Accessibility: Blizzard’s New Core Value?


Near the end of an interesting piece comparing WoW to SWTOR, by New York Times video game writer (and former Diablo Podcast guest) Seth Schiesel, the author hits upon a Blizzard design theory of relevance to the Diablo community.

Blizzard is clearly managing and designing World of Warcraft in a manner meant to slow or stop the game’s erosion of players. …In terms of the game’s design, the overall tone and difficulty have become much more accessible to casual players. The sorts of high-level demons and dragons that traditionally would have been conquerable only by people who played dozens of hours a week can now be felled by pickup groups of moderately skilled players.

“What we’re trying to do now is figure out what our current audience wants,” Tom Chilton, World of Warcraft’s game director, told me by phone last week. “It became clear that it wasn’t realistic to try to get the audience back to being more hard core, as it had been in the past.”

As someone returning to World of Warcraft after a long absence, I find the current direction of the game eminently engaging. As Mr. Chilton said, “We hear from a lot people who used to play a lot that they’re just not at that point in their life anymore, and they want to play, and they want to see the content. But they can’t make the same time commitment they used to.”

That design philosophy perfectly sums up a lot of the “dumbed down vs. accessible” arguments we’ve seen during Diablo III’s development. Blizzard is quite clearly designing their upcoming games (while changing WoW on the fly) to be more accessible to more people, and if that results in alienating some of the long time, hard core fans, well that’s the price they’re willing to pay.

Thus far, Diablo 3’s ever-increasing accessibility doesn’t seem to have gone much beyond the controls, interface, and presentation. The story and theme and mood are still appropriately dark and grim and gothic and horror-tinged, though you’ve got to wonder what Diablo III would look like if they were starting development today, in this bold new AoA (Age of Accessibility).

There’s a reason Blizzard employees have repeatedly cited the incomprehension of non-gaming relatives as justification for various Diablo III “accessibility” upgrades — it’s because they value the opinions of such people more than they value our feedback. After all, there are a lot more casuals than hard cores, and besides… we complain and rage now and then, but we’re not fooling anybody. Blizzard knows we’re all going to buy the damn game the first day anyway.

Right?

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  1. As I recall, WoW didn’t start hemorrhaging players until after Blizzard dumbed the game down.  Gamers don’t want dumbed down games and dumbed down games are certainly not going to hold anyone’s attention for long.

    WoW will continue to lose players in record numbers.  The hardcores are leaving because they are pissed.  The casuals they get due to the easier game will never stick around as the game is too easy and boring to warrant continuing to play.

    If you ask me, Blizzard now has their collective heads up their…

    • I’m sorry, but LULWUT?

      If anything, WoW has become too hardcore in Cata – when the subs started dropping.
      Raid content, even non heroic, had become too difficult and not accessible at all, unlike WOTLK, when everything non-heroic was easy to pug, and that’s when subs were at all time high!

      WoW endgame is stupid difficult right now.

      Normal raids are bloody hard.

      Heroic raids are downright BRUTAL. Guilds sometimes make thousands of attempts on certain heroics before downing them.    

      WoW isn’t accessible in Cata. That’s what devs noticed, that’s why subs are dropping. That’s the lesson they learned, and will fix in MoP.

      The hardcores aren’t leaving. The true hardcores are bashing their heads against heroic DS right now. The wannabe hardcores may be leaving because they can’t take the new hard content. But the majority of lost subs are casuals who can barely do the first non-heroic raidbosses.

      So get your info straight, please. The ignorant bashing of WoW’s accessability is getting bloody annoying.

      • @ “WoW isn’t accessible in Cata. That’s what devs noticed, that’s why subs are dropping. That’s the lesson they learned, and will fix in MoP.”
         
        Exactly. That’s what I have criticized when Cata came out. I thought “WTH rides these guys to go back to the Tigole-style HC dungons and overtuned tier 11 entry raids that just plain suck for the average casual player.” Anyway, the times when they still could design their biggest cash cow landlord-style is over with the stiff competition ahead, and even more so with their own casual game par excellence: Diablo 3.

      • How is Cata’s endgame “stupid difficult”?  Are you a mole rat?  Or perhaps you’re paralyzed from the neck down?  If so, yeah, it’s probably pretty hard.  If not, then you’re just a bad player who is either 1.) A wrath baby or 2.)  A casual spoiled by WotLK’s mind numbing, monotonously simplistic, “accessibility wins all” design.

        And don’t kid yourself.  You’ve never set foot in a heroic raid, so please don’t talk like you know how brutal they are.  Even if they were as brutal as you say (which they aren’t, save for two fights), that doesn’t make the general game more difficult…  That makes a tiny sliver of it more difficult.  EVERYTHING ELSE in Cata is so dumbed down and “accessible” that it’s boring.

        PS, Vanilla and TBC gained and retained about 5 times as many players as WotLK *EACH*.  What’s your excuse for their success?  The game was “new”?  Please use that one, I dare you.  I double dog dare you.  Vanilla and TBC had NONE of the accessibility conveniences that we have now and they did way better.  Get your head out of your ass and get YOUR info straight.

        • -A casual spoiled by WotLK’s mind numbing, monotonously simplistic, “accessibility wins all” design.-
           
          You do realise that you’re supporting his point there, right?   Even if vanilla and BC retained more players, WotLK certainly didn’t lower the number of total players like Cata, which you admit is harder then WotLK, did…   And if anyone is in a position to know if the majority of players that left where hc or casual is Blizz… if they’re trying to make it more noob friendly it’s likely it was the casuals.

    • It wasn’t about “dumbing down” but making content open to a wider range of players due to the 40-man raids requiring hours on end each day (for two-three days per week) which wasn’t even fun.

      WoW isn’t losing players because it’s “dumbed down” or “isn’t accessible”. It’s losing players (as in, retention of players) because it’s really old now and they are making a retarded panda-based expansion pack.
      I mean you see the trailer for the new expansion and think “why bother”?

      • My friend was in one of the top guilds doing the biggest raids. His guild was the first to successfully raid some of the most epic content. However, it all came at a price. He said he loved the s**t out of the game, but had to drop it because it was taking a toll. 40+ hours per week! And it was primarily managing a guild to make sure the raids happen, make sure everyone had the gear they needed, etc.
         
        So yeah, you’re right, the content isn’t “dumbed down” as a whole, its just overrall brought to a level thats fun.
         
        And I have to agree, Mists of Pandaria looks retarded. I don’t play WoW, but thats the best reason for me not to play it: corny, kiddy expansions. They may slow the bleeding with new/renewed subs via cross-promotion (Blizzard Balance, through RMAH; Diablo 3 free w/ annual sub etc), but I think the ship is gonna sink pretty damn soon. They know this, and Project Titan is around the corner to save the day when WoW finally flops.

      •  
        Guess not putting the Pandaren in BC and raping the lore with the Draenei was the right decision by Blizzard…
         
        But hey, maybe everyone will turn on WoW and we’ll get WC4 after all… yeah, i wish.

    • Maybe I fail to see exactly how SWTOR will destroy WoW. Here’s the truth of the matter: Star Wars nerds will LOVE LOVE LOVE SWTOR. However, I don’t see the casual Joe saying: “Star Wars? F**** YEAH! SIGN ME UP”. See, the thing is I’ve seen easily more than one, more like three or four people playing WoW who I would never imagine playing such a game. Not only that, but they became hardcore gamers. I’m talking about people like popular footballers (in school), 40 year olds who never really played games before (from my work), and of course some of my friends.
       
      I feel like they’re gonna have  a real hard time attracting folks to an old, old IP where they can’t surprise people like WoW has.
      “BioWare, by contrast, has been known for single-player entertainment”

      • You are kidding right? Star Wars came out in the late seventies. If anything older individuals would feel more related to it. Everyone knows what Star Wars is even if they haven’t even seen the movies. My 91 year old grandma even knows what Star Wars is… Your argument makes no logical sense.

        • Agreed. I posted on a whim (a bit angry perhaps? lol) and didn’t really think it through. The only thing logical is that folks may approach SWTOR with their pre-existing bias since Star Wars has been around since the 70’s. Thats what I was going for.

  2. it begins.

    the end of blizzard.

    years of paying, hardcore gamers will leave.

    plenty of noobs and people that are complete retards to the gaming world will enter.

    2 months later these people will leave.

    hardcore gamers will not return.

    so be it

    • They alienated the hardcore in classic WoW. Whether it was the top raiding guilds on each server or the PvPer’s chasing Grand Marshal. Do you see those people playing anymore? Nope.

      I think Blizzard is on to something but they never have found the sweet spot. For Diablo 3 what they need to do is really push the difficulty of Inferno. If inferno is a total bust and any noob that reaches 60 can run it without issue there is a problem. They NEED to make inferno hard to appease the ‘hardcore’, but that doesn’t mean they have to alienate the ‘casuals’. They need to instill the insight, “Hell is plenty hard for me and while I don’t get a chance at the best loot my equipment is good enough”. Until they get this mindset into the game there will always be complaining between the ‘hardcore’ and ‘entitled casuals’.

    • It begins…
       
      Again, and again and again… and yet no lan, must be logged in to an account at all times SC2 still broke sales records… and people are still playing it obsessively…
       
      That comic is 100% accurate…
       

      • That’s only because SC2 has a huge world-wide competitive/ranking scene following its predecessor SC1; people WANT to get higher ranked in the scene. Diablo III has NOTHING, Blizzard explicitly stated they are actively AVOIDING working on balancing PvP for it, it has zero premise in competitive field of gaming, and is of course a small-group focused coop game. Because of that, the lack of LAN and the huge DRM will hurt it much more.

  3. As Einstein once said: “Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

  4. Quote Jay Wilson: “Our game (Diablo 3) is so easy in the beginning because we want to MAKE you hardcore players.”

  5. For me, this is why PvP has its biggest draw for me. Blizzard can’t regulate the skill of an opponent. They can change the parameters, the tools, etc, but they can’t regulate player ability.

    As such, PvP will continue to be a paramount point of replayability and”struggle.”

    No amount of “accessibility” alignment will end up changing that.

  6. You can make a game easy to learn – hard to master. Accessible for those who don’t have the time and skill, but in depth and challenging for those that do. Having the first difficulty level for people who want to cover all of the content be accessible is fine. That is where the other 3 difficulty levels come in. If they started tweaking those so everyone can do inferno, then we should be worried.

  7. Another butthurt wall o’ text from someone who can’t tolerate another person having a differing opinion.
    You could trademark that if it wasn’t so bloody common.

    • The post above yours isn’t a “wall o’ text”. A wall of text happens when the writer doesn’t use spacing at all whatsoever. Therefore… flibbetygibbett’s post is more like a “long post”. And those do happen because sometimes a short post doesn’t cover everything the poster wishes to convey.
      For a real “wall o’ text” look below my post at Shinnice’s first paragraph. That is your “wall o’ text”.
      As for the main topic, I don’t play Wow so I don’t care. Diablo 3 is different then wow and with 4 difficulties, will still be epically hard to beat. Pvp will also be awesome imo.

      • Perhaps, but I also consider “wall o’ text” as a bunch of paragraphs of senseless babbling and idiocy, which is what was vomited onto the comments section by whatervywhocares.

  8. Tbh, wow isn’t getting to hard, people are just getting to lazy, I’m a day 1 wow player and I’ve seen it all, every damn boss till now. The only reason why more people haven’t got 8/8 yet now is because they lack the dedication we used to have in vanilla. I admit, I have been a no-lifer for weeks, months probably. I don’t even want to type /played on my main anymore. It would make me depressed. But looking at my guild, We are top 250 worldwide. All mistakes that are being made are purely lack of focus, dedication. When you look at the amount of disconnects after a night of whipes. You don’t tell me that internet connections got so much more unreliable the past years. Players are more and more shifting from hardcore to casual. And as a company you try to please the biggest croud. So in a way, can you blame them for going after the casuals wallet?

    Anyway, I look forward to D3, hopefully my ticket out of wow. Well certainly my ticket out of wow if it’s anything like my D2 experience. God I love druids. Which is D3’s biggest flaw maybe, gimme a druid ffs. D2 style, wow style, doesnt matter.

    I also believe inferno isn’t going to be anywhere near for the casual player. Reaching the difficulty will allready prove your not a casual player (hopefully)

  9. People are just tired of the same old shit. They might regain a few subs, but I think most players have found other things to do. Which is a good thing, I think. I’m not sure how much an article like this reflects Diablo’s plans for endgame difficulty. Jay has said time and again that Inferno will be brutally hard. Diablo also has the advantage of not having entitled players who feel they should see all content because they’re paying 15 dollars a month. Supposedly.

  10. WoW’s problem in Cataclysm was that it was far too hard at the beginning. A lot of people don’t seem to know this, but the first few months of Cata were actually pretty damn hard. Unfortunately this caused casuals to leave in droves because there was no content for them. The only viable way to get gear was through heroics (normal-mode dungeons were too few in number), and heroics were grueling and filled with unskilled players who whined CONSTANTLY. If you weren’t in a good guild, it was an awful experience because it was just nothing but arguing, screaming, and crying.

    I think the good solution is what Diablo does: have variable difficulty modes that appeal to all play styles. D3 is going to be good in this regard because it has normal mode to appeal to casuals, but it also encourages them to become hardcore because you can only get the best gear by going through hell and inferno, and both casuals and hardcores alike love getting gear. WoW made the mistake of forcing everyone through heroics, which lost them subs when casuals couldn’t handle the content.

    In addition, WoW is dying simply because it’s getting old. Six years of the same old things gets tiring, and the barrier to entry for new players is too high. A person getting into WoW for the first time has to pay practically $100+ for the expansions alone and a $15 monthly fee on top of that, and don’t get me started on microtransactions. The game is just too old and too expensive.

    • “WoW’s problem in Cataclysm was that it was far too hard at the beginning. A lot of people don’t seem to know this, but the first few months of Cata were actually pretty damn hard. Unfortunately this caused casuals to leave in droves because there was no content for them. The only viable way to get gear was through heroics (normal-mode dungeons were too few in number), and heroics were grueling and filled with unskilled players who whined CONSTANTLY. If you weren’t in a good guild, it was an awful experience because it was just nothing but arguing, screaming, and crying.”

      Oh yes, the dungeons were so hard because you had to use some CC.  The rep grinds were unbearable because you had to actually walk to the vendor and equip a tabard, WTF!   You even had to go out and find the entrance to the dungeon before you could queue for it!  That’s way too hard Blizz.  

      Why don’t you explain how TBC got its subs then?  It didn’t have easy mode raids or normal mode raids, much of its content locked with attunements, its heroics were much harder than anything we ever had in Cata.  There were no tabards that got you free rep, and the questing system wasn’t on rails.  There were no valor/justice points that you could use to get wellfare PvE epics.  No group finder either!  Wait..  Could it be that all of those things made the game……..  BETTER?  Yea.  Cata has all of those things, so you can go straight on down to hell if you think it isn’t “accessible”.

      P.S.  Let’s take into consideration the opinion that some of you nitwits have that accessibility (or a lack thereof) is what is causing Cata to drop subs.  Seeing as how WotLK was the epitome of accessible,  by your logic it should’ve been the most popular expansion by far.  Truth is, by the numbers, it was the second most UNPOPULAR period of WoW to date.  WotLK stagnated the immense success that vanilla and TBC had laid the groundwork for, and Cata tanked it.

  11. What he said. Blizz has been nerfing content for casuals since WotLK but Cata brought in some hard stuff ( I did all the heroic content including Sinestra, before I quit and it was really hard compared to lets say Icecrown Citadel ), which suits their idea of a game thats easy to get into, but hard to master ( they said that in interviews about Diablo at least a couple of times ). No idea how it worked in newer patches in WoW but 1st Tier was pretty hard.

    Blah, didnt notice I was logged out :c

  12. I believe the real issue is money.

    While the panda expansion is silly.

    For a brand new player trying to get into WoW your talking about 100$ in the game + expansions..

    Then on top of that you have the monthly fee…and this game is ten years old.

    Any new player in their right mind would spend 60$ on skyrim before 100$ on WoW.

    So, overtime this is resulting in a net loss of subscribers because they are building a pretty high price wall for new people to climb.

  13. They removed stat and skill points to their new games, to say they are simplifying it would pretty much be a redundant statement.

  14. Blizzard needs to understand that the reason they hemorrhage  subs in WoW is due to abandoning their hardcore players. I hear quite often how people incorrectly assume casuals are the cash cow because they exist in larger numbers. Financially, this is false! The hardcores are the ones putting in the time and money to make a stable income stream. No amount of dumbing down will make someone’s grandmother play any game longer than she is inclined to do so. Fact is gamers play games and gamers make game companies their money not their sisters or mothers who don’t play games in the first place. It’s not because games are hard, it’s because they aren’t gamers ffs.

    As for WoW content, the reason cata is so difficult compared to BC and WotLK is because  in Cata, the hardest part of the content is not the content itself, it’s finding real gamers to play with anymore. The dumbing down of WoW has led to new lows in player skill levels making it nearly impossible to master content that the vanilla players would destroy in mere hours.  You cannot seriously tell me bosses on consistent timers with clear strategic weak points is inherently challenging. Rather, it’s getting the rogue to not stand in the fire or the hunter to not pull aggro. Threat? doesn’t even need managing any more. Tanking is a joke. Compared to Vanilla, Cata is child’s play, and yet the entitled idiot players of today still can’t handle it. I remember in 05 doing content orders of magnitude more difficult. The problem is the dumbing down of the player base and Blizzard is to blame. I’m a hardcore gamer and a true WoW fan, but they lost my subscription with Cataclysm. Mark my words, I’m the statistic they are watching evaporate from their balance sheet.. not the casual players who are ruining the experience in the first place.

    I’m all for accessibility, but let’s face it, where D3 will succeed is not requiring you to be pulled down by the mandated multiplayer co op environment of wow. It’s WoW 2.0. Done smarter, better, and with more refinement. WoW is a sinking ship and it’s due to the very policies Blizzard thinks will save it. Fortunately, D3 has the answers and I find that good because it means we will have a lot of support.

    • Thank you Matt.  You’re exactly correct.  I’ll elaborate a bit more on MY viewpoint here…

      I myself am not a “hardcore” per se, but I have played since open beta.  I liked having something to aspire to in the game, I liked seeing the hardcore guys in their raid gear.  It made me want to find a guild and go get it!

      I don’t understand why Blizzard is trying to design the game for people who are intrinsically incapable of sticking with the game for more than a few months.  They leave at the first sign of difficulty.  They feel entitled to everything because they pay their subscription fee, and when they don’t get it on a silver platter…  They leave!  No matter what the case is, the end result is that they’ll leave; they’re not worth building a game around.

      Hardcores attract the admiration of casuals.  It entices them to stay so they can have a chance to strut around in that epic raid gear.  Now that EVERYONE struts around in that raid gear, however, it begs the question:  “What now?”  Unfortunately, there is no “what now”.  That’s the game as it is right now, and there’s nothing more to gain from it.  Shallow to the max.

    • Doesn’t matter, grandma playing 5 hours per week pays the same amount per month as someone who plays 40+h per week.

      • Blizzard doesn’t make their large revenue off of box sales. They make most of their money through player retention. Given that, the players who will stay and play the most are dedicated gamers, I’d say grandma is a distant priority over someone like me. I’ve put thousands of dollars into Blizzard’s games, not through a one time box sale, but through DLC, Subscriptions and merchandising. Grandma won’t ever do any of that no matter how accessible it is. Instead, she’d rather knit her afternoons away as she usually does. Hence, trying to turn non gamers into gamers is a losing battle. Sure, you can sell more boxes, but we’ll see who’s still playing and paying after 2 years.. It won’t be grandma, and if Blizzard doesn’t start respecting their “gamers” then it won’t be them either.

        Again, I’m not saying accessible isn’t good. I believe that you can indeed draw in more people, but many of Blizzard’s decisions on the direction of this game  are a direct spit in the face to fans. This isn’t the same company we knew 10 years ago. I would know. I’ve been playing their games my whole life, and I don’t quite feel the same level of purity and respect I did before. However, I’ll say this. Diablo 3 will be an amazing game. The best they have ever made, but the over arching mass market culture I see in the design makes me sick and unwilling to pursue their games much farther beyond Diablo 3. They are turning into the kiss ass Disney of the game world and it’s truly disturbing.

    • Oor maybe lost subs because a lot of great games came out this year including SWTOR… ?

  15. WoW has hardmodes, so what?  What is difficult about the game past that TINY SLIVER of content?  Nothing.  Questing is on rails, killing the pseudo-sandbox world.  All of the RPG aspects of the game (hunter ammo, quests that require items outside the normal quest drops, crafting for the most part, etc) have been overly simplified or removed entirely.  Reputation is as simple as equipping a tabard.  You don’t have to go out into the world to dungeon, you just sit in your city and let the game make your groups for you.  Same with easy mode raids.  The list goes on and on and on.

    The game is dull, boring, and there’s nothing of value to not only keep people coming in, but entice them to stay as well.  THAT is why WoW is dying.  Even if they made MoP more accessible than WotLK, god forbid, it’ll keep losing subs.  You heard it here first.

  16. I played WoW “hardcore” for three years. Raiding schedule, 4 or 5 hours a night of raiding at least 5 nights a week, in addition to farming for my repairs, enchants and so on outside of that. Was in the guild that had the server-first Ragnaros kill in the days of 40-man raids.
     
    Made some good friends, but as time went by, I began to notice that competitive raiding seemed to bring out the very worst in human nature. Guilds splintering due to politics, power struggles and coups, the guildie who decamped for another server with the contents of the guild bank… whispering campaigns, hostility and general lack of loyalty, goodwill, and mutual support. And a lot of sexism :p All this wasn’t in just one guild, btw… when TBC came out some friends and I started our OWN guild, resolved to maintain a more humane, adult, civilized set of values and also get through the raid content. And we worked really hard to achieve that, but it did not seem to be an achievable goal. Played in some other guilds before, after, and between, but never found one that managed to avoid these problems.
     
    All that is why I eventually left, not primarily because of the content. It is possible that it was something about the content that elicited this behavior from players… there are some mechanics that pit people against each other, even while they are forced to cooperate to progress. But I don’t think any of the changes, in WoW or other MMOs, have eliminated the problem.
     
    Pretty much all my friends who have left WoW left for the same reason. I’m sure it’s not the ONLY reason  people leave, but I also think that a big part of the reason these games lose players… is something that game designers have no direct control over.

  17. Always and forever language will be abused to manipulate the majority. The word “accessibility” is essentially meaningless without an explanation. Here it is simply being used as a vehicle to “slip through” wonky justifications for doing something that only a very loud minority of people care about… or ‘began’ to care about after the idea was put on the table (re: retroactive justification, AKA justifying things that you never actually cared about and / or that don’t matter, are fundamentally flawed, etc.).
    As someone said, the theory here – that making the game easier will draw in and / or keep more players longer – in practice, is a fantasy. Was a poll taken? Was the playerbase at large asked if they wanted this – if it would inspire them to stick around and play longer? Of course not. It’s just a theory, and as mentioned before, a flawed one at that. Then the we-now-care-for-reasons-that-we-retroactively-conjured-up people come out of the woodwork and form the highly-predictable, uber-loud minority. Does the vast majority (i.e. super casual player) care at all about any of this? Nope. In fact, they don’t even come to websites like this and read articles, in the first place.
    The word “accessibility” means nothing. If you asked these people what it meant you’d get as many varying definitions as there were people you asked. And this is how the game works. You introduce a vague term that sounds nice, and everyone just concludes that it must be good, and that because of that the outcome will also be good. As the saying goes, “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions”.

  18. What if Blizzard were Robin Hood, casual gamers the poor, and hardcore gamers the rich?
     
    Ah, another butthurt whine about the ‘giving away’ of money
    I love that Flux is still desperately trying to make the argument that a higher standard of living = giving away, or distribution of wealth.

    Seemingly completely ignorant of the fact that work still offers hardmodes which remain challenging for rich workers, and STILL provide the best pay. Or the fact that banking remains, which is STILL set to be balls-difficult and isn’t going anywhere.

    But oh, please don’t let that stop you from completely misconstruing reality in an attempt to falsely paint the picture as ‘the death of the rich’. Don’t let a little thing like reality stop you from pretending that Robin Hood didn’t make the statement that their goal is to turn poor people into rich people.

    No no, it’s much easier to piss and moan like little butthurt rich kids about the death of the rich, when the picture is really much simpler to figure out; it’s a bunch of butthurt rich folks, upset that their hobby which they formerly held a monopoly on, has opened up to others beyond their niche little boys club.

    It’s okay. Those of us with enough wit to rub two brain cells together can see through your completely illegitimate and retarded arguments.

    • Did you click reply on the wrong thread or something? Nothing in your post has any relation to the OP, or the comment you replied to.

  19. The less of a learning curve the game has the more boxes you can sell. It is all about the money.

  20. A lot of people call Inferno a difficulty level. It is not… It is a new game plus mode. The difficulty progression in D3 is one size fits all. Skyrim, Torchlight, Uncharted, etc all have difficulty levels. If Diablo had difficulty levels we wouldn’t be having this argument. You would be able to start playing the game on hard mode. Incidentally TL 2 will have both difficulty level and New Game + modes. Diablo should do something similar.

  21. “Thus far, Diablo 3?s ever-increasing accessibility doesn’t seem to have gone much beyond the controls, interface, and presentation.”

    Is like saying

    “Thus far, this rainbow’s ever-increasing accessibility doesn’t seem to have gone much beyond the shape, size, and colors.”

  22. The only kind of people who will have no place in WoW/D3/SC2 is not hardcore or casual but it will be people who think they are good/hardcore/real gamer but they actually are not.  There’s content for everyone in WoW whether you are hardcore or casual.  If you compare HM boss to boss in Vanilla WoW you will know how complex boss’s bechanic is WoW has become.  It’s funny when I see people who go around saying that wow is so easy but in fact they don’t really have skill to do hard thing.

  23. A good game design is that you don’t overwhelm your players with huge amount of information they have to learn but still have deep gameplay that reward skilled player.  SC/SC2 are good example of this. I can explain to you in 10 min about how protoss and the game works in general then you can have fun with it but you could spend your entire life never master it.  There are many games out there I have played that once I learned all of its aspects(huge info and really complex) then I just can’t improve at it just because the games have no room for me to improve.  All of that games are the game that have shallow gameplay but they use huge amount of information players have to learn to disguise itself.

  24. I agree with your thoughts.  However, sc/sc2 is more like chess.  The game is simple, it is the players that make it interesting.  In a sense, you don’t play the game, you play against the other player, within the parameters of the game.  Thats why the replayability is endless.  With Diablo, you are playing against the game.  It is human nature that people will find the path of least resistance.  No matter how Blizzard changes the game, the path will be exposed sooner or later.  Once it happens, replayability will suffer.  Which brings the point of \accessibility\.  It is always better to get as many people to try your products first, then try to retain them.  Especially when the casual players outnumbers the hardcore players by a wide margin.  Hopefully there will be enough of an end game content to retain the hardcore players while still welcome those casual gamers with a flat learning curve. 

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