Sure, there are plenty of reasons to LOVE Diablo 3. Blizzard is finally returning to the franchise that practically defined “dungeon crawler” and awakened the gambler in all of us. I love games, and have played through hundreds of alphas and betas, testing games before their release. Naturally, I didn’t get into the Diablo 3 closed beta, so I didn’t get to take it for test drive until this past weekend. Keen wrote some quick thoughts about the beta, but rather than rehash what’s great about Diablo 3, let’s break down what isn’t.
4-Player COOP Max
Really? That’s it? Diablo 2 boasted 8-player games. We live in an age when even our aging consoles can support FPS games that have 64+ capacity per server. Why in the bloody hell would you limit us to 4 players per game? It’s as if the developers at DICE, who used to believe in squad-based, tactical combat for their Battlefield franchise, had a little meet and greet with the Blizzard folks and said, “Eight players? We used to offer squad sizes roughly that big. You know what players really love? Squad sizes of 4. After all, they only have 3 friends on average anyway.”
This is probably the most annoying change, and one I think my friends and I may have a difficult time overlooking as we are playing the same game at the same time, but unable to experience it together. Bad Blizzard.
Individual Loot Drop
Yeah, we all hated it when the that shiny, rare item got snatched up by the damn sorceress, with her imbalanced teleport. On the other hand, the mad rush for the items that dropped at the end is what made the final moments of every boss fight tense and exciting. Well, no longer I suppose–in the name of “fairness,” or some crap like that. Was there even an outcry about that leftover from the days of Diablo 2? I just don’t understand this design decision. And, worse still, why not give us the option to set individual or global loot when starting a game? Why is that such a hard thing to do?
Weapons Are Just About the Numbers
There are very few weapons that each class can’t use, which is great. The bad part is that even when you equip interesting weapons, you rarely ever see them being used. This is because of the way Blizzard designed the skill system, which basically replaces any semblance of a default “attack with your standard weapon” ability. For example, you might equip a sword and buckler on your witch doctor, but your left-click skill is to shoot blow darts and your right-click skill is to throw pots of spiders. In the end, every time you perform those skills (which is ALL the time), your sword disappears. In the end, you never actually see your character using the weapons you’ve collected to equip. Instead, all they do is provide bonuses to your damage.
Companion NPCs Only When Playing Solo?
I can’t confirm that you’ll never be able to have an NPC companion around while playing with friends, but the templar NPC in the beta could only be used when you were solo. I know this one seems minor, but I was fond of the NPC companion system in the Diablo 2:LOD expansion. Getting to customize their loadouts and skills was something fun to put some time into, but it seems like Blizzard disagrees–at least while you’ve got at least one of your only 3 friends with you. Why can’t I hire the templar AND play with a friend? Is that too OP for the Diablo and hellish hordes? No comprende.
Overall, Diablo 3 is a great game. Art direction, sound design and gameplay really shine–as they should. But, some of these gripes of mine stem from asking the question, “What was so wrong with the way these things were?” And, don’t even get me started on some of the idiotic requests I’ve seen from WoW players, like the ones who wants a “dungeon reset” button so they don’t have to leave the game and start a new one.
What did you guys think of Diablo 3?