Act Five and Reaper of Souls is More “Gothic” than Diablo 3


I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to notice the strong emphasis the Diablo 3 developers put on just how dark, gothic, gory, etc, Westmarch and Act Five are going to be in Reaper of Souls. They stressed it in the Reaper of Souls debut at Gamescom and talked it up in numerous interviews from that show. And even if they hadn’t, it’s quite obvious from the visuals in the gameplay movie and the screenshots that the darkness has been turned up and that Westmarch is goth enough to s**t bats.

I figured that had been pretty well established a couple of months ago, but a fan brought it up on the B.net forums and got some dialogue going with Lylirra:

so-gothRemember the original Diablo? The opening cinematic featured a crow tearing an eyeball from a corpse’s body. During gameplay you’d find mangled, bloody bodies, upside down and burning crosses… Now interviews with developers reveal that they’re trying to give RoS a more “gothic” feel. Do they imply that they’ll be returning to their eerie roots?
Lylirra: I wouldn’t say our approach has really changed fundamentally with Reaper of Souls, but it’s certainly been adapted. We’re still very proud of the environments and level design of Diablo III and feel that the overall look and feel of the original game was very appropriate for that particular narrative. In Reaper of Souls, though, the narrative has changed — it’s darker, more moody, and deals with the concept of death very directly — so the environments and storyline have also evolved to reflect that new direction.

Philosophically speaking (both in terms of Diablo III and our art style as a whole), we always want to try to provide players with a variety of settings whenever possible, so that you aren’t constantly having to play through the same landscapes over and over. We also love that Diablo III — and even each Act within the game — has a very clear, very distinct visual identity. While this means that some areas may be more colorful or vibrant than in the past, it was something new (a nice contrast) and made sense within the context of the story. The same applies for our direction with Reaper of Souls.

Even so, we’ve definitely paid attention to the feedback shared by the community since launch and have made some decisions in terms visual design for the expansion which we hope everyone will enjoy. Now, the “proof is in the pudding” (as some say), so I’m just going to leave you with these two screenshots from the first zone in Act V:

  • Cathedral entrance in Westmarch.
  • Alleyway leading to a central courtyard, also in Westmarch (which we lovingly refer to as “the corpse blanket”)
  • 29EQCS7RSKGR1376712383322T7DDI2V619Q41376713219008

    More screenshots are available here, and you can check out more of Westmarch in this gameplay teaser.

    I’m tempted to just drop in a “2008 called and they want their argument back” and move on… We often joked about fans wearing “rose-tinted glasses” when selectively remembering only the highlights from ten years of Diablo 2, but when it comes to the graphics and especially the colorfulness (or not) they’re definitely goth-tinted glasses.

    Diablo 2: Dark, gothic, and never colorful.

    D2X: Dark, gothic, and never colorful.

    I loved Diablo 2 and played a ton of it, and some areas of the game were dark and gothic and gory, and others were not. The same can be said of Diablo 3, and while some of their PR wounds were definitely self-inflicted with dumb comments (that turned out to be inaccurate) and the too-clean look of the first demo dungeon… Diablo 3 has lots of dark and gothic settings and buckets of DiabloWikigore. And Act Five clearly sits atop that foggy, spiky, bloody throne.

    Our Act Five gallery has a lot more shots than Blizzard’s does, so browse and enjoy. There are several pics I think are much nicer and more gothic than the two Lylirra chose, with this misty cemetery sitting as my current favorite.

    Click through for some more follow ups from Lylirra on this gothic issue, and closing debate points in which I suggest that Diablo 1 “looked” more gothic and gory largely due to non-visual elements.

    Hey Lylirra, I wonder if adding an enemy affix that does “Horror” would make the game feel a bit more “Gothic”. In short, it drastically reduces your vision (much like Light Radius in Diablo 2 when you were in a dark cave). You wouldn’t know what’s coming at you. It would be a nice touch.
    Interesting thought! Happy to pass it on. 🙂

    Nothing revolutionary. It’s Tristram Cathedral with shades of Blue, Gray, Black. With more ghostly aspects and skeletons.
    It’s still the world of Sanctuary (and the same game engine, too), which means things aren’t going to change dramatically. We may not be able to achieve “revolutionary” given those contextual and technical limitations, but one of the goals of Reaper of Souls is definitely to harken back to Diablo’s darker, more gothic roots. Not copy it exactly, mind you, since this is a different game with its own identity, but we’ve certainly made an effort to draw upon notable themes from those earlier chapters.

    So have you guys made some changes in the previous acts art style/story tellin wise?
    Hm. We’ve completely integrated the Crusader’s storyline into Acts I-IV, but no other significant changes have been made to those zones as of current design (at least in terms of lore or visual design).

    So why do so many fans remember Diablo 1 and Diablo 2 as so much more gory and gothic than they were, while acting as if Diablo 3 is best visually represented by DiabloWikiWhimsyshire? Part of it is the goth-tinted glasses and sometimes it’s just D3 haters, but I think there is some reality to the issue as well. Aside from a lot of selective memories of what Diablo 1 and Diablo 2 looked like (and selective amnesia about what they didn’t look like) I think a lot of the differences are due to the graphics engines.

    Many people, myself included, remember Diablo I as so much more gory and scary and gothic than it actually is (if you go and look at screenshots of it today) in large part since the visuals are 640×480 and very pixely. It’s the same reason most horror movies don’t give you a good look at the monsters, and put them in darkness, moving fast, leaping out suddenly, etc.

    The Butcher's Block, from Diablo I.

    The Butcher’s Block, from Diablo I.

    The human mind is very good at filling in details and weaving a spell over itself to enhance the visuals to fit the mood. When you’re in love the other person seems like the most beautiful in the world. (And then they instantly lose 5 points of attractiveness when you break up.) The same goes for things that are scary or creepy; they look much worse in our minds when we’re in the right mood, and it’s there that I think Diablo I really had an advantage, since the overall tone and theme was so much darker than Diablo 3, and the music and sound effects were masterful. (And audible, as I for the 74th time lament the lack of impactful music in Diablo 3’s non-symphony of ambient sound effects.)

    It’s been said a million times before, including by me, but “Ahhhhh, fresh meat!” and the propulsive way the Butcher came out of that ensanguinary chamber was so much more visceral and scary than anything in D2 or D3, despite the relatively small size of the Butcher, the pixely graphics, etc. You can watch the movie below and almost laugh at how cheesy it looks by modern standards… but if you turn down the lights and lean in close and listen to the whole intro speech and the amazing music… and remember what it was like the first time you saw that in game, oh-so-many years ago… it’s amazing.

    There are dozens of settings, monsters, set designs, etc, in Diablo 3 that are objectively more gory and gothic and polished in appearance than anything in Diablo 1… but it’s not just about graphics. It’s about tone and mood and theme and sound effects and music and intangibles, and I think it’s those areas that account for the lingering feeling by many fans that Diablo I “looked” so much darker and more gothic than Diablo 3.

    Diablo 3’s Westmarch and Act V obviously have the “look” of gothic and grim, but we’ll have to see how they play and tone and theme and mood, and even if all those issues are awesome, I still don’t think they can compare with our memories of days and games gone by.

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    1. Diablo 1/2: Nobody really knows about the big demon you need to kill, at best you get a few cryptic lines from Cain. The demon in questioning doesn’t even speak to you until the very end when it spits one mocking line and rushes for your blood.

      Diablo 3: Even common soldiers and peasants know all about demon lords and constantly talk to you about them. Worse yet said demons even spend the entire act taunting you like a saturday morning cartoon villain.

      It’s a case of less is more, even the art style, where the blurry pixelated designs in D1/2 left more to our imagination, the overly detailed 3d models in D3 simply show too much. I was psyched when I saw the concept art for Rakanoth only to fight him in this brightly lit room, where’s the horror in that?

      I mean, look at that video clip for the butcher, now imagine if when you opened the door you lost control of your character while the camera panned over to him for 5 seconds. Takes away all of the shock doesn’t it?

      • Agree totally with too much detail being detrimental, especially the way bosses are presented in d3. In the other games, bosses came at you quickly with a one liner intro. I remember being startled when they came on screen the first time. Not so in d3. D3 slows it all down so you can become mentally prepared for the encounter.

        What made d1 really scary was the hardcore nature. You dropped all your gear when you died and it only took 3 or so monsters to take you out. For the game to really feel horror, you have to be genuinely afraid of the enemies. You have to play hardcore mode in d2 and d3 after you first time through to keep the horror vibe.

        • Yeah the lack of a sense of surprise in the boss fights totally kills it for me.

          They should just remove the boss fights altogether and make them spawn in a semi random location, like Key Wardens, but much less random.

          Butcher’s intro in Diablo 3 is painfully stupid. What I would give to fight him in the Halls instead of that stupid scripted sequence arena.

        • It’s interesting to consider that in D2, Baal was more “present” and talkative than most enemies, laughing at you periodically in the WSK, appearing in all the cutscenes, etc. Yet none of that diminished him. Maybe because he still talked far less than even minor bosses in D3? Maybe because he was viscerally repellant somehow, while the D3 monsters look and sound more cartoonish? That is something I notice… I still cringe at the sight of Andariel. A lot of the monsters really looked horrible, like Lister, the Council members, those corpse-eating things… Nothing in D3 has the same impact, even with all the blood and gore everywhere.

          • I think it’s all due to “show don’t tell”. We see how evil Baal is: Killing Marius, invading Mount Arreat while having no problem with destroying everything in his way. But he never tells us, that he is evil – like those stupid monsters in D3 does.

      • But, but- As gay wilson said, creating an atmosphere isn’t just about applying a photoshop filter to a picture.

        Wait, then, why is everything blue? Why is there a red dungeon? Why is everything in A3 red? I GUESS HE LIED

      • i have feared andariel so much especially at first walkthroughs

    2. Nothing will ever compare to nostalgia. Nothing. That said, Goro makes some fine points about pacing and presentation that certainly contribute to the cartooniness of D3. If you’re on a long, empty walkway with a shrine in the middle and nothing attacking you, there’s a good chance it’s a boss fight. You don’t need additional cutscene dialogue from your party AND the boss AND the act boss AND a camera pan AND a history lesson to tell you about this boss you’re about to fight. You just need to kill the thing in front of you, in a game based entirely on killing things in front of you.

      I think that presentation did more to ruin the game for me than the art style (by this point I’m sick to death [har har] of “real is brown” games that think bland, dull palettes make the game edgy. They just make it boring and everything feel samey, instead). There is certainly room for some bleak areas like the crypts in D3 A1 or kulle’s sanctuary, but too much of that just makes the whole game look bland and uninspired.

    3. Also, most players were relatively young and a lot less jaded when playing D1.

      It would be interesting to see someone 18+ who initially played D1 comparing it to D2 and D3. I have a feeling a lot of D1 players initially did so at relatively younger ages, where things make more of an impression.

      The other thing is that shock imagery/gore/etc. are becoming old hat. D1 was gruesome in a way many other games weren’t. By the time D3 rolled around, we’ve seen everything, generally at better resolutions and with considerably stronger graphics than those available with D3.

      • D1 came out right around the time I finished college. Loved it. Loved D2 even more and played it off and on for years in between playing MMOs.

        I tried really hard for a long time to enjoy D3, I gave it over 6 months of daily play time. I look back on my time playing D3 as a waste of time, as if I was just grinding for gold/items all the while waiting for the miracle patch. I don’t feel the same way when I look back on D1 or D2, I truly enjoyed myself playing those 2 games, whereas D3 – I played because it was Diablo and had hopes Blizzard would fix the issues and make it more like D2 LOD eventually.

        Just wanted to throw in my 2 cents, I don’t think D1/D2 vs D3 is an age thing exactly. But back then, there certainly weren’t as many choices for games to spend your time on as there is now.

      • The God was never young. D1 had very ‘claustrophobic’ feeling, being alone in decaying city, descending, always descending to something horrible which lurked from the pit. D2 had open spaces and monsters screeching and weapons clinging, making it less survival-horror(-y) in feel than the first game. But the cinematic sequences, oh, they were creepy and atmospheric and The God watched them thousand times! Not true for LoD, though, which basically had neither – bad story and different art, it brought much more on technical improvement and content than atmosphere and ‘gothicsnsess’.

        But neither had butterfly queens and never shutting-up princesses.

    4. +1 to what Goro said, and Matt Uelmen music was far superior than the current D3 soundtrack.

    5. One thing that made the Butcher so memorable, visuals aside, was that he could destroy you in a hurry. When I think of the best parts of D1 and D2, they tended to be the battles that you knew were going to be tough unless you had twinked your character. Duriel, Treehead, Travincal. The first time through you game you died repeated trying to figure these battles out. Then, when you knew what to do, it was still tough. I don’t remember going into Duriel’s lair too many times thinking “This will be a breeze.”

      In D3 on the first two difficult levels, even with completely new/untwinked characters, I rarely felt in danger. Even in encountering a boss or miniboss for the first time, I rarely felt in much danger.

    6. about the
      “D2X: Dark, gothic, and never colorful.”
      pic

      I always liked seeing monsters turn green when poisoned and blue when frozen
      and the red was fine too, because you are basically at the gates of hell

      although D3 has some of the green/poison effect, it doesn’t do it enough for me

      • Furthermore, the gamma is turned way up on that screenshot from D2X which kinda brings out the colors (and makes the game uglier). If you play at the normal settings the tone is much darker. I don’t think the mood of D3 is determined by the colors, but by the graphic style. It is more cartoony and less realistic.

      • Agreed. For me it was about the bodies and blood. Also they removed all elements of satanism from the game. Pentagrams are gone. They should have turned up the dial on that stuff. That being said I did not think D3’s feel was that bad. Act 1 and 2 are about near perfect. Even act 3. Act 4 is a whole bunch of disappoint. I know its supposed to be where the angels hang out or whatever, but I feel like I’m at a mall on Naboo.

        I think the preview pics for Act 5 are on point and if thats what they give us many including myself will be spending long hours in Westmarch. Tell me you don’t love running weeping. Jammed pack creepy field with graves? Thats Diablo!! Or the defiled crypts? We all wish they were longer and bigger [that didnt sound good].

        Lastly, this game, for whatever reason, has brought an unprecedented level of hate/complaining/selective amnesian comparison. Some of these folks are just born to hate/complain and despite what they claim were not old enough to play the original games with the cognition that a person would as an adult. That just increases the romanticism of the old games.

    7. I agree with Goro, but this is just a problem with any ongoing series. You have the same enemy as the final boss over and over again, of course it’ll lose that initial shock and sense of mystery.

      In the first game, it was just a localised incident that affected a single very small village. That innately lends itself more to a more intimate and smothering sense of horror. By the 2nd game, more people were familiar with these Lords of Hell and four totally separate and distant areas were affected on a large scale by it. Let me just reiterate that, even before Diablo 3 came out, the series had jumped from creepy events in a small village to a visit into Hell itself (maybe a bit too much like “peeking behind the curtain”?), a solar eclipse, worldwide invasions from the Prime Evils, another visit into Hell (This Summer… Diablo 2 is going… Back To Hell), and then a god damn MOUNTAIN EXPLODES.

      By the time the third game rolls around, you’ve gone from “cabin in the woods” to “worldwide zombie apocalypse” on the horror film sliding scale, so where next? Diablo IN SPACE? I think that’s one of the reasons for the more retrospective feel of a lot of Diablo 3 (e.g. the whole of Act 1) and the sense that they were more filling in the gaps and bringing out the details in what had already gone before, and it was that mentality that led to this overexposure of the plot since it was more like a “let’s elaborate” than a “let’s continue” in many ways. Personally, I’d have preferred them scaling it back to a new area where this is all new to them, where something like Tristram could happen again and you maintain that low-key feel, but then it probably would have been accused of rehashing D1 again…

      • The God agrees…

        And what about protagonist? From unknown Wanderer (only later proclaimed ‘Aiden, the Prince’ in some badly written lore trilogy) of D1 and a nameless Hero following Dark Wanderer of D2, we got CHOSEN ONE who will probably save THE PRINCESS (sic!) and who is constantly reminded that he’s nothing short of omnipotent and all the goods and evils are afraid of him, and not vice versa…

        And some things are better left without explanation, than to have really bad one, leaving some good potential unused – what is Khazra? What were all those goatmen doing? What about their necromancy? What is spider-queen (ok, it’s obvious, but we could have some story about it).

        The God declares that idea of retrospection was maybe good, but execution was definitely very poor.

    8. Comparing to Movies

      Diablo1/Diablo2 like ” The Exocist , Alien 1, The Shining,

      Diablo3 – Casper, Toy Story,

    9. The impressions you get from screenshots are of visual nature. What made D1 so much better at inspiring that gothic feeling was the the whole atmosphere though: pacing (most importantly)/sense of danger, music, presentation of dungeons/enemies/lore, full focus on the adventure (no chat, no auctions, NO silly follower comments, absence of the forces of ‘the Light’, fewer comical voice acting dialects), and so on. Plus, of course, an overall less cartoony art style without glow effects in all colors all over the place.

      With their skill system and all its awkward rune effects in place, pacing/sense of danger will never return to D3. Guess the entire screen could be black – with players speeding through the environment, raining frogs, shooting pink lasers and making the world shake with their every cough, a lasting scary, gothic atmosphere should be very hard to create.

      And that’s why I think that RoS doesn’t look like a promising approach: They’d have to radically rework the foundation of the game before building more of the same with some slight differentiation in tone on top of it.

    10. Please more psychology stuff flux so you really make me into thinking d2 was not darker at all…ohwait just 1000000000000000000x more and even though there were thimes when it was colorfull it was 00.0000000000001% of the time.

      Now let me go to palace where are dead whores on the floor with blood in their…

      and now I am gonna watch the butterfly demon kill cain.

      • Or you could compare the mutilated corpses stuck in torture equipment in Diablo 3 to the cute little bright red goblins in Diablo 2 that say “Rackety-splat!” I can be ridiculously selective and biased too!

    11. “The impressions you get from screenshots are of visual nature.”
      I like how this is only true now, whereas before you could tell every single thing about a game from some screenshots when we were talking about Diablo 3.

      You know the funny thing? If Blizzard North/Condor had their way, and Blizzard hadn’t intervened, Diablo 1 would’ve been a turn-based game with “claymation” graphics like Clayfighter. Here, check out this picture of your warrior fighting an enemy in Blizzard North’s pure vision of Gothic horror:

      http://www.imagebam.com/image/811c67282555583

      • You seem, in your eagerness to be contrary to Blizzard criticism, to have read a bit too much BlizzNorth favoritism into my post, Winterfell. It is purely concerned with how D1’s atmospheric presentation of the game was, still is and apparently continues to be far superior to D3’s though.

    12. In D3 everything looks rubbery and plastic. The first two games seem like if you ran your hands over objects they’d be gritty and bumped.

    13. Most comments here nailed it. The gritty feeling of the previous Diablo games… the fear of the unknown. Matt’s music was a billion times better than Brower’s garbage.

      The saturday morning cartoon hologram heads popping up. The loss of control of your character and the constant cut-scenes. They berate you with too much info, and the story is downright laughable. It’s hard to think some of that garbage was ok’d.

      I also feel it was a failure to have the character speak on my behalf. In the previous games, *you* were the hero/wanderer. In D3 I’m just controlling some monk dude who speaks on my behalf, so I have no real connection with the character I’m playing. Okay, maybe that’s minor, but I think it impacts the overall experience more than you’d think, similar with how the music really sets the mood.

      Art/music/story aside, they just tried way too hard to hold your hand through the D3 experience and it really shows. And also, Bashiok’s grandmother probably needed the hand holding, remember?

    14. In retrospect, all 3 games have highs and lows. In D1, the cave-like levels weren’t particularly “gothic” or creepy. In D2, I have always loathed A2 (except for the tomb areas) because it is so dang bright and ugly to look at. I also found Nihlathak’s levels to be just too much on the other end of the spectrum, along with the Durance of Hate. In D3, I think they went way overboard with the red color filters in some areas, like the Butcher dungeon levels and some parts of A4. But at the same time I love Kulle’s dungeons in A2, the outdoor areas in A1, the snowy areas of A3 (I personally thought there were some hideous maps in D2 A5 in the blinding white snow). They got a lot of stuff right. I do wish we would see something like the Plains of Despair or the Chaos Sanctuary revisited, without cheesy color filters; I consider those the pinnacle of the series visually. Incidentally I think they also failed to deliver in D3 on some of the things we saw in the early artwork, like the cathedral interiors with giant creepy faces under the floor and stuff.

      I agree with Goro as well that D3 feels more like a Saturday morning cartoon and the enemies talking to you really suck a lot of the pleasure out of it. Every time Diablo or Azmodan tries to talk I rush to hit space bar as if I was just surrounded by a dangerous pack and using an escape skill. It’s torture. The butterfly lady is the most idiotic figure ever to appear in a Diablo game and the fact she kills Cain was worse still.

      In the end, though, I strongly prefer the gameplay and mechanics of D3, which is why I’ve kept coming back to it more than the other 2 entries.

      • Worse, hitting key doesn’t prevent Evil Butterfly Queen Candy to say ‘Leah must be…’

        The God doesn’t care where Leah ‘must be’ or ‘is’ or ‘is going to be’… ever.

        For the first time, Diablo series has mandatory NPC companions, very talkative, very annoying – especially after playing a while. Graphics are LOT better, but what to expect after 11 years?

        I, Clavdivs, The God, declare voice acting of D3 THE WORST in Blizzard otherwise glorious history, and turning Tyrael into bald guy with big sword nothing short of atrocity! Is bald Tyrael on front page of D3 website? Or a faceless, mysterious, unearthly being we all know and love?

        D3 has a load of problems, but graphics is not one of them – some scenes are visually stunning (beasts in Act3 underground). Game *could* be darker like in DarkD3, true, but is generally good.

        By ‘more gothic’ The God assumes more dark in atmosphere, no small-talk about broads or other irrelevant NPC ‘problems’, better voice-acting and overall feeling of desperate fight over impending doom, not ‘victory is assured’ feel.

    15. And.. let’s not forget, as long as these items suck or non-existent, “moody” is all relative. It’s end of 2013 Blizzard. Time to stop treating EVERY gamer as like they have PCs from 2006:

      * Light Radius
      * Real time shadows
      * Spell Effects
      * etc

    16. Rakanishu is what they say, they are calling their leader.
      I’m sorry but you fail to make your point. It’s obvious that d2 has a darker atmosphere than d3.

    17. I never really cared much about the big art discussion prior to the release of the game. I just thought to myself to wait and see and decide then what to make of it. Well, after playing D3 for a couple of months I pretty much hate it and not just the art design. There are really great things, I really enjoyed the 1st act. Not just the art design but also the feel of it but it pretty much went downhill after you killed the butcher

      The overall design is a bit too carton-ish and the music is too epic, or a wanna-be-LotR ripoff, the voice acting is annoying and the forced cutscenes pissed me off more times then I care to count. But the worst part for me, and in retrospect was the nail in the coffin, is the cheering crowd after you killed Belial. I still can’t believe they put this in the game. It should have been a devastated town with corpses everywhere considering that before you faced Belial there were meteors falling from the sky. But what do we get? People cheering and applauding like you just won a tennis match. It killed every bit of atmosphere the game had left.

      D2 was such a great experience because it did a fantastic job portraying a depressing journey of a single hero against an unspeakable evil.

    18. When I was 6 or 7 I would stay up late perched next to my father like always and watch him play like Wizardry Gold, Civ2, Warcraft and Diablo (the most entertaining to watch because it was so brooding and packed full of fear). I began playing the series a little later when Hellfire came out and I (Monk) would stay up late on Friday and Saturday nights playing with my Dad (Rogue) and older sister (Sorcerer). That game’s archaic yet brilliantly gritty graphics really set up a great horror atmosphere.

      I later became a big Warcraft player until WC3 came out with it’s rediculously cartoon graphics and terrible gameplay that I began to religiously play D2 for a few years and up until getting D3 for Console I would hop onto D2LoD just for kicks.

      I actually prefer D3’s appearance over it’s predecessors because of it’s environmental variance and more modern graphical capabilities. My favorite area in the whole game, appearance-wise is the Festering Woods and I do wish it was much larger because it’s so scary sexy.

      There are some very dark and Gothic looking environments in this game. Also the 3d nature of environments in this game is amazing. My father who has never played D3 until a few days ago and who religiously plays LoD was amazed when he saw the city of Caldeum in the background of the Hidden Camp and he absolutely loves how the (Tamoe) Highlands actually look like highlands now. The one thing he absolutely hated was how a pathetically underwhelming fairy witch killed Deckard Cain. Another complaint was the Diablo boss fight and how the High Heavens setting wasn’t deserving of that.

      I am excited for RoS mostly for the new environments (that screenshot of that yellow/green foggy cemetery has got me most excited) and Loot Runs.

      However, I would rather have a jungle act because I am a fan of gloomy forested environments so here’s hoping for that in a second expansion.

    19. Turn on darkd3, turn up the music REALLY loud (so you can actually hear it), and turn off the voices and the atmosphere in D3 dramatically improves.

      PS – D2 was not dark in the slightest. I have no idea where that myth came from. Find me one scary thing in the entirety of Act 2.

      • (Of course I mean D2 was not particularly spooky visually. Sound and story are another matter.)

      • Like when a bunch of Hollowed Ones you can’t see shoot you with shadow projectiles from the darkest corners and raise hordes of skeletons?
        May be you forget there was a day/night cycle in D2, so even act2 outdoors could be dark.

    20. I’m also gonna take this moment to gripe about Tyrael. It’s hard to really express how utterly Tyrael was ruined by D3. The changing of voice actors was only a small part of it. I can’t stand it when he follows you around, chattering away just like the act bosses. It’s worth remembering that a lot of the mystery and atmosphere of D2 was provided by Tyrael’s presence in the background; he was a genuinely intriguing supporting character and you wondered what he was really about, and his motives. He spoke very little and only appeared here and there with a few helpful words. Now he’s just another dorky talking head popping up everywhere. It kills me.

      • He’s been made mortal in D3, ahem. He needs people now, its not like before where god would wipe his butt for him and everything else. Its just a pity he doesn’t carry much divine knowledge with him that could compare nicely next to cains apparent wisdom. Anyhoo, going by these developers standards all that matters is that he’s dressed appropriately for the occasion being the incredibly aesthetically focused bunch that they are.

      • Yes, he played a HUGE role in creating the mistery in Diablo 2. His voice, depressive tone, faceless, creepy, ghostly and yet majestic presence! I used to stand beside him in the Fortress to stare at his wings. Beautiful sight!

        His storyline in D3 is laughable. His new voice, his face, his human personality.

        There’s no explanation other than they were actively trying to diminish the game into this terrible shit we payed for. No SANE person would allow this amount of bullshit if not on purpose.

    21. I don’t understand this conversation, at all. I look at the bright red colours of the D1 screenshot, the bright purples and greens and reds of the D2 screenshot… and we are saying that D3 is overly colourful? I find that the mood is set more by the environment and the music. The rumbles and the blasting trombones announcing your arrival in the Skeleton King’s chamber is by FAR more tone-setting than purple and green monsters or a bit of blood and gore and hanging mutilated corpses in all their 8-bit glory… If I want crappy old-time graphics, I’ll go play Minecraft… no, scratch that…. pixelated graphics went out of style in 1995.

      No argument about the story. It is vile and saddened me to no end to see the story drop to such lows. But to complain about graphics and point to the pixely 800×600 \glory\ of Diablo2? I think we’ve lost perspective, here. D2 was a good game, sure. But I will take D3 any day, every day, all day over D1 or D2, which I played to death already. I look forward to the darker tone that the new environments are bringing about, but I don’t see the problem with the environments that exist to begin with… seriously…

      • Fans at this site are required by law to complain about the flaws in all aspects of D3. When those flaws don’t actually exist, they are required to invent them.

      • You’re comparing apples and oranges…. Given what D1 and D2 were *when* they were released and when they were relevant, I think many would argue they’d win over what D3 accomplished. Of course the graphics in D3 are better, it was released over 10 years after the previous Diablo game.

    22. Yeah I think the issue wasn’t so much about the colour or lack of it. It was the darkness and the fact that when you walked into a room, you didn’t know what was in there. They took Diablo in a direction that took this mystery / suspense out of the game.

    23. Those two screenshots are soooo gothic. Pale blue-green everywhere and no blood. They are afraid to put a whole bloody corpse with a human head in the game. So they go for cheesy stuff.

      And the runner of this site defends d3 as usual.

    24. Yea there’s nothing “gothic” in those screenshots. They’re blue. Both have a pile of bodies. This means they learned NOTHING.

      Will there be a decent background music to go with it? Will there be creepy whispers and voices of their souls? Will they sometimes suddenly jump on to you? Grab you, slow you down and slowly drain your life till you leave the room?

      Yea, didn’t think so. F U D 3.

    25. I miss doing boss runs. They need to make bosses more important to Diablo 3.

    26. I don’t think that gothic (or creepy) games cannot be colourful, cannot contain butterflies or cannot have bosses introduction sequences. Look on Dark Souls, this game has more or less colorful areas, it has butterflies as enemies (Moonlight butterfly, which creepiness is supported by an awesome music playing durring fight) and has introduction videos for some bosses. But the way that all this is presented to the player is what really matters. Bosses don’t talk to you(“ARGHHH, I WILL DESTROY YOU! HAHAHAHA! FEAR ME!”), some can be even spoted in a distance (IRON GOLEM, MOONLIGHT BUTTERFLY, CEASELESS DISCHARGE,…) and you always feel the danger because, no matter how many times you were fighting with the boss, he may always kill you in a second.

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