Syp’s out of town this week and has turned the keys to Bio Break over to fellow bloggers. Today’s post is from Doone of T.R. Red Skies.
I was wondering to myself: what would have made for a proper sequel to Diablo 2? Diablo 3 clearly isn’t it, even if it’s great on the action of gameplay itself. In my opinion, it’s not an actual sequel in terms of gameplay. It’s actually a few large steps backward. Some players try to compare Diablo 2 at releast to Diablo 3 at release. This is a flawed approach; Diablo 3 came after the last patch of Diablo 2. Therefore players are expecting things to improve on Lord of Destruction and patch 1.12. That’s the starting point for Diablo 3.
Keep Itemization the Same
Let’s see …the sheer variety of items alongside a robust skill system meant players had a level of character customization no game on the market has yet met. Throw in ladder competition and you have a game that’s STILL entertaining players the world over (after 10 years)! Cool things I would have kept:
- Ethereal Items: Could have been enhanced by allowing Tyrael, the fallen angel, be able to upgrade and imbue them with special powers.
- Rune Words: Doesn’t need an explanation. The exploration and experimentation this promoted made the farming game richer and worthwhile.
- Jewels and ALL gems would still be in game.
I guess I wouldn’t have harmed itemization too much except to improve balance and desirability. It would have been nice to take some of those loot algorithms and improve their relevancy to players based on what class is doing the killing.
Clans on Bnet
It’s like, they keep talking about connecting players and Bnet *still* doesn’t have ways for guilds/clans to socialize online. Real ID and friends lists, sure. But all of their games feature multiplayer. What’s the reason there’s no functionality on Bnet for build boards, guild messaging, and guild calendar?
They just keep confirming that Bnet wasn’t really made to improve the player experience. That just happens to be a pleasant side effect that they *might* get around to implementing one day. Currently, it’s little more than a glorified friends list. There’s no interaction for players; it’s not a tool that allows players to more easily connect and game together. It’s just a friends list. Guild support, armories, ladders …just a few throwbacks that should have been default features of Bnet are completely absent.
In Diablo, like so many other games, clans were an important part of the community. Diablo 3 should have made space for them. Currently, Blizzard is proving that Battlenet is nothing more than their DRM control center. It doesn’t have gamers in mind, not the way it’s currently designed. This is the sad state of affairs at the company; all of these changes really show that the player experience comes second to their coffers. For me, Diablo 3 shows that the developers are doing as little as they possibly can to deliver a great experience. We can always count on Blizzard to deliver seamless combat gameplay …but just think of your experience in Diablo: that’s the ONLY area that’s really achieved greatness in this game. The story is an example of awful video game narrative, itemization is the worst this game has ever seen, and now a Real Money Auction House (RMAH). It couldn’t be more apparent what was important to devs.
The Horadric Cube
This little mysterious object was an important part of the itemization meta-game of Diablo 2. It’s a shame something like it wasn’t carried forward in D3. But this needs little explanation; if the game had continued with runes as items, the cube may have made it in. I think, coupled with bringing back D2 itemization, the cube would have been a great hit with the community.
I think this will actually re-emerge with the new PvP Arenas. I’m just not confident it will deliver in the same way that it did in D2. In the previous game, the ladder went hand in hand with the item grind. Current itemization in D3 shows that even if a ladder were instituted, it wouldn’t go hand in hand with it. Itemization is designed to be mostly uninteresting by intent. A ladder isn’t going to save this. All of my imaginings here depend a lot on stronger, funner itemization. I fear Blizz has crossed the Rubicon on that.
On the one hand though, that makes it that much easier to bring Diablo 3 up to par with it’s predecessor: improve itemization and all other things will follow.
I guess these are the things I see as most important to making a proper sequel to Diablo 2. But everything hinges on the devs bringing itemization up to par with D2: LoD 1.12. Slim hopes are slim.