May 23, 2012
Some passing thoughts on Diablo III
I have been playing Diablo III for the past week now. Despite the fact that I’m solidly suckered in by the carrot-and-stick mechanic, the game does indeed have its flaws. This isn’t really the place to discuss them, as that’s more review material, but here are some thoughts I’ve had recently about Diablo III, as well as a few neat ideas I happened to read on the Something Awful message boards.
For one, loot variety is ridiculously awful. White items are extremely common, as they ought to be and were in Diablo 2, but unlike that game they are COMPLETELY useless in Diablo III. They aren’t required for crafting and there aren’t those rare cases where you find a white item with the right adjective attached to make it worth picking up. They aren’t even worth enough to merchants to warrant picking up and selling. So it’s only fitting that when you reach the point in the game where you’ve trained your brain into ignoring them, gem text is colored white as well. This is a terrible thing.
For example, Diablo 2 had a bunch of low-level sets and uniques that were worth seeking out before you were a high-level hell-only character. It made lower level item gathering a more entertaining process and much less of a grind since you weren’t wading through a sea of crap you intended to ignore forever.
It would be really neat if Blizzard either made some new random parameters or actually took the painstaking time it would take to craft a few hundred super-rare, super-powerful items and put them in the game. Just make them high level legendary uniques with ultra-low drop frequency and loose them into the wild. The game isn’t about balance between players, it’s primarily (and currently it’s ONLY) PvE, so when PvP is finally implemented they can simply become blacklisted items. The top end loot drops aren’t bad by any means, but they lack the fireworks and “kill 50 things in one click” that would be nice to have of some super weapons. Maybe a limited set of charges before they break forever, making mint condition versions sell for high amounts in the auction house.
The auction house itself needs some reworking as well. With 8 years of refinement on WoW’s auction house, the team from Blizzard North could easily peak over Blizzard’s shoulders and see what they could do to make things better. For one, searching by what the item does or increases would make it extremely easy to log on and find things to increase your intelligence. A searchable auction house in the first place would also be great, so you could simply put in part of the name of what you’re looking for and instantly get what you’re looking for. Perhaps even have a “similar items have sold for X” when making a new auction so you know where to start asking. Obviously for these first weeks the economy is going to fluctuate a bit while item values are still being determined by bidding, but saving users the trouble of compiling charts or wikis or committing prices to memory would be a big help towards the community. Perhaps the biggest thing they could do for the auction house is make it more in-game. As is you have to quit to the menu to use it. Make a new vendor in towns that gives you immediate and direct access to the auction house, allowing you to bid, buy, and sell items whenever you stop back in town.
A couple I’d personally love to see are the ability to display BOTH rings you’re wearing while comparing to one in your inventory, as currently it only displays one, then the other when ALT is pressed. I would also like to see a button you could hold to compare whatever you’re currently looking at to the equipment your three followers are equipped with, making it easy to see if it’s an upgrade for any of them without opening up the followers menu or going back to town.
A few more musings on the ideas for dungeons had me nodding my head in agreement. One of which was the idea of a new 16-level dungeon that takes place under the Tristram cathedral, basically recreating the entire first game. I would honestly be open to paying about $2-3 for this dungeon as DLC, provided the content is of a high enough quality and the experience is something unique that wouldn’t be mirrored by simply running the random dungeons located in Diablo III’s first act. Another idea was for an “arcade” type dungeon where you have leaderboards for time, loot picked up, health orbs picked up, kills, elites, etc. Along those lines would be a survival dungeon that starts out easy and quickly ramps up, seeing how far down you can make it before fighting twelve butchers at once does you in. This would encourage the already healthy social aspects of the game, making friendly rivalries for high scores a reason to keep returning and replaying an already expansive game.
One of the biggest things worth noting here is that Blizzard is one of the most post-launch supportive developers around these days, and chances are that many of these sorts of changes will be made. Better yet, chances are also extremely high that they will actually listen to their community and implement what the community wants as well.