Friday, July 6, 2012

Diablo 3 - A Story, a Review and The Retirement of a Raider?

Basically this is an off topic type post being I usually write strictly about warcraft but being Diablo is produced by the same company and I decided to give it a try because I am bored with warcraft I figured I would give you my take on it as well as how it has made me change how I look at the raiding scene.

To start off, the only reason I am playing Diablo 3 to begin with is because I did not need to pay for it.  It came with my normal subscription to warcraft due to the annual pass.  Still not really sure why they even did the annual pass.  I saved money by paying for my subscription in bulk, I got a mount for free that I surely would have bought if they had charged me 25 bucks, I got into the mists beta which was a nice little thank you for paying for something I was going to pay for anyway and they gave me a game I really had no intention of playing to begin with.

But maybe there was something else they had in mind and perhaps they where smarter than I give them credit for, at least when it comes to including Diablo 3 for free with the pass.

Not only am I experiencing the end of expansion blues but the community has gone down the toilet so badly that I can't even bring myself to play just for fun.  The looking for systems are filled with people that I would rather go get root canal than play with.

At the end of an expansion I would usually play with lesser played alts and gear them up some but that is impossible now with how bad the community is.  So that is no longer an option.  I would level alts for something to do but if I turn around for a second or blink I miss 10 levels now, so leveling alts is no longer fun for me.  I love hunters but do I really need 10 85 hunters along with at least 1 85 of every other class?  Even more so being there is no effective way to gear any of them up unless I want to subject myself to the abuse of a horrible community in the looking for system.

So with that in mind I decided that I would download Diablo 3 and play to pass some time while waiting for mists.  I figured what the hell, I basically own it already and it will give me something to do being blizzard effectively made warcraft unplayable now.

So maybe they were smarter than I gave them credit for.  I am now playing Diablo 3, with friends I already play warcraft with, so I keep my connection to their main franchise by talking to the few people in the community I am actually willing to play with.  It keeps me in touch with warcraft, while not actually playing warcraft.  So even if I am leaving the game the game stays in arms reach.

Smart move blizzard.  So instead of me going to another game like star wars or secret world or rift or what have you, you gave me a free game that makes sure I am still within your world.  Credit given where credit is due.  Nice move if it was intended.

Am I giving blizzard too much credit thinking they were actually smart enough and did this on purpose knowing that the end of expansion blues would hit a lot of people hard because this expansion was really that horrible?  Perhaps.

So on to what I think about the game.

The story was interesting and the graphics where quite nice.  I am not a big fan of the moment system or the targeting system but I can live with it.  I do like that the dungeons and such are random, it is a way to attempt to keep things fresh while doing something that is amazingly repetitive.

Speaking of repetitive I love the grind of the game.  I can keep killing and killing and redoing areas I find fun to grind to try and get the items I need.  I am a grinder, this is the best part of the game for me.  Sadly, as anyone that reads my blog will know, my luck in games is horrible.  I've found two legendary weapons, you would say that means I have good luck right?  Nope, both of them just sat in my bags laughing at me because my class can not use them.  Just my luck.

But I did what it is people like me do.  I did the grind and I liked it.  I had horrible gear when I made it to diablo.  I could not even touch him.  Was doing fair keeping myself alive but it was taking forever for him to go down and finally I died.  So that is when I did the grind and started act four from the start.  Second time there I pushed him to phase two.  Was going to start act four again but figured I would try once more.  Ended with the same results, dead in phase two.  So I started act four a third time and this time I got a rare bow drop along the way and finally I was doing more than 300 DPS so I knew I could do better.  I killed him that time and proceeded to do nightmare when it occurred to me.  What the hell am I doing?

Seriously.  What the hell am I doing?  I finished the game.  I saw the lore it had to offer.  Why would I want to play the same game again, but harder?

That is when it occurred to me that lesser difficulties ruin games.  In my opinion at least.  If the game started with only one difficulty, inferno, and built its way up in difficulty to the end point in one run through I would continue the grind for hours, weeks, months, even years if need be, until I was capable of beating it.

I have no issue working to build myself up in a game.  I have no issue investing time in a game.  I have no issue working up my skill set to be able to handle it.  But I do have an issue doing the same thing I've already done again (nightmare), and again (hell), and again (inferno).  What is the point?

So my review is this.  Nice game, I liked it, but it was way too short and has near zero replayability.  I might try it with a different class, perhaps one that could use the legendary weapons I found, but I can't really see doing it on the harder difficulty because I play games for fun, not for gear.  If I could find groups to do it with I might, because then some fun would be involved, but I don't see me wanting to do the same thing over and over by myself.  Doing it on a higher level just gets me better gear, it is still the same story, so it gives me no reason to feel the need to do it again.

I wonder if that is part of the reason I feel as burnt out with this expansion of warcraft when compared to the last.  I ran so many players through the LFR to start gearing up when it came out.  The LFR was actually fantastic back then.  The only people that had a 372 item level when it came out were raiders so all the runs where smooth.  It was as others geared up with PvP, crafted, HoT and valor gear and they started to come in that the community in the LFR went down hill.  They let a bunch of people in them that quite honestly had no business being in them.

Either way, I was burnt out on DS a month after release.  I had at least 7 characters going through LFR each week at that point and while only one of my characters had finished it on normal at that time I was done.  I had no desire to do heroic.  Heck, I had no desire to do LFR or normal any more either.

It was that feeling I had when I started nightmare on Diablo 3.  What the hell am I doing?  I've already beat this and I raid for fun, I do not raid for gear, so what is the sense of doing it on a harder difficulty.  To get more gear to make the harder difficulty easier?  Why not just do the easy version if I want easier instead of doing the harder version and gearing up to make the harder version easy.  Somewhere it started to not make sense any more.

I think the difference between the end of wrath and the end of cataclysm can be summed up to one thing.  Looking for raid.  The end of wrath I was running at least three characters through ICC each week, on 10 and 25, and I was loving every minute of it.  I never felt burnout and those few times when I thought I was about to start feeling burnt out I would run some 5 mans and they where so nice and easy that it gave me something else to do to break things up and suddenly raiding was a fun option again, even if the best I could get for my alts was a 6 boss pug.  Which means I had more fun NOT finishing a raid in wrath than I have finishing a raid in cataclysm.  Speaks volumes if you ask me.

Now with the looking for raid, and finishing the raid super easy and the 5 mans being brutally difficult if you do not have an over geared person or two in them, like the run I had last night where two of the damage dealers could not even break 3K and that is what makes them difficult, I just suffered burn out from dealing with so many horrible players.  When I can finish a 5 man doing near 80% of the damage done and soloing two of the four bosses because everyone died there is something seriously wrong with the game.  Not saying I am good, because I am not that good.  I am just saying that everyone else is so bad that is makes someone like me, the very example of average, seem good.  That is what really bought my burnout to its peak.

Diablo 3 taught me something and what it taught me is, why should I do the same content I already did on a harder level?  Just for something to do.   Sorry, that no longer works for me.  I no longer feel that need to just play for busy work, I want to play to have fun and experience a story.

If warcraft is going to let me finish each raid so easily the day it comes out my desire to do normals and heroics is diminished, a great deal.  All because I raid for fun.  I do not raid for gear.  So doing the same exact thing at higher levels of difficulty doesn't seem as fun as it used to be.

Maybe it is just the warcraft burnout speaking but at the moment I don't see me wanting to raid any more.  When mists comes out I can just finish the raid on day one and sit there waiting for the next patch.

I am starting to think blizzard needs to ditch the three tier raiding model and make it a one tier raid model.  Heroic difficulty only and make me,and everyone else, work my ass through it.  That would be fun, that would make raiding worth it again.  That would extend the content.  That would mean there would be a huge amount of raiders and wanna be raiders that still had something to do instead of feeling they have been done with the raid for 6 months thanks to lower difficulties that were way way way too easy.

I guess, unless it is the burnout speaking, I am no longer a raider.  It doesn't seem like it is worth the effort any more.  At least not if I am going to do the same thing on three different difficulties, just like it is not worth playing Diablo again and doing it on four different difficulties.

I'll give raiding a try come mists but as I feel right now.  I am no longer a raider and I have no desire to be such.  It just is not worth it doing the same exact thing three different times for gear I will just replace when the next super easy laugh fest looking for raid comes out.

Normal and heroic seemed worth it, somewhat.  The LFR was just a little too much.  It ruined the landscape of raiding completely and all it took for me to realize that was Diablo 3 and the boring run through nightmare wondering, is this all there is, the same stuff over and over again.


  1. To be honest, I think a lot of raiders burned themselves out, and are blaming Blizzard and the Dragon Soul raid. I'm thinking that Blizzard never intended serious raiders to use LFR - they intened the serious raiders to go from Firelands directly into Dragon Soul normal, just like they would have done if LFR was not there. Instead, raiders took to the idea that Dragon Soul normal would be *easier* if they geared up in LFR first. Well, it worked. Dragon Soul is a lot easier when you're in LFR gear, know the basic mechanics, and only have to adapt to a couple of new situations.

    Ultimately, I'd like to see normal mode raids go away, and only have LFR and Heroic with drastic differences in difficulty. I like LFR, and although there are a lot of dirtbags in there who are total funsuckers, it still has it's merits and was a lot of fun for a while. Normal mode, however, just seems pointless now that LFR is available because everyone is going to use LFR to overgear Normal mode.

    I'm not personally interested in Heroic raids, or even normal mode to be honest (although my guild does normal mode). I only play about 4 to 6 hours per week - and that's spread across 4 characters - and I have no time for wiping on one boss for two hours while trying to master new mechanics. I just want some mindless adventuring with a good story.

    I think MoP is going to be great.

    1. I think you have a point with Blizzard not intending LFR for serious raiders, or even for myself, a somewhat serious raider. I had planned on just using it for an alt or two that I hadn't planned on using in 10 man's, to go along with the 2 that I raided with weekly on normal. But then I kept seeing and hearing from friends and others in the guild to go into LFR to see how the fights were, get pretty good gear, etc etc so I did that. Not to mention the fact that I compare everything to Ulduar, which i shouldn't, but I do lol, and DS just seemed too boring to me, and easy.

      But, the easiness of DS is for another day. As I mentioned earlier on here I think, for me, LFR was the ultimate burn out, because raiding was pretty much my main emphasis in this last expansion.

      However, it's the burnout talking. The only reason I played as long as I did till the end was for social reasons and guild obligations and being depended on. I think I'll just be smarter with who I raid with and level, and really just do LFR maybe once on a toon to see how the fights are as a dps tank and healer, then be done with it. With all that being said, I am looking forward to MOP, and hope that some of my friends come back. It'll be worth it just for that.

    2. I think you've hit the nail on its head.

      It is also why Blizzard should take a closer watch at iLevel progression, so that the LFR gear of the following Patch doesn't outstrip or add to the Gear the previous Raid provides.

      If of course the current Tier Reset system is kept.

    3. @MathewG

      I could get behind removing normal under one circumstance. Allow for a 10 man LFR version so I can easily do it with all guild only and do not have to be grouped with mostly random people.

      Then, and only then, can I get behind removing normal.

      Indeed I do agree however. I feel extra burnt out because of the LFR. I raided the LFR with 2 characters I never stepped into a raid with before, that on top of my normal ones, and more came later. Add being grouped to people that made raiding more stressful than it was fun and it burnt me out... big time.


      I suffer from the same problem, comparing everything to ulduar and that is a really abd habit because blizzard has never even come close to making anything as good as that was and they never will. That was as good as it gets, everything from that point on is downhill only. Every thing has its jump the shark moment. ToC right after ulduar was warcraft jumping the shark.

      I hold hope for MoP as well and I hope I can not make the same mistakes I made this expansion by letting myself get burnt out because of the LFR.

      I just want a 10M version of LFR and I think that would solve 90% of my problems with the whole LFR system.

  2. While I agree that a single-difficulty would probably be better (though personally I wouldn't mind a 'story mode' where bascially you and some NPC's go through the motions to see the Lore, no Item etc. reward needed, as long as Blizz keeps putting the Lore in Raids), the basic problem is (and I know I sound like a broken record here) that the Devs are into Raid-building and not World-building, and the only way to sustain that is to use Raid content for as many players as possible.

    In other words, milk it.

    But you're right it's a rather shallow way of design, and (going to D3; do not own it) I much prefered the system older games like e.g Dungeon Siege and Neverwinter Nights used: allowing the player to adjust the Difficulty at start and even during play.

    1. I had never noticed the "difficulty" of the same things over and over as clearly as I did after seeing D3. Once I saw that it changed my view on everything.

      After seeing how it felt doing the same thing over in a game I did not really "love" it made me rethink doing it for a game I did love.

      Like you mentioned, it is not the same as setting a difficulty switch when you decide to play, this is trying to pass of the difficulty as additional content and it is not.

      That is why I LOVED ulduar. You flicked the difficulty switch, if you wanted to, you did not have to do it a second or third time in a more difficult version of the same thing. You could go ultra hard mode the first time you were in there. Oh yeah, no doubt, I loved that design.

  3. What a 180 degree turn! Weren't you campaigning for more difficulty levels only a few months ago?

    I have no issue working to build myself up in a game. [...] But I do have an issue doing the same thing I've already done again (nightmare), and again (hell), and again (inferno). What is the point?

    Anyway, this sums up why I was never a big fan of hard modes to begin with.

    1. It is a 180. Playing Diablo had made me realize that for me to want to do the same thing over and over again I have to be enjoying the game and I have not been enjoying WoW lately. So my opinion changed.

      When I was enjoying it I wanted more to do. Now I don't because of burn out most likely.

      However, my original idea for 5 difficulties is still what the game needs I believe. To let as many people play it as they want to play it.

      So when I am having fun, I can do them all, and when I am bored with the game I can do the easy one and move along.

      So yes, while my opinion did change I think it is more because of boredom with the game than anything else. If I start having fun again I can see me wanting more again.

      That is the diablo model. If they just want to beat it they have normal. If they want to do more they have harder levels.

  4. I wonder if the annual pass was mostly a way to stop their subscriber numbers plunging through the floor - it's a good package and was enough to get people to sign up for a whole year, probably thinking MoP was 6 months into that year. I suspect the time the annual pass runs out will be the real deadline for when MoP has to be out there ;) Diablo came out just as disillusion with DS was rising (and has now killed the WoW playerbase temporarily), but the MoP presaging events should start up as Diablo dies down.

    Keeping those subscriber numbers up is critical in terms of making WoW continue to look unbeatable compared to others in the market. The reality is most MMOs have a 3-4 month retention, and managing that cycle to keep people engaged or at least subscribed is the real trick.

    1. I'd agree with that. I've always said I think patches should be every 3 months. Four at the most. I noticed that three months after a patch I usually find myself looking for other games to play because I've done what I wanted to do.

  5. You've probably been following some of the attunement debates, but a lot of this ties in; the biggest question is "why am I doing this?" I love attunements because they answered that question, as well as giving me a chance to learn how to play the game as I went (The Master's Key).

    LFR doesn't teach anyone anything. It provides no context other than a loot pinata that isn't actually raiding at all, thanks to the fact the participants work AGAINST each other rather than with each other.

    The amazing part of all this is the game grew when endgame was exclusive. It's started to decline now that everyone can see everything a week after a patch.

    I'm not sure I'd point at "baddies in the queue" as my reason, more that Blizzard have decided everyone must raid...

    Whether they want to, or not.

    1. That is a big part of it. The everyone must raid mentality.

      I do understand their views that why create so much content for so few people but I stand by what I always said. People that want to raid will get good enough to raid.

      The people that don't really want to raid only raid when it is easy enough for them. They are doing it because it is easy, not because they want to do it.

      Yes, I've been following it and I did love attunements myself. I personally think they should make a comeback even in a small way. Like a small quest line that you need to do before you can do the raid. Something that can be done solo even.

      Like you could have said you needed to complete the thrall quest line before entering DS. Something small and simple like that would be fine. Yet saying you needed to open everything in the molten front would be too much.

      They removed attunements because it made it harder for people to catch up. Remember the days of having to run new players through everything before they could join you because they where not ready for it yet? That is what they are trying to stop it seems. The need to do that.