Blue Replies On Another, “It’s too easy!” Debate


Since the Diablo 3 Beta begain there’s been a constant refrain from testers and video-viewers that the game looks too easy. Normal monsters are all cake, only a few types of bosses are hard, most skills kill things in one or two shots, minions never die, brand new Wizards can finish the demo in 20 minutes, etc. All of those things are true, at least for players who know what they’re doing, but 1) lots of new players in Diablo 3 won’t know what they’re doing, and 2) it gets harder later. (Like in Nightmare.)

That’s what the devs and CMs keep saying, at least, and here’s more of that in posts today from the B.net forums.

While I understand this is meant to be the easiest part of the game, it seems a little odd that in watching 30 minutes of gameplay, I didn’t see a single DiabloWikiZombie Dog die. We aren’t talking players here, but minions, and they don’t die. At all.

DiabloWikiWitch Doctors have far too much DiabloWikimana regen, being able to spam DiabloWikiPlague of Toads for a solid 15 seconds, wait 10, and do it all over again. In the early game, mana should not be so easy to come by, so as to force a Witch Doctor to smack things up a little.

I can see Blizzard wanting to make a game that has a fair learning curve, but this is a little too far, in my opinion. The game should not be starting out so mind-numbingly easy, especially if it has any intention of becoming difficult. Diablo 2 was not difficult in Act 1, but it was possible to die, even with experience, if you made mistakes. Think of our poor Ironman challenges!
Zarhym: We’ve talked about this with the development team a good deal. While it’s very likely you’ll see tweaks here and there to classes and creatures throughout beta, there’s still a learning curve of which you’re only seeing its miniscule beginning.

The way that difficulty ramps up through an entire play through of the game — and then again with each difficulty setting — resource management, crowd control, skill use, etc. become extremely important. As far as beta content goes, we more or less want your grandmother to be able to pick a class and have reasonable success up to the DiabloWikiSkeleton King (I mean no disrespect to grandmothers! I’m just using a stereotypical illustration in jest to put some perspective on the learning curve for the beginning of the game.)

So in all honesty, resource management shouldn’t be a very big concern on Normal difficulty up to the Skeleton King. We’ve tried tuning the numbers in various ways around the board. We’ve found that the gameplay of having to worry or focus too much on resource management while just starting out and on this difficulty setting, is pretty crappy. This isn’t World of Warcraft. We want you feeling comfortable wearing down your poor mouse and keyboard.

I really hate to say “don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it,” as I know the response from most people here would be, “well let me friggin’ try it!” But the point still stands. We want you to feel pretty good when you’re starting out. We don’t want you to shy away from spamming your skills and feeling really powerful. You’ll actually learn pretty quickly this way how your resources regenerate and how to manage them — you’ll learn what you’re capable of. That’s what an action RPG is all about to us. That said, and as with all Blizzard games, you’ll have to trust me when I say this one is easy to learn, but will be difficult to master.

The Den of Evil was far more dangerous than what I’ve seen, and was also perfectly manageable even for completely incompetent players. That tells me the game is too easy. Grandma easy. But if you want it to be Grandma easy, we simply disagree about how forgiving games ought to be.
Zarhym: “The game is too easy” is just not something you can reasonably conclude from the beta test, particularly if you’re comparing playing through the beginning of Diablo II, to watching someone play through the beginning of Diablo III. Your word choice makes for a very broad and sweeping assertion I’d caution you not to make, given the information you’re going on.

As for resources being meant to be infinite at the beginning, I have to strongly disagree with this being a good thing. A good part of what makes a character feel more powerful is being able to consistently use skills for long periods of time. If we get that from the beginning, there is less progression to be made.
Zarhym: I didn’t say infinite. I said it “shouldn’t be a very big concern.” While playing the wizard I frequently ran out of DiabloWikiArcane Power. While playing the DiabloWikimonk I frequently ran out of DiabloWikiSpirit. But their regeneration mechanics are such that I was still effective in battle, both in terms of controlling incoming damage and killing dudes. The synergy of that gameplay leaves much less room for error as the game goes on, and as difficulty levels increase. Later on I might run out of Arcane Power or Spirit, just as I have in the first ten levels, but surviving combat on limited resources may be much more difficult.

Anecdotally, I did die a few times with the monk. I found myself low on Spirit at the wrong times as waves of normal and rare creatures came at me. With the skill setup I was using — which I realized afterward wasn’t ideal — I ended up not having the Spirit to use any sort of defense, escape, or crowd controlling method, got surrounded, and was quickly killed. I then reevaluated my skill setup and was much more successful. That trial and error process was actually very fun. Playing around with different builds is great, and you’ll probably be encouraged to do so if you find yourself feeling less effective than you could be.

So boom! I’ve died in beta. This is proof it’s not too easy. Thread solved. Crisis averted.

Right? … Guys?

The problem with the difficulty, if there is one, is what Thomus and fludDAstud (soon to be posted) said in their interviews via DiabloWikiThe Diablo Podcast. That the difficulty is exactly like D2’s. The game is easy 99% of the time, and then 1% you get a boss pack with tricky mods, and you can die in one second if you’re not careful. Changing that style was the whole point behind the D3 Team’s overhaul of the combat and health system, and it’s interesting that all of their changes haven’t made any difference, at least as seen in the first half third of act one.

Tagged As: | Categories: Blizzard People, Blue Posts, Diablo 3 Beta

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  1. My wife’s grandmother could kick the skeleton king’s ass all over Sanctuary.
     
    [Aside: is there a support/bugs email for this website? Something happened re: this website just now that was of great concern to me that I don’t want to discuss openly for fear of exploitation.]

  2. “As far as beta content goes, we more or less want your grandmother to be able to pick a class and have reasonable success up to the Skeleton King
     
    Why??????

  3. Because they want to sell themselves, silly.
     
    Secondly, the reason people are dying in large boss packs is because they’re still playing D2-style, not mixing up their skills, not allowing for the ebb and flow of their resource. I saw one barb alternate Bash (Fury generator) and HoTA (Fury spender) wonderfully and he cleared everything in seconds. So you can’t attribute it to the failure of the combat system, not so soon atleast!

  4. Maybe I’m being naive, but the first part of D2 and the first part of D3 seem to be about the same difficulty…  I don’t think I’ve ever died in D2 before Andy, and frequently had no problems all the way until you hit the bug boss in Act 2 or Diablo himself…  When you start hitting later difficulties at level, things do get harder.  I’m hoping for D3 that things, trash included will get incrementally harder, rather then 99 percent easy, and 1 percent, OMG I’m going to die.  And harder for reasons other then being resistant to both of my damage types…

  5. I admire the CMs’ patience, there’s so much epic face-palm ownage on those forums that they must have palm tans on their face by now, yet they still stay professional and give straight replies without a trace of sarcasm.

    • easy to maintain composure behind the monitor. now if we all gathered in front of blizz HQ and demanded changes, one or two of them might break down and start throwing things at us.

  6. The Beta is only the first part of Act 1 on normal, I would expect it to leave you some room to get a feel for the game and your character’s skills. Personally I don’t see a problem with it so far. Perhaps if I played the beta I would know better but from what I’ve seen of streams and gameplay it seems alright to me.

    • Its alright for you that people that are bad at games and played diablo for first time didnt even die once to the end of beta?
      They want even 9 years old retarded people to be capable to finish normal because its raise customers range…
      $$$Greed$$$

      • Why do I have this feeling that we’re being lectured on social consciousness by someone whose mom is still picking his dirty underwear up off the floor of his room for him?

  7. That was my point as well, Alex, no one knows how the difficulty will progress, I personally hope it progresses quite linearly.  I also am fairly trusting in Blizzard to get it right, or at least close enough to make me happy…

  8. So in your opinion it is fine to waste huge amount of time before you will can get your challenge?

  9. Personally, I forsee a lot of people who will do nothing but Cleave for a couple hours, get bored at how easy and repetitive, and move on. I very much doubt that boring average gamers in the hopes of winning “grandmas” is a very good strategy for winning a strong fanbase. And now the “it’ll get interesting after hours and hours of play” is not a valid argument. (It wasn’t valid in D2 either.)

    • As purely anecdotal evidence, the 2 times I tried to get friends to get into D2 with me in co-op, they both got bored of the mindlessly easy play about half way through and quit. My assurances that it eventually got better weren’t enough to keep them going.

  10. clicker noob game
     
    im sorry diablo 3 is made for babies.
     
    shame on you blizzard, i thought you were all for gameplay, seems like you are all for money
     
    as an aside, the same thing happened to wow: it started hard (and incredibly fun), and progressed to being more and more noob friend (and incredibly boring)
     

  11. I don’t understand some of these complaints it is the 1st 3rd of the 1st act of a video game.   I can’t think of a game in recent memory that wasn’t easy for the 1st part of the game to let the player get accustomed to the feel of the game.   

  12. Wow – are people still debating this?! It’s a learning curve guys – gotta start somewhere!

  13. If you want a game thats brutally challenging from start to finish there are games out there made for you. Otherwise, leave games like Diablo 3 alone that plan on going the standard learning curve route.

  14. First third.  Of the first Act.  There are 4 Acts.  There are 4 difficulties.  Cry to me later if Inferno is a cakewalk.

    • I’m glad someone finally said it….
       
      They have to scale the game to make sure that Inferno makes sense. Of course it’s going to be much easier on normal.

  15. I returned to Diablo II and found its start to be insanely boring. For example, if you start as Barbarian, you went through Act I swinging your basic attacks until you found something mana stealing. Only Paladin with his auras and Sorceress with her mana regeneration could do something interesting.
    So, allowing classes to use basic skills in almost unlimited amount (completely unlimited in case of Barbarian and Monk) is great as it makes game much more fun and tactical from the beginning. Moreover, I expect resources to be much bigger problem later in the game, which is much better than Diablo II balance with the opposite. For example, to start a good Whirlwind, you need several different fury generator attacks (as powerful fury generators have big cooldowns, so you can’t build Fury on them alone).

  16. Players don’t seem to want progression anymore.  Blizzard wants you to “feel powerful” from the onset, while every other RPG in history has you start off as a wooden sword-wielding kid that does 1 damage to rats.  This is admittedly a little dull but important because it serves as a contrast to when you get Super Ultima Death Explosion spell and crit for 99999 damage.

    Level 1 Witch Doctors (as an example) shouldn’t have invulnerable minions and endlessly spammable skills ; these should be powers that they strive for, look forward to, and earn.  There are other ways to make the game easy from the get-go.

  17. I’ve seen many vids of the beta where monks and barbarians died if they aren’t careful. I’m not sure how experienced they were but they still died. After that however they realized what they did wrong with that particular Mob and found ways to work around it.
     
    It did look easy but D2 was pretty easy too in the beginning even with the minimal skills we had.
     
    About resource management. There were many vids that said certain skills were mana, spirit heavy. Corpse spiders, firebats, zombie charge I noticed were mana heavy. Some monk skills were spirit heavy. My concern us the wizard but I would think later skills will be mana intensive but i haven’t had a chance to looks at the skills to say otherwise.
    I would like a challenge like anyone else and that ‘den of ????’ (forgot the name) looked difficult enough with the teleport./fire/Ice enhanced mobs. I think that was around level 3-4 or something.

  18. This is my biggest concern about D3. It’s going to be too easy.
     
    They want it so easy even your grandma can play like they did with wow in the last expansion.
    Now, they do get more really young people to play the game if it’s on Mario Bros level but they will definitely
    loose older players because it’s just not challenging to play for us.

    OK, so they have probably figured this out and they probably came to the conclution that they will get more
    kids to play than adults to stop play + they hope adults will play nevertheless for the illusion that you can make money off the aution house.

    I want the first mobs in the game to die in 3-4 hits and sometimes with a crit hit, die at once…that sounds like a decent life span of a zombie.

  19. I think this 99% easy, 1% die in 1 second thing is a by product of generating random monsters – eventually you get a killer combo. But this difficulty is looking like it’s gonna just be like D2. I guess the biggest difference is that Blizz will be constantly improving D3, unlike D2.

  20. I watched a lot of the beta video content, especially day9’s, where he was going slow and wasn’t being as optimal as he could have been. I have to say, the game is too easy.
    I’ll be the first to admit that d2 was frustrating in the early going for bad reasons – not enough gold pick up for common things like scrolls/tomes until much later in the game… and constantly having to deal with the stupid stamina mechanics… and constantly having to hoard points because you would be gimped if you spent them on earlier skills… and not nearly enough mana to use the skills much or at all… and having to deal with the rediculously small mana pots that the game you… and having a limitation of belt slots early on, which meant you had to constantly go back and forth to town just to buy pots. There was a lot of stupid mechanics in d2.
    Even still, the combat in d2 was still easy enough, but tuned to be perfectly fine in normal difficulty. I think d3 is looking to be a lot easier.
    I have no problems with the interface being easier… and stuff like that. Heck, I actually like that you can spam skills more… and not have to constantly buy scrolls… and not have to go back to tell to sell crap over and over just to generate such small amounts of money at a time… and not having to hoard skill points for the first 18 or 24 or 30 levels. This is all great. I wouldn’t change any of this.
    The problem with d3, I think, is that the content isn’t scaling with the new found power/abilities of your resource regeneration… or the abilities are too powerful without any kind of item enhancements and having a naked character. That’s the problem.

  21. I watched a lot of the beta video content, especially day9’s, where he was going slow and wasn’t being as optimal as he could have been. I have to say, the game is too easy.
    I’ll be the first to admit that d2 was frustrating in the early going for bad reasons – not enough gold pick up for common things like scrolls/tomes until much later in the game… and constantly having to deal with the stupid stamina mechanics… and constantly having to hoard points because you would be gimped if you spent them on earlier skills… and not nearly enough mana to use the skills much or at all… and having to deal with the rediculously small mana pots that the game you… and having a limitation of belt slots early on, which meant you had to constantly go back and forth to town just to buy pots. There was a lot of stupid mechanics in d2.
    Even still, the combat in d2 was still easy enough, but tuned to be perfectly fine in normal difficulty. I think d3 is looking to be a lot easier.
    I have no problems with the interface being easier… and stuff like that. Heck, I actually like that you can spam skills more… and not have to constantly buy scrolls… and not have to go back to tell to sell crap over and over just to generate such small amounts of money at a time… and not having to hoard skill points for the first 18 or 24 or 30 levels. This is all great. I wouldn’t change any of this.
    The problem with d3, I think, is that the content isn’t scaling with the new found power/abilities of your resource regeneration… or the abilities are too powerful without any kind of item enhancements and having a naked character. That’s the problem.

  22. I watched a lot of the beta video content, especially day9’s, where he was going slow and wasn’t being as optimal as he could have been. I have to say, the game is too easy.
    I’ll be the first to admit that d2 was frustrating in the early going for bad reasons – not enough gold pick up for common things like scrolls/tomes until much later in the game… and constantly having to deal with the stupid stamina mechanics… and constantly having to hoard points because you would be gimped if you spent them on earlier skills… and not nearly enough mana to use the skills much or at all… and having to deal with the rediculously small mana pots that the game you… and having a limitation of belt slots early on, which meant you had to constantly go back and forth to town just to buy pots. There was a lot of stupid mechanics in d2.
    Even still, the combat in d2 was still easy enough, but tuned to be perfectly fine in normal difficulty. I think d3 is looking to be a lot easier.
    I have no problems with the interface being easier… and stuff like that. Heck, I actually like that you can spam skills more… and not have to constantly buy scrolls… and not have to go back to tell to sell crap over and over just to generate such small amounts of money at a time… and not having to hoard skill points for the first 18 or 24 or 30 levels. This is all great. I wouldn’t change any of this.
    The problem with d3, I think, is that the content isn’t scaling with the new found power/abilities of your resource regeneration… or the abilities are too powerful without any kind of item enhancements and having a naked character. That’s the problem.

  23. I watched a lot of the beta video content, especially day9’s, where he was going slow and wasn’t being as optimal as he could have been. I have to say, the game is too easy.
    I’ll be the first to admit that d2 was frustrating in the early going for bad reasons – not enough gold pick up for common things like scrolls/tomes until much later in the game… and constantly having to deal with the stupid stamina mechanics… and constantly having to hoard points because you would be gimped if you spent them on earlier skills… and not nearly enough mana to use the skills much or at all… and having to deal with the rediculously small mana pots that the game you… and having a limitation of belt slots early on, which meant you had to constantly go back and forth to town just to buy pots. There was a lot of stupid mechanics in d2.
    Even still, the combat in d2 was still easy enough, but tuned to be perfectly fine in normal difficulty. I think d3 is looking to be a lot easier.
    I have no problems with the interface being easier… and stuff like that. Heck, I actually like that you can spam skills more… and not have to constantly buy scrolls… and not have to go back to tell to sell crap over and over just to generate such small amounts of money at a time… and not having to hoard skill points for the first 18 or 24 or 30 levels. This is all great. I wouldn’t change any of this.
    The problem with d3, I think, is that the content isn’t scaling with the new found power/abilities of your resource regeneration… or the abilities are too powerful without any kind of item enhancements and having a naked character. That’s the problem.

  24. I watched a lot of the beta video content, especially day9’s, where he was going slow and wasn’t being as optimal as he could have been. I have to say, the game is too easy.
    I’ll be the first to admit that d2 was frustrating in the early going for bad reasons – not enough gold pick up for common things like scrolls/tomes until much later in the game… and constantly having to deal with the stupid stamina mechanics… and constantly having to hoard points because you would be gimped if you spent them on earlier skills… and not nearly enough mana to use the skills much or at all… and having to deal with the rediculously small mana pots that the game you… and having a limitation of belt slots early on, which meant you had to constantly go back and forth to town just to buy pots. There was a lot of stupid mechanics in d2.
    Even still, the combat in d2 was still easy enough, but tuned to be perfectly fine in normal difficulty. I think d3 is looking to be a lot easier.
    I have no problems with the interface being easier… and stuff like that. Heck, I actually like that you can spam skills more… and not have to constantly buy scrolls… and not have to go back to tell to sell crap over and over just to generate such small amounts of money at a time… and not having to hoard skill points for the first 18 or 24 or 30 levels. This is all great. I wouldn’t change any of this.
    The problem with d3, I think, is that the content isn’t scaling with the new found power/abilities of your resource regeneration… or the abilities are too powerful without any kind of item enhancements and having a naked character. That’s the problem.
    PS: Is there a bug with the posting? It’s saying I am not logged in, but I am. It’s also reporting that I am hardrock or some other user after it fails to post. What’s going on?

  25. People complaining about D3 is too easy – did you mentioned what most of the gameplay videos was created with maximum level characters. And in those with 1-level characters, there are death sometimes.
    I found it’s almost impossible to die in Act 1 of Diablo 2 before Andariel, unless you’re running naked and don’t pick up any drops. Necromancer could have problems with Blood Raven if he targets golems and comes for her before the 6th level, because in this case he has just virtually no skills to use. But still, he could kill her with just melee weapons.
    I don’t expect this part of the game to be challenging for people with some skill and it wasn’t so in D2. All i could say – it’s much more fun, as you could practice your skills before real challenges appear.

  26. “The game is easy 99% of the time, and then 1% you get a boss pack with tricky mods, and you can die in one second if you’re not careful. Changing that style was the whole point behind the D3 Team’s overhaul of the combat and health system
     
    That is simply not true, here’s a quote from a Blizzard interview:
     
    “We want the game’s difficulty to hit a range of “peaks” and “valleys” as the player progresses from battle to battle. During the “peaks”, the challenge level spikes and players will be tested to their limits. In the “valleys”, the difficulty relaxes and players can build up their health and energy again.”
     
    I’ve seen you say several times now that they wanted the game’s difficulty to be evened out, that quote directly contradicts that. If they wanted to change something about the D2 design, it’s probably that they don’t want absolutely stupid combos like multiple immunities etc.

  27. Ok, so, difficulty is a very, let me repeat that, VERY, relative thing. What is difficult to somebody is super easy for somebody else. I am pretty skilled/experienced D2 player, tough obviusly not the best. And I can finish first three acts (up to council battle in Travincal) in D2 on a 8 player mode, with little or no deaths. So, if I can do that, how easy is D2´s Normal mode? A rhetorical question, so don´t bother answering. Basically, from all the footage I´ve seen of D3 so far (and I do believe I´ve seen most of it), D3´s Normal mode may be harder then D2´s Normal mode IMO. Of course to hardcore players (and anybody with functional brain to conclude that explosion=death, and other such similiar game mechanics), Normal mode will be quite easy, but what we´re talking about here is the \average\ somewhat above casual level player. Lot of new mechanincs, like health orbs, CDs on potions, boss mods on normal monsters, more varied boss mods,  actually make the game a lot harder then infinite potion spammage that was diablo. Also, lot of new ways for monsters to interect with players, mean we will be seeing stuff like exploding monsters, suicide monsters, lot of new types of summoners, buffers, and so on, all contribute to my belief that D3´s Normal mode will be harder then D2´s.

    Also, I do agree with the above poster, that full immunities are a bad gameplay mechanic, and that monsters that are completly immune to any element should be extremly rare, and IMO, double and triple immunities should NOT exist.

  28. I’ve been watching the gameplay movies and I actually disagree on it looking “too easy”.  I think it looks considerably more difficult than DII, especially in the beginning stages…  Think about your first 30 – 60 minutes of DII. Most of the monsters are ridiculously slow and mostly have basic melee attacks, with a little ranged thrown in.  But now the Skeleton King can whirlwind and teleport.  Lots of other very fast moving normal monsters that can pretty quickly surround your character.  The major difference is that these early DIII characters have quite a few AoE attacks and the resources do last much longer.

    Some of these people are complaining way too much.  The game looks so ridiculously fun!  I for one can’t wait to play it.

  29. Anyone looking a game that challenges you from the very beginning, might I suggest Demon’s Souls for the PS3.  That game is specifically DESIGNED to be unfairly difficult at times.  In fact, the end “boss” of the TUTORIAL is just about impossible to beat (luckily you don’t have to in order to progress to the real game, it’s just a bonus item if you do).
    Supposedly, it’s spiritual successor (Dark Souls) is going to be even harder.
    Also, I think the only time I died in D2 before rescuing Cain (which is pretty much where this beta gets you to), was when I underestimated Rakanishu’s lightning enchantment.  Everything else was easy to survive with potions.  The only difference is in D3 we get more interesting skills at the beginning to use to not die.

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