I'll be mostly talking about video games or ranting about something with the recent news. If you like video games and want to hear about what I may be playing or reviewing, feel free to stick around.
Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Diablo 3 and what should have been
Well I have to applaud Blizzard in all reality. From a business stand point it would seem like you're on the perfect track to make the shareholders at Activision very, very pleased.
You've taken a game with so much hype built around it, a game with a rabid and wildly large fan base, a game vaulting off of the massive success of the previous generation - and you've turned it into your sacrificial lamb.
I understand that WoW is dying. The cash cow that you have been able to depend on to fill your coffers is finally drying up. It had a great run. MoP is not likely to defibrillate the failing heart of what was once the WoW empire, and you know this. Starcraft 2, while an amazing game, cannot replace this cash cow - then again it wasn't meant to. How could it? Your business foresight is very, very attuned. Because of this you carefully planned your next chess move: Diablo 3.
What better way to birth another golden goose than to bank an entire game off of the most addictive part of what Diablo 2 was: the item grind. Pure brilliance. And so, from the ground up, you formed this game to be solely about item exchange - this would be the titan built to replace WoW's subscription based bankroll in the form of micro transactions.
Except one thing: you're boring.
On May 15th 2012, after nearly a decade of anticipation, we were given Diablo 3! Except, it's not quite Diablo 3. It's a slimmed down, cut up version of the Diablo 3 everyone was taught to expect. Except, it wasn't given to us, we still had to pay you full price for it: $60.
My how the mighty hath fallen. Why is it not Diablo 3, you say? Well let's see. Anyone remember all those teaser videos spoon fed to the community over the past 3 years? Videos slowly leaking to us glimpses of the content we could expect to experience? I do.
If their idea of newly generated fights, quests and environments is a continuous cycle of the same things from a pre-conceived list, he's spot on!
So where's the beef? - some might say. The beef is that this is not Diablo 3, this is an imposter. A hologram. An artificial replacement. A lame duck substitute for what hype built it up to be. A cut up and slimmed down version of what should have been. In essence: a slaughtered, sacrificial lamb.
That leaves myself and thousands of others saying indeed, where is the beef? Blizzard's answer: there is no cow level. But hey, we got rainbows and unicorns!
Is anyone still in complete denial about how truly boring this game is or have people started to shake off the honey moon dust?
You eliminated enchanting, PvP, pet companions and other things from the release version so that you could market it as part of a later expansion for more money. (This is a trend in gaming that several developers have been following; withhold content you've been advertising for the past two years and charge a premium for it at a later date. I shouldn't have expected Activision-Blizzard to be any different, and that is my fault. I wrongly assumed this group was made of trend setters and leaders, not followers - so shame on me.)
You didn't include a single player mode because you can't make money off of people if they aren't using the AH in a multiplayer format. Less work for you in the development stages, and forces people to engage in the micro-economy that your bankroll is based on. Again, brilliance. Which leads me to my final point:
There is so LITTLE dynamic to this game I cannot believe it took this many years to create it. In fact, I don't. So why the long wait? I'll tell you: economic law.
More specifically, the legality and complications that stemmed from the idea of a multinational game built around a Real Money Auction House. This process, I imagine, took years to iron out - while the game itself probably took no more than a few actual working years to complete (and it truly shows).
It doesn't take an overly intelligent mind to figure WHY they would want to use a RMAH and get a cut of (a lot of) the transactions. That's fine. Here's the problem: you built the entire game around a pure gear grind, and then force that gear grind to revolve around the AH, specifically the RMAH. There is literally no other dynamic. When you build a game from a purely business stand point, you're not building a great game - and a great game this is not.
In conclusion, gamers, do you really want to spend your time on yet another slave-like gear grind? If so, eat your heart out. You'll find no better place to do it! If not, there are a plethora of other games out there much more deserving of your $60, I promise.
Diablo 3 was built around Activision's greed. Participate at your own will.
Gamers hold grudges and people aren't going to forget this disaster. If you obliterate your true fan base, the pillars of your success come falling soon after.
I give this post less than a few hours before it is deleted by Blizzard moderators. Can't have that bad flavor out there, can we? Truth hurts.