Blizzard on “Casual” vs. “Accessible”

Bashiok found some time to hop online in between shepherding the Asian media attendees through their time on the Diablo 3 Beta/demo build, and made a post taking on the old “is D3 too easy” issue.

I think that people get “Accessiblity” mixed up with “Casual” games and imagine Diablo 3 – Peggle edition. Similarly, a lot of us who have been gaming for a long time forget that Challenging doesn’t mean annoying or frustrating.
Bashiok: There’s also a lot of different ideas about what “casual” means. It’s different for everyone.

Casual, in our minds, generally means that you can choose to jump into a game at any time, on any day, play for a relatively small amount of time, and make some kind of progress. Diablo II was a casual game, as is Diablo III. You can, of course, sit and play for 6 hours straight if you like, but the ability to jump in, kill some monsters, and get something out of it (drops, XP, story progression) makes it ‘casually approachable’. You won’t be able to keep up with the people that dedicate more time to it, of course, but you’ll still be able to make meaningful progress.

That’s what allows it to be casual, purely depending on the amount of time someone can put toward playing.

As far as accessible vs. easy, we attempt to instill all of our games with an easy to learn, difficult to master approach.

I hardly know what to say about any news now, since everything is going to change once we can share the new info about all the big game changes. The first topic that leaps to mind in terms of “too easy vs. accessible” is no longer valid, since that game feature has changed a lot since we last had public info about it. And there’s a new changed/feature that excellently illustrates this point, but I can’t comment on it yet. (This must be what Bashiok feels like all the time, when he’s trying to find forum threads to comment on…)

So, that aside, what do you think of Bashiok’s reasoning here? Clearly there is a difference between “easy” and “accessible.” A game or game feature can be both, of course, or either. Or neither! D3 seems to be both, at least through normal difficulty, and those of us who want more of a challenge are not entirely happy with that. But easy normal seems to be the price we have to pay for a mass market game with the kind of budget and dev time that D3 has consumed.

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55 thoughts on “Blizzard on “Casual” vs. “Accessible”

  1. People need to stop worrying about the game being too easy… They have been working on this for several years and have made some of the best games out there, don’t you think they know what they’re doing?

    Besides…if normal is too easy we’ll have nightmare and hell!

    • Because the people that entrusted him with information are under NDA, and they would get in legal trouble.

          • I think it wouldn’t be hard to figure out. Sixen knows, and if you bothered to glance at the forum, you’d know.

          • Someone sent me the link to that forum post, and I loled at Sixen’s comment. He doesn’t know shit.

            There are several people I’ve talked to who attended, who have given me a variety of different info. There were many people at the event Wednesday; from a wide variety of US and EU gaming websites, and lots of them are people I’ve known via this site for a long time.

            As for posting the info in advance… we thought about it. And it would be fun to rub Bliz Irvine PR’s nose in the consequences of their stupid actions… but out of respect to the other media who attended we’re going to hold off until the NDA expires. I’m just happy to be able to write about the new stuff and present the info and imagery here immediately when the deadline lifts.

          • “As for posting the info in advance… we thought about it. And it would be fun to rub Bliz Irvine PR’s nose in the consequences of their stupid actions… but out of respect to the other media who attended we’re going to hold off until the NDA expires.”

            Excellent. I’m very happy to hear this, and good on you guys for being the better man.
            As for Sixen, I dunno. I don’t really care, but if there were only a handful of people there, it probably wouldn’t be too hard to tell, people from the US at least.

          • Isn’t the fact that you tell everyone you got the info from event visitors already a DNA violation?
            I know Blizzard can’t prove it cause you don’t post anything, but as people say many know who your sources are. And Blizzard can’t prove who they’re exactly so they can’t charge anyone officially even if you post everything.
            I see no difference between telling you got info and posting it, except these sources are affraid no one will need their articles about beta if you post everything before they’ll be free of DNA.

    • If your friend tells you a secret, and the first thing you do is go tell 100 more people, how long do you think that guy will remain your friend?  Do you think he’ll ever trust you again with another secret?  If Flux posts the  information he was given in confidence, he violates the trust of his sources.

    • Another point is that Blizzard arn’t obliged to talk to Flux, so peeing them off with premature reveals could back fire on this site in the long run.

  2. [quote]The first topic that leaps to mind in terms of “too easy vs. accessible” is no longer valid, since that game feature has changed a lot since we last had public info about it.[/quote]

    ok, you already said its not weapon switch, so it must be something about how stat points are allocated

    mmm, I bet there is no “leveling” anymore; no leveling = no skill points
    so instead of spending skill points evertime you level, D3 will be more like “the elder scrolls” and “Dungeon Seige” : you’ll increase your skill’s level by using the skill; the more you use it, the higher level the skill becomes

    • That type of leveling system was suggested by someone in Q&A, Jay Wilson replied they thought about it but i didn’t work out.

    • to all voting me down
      [QUOTE=Flux;7954851]Nice tease, Nizaris. That’s got them hopping.

      I just threw this into another thread, so I’ll sort of repeat it here. Everything previously speculated about respec mechanisms in D3 is wrong. And not just wrong, but actually inapplicable, due to related game system changes.[/QUOTE]
      I may not be correct, but it does sound possible

  3. Hell is what matters to us, so I’m willing to suck it up and take a chubby on normal.

    As I said in the thread, accessibility doesn’t mean ease. It often, however, means simplicity. Simplicity on its own is fine, the opposite of complexity, but at a higher level of play we yearn for complexity. If it isn’t there, then we’ll be bored to tears.

  4. I think Flux doesn’t know a jackshit. And he is making shots at Blizzard for not inviting him at the press conference. Anyway all those crap fakes, suggestions, investigations, resources, special agents, working under cover, secret information and the whole NDA is the lamiest thing ever. The best thing to do now is to ignore all the fake/leaked/made up news, enjoy the summer and wait for august.

  5. For a game like Diablo 3 difficulty is largely dependant on how lucky you are at finding items or how good you are at trading. Sure there is some “skill” but it’s nothing compared to strategy or fighting etc. No matter how good you are at using particular skills or dodging if your gear is crap you aren’t going to get very far in the game. It’s what separates a game like Diablo from a fighter or a third person action game where skill really does matter.
    I think most of the skill is going to go to PvP and even then its limited due to the sheer combinations of characters that you can have (some might just be way op, some too weak etc). It’s more about teamwork there than individual skill I think.

  6. “As far as accessible vs. easy, we attempt to instill all of our games with an easy to learn, difficult to master approach.”
    The only thing that is difficult to master in WoW and arguably D2 as well is mastering the ability to open your head and spoon out your brain which allows you to repeat the same function, and event and endless amount of times towards a temporary end goal  that yields some transparent feeling that you are somehow “the best” while everyone else around you is also somehow “the best”.
    I hope they focus on making more challenging encounters and boss fights rather then something that can be done while half asleep that yield little to no reward forcing a repeat until the desired drop is gained. There is a difference between “fun, and “addictive” and they don’t always equal each other.

  7. How come flux didn’t go to the press event? Just out of curiosity 🙂

    Also on topic… I will suffice with an easy normal, providing hell, which is where 99% of my gametime will be had is challenging and fun 🙂

  8. Let me see if i got this right? If Flux got real sources then why not’ just post whatever info he has before everyone else and steal all the traffic. It will be the perfect revenge – he got left out and still he can announce everything before everyone else. And i don’t really think he will get such good opportunity any time soon.
    As for the NDA – he himself is not under NDA, as for his sources – there is The First Amendment. This is not a matter of national security so nobody can really force him to review his source.

    • “As for the NDA – he himself is not under NDA, as for his sources – there is The First Amendment.”

      I…*facepalm*. Why is it that every American thinks they are immune to anything and everything because of an amendment? Do you realize they had to SIGN the NDA, thus agreeing to it?

      • So what? Guy told there are no proofs who these sources are. And no one can force Flux to reveal them. Blizzard can’t charge anyone.
        But the fact that Flux writes everywhere he got the info already hurt people who shared it if Blizz can figure out who they are. “Sources” can lose their future invites – Blizzard doesn’t need any proofs to do this.

      • @Risingred

        I think he meant that the 1st Amendment means that Flux doesn’t have to reveal his source…

    • What’s the very first word of the First Amendment? (Hint: It isn’t “Blizzard.”)
      Why do you believe that the First Amendment applies to Blizzard or NDAs regarding Blizzard’s intellectual property?

  9. You know there is one thing about all this I’m not sure I understand.  People are throwing up a fit about normal being to easy, but other than Duriel and Diablo there was absolutely nothing that slowed me down at all on normal D2.  Come nightmare Duriel was scratched off that list and only Diablo was a challenge, and even then it’s more because he took a long time to kill, not because he was dangerous.  Come hell settings none of the act bosses were really all that hard, the only thing that drops a well made hell character is a really unfortunate set of unique boss mods most of the time.

  10. “I…*facepalm*. Why is it that every American thinks they are immune to anything and everything because of an amendment? Do you realize they had to SIGN the NDA, thus agreeing to it?”
    I was saying that Flux is not obligated to review his source, even if his source has broken NDA. If Flux decides to leak info and never reviews his source nobody can prove who gave him the information. Innocent until proven guilty. And yes, the First Amendment can be abused for many things 😛

  11. Totally agree with Colbysclonts, Blizzard have already stated like 50 times.. if not more, that Diablo 3 will not be as easy as everyone thinks. And yet, people are still worrying so much about difficulty. How can you possibly know anything in terms of how Diablo 3 will be in terms of difficulty, unless of course you’ve already played the BETA in which case it wouldn’t mean anything anyway, because the BETA is only a limited amount of content. And why would blizzard put the hardest content or the “more difficult” content at the start of the game, this would only put strain on new players who are unfamiliar with the game genre or the diablo series all together, thus making the game not enjoyable at a first impression.

  12. It cant be that hard to wait 3 more days for the info. I just wonder does Flux has pictures or videos to share as well with the upcoming info?

  13. You say tomato and I say tomoto. Nice spin on words Bashiok. You know it is getting dumbed down so anyone with a brain IQ of 1 can play it.

  14. i dont think flux would say such a “not too easy” thing without him knowing of a big change / new announcement ( we ll find out soon)

  15. Well that’s a load of bullshit. You have to be annoyed and frustrated with a challenge, or else it is not challenging you. What emotions do they imagine a challenge should evoke? Instant gratification and accomplishment at the immediate success against the illusion of challenge? Boredom when facing the dull repetitive grind towards max level? 

    There’s no arguing against money, and Peggle is where the money is at. Nice try to convince us that’s not where you’re headed, but I’m not buying it for a second.

  16. I like how the idiots out there are making assumptions about the difficulty of an unreleased game. You can try to make assumptions based off of game mechanics, but as they say “Assumption is the mother of all fuck-ups.” Until the game is in our hands, note I say Game and not Beta, we will have no idea what the level of diffculty will be. This is the Graphics are cartoony and not dark enough argument of 2011.

    • What gives you the idea that we have no idea? Put together the facts available to you from press releases and other information sources such as forum posts and you can get a pretty clear picture of the company’s general strategy and philosophy as it develops over the years. There’s a lot there to be deduced just from the difference in tone and language between carefully and less carefully prepared public statements. Not to mention the observable traits in the games which have been released, and how they have changed over time, both as a whole and individually with patches. Consider the context in which those games were made, who made them and what we can discern of their motivations, what made those games work and what they had trouble with, what ideas those games conveyed and didn’t convey. There are trends there from which we can make reasonable deductions. There are trails of information to follow, plentiful and obvious enough that you’d have to make a pretty massive effort of willful ignorance to pretend they don’t exist. 

      If you want to say we don’t necessarily have a reliable picture of what the game will look like in the future, well, I wouldn’t mind being proven wrong. But if the concept of pattern recognition offends you to such a degree you have to call people idiots for employing it, you probably shouldn’t be talking to people.

  17. Flux,

    Earlier you mentioned that you were kind of thankful that you didn’t get the invite to Irvine for this past week because you felt that the beta would be out soon enough and Blizzcon was around the corner.

    Now that you know (but we don’t) what sorts of major systems changes there have been, are your feelings the same? More importantly, do you think being there would have helped you to better understand any of these systems or do you think their impact is straight forward enough?

    No details needed. Though, you can be sure whatever you say will rouse debate.

    • I don’t get a fanboy thrill from visiting Blizzard, but I very much enjoy playing D3. And I  would have gone to this event since it was new info and I think my reporting, especially on the gameplay demo, would have been better than what we’ll get from other attendees.   Happy if August 1st proves me wrong on that, though.

      I am, however, hoping not to attend Blizzcon this year, and I don’t think there will be any reason/need for me to do so. Since we can all can all watch the panels online; the reason to go to the show, in terms of D3 info, is to play the demo. And if the beta’s already underway, then that’s the blizzcon demo, more or less.

      • Yeah, I think your absence of fanboyishness, which is to say your more critical approach, is why they stuck it to you. I much prefer the critical approach, though.

        Well, I hope you get a beta invite. If I get one and I can pass it to you, I will.

  18. I agree on Bash’ reasoning here. What he said was entirely the case. Casual means exactly like that – being rewarded for playing for a short amount of time.

    If you take WoW as a comparison, it wasn’t built to meet the needs of casual players. You can log in for 30 minutes and never accomplish anything because everying from long raids/dungeon runs (not to mention the tedious group formation), PVP battles and even rep griding takes a whole lot of time. WoW is designed with the “invest a shitload of time playing and you will be rewarded” approach.

    But because of randomization taking place in D2, your short games with D2 were much enjoyable and rewarding. You can log in for a while, do a quick run and get an awesome magic gear. That’s what Bashiok’s been talking about. Without the complexity of an mmorpg game, a casual player can log in for as short as s/he want and still accomplish something. Obviously, the longer to play the game, the better your chances of getting magic items, but it doesn’t mean that the difference between a casual player and a hardcore player is staggeringly high. Unlike how a player who never had any time to do any raids can never match the hardcore weekly guild raider.

  19. hey,
    i think people who have played diablo 1 are the majority who have issues with the difficulty-to-be of Diablo 3. Diablo 2 had lost that thrill of a ”dangerous” dungeon where you could REALLY die if you weren’t alert and attentive to monsters, the level etc. People want that kind of excitement back and it’s their right!

    and as for the people who say it’s allright for normal to be too easy, i couldn’t disagree more. It’s during the first play, where you get the real excitement, the thrill and people would want that to go hand in hand with the whole challenge, the danger that you could REALLY die.

    I wonder whether it could be possible to have different modes of difficulty, where some ”experienced” players could start at a harder-normal difficulty (i guess not in this game but in diablo 4 🙂

    • I find myself in the odd position of being on both sides of this issue.  I remember 1.09 and I always enjoyed playing the over-powered builds.  I didn’t like the game nearly as much after 1.10 and it became much easier to quit after the changes made.  I also never spent the money for a good enough computer that would never lag on me – I needed a cushion of safety provided by durable, slightly over-powered characters.  So, I guess I like an easy game and that part of DIII sounds good to me.  I may be a little older than the typical Diablo fan and I will never have more than a few hours a week to devote to a game.  I’m on the other side of the “easy” issue where Bliz’s decision to leave out the hostile button comes in, though.  I always enjoyed the thrill of danger when other players could hunt my character – not just the game’s AI.  After a while the game will always become predictable.  I never wanted to PK, but I do like that hostile button.  I really hope Bliz will change their minds on that issue.

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