just felt like a slightly augmented version of SP, since it seems that every character can do every thing up through hell.

I guess the best and worst thing you could say for the game is that it's a perfected version of Diablo 2, but I've realized that I don't want to play Diablo 2 any more since I'm a different person than I was ten years ago, and I'm looking for something more from my games. Disappointing overall, but I can see how someone would like it - especially if they enjoy the AH metagame.
posted by codacorolla at 3:24 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


The quest structure is boring. I didn't mind the story the first time, but I've come to hate it after seeing it once in Nightmare, once in Normal, and about a third in Hell. D2's sucked too, but it was easier to ignore (might be rose colored glasses in effect here).

I've gotten all the way to Diablo, and I still have no fucking idea what the story is. I've skipped over every bit of dialogue and ever cut scene. What I've seen of the writing is just awful, though.
posted by empath at 4:03 PM on May 23, 2012


Sounds like three of the worst ideas from World of Warcraft (and why I've never been able to get into EVE for more than a month at a time).
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 4:15 PM on May 23, 2012


Beat Diablo on hardcore. Yay, me.
posted by Justinian at 6:31 PM on May 23, 2012


Why is Diablo III still a work in progress?
If you were one of the 6.5 million purchasers that made Diablo III the fastest-selling PC game of all time last week, you should know that Blizzard now admits the game you were playing was broken in some significant ways. I don't just mean broken in ways that prevent you from playing the game (though the company is still fixing many server and programming issues that continue to cause connection problems), but broken in ways that made certain character skills unintentionally powerful.

Blizzard has now posted a list of hotfixes that were applied to the game yesterday, and aside from a few obvious usability bugs, all of them significantly scale back the power of certain key class abilities. Basically, if you were using any of these abilities before the patch, you were unintentionally taking advantage of skills that made the game much easier than Blizzard apparently intended.
posted by Malor at 7:10 PM on May 23, 2012


That is one of the dumbest video games articles I've ever read. Multiplayer games get balance patches constantly. There's absolutely no way to balance a game properly until it's out of beta and millions of people are playing it competitively. SC 2 has been out for two years now, and it just had a new balance patch a couple of weeks ago.
posted by empath at 8:07 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


Apart from a few godlike items that were included seemingly solely in the name of fan service, multi-stat rares seem to be where it's at.

Yeah, this is sadly to be expected; Diablo 2 worked exactly the same way at release. It wasn't until the expansion that uniques became worthwhile, the sets were never worthwhile, and runewords didn't rise to prominence until the 1.08 patch.

The remarkable thing is that the current itemization team knows nothing of their own history, apparently.

The TL;DR of the hotfixes is: every class that had some trick which allowed them to survive in late Inferno had it taken away last night.
posted by mek at 9:06 PM on May 23, 2012


It's really shitty because I can see this being a good game in like... 6 months if they patch it correctly, but I think I'm also sort of relieved, because I just don't have time for a Diablo any more, I've come to realize. I'm taking advantage of the 30 day refund in the TOS and probably never coming back to a Blizzard game.
posted by codacorolla at 9:10 PM on May 23, 2012


The game is still plenty entertaining to play to 60, in my opinion. No amount of patching will improve the story.
posted by mek at 9:12 PM on May 23, 2012


And this is good for a laugh: the metafilter post from the release of Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction.
posted by mek at 10:26 PM on May 23, 2012 [1 favorite]


I haven't played in a couple of days, but when I stopped two days ago, I'd just killed Belial but hadn't moved on to the next act, yet. I'm playing a wizard.

I'm finding the game way too easy on Normal and because of it, it's boring me. It's not that I've never died — I've died probably about ten times, total. I had some trouble with The Butcher until I adjusted my gear. Belial was easier; I died once and then figured out what I needed to do. Otherwise, I've mostly died when I guess I wasn't paying close enough attention and the monster stats went up and the particular type were those I was more vulnerable to. So I'd die a couple of times and then that would be that.

So there's pretty much no suspense at all.

And how come the non-magical loot is so worthless? I guess that's a good thing, mostly, as carrying around a bunch of crap is a pain in the ass, anyway. But even the magical gear isn't very valuable, really, and I'm usually getting drops of gold for clusters of monsters that are worth more than the gear. And then, well, I have ended up going to the auction house and, basically, without any attempt at playing with making money at the AH whatsoever (I've sold one item) I can easily collected enough gold across three levels of advancement, or so, to buy a rare item that seems to make me relatively overpowered for the mobs I'm fighting at that stage of the game. I've got a wand that has a much higher dps than any of my spells, so I keep that on my primary and I've traded it in for a better one twice and bought perfect or better gems to socket it. This is undoubtedly part of why the game seems too easy to me.

The thing that really bugs me — and I know that the old games worked this way — is not being able to increase my difficulty level from the get-go. I, too, find the story not-very-entertaining (though I don't hate it) and I'm dreading the idea of playing through the game again, having been all these places once already. I'd like the game to be much more difficult for me now, when it's still new to me. Because I think my chances of completing it on Normal are dropping below 75%. I don't even want to play it with another class and repeat it. That's more than half of why I'm not playing with the monk I started when I was eligible for hardcore mode.

If codacorolla thinks he's sort of old and that's affecting his enjoyment, I have to wonder what that says about me, considering I was playing Diablo II when I was in my thirties and he was a teenager. I didn't have this problem with Diablo I and II...I enjoyed the mindless hack-and-slash of it. But now this annoys me. When I've played it this last week, I found that I'd start it up and actually feel annoyed when I did. Once I started, I'd keep playing for hours, on that advancement hamster-wheel, but when I stopped...just for a break...I usually would stop for the day because, once stopped, I didn't want to start again. Because I was as much annoyed as I'd had any fun. Maybe more annoyed than fun.

I can sense that I could be enjoying the game if it were just not that much changed. If it were more difficult, that would be the biggest thing. I feel pretty sure that if I could just start at a greater difficulty level now, I'd be enjoying it much more. But I can't. And the gameplay seems too limited. Hell, in this day and age, I don't understand why the spoken banter dialog repeats every five minutes. The environments are too similar. This seems like the game they'd have made in 2004, making it prettier, mostly, and adding the auction house, but otherwise not doing much else that more storage, more processing power, more memory, and being online and online updates have made possible in this era. The game could have so much more depth than it has.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:37 AM on May 24, 2012


I just processed my refund over the phone, after holding for about 45 minutes. Not feeling even the slightest pang of regret, and very happy that I made the decision instead of trying waste even more time in an effort to have fun with the game. I'd recommend it to anyone who's disappointed with the game and wants to send Blizzard a message.
posted by codacorolla at 11:55 AM on May 24, 2012


That is one of the dumbest video games articles I've ever read. Multiplayer games get balance patches constantly. There's absolutely no way to balance a game properly until it's out of beta and millions of people are playing it competitively.

This isn't necessarily true, but it is for the kind of games that Diablo and StarCraft are, which are high on number of special abilities, at least if they don't want to be completely sterile.
posted by JHarris at 12:01 PM on May 24, 2012


You played the game through twice and then returned it? I'm surprised that's even doable in this day and age.
posted by Shutter at 12:05 PM on May 24, 2012


Blizzard has a 30 day refund policy in their TOS.
posted by codacorolla at 12:18 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've been through it twice on normal (and am about halfway through Act I on nightmare) and I feel like I got good value for the "pay for a year of WoW, get D3 free" deal. I'll probably play it a little more - maybe try a Demon Hunter just to see what ranged combat is like - but I've gotten some 40 hours of play out of it and that's just fine by me. I think people who sunk years into the earlier Diablos are coming at this with kind of ridiculous expectations, because Diablo 2 was kind of the perfect game at the perfect time for a lot of people.

I'm curious to see what the reception is for Torchlight 2, actually. I played a little Torchlight - it was about the only "real" game my netbook would play - and it was fun in pretty much the same mold, but the pacing felt really draggy, the story was laughable, and it got super repetitive way too fast. At least in D3 I was interested, more or less, all the way through. (The demon areas of Act 3 bored the shit out of me - something about dark, repetitive environments where the monsters are the same palette as the background drags really fast for me.)

The writing is... amusing. It's terrible in a upper-middling range on the video game scale, in my experience. The whole cosmology is trite at best, but they're kind of stuck with it. The companion side-stories were the best part by far, especially since I listened to them as they became available. The tidbit every few quests style kept them fresh and interesting. It's a pity they have no actual game relevance - I totally wanted to take off at some point in Act II and go visit the Templars.

The one thing I haven't done at all, and plan to try just so I can say I gave the game a fair shake, is the multiplayer. That's got the potential of making things either unbearably irritating, much more awesome, or, most likely, both.
posted by restless_nomad at 12:44 PM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


The one thing I haven't done at all, and plan to try just so I can say I gave the game a fair shake, is the multiplayer. That's got the potential of making things either unbearably irritating, much more awesome, or, most likely, both.

I've enjoyed co-op more than solo (but then I think it's partly that I'm not big on kiting and my solo character is a Demon Hunter), but I've been playing in the same room with my wife, so there's no Random Internet Dong issues getting in the way. All in all I think co-op is the more interesting proposition; there's a bigger chance for ability synergy and tactical cooperation there than soloing around with a follower.

And the streamlining of loot stuff so that you can no longer be screwed by random duders on the internet who snipe loot and don't share does take some of the potential annoyance out of public games, I'd guess, though I do miss a little bit the sense of share loot experiences from playing D2 with trusted friends.
posted by cortex at 1:15 PM on May 24, 2012


How do you get a refund? I want a refund.
posted by empath at 1:19 PM on May 24, 2012


Are you seeing inexplicable bouts of slowdown in Diablo 3 despite having hardware that comfortably beats the recommended specs? I may have an answer. Courtesy of GameFAQs: go into your video card's advanced settings, set vertical synch as high as it will go, and, if you have a Radeon, turn on trilinear buffering. In the D3 settings, switch on VSync if it's off. I have no idea why this works, but it took me from constant slowdown to none at all.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:17 PM on May 24, 2012


How do you get a refund? I want a refund.

You call their support number, talk to billing services, confirm your account identity, and say 'I want a refund'.
posted by codacorolla at 6:33 PM on May 24, 2012


After not having received any advice from their support about what seemed like a perfectly reasonable question -- how to play the game without trying to find loopholes in their DRM and Korea-firewalling regional protections and therefore having to worry about the game being entirely taken away from me, single player and all -- I closed the Battle.net account I'd created to buy this game and left them a regrettably scathing comment which I'm sure will never get read.

But even though I feel some yearning when people talk about having fun in the game or I see a particularly impressive video clip or screenshot, based on what people are saying here (and less so at MefightClub, because we do tend a bit more to accentuate the positive, mostly), I feel kind of glad I did.

I think the message needs to be sent to Blizzard and the industry as a whole that the path of single-player connection-required DRM is the wrong one. Although, given the fact that they're crowing that this game is the fastest-selling ever, I suspect that message might not get through.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:46 PM on May 24, 2012


Stav, I haven't checked over on MefightClub (sorry that I'm an erstwhile visitor/member), but are a lot of people there playing it? I wonder if I'd have more fun playing D3 coop.

Not that I'm going to have time in the next week — I've been packing to move to another state the last nine days, I'm going to my cousin's HS graduation and then will be actually moving next week. Probably won't have my PC up and running until the end of next week. Still.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:48 PM on May 24, 2012


Yeah, the release thread is up to about 800 comments, so there's a fair bit of fun. And hell, any MefightClub thread that has cortex and coldchef in it (if not me, other than whining and complaining) has got to be a good one! Come on over; I think people will be playing and talking and theorycafting for a good long while.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:07 PM on May 24, 2012


I've hit Level 60 with my Barbarian, although I still have yet to finish Act II Hell. Part of this stems directly from the obsessive-compulsive aspects of my playstyle (I'm more likely to withdraw, farm gold elsewhere, and look for equipment upgrades rather than modify my tactics and try again when I encounter a difficult mob), but I suspect a greater portion of the difficulty stems from how my specific criteria for equipment (max Pickup Radius and high Gold Find) limit the acquisition of stat-enhancing items.

Speaking of, by the way, my Pickup Radius is now maxed at +56, and Gold Find is +221%. I was surprised and pleased to discover that the Nephalem Valor bonus increases Gold Find as well, so provided I'm clearing areas at a moderate rate (and it is seriously difficult to go thirty minutes between champ/unique fights) my effective bonus to Gold Find is +296%. Since players are more likely to keep Inferno-level gear than to trade it into the Auction House, the supply is constrained, and prices reflect that; I find that one farming run of Act I Hell generally gives me only enough gold for one or two upgraded equipment purchases.

I found my first unique legendary item today, with only the +75% bonus of the Nephalem Valor: the Erlang Shen Monk Spirit Stone.
posted by The Confessor at 12:23 PM on May 26, 2012


It is a black day. My hardcore wizard has died most valiantly.
posted by Justinian at 1:16 PM on May 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can't say much for D3, but 1 and 2 turned me off with that relentlessly grim storyline. Makes me want to wash out my brain with PONY.

Pony?
posted by homunculus at 12:53 AM on June 3, 2012


I'm CaseusVelox#1469 on Battle.net. Definitely enjoying the game an immense amount so far.
posted by caseusvelox at 12:11 PM on June 3, 2012


In Korea, People Are So Pissed about Diablo III Server Woes, They Might Sue Blizzard
posted by homunculus at 11:19 PM on June 13, 2012


This is What a Level 60 Hardcore Character Death Looks Like in Diablo 3
posted by homunculus at 12:19 PM on June 14, 2012


That would be tough. I'd have to walk away from video games for a while after that.
posted by the_artificer at 12:40 PM on June 14, 2012


I don't even want to watch that video. I lost my level 29 monk over the weekend and that was enough of a gutpunch. Should've brought some crowd control to Act IV...
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:43 PM on June 14, 2012


For your lulz, another Hardcore level 60 death. The inset videos of the gamers really make these videos awesome; she's on voice chat, too, so you can hear her anguish.

I'm loving Hardcore. My monk is level 44 now and I'm working up the courage to hit Belial in Nightmare.
posted by Nelson at 12:58 PM on June 14, 2012


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