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.

    You may also like