According to Blizzard’s recent press release, Diablo 3 has sold over 6.3 million copies, with “more than 4.7 million gamers” on day 1, Diablo 3 was “the biggest PC-game launch in history.” Pretty impressive. Diablo 3 might be “the biggest PC-game launch in history”, but it’s also on its way to being one of the biggest fails in PC-game history. Here’s why:
Diablo 3 was not ready for launch and it still isn’t. On day one at 12:01 PDT, most of those 4.7 million gamers weren’t even able to log, constantly getting the now infamous Error 37. Diablo 3 is a single-player game with multi-player options, but players were forced online to play because Activision-Blizzard’s always-on DRM connection forced them to.
Activision-Blizzard wasn’t ready for all the gamers who wanted to play their game. They should’ve been.
The loot tables are a mess
Blue items, supposedly uncommon, drop all the time, and after you get to about level 15 or so, gold items, “rare” loot, drop about once or twice every hour on normal difficulty. That’s too much.
As a result, gold items are plentiful on the AH. This undermines one of the major points of an action-role-playing game (ARPG) like Diablo 3: The loot grind. It’s part of the reward of grinding at the higher difficulty levels – Nightmare, Hell, Inferno – to get cooler and more awesome loot.
If “rare” stuff drops like IQs during a Jersey Shore marathon, what’s the point?
The real money Auction House will destroy the game
For a while, back in the olden days of MMOs, reselling rare loot items from MMOs (Was it only WoW?) for real cash was undermining gaming. Games quickly squashed this activity by banning players who bought or sold these items and by implementing some simple solutions, such as bind-on-equip and bind-on-pickup for rare loot. With Diablo 3, Activistion-Blizzard decided to forego all that silliness: everything can be put up for sale on the AH and it can be sold for real money.
In what might be the most bone-headed, cynically greedy move in gaming history, Activision-Blizzard has embraced the idea of making money, real-life dinero, from your loot. So put your loot up for sale and make some bucks, right? You get some cash for your game time, Blizzard takes a cut and everyone is happy, right?
Wrong. This will destroy the game. With real cash on the line gold-sellers and bots will flood the game. You can already see this happening: There are more gold-sellers in general chat than players. The real-money Auction House has barely been functional for more than a day or so since launch (See Error 37 above.); imagine what it’s going to be like once it’s up and running regularly.
Always-on DRM is an epic fail
Gamers get it, Blizzard. You want to protect your product and stop piracy. How’s that working for you?
Judging by all the gold sellers in general chat with random Battlenet gamer IDs like ERZZZ123 and ASDF321, plus all the reports of hacked Battlenet accounts, it seems you might be having some issues.
Maybe always-on DRM is the future of gaming, but Blizzard’s implementation is a fail on a grand scale. Blizzard has basically kept the honest honest and saddled them with aggravation. Gamers get lag, disconnects and gold sellers in general chat; gold sellers get to spam 6 million players and hackers get your account. Such a deal.
Diablo 3 does nothing to advance the ARPG genre.
StarCraft II brought storytelling and lots of gaming updates to real-time strategy (RTS) games. In almost every aspect of gameplay, StarCraft II raised the bar on the existing RTS standard. Diablo 3 keeps the bar exactly where it was.
There’s nothing especially innovative about Diablo 3. In fact, it’s not even as good as Torchlight which came out a couple of years ago. Torchlight has randomized dungeons; pets that will take your trash loot back to town while you keep adventuring (You have to open a portal and go yourself in Diablo 3.); fishing if you get tired of all the ARPG slaying; and players can even make mods for the game. And Torchlight does all this for $20!
The more you look at Torchlight the worse Diablo 3 begins to look.
Diablo 3 is a fun, enjoyable game. It has a nice story and fun combat, but it’s nothing special. After a month or so, gamers will tire of the game and after a few more months all the problems of the always-on DRM connection and the real-money Auction House will eventually destroy the game.