I've Lost That Loving Feeling for Diablo III

Posted by PeezMachine (235 posts) -

After a week or so away from it, I used the recent 1.03 patch as an excuse to get back into Diablo III. I grabbed my low-level Wizard and started breaking down skeletons for parts with my ice beam, but it wasn't long before I felt an emptiness inside. It had nothing to do with the patch, which is a benign piece of work; it's just that the Diablo III magic had faded in the 150+ hours I'd spent with it. I'm a big fan of a lot of the mechanical choices in Diablo III, but now that the novelty of those mechanics has worn off, I'm stuck realizing that the game just isn't that fun. It's pornography sex – technically proficient, but you really don't get the feel that anyone is having any fun in the process.

Make no mistake, I don't regret my purchase at all and still think you should try it. In fact, my last act at Gamespot was to give Diablo III a positive review (and the shitstorm I got for using complete sentences and suggesting that good mechanics should be reflected in a game's score are why I'm over at Giantbomb now). I've tried every possible permutation of solo/group and hardcore/softcore (talking about Diablo here, not the pornography), with my favorite being solo/hardcore (that one might actually work for both). But something's just not working for me anymore, and I think I've got it figured out.

  1. The items don't interest me. I'm glad that Rare and Magic items are so useful, but the dearth of Set and Legendary items is a bit of an issue. In Diablo II, collecting Set and Unique items felt like collecting little pieces of the world, like I was actually involved in the lore and setting. I've found exactly one Legendary item in Diablo III, so I've got a whole bunch of Rares which, while effective, don't have much character. When I look at my inventory I see stats but no soul.

  2. The world has as much charm as a cactus and just as many pricks. In bringing my various characters up to level I've seen some parts of the game maybe 15 times, which means I've had to deal with the lifeless world, irritating characters, and useless plot about 15 more times than should be allowed by law. The problem is that without a good backdrop, the gameplay lacks context and everything starts to feel like a meaningless grind.

  3. The lategame content makes the Hindenburg seem carefully designed. When I first unlocked the Nightmare difficulty, I thought it was brilliant. The drops were cooler, the enemies had new and exciting characteristics, and I had a nice arsenal of skills available. I had a similarly positive response to the Hell difficulty, but after stepping back for a bit, I realize that I was way off the mark. I'm all for a challenge, but Hell and Inferno bring it without bringing any fun along for the ride. Enemy mobs get laughably powerful traits and the spike-heavy damage model in which you either escape a battle unscathed or not at all becomes more readily apparent and problematic. Frankly it feels like sadism on Blizzard's part and masochism on the player's, as you must really hate yourself to slog through the tedium of Hell and Inferno for the sake of an in-game achievement. Oh, the humanity.

So here I am, looking at a game that has all the right bullet points but no soul. However, I think there's hope for those seeking some actual fun in their ARPGs. This is going to sound strange given that I had some real concerns about the beta, but I'm actually really looking forward to Torchlight II (for the curious: My Good-ish But Not Great-esque Time With Torchlight II's Beta). It feels a bit more amateuish, but it's all about having fun, and maybe that's worth more than I give it credit for.

#1 Posted by PeezMachine (235 posts) -

After a week or so away from it, I used the recent 1.03 patch as an excuse to get back into Diablo III. I grabbed my low-level Wizard and started breaking down skeletons for parts with my ice beam, but it wasn't long before I felt an emptiness inside. It had nothing to do with the patch, which is a benign piece of work; it's just that the Diablo III magic had faded in the 150+ hours I'd spent with it. I'm a big fan of a lot of the mechanical choices in Diablo III, but now that the novelty of those mechanics has worn off, I'm stuck realizing that the game just isn't that fun. It's pornography sex – technically proficient, but you really don't get the feel that anyone is having any fun in the process.

Make no mistake, I don't regret my purchase at all and still think you should try it. In fact, my last act at Gamespot was to give Diablo III a positive review (and the shitstorm I got for using complete sentences and suggesting that good mechanics should be reflected in a game's score are why I'm over at Giantbomb now). I've tried every possible permutation of solo/group and hardcore/softcore (talking about Diablo here, not the pornography), with my favorite being solo/hardcore (that one might actually work for both). But something's just not working for me anymore, and I think I've got it figured out.

  1. The items don't interest me. I'm glad that Rare and Magic items are so useful, but the dearth of Set and Legendary items is a bit of an issue. In Diablo II, collecting Set and Unique items felt like collecting little pieces of the world, like I was actually involved in the lore and setting. I've found exactly one Legendary item in Diablo III, so I've got a whole bunch of Rares which, while effective, don't have much character. When I look at my inventory I see stats but no soul.

  2. The world has as much charm as a cactus and just as many pricks. In bringing my various characters up to level I've seen some parts of the game maybe 15 times, which means I've had to deal with the lifeless world, irritating characters, and useless plot about 15 more times than should be allowed by law. The problem is that without a good backdrop, the gameplay lacks context and everything starts to feel like a meaningless grind.

  3. The lategame content makes the Hindenburg seem carefully designed. When I first unlocked the Nightmare difficulty, I thought it was brilliant. The drops were cooler, the enemies had new and exciting characteristics, and I had a nice arsenal of skills available. I had a similarly positive response to the Hell difficulty, but after stepping back for a bit, I realize that I was way off the mark. I'm all for a challenge, but Hell and Inferno bring it without bringing any fun along for the ride. Enemy mobs get laughably powerful traits and the spike-heavy damage model in which you either escape a battle unscathed or not at all becomes more readily apparent and problematic. Frankly it feels like sadism on Blizzard's part and masochism on the player's, as you must really hate yourself to slog through the tedium of Hell and Inferno for the sake of an in-game achievement. Oh, the humanity.

So here I am, looking at a game that has all the right bullet points but no soul. However, I think there's hope for those seeking some actual fun in their ARPGs. This is going to sound strange given that I had some real concerns about the beta, but I'm actually really looking forward to Torchlight II (for the curious: My Good-ish But Not Great-esque Time With Torchlight II's Beta). It feels a bit more amateuish, but it's all about having fun, and maybe that's worth more than I give it credit for.

#2 Posted by thehuntsmen5434 (427 posts) -

http://www.giantbomb.com/diablo-iii/61-20803/why-farm-why-continue/35-548835/#91

Yea, welcome to 3 weeks ago. Many people have been having this realization way before 150+ hours of gameplay. Maybe you would have sooner if you used the game breaking AH lol.

#3 Posted by Ravenlight (8040 posts) -

Conversely, I feel like everything pre-Inferno is a bit of a letdown after you've gone through the story once. Up until you hit 60 and jump into Inferno, I feel like the game is too hand-holdy. The latter half of Hell difficulty isn't too bad but until my characters reach level 60 and unlock all of their skills, I don't feel like I'm playing the full game.

#4 Posted by doobie (605 posts) -

if you don't think its fun why are you recommending people still play it

#5 Posted by fox01313 (5069 posts) -

Going to play it to about 60 then figure out if I want to keep going or just dive into something else as the 3.5 acts are really short. Nice that they finally patched the fix in to some of the random dungeons/events to show up but apart from seeing those there's not a lot of life left in D3 for me.

#6 Posted by Mr_Skeleton (5144 posts) -

When I started playing it I thought it was fun, but now I really don't think its good game.

#7 Posted by CL60 (16906 posts) -

I'm going back to Titan Quest personally.

#8 Posted by valrog (3671 posts) -

I'm really bothered by one relatively big thing that no one seems to ever mention. How the story unfolds in higher difficulties. So I'm going through Nightmare with the Templar as my companion and I come to the point where I have to rescue a warrior (Basically when you unlock the Templar for the first time). The beginning goes well, the two Templars talk as if they're different characters and for a moment I thought that Blizzard thought of this and made it feel natural, but then when you kill Jondar THE SAME dialogue rolls out with the new Templar, and it turns out he's THE SAME character and then poof. He disappears. Just like that. Something like this shouldn't have happened and is just terrible design.

Same thing with the blacksmith (Hell, you can still craft when Haedrig isn't even there). And the jeweller. He mentions that's he's going to do some exploring at the start of Act II (Which is a good way to set up the events that will follow), but then when you rescue him from the barrel THE SAME DIALOGUE IS SPOKEN AS IF YOU'VE NEVER KNOWN THIS PERSON!!!

Now tell me if that makes sense. What makes it even worse is that they obviously have thought of this occurring (Some additional dialogue as I've mentioned), but they did nothing more to make it logical. What the fuck happened?

#9 Posted by pizzalunchables (25 posts) -

Always seems strange when people get disappointed after 150 hours of gameplay. That is an incredibly long time to play any game, at least for me. In my attempts to live a normal life with a job, I'm lucky if I can put 20 hours into a game.

Very very few games are entertaining after 150 hours. How can you expect to not be bored by mechanics or lore at that point? It's Diablo. A loot grind without much else. I'm still hooked. Even if I was bored and never played again, I've already enjoyed about 3000% more content than I usually can from a $60 game.

#10 Posted by Mr_Skeleton (5144 posts) -

When I started playing it I thought it was fun, but now I really don't think its good game.

#11 Edited by EXTomar (4687 posts) -

I do think there is something off with how "progression" works at Hell and higher difficulty. I recognize that they want players to work on the game for months but they've made it unfun it a lot of ways looking for a handful of drops in the same areas over and over and over again. It is the worse aspects of grinding without the feeling of accomplishment.

#12 Posted by Cloudenvy (5891 posts) -

@CL60 said:

I'm going back to Titan Quest personally.

I should totally reinstall Titan Quest..Damn you.

#13 Edited by PeezMachine (235 posts) -

@doobie said:

if you don't think its fun why are you recommending people still play it

I think there's enough good going on for folks to pick it up. Mechanically, I think Diablo III does a lot of things right, and playing around with those mechanics is fun for a certain amount of time which will probably vary from person to person. There's nothing for those mechanics to lean against, however, so once you've had your fill of straight gameplay there's not much to keep you playing. 150 hours out of a game is nothing to laugh at (and why I can stand by the verdict of "buy it"), but considering that I put up with some of Diablo 2's frustrations for years and years and still enjoyed it, it's clear that a few things have been lost in translation to Diablo III.

#14 Posted by SeanFoster (866 posts) -

I tapped out around Act 3 of Hell.

#15 Posted by Giantstalker (1635 posts) -

Shitty drops killed the game for me; it's all just too Auction House reliant. Seriously, the game's been built around the AH and not the other way round. I don't need to point out that this is highly disappointing for anyone who wanted to largely ignore said feature.

Grinded Act I of Inferno for a couple days. Didn't find a single upgrade for my wizard (so that I could even begin progressing to Act II). Moved on to a more fun game.

#16 Posted by ichthy (498 posts) -

I guess there are people like me who really like the AH. Diablo 2 was obviously a bit better with drops, but even finding that piece of gear for an optimal build was pretty much impossible, and trading was mandatory, which probably contributed to the longevity of the game. The AH removes the complications of having to use forums to trade, and actually provides a real economy, opposed to the weird version that revolved around perfects gems and high runes that D2 had.

#17 Edited by xyzygy (9949 posts) -

I know exactly what you mean about the sets and legendaries from D2. I loved collecting them and it added a ton to the game. Since Blizzard introduced the RMAH in D3, they have essentially made these items rarer and thus each one can potentially sell for more money and they will get a bigger chunk of the profits from it. In other words, they deeply altered an important aspect of the game in a negative way in order for them to make more money.

When there are shit tons of legendary items out there, the demand is minimal because people could just go and find their own. Making them extremely rare, however, makes us want to buy them from one of the millions of others of people out there who are playing the game and who just happened to find one. Then Blizzard takes a 15% cut. So stupid.

#18 Posted by Levio (1784 posts) -

150+ hours is a ton, you should be happy if you got that much fun for $60. Considering the gameplay is really just the 4 acts over and over with varying difficulty/loot/characters, I'm surprised people enjoy playing the game even to inferno's end, which involves 4 full playthroughs.

Granted, the achievements will lead you to believe you should beat Inferno 10+ times to beat the game, but Blizzard has always been insane with achievements.

#19 Posted by PeezMachine (235 posts) -

@pizzalunchables said:

Very very few games are entertaining after 150 hours. How can you expect to not be bored by mechanics or lore at that point? It's Diablo. A loot grind without much else. I'm still hooked. Even if I was bored and never played again, I've already enjoyed about 3000% more content than I usually can from a $60 game.

I'm inclined to agree, and it's why the tone of this article is not "Diablo III is the worst game ever omg 0/5." I got my money's worth, and while I've walked away from Diablo for good now, I haven't done so with any sort of bitterness. That said, there are plenty of games that combine mechanics and character to feel fresh and fun for just about forever - Skyrim, Borderlands, and anything from the Anno series are this way for me, and while those titles have been moved to the back burner, whenever I decide to jump back in for a hour or two here and there, they don't fail to disappoint. These games are some next-level shit to me, and Diablo III, while a good investment, is not. There's a reason this article is just up on some dude's blog and not the front page of CNN.

#20 Posted by RAMBO604 (137 posts) -

I really miss Baal runs, I miss joining 7 other people and just hanging out for a couple hours shootin the shit while grinding for exp and gear. D3's co-op system is disappointing in how restrictive it is and 4 player rooms feel too small. Not to mention the chat system which is somehow worse than D2.

Hopefully Blizzard releases a patch eventually allowing for custom rooms. They made all the right moves with Star Craft 2 its kind of weird that with D3 they'd get so much right yet so much completely wrong.

#21 Edited by tunaburn (1890 posts) -

diablo 2 i did meph runs and baal runs all day. loved it. cant stand this game. bored out of my mind and i only completed normal. maybe if there was PVP it would hold my attention but i doubt ill play again now.

not to mention im in act 3 nightmare and havent found one unique item. i get the feeling they have it set to really really rare to find so that youll spend real cash?

#22 Posted by Iron_Tool (220 posts) -

@pizzalunchables said:

Always seems strange when people get disappointed after 150 hours of gameplay. That is an incredibly long time to play any game, at least for me. In my attempts to live a normal life with a job, I'm lucky if I can put 20 hours into a game.

Very very few games are entertaining after 150 hours. How can you expect to not be bored by mechanics or lore at that point? It's Diablo. A loot grind without much else. I'm still hooked. Even if I was bored and never played again, I've already enjoyed about 3000% more content than I usually can from a $60 game.

THIS!!

#23 Posted by ajamafalous (11963 posts) -
@Iron_Tool said:

@pizzalunchables said:

Always seems strange when people get disappointed after 150 hours of gameplay. That is an incredibly long time to play any game, at least for me. In my attempts to live a normal life with a job, I'm lucky if I can put 20 hours into a game.

Very very few games are entertaining after 150 hours. How can you expect to not be bored by mechanics or lore at that point? It's Diablo. A loot grind without much else. I'm still hooked. Even if I was bored and never played again, I've already enjoyed about 3000% more content than I usually can from a $60 game.

THIS!!

It's less of a "150 hours is too short a time for a game" and more of an "I've been playing Diablo II for the past ten years but I'm already done with Diablo III after a month, and that's super disappointing because it's very easy to see where and how they messed up in creating/removing the game's longevity."
#24 Posted by PeezMachine (235 posts) -

@ajamafalous said:

It's less of a "150 hours is too short a time for a game" and more of an "I've been playing Diablo II for the past ten years but I'm already done with Diablo III after a month, and that's super disappointing because it's very easy to see where and how they messed up in creating/removing the game's longevity."

Bullseye. Folks tend to conflate "I'm disappointed with Diablo III's shortcomings" with a condemnation of the whole product, and at least in my case, that's wildly inaccurate. Buy Diablo III, play it, love it! I know I did, and I think it was a good investment and a great game. It's just not a game I can point to and say, "this is why games are an incredible medium," which wouldn't be a headline if this weren't a Diablo game, but, hey it is, so here we are.

#25 Posted by jayjapay (2 posts) -

Hey I got some cool trick and tips in playing Diablo 3 hit me up if you are interested.

#26 Posted by MideonNViscera (2257 posts) -
#27 Posted by BlatantNinja23 (930 posts) -

I do wish that nightmare, hell, and inferno was all different content because of the way it's designed to push through all the difficulties. But I can totally understand that's asking too much (or would just take even longer to create, especially in blizzard time) I'm "only" 35 hours into my monk but that's already enough to feel satisfied. I'll continue to at least play till I hit level 60, and then will go on from their untill I stop enjoying it. We'll see how much i'll enjoy constantly using the auction house because of how things drop later on. Then I'll just happily come back when they add more content and raise the level cap.

#28 Posted by Iron_Tool (220 posts) -

I think people need to cool it with their D3 hate/complaints etc. The game's been only out for 2 months and has been designed to build upon. Blizzard has a great track record for supporting their games for very long periods and in th case of D3 they have already indicated that they will be working on more endgame content. Plus there will be expansions etc. So if you feel you are done with the game then stop playing it and wait for the new content or move on. I didn't see anyone complaining about Skyrim after playing that game for over 100 hrs and then being done with it.

#29 Posted by Robo (792 posts) -
@Iron_Tool There's a difference between 100+ hours in a massive world full of interesting locations and characters and 100+ hours of repeating the same short, shallow story over and over again just grinding for better gear and a higher level.
#30 Posted by Iron_Tool (220 posts) -

@Robo said:

@Iron_Tool There's a difference between 100+ hours in a massive world full of interesting locations and characters and 100+ hours of repeating the same short, shallow story over and over again just grinding for better gear and a higher level.

hmmmm......... and how is that different than Diablo 2? Let me see here.... D2 playing the same game over and over again to grind for better loot..... I don't know man but it sure looks the same to me.

Besides, if you've played over 100 hours until you realized the game is boring for you, I still think you got your money's worth out of it!! And to be honest with you after 100+ hrs many games feel dull and repetitive (e.g. Skyrim, Oblivion, NWN etc)

#31 Posted by Alkaiser (358 posts) -

Now its gone... gone... gone... no ohhhh ohhh...

#32 Edited by Robo (792 posts) -

@Iron_Tool said:

hmmmm......... and how is that different than Diablo 2? Let me see here.... D2 playing the same game over and over again to grind for better loot..... I don't know man but it sure looks the same to me.

For starters, it's not 12 years ago. Even Blizzard admits the game is a bit light on content. That said...

Besides, if you've played over 100 hours until you realized the game is boring for you, I still think you got your money's worth out of it!! And to be honest with you after 100+ hrs many games feel dull and repetitive (e.g. Skyrim, Oblivion, NWN etc)

...I never said you don't get your money's worth with D3. Even if you don't play it that long it's certainly not a bad way to blow $60. I'm just pointing out a flaw with the whole "it's 100+ hours like Skyrim" angle.

#33 Edited by Iron_Tool (220 posts) -

@Robo: It's not 12 years ago? What is that supposed to mean? If you buy a Diablo game you better know what you are getting into. Did you seriously think that D3 would *not* be a loot grind??

And let's talk about your "Skyrim Angle": So you are telling me that after 100+ hrs Skyrim does not get dull and repetitive? If so then please explain yourself.

#34 Posted by PeezMachine (235 posts) -

@Robo: @Iron_Tool: All right, you two. If you're looking to have it out with each other then you can do it in private somewhere, especially since you seem to be discussing a straw man, at least in the context of the original post. Go back and read the original post and you'll see that my reasons for leaving Diablo III (a game which I reccomend and think was a good purchase) have nothing to do with aging gameplay but a lack of context - no story, setting, characters, or real reward to support the gameplay, which in general I think holds up pretty well.

#35 Edited by Hockeymask27 (3683 posts) -

For the time I played I had fun but I got bored after a while. Where I played d2 this week and still had fun.

#36 Posted by mandude (2669 posts) -

The fuck? I only got about 30 hours out of it before I got bored, and I consider it money well spent.

I know you're not condemning the game, but fuck...if I could play a game for upwards of 150 hours, it would definitely have to be the best thing that ever graced the medium.

#37 Edited by Robo (792 posts) -

@Iron_Tool: In the immortal words of Bayside High's own Albert Clifford Slater, "Relax, preppy."

Nobody is saying they didn't expect the loot grind from D3 (that's exactly what we came to see) or that it doesn't hold up as a mechanic, just that it doesn't quite hold the same weight on it's own these days as the 'context' Peez mentioned. Also, compounding that issue is the way this game's loot grind is flawed as distribution seems to be purposefully hindered for the benefit of the auction houses, creating a more tedious than enjoyable grind in a game without a whole lot else going for it outside of class differences or difficulty bumps after the first playthrough.

All I said was the hours to hours argument vs Skyrim was bad because there's a significant difference between the games. That difference being the story, setting, characters, reward, etc. It's simply not a fair comparison to use while trying to argue some sort of objective value or satisfaction (as if there is such a thing anyway). It is a bit of a straw man.

I don't feel that anybody is outright hating on D3 here, just stating a few facts and opinions. If you really want to defend D3's honor head over to the official Blizzard forums. You'll have your work cut out for you, believe me.

And per Mr Peez's request, I'll leave it at that.

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