A “Scientific” Explanation Why D3 is Less Addictive than D2


An interesting article popped up yesterday by Alex Curelea. In the post he discusses how reward/addiction loops form in primate brains (hope you don’t mind being compared to a blackberry juice-craving macaque) and why Diablo 3 provides less addiction stimuli than Diablo 2. The full post is a great read, and it’s even got charts and graphs, but here’s a quote of the conclusion that gets the point across.

In the end, Blizzard is left with two groups of players:

  • New players will not experience Diablo 2’s reward loop, and will not get hooked. They will enjoy the game, get to the end, and (for the most part) wonder what the big fuss was about, lose interest, and wander away.
  • Old Diablo 2 players will be left frustrated, unsatisfied by the lack of in-game rewards they were craving, and become angry, depressed, and reduced to flinging poo on the Battle.net forums.
  • Out of necessity, Diablo 3’s reward system has to account for the Auction House. Because equipment is never destroyed, in-game rewards can never be too frequent or powerful or they will flood the Auction House, eventually trivializing game difficulty. There have been many solutions proposed (here is one particularly insightful discussion), but the reward system seems so intertwined with the Auction House that it’s difficult to see a radical change coming. Blizzard’s response over the next few patches will be very interesting to watch.

    His basic theory (see the illustrations quoted below) seems to be that Diablo 2 was less fun to play than Diablo 3, but that the item rewards were better and more fun/addicting, so like the monkey with the blackberry juice, players would put up with endless boredom since the occasional item rewards were so good. More valleys of fun, with peaks of delight.

    As you see in the charts above, Diablo 3 is just the opposite (in his analysis). More fun playing all the time, but without the spikes of joy from awesome item finds. Thus a better overall experience, but not so “addictive” in the literal sense of the word.

    A fan asked Blizzard about this during yesterday’s chat, and got a lengthy answer. Click through to read it, and see why I think it’s wrong/misses the point.


    Wyatt Cheng Responds

    Alright so I’m going to take a stab at this question.

    As mentioned in a different thread, the drop rates were carefully tuned for a single player playing through from 1 to 60 without ever using the AH.

    All of our items are randomly generated, and so follow a distribution curve in power. Let’s say for the sake of argument that you were to somehow distill an item down to it’s “power level” and created a distribution graph of drop rate vs. power level. This graph would probably be normally distributed with outliers at high power levels dropping at a lower rate.

    Looking at this graph, an average item drops every 5 minutes, a higher power item drops every 15 minutes, even higher power drops every hour. etc. As you move up the curve to ever more powerful items, the amount of time it takes to find such an item increases. This is what makes certain items more desirable, this is how things worked in D2.

    What happens for a standard player who is playing solo when they first hit level 60 is they see an item upgrade every 30 minutes or so. Pretty quickly it becomes every hour, then every 2 hours. The higher the power level of your gear, the longer it takes to find your next upgrade, that’s just the underlying math of this distribution. It’s not really anything we set either. If we magically made all drops rates 10x higher, all it would do is shift the power curve left or right, it would not change the fundamental property that the higher up in power you go, the longer (statistically) it is going to take until you find your next drop.

    So then let’s say you visit the Auction House and get infusion of power that hurls you forward on that power curve. So whereas at one point your gear may be at a point that you are statistically speaking probably going to get an upgrade every 2 hours. After visiting the Auction House you hurl yourself forward on the power curve so far that now you are statistically going to get a drop every 8 hours.

    To further illustrate the point, let’s talk about the coming changes in 1.0.3. In 1.0.3 we’re going to start dropping level 63 items in Act I of Inferno. We’re also reducing incoming damage. What do I expect to happen? I expect that there will be a rapid increase in power across the entire community as all of these items become more widely accessible. It’s like we took the distribution curve of items and made everything drop more. That item that used to take 10 hours to find is now a 2 hour item. An item that used to be a 2 day item is now an 8 hour item. After the initial frenzy of power increase, things are just going to settle again. People who think drop rates are too low now will probably still think drop rates are too low a week later when they move to the new point on the curve. I’ve spent a long time on this question so I’m going to move on but hopefully somebody who gets what I’m saying will be able to expand on it more, maybe draw some graphs to better illustrate the point.

    tl;dr we could make drops 100x what they are now and it would just cause everybody to settle at a new equilibrium point. Anything you can farm in a few hours you’ll already have, anything that takes longer you’ll wish you could get faster.

    …I will say, while I’m not dismissing his conclusions, if you want to prove something with science you need data, not just a theory. The graphs created are based off memory and perception, and so this isn’t very ‘scientific’. /pushesnerdglassesupnose.

    Kudos to the devs for tackling the issue head on. That’s a reasonable answer, and it’s correct as far as it goes. It’s also a point towards the “Auction House ruins the game” argument that I think is substantially correct. Since the AH allows you to easily obtain an item that you would have had to play dozens of hours to find, it gives you one moment of joy, then ultimately turns the actual gameplay into an endless gold grind, since you almost never find or craft any upgrades, and only care about getting more gold so you can buy something in the AH.


    D3 Items Are Not “Fun”

    That aside, the main issue is that items in D3 are not as “fun” as they are in D2. (Scientifically speaking, of course.) We’ve seen numerous explanations why, with excellent discussions by Azzure and Brother Laz. The blue reply above focuses only on improved items. Better gear. Upgrades.

    That’s certainly a valid criteria, but it comes from a PoV that acts as though any item upgrade is going to hit that addiction loop feedback. And that’s not true.

    Yes, you can enjoy finding new rare shoulders for your Barb, and be happy that they’ve got 17 more Armor, and 43 more Str, which makes them an upgrade even though you’re losing 11 less Vit and 21 Dex on the exchange… but that’s not exactly a thrilling moment. It’s a slight, incremental improvement that will change absolutely nothing about your play style, while providing something like .03% more killing power.

    Uniques and Sets (also high level runes) in D2X provided that addiction trigger since there was joy and excitement when you found them. You couldn’t wait to see what the iten identified as, and how the semi-random stats turned out. Often it wasn’t an upgrade, or even usable by your current class, and often you’d found that same item 10x already, but it was still something different and special. And there were a few high level sets and uniques that you knew would be upgrades, could you only find them.

    Since the vast majority of Uniques and Sets aren’t very good, players don’t care that much about finding them. Furthermore, their absurdly low drop rates (balanced so they don’t clog up the AH, which is another way it ruins the game) means you hardly ever find them anyway. Rares in D3 are be the best items, but they’re never as fun to find, since you find them constantly. Yellow is an exciting color, but you see it all the time and you know that 99% of them are junk, so there’s not that burst of excitement upon seeing them drop.

    Maybe you’re happy once you ID it, but even then it’s almost always an incremental improvement, with some things better and others worse, and the total randomness of the stats mean you never have any expectation or anticipation when you pick it up. Just some hope, probably faint, that it’ll roll good mods, for once.


    Another aspect of D2’s interesting unqiues and sets was that they had flavor and style with special mods not found on Rares. I won’t restate that argument as it’s been done repeatedly, including by Azzure and Brother Laz in the articles I linked above. But this not only made those items a lot more interesting and fun than rares, but it gave them special utility. They changed the gameplay; enabled whole different styles or builds, and there’s nothing like that with any items in D3, since the uniques and sets pull from the same pool of functional-but-unspectacular affixes that blues and yellows use.


    Rerolling and Lower Level Uniques

    A further irony is that D3’s freespecs and auto-stats make any lower level items useless. Bashiok and others from Bliz spent months arguing that forcing players to reroll was a bad game system in D2, and that character variety and stat/skill permanence wasn’t necessary to feel character identity and attachment.

    That debate continues, though I’ll freely admit that zero respecs for skills or stats in D2 was probably a sub-optimal system. However, by never needing to reroll in D3, the excitement of finding a good item for a lower level character is removed. True, those items don’t really exist with D3’s current system of bland sets and legendaries anyway. But even if they had interesting and special green and orange items, who would care unless they were end game?

    For an example off the top of my head, look at something like the DiabloWikiKuko Shakaku unique bow from D2. Useless at high levels, but if you found one you thought, “This is an awesome item, and when I roll my next Bowazon, she’ll be so kickass once I hit 33 and can start using it.” There are dozens of other such items in D2, and you guys are free to mention your faves in comments.

    You got the same feeling with dozens of low and mid-level uniques in D2, and with some of the mid-level sets as well. Even years later, many of us can instantly remember the Clvl reqs on great uniques and sets (and runewords) from D2X, (I certainly didn’t need to check the Kuko page to verify the 33 that leapt into my brain when I thought of it.) since we knew that once we got our new characters to that level, they were going to start kicking ass.

    There’s never a sense of that in D3, since 1) you have no reason to ever reroll a class once you’ve made it once, and 2) there aren’t any awesome low or mid-level uniques or sets anyway. You can, of course, twink down rares, for rerolls or for other classes you haven’t played yet, but handing down a slightly better rare than you’d have found on your own at level 22 isn’t quite the same as knowing you had a Tal’s Mask in your stash, waiting for your new Paladin to hit 66 when it would change his life.


    Conclusion

    I’m not at all sick of D3 yet, but I’ve been very busy and haven’t gotten any characters into the end game item grind. Many players are though, especially those who were playing 10+ hours a day and quickly got one or more characters into Inferno, and their #1 complaint is the item system. And I think what they’re unhappy about is precisely what Alex Curelea touches on in his article.

    Diablo III’s item system is effective and well-designed and quite functional. But it’s not “fun” (since it doesn’t trigger our addiction reward brain nodules) in the way D2’s was. This is largely due to various issues with sets and uniques, as I tried to explain in this article. That’s why so many players are already bored with the DiabloWikiend game, despite the fact that Diablo 3’s combat and monsters and bosses and skills and many other features are huge improvements over what we saw in Diablo II.

    Happily, as many (including me, repeatedly) have pointed out, D3’s been out for less than a month. D2’s item system was tiny and primitive and poorly-designed after its launch, and didn’t become awesome until several patches after D2X, when we had the system that most of us remember through our rose-tinted glasses: awesome uniques and sets, great runewords, etc. D3 hasn’t had any content patches yet, much less an expansion pack to add diversity and complexity and depth and uniqueness to the item system, and all of the shortcomings of the system are amplified by the AH making high level items so readily-accessible.

    Given how new the game is, how many new features and systems it offers, and how late in the process the itemization was undertaken, it’s no surprise that D3’s item system now has a lot of room for improvement. Happily, the devs seem committed to making those improvements, and hopefully the helpful and gentle nudges and suggestions (and rage quit threads?) we fans are offering, will help them move steadily in that direction.

    Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, Diabloii.Net Articles, Items

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    1. Great post, thanks Flux. I agree with pretty much everything, except the AH part. AH is only a substitution for trading forums. There is still a trading option, and players are free to use it.
      I LOVE AH, 1, because I play HC where it’s not flooded, 2, because I hated trading WUGs and WUWs with passion.

      • It’s not a substitute since it uses gold.

        When you traded a player in D2, you gave up items for other items. The value of gold in D3 has changed the whole comparison of AH vs trading channels.

    2. Learning time:
      The science being referred to is Operant Conditioning (you know, BF Skinner stuff) and the specific type of conditioning that the graph poorly refers to is called a fixed-interval schedule of reinforcement, where you get rewards after periods of time have passed. This is actually inaccurate.

      The D2 item game more properly mimicked what is done in slots: A variable-ratio schedule of reinforcement, in which you do a certain repetitive behavior (killing bosses) and you can’t actually predict how many times you have to do it before you get your next reward.  Science has shown that this type of conditioning (with further science adding the layer of not being able to predict how much of a reward you’ll get either) to generally result in the highest amount of repetitive and compulsive behavior.  In animals. Humans are different but not nearly as different as you’d think. In this way,

      Now the commentary part:

      First, this type of Operant Conditioning is NOT about letting animals have fun. It’s about finding the way to make the most consistent and repeatable behavior on the subject. You should not be considering this particular compulsion aspect fun because that’s likely not what you’re experiencing.  The fun is the rush of the find. The dullness is everything else, and over time it evens out to mostly boring and repetitive behaviors. Our problem with this is our memory is better for the reward rushes than the rest of the time. The brain thinks all that is boring too and so doesn’t make that as easy to recall in memory. D3 is really an attempt to improve the fun of the game during all that time in between…but people are just focusing on this reward aspect.

      Second, D3 absolutely still has this. But many players who compare this with D2 find just two things wrong with it: 1) Many people don’t consider the reward to be the same level of reward as those treasured D2 uniques. 2) If people only consider item upgrades and not finding something sellable on the AH as a reward, then by using the AH you can be at near the max quality of item for that level. You’ll find rewards but because you don’t consider selling something on the AH as a reward and you don’t find something that’s a big boost in power for yourself, it just doesn’t work for you. 

    3. This.

      This. THIS. YES.

      I’ve been trying to put my finger on this feeling since launch. Because I am having a lot of fun playing the game. It’s well-polished, the character designs are great, and the skills are a blast. But I couldn’t figure out exactly why items weren’t as much fun. That whole “Do I want 10 more strength at the cost of 28 int?” tradeoff being the decision for upgrading is just not great.

      And the whole point about there being no early/midgame is spot on. It was great having an upgrade path with a new character, waiting for the level breaks to add to your Sigon’s set or when you were able to slap on Treads of Cthon and get that big run/walk boost. Nothing to compare to that here yet.

      I’ll be optimistic and side with the crowd that acknowledges that it took D2 some time to get its systems sorted out. I actually got bored with D2C pretty fast and it suffered from a lot of these same issues. I’ll agree that D2X changed the game there. Hopefully it doesn’t take a full expansion in this case, but one way or another I hope they’ll figure it out!

      • I felt much the same as you, in the same “something missing can’t quite figure what” sense.  I agreed with the points others have made also, but I thought the rewards peaks/valleys in this guy’s article was a good observation, and it seems to fit neatly with what so many are complaining about d3’s uniques.  And those points came together in Wyatt’s reply during yesterday’s chat, for reasons I said in this piece.

        I do think bliz will improve these issues, but the AH problem isn’t going away, nor is the uselessness of  low/mid level gear, both of which seem to take a big structural bite out of the excitement of finding new gear. (Possibly players will eventually rediscover the joys of rerolling and enjoying the leveling up process? Hardcore or otherwise?)

        That said, the AH issue is certainly open to debate, since a lot of people get joy out of buying and selling and finding bargains in it, perhaps as much or more as they would actually playing the game.  I don’t personally have any interest in using it, and I consider NM and maybe Hell to be the golden age in D3, where the game’s becoming challenging, but you can survive with clever play and by using self found or crafted gear. Inferno seems a lot less interesting to me (admittedly I don’t have a char that high level yet, nor do I feel any real desire to create one) now that I’ve seen so many reports of it being unplayable w/o top weapons that can only realistically be AH obtained.

        • It’s also a self-fulfilling prophecy in a way, where Blizz didn’t spend any time developing fun low/mid gear, maybe assuming people wouldn’t bother to re-roll, so there’s no low/mid game and people don’t bother to re-roll because of it. If it were a lot of fun to conquer the challenges of running a new character to lv. 60 people would do it.
           
          One other thing that I’m sure others have pointed out, but with the elimination of skill levels and variability, you definitely lose the coolness and power-upgrade feeling of “sure lv. 1 lightning fury is awful, but wait until it’s level 30” as each point you drop in makes it cooler. I imagine the load on the art team would make that impossible in D3, but even if they had a narrow grade of variablity based on item modifiers (+ to specific skills or a very rare + all skills) and/or time spent with a certain skill continuously loaded (maybe up to +3 from items and +2 from time investment?).
           

          • Well they were doing that with skill levels in D3 for years, and then after they dropped those they still had skill rune levels, which would have improved from 1-7. And then that got dropped also, to the flat skills/runes we have now. They scale with level and stats, and solve a lot of problems with one point wonders, but there are definitely trade offs.

            A lot of the multishot/Indigo runes are especially less fun in the current system; no one uses Fork in Magic Missiles, but if it could fire 8 MMs instead of just 3?  I’ve been enjoying the bouncing axe rune in Weapon Throw around level 30, but it’s not viable later. But if it could bounce between 8 targets, instead of just 3?  Etc….

    4. i dunno, I’m still quite addicted. Checking the AH if items sold, trying out newly bought items, anticipating inferno, working towards that gem upgrade or artisan training…right now my gold is always low and I can spend it like THIS so maybe that’s why I always have something to look forward to (lvl 60 barb A3 hell).

      Getting rares with NV is awesome, even if most of them are not upgrades (but that’s probably cause I’m still playing A3 hell).

    5. All I know about the new item system is that I’m learning an awful lot of new words for scrabble. Hoplon? Was it necessary to stray away from “shield, exceptional shield, elite shield?”

    6. False.  The most addictive games in the world have AH and “grind” elements that utilize what the author describes as a frustration loop.

      The “scientific” explanation doesn’t hold water.  It fails the scientific method principle: reproducibility

      He is arguing that the AH combined with a longer, more drawn-out drop rate lessens addiction.  Taking this hypothesis and trying to reproduce the result in another famous game with an AH and the ability to buy items only after you earn gold/honor results in failure.  You must grind for days or weeks (even months for things like the Darkmoon Faire) to receive the next item upgrade.

      That highly-addictive game is, of course, World of Warcraft.

      If he is trying to argue that D2 was more addictive than the scenario that I describe above, I can point to half a dozen people that I know IRL that have neglected jobs, hygiene, and significant others pursuing items on AH or items gained after extensive grinds.

      The “scientific” explanation reminds me of a Phoenix University undergraduate thesis or something equally hilarious.

      • The mechanic in that game is different. People have to perform different tasks (do different quests and kill different things) to have chances at obtaining the items they want. And/or they have to grind money to obtain their end goal and their smaller goals along the way.

        This game doesn’t have loot tables in that way, only item levels. It’s much more straight-forward. He wasn’t completely accurate but he wasn’t too far off. The problem is perception. People don’t like the rewards they are getting, don’t consider them rewards…

        • I just think the authors article should say the addiction path is different, not less, unless he is some sort of world-renowned doctor of neurobiology. 

          I concede that my comparison to D2 to WoW is just as erroneous as making a comparison to Maple Story or any other addicting game.  

          Ultimately discussion the multiple avenues of addiction just ends up proving my point that addiction comes in many flavors.  There are DHs in Inferno right now with MF gear looking for that additional +Dex instead of using the AH.  And then some of them are grinding for gold to make purchases on the AH.

          Either way you look at it, AH or MF, people are playing the heck out of the game.

      • ^ U win good sir. All these people ranting about how hard it is and that u can only do it if you get the max level gear from the ah, where do u think the very first pieces of those gear came from? People who just like all of u at one point didn’t have amazing gear, and spent hours of farming and grinding (even if it was at 20 hours a day plus) to get where they are and to be able to find what they are. Yes the system needs refinements for sure, but today is June 7th, not even a month after the release of the game. Give it time guys, it will work itself out and blizz will make adjustments where they see fit.

        • The short amount of time that the game has been out isn’t an excuse.

          More people play online and for longer hours now than when D2 was introduced. Most people back then only had 56k dial-up connections and could play for an hour or so before someone had to use the phone.

          Now millions are online playing 24/7. Progress is made much quicker than developers predict. 

      • Whoa, where do i begin? Or even is there a point to begin?
         
        First of all, AH in WoW isn’t even close to being a primary source for gear upgrades. Reputation grinds aren’t even close to that either (depends on the patch content, and even if said faction provides upgrades, you will get all the reputation you need quick enough if you do the raids on a weekly basis). In case of gear upgrades all drop rates in raids are in the range of 10% to about 14%. Not to mention a couple of guaranteed drops like “tier set tokens”. And last but not least, not sure where this misconception came from, but funnily enough, gear isn’t essential in most cases (except for gear check encounters) in WoW. If you’re 1 tier (or 0.5 tier )of gear behind, you’ll be fine when doing the encounter. What is more important is being able to prepare a gear set which is optimal for your class and being able to play. Not to mention have rest of the raid group able to do the encounter.
         
        Of course it all has to do exclusively with end game content. There are multiple things in WoW which are all grind, but it leads to one specific reward and you don’t have to touch them again (like an exclusive title, tabard or mount).
         
        Now, how does it relate to D3? First of all, from what i gather, Inferno is more of a gear check then anything else. So, in order to progress, you have to have gear (which also has a role of “+stat” from previous diablo games). And as we know, finding gear in D3 is bassically RNG. You don’t have any spots which will give you a definite chance for the drop you need. Not to mention that dropped item might be awful. Therefore your character progression is based on a dice roll, unless you go and spend gold/money in the AH. And belive me, not being able to progress just because you are unlucky, smells like 7 different kinds of annoying. And being shoe-horned into the trading game (which looks like the only certain way to progress your character) seems really insidious.
         
        In conclusion, no wonder that WoW and D2 seem to be more addicting. In the first one you know where to get the upgrades for your character, and in the end, in both gear isn’t the deciding factor whether your character will manage to tackle the encounters ahead.

        • I’m glad we are on speaking terms again.

          I actually agree with the points that you raise!  I do not, however, believe that any of these points negate the fact that there are many people online right now doing MF runs for better gear, or buying the items on the AH that were obtained by MF runs in the first place (with gold that they just spent time grinding for).

          This gets back to the point I was trying to make – be it MF runs or grinding for gold, people are spending time in the game, and they are forfeiting the opportunity cost of playing another game or doing any other activity to do so!  (Addiction).  

          The author has a weak thesis because he is assuming one addiction is greater than the other, which is entirely subjective.

          • I do not, however, believe that any of these points negate the fact that there are many people online right now doing MF runs for better gear, or buying the items on the AH that were obtained by MF runs in the first place (with gold that they just spent time grinding for).


            Of course, people are still playing. The point is, it’s pretty obvious why quite a few people might not feel as compelled to play any more. And it’s mostly due to the fact, that Gear is Essential and there’s so many runs you can do before you just call quits. Especially in the light of the fact that MF runs aren’t as effective as GF runs. If that’s the case, it would show that getting that awesome item is just pure luck, with no way of affecting it. Might be wrong on this one, but seems to be the case with many players. Also, maybe it’s not a deal breaker for many, but taking your “Sword of Awesomeness” from the corpse of slain enemy is more addicting then browsing AH for it.
             
            It wouldn’t have so much of an impact if say, Gear wasn’t as much of a factor for progressing your character, or if every item had generic “+mainstat/+vit/+basic armor” and such, while the whole fun of itemisation would come from getting all the fun stuff, like procs, wierd stats and so on.


            The author has a weak thesis because he is assuming one addiction is greater than the other, which is entirely subjective.


            I think his thesis (or i think you mean conclusion) would be correct or at least closer to the crux of the matter, if it was for the reasons i stated (i know, i sound full of myself).
             
            “Diablo 3’s item grind is less addictive, because it serves less as a reward, but more as a requirement to progress your character, which is coupled with random chance to get said loot. Therefore, if you’re unlucky, you’re gonna be a sad panda.”

             
             

      • Certainly it is true that his theory doesn’t make sense in the context of addiction related to D3 vs. WoW.  It also wouldn’t make sense in the context of D3 vs. Tetris.  But he didn’t make those comparisons and intentionally taking his argument out of context only serves to invalidate your own statements on the matter.
         
        In fact I find the WoW vs. D3 comparison to support his theory more than it contradicts it.  In WoW the auction house is almost completely irrelevant in their item system as top tier items generally can’t be sold there.  Killing raid bosses for loot pushes the same buttons as killing bosses in D2 – you’re hoping they’ll drop something you can use every time you kill them.  In D3 those buttons are never pushed.  Because the item system and drop rates are tuned around the existence of the auction house the chances of a boss or champion dropping something great are incredibly low.  Rather than feeling like “I’m going to kill bosses and see if they drop something for me” you feel like “I’m going to kill bosses for gold so that hopefully by next week I can buy something nice that someone else found.”  It’s not as rewarding and so not as addicting.
         
        The key difference there is that the auction house in D3 directly influences the item system mechanics while the auction house in WoW does not.  The effect will only get worse when the RMAH is available and the best items are being sold for real money rather than gold.  Then you’ll be faced with the choice of trying to defy overwhelming odds to find your own good items or selling your own gold and items for real money so you can spend that real money on other items.  Man, that sure sounds appealing. 

      • Thank you, if for no other reason than for actually knowing what “scientific” means, and recognizing that this article does not, in fact, present “scientific” conclusions. He cites some research, but only links it to his hypothesis regarding D3 in the flimsiest of ways, relying on overgeneralizations and speculation rather than empirical testing or statistical data.

    7. Couldn’t agree more,  I don’t care whether the graph is wrong or not, its exactly how I feel about finding weapons and using AH; It feels like peeing in your pans, in D3 it just get cold a lot faster.

      And for me at least saying “I’m just not going to use AH” seems out of place when you are playing with people there all use it. And yes you could buy items and trade too in D2, but it wasn’t an inbuilt mechanic where 3 million people added there findings every day, for a lower and lower cost. If AH excited in the same way in D2 it would have killed the game in the same way for me.

      Diablo for me is about feeling special with your findings, your gear and you progress. But why should I feel special when it all comes down to how much time I have to grind gold.

      Anyway I haven’t played for 4 days… I hope the incoming patch will change it. M 

    8. I’ve also argued that D3 does not support the same reward system that D2 did, with the end-game difficulty, item farming, and playing with multiple people punishing the player rather than rewarding them.
       

    9. Diablo3 frustrated me so hard, i will never start it again! they just fucked it up… cu in path of exile, grim dawn, torchlight2 or whatever…

    10. My boredom with games is completely different than all of you.  I could care less about drops.  Getting cool drops is nice and all, but what matters to me is the win.  ‘Win’, of course, is subjective.  For me, my definition of ‘win’ in D3 is beating Diablo in Inferno difficulty.  I haven’t done that yet, so I’m still pressing on.  

      Items are only a means to that end.  

      Buffing legendaries means nothing to me because clearly, the game can be beat with nothing but rares equipped because it has been beaten that way.  If I beat the game with rares, I won’t continue grinding just to find legendaries even if they are the most powerful weapon in the game.  To me I see no point in continuing after beating the game on Inferno.  

      What’s the point?  To beat the game faster?  

      I can see playing through again to beat it with a different class, and I probably will do that, but if I managed to beat Inferno with all 5 classes I’d put it down until an expansion pack comes out that adds content.

      That all being said I’ve enjoyed the game thus far and don’t feel ripped off in the slightest.

      Just a different viewpoint you may not have considered. 

      • I really want to side with that PoV, it’s basically how I feel about every other video game. But with Diablo?!? :S

      • For many people itemization is the game in Diablo.  Sure, maybe with enough commitment and perseverance it’s possible to kill Inferno D with inferior gear.  It’s also possible to drive to work every day in a ’84 Ford Tempo but I think I’d enjoy the drive more in something a little nicer.
         

    11. I actually don’t think that the developers missed the point by much. Their point about item/power cycles is spot on. The problem is that they couldn’t test the AH and thus didn’t expect people to progress as fast as they have in terms of gear.

      It doesn’t help of course, that people have inflated ideas about the positive feelings their past selves experienced finding items in Diablo II. If you say that Diablo III doesn’t “feel the same,” you should consider the possibility that NOTHING would feel the same. 

    12. this is the progress of my face while playing Diablo 2 Hell:
      🙂 😀 :mrgreen: + “yay, found awesome griffon” 15/19! 😯

      —————————————————————————————————————————–

      and this is the progress of my face while playing Diablo 3 Inferno:
      😐 🙁 👿 + “yay, found… nothing!” 😥

      • What is your MF/your party’s MF?  How many hours have you played?

        Just curious because I have some nice rares on the AH, all of which I have found.  Also contrary to reports, I have found 4 legendaries.  3 of those I found prior to lvl 30 (Split Tusk, Pox Faulds, and Steady Strikers).

        If I were a bit more mean, I’d tell you “you are doing it wrong”.  <– I'd imagine this is the source of most people's problems. Unless you get that MF up, I can't help you.

    13. I have to agree with RyTEK. There are so many variables involved in addictive behavior. I can think back to when I used to party before I got the job I have now. Sure, I look back and think sometimes how much fun I had this night or that night, but the bad parts seem to fade out, like waiting for hours on end for somebody to call you back, getting ripped off, and being broke feeling like shit. I did not get the way I am now about Diablo when I first played. I played through several times through the years with whatever I found and would start fresh everytime. I then found this forum and wiki, and got the fever for finding high runes. When I think back over the last year and a half of solid D2 playing, I dont think about going days without finding anything. I remember the time running LK when I had a Ber rune drop from a monster and 10 seconds later, popped a chest and a Lo fell out. I nearly shat myself. 

      I love D3 so far, but I am not getting that feeling, not yet anyway. I am only in Act 2 Hell, so the good stuff is not dropping yet. I have found a few decent things, but nothing like the crazy expensive things I have seen on the auction house. I do miss the special properties on the uniques that D2 had though. I really did like getting to lvl 39 and equipping dual Butchers Pupils and then 3 levels later throwing on an Arreats Face. That alone would make most Barbs instagods. I really thought I would see Cannot Be Frozen on a few of the legendaries. Everybody loved that, hell I had a Ravenfrost on every character I ever made. Hopefully an expansion will add charms and jewels. I wouldnt mind something similar to runewords either.  

    14. Wow… that was long and dumb. I want my time back for reading that b.s

    15. I just find it funny that people’s D2 Nostalgia is being consider pseudo scientific evidence. 

    16. Everyone always says that D2 wasn’t good until numerous patches and expansion….Why in didn’t D3 learn from D2 expansion and improve upon it, its like they took 100 steps backwards. If any serious D2 player tested this for Blizzard they would have told them this instantly, the game blows.

      • It’s still a whole new game system from scratch, they were bound to get some things wrong.  As long as they accept our feedback and vastly improve the itemization, we’ll get there.

    17. In softcore, the fact that you can get far better items on the AH than you can generally expect to find takes a lot of the excitement away from the item hunt; the probability of finding a big upgrade for yourself is very low, and a lot of the “excitement” winds up coming from finding items that would have sale value on the AH so you can save up and buy your next upgrade.
       
      Of course, this was a problem in high end D2 as well; once your set of characters/mules had accumulated enough “wealth,” you could trade for pretty much anything you wanted and the prospect of getting a bona fide upgrade through farming also became really small.
       
      One way to restore the “thrill of the hunt” and improve the longevity of the game is to introduce a new game mode: “pure.”  This means a character that doesn’t receive items from any other character, either through twinking or trading (and many of you will remember it as a variant way to play D2 for people bored with their uber powerful twinked characters).  The only items a pure character can use are those that drop in a game they’re in (encouraging party play to increase the total number of drops), or items that he buys/crafts himself.  One way to incentivize playing a pure character would be to increase the gold drop rates for those characters; the pure character won’t be able to use the gold themselves in the AH (just for crafting), but can farm more gold to fund one’s “non-pure” ubertwink characters.
       
      Even if this doesn’t make its way in “officially,” I can see a lot of people taking on this variant just to keep things interesting (the most fun I had in D2 was getting a pure character to guardian, and every upgrade was super awesome to get).  It would be nice though if Blizz recognized the variant and gave it associated achievements/rewards.
       

    18. Yes, you can enjoy finding new rare shoulders for your Barb, and be happy that they’ve got 17 more Armor, and 43 more Str, which makes them an upgrade even though you’re losing 11 less Vit and 21 Dex on the exchange… but that’s not exactly a thrilling moment. It’s a slight, incremental improvement that will change absolutely nothing about your play style, while providing something like .03% more killing power.

      This is a key point imo.  They seem to have gone for the WoW itemization path (incremental), rather than D2, which is a disaster. It’s precisely what i was praying they wouldn’t do. The 2 games i’ve played by far the most in my life are D2 and WoW. And in WoW, it wasn’t for the endgame and items!
       

      since we knew that once we got our new characters to that level, they were going to start kicking ass.

      There’s never a sense of that in D3, since 1) you have no reason to ever reroll a class once you’ve made it once

      Keep in mind on HC you do have to reroll, so these cool low items will eventually get used, albeit not as frequently (only when your one-of WD dies, e.g.)

      Also, i just had my first D3 death (53 WD), and rerolling him, i’m amazed how much i’m learning by playing around with a somewhat different build than i got used to.  The magic of levelling different builds is still there, if only you were forced to relevel a guy.  Thank you hardcore!
       

    19. A common argument for people who don’t like the AH is that ultimately it pushes you to grind gold. Well, I think that what you grind covers repairs/gems upgrades and provides a slow and steady increase of your stash. But what allows you to buy a million gold item is usually a successfull million sale in the AH (or 2x500k, you get my point). Obviously the money supply has to build itself, but after a few weeks it looks already ok and gold is flying from one pocket to the other through the AH.  

      Imo it’s still by farming good loot that you get good loot. If not for your main or alts, a good piece of gear is still pleasant because you can sell it high and then buy what you need.  

      A major improvement of D3 is that gold can actually be used as a currency. In D2 you had to farm gems/runes and trade with that as they were later used for runing / gemming / craftin / cubing up / runewords / rerolling or upgrading items. In D3 you trade gold and you can direcly use it on the market.  

      I don’t agree with the general AH is evil that we permanently hear, it’s just an easier way to trade, nothing else.          

    20. Well, I’m still enjoying it immensely. I haven’t encountered any of the problems mentioned in the post. There’s still plenty about items aside from their effect on main stats that keeps them interesting, and all the way through I find I’m keeping items here and there because it’s almost a toss-up between which of two or three I want to use. And the whole section about lower level uniques was absolute nonsense. There’s easily room for at least 5 characters (that’s one for each of your different classes), and it’s unlikely many people will have even nearly levelled more than one or two of them up to 60. So there’s plenty of life in those lower-level uniques for your up-and-coming characters, yet.
       
      Sure, the AH is tempting. But you know what? If you don’t like it, DON’T USE IT. It’s pretty simple. I’ve used it a couple of times, was dissatisfied at the disproportionate power gain, and haven’t bought anything since. Wasn’t even a problem. Hit the wall in Hell but battled through it into Inferno and it felt immense. The difficulty gradient is absolutely perfect – slow, incremental gains in power that mean I can push slightly further onward. Blizzard have got it absolutely spot on for me. I guarantee I’m not the only one, there’s plenty people don’t like, but nothing can ever be perfect for everybody.

    21. What I don’t understand, is that, now that D2X is there as a reference, how can they possibly be excused for messing up the item system so badly? It boggles my mind how this was even possible. They claim that the system is no different, but that is CLEARLY not the case.

      How in the hell did they miss this? The item system is arguably the most important system to get right in this franchise, and yet it got botched up more than anyone thought possible. What the hell are these people thinking?

      I sincerely hope it does not remain this way. While it may be likely to see this change in an Xpac. we shouldn’t have had to.

    22. For me, I think it boils down to set and legendaries sucking. I use the AH a bit, but I wouldn’t likely pay 2 million gold for a great item, just like I wouldn’t trade for Tyrael’s armor or whatever in D2, you want to find that stuff.

      I am not playing until they fix the itemization because it is no fun to have greens or golds drop at present and in D2 they drop frequently enough that you can keep your buzz. Here they do not drop with any frequency until Inferno and it feels lower there as well. The 3 golds I have found so far have come from normal mobs. I am quite sure I regularly acquired sets and golds from bosses in D2 since I still play it, but I haven’t gotten anything like that from the bosses I’ve killed so far. I am only in A2 hell with all 5 classes, but am done with the game until 1.04 from the looks of it.

      D2 did it right, it faulted the other way, it was way too easy to find golds and sets at release 😀  

    23. My 2 cents

      For me it was not as much about the unique abilities of certain items in D2  as it was the overall upgrade in killing power.  That heart skipping moment came when seeing that gold on that particular item, you knew it was an upgrade even if it didnt roll well. Those moments of joy were immediate as soon as the item dropped. In D3 that sense of feeling for me is there in a different and more expansive way because I have found items along the entire journey from normal to a1 inferno that helped me sometimes substantially in the current area I was in.  In D2 I ignored blues and yellows and jumped at any gold and green. In D3 I look at every blue and every yellow which I think is alot better overall for the game. 

      Now I am in a1 inferno at the brick wall.  Ive been grinding it for a while and the gear has not dropped that allowed me to continue which the whole game was doing prior. Other problems arose in Inferno that was not an issue earlier such as being a Barb and getting melted so fast when trying to get just a few hits in. Luckily the immediate patch looks to help in this regard or it would defintetly become a bigger problem for my overall enjoyment.

      I have not seen a green or orange in my entire time in the game so far (about 150 hours). For that kind of drop rate they should be amazing items when you finally find one. They know this and its going to get alot better in that regard.  The point is the fact that blues and yellows are useful at all seems like a huge improvement to me.     

    24. Great write up, Flux! Best one since launch. Fun read. Very true.

    25. The game being less addictive than D2, that can’t be a bad thing for our mental & physical health.
      However, if it becomes impossible to sell common items on the AH at a higher price than selling them to NPC’s, then the whole game is completely flawed…

    26. Honestly, going to the AH for upgrading 99% of your gear feels incredibly lame. They should have called that game “Wall-Mart III”.

    27. If Blizzard can manage to make tastier legendary items then most of these problems will be solved. That combined with larger repair gold sinks, and you’ll hardly be buying the top items off the AH, which means you’ll be wanting to find it. Unless you have 40 million gold and I’m doing something way wrong. With or without addictive obsessive compulsive mechanics, I find D3’s game play a lot more entertaining than D2’s, so that’s enough to make me happy.

    28. How about a No Auction House server? Since that is how they internally tested the game maybe that’s what’s missing.

      That way I keep items I find for other characters not use the online database to buy what I need.

    29. My idea for bind on account for all rares or better doesn’t seem very popular, and no doubt it would change the nature of the game, but I’m fine with that. I think item trading sucked in D2 in its own way, and I think it still sucks now in a very different (and significantly worse) way.

      I’d leave the regular AH up for gem trading and blues and such, items that are fairly temporary in nature. I’d make sure that gems are either destroyed or have a serious desocketing cost, so they’re kind of a big deal. Gold continues to be very desirable for repairs and for crafting.

      Alternatively, I think they’d need to make items bind-on-equip, so that there’s some kind of opportunity cost, and they’d also need to work in some kind of permanent durability loss on items every time you die, so that you’d eventually need to replace them, so that there’s a desire both to avoid death and a need to occasionally refresh items. That’d make sets be a pretty big deal to hold onto 😛

      Honestly, I’d rather the game be more about finding your own stuff. Playing in a group with friends to get stuff faster should be an important focus, rather than figuring out how fast you can farm gold.

    30. Spot on diablo 3 gear is trash and i agree that fans of d2 will leave and casual gamers this game is catered to will also pack up their casual lunch boxes and fuck off to another game when it is out.

      Repeat diablo 3 items are utter trash. Fucking blues rape most of “legendary brow colored dog shit”

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