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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » News Comments » Diablo 3 - Stay Awhile and Listen

Default Diablo 3 - Stay Awhile and Listen

May 22nd, 2013, 01:35
NewGamerNation has an article about Diablo 3, and the topic is about the failure of it's story.
With its most famous legacy usurped, now may be a good time to assess Diablo III on a different criterion. I am not an expert on Action RPGs, and I’ve only played a few hours of Diablo II, so I don’t feel qualified to ruminate on the loot distribution and auction house. What I can talk about is the story and characters. Any RPG, even one where the conflict is literally as simple as ‘good versus evil,’ requires an engaging story and characters to be truly successful. Believable motives, interesting dialogue, and memorable villains are the hallmarks of a successful RPG. Of course, it’s nice to have these components in any game, but in a genre that boasts game features like Alpha Protocol‘s dynamic dialogue system or Mass Effect‘s famous characters, any RPG worth its salt needs to put in a strong showing.

This is where Diablo III disappoints the most. Sure, the loot is uninspired and the auction house is a painfully naked attempt for Blizzard to wring yet more profit out of a game that has already sold over twelve million copies, but what really hurts is that such a phenomenally successful game could have such mediocre writing. Players starting up this hugely-anticipated chapter in the series expected either a bare but serviceable story, like in the previous installments, or a dynamic world with genuinely fascinating characters. What they got was a mess with a lot of characters, lore, and words, but nothing that was fresh or sensible.

Sloppiness and blandness are the hallmarks of Diablo III‘s story, and yet there is a bright side. When I am listening to a podcast or have an hour to kill, I might still play a bit of the game, because its visuals, sound design, and action are so addictive and satisfying. It’s just a shame the writing can’t match their standard.
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May 22nd, 2013, 01:35
I assume that Action-RPG fans/players just don't care how bad the game's story actually is - it has evolved into an mere "Loot-RPG".

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May 22nd, 2013, 02:42
While I would typically be the last to ever make apologies for D3, the franchise has never been about the story… It was always moreso about the fun; the latest installment in the series simply wasn't fun, pure and simple.
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May 22nd, 2013, 05:06
Originally Posted by Drithius View Post
While I would typically be the last to ever make apologies for D3, the franchise has never been about the story… It was always moreso about the fun; the latest installment in the series simply wasn't fun, pure and simple.
Agree completely.
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May 22nd, 2013, 05:17
Originally Posted by Drithius View Post
While I would typically be the last to ever make apologies for D3, the franchise has never been about the story… It was always moreso about the fun; the latest installment in the series simply wasn't fun, pure and simple.
Perhaps the story wasn't a focus but certain characters of D2 were absolutely adored. Tyrael and Deckard Cain both had huge followings. Sure D2 was about the gameplay and loot but it sure made it more fun to also have really epic cutscenes with great characters.

D3 ironically ruined both Tyrael and Cain. The D3 writers absolutely butchered both characters' stories. It is like they wanted to stomp on the legacy of D2. This was and is a massive insult to many fans. I think you'd be surprised how many of us found D3's story to be a SERIOUS reason to hate the game.
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May 22nd, 2013, 06:47
Originally Posted by Brumbek View Post
Perhaps the story wasn't a focus but certain characters of D2 were absolutely adored. Tyrael and Deckard Cain both had huge followings. Sure D2 was about the gameplay and loot but it sure made it more fun to also have really epic cutscenes with great characters.

D3 ironically ruined both Tyrael and Cain. The D3 writers absolutely butchered both characters' stories. It is like they wanted to stomp on the legacy of D2. This was and is a massive insult to many fans. I think you'd be surprised how many of us found D3's story to be a SERIOUS reason to hate the game.
Yeah, I have to agree.
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May 22nd, 2013, 08:15
if you talk about deadends, you should be referring to the starting point more. Oh wait, you haven't played it
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May 22nd, 2013, 08:39
Funny, people talking about how D2 came up short on story. I can actually remember the storyline well enough I could write an essay about it, now, well over a decade later. I can't recall the storyline of the first Mass Effect near as well and its been only a few years. Maybe that's only because I played every chapter in D2 100 times or more, but isn't the fact I *did* replay D2 that much pretty good evidence they got the story just about right? Any more story heavy and the story would have been getting in the way.
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May 22nd, 2013, 08:43
Diablo 1 had an amazing atmosphere for the era. It also had this badass manual with all kinds of universe building, and it wasn't just standard fantasy fluff. They knew this shit was about demons, and they did not hold back.

Even D2's manual was boring crap by comparison, and, while the game certainly exceeded D1 in pretty much every way, I think it loss some of the atmosphere of D1. I mean, when I think of D1, I think of the Tristram theme, the creepy cathedral, the Butcher, and slowly decending into the depths of Hell. It was narrow in concept, but it worked. D2 certainly had more in virtually every department, but I can't but help that it lost a taste of D1's atmosphere.

D3 is even paler still, and I'm not one of the anti-D3 partisans. It didn't feel as generic as, say, Torchlight, but it still seemed pretty white bread. I did like the Heaven area though.
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May 22nd, 2013, 16:03
The cutscenes in Diablo II were impressive and the atmosphere really good, but the story wasn't exactly making an impression on me. That said, I think story never was a big factor in action RPG's, or at least they usually don't have much of it.

Also, I did enjoy Diablo III. Of course, I'm not the type to reply it 10x and farm bosses for drops, or whatever.
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May 22nd, 2013, 21:59
D3 is just not a fun game. Even if a decent story were to unfold as you played, the gameplay is so hideously dull and tedious that most people wouldn't want to play it just to see how the story turns out.

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May 23rd, 2013, 21:38
The number of retcons prior to release gave a fair idea early of what to expect.

(SPOILERS follow)
Even so, I thought story- and atmosphere-wise the first two Acts were fairly Diabloesque and generally ok, but afterwards it got real dull real fast (although signs of it did show earlier in ActII, when the obvious betrayal commenced but no NPC seemed to expect it duh). The story seemed to have huge holes and inconsistencies from late ActII on.

For instance, the ending, where they simply let the black soulstone fall from heaven, knowing full well it now contains all the demon lords. They go on with monologues of glory instead. Also, Tyreal tears off his wings and becomes human. Then we learn that humans are in fact descendants of naphelem, that is, half demon half angel beings. So how does an angel who tears off his wings become a naphelem? Suddenly he gets a little demon blood in him, or what? Where did some characters disappear to after they get in on the action (Adria - again, who could not see that one coming???, or Imperius - disappears promptly after his spectacular introduction)? I could go on. But meh.

It just seemed like they were not ready with the second half of the game. But the great money came from WoW, and they rather pushed DIII out the door to make the Annual Pass work as and when intended, thereby keeping tons of subscribers paying for a year for WoW that was fast becoming dull by then. I keep telling people that they sacrificed DIII for that reason. That's only the tip of the iceberg, however, as I doubt the game-killer RMAH, the terrible itemization, and the botched character customization would have been otherwise, given more time.

So yea, I feel the story took big steps back even compared to the first two games' simple but atmospheric stories, but there are problems much greater than that.
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May 24th, 2013, 00:01
Diablo, the lord of darkness intones into your avatar's personal headset, "There is no way you will ever make a right at the next intersection, proceed through the underpass, and slay my lieutenant, Mr. Deathpants".
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