This early feedback on Diablo 3 what is great and what is not so good. One thing really concern me is the replay value (stickiness factor) of Diablo 3. So I ask this simple question after u have finished Diablo 3 inferno mode to do? I really hope that Blizzard will read this feedback and use it for something positive!
It seems like D3 team have been focused on cool features, and how we could improve the game, but they forgot the key elements of replay value in Diablo.
Storyline & Graphics/Sounds:
Lets start with some background story, first of all the game lore, cinematic, environment, graphics, sounds effects really live up to the hype and get all 10/10 score. This part was perfectly executed, but we all know that a game cannot only sustain from graphics and sound only. Gameplay matters.
Graphics & Sound Score: 10 / 10
Launch & Preparation
Despite a very good marketing strategy with the heroes rise campaign and the videos, Diablo 3 faced some launch issues, with lots errors such as the famous error 37, isn’t something the community have been happy about, but its pretty common when millions of people are trying to login and hammering down the servers. This is not a big concern, and it something Blizzard sure will get fixed soon. We are talking about long term replay value of Diablo 3. Also I wanted to state that D2 launch was also not without issues there was lots of issues the first month with the game until patch 1.02. Also there has been issues with items, character and auctions disapering, is something that is very critical, and is probaply the reason why RMAH is delayed.
Launch Score: 8 / 10
Replay Value of Diablo 3
General speaking Diablo 2 managed to get 10 years of reply value – how come?
Here is the key of D2 success: its fast kills, fast item farming, fast item upgrades.
Replay Value: Game must be simple, easy, fast and fun.
Here I will try to clarify some key values of D2 that maybe D3 missed out.
General Item Farming & Core Gameplay Strategy
General speaking Diablo games is all about look and gear, and a cool way to get gear is farm, it seems that this core element of Diablo has changed in D3, so you are no longer needed to farm item, even after inferno. This is a conflict to core element of Diablo games. Diablo should always be about random loot, item farming, customization and upgrades. But it seems that some of key elements of diablo, has been changed or missed in Diablo 3. We want the core value of diablo back – easy, simple item farming.
Boss Farming & MF Gear Farming
Also it seems killing bosses is totally waste of time they only drop blues, its very bad design move, because you don’t want to farm bosses, but whats the reason to have bosses then? It what you want to feel uber-ness when you killed a boss and get that legendary axe! Also in current state Magic find seems to have a minor role in the game, and with you can get the best gear from AH there is no need to farm items.
Fix: Bosses need to start dropping legendary loot if you want to bring back item farming, also increase the value of MF to get players back in game so item farming gets a value and it will enchant the replay value of Diablo 3.
This is something I have thinking about whats the point of doing inferno runs ? if first you get get insta killed, it takes way to long to kill the mobs and the drops are crap. This should be fun, easy and give you uber loot, not almost impossible, trivial and boring.
Fix: makes drops much better in inferno over all including bosses, inferno should be cleared fast.
Runes / Gems & Item Customization
in D2 runes gave very much replay value to the game, because hunting down for the best rune could take ages, and it was really cool element to customize / upgrade the item of your wish. There is simply no item customization currently in Diablo 3, and it simply kills replay value. While we know Blizzard played with the mystic in the beta, it’s something like this we want, we want to enchant our items and make them more epic!
Fix: bring back runes or something item customization system.
Why was the D2 ladder so important, well it created the competition for the race to lvl 99. Also it made you feel uber when u could see your self on the leader-board, which gave you motivation to come back to level further. This little cosmetic feature ads quite alot to replay value. This is something Blizzard should consider to implement for D3. It been in almost all Blizzard games, starcraft, warcraft 3, diablo 2.
Auction House vs D2 item farming
While auction house is a cool feature, it has also a flip-side of the medal, as I can actually get my best uber gear via auction house and there is no reason to farm items any longer in D3 as it was in Diablo 2. You can sell your items on AH, get gold and gets upgrades via auction house, this is a killer for the main concept of Diablo, item farming. This feature kills alot of replay value, now its all about buying and selling gear on AH vs the traditional item farming. Item farming is useless currently because it take way to long time to find equal gear.
Skills / Builds / Stats
In D2 there was stats, and we know that you can customize your stats in D3 via items, but there is no penalty which means you cannot screw up your character as in D3, and you only need to have 1 character of each class ever. This a big loss to the replay value.
Also skills in D2, they was fixed, so you had to go for a build, where you could screw up, and in terms of replay value that is a very good reason to get you to reroll. There is absolutely no reason to reroll in Diablo 3.
Social Aspect / Chat Channels / Trading In-game
This is another aspect that lacks in Diablo 3, the social part, while battle.net tag is a cool feature to find your friends, but what about keeping the communication alive? it seems that Blizzard had made exactly the same mistake here as in starcraft 2, which became a ghost-town with no chat channel etc and voice communication. Also with no in-game trading in D3 can kill much social aspect.
Replay Value Score: 6 / 10
In general D2 had 5-6 elements that gave replay value which gave the game so long life cycles. While I cannot forecast exactly D3 life cycles, I can point out some issues with D3, and the only stickiness factor currently in D3 is Auction house, harcore and upcoming PvP patch. In the currently design of Diablo 3 there is no reason to farm after you have beaten D3 as u can get it all from auction house.
What really to do afterwards? Also Blizzard is facing a new age of gamers, they require more today and want stuff to work, this is how the new age of gaming works. Players don’t want to waste time on crap, they want quickly jump in and have fun
This has really been concerning me last couple of days. Don’t get me wrong here, many top games has faced this issue with replay value, and speaking here with 15 years experience with gaming I hope Blizzard will listen to the feedback.
Total Score: 8 / 10
Blizzard: We want the fun item farming, epic-ness, replay value back in Diablo 3.
Thank you for reading!