Discussion: Diablo 3

A long time ago, in a land just before Diablo 3 had yet been released, the constituents of the mighty Bloglomerate convened to discuss the long-anticipated title. Here follows the conversations that took place as we trekked through the creative wasteland of Diablo the Third.

Cranberry Thunderfunk

A rather lengthy interview with the design lead on D3.

Not to be a negative nancy, but this guy sounds intensely average. One line stuck out to me in particular, mainly because Rex mentioned how it seemed like Blizzard had abandoned the “it’s done when it’s done” philosophy:

“The thing I always try to explain to people about the “it’s done when it’s done” thing is the reason we don’t announce dates is not because there isn’t one. The reason we don’t announce dates is because we often don’t know, until we’re fairly close to the date, whether or not we can hit it or not. So to the team, we say “this is the date,” and the team shoots for that date, and they do their best to hit it. And then that quality is not something you can always put a date on.”

Am I just being snobby when I read that as being “we’re not actually different from other deadline-based game developers, we just pretend to be”?

Cannonball Titcomb

I’ve stopped thinking of Blizzard as anything more than a game company that happens to have hired good people. Whatever “we’re unique and admirable because we think about more than just profit!” schtick they might have had is pretty much laughable, kind of like Google’s (not that I think that sentiment is necessarily laudable in the first place). However, I was pretty amused by this quote:

“For us, good design has a lot of depth and is very approachable. That’s always our first priority. And the problem that you run into is we attract a very hardcore audience, and hardcore audiences don’t like things to be approachable. They like their hardcore game. They like their elitism. And that’s just not what Blizzard’s ever been about.”

When WoW came out, its endgame was 40-man raids in a lockstep progression with lengthy attunement chains. Tigole, who was lead designer until a few years ago, was a hardcore Everquest raider and constantly harped on the need for exclusive hardcore content. He was unabashedly elitist about it, and his name was the buzzword for WoW’s shitty endgame for a long time. Eventually they released stats on some of the raids and I think they concluded that something like 3% of the playerbase had been inside Sunwell or the original Naxxramas. In other words what the guy said is completely laughable. Of course, now the pendulum has swung way in the other direction–they moved to 25-man raids pretty quickly, and they have a system now where you can insta-queue for raids just like for 5-mans, along with trivializing the content difficulty-wise (from what I’ve heard). But historically, WoW was as casual-unfriendly when it came to endgame as anything else out there.

Cranberry Thunderfunk

You know, I was about to come here and write about how much fun I’ve been having and how impressed I am with the changes they made since when I played the beta.

And then I discovered the servers are down. Which, thanks to their moronic model of requiring you to be online to play, means I can’t play.

Fuck that noise, man.

Finnagus McLauditron

I will agree and am currently thoroughly disappointed with my post-final impulse buy. Though it did download fast. Maybe run the game from those download servers L. O. L.

Lawyersaurus Rex


Honestly aggravating. But I guess they need to push it all server-side since they have that money pit- whoops sorry I meant money pit- LOL I said it again… auction house that would get screwed up if players figured out how to hack the client-side files. And think of the bright side: at least all of your achievements are guaranteed to get saved – SHIT!

Cranberry Thunderfunk

To be fair, though, it’s been pretty damn fun so far. Blizzard might have fully succumbed to Activision’s bullshit, but the gameplay living up pretty well.

Finnagus McLauditron

This got long. BOTTOM LINE:

  • Single player GOOD
  • Two player GREAT
  • Three player BAD
  • Cross-level partying BAD
  • Witch Doctor frogs LOUD AND OBNOXIOUS
  • Monk Warp-Punch GREAT AND GLITCHY
  • Wow-esque cutscenes WEIRD

So I have a huge list of things to say after…. jesus after 5 hours. Wow fuck there goes my morning.

Since I thought we might want to roll new chars together (which I now KNOW we need to), I went with Monk because it was second on my list, and yeah holy shit was it fun. I’m a little concerned about the stability of the game, as I kept noticing things that must have been bugs, but most of them revolved around the “teleport on autoattack” rune that lets me click pretty much anybody and immediately warp-punch them so I can’t really complain. Cranberry, I hope you’re playing this class because it is fucking. Awesome.

As for multiplayer, I’m a little… not excited and borderline concerned. I just finished a longish session of running with one other person who happened to be at exactly the same quest point as I was, and I gotta say it was great. Every fight felt like we were making active use of our CC powers to keep each other safe (my immobilizes and his witchdoctor slows), and though we never seemed to get that hurt in fights (usually hovered in the 40%-80% range), every time we got separated one of us would just get instagibbed. More than anything else I got the impression this was because of the health orb mechanic and the fact that when you’re together orbs are just constantly being picked up and shared, but once you’re alone there are fewer and you can’t run around to grab them as freely. Not the most intuitive/expected means of balancing party stuff, but it does seem to work and feels good. Mechanics of quest sharing worked great in this case, but I hear if you join somebody whose game is ahead of yours you just get skipped through the story to the host’s point, so we’ll have to watch out for that. As I understand each player is on their own quest chain and has to turn in things on their own, but any quests your host has that you have yet to complete get shared automatically. Also the shared dialogue worked out pretty well, though some of the voice acting is a little off. Deckard sounds like a mouse elder from a Disney movie.

My main concern though was when we tried adding a third player. Granted, this 3rd wheel was 10 levels ahead of us, also known as “twice our level”. I have no idea what monster tweaks were behind his joining though because we pretty much all became completely immortal instantly. I would understand if he was immortal because he was 2 acts earlier than his current point in the story. I could understand if we were as strong as were were before and he was dealing with scaled up enemies and would be in the same situation. I could understand if all enemies got harder for us and we had to stay near him to survive. But instead all three of us totally kicked way more ass than we were used to. We pretty much immediately split up because 1) there was zero pressure to stay together and 2) we had two witch doctors and I had just gotten Exploding Palm so every fight was a complete and total blood-mist orgy of zombie dogs and flying entrails. I forgot to mention: all animations rock. But I was soloing mobs that would have torn me apart with any fewer players, as was the other low-level guy.

So yeah. Two players? Fuckin great. 3? Fuckin boring. Not the good kind of immortal, sadly. I’m really really hoping that this was some screwy artifact of his being overlevel, but I just can’t figure out why I was better at solo roaming than I had been both playing alone and with one other. Not to mention that difficulty issues aside, it was a complete clusterfuck on screen. I’m genuinely considering doubling up a different class over playing witch doctor just because their goddamn cast animations are too goddamn crazy. And holy fucking god frogs. If I witch doctor you guys will know what I mean. But holy fucking god frogs. Anyway this stuff makes me a little cautious of doing a full 4 man team, though we obviously should still try it. I also really don’t know how cross-level partying will feel, which given there are 5 of us anyway might factor in; I really wish there was some sort of structured dungeon generator that didn’t worry about quests and what not…

Still agree it was pretty damn fun alone and with two, but one last thing. Okay, it’s the my-wife-is-gonna-turn-and-I-gotta-kill-her routine, I guess it has to be in there somewhere…. again. But man, the script was pretty decent until she literally exploded. As in 40+% of my screen was her blood mist and it made the usual satisfying you killed a blue-named monster sound and then the loot-flippy noise as her entrails gushed into gold and a sweet new shield and a bunch of vendor trash. And her husband just said “Man that was tough on my war-torn psyche thanks for helping me beat my wife till she burst and feel free to take her clothes that are EVERYWHERE”. Really detracted from any sort of moment they wanted to have happen there. She was also carrying three grey sets of gloves. Three.

Finnagus McLauditron

I literally can’t believe this is something that needs to be toggled, but in case anybody didn’t know (the game certainly doesn’t tell you): Options: Game: Enable Elective Mode. Then you can put skills that default to a given slot on any key, letting you have say one right click attack on right click and another right click ability on 1. If say, you want to have both the monk’s unit walking right click power and the monk’s aoe damage/push, because why would anybody not want that.

Lawyersaurus Rex

That’s what I was griping about a few weeks ago. But honestly it’s pretty clear why it’s like that:

Marketing: “It’s too easy for people to make bad builds. Some people are taking 6 spirit builders on their Monks and nothing else… what if we group similar skills and made it so the player could only choose one from each group?”

Development: “Well the skills aren’t really balanced around that and it’s too late to make that kind of change. And you know that’s an actual build if you take Combination Strike…”

Marketing: “We’re pushing to make this game accessible. Isn’t there anything we can do?”

Development: “Well we could put them in groups but then… I don’t know… make them optional… or something…”

Marketing: “Great! Do that.”

Development: “I mean I was mostly just thinking out loud… I don’t really think that’s a good idea.”

Cranberry Thunderfunk

Finnagus, re: monk – I played 3 classes in the beta (before they made the elective mode change, it was like 4-5 months ago) – monk first, then demon hunter, then wizard. I pumped my monk up to 14 by doing the beta content 3 times, and IMHO it was the most fun. The animations are so fucking good, you feel like a god punching the shit out of everything.

I went with demon hunter for my solo, however, because I want to destroy everything. I want that goddamn destruction combo in every room I step into, and rapid fire is far and away the most effect tool for that. I figured I should get my OCD tendencies taken care of before I play with people, because god knows you’re not going to want to wait for me to destroy every chair, table, and statue in sight.

I haven’t played with anyone yet, but I’m enjoying the SP experience quite a bit. The story blows ass, though. I really liked what I saw in the beta (it goes up to killing Leoric), but then the witchbitch shows up and casts Level 5 Cliche and crits. The story has become one long iteration of collection quests. Collect sword pieces. Wait, no, collect orbs to collect sword pieces. Oh, but the witchbitch took the sword pieces and now you have to find the angelmeteorguy, which you just did 2 hours prior.

Cranberry Thunderfunk

So, we’ve got a bit of a problem.

  1. This game is super easy/boring on normal difficulty.
  2. You can’t unlock nightmare without beating the game, also nightmare is character-specific.
  3. Playing as a group is slower than playing alone, and not really more fun because there’s no challenge.

We tried circumventing this last night by having J-man Sweetsticks and Cannonball Titcomb in my group when I beat the game (it took about 20 minutes for me to kill Diablo). Although they got the achievement, their characters can’t play nightmare. Apparently you have to be level 25 anyways.

I recommend burning through the game on normal as fast as possible.

Lawyersaurus Rex

You beat the game already? Jesus. How long is the campaign?

When you think about it… that’s it. We’re going to level up and get better gear so we can run through that campaign over and over. Not trying to be pessimistic, but do you think that will be fun, Cranberry? I’m still in Act I so I don’t know, but you seemed pretty unimpressed with the campaign last night.

I mean, Diablo II got boring halfway through the second playthrough if I recall correctly. If Diablo III is short enough to beat in three days…

Oh well, guess we can always entertain ourselves with some PvP- SHIT!

Finnagus McLauditron

ALRIGHT MORALE BOOST TIME So I spend a while talking to/watching Alec play Nightmare mode (not to be confused with fighting Nightmarish foes LOL) and there is definitely a lot more customization/role stuff that happens then. Even on my level 20 monk that I was noticing there were distinct builds forming that either made me super tanky or super dpsy or super mobile/cc-ey or a healer, and in nightmare mode you pretty much need everyone to pick a path. That said, some of the classes (cough demon hunter cough) seemed to only have one or two paths available, but there still seemed to be a necessity to specialize.

BUT There was NOT a necessity to min/max too hard. Apparently the best way to make the game interesting is to roll with quirky builds, like tank wizards and healspec witch doctors and shit. In my solo game I’ve conciously stopped using certain skills that made the game waaaaaaay to easy (4hp healed for every spirit spent? wtf were they thinking that means every attack heals me for 30%) , so maybe we’ll just have to do that to keep things difficult. Apparently there is a lot of room and fun to be had mixing up the skills of 20+ heroes, so it’s a damn shame that there is no way to make a new hero at that level…. I guess it’ll all be about pulling people up by fighting devils with lvl 3 guys. This game really needs the equivalent of free lvl 80s.

Anyway I’m CAUTIOUSLY optimistic about nightmare multiplayer, and I’m still having a blast playing alone, so that’s something.

Cranberry Thunderfunk

Regarding the fun: My complaints about the campaign are not about the gameplay. As trivial as normal mode was, I was having a blast pooping caltrops as I tumble everywhere and getting kill bonuses over and over. My beef with the campaign is the shitty story, bad dialogue, and piss-poor writing. I, for one, was kind of excited when I thought there was going to be some innovative storytelling or immersion to go along with the traditional H&S gameplay. My frustration is mostly born out of failed expectations. Any other qualms can mostly be filed under “it’s too easy”. Nightmare mode does not appear to have that problem, from the half-hour I spent with it last night. I am no longer one-shotting everything.

My Demon Hunter is level 33. I had ~25 hours logged at the time of beating the final boss, but eliminating AFK time it’s probably a 20 hour campaign on the first run (this is also based on looking at other people’s playtimes). Doing it with eXtreme efficiency you could likely complete the entire thing in 11-14 hours. That’s skipping all the dialogue and cutscenes (don’t skip the end of Act I cutscene though, that one’s badass) and only doing optional dungeons/quests if they fall in your path (as opposed to exploring to find them).

I have a level 13 Barbarian most of the way through Act 1, intended to join the leveling party tonight. At this point I think duplicates are inevitable; we all have different groups of people we might want to play with, and then there’s solo characters. Finnagus is right that there’s a fair number of builds that can be done (at least for barbarian and DH) – we can improvise. Also, with armor dyes we can make sure we look different from one another. Dibs on pink.

One more thing to add: something funky is going on in the group XP formulas. Cannonball’s level 8 character was gaining experience at the same rate as my DH in Act 4, clearly indicating there’s some scaling going on. This wasn’t happening when I was playing my level 3 Monk with Rex, though; killing Leoric gave me almost 2 full levels in one shot. There’s a threshold somewhere in there; maybe you have to be within a certain level of the appropriately-leveled character, or maybe it only unscales below level 10 – hard to say at this point. Figuring out how to powerlevel characters would definitely be in our interest, though.

Lawyersaurus Rex

So… Cranberry. I can’t help but suspect that your Rougeish habits drew you to itemize to be a glass cannon. You said you were downing bosses in seconds, whereas both Finnagus and I seemed to be defeating them in minutes (separately). All the mobs in Act IV required about 4 hits to take down and took about 1/5 of my health if they got a hit on me. You said it was a 1-shot or insta-gib kind of deal for you.

My stats right before defeating (SPOILERS) Diablo:

  • 2.7k health
  • 750 armor (~35% mitigation)
  • Enough Int for +45 to resistances
  • 290 damage (temporarily increased to 500+ with Soul Harvest)

There was no noticeable jump between Act III and Act IV except that nothing could touch me in Act III (except for the Lickatungs–fuck em) and everything could at least get a hit off on me in Act IV. I was never instagibbed unless my single player game was lagging FUCK BLIZZARD.

Cranberry Thunderfunk

Haha. Yeah, it was definitely an issue of itemization. At level 30 I was:

  • 2k health
  • 28% mitigation
  • 11 to resistances
  • 450 dps, not including +15% to slowed units

I’ve regeared a bit since then, and I more than doubled my vitality and mitigation. As much as I hated the AH and all the problems it’s caused, I’ve actually found myself really enjoying the hunt for gear on it. I’ve also managed to sell everything I’ve put up there, usually within 10 minutes. To almost completely regear (7 pieces), it cost me less than 30k gold. I’ve been selling pieces for about 2k each – I just put any rares and high-stat blues up.

Cannonball Titcomb

I… Wow. Diablo was a ridiculously anticlimactic encounter. I wasn’t expecting to face him so soon after the start of act 4, so I didn’t do any spec or gear tweaks in preparation; I happened to have 2 fast one-handers equipped and my Bash stun proc rune, and was able to literally autoattack him to death since he was stunned 80-90% of the time. Unless they give bosses stun immunity at higher difficulty levels, I’m not sure how it could ever be a challenging fight. My final played time was 15:43, which includes 3-4 hours of not really progressing or leveling when playing with Rex the other night… definitely would liked to have seen a longer campaign. The acts seemed to get progressively shorter, as well.

Lawyersaurus Rex

If I had to pick a single part of the game that indicated to me that Blizzard didn’t properly invest in balancing their game, it would be:

  • Bash with Clobber: 35% chance to stun for 1.5 seconds
  • Bola Shot with Thunder Ball: 35% chance to stun for 1.5 seconds
  • Poison Dart with Snake to the Face: 30% chance to stun for 1.5 seconds

Combined with a white dagger with 1.50 attacks per second and the fact that bosses in any level of difficulty can be stunned and you can maintain a stun on a boss 54.7% of the time. Increase that to 2.50 attacks per second with gear or buffs and it’s 73.4% of the time. Get two people doing that and you will literally lock down any boss in the game.

I did a little research on the difficulties. Normal and Nightmare are easy, Hell is what Normal should have been, and Inferno is impossible for melee classes, as in Barbs and Monks need to either reroll or get Demon Hunters / Witch Doctors / Wizards to do the fighting for them.

No new enemies are introduced in the later difficulties as far as I can tell. Bosses don’t get more abilities or move faster. Things just take less and deal more damage. Champions get four modifiers which is pretty cool, but I’m a little worried about fighting a Frozen Arcane Vortex Jailer insect swam..

10 hour campaign… bad story… predetermined environments (only the caves, basements and castles are randomly generated)… I think it’s time to admit that…

may have had a point when he said
have significant flaws that
(while not entirely damning)
make you feel like there was
that you can’t help but feel bad about.

Five… uhh… seven… yeah I think that’s how you write a haiku.

The point isn’t that it’s a bad game or that I regret purchasing it or that hitting things doesn’t feel good or that I won’t enjoy playing it with you guys, just that it could have been the game we spend time on. I think the perfect comparison for Diablo III is Left 4 Dead, but I’ll leave for YOU to brain-think about.

Cannoball Titcomb

Well, games, particularly Blizzard games, aren’t designed, built, debugged, balanced, and then shipped when they’re “done”; they’re shipped when they’re in a stable and presentable place, and the expectation is that the process of balancing and adding content will continue throughout the life of the game. In addition to dual- or tri-spec–which is inevitable knowing Blizzard’s habits–I fully expect to see weapon speed normalized for proc purposes. I was actually astonished when I saw that the stuns really do proc at a set rate per swing currently.

Lawyersaurus Rex

Augh, I hate procs per minute but you may be right. I think just giving bosses stun resistance would be enough. Not like we’re laming white mobs by permastunning.

Oh, and the silliest thing I noticed on my second playthrough:

“We need the Black Soulstone so we can trap the seven Lords of Hell forever!”
Zoltan Kulie: “Ah, here’s the Black Soulst- oh hey look, it has five souls in it already.”

What the fuck is that?

Cannonball Titcomb

Hmm, what’s wrong with procs per minute? It’s pretty tough to design a proc effect that gets triggered often enough with a slow 1h weapon to feel oomphy, but isn’t overpowered when dual-wielding fast weapons. PPM seems like the way to go. They might give bosses CC resistance in addition, but I can’t imagine they’d let procs stand as they are in PvP (not so much stuns, which will have heavy DR, but burst damage).

Lawyersaurus Rex

Because % proc effects promote really unique builds. It’s this interesting turning point in damage calculations where lowering your damage a lot to increase your attack speed just a bit can eventually make the increased number of procs worth it. Procs-per-minute are just so stale and impossible to build around.

Games that feature proc effects should universally make faster weapons deal lower DPS. Slower weapons should deal greater DPS until proc effects are thrown into the mix, in which case the faster weapons should either have equivalent DPS or more utility (such as with bash effects). This is as opposed to relying on a procs-per-minute system to keep faster weapons in check.

But if you really want proc effects that are viable on fast and slow weapons, that’s what crits are! You just need proc effects that scale with damage. This is my preference because that means increasing your damage increases the proc’s effect, as opposed to a procs-per-minute system where increasing your weapon speed reduces the chance to proc.


  1. Attacking two times a second with a 35% chance to stun for 1 second on each hit.
  2. Attacking once every two seconds with a 35% chance to stun for 4 seconds on each hit.

Just imagine that hammer swing… BOOM – four second stun. (And both are equally broken!)

Cranberry Thunderfunk

I think Lawyersaurus Rex said it pretty well, but I’ll add my two cents.

I’ve never been a fan of normalization. It’s counter-intuitive and creates a disconnect between equipment and abilities. Good RPG design is all about forcing you to make trade-offs between competing incentives, and normalization just whitewashes the whole affair. It’s certainly hard to design procs that work well using a slow 1H, but that’s part of the cost of equipping like that. Presumably the off-hand will be providing something that makes up for it.

J-man Sweetsticks

Interesting. I can’t say I played Diablo 2 enough to know if this is true so maybe one of you can comment.

Lawyersaurus Rex

The issue isn’t drop frequency, it’s the drops. Getting a new item is just getting a bigger number, no fun in that. I just want my +2 Chain Lightning rings back, man. And what the fuck is blackberry juice?

I know you psychology folks don’t want to hear this (which is… like all of you) so I’ve written it in a slightly lighter color so it’s easier to ignore, but I just have this thing against this kind of haphazard psychology connectamaroo business. Sure, I can see how that could be an explanation for why Diablo III is less addictive than Diablo II, but there’s nothing in there convincing me beyond my initial, “It’s certainly a possibility…” I could write an article about how models should wear makeup with an orange tint to counteract the effects of blue shift when they’re on the runway, and that would make sense logically, but no matter how many cute graphs and NASA photos I add it’s still wrong.

To be clear, I like the theory, but it’s the fact that a Ctrl+F for “maybe” or “could” returns 0 results, the self-assured “Why Diablo II was addictive” headings, and the lack of coverage for any of the variety of other effects that could cause addiction (your characters in Diablo III have nothing permanent [not even a build] and that could make you feel less connected to the game and therefore less addicted – betcha I could find a fucking monkey-experiment about that!) that makes me dislike articles like these.

The point is Diablo III isn’t blackberry juice.

Cannonball Titcomb

I agree wholeheartedly with Rex that the article is basically junk pop psychology and worthless in that respect. Cramming observations into a Psych-101 style evidence-free framework is one of my biggest pet peeves and people are guilty of it all the way to the top of the pop science world. BUT, I do think it makes some good points about the role of the AH and the way players experience the game compared to Diablo II.

Cranberry Thunderfunk

I, too, completely agree. Not to spend too much more time hating on the article, but it really is a classic example of junk pop psychology. The experiment he describes is perhaps distantly relevant to any kind of reward/incentive structure within a video game, but in no way does it justify the distinction he makes between D2 and D3. It would be a perfectly fine article if he hadn’t mentioned the experiment at all and had just titled it “One possible reason why Diablo 3 is less addictive”. It’s never a good sign when the title of an article puts “scientific” in quotes.

It’s absolutely the case that there are no exciting or compelling rewards to be found in the normal Diablo 3 experience thanks to the AH. It subverts the joy of actually playing the game by ensuring that anything monsters are dropping will be worse than what you already have. Then you hit the next difficulty level and everything fucks you in the ass, but ten minutes on the AH and it’s back to easy mode.

Cranberry Thunderfunk

Guys….guys…get a load of these D3 changes.




Lawyersaurus Rex

That is
the stupidest fucking thing
I have ever heard
the game has been out
for like three fucking months
and the best they can do
is add another bar.

Cannonball Titcomb

I think what we’re seeing is (la la la) another aspect of the crunch devs are facing–players are just burning through content too fast. I absolutely agree that this is a crappy replacement for new content, but given that patching in a new act in every 3 months is a little unrealistic, this is about what you’d have to expect. I mean, is there a sustainable way in any hack-and-slash game to patch in enough content to make players genuinely feel like they have “really new” things to do? Of course, the real question is who the fuck is still playing a hack-and-slash game with as little depth as Diablo III’s three months after release…

Cranberry Thunderfunk

I’m still working on my response post about the overall state of gamers currently, so I won’t dig too deep into my thoughts on how player attitudes are driving this. However, it’s important to note that there’s barely ten hours of legitimate content in the game. The whole point of having robust, randomly generated dungeons, enemies, and items is to automate the process of guaranteeing a relatively unique experience every session. Further, harder difficulties are an opportunity to restructure encounters and progression, but they made literally zero changes to the game outside of damage, HP, and increasing the frequency of special mobs. Even if Blizzard were dealing with the players of ten years ago, I think they’d still be stuck in the same corner.

Lawyersaurus Rex

You can keep playing that We’ve Entered a New Age of Gaming card all you want, Mr. Titcomb, but the fact is Diablo III wasn’t a flop because there wasn’t enough content. They set out to make a game where you fight random enemies in random dungeons to get randomloot… that’s exactly how you get around the “crunch” of players blowing through content too fast.

The problem is there’s no depth, and that’s not something intrinsic to hack-and-slash games. They chose a skill system that’s stupid simple, they decided to have flat single-number items, and they didn’t do anything to make fights interesting. Not to mention they got the numbers wrong. Like… like those numbers? They’re fucking wrong, everywhere.

And no, it takes no more time to create the dumb pumpkin fights they have now (he has an AoE DoT and spawns oozes) than it does to create more interesting ones (you need to stay within 5 ft of an ally, and while he’s doing this you need to not attack him or he’ll counter-attack). And that holds for most things. Is it harder to make “2 crits -> Pyroblast” than “Fire spells deal +10% damage over 3 seconds”? No, it’s not really any harder for anyone to make that, but they fucking chose to go with the one that’s just a flat DPS increase. There’s like zero difference in the effort it takes to punch those two things in as a programmer, or draw them as an artist, they just didn’t do it.

Give me the same game with different design decisions and the same amount of content andmanwork and I would have played it for 40+ hours. Games like these are supposed to be the response to players’ growing aptitude at gaming, but it doesn’t work if it’s shit.

Cannonball Titcomb

It’s definitely true: there’s a scandalously small amount of content, and what there is is mostly badly done. It’s really kind of hilarious that Blizzard leans on difficulty settings (with only numerical changes) and a few modestly different environment permutations to pad out content to such an extent. I have no interest whatever in defending D3 as anything but a visually decent frippery with a pretty hackish development team behind it.

That said, la la la, did D2 have way more content? Deeper content with a better skill system? Not really. But it’s now taken for granted that significant new content will get patched in early and often, as opposed to the old model of using patches for modest updates and balance tweaks and having expansions bring in the new levels, classes, etc. The high expectations are 100% a good thing for gamers, but they do color the way we react to this kind of thing, and I don’t think they were the same 10 years ago.

The pulpish femoral artery of the dead horse twitched, expelling one final burst of tepid blood. Its flayed skin tore violently from its shattered leg as Cannonball Titcomb continued to beat it feverishly into the ground.