Blizzard Again Insists that Diablo 3 Will be Difficult

Bashiok spent precious finger fuel responding to one of those complaints-in-advance that seems to come up every few days weeks. Will Diablo 3 be challenging? Or will various game features just guide players through on rails?

When i play retail WoW, i dont like how they tried to make things so “perfect” for players. Talents? they are perfect because you just put them in without thought. its easier for players to have a good build now, but its not as cool as having to make your own build and putting thought into it.

Dungeon finder and cross realm. this makes everything nice and convenient and many people like it. so is starting at level 85 and having all the gear. i feel this ruins what an MMORPG is MEANT to be. there is no world of warcraft anymore.
Bashiok: Quite right, but on that point I’d say we agree that talent trees in Cataclysm were great in that you really couldn’t screw up, but they also removed pretty much all choice. It’s something we talk a lot about and hope to fix.

I don’t want to talk about WoW here, but I also don’t want you to think that the change we made was something we look at and think is the perfect solution.

what i want to know is, what are they doing to diablo to add to this? i have a big feeling they are going to do something so the game is even more accessible then diablo 2. D2 was not a hard game, but it was just so fun. i think things like getting honor for pvp and then buying items would ruin part of the game. its about getting items and then putting it on your character to battle it out. ya know?
Bashiok: Uh, hrm. I’m sure there are plenty of examples people can come up with where we’ve changed or removed the more ‘hardcore’ aspects of the game. Respecs are a huge one, but 99% of people didn’t like rerolling new characters when they placed a point incorrectly. “Auto stats” are another, but hopefully we’ve provided enough info to let people know that we’re only shifting customization, and adding more, not removing something meaningful.

In any case, I think all of these types of things (feel free to list the ones I left out) all feed into a feeling of uncertainty. Which is totally reasonable, but when people get their hands on it, I don’t think they’ll be able to deny it’s a Diablo game. And if we screwed up somewhere we’re going to work to make it right. Hopefully though we can talk (or have talked) about where you think we may screw up and we can try to make sure our position is known, or otherwise get that feedback and work with it.

Diablo 3 might be a good game but it’s going to be easy and casual so even your mom whose favorite game is Angry Birds can beat it. This is just something you have to accept if you want to continue playing games.
Bashiok: ORLY

Bashiok, I think a good amount of people believe d3 will be very easy. And I can’t blame them for thinking it. The only footage we’ve seen is of demos that don’t really represent how the game will turn out at all. In the demos, it seems like every class has basically infinite resources and not a big problem with dying – more like what to expect in act 1 and act 2 normal difficulty (which I think exactly what it is). But my point is, the content that’s been shown affects how people feel about the game.
Bashiok: Spot on.

We specifically make people pretty invincible in our show demos because it sucks to wait 30 minutes to 3 hours (literally) to get to play for your 15 minutes and die and spend precious time getting back to the action. That same issue doesn’t exist for a release product, of course, so we can have actual real balance of progression. Not the god-mode of a show floor demo.

Aside from that I think Diablo II eases people into the game pretty well, my Mom has played it and had fun. We maybe take that easing-in a tiny bit further in Diablo III, but overall we ramp up quickly and to very difficult and beyond through Nightmare, Hell, etc.

Without talking about the beta build too much, difficulty will be one of many things people will get no real sense of before release. But, it’s in our best interest and the longevity of the game to ensure that it’s challenging for the people that reach it. What would be the point of having multiple increasingly tough difficulty levels if to not ramp up how hard the game is? Of course whether we hit those difficulty marks right out of the gate is another issue.

That last bit about the DiabloWikiDiablo 3 Beta build was interesting. Apparently Bashiok feels that the beta will be quite easy, and as such unrepresentative of the difficulty of the final game. Why? Because the beta will be Act One/early content only, which is balanced easy to welcome new players in without any sharp edges to puncture their initial balloon of joy? Or are they intentionally making the beta easier than the game, like it’s a game demo? If so, why? What purpose would that serve?


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  1. Bashioks response to honor points and pvp items raised an eyebrow for me. He didn’t specifically answer the full question, more brushed it off. I may have read into it wrong but it sounds like they have quite a few things they haven’t announced about PvP and PvP incentive.

    • They’ve already said they’re not doing any practical rewards for PvP, so this didn’t really concern me much.

      • Yes I know that, but I got a whiff that there was something not spoken.

        • I’ll bet there are some interesting rewards from PvP. But Jay Wilson has said that the heart of D3 is PvE, and that players will have to kill monsters to find their gear.  I don’t think they’re going to allow chars to just play the Arena forever, earning gear and exp from it.

  2. Actually, Bashiok didn’t even hint at the beta being easy. He said that we won’t be able to extrapolate the difficulty of the finished game from it, which is hardly surprising to me to be honest, because it will probably change from week to week until the end of the beta.

    • Actually he did. He said that D2 is easy enough for his mom to enjoy. And that “we take the easing-in a tiny bit further in Diablo III.” And then he said that people playing the D3 beta won’t get any hint of the game’s real difficulty. All in a post defending D3 from accusations that it’s going to be too easy.

      I think that paints a pretty clear picture of things. Since we know the beta will be just Act One and early game stuff.

      • What i got from that is that Nightmare and Hell won’t be available in the beta, therefore the true difficulty of the game will remain unknown.  I don’t think they are going to make the beta easier than the real game.

  3. “We maybe take that easing-in a tiny bit further in Diablo III, but overall we ramp up quickly and to very difficult and beyond through Nightmare, Hell, etc.”

    What does he mean with “etc.”? A higher difficulty level than Hell?

  4. You know difficulty is one of those things that is so variant among players that you don’t think you’re playing the same game. Taking all the different combinations of characters, along with the luck of finding loot and party composition you will always find players that either find it too easy or too hard, even amongst the hardcore who will play on nightmare\hell difficulty. It’s really a balance nightmare which is why I’m assuming normal difficulty is tested with “normal” gear and after that you have to decide what is a reasonable character composition for the other difficulties in order to pass it.

    • I agree with that. Try to play D2 in Hell mode with a poorly geared zealot and prepare to die A LOT. No need to think about runewords, such things as a Dracul’s Grasp or a Ravenfrost can halve the difficulty and they aren’t even godly weapons or armor. It is an example, but difficult is something very arbitrary. I guess what the Diablo fans crave for is end game content for when you really have mastered the game and have good gear, that should be one of their challenges.
      But balancing all of that has to be really hard, specially considering solo/group games, the different classes etc. One point I hope they get right is that, now that they are (they are right?) gonna introduce an ingame trading system they tweak the difficult based on it. Because playing Diablo with just what you find or trading for what you need changes the challenge of the game greatly. And let’s face it, casual Diablo players rarely got into trading much, or probably they tried and some scumbag fooled or scammed them and never did again. So simply that adds quite an important factor I think.

  5. Worst news and dumbest replies yet! What are they doing!!!
    [quote]Bashiok: Quite right, but on that point I’d say we agree that talent trees in Cataclysm were great in that you really couldn’t screw up[/quote]
    That’s the reason I left wow and I would guess for many others. They really really limit the options of builds in Cataclysm so much you basically only could have 3 viable specs on any one class.
    [quote]Bashiok: Uh, hrm. I’m sure there are plenty of examples people can come up with where we’ve changed or removed the more ‘hardcore’ aspects of the game. Respecs are a huge one, but 99% of people didn’t like rerolling new characters when they placed a point incorrectly. “Auto stats”are another.[/quote]
    You’re talking out of your a-hole Bashiok! Where is that survey or statistics that people didn’t like to respec if they missclicked a talent point. The best thing with Diablo II was that you grinded away and found some items that would be perfect for that Goldbarb or that enchantSorc…weird builds that you would love to levelup to get all that stuff you’ve found earlier.
    To solve this simple problem just add the “Confirm this skill choice” window when choosing a new skill..DON’T ALLOW RESPECS. Boring as hell in WoW. From the start of Vanilla to the end of Cataclysm that was the worst thing. I hate that idiots had the same spec as you because they had a bad spec at first and then they surfed the net and winded up with your spec?
    Bad idea, Let people show their play skill by coming up with a great build no one knows about.
    Don’t allow respecs and don’t allow that view other players gear function. Remove these functions for the armory if you know whats good for ya!
    Not really a quote but my cut&paste becomes invisible for some reason.
    So the guy said Diablo 3 will be super easy, Bashiok replies “ORLY”
    Well yes Bashiok! You yourself have already said that our great granma will find the game fun, meaning any
    senil person can wing this game. All the clips show you enemies dying from one push and I said this several years ago in the forum and got flames with the same bullcrap as now “Well you want to show a good trailer, it would take too long if they would kill you”.
    Well what the ***, Are you showing a Diablo 3 demo or are you showing a Bejeweled demo, Let the video represent the gameplay. And now Bashiok says the beta will be dumbed down too…what in the hell is that?
    Diablo III Is the game I’ve been waiting for since Diablo II Lod.
    I was very excited when I saw the first screenshots but ever since the gameplay clip I have had huge doubt and that is due to the pushover monsters, it just doesn’t look fun to play.
    Since Bashiok has defended this. Why in the world would you make a video that shows how boring the game is rather than showing the actual gameplay?

    • Someone gandma finding the game fun don’t mean that it not hard, I had my 80 year old grandmother (and she is a great grandmother) playing D2 for a fair while on one visit when it had only just come out and she enjoyed it, I think what he means is if they like games, they will get some enjoyment out of it (not the Bejeweled etc only crew though, but this lot wont touch D3 anyway), so are you saying D2 is a Bejeweled game?
      No all he saying is you wont get a good idea of how difficult the game is from the blizzcon demos/movies as these are basic demonstrations same for the gameplay clips/movies I mean look at any other game movie ad none of them really show anything that looks like a challenge do they?
      As for the beta, well it stands to reason that it wont show how hard the end game is as it unlikely to have much out side of act 1.

    • I am seriously tired of detractors that spout nonsense in the manner that direfire did above.  Listen I am not a Blizzard fanboy that defends their every move.  That said, I do love Blizzard games and have been playing them since the original Warcraft came out all those years ago.

      @ direfire

      Do you truly believe that conventioners would come back with a positive reaction to the game if, for the 15 minutes of play time, all that happened is that they died repeatedly all while trying to figure out the game?  If the answer is anything other than ‘no’ you are delusional.  Granted most conventioners are avid gamers, but that doesn’t mean there there isn’t a learning curve for them as well.  There is a reason why good gamemakers want to disregard this learning curve during conventions: Even gamemakers as large as Blizzard need a positive buzz about their game to build up the anticipation.  And for the most part they have us drooling to play Diablo 3 regardless of our reservations.  Job accomplished.

      As for the similar treatment in the beta…If, as most of us expect, the beta is limited to Act I in normal the ease of that part of the game is assumed.  Let’s analogize Diablo 3 to Diablo 2 for a second as Bashiok hinted that Diablo 3 will only be slightly easier than Diablo 2 in the beginning but ramp up in difficulty the farther you go in the game.  In that context, if you died even once in Act I in Diablo 2 normal either you were terrible or your build was seriously wrong to begin with.  If Diablo 2 is slightly easier in the beginning than in Diablo 3 then we can expect nothing in the way of a definition of how difficult the game truly is.

      Now considering it was next to impossible to screw up your build that early and pay for it at that time (in Act I normal) that leads me to believe only one thing:

      direfire you seriously must be an awful gamer if you found anything in Diablo 2 Act I normal difficult.  Otherwise, what the hell are you complaining about?

      Let’s be honest with ourselves here.  Does anyone truly believe that Blizzard is going to allow us to see any part of the game, prior to full release, that won’t be easy for us to beat even without the near invincibility that is given to conventioners?

      postscript: It’s likely I took what direfire said out of context.  Who cares!  For that little tantrum he/she deserved to be flamed.

  6. OMG I CHOSED RIGHT TALENTS IN D2 SKILL TREE. I’M SOOOO GOOD. My grandma failed doing it. I’m king.
    Spending points to level Energy while you play Sorceress isn’t something called SKILL, kids.
    Not so much % of players did finish SC2 on Brutal by the way. And calling PvE a “challenge” is laughable. Winning AI is still a sort of Special Olympics.

  7. Honestly I don’t even care if it is easy. Diablo 2 was pretty easy, and its still the game I’ve probably sunk the most hours into and one of my favorite games of all time.

  8. bashiok just pointed out they have the beta game build ready to give out soon in his last statement.

    • yes, the media attending the event next week, to be revealed August 1st, are going to play on the beta build. It’s done and ready to roll, more or less.

  9. “bashiok just pointed out they have the beta game build ready to give out soon in his last statement.” That’s what I hear too!

  10. The only reason the beta will be easy is that you a restricted to an easy location in the game. I doub’t this is some strategy to make players feel more powerful. They just don’t want thousands of vids and pics of game content coming out.

    Were any of you in on the D2 beta? You could play a barb. That was it. I can’t remember all the details, but I believe that the first two quests were the extent of the beta. Still, some tester managed to get up to level 44. Hilarious.

    And for a lot of people, the beta turned into a gem hunt, namely finding skulls and putting them in a polearm and whirlwinding.

  11. Bashioke suggested the shifting of customization.  With respect to auto-character stats, I believe this means attributes will be affected by item stats via… GEMS and gear!

  12. “even your mom whose favorite game is Angry Birds can beat it.”
    My moms favorite game was Diablo 2, she had top 10 hardcore Amazon and Sorceress characters for multiple seasons on the ladder.

  13. I don’t get how people can grief over Respecs… If you don’t like this feature then DON’T USE IT. It’s not like it’s a feature you have to partake of in order to even advance in the game. It’s as simple as that. And if you’re just bitter that other people have the option, well, that’s the definition of juvenile behavior. As for the difficulty, this isn’t an MMO. Stop comparing it to one. You can’t advance in an MMO to any meaningful point without a party (I guess it could be argued that you can’t even WITH a party, as well, since there’s no defined ‘ending’) whereas D2 & D3 have something called SINGLE PLAYER. Personally, I logged way more hours in single player than Multi Player with D2, and will probably do the same with D3. Trying to balance the game so I can get through Hell difficulty solo while a party of up to 4 people won’t feel it’s a cakewalk isn’t easy.

  14. @adest
    What I’m saying is that there’s millions of games for kids, Diablo 2 lod was for me the alternativ, I could have fun playing it being 35 years old with a wife and kids and my own successful business. i.e not the still living at home with your mother kind of 35year old.
    Can’t we please have a Diablo 3 with a focus group of 18+.
    A game where skill, strategy, and talent for innovation plays a roll.

    • @ direfire

      “Can’t we please have a Diablo 3 with a focus group of 18+.”

      Firstly, and I am being petty, that sentence deserves a question mark at the end of it.

      Secondly, I have a wife, baby, 5 animals, work full-time, own a house, and go to law school nights.  Honestly, what the hell difference does your social and age status make in your previous argument that Diablo 3 will be too easy?  Unless you are stating that, on a whole, video games now are easier than they were 10 years ago the age status argument makes little sense.  Even then it is a weak argument.  Super Mario Bros. was awesome, but that didn’t make it a difficult game to beat.  As an aside, it was (and still is) an awesome game.

      Further, your social status argument does not work on any level and this is because, thirdly, nearly all video games are marketed for children or young adults.  While Diablo 3 will likely be rated ‘M’ for mature, everyone knows that children under the age of 18 will play the game  Thus, the plea for a “focus group” of 18+” is without any actual merit and should be disregarded.  If children are going to play the game, right or wrong, then there is little use of attempting to limit the discussion here, on this site, to people older than 18.  Simply, those children and young adults are as excited to get their hands on Diablo 3 as we are and, if their parents let them play it, who are you or I to stop them?

      Finally, you simply cannot logically jump, without some sort of argument, from “focus group” to gameplay.  It’s simply conclusory and cannot be justified in this manner.  Further, your last sentence is actually unclear as to what you are attempting elicit.  Again, you did not support it with any context or argument.  At 35 years old, your sentence structure, use of punctuation and overall lack of logical arguments are signs that, perhaps, you are less-educated than most high school students today.

      I am not trying to be elitist, snobbish or otherwise, but if you are trying to belittle others because you presume them to be beneath you, age- and society-wise, then act your own age by writing articulately as this is the only method and means for everyone here to take you seriously.  Only then, perhaps, will your argument(s) hold water (with some of us).

  15. @direfire
    The fact you don’t get to play the hardest parts of the game in the beta won’t mean the game will be a walk in a park for you on the later difficulties.
    Normal difficulty in D2 LOD was very easy even untwinked.
    The point is to make nightmare and hell difficulties challenging for us. Diablo 1 HELL/HELL challenge that’s what I am talking about 🙂

  16. @stigz
    what I meant was that I wish they made a gameplay video that shows the gameplay of the game and not a simlified version which gives the viewer a twisted view on the gameplay.
    @hey bo bo
    Oh yes you’re trying to be an elitist and a snob. What gives you the idea that my grammar stands for my education? I’ve never been to an english speaking country so if my words are simple and my grammar is off, so what?
    But damn right you’re different at 35 than you were at 13, what do you mean?
    I like games that challenge me now and I did like games that challenged me at 13 but that has changed..whats your point?
    I never said that Diablo 3 will be too simple, I said that I was worried it could be from listening to what Bashiok is saying. I don’t like the idea with respecs. I don’t like the idea that Diablo 3 is going to be fun to play for me, my 7 year old son and my 68 year old mother…that is trying to win a too big of a crowd and you’d end up losing them all.
    All this are my subjective opinions.

  17. @direfire
    you will never have such a video because you never feel the difficulty from a video as you never get to spend skill points yourself and play the game yourself..
    as in all games the start is easy and gets harder, but in RPG you gather experience, spend skill points, find items, and all depends by your choices and luck.
    showing you a video of a badly built barb with crappy items that cant kill a skeleton wont mean shit, just like showing you a perfectly built barb with godly items killing diablo in 5 blows.
    you need to play the game to feel the difficulty and no video will ever change it..

  18. I hope it will get harder with the difficulty influx.

    But why would they, after all the complaining about overall difficulty up to this point, make the beta test easier than the intended final release difficulty for whatever acts/content we would be testing?

    I hope that isn’t the case, because we all know what that’s called… ‘feeding the fire’ 🙂

    On another note… he could of meant gamer’s will not feel the difficulty spike in beta because they don’t have nightmare and hell to try out prior to release (and therefore it will be rather brutal and difficult?) 

    Hard to read 😉

  19. Diablo II was never really that hard when you have experience with the game.  Remember the guys who beat the game with no gear and that included Uber Tristram? Diablo II used to be hard though when I first started and tried to to kill Mephisto with my summoning necromancer with terrible gear on normal difficulty.  Yes, normal difficulty was actually hard for me with my first character and I joined a group in order to kill normal Diablo because I couldn’t do it alone with my summoning necromancer.
    I made bad decisions in where I put my skill points.  I could not kill Diablo without a respec since I didn’t max any skills and the skills I chose were not very good.  I was forced to make a new character because I could not survive in nightmare because I could not respec my bad choices and my character became unviable.  Please include respecs for the newcomers!
    Since then, which was years ago, I mastered the game and got a level 99 with the best gear and it became too easy.  It became boss run after boss run with occasional PvP where there would usually be a griefing Assassin trapping the entrance to outside of town so that no one could PvP.  I eventually quit because there was nothing left to do.
    The bottom line is I want a hard Hell difficulty that is not cheap, but is not that hard when you have the best gear.  By cheap I mean no burning souls that kill you before you can even see them.  I also hated immunities because it slowed down the pace of the game so much.
    From there on I want something that goes beyond Hell difficulty, such as Uber Tristram or something harder and longer.  These areas will provide a challenge to those with even the best gear.  It would also be nice if you can make these areas where you can solo them and have them hard, but ramp up the difficulty if a group is detected so it is fair.  Also it would be nice if some of these extra areas are randomized so that you can play them over and over and get a different scenario quite often.
    The people that work at Blizzard are really smart so if difficulty is what people want in the post hell game then I am sure they can come up with something really nice.  Just keep asking for post hell game difficult content guys and we will get what we want!

  20. What has me worried is that there is only Act 1 for beta testing. If they have balancing so high on their agenda, how are they going to balance higher-level skills, content and difficulty? All through internal-testing? It sounds more like a stress-test than a beta test to me.

  21. Diablo 3 Beta = Justin Beiber difficulty. Nuff said!

  22. Any game is a work of art so they’re never really finished, just abandoned.
    They shouldn’t polish it til it just disolve itself, just release the damn thing and patch it along the way, I much rather play Diablo 3 with lots of bugs now than wait another year for something with just as many but smaller bugs later.

  23. It is actually disappointing that almost all the posts on this particular topic, are more disputes and arguments rather then meaningful discussion on what is being stated by Bashiok. I also think that the majority of people are loosing sight of what the whole point of this BETA test is, due to impatience for the release of Diablo 3 and many other factors. The point of BETA is to test that the system is working and if it isn’t what is wrong with it, and yes of course content feedback (but only on what is being made available) and, to test, diablo 3 on a wide range of PC types. Blizzard is choosing to limit the content in the BETA because the BETA isn’t just about game content and, besides what fun would it be to have half the game in an unfinished demo?, but given the fact that Act I does represent the start of Diablo 3 it makes sense to make it the “limited” content during the BETA. This is a smart play by blizzard because, It makes the game start of on a certain difficulty level to keep the BETA play content enjoyable and significantly paced play. By this i mean not dying 30 times on the first quest but not showing the game will be a total pushover 😉
    The worse thing to do is make huge assumptions given blizzards reputation to be discreet about their games, you never know what they have up their sleeves! 😀

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