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Default Diablo - How it Saved the Computer RPG

January 24th, 2012, 23:36
A debatable topic if there ever was one but 1Up has a piece titled How Diablo Saved the Computer RPG, looing back at market at the time, the release of Diablo and why it was successful (with some dodgy assertions). From the opening:
It's safe to say that by 1995, the computer role-playing game was dying. RPGs were losing traction to the wave of games modeled after two recently innovative titles: 1992's Dune II: The Building of a Dynasty and 1993's Doom. After the success of those two titles, the computer game industry as a whole shifted to producing more real-time strategy games and first-person shooters. The dwindling audience that enjoyed turn-based role-playing games full of mechanics, simulations, and obscure details were then being swayed by turn-based strategy games like Civilization II.
By this time, traditional first or third-person RPGs were still being released, but pretty much no one except Europeans bought them. One of the bigger successes in the genre came from a small studio in Maryland: The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall from Bethesda Softworks. Yet that was more of an anomaly — Bethesda saw better traction from shooters like Terminator: Future Shock and its sequel SkyNET. Even the stalwart Ultima series — Lord British's saga of isometric RPGs in a fully fleshed-out fantasy universe — abandoned its core principles in pursuit of the action-driven market. Ultima fans generally felt betrayed when Ultima VII Part Two: Serpent Isle — a party-based RPG with a vast world — was followed up with Ultima VIII: Pagan — which featured a lone hero in a much smaller setting that bizarrely featured platforming elements (most likely in pursuit of luring action and even console gamers to the Ultima series).
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January 24th, 2012, 23:36
Saved? More like hastened its action-spewing, downward spiral. I liked Diablo… but SAVED RPGs?!?!

At least the guy has the courtesy to briefly mention Baldur's Gate at the the tail-end of the article.
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January 24th, 2012, 23:47
no i think the title is just badly described, diablo DID save cRPG but for mainstream audiences. the mainstream could have been ruled by stupid shooters and racing games(which i like also but not as RPG) but the fact is that diablo applied to audiences never expecting to be thrilled by it, hence opening the door to many more fans of this genre.

yes, its corny and taking advantage of a much more serious system of role playing, but it's still a great gameplay value even though its hugely based on the capitalism built in each of our genes.

the hardcore role-players will always grunt toward these games such as diablo. i am just a gamer i enjoy most genres of games regardless if they are "complex" or amazingly refreshing.
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January 25th, 2012, 00:02
I loved Diablo 1 as much as anyone else, but really, it was just the first easy roguelike for the masses.
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January 25th, 2012, 00:23
Well, there's no doubt the influence that Diablo had on computer gaming in general. It was a massively popular game that was incredibly innovative in certain ways. Many others tried the formula without nearly the same success. However, I think the article somewhat undermines its own argument when it talks about how fans felt betrayed when their favorite series catered to the action audience (Ultima VIII is mentioned). How does that tie in with Diablo being the savior for those people?

Personally, I think it was just an exciting period for role-playing games. It was a genre that was largely disappearing, and then some of my all-time favorite games were released like Diablo, Fallout, and of course the highly regarded Infinity Engine games. That was the period that the empires of Bethesda, Blizzard, and Bioware were created. Also somehow the empire of Interplay crumbled shortly after, taking down Black Isle with them. At least we have Obsidian.
Last edited by rossrjensen; January 25th, 2012 at 00:45. Reason: typos
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January 25th, 2012, 00:27
Oh oh oh, the ego!!! Crpg's would still exist without Diablo, that is a certainty. Would the audience be smaller….perhaps. Would the majority of games be better…..definetly! The sheer arrogance of it all, Blizzard has done more to dumb down crpg's than any other company, I'll give them that free and clear.



-Carn
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January 25th, 2012, 00:55
Originally Posted by Carnifex View Post
Would the majority of games be better…..definetly! The sheer arrogance of it all, Blizzard has done more to dumb down crpg's than any other company, I'll give them that free and clear.
Not sure I agree with that. Some of the best and most complex RPG's came out after Diablo. We can debate whether or not Diablo had an impact on that or not, but it certainly cannot be blamed for dumbing down crpg's since some of the most complex ones came out afterwards. Diablo helped many people who otherwise never would have thought about playing a RPG start to take an interest in the genre. All the sudden, they see screenshots of games like Fallout and Baldur's Gate in their PC Gamer magazine that look pretty similar to Diablo and decide they should try it out. Next thing you know, Baldur's Gate has become their favorite game, something they like on a deeper level than they liked Diablo. It definitely had an impact on blending action games with RPG elements, and is that really so bad? Would Deus Ex have existed without Diablo? Maybe. Would Titan Quest? No way!

Wouldn't you rather play an action game with some RPG elements rather than a straight action game in the mold of Doom?
Last edited by rossrjensen; January 25th, 2012 at 10:11. Reason: typos
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January 25th, 2012, 01:11
Diablo 1 is the only game in which I killed end boss accidentally by passing by and hit him one time. The begin of dumbing down games…


1995 was a good crpg year because:

1995 Stone Keep
1995 Albion
1995 Wizardry Gold
1995 Daggerfall
1995 Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games
1995 Ravenloft: Stone Prophet
1995 Secret of Mana 2
1995 Might & Magic: Swords of Xeen

For every complex problem, there is a solution that is simple, neat, and wrong. - HL Mencken
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January 25th, 2012, 01:30

Saved computer RPG in 1996.



Saved computer RPG in 2006.
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January 25th, 2012, 01:56
Originally Posted by HiddenX View Post
1995 was a good crpg year because:

1995 Stone Keep
1995 Albion
1995 Wizardry Gold
1995 Daggerfall
1995 Jagged Alliance: Deadly Games
1995 Ravenloft: Stone Prophet
1995 Secret of Mana 2
1995 Might & Magic: Swords of Xeen
Wizardry Gold was an inferior version of the original Wiz7, the UI was so slow to control and it barely works on modern computers. Deadly Games was abysmal - it removed all the strategic elements that made JA1 so good. Secret of Mana2 is a console button mashing action RPG (was a good game tho - I finished it) and Swords of Xeen was mostly a buggy mess - a big letdown after finishing World of Xeen. But apart from that your list is good

Favourite RPGs of all time: Wizardry 6, Ultima 7/7.2, Fallout2, Planescape Torment, Baldurs Gate 2+TOB, Jagged Alliance 2, Ravenloft: The stone prophet, Gothic 2, Realms of Arkania:Blade of destiny (not the HD version!!) and Secret of the Silver Blades.
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January 25th, 2012, 02:04
Originally Posted by rikus View Post
yes, its corny and taking advantage of a much more serious system of role playing, but it's still a great gameplay value even though its hugely based on the capitalism built in each of our genes.

the hardcore role-players will always grunt toward these games such as diablo. i am just a gamer i enjoy most genres of games regardless if they are "complex" or amazingly refreshing.
My personal impression is that we have basically nothing but action oriented RPGs nowadays.

From that perspective, Blizzard didn't "save" the RPG genre - they just changed it forever.
And not into a direction I like.

Action-RPGs have become SO mainstream that NO-ONE does "complex" games anymore - complexity just isn't seen as both favorable and mass-selling nowadays.

It's that simple : Action-RPGs have a mass appeal - so the bigger companies (and a lot smaller ones) just do that - simply to minimize risks and expand profits (which complex RPGs just couldn't bring).

Complexity has died out. It's as simple as hat. Drakensang was probably the very, very last non-Indie complex C-RPG.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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January 25th, 2012, 02:32
Originally Posted by Alrik Fassbauer View Post
Complexity has died out. It's as simple as hat. Drakensang was probably the very, very last non-Indie complex C-RPG.
Okay…how about we test that. Give me your list of top 10 RPG's that you consider complex, then break them down into whether they came out before or after 1996. I'm just curious to see whether your list has more RPG's post-Diablo or more pre-Diablo.
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January 25th, 2012, 03:02
Typical 1UP article: Complete and utter bullshit only to generate hits. I'm not going to do them the favor of generating an additional one. Nice troll attempt but no thanks!
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January 25th, 2012, 03:20
Diablo didn't immediately ruin the rpg genre and instead of being the straw that broke the camels back it was the straw that started it all. It is still responsible for destroying the rpg genre but the decline was more an eating away of the edges.

PS. The most complex rpgs ever made were the Realms of Arcania series.
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January 25th, 2012, 03:47
I never did get the hype over Diablo. I thought it was a boring and recycled game that reminded me of 80s arcade games like Gauntlet. It was not innovative at all, and its popularity was always strange to me.
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January 25th, 2012, 04:19
Originally Posted by Arkadia7 View Post
I never did get the hype over Diablo. I thought it was a boring and recycled game that reminded me of 80s arcade games like Gauntlet. It was not innovative at all, and its popularity was always strange to me.
I thought Diablo was good for its time. Not great, but a fun game with lots of atmosphere and some very memorable music tracks.

I'll never understand the popularity of Diablo 2 though…
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January 25th, 2012, 04:49
I guess I can see why it was popular, but what I really meant was its incredible massive popularity was strange to me. I know fantasy games always have a big potential audience but Diablo seemed to go beyond that niche and become a lot more popular than it had any right to be. I mean its basically an arcade action game at heart, and that has been done many times before.
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January 25th, 2012, 05:46
Originally Posted by guenthar View Post
PS. The most complex rpgs ever made were the Realms of Arcania series.

Boom. Good call.

Wonderfully deep, often-overlooked and under-appreciated series.
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January 25th, 2012, 06:56
To me diablo was mindless clicking disguised as a game. I would have bought it had I known that the future of crpg's hung in the balance. Sorry I dropped the ball.
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January 25th, 2012, 09:12
Originally Posted by Elwro View Post
I loved Diablo 1 as much as anyone else, but really, it was just the first easy roguelike for the masses.
That is pretty much how I always thought about it. Even back then the similarities with what I had in mind when I was thinking cRPG (much less RPG) were tenuous at best…

I was quite obsessed with it, either way, when it came out. I must have finished it several times in a row.

Totally burned me out on the "Hack an slash" genre though. My only other forays in it were Diablo 2 and Dungeon Siege, which I both failed to even come close at finishing (and I finished everything back then) despite having, in abundance one of the important elements that usually hooks me in a game (namely atmosphere). Not even remotely interested in anything Diablo 3 related these days… I am keeping an eye on Grim Dawn after all these years though… Something about the setting or art direction (or perhaps the atmosphere as I perceive it from the vids), but I digress.

Regarding the article's "controversial" position: Weell it certainly showed the publishers that you could make money from a simple (but difficult to balance to perfection as Blizzard does) and very addictive formula, of constant rewards for repetitive grinding (gotta keep that dopamine flowing ). Also that people like virtual goodies/loot (that for some reason their muddled brain centers confuse with actual rewards ?).

So enter the age of "tripe with a smattering of rpg Elements", that Bioware for example does so well of late. Do people, like us i.e. like the games being made today and called RPGs? That is beside the point for both the people investing money for these games to be made and expecting a return, or the idiots writing articles like this one alas…

P.S Apologies for the wall of text
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