(This article was originally posted on the Examiner.com on April 25, 2012.)
Since I’m talking a lot about Diablo 3, I wanted to repost this article I wrote prior to the game’s release.
5 reasons Diablo III might disappoint you
Aren’t you excited about Diablo III? Just about everyone is. And why not? The original Diablo and its follow up, Diablo II, were instrumental in defining action role-playing games (ARPG), and both games were critical and financial successes. By some estimates, Diablo II eventually sold 4 million copies. Yet, in spite of Diablo’s success and its appeal to gamers, it’s been more than a decade since Diablo II: Lords of Destruction was released, and Blizzard is just now releasing the sequel, Diablo III. That’s a long wait.
After more than 10 years there might be just a bit of built up anticipation. But after 10 years there are also a whole lot more people gaming and whole lot of them have never played an ARPG. Way, way back in Diablo’s day, ARPGs were the norm; today, they’re the exception.
If you browse through the Diablo III forums, you’ll see a whole lot of gamers bringing a whole lot of misconceptions to Diablo III, misconceptions rooted in their recent gaming experience, mostly in MMOs. You can blame Blizzard, more than a little, for this, too: They marketed Diablo III directly to their World of Warcraft subscribers, likely creating the impression the game was a MMO.
Based on beta play and what Blizzard is saying they’re planning for Diablo III, here are 5 reasons why you might be disappointed by Diablo III:
1. No character customization.
That’s right. No character customization. No picking your hair color or body type or the color of your eyes or even your race. You pick your class and your gender and that’s it. Now, get out there and kill some monsters.
Maybe Blizzard will add some character customization in the final release, but right now you play with what they give you and you look pretty much like everyone else in the game.
2. It’s not a social game.
Sure it’s an online game. Sure you can play with more than one person. But the social aspects of this game are minimal. Your interaction with other people is limited to the group you’re in, and groups are limited to 4 players. It’s unlikely you’re going to log just to chat with your friends while you craft or work the auction house. In fact, there doesn’t even appear to be a big meeting place, like a city, planned.
At the core of its deep, dark heart, Diablo III is more akin to StarCraft II, than an MMO. You sign on to Battle.net, log into the game, look for public games or play solo, if you’re not feeling social.
If you grew up on World of Warcraft and love the social aspects of gaming, Diablo III is likely to disappoint you.
3. The point of view
Diablo’s point-of-view (POV) is third person: You’re looking down on the action from above, not over your character’s shoulder. It might seem to be a small thing, but it’s likely to be a problem for many gamers.
You’re used to kinda being behind your character, like you’re the one doing the fighting. That over-the-shoulder point-of-view makes you feel like you’re that character, doesn’t it? You’re not going to get that feeling in Diablo III. In fact, you’re kinda removed from the action, like some god viewing the action from your mountain top.
You might not like that.
4. You can buy gear for money, real money!
There’s always been something of an equality to MMOs: If you spent the time and with a bit of luck, you could get the same gear as everyone else. The only way someone could gear up was to play the game or cheat using gold and item sellers, a bannable offense in nearly all MMOs.
Welcome to a brave, new world. Blizzard will now let you buy items off their Diablo III auction house for real cash. Joy of joys. The one percent can flex their muscle in gaming, now, too.
5. Diablo III is hardcore.
Most MMOs just require a little time (Okay, a lot of time.), effort and some planning. You gear up, follow the online walkthrough and pretty much anyone can go do the hardest raid. Basically, every person in an MMO can play and succeed in nearly every aspect of the game. Some people call this ezmode gaming. Others call it nice.
Diablo III will have a Inferno mode, accessible only after you’ve beaten the game on Nightmare and Hell mode. It’s very clear not everyone, no matter how much they gear up or read the online guides, will be able to beat Diablo III on Hell mode.
This is hardcore and some people just don’t like hardcore. You might be one of them.
If you’re looking for a new MMO to play, Diablo III is likely to disappoint you. If you’re looking for a hardcore challenge, Diablo III might be just what you need.