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 The first topic that leaps to mind in terms of “too easy vs. accessible” is no longer valid, since that game feature has changed a lot since we last had public info about it.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