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April 16th, 2009, 22:57
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
This is the sort of problem you'll always run into when going the relatively strict class/archetype route.

Blizzard obviously prefer this approach, and there are many distinct advantages - among them balance and a strong established "feel" that players can relate to easily. It's most likely a very wise approach when targeting primarily casual gamers, which I personally consider Blizzard's core audience.
I disagree. Last point first, I'm not sure how you define "casual", but I don't think there's a less apt word for Blizzard's core audience. World of Warcraft? Diablo II? Starcraft? Warcraft III? There are more people who've put in a thousand (1000) hours or more to any ONE of those games than there are people who've put 1000 hours into all of our beloved CRPG classics COMBINED. I don't have empirical data here, but do you honestly think that's incorrect? I mean, frigging WoW? In how many games can people can play 10-15 hours a week for 2 or 3 years and still be called "casual" by the hardcore players? I think if you're going to call Blizzard games casual, you'll need to provide some examples of what games are hard-core.

But to the topic, I think your view of class-specific equipment is more based on WoW than on Diablo II. Of course it's true that in WoW, ALL the best equipment is class-specific. And further, in WoW, class archetypes are much more strictly enforced, with many classes erally only having 2 or 3 truly effective builds, or less. Or at least that's how I remember it.

But Diablo II is a different beast. First, as I said, the expansion introduced ONE (1) type of armor OR weapon per class, for a total of one (1) class-specific item per class. Just one. Assassin claws, Necro shrunken heads, etc. But just ONE per class, and one piece of equipment is certainly not enough to give a class like samurai a distinctive look. In Diablo II, all the rest of the equipment was generic. I mean, there were stat requirements, but that was it.

And this dovetails with my primary point, which is that Diablo II was so flexible that the archetypes you see in WoW were nowhere near as strictly enforced. Sure, amazons and sorceresses tended to shoot, but they didn't have to. There was a melee sorc, and a far more viable melee amazon. There were paladins who threw hammers and didn't ever melee, and others who had to charge in and smack each monster, and otehrs who just killed things with massively pumped shock auras. There was so much variety and flexibility that it still pisses me off when people call Diablo simplistic. Sure, it was a realtime clickfest. But underneath it was a massive array of options for creating a character that could go the distance.

Anywho, an inherent part of this system was generic equipment that could be used by any class. And indeed, most of the best armor and weapons were sought after by multiple classes. It couldn't have been further from the structure of WoW, where there are precious few pieces of armor that are useful to more than a single class (and generally, those are useful to 2 classes and no more).

So, Samurai in WoW? Sure, that would be completely easy to do. Samurai in Diablo? Not so much, unless you're ok with him not looking like a samurai. And again, what would the point be of that? I don't think DIII will lend itself to roleplaying the Bushido code or anything…
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