The instantly-legendary announcement of the “simplified” tooltips went 140 comments here and even more than that on the B.net forums. Spurred by the controversy, Bashiok has added a follow up/explanation which is quoted in full below.
Simple tooltips benefit almost everyone. Just because they may not benefit you, they’ll indirectly benefit you by helping non-gamers get into the game. Right now most of us are only thinking about when we play the game, but when the game is released, or quite possibly years down the road, you may want to be able to teach your dad, your daughter, your significant other to play. Simplified tooltips will certainly help when you walk away and they’re trying to learn to play for themselves. And we can always hope they put stuff up on the auction house for way less than its worth! Mwahahahaa.
The in-game reference guide/book idea for skill and game information has a number of UI issues, but as a player of the game it’s not a great solution because:
- You’re not always in-game. More often than not when you’re dissecting a skill at a massive level of detail you’re on a website/forum discussing things, or you’ve got an excel spreadsheet open. Or you’re getting in some extra Diablo time while at a friend’s place. Or you’re at work on your lunch break.
- A web page lets us present far more organized detail than an in-game book would allow (without ceasing to look like a web browser embedded in a book which would just look silly). You want tick rates, scaling formulas, proc interactoins, etc.
- A web site allows us to provide the most timely information. If questions come up on the forums, we make a hotfix, we find errors, or come across more information we’d like to pass along, we can get that information out to players immediately. If it was in-game it would require a patch.
Since numerous readers have already pointed out that previous game changes were justified as more useful since it would mean players did not have to Alt+Tab out to read a website, I won’t go there.
I will point out that some people thought I was being nasty by mentioning “someone’s mother” as the reason for another recent game simplification. I was being snarky, (If you’re new to snark, welcome to the Internet.) but I was not making some wild claim, since Blizzard has said exactly that on several occasions. In fact, the list of “making things easy enough for your non-gaming relatives” has pretty well filled the family tree at this point: In this post Bashiok cites increased accessible for dads, daughters, and girlfriends. A previous post by Zarhym said that making the path to Leoric easy enough for someone’s grandmother was a design goal. And the fact that Wyatt Cheng’s mother died to the zombies before Tristram was mentioned as significant tester feedback.
You’re free to dislike the increasing accessibility/dumbing down of Diablo III, and maybe you’d rather not know about it, or hear the expressed motivation behind them, but these repeated stories of nerfs for non-gamers are coming straight from Blizzard employees.