Friday, May 25, 2012

Diablo 3: Playing Off Nostalgia

After clocking in many hours and slaying half of hell, I feel like sharing some of my impressions and opinions on one of the most anticipated games of the last decade.  It's been 12 years since the release of Diablo 2 and ever since the first announcement, and all the teasers released each year at Blizzcon, fans have put Diablo 3 on a pedestal.  After having hour long discussions with friends and reading raving reviews online, everyone seems to enjoy the game, but why do I feel let down?

Blizzard has always been one of those companies that gamers look up to.  They have built their business around successful franchises and have published many of the best selling PC games ever.  Diablo 3 is no different, selling 3.5 million copies in the first 24 hours and over 6 million in the first week.  Diablo 3 continues the story with a world being invaded by the forces of  hell, and players choosing their heroes to defeat Diablo himself. With stunning cinematic cut scenes and hand painted environments it's obvious Blizzard put a lot of time and money into the game.

With that said, why did the game have a less than stellar release?  With the now infamous Error 37, players were not able to log in during the official launch, even during the first day there were hours of down time for server maintenance. That does not bother me as much compared to the lack of detail with character models, the short 10-15 hour campaign, no player vs player available at launch and the incomplete auction house with their revolutionary use of real currency.

Something I noticed right away after logging into Diablo 3 for the first time was the lack of customization and depth in the characters you choose from.  In most modern games today, customizing your character is a big part of the gaming experience.  Being able to customize your characters looks gives you a sense of identity.  Not only are you not able to customize your character, but the models themselves are unimpressive.  Sure you are looking at your character from overhead, but who doesn't want to zoom in every so often and check out how awesome your character looks after hours of slaying demons?

In Diablo 2, PvP was a big part of available content.  Being able to invade another players game and challenging them to a dual, compare stats on the leaderboards was partly why you kept coming back. I remember being at Blizzcon and hearing about the new arena battles that Diablo 3 will have at launch.  Then, a couple months from the release day, we hear that no form of PvP will be available at launch.

Why does this all matter? As a consumer and a fan, I feel cheated.  I feel like I got a game that was 90% complete and was told "Enjoy what we give you and you'll get the rest when we are ready."  This has become a problem in the gaming industry.  I would much rather have a completed game with all the features and content available on release than wait weeks or months for the rest of the content.  I also find it hard to digest that other gaming websites have given this game such good reviews even with its flaws.  With games like Diablo, we cant let our 12 year old fanboy come out and cloud our judgment just because of the title on the box.

The fanboy in all of us
-Written by Adam Borchert


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