Blizzard Defends Diablo III’s Longevity

A poster predicted doom for Diablo III with a variety of arguments: it’ll be too easy, items will be too findable, gem hunters will flood the market via the Auction House, and the game is overdesigned to control player options more than Diablo III did. Naturally, Bashiok does not agree.

That’s a lot of assumptions, and as you said I’m not going to be able to convince you otherwise, so I’m not going to spend precious finger-fuel and try.

But I do think there’s something to be said for over-designing games and systems, and that to no small degree what can make a game fun is how loose the mechanics are. I believe we’re completely guilty of trying to make systems too tight sometimes, but I just personally do not get that feeling when playing Diablo III.

For one, the amount of randomization we’re not only allowing but actively inserting into pretty much all of our systems is pretty insane, and randomization just purely does not allow for tight mechanic control by its nature. And then there’s the runestone system, which no sane designer would ever attempt if they had notions of tight balance on their list of goals. Diablo III is well designed in many ways, but it is set on a very solid foundation of randomization and uncertainty. I think that’s what will make discovering everything the game has to offer extremely compelling, and very likely for years to come.

I think some of the restrictions on DiabloWikiClass-Specific Weapons, along with auto-DiabloWikiAttributes and the removal of the DiabloWikitalisman/DiabloWikicharms could be argued as restricting play choice and options. But as Bashiok points out, the DiabloWikirunestones system, plus the fact that every class in D3 has like 4x the viable DiabloWikiactive skills of any class from D2, puts a much heavier weight on the other end of that MOAR RANDOMS scale.

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36 thoughts on “Blizzard Defends Diablo III’s Longevity

  1. Greetings.
    I think the problem with Diablo 3 is that they are over commiting to something that is naturally and historically a problem with game design: pleasing everyone. Some will enjoy, others will certainly hate the game. It is inevitable. They should narrow their directions, and don’t be so open with their design choices. They should have started posting relevant info in 2010, not in 2008. People will get too involved in the process, and they face the risk of making some fans lose interest.
    We at Nintendo have a policy of only teasing by tiny bits, not exposing our system very early. We would be very happy if Blizzard decided to make games for our platforms, though  😉

    • Omg are you really Reggie? Or is this a comment from Reggie from another forum?

      Anyway your pointing out of Blizzard’s flawed mentality to please everyone in D3’s design is spot-on.

  2. Although for the wrong reason, Reggie does have a point: it really looks like Blizz is striving to give sweet candy to everyone: nice loot option for hardcore players, story for D1 fans, fast pace of game for D2 fans and that wretched armory for stupid teenage nerds. In the end their desire to please everyone (though noble and noteworthy, still impossible and futile) will be Diablo 3’s undoing. When you try too hard and change too much you come to a point when doing is replaced by overdoing. And when you start to overdo things, they tend to fxck up – specific pieces no longer fit together. And it will go from bad to worse. In my opinion there is at least one thing that D3 can do fine without and every new candy for a specific target audience aded will spoil the game in the end. Looks like “Blizz PR and planning sucks” topic will be longer around for a few more days.

  3. I have no idea what the posters above me are talking about. Blizz is pretty explicitly NOT trying to please everyone. Anyway, Bashiok’s post is exciting and encouraging. Bring on the madness!

  4. If by “pleasing everyone” you mean they want to sell the maximum number of game copies, then I agree. The game mechanics are quite simple, yet very effective. It doesn’t require a powerful computer to play, but the graphics still look good. The replay value is insane (with all the randomization / difficulty levels / end-game content / co-op / arenas / etc. ) … So I guess this game will appeal to a wide range of people…
    As for the fact that Blizzard announces their new games very soon in the process, and they give tidbits of information once in a while : personally I like it. In fact I think it’s one of the main reasons I like Blizzard. Not many games companies tell that much details about their game while making it. Think about the panels at BlizzCon. I loved how they explained what the design process of a D3 monster is, or how the programmers changed the monsters AI so that the game would be more enjoyable for the players. Maybe it’s just because I’m a programmer and I like to know they make their games…

  5. i kinda have to agree with him. Blizzard tends to be overprotective of the players. Nobody really cares about being hostile in a game or that they have to spam click the get the item drops. All of that is part of the game; it makes the game fun. After all, if theres no risk theres no reward.
    I personally believe that blizzard changing those mechanics is only pleasing a very small audience and it is a big mistake. THis game is rated mature so i think people can handle being killed once or twice in game.

    • Griefing ruins games completely. It made Hardcore in Diablo 2 completely unplayable outside of private games with trusted players.
      To argue against fixing issues like these is at best, ignorant, and at worst, a sign of self-serving from one of the offenders these changes will thwart.

      • I played hardcore just fine actually, the ONLY problem was the missiles staying after you teleported to town.  You really think it requires scrapping pvp in-game entirely?  That is like removing your head because you dont like your beard.

    • I care and I’m not alone.

      You can PvP in arenas where it’s a fair game.

      And self loot is the greatest Diablo3 improvement.

  6. I think the only thing that has honestly bothered me about D3 is auto attributes.  I love deciding what goes where and what type of toon I want to build.  Battle Mage Anyone?   Other than that I see them adding a lot of things that D2 players always wish they had like the auction house, self loot etc.   I hated trading in D2 and when I started playing D2 at release I was burned by the drop on the ground and repickup scripts people had or the auto pickup scripts on the endless baal runs that you saw a glimmer of an item for a split second then poof gone and so was the player.    These are all things I am looking forward too.   

    Although I honestly hold all opinions till I play a week then a month then possibly a year to say whether their system worked or failed.   If I am still playing in a year then it worked if I have left it in a few months or month even then it will have failed me.

  7. They took out the Hostile button – best part of Diablo II is gone.  Yes I agree that cheats make the game less fun, but why take out the hostile option completely?  Once you learn how to play the game the AI can only attack you in so many ways. That’s why I played HC – to keep the game exciting. I also played a lot with people I didn’t know, the extra 7 possible enemies make it so much more fun!  Human opponents make the game much more challenging and keep it fresh.  Another option gone to keep the wimps happy – it will make the game that much more bland, boring and static.

    • Good for you, you can fight human people in the arena.

      Of course you cannot attack by surprise low level characters with your cheated 90th level character…

      • I didn’t PK in DII.  I don’t think it’s fun to try to bother other people.  However, I did build strong characters and fought back some times when I was attacked by PKs.  I made some of them run and sometimes I had to run.  I died a few times to PKs when I was a new player in HC (thorns/conversion is the one that most sticks in my mind). I was so naive! 🙂

        I played in a number of games where I was afraid to go out of town because I got a “vibe” from someone else in the game.  I can’t believe that others don’t find this fun or challenging!  It’s so lame to me that people act like all PK is “griefing”… and so what if it is griefing? Makes it that much more enjoyable when you escape or turn the tables.

        Umm – no way would I play in the arena with my HC characters!  Work for months to get items, weeks to build a character, and deliberately lose the character in 2 seconds?  Who would ever want to do that? Plus it’s much more fun when the attack is unexpected or you are in suspense whether someone will attack or not. Anyway – maybe most people will enjoy the new “Carebear” world much more than the hard, cold DII world. Heck, maybe I will too.

  8. Just because Diablo 3 has deep design doesn’t mean it will be good. Just look at WoW, just keeps getting worse, that’s a fact. However, not saying D3 will suck, just saying they can’t be so sure about their product in this modern world. It will sell numbers just like SC2, but also just like SC2 it could suck balls. We will soon see and I hope we don’t regret our purchase. Be wary of cheesy jokes, ugly quests, childish bosses. Could have the best customisation ever but if it feels like some cheap kids game then we’re all gonna feel ripped off coming from D1 and 2.

    • I just hope D3 is as good as Starcraft 2… it would already be quite an achievement.
      Although I’m pretty sure it will be even better.

    • Gee I’m not very optimistic in that post. I have full confidence in Diablo 3, and as for WoW and SC2- I hate them but I also love them. Only reason I’m not playing WoW right now is because D3 is coming. It’s no surprise that Blizzard and Bashiok show full confidence and defend their gaming designs.

  9. Bashiok could have ended the discussion with “That’s a lot of assumptions”

    He says “Hell mode will be a breeze”. He’s not played the game yet, he can’t know.

    As for PvP, I’m really glad a lvl 60 won’t come gank my lvl 20 character anymore, and I’m glad the arena is there for those needs. 

  10. I think the poster Bashiok responded to did have some legitimate concerns. I think cooldowns will make builds generic builds and just result in cycling between what is not on cooldown and spamming the low level skill when everything else is on cooldown. It remains to be seen how the players are going to respond to that. Not well, I think.
    I am glad there will be PVP only in the arena. No more griefing!!!  Town portal pks are why I quit hardcore on battlenet.

    • I think there will be enough variety in spammable spells per class that everyone won’t be using the same ones, or alternating with the same high level cooldown spells. And once you factor in runestones, the variety increases hugely.

      Besides, look at D2. There were about 4 different builds per class, if that many. In terms of cookie cutter popular ones. And people seemed to enjoy playing it.

  11. Ranked PvP alone is going to provide so much replay for so many more people, it’s not even funny. A good random quest/achievement system would also do wonders. Trick is, it has to be good.

  12. Every new triple-A title that comes out nowadays seems to aim to “streamline” and “increase accessibility”. From what I’ve seen, every major design deviation of D3 from D2 seems to correspond to that trend, and each one of them upsets some people.

    Over-complicating systems in a game can burden it down, but down-right removing/scrapping every design that is deemed possibly complicated is worse for the game.

    Of course in the end a highly streamlined product will be made that will be highly accessible to everyone, however certain video game magic that defined Diablo II will cease to exist in Diablo III…

  13. bashiok could at least have tried to talk about oo easy… its one of my biggest concerns, but who knows? maybe there will be some really hard things to do like every week 5 dungeons get +100 % difficulty and +100% loot chance. or: there could be a ladder for how fast u can do certain dungeons.. that would a nice end game,, along with new content every some weeks

  14. Bashiok just wasted “precious finger-fuel” to answer to this retarded nerd. But he doesnt seem to be alone in his retarded-nerdiness, when I look at this thread.

    DIII will be fine, hes assuming alot of bullshit and griefing is for loosers.

  15. “pleasing everyone.” Yeah right! If they where trying to please everyone, then why do you complain??? They are obviously not trying to please you. Are you not part of everyone?
    Art Controvercy
    Auto stat allocation
    No lan play
    No hostile button for people that think that ruin other peoples experience was the best part of d2. The psycopaths of Diablo if you will.
    No weopon switch key.
    The respons Blizzard gives for these changes is usually “This is why we changed this, if you dont agree, you can f*ck off, we cant please everyone.” I have yet to see a bad explanation for any change in this game, so Im luckily not a part of everyone they cant please.

    • /thread

      Thank you.

      PS : I personnally stopped reading this mongoloid’s message right after : “Telling me I haven’t played it means nothing because we all know Hell mode will be a breeze.”

      This literally means nothing.
      Move along, people.

  16. And again if you don’t like the way Blizzard is doing things, don’t play the friggin game! They don’t owe anyone f**k all, it’s their game they can do whatever they want with it. And as snurrfint said in his post. They haven’t had any bad explanations for the changes their making, even though you might not agree with it.
    I have every bit of faith Blizzard will make this game better in every single way possible.

  17. In my opinion, only one fact can kill the longtime fun, and this is the level cap at 60!
    What should i do, i f i reach? No Ladderclimbing? Only the get “the one and only piece” for my equipment???
    I havent played for 1 minute, but i cant imagine, that we have so long fun with it like D2. Its only my personal opinion and wre glad happe, if i fail with it.

  18. The beta is almost (finally) upon us and the naysayers are out in full force.  These same naysayers will also be lining up for the midnight release of the game and will secretly love it or deny that they ever doubted its awesomeness.

    I recall way back when the D3 devs noted that most people that played D2 only made it through normal difficulty and a ton of people never played on battle net. The changes they have made to the normal difficulty mode (start you off slow to get everyone hooked), the followers (to get you used to playing in a group/help you survive normal) and pvp limited to the arena (no more griefing) directly address these concerns.  I fail to see however how this will affect the ENTIRE game experience.  It seems obvious that the game will get more challenging as the difficulty level increases in nightmare and hell… which is where Diablo game vets will be spending all their time any way.

    I’d just like to say again that the beta is upon us.  That feels so good to write!

  19. I don’t believe that randomization doesn’t allow Blizzard to tightly control the game. I wouldn’t even call what they do randomization in the pure sense, its more of a selective bias. There will obviously be a certain degree of perceived randomness by players but in the end Blizzard makes you play the game they want you to play using limiting factors such as gold, cooldowns, etc. Once players deviate from that intended vision it becomes an endless cycle of buffs and nerfs which isn’t fun for anyone.

  20. This is nothing more than players having concerns. We’ll see when we get the game in our hands.

  21. Will miss (1) Weapon Switch Hotkey (when they have so many options for ALT-selecting loot, I dunno why they can’t turn WS off by default but include an option to turn it on later.  I expect it as an expansion feature anyhow.) and (2) manual stat allocation. Whatever be the case, traits cant replace manual stats imo.

    Apart from these two gripes, the game will be beyond awesome. Best game ever made. Provided if it does not have SC2’s kiddish story, which I am fervently praying it won’t.

    • Response according to your numbers:

      (1) Weapon switch became a large exploit. Switch weapon for last second MF, switch weapon for random buff, etc. I know a lot of people used it to legitimately switch between build types, but apparently Blizz decided that this exploit was too difficult to balance around.

      I can’t say I can think of a way to nerf the exploit switchers without nerfing the legit switchers even more.

      (2) The idea of a game is to create limits within which people work to achieve some end. Manual stat allocation did a crap job at this. There were no limits, and as a result, almost everyone started dumping as much as possible into vitality. In turn, Blizzard balanced the game for the increase in vitality AND the decrease in everything else, which meant that the former became necessary and the latter lost their value (i.e., had less of an impact on the game calculations or, at least, their impact on game play). The result: not only did we have very little choice but to dump a lot into vitality, but also it was frequently pointless to allocate points anywhere else.

      Their goal now is to make sure that there is a rather static minimum of stat points to act as the fundamental stat balance for the game (instead of the vitality dump).

      For example, if they know every level-60 barb has a minimum of X points in the damage stat, know they can expect him to be carrying a minimum damage range on weapons and know how much minimum physical damage they want him to be dealing, then they have a good basis for setting the value of a single damage stat point.

      And by getting the stat point values from these preset minimum allocations (instead of from the dominant trend in player allocations), Blizzard is able to ensure that what the players do to manipulate these stat points actually has value (instead of having to either play catch up on the dominant stat or waste points in the devalued stats).

      In other words, 50 extra stat points from a gem and/or a 20% from a trait stand to affect game play a lot more in D3 than 200 points in D2. And, moreover, you making a decision about what stats to pump might actually really be a decision.

  22. I personally believe that Achievements can add some “longevity” to the game. Offer cosmetic rewards for doing something special. Almost all of us players desire to be the best and having those bragging rights can satisfy our need to prove ourselves.
    Other than that, I do not see any problem with Bash’ post.

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