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Default Diablo 3 - On the Future

March 3rd, 2013, 08:05
Blizzard developer Travis Day responds on the Diablo III forums with a lengthy post as they thrash about looking for solutions to various problems:
The “problem” with trifecta items can’t be discussed without also pointing out that it is only a problem because the AH makes obtaining these items so easy. On a basic level, I have no problem with items existing that players highly desire, but when it is a forgone conclusion that you will have those items then we have problems. If the auction house never existed, players wouldn’t be upset that trifecta exists, they would be upset that they haven’t been lucky enough to find their own trifecta items. To summarize, I think the right solution to this problem isn’t cutting trifecta items from the game, but rather it’s about getting to a point where you want more things than you can fit on an item.
I think your affix ideas are cool, and we have spent a lot of time lately talking about what kind of awesome effects we could put on items that we don’t currently have. I’d even say that as cool as some of these ideas are, we can go even further. We are putting a lot of effort into coming up with really awesome item ideas for future content. I’ll give one quick example of my personal favorite so far before moving on and also to give context to the direction we are moving in. Imagine a pair of Legendary boots that read “Makes you ethereal, allowing you to freely move through enemies”. Whether or not that idea makes the final cut is hard to say, but we want to really push the boundaries as much as we can, so legendary items become things that players can get really excited about.
More information.
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March 3rd, 2013, 08:05
All of the points should have been so blatantly obvious way before the game was released.
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March 3rd, 2013, 09:16
it's amazing the amount of stuff theyre constantly adding, tweaking, whatever in this game.

I think that says something right there. Not quite sure what it is, tho ='.'=

I dont dislike D3, In fact I quite enjoyed it, but like all games I move on after playing it thru. I guess some games are expected to have nigh-infinite gameplay/replay value.
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March 3rd, 2013, 09:19
I read what they're saying about character customization, and they're stubbornly refusing to understand that it's necessary.

They think they can rule out the fun or value of it, because times have changed or because people can just read up on strategies around the net.

I guess they haven't played Path of Exile. Good luck coming up with perfect builds that will exclude all others in that game.

It's about giving players enough options so as to make the "perfect" cookie cutter build forever elusive. At least, it will take years of experimentation for thousands of players to even approach that "ultimate" build with enough complexity and with enough options.

They really think D3 is a better solution? Where people run around with a tiny handful of builds that vary slightly as they alter balance a little bit every few patches? They really think it's better that people don't feel like replaying the game with the same character ever?

What a strange position, but whatever.

Their items are boring as well - and they don't understand how to make them alter your playstyle. Items need to be like little characters all by themselves. That's how the genre has evolved, looking at Hellgate and Borderlands - and yet they're going backwards, DEVOLVING item design from Diablo 2.

Wake up, Bliz - or you'll never recover from this in terms of being masters of the genre.
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March 3rd, 2013, 09:28
I think the whole genre is flawed and there isn't sufficient scope within the tired mechanics to add much to hold long term interest. Certainly, they aren't going to transform the gameplay by fiddling around with the itemisation.
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March 3rd, 2013, 09:34
Fiddling around? No, they need to change itemization at the core - and that would require a fundamental design overhaul.

They'd also need to change the skill system so as to make customization interesting and diverse.

Smart way would be to do it for the expansion - so players would have new content along with the improved game.

I think the genre can easily evolve and stay interesting.

Again, Path of Exile is a great example of how to handle character development. They just don't have the production values of Blizzard - and unfortunately, they haven't so much evolved the genre as they've improved certain established design approaches.

To take it further - developers need to think big and they need to expand upon all the vital features and take them beyond where they are now.

Hellgate did that in many ways, but unfortunately they messed up the launch big-time and never recovered from that PR disaster. Could have been the next step.
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March 3rd, 2013, 10:22
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
To take it further - developers need to think big and they need to expand upon all the vital features and take them beyond where they are now.
Maybe (I didn't play Hellgate), but that sentence is a bit short on specifics . Blizzard took about a decade to make D3 and Arenanet more than half a decade to make GW2. But, neither of them managed to solve the problem of squaring the circle - or rather of making a straight line vertical gear progression result in renewable gameplay. In Arenanet's case, eager to encroach on Blizzard's markets, they wantonly threw away all they'd learned in GW1 about horizontal progression.
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March 3rd, 2013, 12:34
If you want to play Hellgate it is still going as a F2P game at http://hellgate.t3fun.com/home/home.aspx
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March 3rd, 2013, 12:37
Originally Posted by Roq View Post
Maybe (I didn't play Hellgate), but that sentence is a bit short on specifics . Blizzard took about a decade to make D3 and Arenanet more than half a decade to make GW2. But, neither of them managed to solve the problem of squaring the circle - or rather of making a straight line vertical gear progression result in renewable gameplay. In Arenanet's case, eager to encroach on Blizzard's markets, they wantonly threw away all they'd learned in GW1 about horizontal progression.
Why would I care to expand upon that sentence, though? It's not like Blizzard would act upon it.

I'm pretty sure I could come up with an action RPG that would evolve the genre, but it's not like anyone is going to listen and actually create it.

However, if you will take it upon yourself to realise my ambition - I will gladly go into as many details as you'd want

As for GW2 - that's a completely different beast. If you want an MMO to last these days, you have to give power to the players. Allow players to create a dynamic playfield and let them create their own content.

At the very least, you want to give players a REASON to stay in the game. That doesn't mean expecting them to repeat content over and over and over.

ArcheAge looks to be doing that in a smart way, because they retain the themepark elements that will ease people into the experience - but the game opens up as you progress.

GW2 decided to hand everything interesting to players within the first 30 levels - and apparently they thought it was brilliant to reward players with cosmetic upgrades rather than power. They removed the added tactical layer of the trinity and replaced it with nothing. They made PvP all but meaningless - taking away the player identity in WvWvW, which is just another instanced battleground that resets every two weeks. The only thing that matters is your commander and the amount of players in the zerg. As a normal player - no one will notice you. Naturally, it's dreamy PvP for players who suck at PvP - because they can still make a difference. But as a competitive player - it's pretty worthless.

I don't know that they were thinking - but I guess if you're a casual player you might be entertained for a while.

That said, I do admire certain things about the game. It looks pretty good - and the city designs are fantastic. It does have some great exploration elements - and I love the underwater environments. In fact, the game COULD have been great with some serious design changes.
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March 3rd, 2013, 12:38
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
If you want to play Hellgate it is still going as a F2P game at http://hellgate.t3fun.com/home/home.aspx
Unfortunately, the game is severely plagued by technical issues - worst of all being the horrible "1 FPS bug" that makes the game all but unplayable for me.

They also decided to downgrade the textures and the game looks pretty bad as a result.

Quite sad, because the game had a ton of potential.
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March 3rd, 2013, 13:25
Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
ArcheAge looks to be doing that in a smart way, because they retain the themepark elements that will ease people into the experience - but the game opens up as you progress.
It also has the advantage of not having been released over here yet .

Originally Posted by DArtagnan View Post
That said, I do admire certain things about the game. It looks pretty good - and the city designs are fantastic. It does have some great exploration elements - and I love the underwater environments. In fact, the game COULD have been great with some serious design changes.
I agree, the game could have been fantastic. I'm pretty sure I know what happened: Just like Warhammer Online (before EA got their hands on it), the game was originally designed to be unlevelled or at least have very limited leveling, like Guild Wars 1, so that nearly all the content would have been relevant at the top level, sandbox style (and like GW1). However, in the last year or so, they fell victim to Blizzard WoW clone gear grind disease, just like every other MMO after WoW. Due, no doubt, to suit pressure…

And that's really the point I was making in comparing MMORPGs with ARPGs such as Diablo: Leveling and progression are poisonous to long term gameplay in multiplayer games, because they render content redundant after levelling through it and fracture the player base into different level dependent islands. Content wise it's like looking through the wrong end of a telescope, the more you progress the less there is to do.
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March 3rd, 2013, 15:45
Originally Posted by Roq View Post
It also has the advantage of not having been released over here yet .
Not much of an advantage, from my point of view

I agree, the game could have been fantastic. I'm pretty sure I know what happened: Just like Warhammer Online (before EA got their hands on it), the game was originally designed to be unlevelled or at least have very limited leveling, like Guild Wars 1, so that nearly all the content would have been relevant at the top level, sandbox style (and like GW1). However, in the last year or so, they fell victim to Blizzard WoW clone gear grind disease, just like every other MMO after WoW. Due, no doubt, to suit pressure…
Nah, that's not the vibe I got from them. I think they overestimated their own ability to evolve the basic themepark MMO design and their understanding of the genre. I think their approach is very telling of having huge ambitions without truly having the talent required to pull it off. A good example would be the racial storylines - which were downright horrible and embarrasing.

They were too busy trying to kill what they didn't like about the genre - but it seems to me they completely failed to understand why certain things work and how to improve them, rather than remove them altogether.

And that's really the point I was making in comparing MMORPGs with ARPGs such as Diablo: Leveling and progression are poisonous to long term gameplay in multiplayer games, because they render content redundant after levelling through it and fracture the player base into different level dependent islands. Content wise it's like looking through the wrong end of a telescope, the more you progress the less there is to do.
Nah, I don't agree with that at all.

Also, I think the two genres are vastly different. One genre is focused entirely on progression - and the other is (or should be) focused on social interaction with a lot of players - which should ideally result in a compelling virtual world.

Content will eventually be redundant no matter what you do - and leveling and progression has absolutely nothing to do with content never being able to last. There's no design in the world that can make content last forever.

What you need to do is allow players to create their own content - and make systems where repeating content is not the only endgame activity available to high level players. There's no reason you can't have both levelling/progression and have content be perpetually relevant for all levels of play. You just can't make the process of content repetition the heart of the endgame. That's the mistake.

The reason a themepark is fun is because you share the experience with your friends. The rides themselves are fun for a couple of times and that's it. GW2 expected their rides to be so fun that it would be enough to just let them all be "ridable" at all times with cosmetic rewards. But that's not the direction evolution will go.

Leveling and progression is a natural part of any power fantasy - and that's exactly what RPGs are supposed to be. Taking that away would be completely missing the forest for trees. That's a big reason GW2 is not working as well as it should.

Again, the developers didn't understand the genre and they don't understand why leveling and progression is and SHOULD be an integral part of the experience.

It simply shouldn't be the heart of the experience. The heart should be social interaction and the ability to individually and communally affect the world around you.
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March 4th, 2013, 09:31
When Blizzard changed its platform from PC to Internet, it fell. Don't deny it no one can.

I’ll never forget this. In 2004, when WoW was erupting, an Origin employee who worked on Ultima Online was telling us that Blizzard was finished. This was contrary to Blizzard really skyrocketing as a company then.

He said, paraphrasing, “World of Warcraft will change the company.” We all know this is true. While some argue about the art styles and lore issues, the truly significant change was the shift of Blizzard changing their platform to the Internet. After WoW, all their games became Internet based.

There entire company focus shifted from good sp games to what we now call services.

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March 5th, 2013, 02:57
Been playing D3 very casually for a bit. Hit lvl 28 last night with my Monk, right at the beginning of Act 3 now.

I'm enjoying the story-line quite a bit thus far.

I have zero interest in PvP.

I play Solo all the time and don't see that changing.

I "enjoy" using and making due with what I find or can make. I doubt I'll ever touch the AH at all.

I made it to Act 2 of Hell in D2 with only found items and much prefer farming for an item vs simply being able to buy it.

That said, I realize that at some point I'll hit a ceiling, where the difficulty vs my less than fully optimum gear, will play a significant role. Which I'm pretty sure is what happened to my Paladin in D2

And I'm fine with that.

I'm not one that has to be or have the best to enjoy the game or my experience in it.

Anyway, not to diminish the criticisms of others…just thought I'd chime in and say that I personally am enjoying it atm.

Regards
Last edited by Roland; March 5th, 2013 at 03:48.
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March 5th, 2013, 07:20
No need to be apologetic, Roland. It's an enjoyable game. :-)

Most of the sound and fury of threads like these is about high-minded design ideals. Interesting stuff, but not necessarily a condemnation of the game at the basic "it's fun for a while" level.
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March 5th, 2013, 09:46
Originally Posted by chamr View Post
No need to be apologetic, Roland. It's an enjoyable game. :-)

Most of the sound and fury of threads like these is about high-minded design ideals. Interesting stuff, but not necessarily a condemnation of the game at the basic "it's fun for a while" level.
After WoW, Blizzard aren't satisfied with fun for a while. They want everyone to be paying them a substantial proportion of their income for life.
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March 5th, 2013, 18:27
Originally Posted by Roq View Post
After WoW, Blizzard aren't satisfied with fun for a while. They want everyone to be paying them a substantial proportion of their income for life.
And how, exactly, would that apply to D3? And please don't say the RMAH…
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March 5th, 2013, 19:13
Originally Posted by chamr View Post
And how, exactly, would that apply to D3? And please don't say the RMAH…
RMAH, DLC, Sparkly ponies…
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March 5th, 2013, 20:06
Blizzard always went for the mass-market. They've never created games for the few.

While they seem to have lost their magic touch - I don't think they're particularly obsessed with money. Not more so than any other developer would be in their position.

RMAH was a design choice meant to minimize the problem with gold selling and black market item trading. I can't say I necessarily agree with it - but I don't think it was about greed.

Of course, people will believe whatever their agenda forces them to believe.

We can't know with certainty anyway - but I tell myself I'm pretty good with people. The vibe I got from Jay Wilson going through their design process and endless iterations, I think the RMAH was exactly what he said it was - an idea stemming from their design department.
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March 5th, 2013, 21:18
Originally Posted by Roq View Post
RMAH, DLC, Sparkly ponies…
The RMAH being a source of any significant levels of revenue to Blizzard has been debunked repeatedly. Think about it this way: WoW receives $15 a month from every single player. D3 probably generates a few dollars a month from a tiny percentage of the player-base crazy enough to spend extra money on the game so they can acquire top-end gear without working for it. Clearly, there's no relationship between those two revenue models at all.

There is no DLC for D3, and the Sparkly ponies are free. :-)
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