Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Diablo III Release and Back Lash

El Diablo is out there in its third incarnation, some of you may have worked that out when I was spouting off about why I cancelled my order for it the other week.

I mulled my decision, I took a number of mails from readers telling me how much of a fool I've been, and I even had a close friend complain that I was abandoning him by not buying the game...

But... The game is out now... and it seems my thoughts on the topic were pretty much right...

Firstly, the game, despite the experience Blizzard have with player numbers from their MMO behemoth World of Warcraft, as suffered server problems - as I wanted to play the game offline and alone server issues were high on my 'watch for' list, and they've been reported in bucket fills.  In fact server problems have been so widly reported that they made main stream media, notably appearing on El Reg and the BBC sites.

Secondly, it does seem; listening to friends and contacts playing; that the game is not living up to the hype...

Its been over a decade in coming, it can never live up to the hype... but... it seems in some places the opinion is that the game is pretty low on replay value, and its pretty linear in other places - where its predecessor, though repetative - due to the technology used to generate the lands being random by limited by art palette - was not so linear.

Here's some of the choice points put to me:

"it feels like a dumbed down version of d2 (Diablo 2), it doesn't have the same dark feel"

This is not a suprise to me, how can a game from family playing Wow hugging Blizzard ever release a game truely horrifying?

"the music just isn't spooky and the cut scenes frankly rather than being epic-movie-like things they were in d2, just feel like cartoon scripts written for 10 year olds"

I'm not checking on the demographics of the players of the game, but I'm sure Blizzard want as many people as possible, and they want as little back lash as possible.  With a major playing base coming from the continential United States they're not going to be able to press the demon side of the game, even though its name is Spanish for "Devil" they can't press that... The game has to pander to the lowest common denominator, and that denominator is 10 year old yanks...

Then there was my worries about the controls of the game, I feared nothing but a click fest, an RSI law suit waiting to happen... Here's what my friend had to say...

"[the] first 10 levels you only really get three spells and it gets quite boring"

"i played on an asian server for half an hour with a wizard but got very bored very quickly then switched to a witch doctor when i got on the eu server.  I levelled him to 9, defeated a boss and suddenly the game gets a lot harder"


"i felt like I played for 2 hours felt like i had more fun when i played monk for two hours in the beta version the other week"

And this is a recurring theme, I have two other contacts telling me they had more fun from the Beta, that they feel that the beta contained a short, sharp linear example of the game, which is much better than the game itself.

At the end of the day, after having my pre-order for a year I was really not bothered whether the game was delivered or not, I was never into Blizzards other IP (Starcraft) and I quit WoW cold turkey, so maybe its good I'm not into this game, and not hearing good things... Not least when I also hear this...

"I'm sure it'll improve once I gain a couple of levels, maybe something will happen at level 10... I'm not hankering to get back to the game"

There are lots of hopes that Act II has more substance to it, there are hopes that the game evolves some... But whilst keeping the base players happy?... The Kids happy?... Their Moms happy?... It's never going to manage it.

And if this is the level of feedback I'm getting, this just re-enforces my decision to have not bought it.

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