Diablo III Catch-All

I remember when we had this similar conversation about StarCraft 2's lack of LAN support and how that would scare people off and minimize its impact on e-sports while hamstringing its sales and ushering in the end of Blizzard.

Yup. I sure do remember that.

Elysium wrote:

I remember when we had this similar conversation about StarCraft 2's lack of LAN support and how that would scare people off and minimize its impact on e-sports while hamstringing its sales and ushering in the end of Blizzard.

Yup. I sure do remember that.

It didn't keep it from being an e-sport success, or become the end of Blizzard, but it ruined one of our PenguinCon tournaments. Not exactly industry-shattering, but it seemed especially needless after that happened. The hotel's connection, being used as it was, simply wasn't up to supporting even two people playing against each other. It's disappointing, especially from a company so loved by gamers.

Don't get me wrong. I agree that it's annoying, and I've seen it impact more than one MLG.

But, I think there's room to recognize that there are two different kinds of impact. A lot of the things that people seem to think will hurt Diablo 3's sales, I doubt will even be a blip on the radar. To be brutally honest, if I were Blizzard and I had committed to this direction, then my focus at this time at most would be community management and more likely just be to not even address that this is still an issue for some buyers. The moment Blizzard addresses people's concerns with the always-on front is the moment it becomes a thing ... until then it's invisible to the vast majority of the people who will actually buy and play the game. And for those it is visible to, I'd guess a lot more of them will actually end up ponying up for the game than will sit on their hands in resistance.

For me, I'm just pushing into the part of my brain that operates in the MMO space, and don't even think about the server thing anymore.

I agree it won't have a huge impact. I'm admittedly a wee bit nervous about the first week, but it should be smooth sailing after the initial rush. Or at least that's my hope. If it doesn't work, I have plenty of other games I can play in the meantime. Like Diablo 1 or 2.

Well, I'm not trying to lead any kind of crusade against always-on gaming, either. I don't think Blizzard gives two craps about my reservations. Knowing myself, I'm also making empty threats, because when I see other people playing, I'll cave in anyway. I just... Really don't like it.

Totally fair.

On a broader note, though, a game like TF2 does the same thing. You see it differently, of course, because you think -- well, TF2 is inextricably tied to being online. I think Blizzard wants us to make the same assumptions (eventually) about Diablo. The thing is, I've seen a lot of posts in this thread and countless others saying that D3 is a single player game. It's not. It's a multiplayer game you can choose not to play with others. Or at least that's clearly how Blizz is positioning it. I'm still not 100% certain that's not a colossal pile of BS, but a lot of how they seem to be building the game supports the idea that they aren't treating as a single player game at all.

Well, TF2 doesn't become unplayable absent an internet connection, though. It just cuts you off from all of your extra free, or paid for, content, if you can't hit the Steam servers. You can still LAN TF2 with no issues, and play with the base weapons. Honestly, even with the new weapons, the game changes very little. I haven't factored in how much things change without hats, though.

Elysium wrote:

I'm still not 100% certain that's not a colossal pile of BS, but a lot of how they seem to be building the game supports the idea that they aren't treating as a single player game at all.

For many people, the Diablo series has been single-player games with the option of multiplayer. I think it's easy to be 100% certain that, in this post-WoW version of Blizzard, they're treating D3 as the opposite - an online-only MP game that you can play solo if you want.

MeatMan wrote:
Elysium wrote:

I'm still not 100% certain that's not a colossal pile of BS, but a lot of how they seem to be building the game supports the idea that they aren't treating as a single player game at all.

For many people, the Diablo series has been single-player games with the option of multiplayer. I think it's easy to be 100% certain that, in this post-WoW version of Blizzard, they're treating D3 as the opposite - an online-only MP game that you can play solo if you want.

I think that's a good point. Part of my sadness stems from the fact that I'd be willing to bet that every error I've experienced has been directly related to server/multiplayer issues, and not the single-player game itself. The stuff I don't care at all about - multiplayer/co-op/auction house/social layer (I get my social layer right here discussing games with the lovely folks on GWJ), (seems to be) the primary issue causer.
Lag when killing something? It's having to call home. Game timing out? Calling home to the mothership. Being tabbed out of the game for 30 minutes reading GWJ? Well...

IMAGE(http://www.pucemoose.com/pics/error1.jpg)

I wonder how D3 would fare if they offered the single player version for $30 - with absolutely no online interaction or achievements. No co-op, no multi, no achievements, no leaderboards, no auction house, no chat room, no online requirement, etc. Just the single player campaign. (With of course an in-game $30 purchase option to 'upgrade' to multiplayer if you so choose.) It's kind of an interesting thought. I know it would never happen, but I wonder if the loss of revenue from the single player segment to piracy would offset the bandwith/server/personnel burden relief from the lack of online connectivity from the 'cheap' purchase option?

The couple times I got logged in to play I had a great time...it feels like exactly like I expected a new Diablo game to feel. Looks great and highly polished.. The odd character advancement is weird but Im hopeful that things get a bit more varied at higher levels.

The biggest disappointment will be that it's only for this weekend...I want the full game now!

Puce Moose wrote:

I wonder how D3 would fare if they offered the single player version for $30 - with absolutely no online interaction or achievements. No co-op, no multi, no achievements, no leaderboards, no auction house, no chat room, no online requirement, etc. Just the single player campaign. (With of course an in-game $30 purchase option to 'upgrade' to multiplayer if you so choose.) It's kind of an interesting thought. I know it would never happen, but I wonder if the loss of revenue from the single player segment to piracy would offset the bandwith/server/personnel burden relief from the lack of online connectivity from the 'cheap' purchase option?

I don't think they are ever going to offer that or would because I think a big reason they have it online only is to prevent the hacking and duping that really hurt Diablo 2 online and by having a singleplayer version than it gives acess to all the files needed to dupe needed to make the hacks possible which I am sure they will happen eventually but I would love an offline or at least similar to starcraft offline DRM though I don't have any issue with it being online only. I really like what I played from the beta and am super excited for the full game.

I could see them offering a starter version with the first act or so in like a couple years.

I finished the beta tonight. Overall, it was very good.

I keep reminding myself that Diablo II came out 12 years ago. Since my eldest son just turned 10, it is quite literally a lifetime ago for me. I come in with no expectations of what it should be. I see what it is, and it's not for me. For now.

Elysium wrote:

It's a multiplayer game you can choose not to play with others. Or at least that's clearly how Blizz is positioning it. I'm still not 100% certain that's not a colossal pile of BS, but a lot of how they seem to be building the game supports the idea that they aren't treating as a single player game at all.

I would have less trouble swallowing that if there was any gameplay synergy whatsoever between multiple characters in the game. Yes, I said synergy. At the end of the day, what Blizzard needs is a paradigm shift to leverage their infrastructure.

BadKen wrote:
Elysium wrote:

It's a multiplayer game you can choose not to play with others.

I would have less trouble swallowing that if there was any gameplay synergy whatsoever between multiple characters in the game.

I came to post this as a response as well. There don't seem to be any mechanics or character skills (in the beta) that are focused on cooperation or teamplay. There's also no need to cooperate due to the difficulty level.

The only skill I've encountered that acknowledges other players exist at all is the Monk's AoE heal.

The game is a lot more satisfying and fun with four players though.

There's not really enough of the game available in the beta to know what the game's actually like. If the difficulty ramps up significantly, and you start to get skills that acknowledge it's a multiplayer game, then all could be well. Think waiting a week after release for people to power through the content once might be a wise idea here.

That video Blizzard released a while back only made me more concerned, as they seemed to equate getting killed a lot with increased difficulty.

The problem with saying something along the lines of "remember it's a beta and doesn't represent the final version" is that you/Blizzard can't control what people think, only influence it. When you put something in front of people that presents a game a certain way, then they're going to absorb that evidence and draw conclusions, it's the way our minds work and there's not too much you can do about it. The D3 beta starts you off in what appears to be singleplayer (invite-only) mode and then over the weekend they have poor online access.

Scratched wrote:

The D3 beta starts you off in what appears to be singleplayer (invite-only) mode and then over the weekend they have poor online access.

A beta, open to the world, for one of the most popular computer games ever made. Frankly, I think they have handled it well. Testing for unknown quantities can be tricky. Now if poor online access occurs on launch day, when they should have a good grasp of what their user base could potentially be and what their infrastructure can handle, I will be searching around for my torch and pitchfork with everyone else.

TLDR; It is a beta, not a demo.

Nimcosi wrote:

TLDR; It is a beta, not a demo.

Except the lines have been blurring for years, and I think it's silly to deny that. For everyone who's ever got into a 'beta', I suspect there's very few people who can say, hand on heart, they're doing unpaid (or even paying early to get into the beta) testing not because they want to test and fix bugs, but because "Man, I want to play game X".

Scratched wrote:
Nimcosi wrote:

TLDR; It is a beta, not a demo.

Except the lines have been blurring for years, and I think it's silly to deny that. For everyone who's ever got into a 'beta', I suspect there's very few people who can say, hand on heart, they're doing unpaid (or even paying early to get into the beta) testing not because they want to test and fix bugs, but because "Man, I want to play game X".

That's true, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't be able to rationally identify the difference between the two.

I think it's a moot point, anyway. This is Diablo 3, it will sell at least 5 million copies.

Messed around with the barbarian and wizard classes. It's very pretty, but I keep asking myself where the innovation is. Yes the graphics are better, not hard to do since it's been forever since the last one, but I was expecting more from the gameplay side. I've never played WOW, but I've seen some friends play it and this just seems to be sort of a top down version of WOW. Just click and repeat. I understand that "click and repeat" is how Diablo works but I guess I had been looking for some more cerebral options.

I understand this is a stress test and isn't representative of the full game, so maybe there is more to be seen. Certainly isn't a first day purchase for me at this point.

Scratched wrote:
Nimcosi wrote:

TLDR; It is a beta, not a demo.

Except the lines have been blurring for years, and I think it's silly to deny that. For everyone who's ever got into a 'beta', I suspect there's very few people who can say, hand on heart, they're doing unpaid (or even paying early to get into the beta) testing not because they want to test and fix bugs, but because "Man, I want to play game X".

From my POV, the issue you and other have with equating this to a beta is that you have 'bug hunt' fixed synonymous with 'beta'. However, that's not the only kind; stress test on infrastructure is a valid type of beta test as well. Which this is one of. So, simply by logging in, or attempting to log in, or even just kicking the crap out of the servers, you're providing a valuable service to Blizzard.

I played D3 last night and it was my first experience playing any Diablo game, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. My only expectation going in was "this is a game where you click and get loot" and in that sense it wasn't disappointing at all. I played as the Witch Doctor and was really impressed by her, being able to throw jars of spiders and summon flaming bats and stuff was definitely fun. I'll probably pick that character again when the game comes out.

Also, I was pleased that it ran fine on my Macbook Air, which isn't exactly a gaming powerhouse.

I really think people are over-valuing "innovation" in regards to Blizzard. They make some great games, but I feel that their main strength is in polish and attention to detail, not innovation. D3 beta felt exactly the same as SC2: more of the same, very polished and that's frankly enough to make me happy. I wasn't expecting much new here, and anything that was a radical departure seems to have been dropped previously in development which means they weren't happy with any of the "innovations" they were trying. Chances are high that some of the concepts they dropped in development will return in an expansion pack since that's usually how Blizzard rolls.

Demyx wrote:

I played D3 last night and it was my first experience playing any Diablo game, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. My only expectation going in was "this is a game where you click and get loot" and in that sense it wasn't disappointing at all. I played as the Witch Doctor and was really impressed by her, being able to throw jars of spiders and summon flaming bats and stuff was definitely fun. I'll probably pick that character again when the game comes out.

Also, I was pleased that it ran fine on my Macbook Air, which isn't exactly a gaming powerhouse.

I am so pleased by the male witch doctor cast animation for the firebat spell. It's like a crazy person jig.

Yup, it's Diablo. Its pretty much what I expected while still feeling great. I love the style.

Had to play public games since solo wasn't working this morning. I did my first play through with the witch doctor and glad I did. He is a ton of fun and it seems he can play two different rolls. Crowed control or AOE dmg.

This game is pretty darn fun to play co-op with people you know. I am going to do a second play through with a monk tonight.

I will be in vent.

drdoak wrote:

I am so pleased by the male witch doctor cast animation for the firebat spell. It's like a crazy person jig.

I thought it looked like Day9's fusion core dance. But with fire and bats. Makes me laugh every time I use it.

A lot of you are making very quick decisions based on at best, 13 levels. If you have the same impressions of lack of coop skills and choice in character customization at level 20, you may have a point.

The problem is, by level 20 if not sooner, the character customization is going to open up tremendously. You will have 18 skills unlocked (all unlocked by 30). You will have all 6 skill slots unlocked by then and you have 4 by level 10.

You will have 2 of your 3 passive slots unlocked and 6 of your 15 passives available.

And then there are the runes. Most skills you have unlocked before level 10 will have 2 runes to choose from by level 20. Most skills unlocked before level 15 will have at least 1 rune available. All runes for all skills will be unlocked by 60 (which I think is a mistake, as I am sure that most people will not want to wait until essentially inferno difficulty to use some of their runes, but I can live with it)

And anyone who's played any diablo knows snare, stun, knock-back and freeze are king. These are the key co-op abilities. Diablo 3 has not let its predecessors down in this regard and has given every class favored options such as corpse explosion, a pet/turret, and chain lightning (though it is not lightning)

The skill rune system is completely innovative. I do not want to go back to skill trees ever again.(though it appears I will have to) They look so dated to me now and talk of skill synergies makes me want to puke. Synergies are like putting duct tape on a cracked dam.

As a matter of fact, I think the rune system is the biggest development to happen to rpgs in a decade. (along with Guild Wars 2's skills that are determined by weapon type) RIFT's root/tree soul system comes in a distant third.

As far as challenge goes, it has gotten better in recent patches. Playing with 4 players is not hard but it is definitely the most chaotic and fun. I think 2 player is easier than single player. The bump in difficulty isn't much between 1-2 players and the skill mix with 2 players is much more powerful to supersede the challenge. I haven't played with 3 players yet as it seems you either solo, duo or quad in this game.

Removed. My skimming bit me in the arse.

fangblackbone wrote:

The skill rune system is completely innovative. I do not want to go back to skill trees ever again.(though it appears I will have to) They look so dated to me now and talk of skill synergies makes me want to puke. Synergies are like putting duct tape on a cracked dam.

As a matter of fact, I think the rune system is the biggest development to happen to rpgs in a decade. (along with Guild Wars 2's skills that are determined by weapon type) RIFT's root/tree soul system comes in a distant third.

Right. I glossed over this or dismissed it out of hand. I absolutely love the way they're handling the skills in this game because it's less time agonizing over theorycrafting builds and more time playing the game. Also, I don't have to re-roll a new build if I decide later I hate my setup. You reach the exact same destination as before (omg powerful character) when you properly maximize your character's potential, but the journey is a lot more forgiving.

I also like what they're doing with the artisans. It's a cool improvement over the gambling system from D2.

So I guess my statement about lack of innovation isn't so much that's there's much "in your face" direct innovation, but the innovations are smaller and subtle. They're rounding off some rough edges and making the ride smoother. Which is still how I feel they handled Stacraft II.

And anyone who's played any diablo knows snare, stun, knock-back and freeze are king. These are the key co-op abilities. Diablo 3 has not let its predecessors down in this regard.

Stuns could be described as a key co-op ability, as they become more effective the more damage you can deal during the stun duration (more players = more damage). The other ones you mention? I'm not sure I'd include those.

Good co-op abilities are ones that get progressively more powerful the more players you have. Auras and debuffs for example. Also different abilities from different classes that work well together (a spell that sucks enemies into a small area + another spell that does AoE damage).

The skill rune system is completely innovative. As a matter of fact, I think the rune system is the biggest development to happen to rpgs in a decade.

The rune system isn't really a system at all. You could have six discrete skills rather than a skill with five variants and it would be exactly the same thing.

There's nothing new in it that I can see? Different skills or variants of skills unlocking at different levels has been done for a very long time.

Not saying I actually dislike the approach they've taken, but I think you're going overboard by describing it as a giant step forward for gaming kind There's a lot to be said for shop's observation: "there's less time agonizing over theorycrafting builds and more time playing the game"