Accessability = Bad Graphics in Blizzard Games

So Bashiok argues, in a blue post that sounds the eternal message defending Blizzard’s artistic style of graphics.

Blizzard games are intended to be accessible, and that’s seen through game design as well as system spec requirements. It’s not going to be pushing too many people’s systems to the limits, which is the intent.

We also tend to spend time on a visual style that we believe will be timeless. While the cutting edge FPS’ of a few years ago quickly fall to the glitz of newer technologies, our intent is to create a beautiful game that doesn’t age because it’s not attempting to be a representation of reality. Good thing too, because we expect people to be playing it for a long time to come.

I happen to agree with this, and wrote a whole art vs. realism article a year+ ago, during the last big outbreak of the “D3’s graphics suck” argument. In that post I pointed out that paintings are inherently much less “realistic” than photos, but what do people want to hang on their walls and look at for decades or centuries?

That’s a bit longer time frame than a video game can aspire to, but it’s not entirely unlike what Blizzard does. As Bashiok alludes in this post, Blizzard has more in mind than looking shiny for six months after release. They want their games to be playable on a wide variety of systems, and they know their games are going to be played for a long time. WoW is still the most popular MMORPG on earth seven years after release. Starcraft and Diablo 2 have been popular even longer than that. Obviously there’s something about the visual style of the games that makes them age well, in a way that a game with today’s “bleeding edge” graphics will not. (Since another game that’s even more bleeding edge is always right around the corner.)

Or do you not buy it, and you think that longevity and accessibility is just an excuse for accepting mediocrity in graphics, in the same way that Blizzard uses “iteration” as an excuse to never do anything right the first time in game design?


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  1. I personally put gameplay and replayability in the first place.
    Graphics are less important.

    • I preffer gameplay and replayability too. But I don’t understand why Act I and II looks so gorgeous (to me) and this Bastion Keep (Act III) looks so “Torchlight”. Hope Act III graphics looks better than the screenshot in this post.

      • A poorer screenshot could not have been chosen. This particular shot is from a set that were taken a long time ago, and presumably, this area of the game is now much more polished than this.

      • That screenshot is literally the worst screenshot I’ve ever seen from Diablo 3. I highly doubt it is representative of how actually that place will look like, besides the fact there will be snow.

        • Of course that’s why I picked it, since there was much rage about the quality of those act 3 shots when they were new.  It pushes the style/accesibility/etc argument to its furthest point.

      • SC2 on the lowest settings looks “Torchlight” too… what it’s all about is those extra effects that make textures look good.

  2. Path of Exile is stylized in a way that doesn’t look like shit like Diablo 3 does.

    • I for one disagree. I don’t like the Path of Exile style of graphics, it looks very generic and boring to me.

    • PoE graphics looked very appealing to me at first sight… Darkness, shadows, all this. But then, after watching some gameplay, I noticed PoE misses something… Something that is present in, say, Counter-Strike, but lost in Global Operations. Something subtle but defining.

      And I ain’t saying that something is definitely present in D3. But not definitely missing also.

    • Funny thing about Style… it tend to conform to personal preference.
      Frankly PoE looks like it’s made of plastic to me… while diablo 3 had that well crafted cardboard look (the beta vids look way better, but at this point i’m not sue if it’s not just comparing it with the older graphics that makes me not think of it as papier-mache graphics)…
      But unless the graphics are visually confusing in some way i never let that stop me from playing a game.

    • Remind me why are you still here, sad, sad little men?

    • I should let you borrow my PoE closed beta key… that game is broken and less fun that Diablo II.  As of beta patch 0.9.4 you can’t even sell items to vendors!
      I realize we are talking about graphics and yes, it is pretty.  That said, it clips, has a million physics problems, every character has a white outline, you can’t see through walls in dungeons (TERRIBLY FRUSTRATING), and it suffers from the Hellgate London “hey, we made 5 tilesets” issue.  And yes… that is accurate through the first 2 acts.

    • Path of Exile doesn’t look nearly as good as D3 does (have betas for both).
      And thus, Septar is wrong about something else … yet again.

  3. ….and than those people actually play the game and realize unflattering stills are a poor way to judge how a game looks and plays.

    • Or the ones that realise that not having the most current graphics isn’t a problem and don’t actually need to tell themselves the game has good (as opposed to serviceable) graphics to enjoy it…

  4. Although I somewhat agree with the accessabilty point (however they could spend resources on making the game graphics scalable), I don’t buy “ages well” argument. Was D1 cartoony? Was D2 cartoony? Was Counter-Strike cartoony? Was HL-2 cartoony? Was GTA 3 and 4 cartoony? Was Civ IV cartoony? Were Total-War series cartoony? All of those games are still played by large audience especially Counter-Strike.

    On the other side there’s a fact that Diablo series have been known for it’s dark, gritty, realistic, gothic atmosphere and they sacrifice one of the strongest points of the series for false reasons.

    I strongly think that the first reason they go with cartoony and technically bad graphics is that it takes very less time to implement models and fx into the game and they don’t have to optimize each areas’ polygon count for smooth gameplay. OFC we can also say that Blizzard artists and programmers are not familiar with the realistic art style and new graphic techs.

    If my thoughts have obvious flaws, feel free to show them to me.

    BTW, PoE Actual-Beta runs smoother than Diablo 3 Beta.

    • I take a different view about the “cartoony” or not arguement. IMO the more cartoony style is just to target a different audience than the previous fans. They know the fans will buy it either way, and the fans is actually the minority when u compare it to the vast modern day gamers pool that can be easier pleased with the new style. As a company it would make more sense to try and get more and more players, rather than trying to please the usual crowd. The old-timer might think we would, for no better words, be more deserving to be pleased, but to blizz they want the style that will please more ppl. Whether they chose the right style or not can only be judged after release, even a decade later. You cant blame a company for trying to make more money, coz thats what they do.

    • If you look at the Blizzard rendered cinematics there is no doubt that they can make very realistic art using top of the line tech. For the realtime games they focus on getting it to run on systems specs that means most people can play them. Its not easy to make good looking art for lower spec systems, and still have a interesting style. 

      I remember when Everquest 2 came out, everybody said the engine running the game was so much better than WoW. Too bad the graphic assets they added looked like stock models. They just didn’t have a cool style.

      Blizzard has some high skilled art people that knows what they are doing.

    • Perm, I am sure they iterated as hell trying to make D3 look like D1 and D2 on a 3D engine and still make it memorable, make it stand out. That was an important part of what they did from 2005 to 2008, I guess. They failed to perfect such a look. Simple as that. So they did the next-best thing. They started out with their WoW thing and darkened it and dimmed the palette and added as much blood and grit and detail as they could. They have iterated and spit-polished it so much that, as of now, it looks WAYY better than D1 or D2 did, IMO.

      Its still dark, gothic and gritty. It’s just not realistic. But it looks better than any other ARPG in the market right now. I dare you to show me an ARPG screenshot that looks more beautiful compared to Diablo 3 as of now.

    • “Was D1 cartoony?”
      Considering that the graphics where basically like a painting?
      Seriously, we need a new word for what seems to be just using exagerated sizes for images in the game…

      • agreed.  Have people actually watched cartoons?  My definition of cartoon is stuff like Pinky and the Brain, Bugs Bunny, etc.   D3 and WoW look absolutely nothing like those.  They have much more of an artistic style and make use of a much broader color palette.   I’ve never been a fan of the industries lust for realism.  It has done nothing but create a bunch of mediocre games with a few standouts.  Too much time spent on graphics, not enough on gameplay.  That is why indie games are doing so well right now IMO.  They spend more time on gameplay and graphics are put in the backseat.  

        On a related note. I just built a new gaming rig.  First PC I’ve built in a long while.  I had been playing SC2 on my 3 year old iMac with everything on low settings.  I thought the game still looked pretty great.  When I started it on my new PC and set everything to ultra, I was impressed with how they went about making the game so playable on a variety of machines.  The textures are a lot more detailed, but nothing is really lost when going down to low settings.  The game is still a ton of fun and really still does look really good.

        • My brother got in the beta for SC2 by being on my old PC that was precisely at the min reqs…
          He sent me an invite before i saw how it looked on that old PC… when i finally did i didn’t realise it was the same game for a few seconds…
          I hope D3 scales as much too…

          • From what I’ve seen, there isn’t going to be a huge difference between the lowest and highest settings graphics-wise. What I think will make a difference is shadows and physics. If your computer can’t handle having these enabled, it will probably seem jarring and feel much different.

        • totally agreed re SC2, but keep in mind that the ultra setting was added like a year after the game hit the store shelves, im pretty sure the same thing will happen with D3

            I was actually talking about the beta, and i wasn’t even running it at max for everything, although i did try it with everything at max, just not while actually playing against actual people online…

  5. I agree with Bashiok.

    Compare Call of Duties and Battlefields, their name is Legion, to Borderlands and TF2.
    Only to think TF2 was originally developed in realistic direction, as all of those! Blasphemy 🙂

    And what can be called “mediocrity” can only be attributed to less-than-stellar system requirements, which no one argues against.

    EDIT: Why does everyone say “accessAbility”? These are not two glued words, and this one is written with an “i”…

    • I blame Flux for this one. I was gonna write “accessibility” but after I saw him use A instead of I, thought I could count on him since he’s a native English speaker.

      • I blame the fact that I’m on vacation and typing on my laptop from my dad’s house. spell checking and proofreading might suffer a bit over the next week.

        • That’s OK, guys, sorry if that came out too harsh 🙂
          I blame my grammar nazism on me being an off-civilization foreigner 🙂

  6. It’s nice from time to time to see people say more or less what i think.
    I agree that the game’s graphics are very nice, they are beautiful, and a big part of that beauty comes from the great attention to detail that blizzard usually put in their games, as well as the art over realism.

    And from what i’ve seen, screenshots really don’t make the game justice at all.

  7. It’s spelled accessibility.

  8. “our graphics are shhit because then more people will be able to buy it” – Bashiok, 2011

  9. I would gladly agree with the whole thing IF D3’s graphics were really a unique piece of art, in the same way as… let’s say Zelda 3 for example. But that remains to be seen…

    Funny that this article is illustrated by the ugliest D3’s screenshot ever.

    • Gotta agree on the screenshot, I read the headline, saw the screenshot and thought “oh boy, here we go again” and then he actually says reasonable things.

  10. i dont see how any good come of this AGAIN … the Art discussion comes up every 1-2months on the board and every week in the forums … and what have any of you learned or achieved by  this so far?

    i mean its not like there is actually something new to talk about its just the same chewed up topic with exactly the same arguments from the same people …  

    i also dont get
    “Or do you not buy it, and you think that longevity and accessibility is just an excuse for accepting mediocrity in graphics, in the same way that Blizzard uses “iteration” as an excuse to never do anything right the first time in game design?”

    whats thats supposed to mean ? – how cynic or misguided do you have to become to lay out a design / style – decsion as personal attack which demands justification. the whole phrasing is just so pseudo “Objective”, it ridicules the entire purpose of the point – if you have a crirical opinion you should atleast phrase it openly as such and not hide behind disfigured formal phrases or  using your opinion as ad  populum argument.

    • Dude, u should relax, that was just a provocative question by Flux to stir discussion (e.g. when did you stop beating your wife kind of question). seriously, you should know better that to rage about it:)

      IMO graphics and art style are two different things…

  11. For me, it can all be summed up by “whatever”. just give me the game. Would any of u be glad if they say now ” ok due to major demand, we will take another 1 year to change the whole game to look darker and less cartoony.” ? It is not as simple as putting a tint into the game.

  12. When people argue for more polygons/shaders/etc. making a game look better, it’s like when someone asks you who your favorite artist is then follows that up with, “I LOVE Thomas Kinkade!” HE PAINTS LIGHT YOU KNOW.

    • Now that you mention it, Thomas Kinkade’s art style isn’t actually that far-fetched of a reference when describing D3’s take on a dark gothic environment, is it?
      As for this discussion though, it may profit from further differentiating “art” into the disciplines of “design” “style” and “investment”. Mixing up the intent of what they want to display, grade of realism in the way it is displayed, diversity and polygon counts isn’t going to lead anywhere, as we well know by now. 😉

  13. After seeing countless hours of beta footage I can’t buy “graphics in diablo 3 sux” anymore..Actually, diablo 3 graphics looks stunningly awesome.. yes, it’s stylized but tons of details put into each scene, animations, color balance..everything is just putting game above any ARPG on the market ..current or upcoming.

    • Dungeon Siege 3 looked better to me, but that’s from the demo, while for D3 i’ve only seen videos…
      PS Dungeon Siege 3’s console controls made me want to murder someone… holding down the mouse button to move, wth?

  14. I’m always surprised how many people don’t recognize that Blizzard games art pieces of art.

  15. I still can’t play it on this crap pc, worse yet, I’ve gotten into beta and the icon just taunts me.

  16. And this is the reason why Path of Exile will be forgotten after a few months.

  17. I call BS on the graphics divas.  Diablo II was amazing and it was sprite based in an era of polygons and forced to be 640×480 until xPac made it 800×600 in an era of 1024×768.  It had issues with ATI video cards in DirectX mode and was optimized for Voodoo cards which went the way of the dodo 6 months before the game was released.  Hell, if you had a Geforce2 in 2001 it still would have frame drop to 10fps in high action environments/snow.
    We still play it to this day.
    With rolling patches WoW has added DX11, draw distance as far as the eye can see, shadows for the entire draw distance, and pretty impressive ground clutter.  They will do the same with D3 over the years.  I challenge anyone with less than a quad core 2.8GHz and a Geforce 250, ATI 47XX series to run WoW at 60fps on full ultra with ultra shadows.  There are some areas in the game where I stop and take a screenshot because it is so beautiful.

    • I don’t think they will “do the same” for D3. Here’s why: WoW’s perspective is more akin to an FPS whereas Diablo 3’s is very limited, quasi-isometric. The world is already chock full of detail. Adding anything later will probably only complicate their particular art style they’ve worked so hard to create, rather than enhance it.
      Surely, though, we’ll all play D3 in an age where FPS isn’t an issue, on max resolution, maybe on a 3D HLED monitor at some ungodly resolution. Sure will be pretty!

  18. I fail to see what art style has to do with this BS PR term “accessibility”. System reqs, yes, but he’s stretching this argument very thin.
    But I do agree with their choice of art style and the reasoning behind it. I just wish they’d up the texture quality some. SC2 has really sharp textures.

    • As i recall SC2 got a face lift some time before release…
      Although if they plan to release it in feb-march it’s prob too late for that for D3…

      • I’d say the style got seriously revamped towards more realistic like half a year before release or sth (not sure), and the face-lift was after release, a year or so when patch added ultra setting.

        • Actually Random is correct. They did go through and not only re-skinned but remodeled a lot of the units, and they also cleaned up the rest of the textures. It was a huge, dramatic difference, too.
          But they had the “luxury” of the bnet2 delay to allow them to do this. The D3 team doesn’t have that kind of luxury.

  19. Although gameplay is way more important than graphics, I must say I am a bit disappointed at the visual quality of D3. Some screenshots looks really bad, apparently it is not that bad in the Beta, and we haven’t seen every areas yet but still, I would have preferred they would have put more efforts in scaling the graphics for people who have modern PCs. They could use DX11 features like tessellation to increase the number of polygons per model, higher resolution textures, ambient occlusion, etc… The outdated graphics in WoW is one of the reasons I stopped playing and don’t want to go back. I understand that some people don’t have powerful computers and want to play D3 on their laptop though…

    • They could achieve both. SC2 is, imo, a beautiful game, visually, on a high-end system. Yet if you put the game on the lowest settings, laptops five years old could probably play it (but it looks like something on the N64).

      I would also have liked better scaling but I’m wondering at what cost that would create for the development team in terms of time spent (like on tessellation) and also the cost of system resources. The entire engine would then need to be re-evaluated and tweaked for stability and efficiency.

  20. I think diablo 2’s 2d photoshopped style would have been better, it is timeless aside from its resolution issues.  Without looking like cartoon style.

    • So you’re saying you’d prefer a two dimensional, static, low resolution, sprite-based D3 over the version that’s being created? I have a hard time believing this, but if it is true, this is an argument from ignorance. The same fallacy a lot of people here are making. Judging this game based on screenshots and video streams isn’t doing it justice. I think people are going to be very surprised when they see this game in person for the first time.

  21. Oh noes not the “I thinks graphics are crap because it’s not as kewl as all the other releastic games out there” debate.
    You can spam your opinion everywhere you want. Fact is it aint gonna change. Just remember how not important graphics where in gaming history. Unless you do it like Call of Duty serie and every year you bring out a new game with sick new graphics… oh wait… that didn’t happen.

  22. A lot of people are throwing around the word “cartoon” and have been for over two years. What about the art style looks like a cartoon? Do you find the character’s models out of proportion? Is it the color palette? What specifically makes it resemble a cartoon?

  23. Oh shoot! And I was playing Mario Bros., Diablo I & II because of their awesome graphics….

  24. This again? I thought we were done with the whole graphics issue.

  25. The below link and video actually explains pretty well why games choose stylized art styles verse more realistic styles.  I found it quite informative:

    p.s. I am not in any way affiliated with the above site

  26. I like to make a distinction between \graphics\ and \artwork\. Graphics in my mind is the technology- poly count and resolution and lighting effects etc. Artwork is the artistic side- design, palette and style.

    This distinction is important because it does a disservice just to say that blizzard games have \bad graPhics\. Most of the time the graphics, or technical side, isn’t high end. However, the artwork in their games is top notch. I often blows the artwork of other games out of the water.

    I remember back in the days just before WoW discussing what was thought to be it’s main competitor- EQ2. EQ2 had a more advanced graphics engine. But the problem was that it’s art direction sucked. The landscapes looked dull and colorless and the characters were disproportionate and plastic-looking.

    I notice a lot of new games follow this trend; great engine but the artwork sucks. Realism isnt the highest form of art either and is not necessarily something that should be striven for. Great artwork can make up for older technology, but new tech can’t make up for bad artwork.

  27. Graphics and art work need to look like it is a 2012 game. Apparently Blizzard is stuck in 2004 because 2004 tech is easier to do than 2012. Companies hate complexity so most of us are stuck with a watered down version of Diablo 3 at release.

    • You find me a game from 2004 that look anywhere near as good as D3 does and I’ll accept your statement – as of now, it’s just pure bollox…

  28. I really can’t understand all the arguments on which style is better.
    I generally agree with Flux when it comes to opinions. But I find it stupid to try to prove that non-realistic representations are superior or more-prefered or whatever.
    I prefer a darker, more realistic artistic style. But that is only an opinion. Blizzard wants to go the other way, and everyone has to accept it or simply leave and play another game.
    I can’t understand how photo-realistic is supposed to be better than surreal, or colourful comic style, or anything. How can all you dumbheads say this is better than the other!…

    I hate some super-fancy weapons we can see at the diablonuts site, which remind me of some extreme Korean art style we see in other games. I would prefer a higher percentage of realistic, medieval weapons, among the fancy ones. But that is my fuckin opinion. Why should Blizzard follow my opinion?
    Let it be, Blizzard takes decisions, and if you like you follow, if not, go play other games or make your own!

    • So instead of voicing your opinion in the hopes that it has what you perceive as a positive effect on the development of the game, you should just shut up or, lulz, “make your own game”?
      If you ever see a movie you don’t like, remember that. You can voice your opinion by making your own crappy movie.

      • No your opinion will definitely of graphics will definitely not have positive effect on development of the game. Blizz should just take my money and release the game not think about graphics, and believe me, they dont and wont. Maybe a minor facelift in an expansion.

        • So all that time and effort they spent on it was pointless, right?
          My opinion will definitely of graphics will definitely not have a positive effect? /boggle

          Feedback is feedback. Criticism is tantamount to God in the world of creation. 
          I realize that there is probably too much emphasis on “graphics” in games but they are incredibly crucial. Games are a visual medium, and everything is represented visually, including the game’s world and its narrative. Ambiance, atmosphere, and even story elements are contained in the graphics and if you think that doesn’t matter, then I don’t know what to tell you.

      • Obvisouly enough, I didn’t say don’t tell your opinions on the developer’s choices. I said
        a) Stop whinning on things that have already been decided
        b) You cannot prove that one artistic style is better than the other.
        It’s a matter of opinion. You can state it, and that’s all. We are but a few months before the release of the game. And we still worry about the looks of it. Is that of any meaning?
        All these said, I would still prefer a more photorealistic approach, and a bit less funky items. Especially armour is a bit of disappointment tbh.

        • So you tell us to stop whining…and then you whine?
          There’s nothing wrong with voicing your opinion. We’re a community. We gather together around this one topic, and we should be talking about it.

          • Seems you can’t understand the difference between whinning and stating an opinion. I’m not against stating opinions, and ofc this is a great community to discuss the matters and thoughts.
            I was talking about the whinners before, which is a different thing.
            Can’t see why you can’t understand what I try to say.
            (I’m Greek, and maybe it’s my bad english? Anyway.)

  29. Blizzard have the ability to make games that scream ‘Made by Blizzard Entertainment’ – they’re inspired by exterior sources, but their style is their own – which is something to be appreciated.
    I think the more important overall point is: Does the graphics feel right for the game?

    In relation to WoW – Blizzard was making it first and foremost for fans of Warcraft; those were the players they were hoping to get on board. A natural continuation of the graphics from War3 made sense as to make it instantly recogniseable by existing fans. People can like or dislike the style, but I think that it holds water to this day – and more importantly, the animations are spot on; pet hate of mine to see mmorpgs where the actual graphics look good, but animations are horrible…

    Blizzard games look good, not top of the range spectacular, but good. The thing is, they’ll look good five years from now, which is more than can be said of 95% of the rubbish being thrown on the market.

  30. I totally 100% agree with OP and Blizzard. As an artist myself, I have always known and stated that realistic graphics tends to become monotone, boring, ugly, and it doesn’t last. Beautiful graphics with lush colors, and art have and will always be something you can look for hours and maybe years from now and say wow, I still like the graphic/color/etc. Blizzard always are smart about their games and their decision to follow this path is no exception.  

    An example of realistic, gritty graphics can be seen on Fallout 3. The colors were so dull and brown, i kinda got disgusted of the game after a few hours of playing. I got bored of it! When I thought back about Fallout 3, all I see is  a dark/brown game. Now, on the other hand, if the graphic were lush, similar to Oblivion, you’re thoughts of the game would be a little better because it wasn’t so dark or so dull, it had colors and was a bright game.

    I am certain all of Blizzards game will last unlike anyother…probably to the ends of time.

  31. The painting analogy is just what is said because people don’t actually realize it’s flawed. The vast majority of people will go “LOL OH OK PAINTING LIKE MONA LISA, MONA LISA IS GOOD I GET IT.” Sadly when people think of “realistic” they think of all the bad examples of it. If your primary concern is that “realistic” art will become out of date or boring, or that “realistic” means Gears of War 1/Diablo 2 brown/grey, then that’s not realistic. Realistic means exactly what the dictionary says it means, and in art that is not boring or monotone but lifelike and compelling. An updated graphics engine doesn’t mean a game that fades away, it means the exact opposite.

    A timeless game isn’t judged by how matte, painting-like, or smoothed-out its colors are, but by how talented the artists are.

    In actuality Blizzard could maintain this elusive “accessibility” while increasing the graphic quality of their games. The current art style is meant to appeal to the starcraft and warcraft players, and nothing more, because it’s easy to recycle loyal followers and attract a large crow from wildly popular other games. It’s simple business. There is no reason for them not to have an updated graphics engine. Having said engine would not cause the game to lose accessibility, rather it would make it more accessible and a better play experience.

    • Very good point, couldn’t have said it better myself. If you look at the models and artistic style (not in graphics, but actual design) they are a lot closer to WC and even relate to SC more than they do Diablo. Compair any moster side by side to a D1 or D2 monster and you will see what I mean. I happen to prefer the D1/2 interpretation on weapons, armor, and demons hence why I dislike D3 graphics.

  32. So many Blizzard fanboys that are incapable of comprehending the fact that Blizzard can fuck up. They’re like the white knights on the internet that think that women are flawless.

    • Or it’s possible that your perspective is entirely myopic and ignorant. And that maybe, *gasp!* some people genuinely like things that you don’t.

  33. They make millions, even billiions of dollars a year…. Of course, they won’t mess up E V E R !!!

  34. I guess that Pixar then makes crappy graphics because they don’t try to achieve a realistic approach with their movies but try to touch the heart of people with visual styles that best suit their stories.

    You have to know what kind of atmosphere you want to show your team the direction intended. Realistic doesn’t mean more fun… it’s a reference. What are realistic graphics, physics, motions, etc. in a fantasy world?

    If everything was realistic, if that’s even possible, the competition would be boring.

    And that is why nobody agree…

    • I love Pixar movies and Wall-E is a perfect example of how you can make something stylized without it looking like shit. And still Diablo 3 looks like shit.

  35. Diablo 1’s graphics are old, outdated, and yet look a hell of a lot better than D3 graphics. I would even say they were better than d2’s mostly because of the zoomed out higher res. D1 graphics are also more on the realistic side, and yes its age does show, but its a style of graphics that age far better and others of its time. Also yes I have played D1 recently to counter the “They look better in your memory.” argument, which is also true for a lot of games.

      Graphics = giant pixels…
      What you’re talking about is art style… and that has little to do with the tehnical capabilities of a PC…
      And yes, D1’s style was more gothic horror then that of the sequels… but you’re a game and exp too late to complain.

  36. Put some money in my wallet and it could look like Commander Keen for all I care.  😀

  37. I couldn’t agree with you more permaximum. I create graphics for a living and one thing I do know, is, sometimes you can fall into the trap of creating too much impact in your shot – ie, too many effects, colours, and moving elements. The first time you see it, you say “Wow. Awesome.” The next time it’s “Cool.” The next time, it’s “Yeah whatever.” I’ve found that dialing back effects and making sure my scene isn’t too busy colourwise creates a cleaner look, and certainly one that gives my creations a more ageless quality.

    Having said that, I look back on some of my work and think “it’s still too effect driven/pretty. Ughh.” Yes in certain situations, D1 and D2 especially could get quite busy with the amount of monsters on the screen, but because of that gothic style, those scenes still worked – a true testament to the graphic style. I understand that colour is a great way of creating mood, however, from looking at various gameplay vids, I don’t see it being utilised intelligently. As an artist, I know that I can get too lost in my graphics, and miss the obvious, especially when it concerns overall look. Besides, some of the moodiest art I’ve ever seen have been black and white, or close to it.

    To use Blizzards own reasoning against them, it’s my opinion that having muted colours, and a grittier look, both in the environment, and in the effects, lends itself far more to an ageless quality, than the fantasy style that is prevalent in D3. We want gothic/dark fantasy. As a fellow artist, I truly do appreciate the hard work you’ve put into the game and all of you must be intensely frustrated at the negative feedback.

    However, I will say that with my job, I have to submit to what the client wants, even if I myself don’t like what I’ve created. It’s tough, but they are the ones who are paying my bills. At least you have all of Blizzard backing you, and the fact that you know many people will buy this game, despite the feedback. Jimminy Crickets this is turning into a painfully long post..;) I have a style that comes out whether I want it to or not, even when I’m attempting something different. I just find myself going down that road. I truly do believe that this has been a major factor in the D3 graphics style. BTW, I’m not implying that the art direction lacked a proper consensus.

    The lead artist who left Blizzard a while back pretty much said that the D3 art direction was largely due to a different team of artists who brought to the game, at it’s own expense, their own style. I think he nailed it. There are too many competing colours in D3, and all the info graphics continually popping up during a fight are monumentally annoying (will there be an option to switch some of this off?). I also understand that accessability is important, however as permaximum pointed out, surely blizzard could implement some scalabilty, so those gamers who like a higher polygon count, can simply adjust the model detail. OFC, I’m sure doing this would be expensive.

    Lastly, I have to say, upon looking through the armour section, I think the armour graphics look horrible. The swords look great, but the matte shading on many of the armour pieces destroy their solidity. The metallic shading isn’t right and in my mind doesn’t differ enough from the fabrics that are interwoven throughout the pieces. Yes I understand 3D graphics, so when light hits a moving object, that’s when the difference in shading becomes most apparent. I really hope this is the case when I play it.

    Detail is great but this has been overdone with the armour, and yes I get that due to the many different armour pieces, there needs to be some differentiation. I just don’t believe this has been implemented well. Anyway, I’m tired of writing, and beginning to yawn as I read my own post….;)

  38. I appreciate the accessibility ideal of Diablo.  One of my mac computers is old enough (5 years)  that it can’t even run Starcraft 2, but it can run WoW on its lowest settings still, and it is awesome to know that I can play and participate in an awesome game even though I don’t have the Nvidia 12000 Turbo 9er.  And you know what, I haven’t bought SC2 simply because I can’t play it on my crappy laptop, even though I have another desktop that can handle it.  Whether you realize it or not, its the huge player base that makes Blizzard games so appealing, and not everyone can afford (or even wants) to have to worry about keeping up with the latest graphics cards.  This is exactly the reason why Blizzard games remain on top.  They use the top talent to squeeze as much as they can out of older graphic engines so that they are exposed to the widest player base possible, as opposed to people who have bought a computer in the last 6 months.  So many games nowadays rely so heavily on their intense graphics, that they are hardly worth it if you can’t play them on a computer that can realize the games full potential (every FPS ever comes to mind).  Blizzard games have a better balance though.  Their philosophy is to make a great game, allow the people with great computers to have their eye candy, but to never sacrifice the people who are still using their 5 year old computer but still love Diablo.  That shows that Blizzard is loyal to me, the gamer, and not to the graphics card/computer companies.  To a gamer like myself, that means a lot.  And to my friends I’ll be playing with, they will appreciate it too.  For a game this fun, you want as many people to be able to play it as possible, because that is what makes the game fun in the first place.

  39. Anyone calling grahpics of SC2 or D3 “BAD” need to have their eyes and head checked (or need to upgrade their PC to run the game on Ultra with high resolution and full effects) … yes it isn’t the oh-so-sharp-&-cutting-edge-grahpics that some new games have .. but it isn’t BAD by any means.

    For me —————>  Gameplay >>>>>>> Graphics (Hugs Final Fantasy Tactics)
    and further more —->  Stylization >>>>>>>>>>>> Realsim (i take Okami over any of the oh-so-realistic-and-bland modern FPS games)

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