Diablo III Beta = Click Fest?

One of the running jokes about the Diablo games is how they kill mouses, lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. But is it true? I mean yeah, obviously you click the mouse a lot while playing Diablo, but how does that compare to the clicks per minute playing an FPS or an RTS? Or to a less click-intensive semi-ARPG like WoW?

I have no answers to those questions, but if anyone wants to use a mouse clicking program to count up your clicks per hour, it might be interesting to compare. In theory D3 is a bit less clicky than D2 was, since you cast a lot of skills right from the 1234 keys in D3, plus you don’t have to click on every damn stack of gold, if you even bothered to pick up gold in D2.

The questions are spurred by a new piece on Kotaku, in which the author used a click counter, did a full DiabloWikiDiablo 3 beta playthrough with a DiabloWikiBarbarian, full-clearing every level, opening every barrel, etc. (Thanks to Fmulder for the tip.)

The entire run through took the better part of two hours, so if you’d like to try to estimate the result using some sort of imaginary clicks-per-second number, feel free. Just do it quickly, because we’re coming up on the big reveal.

And now that all of that ado is adone with, here’s the grand total: Diablo III Beta Test Barbarian Run Through Mouse Clicks (Normal Difficulty): 9,067

Surprised? Truth be told, this was a much smaller number than I imagined it would be, but then I also imagined getting carpal tunnel and a few days off work. Unfortunately the Barbarian’s massive area-of-effect attacks cut down the number of mouse clicks considerably, even when figuring in all of clicking I did emptying out my inventory every five minutes to make room for more loot (oh yes, I had to loot everything).

So that’s at least 4500 clicks per hour. But how many were left vs. right click? And how may keyboard keys were used for spell casting and potion drinking?

The author did answer one of my questions, by saying that he uses the click and hold method to run. If you’ve watched many beta gameplay movies, you’ll note that some players left click constantly to move, as demonstrated by the constant stream of little orange circles appearing on the ground. All those clicks are unnecessary, since you can just click once and hold the LMB down while you move. You can also just hold down the mouse button for most skill or spell casting, or to keep your attack locked on a specific target.

That seems to be how how more experienced players play, once they’re confident in the controls. I base this unscientific conclusion on observations made at public gaming events such as Blizzcon. There you get to see people who are brand new to a game such as D3 (or D2, as I observed at E3s back in the old days) put hands on, and they immediately show their unfamiliarity with the controls by clicking constantly, nervously, frantically, even just moving through an empty dungeon corridor. On the other hand, steadier old hands click only when necessary, driving their characters with more precision, and perhaps even extending the life of their mouse.

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28 thoughts on “Diablo III Beta = Click Fest?

  1. It’s okay, Flux. Just drop it. You don’t have to write an article if there’s nothing to write about.

  2. Some people would hold the click to move while others spam click. The numbers would vary drastically

  3. Ok. i’ll bite.

    Diablo 3 mouse controls .. suck  big time. At the moment the whole game looks like a PsP game in surrounding graphics and the game itself looks ported from a 1999 “back to the future” look.

    That being said: I think the game was saved by the bell by Rob Pardo and its RMAH, which introduces the next WAY of getting money out of a single game for Blizzard.

    I really think they had a meeting somewhere down the line when they wanted to just cancel the product (must have been 1/2 years ago or so) and if it wasn’t for the bright mind of Pardo, this game would have ended in the gutter of 1999 nostalgia.

    Let’s be honest: In a decade where full 3D RPG and action games show up in the form of Gears of Wars 3 etc, you can’t possibly come up with a kind of Zaxxon overview in a RPG.

    it is like playing Pac Man on present day machines.

    But I will play D3 for the sole reason I want to see how people handle the RMAH as it could be introduced in the next wave of MMO’s. But I think D3 in its pure gameplay form lacks everything to compete with real 3D blockbusters.

    • So… you are seriously trying to tell everyone that everything except full 1st/3rd person 3D is totally useless?

    • I disagree – graphics do not make the game.  Graphics do provoke a vocal minority to drone on endlessly about rainbows, anti-aliasing, and now apparently mouse-clicking.
      What I want to discuss is this flawed notion that Blizzard wanted to cancel the game “1/2 years ago or so”. What is your case for this argument?  There is still the unproven assumption that RMAH will catch on, yet alone eclipse the figures from box/digital copy sales.  RMAH *may* only be adopted by 2% of players that spend $5/week – not exactly blockbuster when you do the math.  Time will tell.  In other news, I have seen nothing but a steady ramping-up of efforts on D3.  Are you forgetting the DROUGHTS of INFORMATION that we endured in summer 2009 and spring/summer 2010?  We were wandering in the desert! Now we have a plethora of early act one info and you are talking about a recent undisclosed idea to cancel the game?  Poppycock.

    • yeah, it figures you’d compare it to some typical popular new game, like Gears of War. Let’s be clear about one thing: there are a ton of types of gamers out there. Some are the OMG I NEED THREEDEE GRAPHIX NAOW!! while others prefer mouse clicker games. Have a look at the Steam store for instance.. there are a ton of new indie games that aren’t full 3D action games but are still interesting and unique ideas.

      Your ranting actually makes you look like a shallow, jump on the bandwagon kind of person. Lol once somebody asked me what my favorite anime was. Not being a huge anime watcher, i said my favorite, which was avatar the last airbender. she proceeded to give me a weird look, and told me to watch the ‘good’ animes like Bleach and Naruto. I rolled my eyes and turned around. Not hating on Bleach or Naruto here, but some people (such as yourself) don’t feel right unless you feed your craving to be part of what’s currently popular and trendy. Your favorite songs are probably all from the Top 40 list.

      Open your mind..

      • Just a heads up Avatar The Last Airbender isnt an anime its a cartoon created in the anime style. Just had to set that straight as for Naruto and Bleach I do not like either of those either myself and I am an avid Anime watcher. I agree that he sounds like hes part of the console group thats stuck on nothing but graphics and were the gameplay suffers greatly. I remember when games were constantly 20+ hours and a good RPG could be well over 60+ hours now adays we are lucky if games last 8+ hours. I like to spend hours on end playing a good game like D2 and D1 not looking at pretty graphics that last less then a day.

        • it’s not an anime in the Japanese Anime purist sense no, but i’d like to think of it as more than just a mere “cartoon”.  anyway you get my point.

          coincidentally i just saw an ad above for the game, “from dust”, which was one of the games i was referring to. looks cool as hell to me, and i’d hate to think some ignorant douchebag gamer won’t like it just because it doesn’t give him 932357 chances to go, “pwned u nub, u mad brah?”

  4. “…and they immediately show their unfamiliarity with the controls by clicking constantly, nervously, frantically, even just moving through an empty dungeon corridor.”
    Haha so true. When in a melee battle you click everywhere and somehow never manage to hit any monsters.

  5. When I see people play, especially the newer or worse players, they MAKE it a click-fest.

    They don’t need to click it 22 times in rapid succession in order to make the character go forward across the screen. They simply need to click once.

    They don’t even need to click the screen at all in order to move the character across multiple screens, but simply hold and drag. Yet I see newer players all the time who end up clicking 500+ times to go across an empty field, it’s ridiculous.

    It was pretty frustrating at multiple Blizzcons to see people click on a monster 15+ times, when they could have simply held down the button for the barbarian to kill it with 4 hits with his club. It’s almost as if they believed that clicking faster will = attacking faster.

  6. Can you queue up clicks like in Starcraft 2? That would explain people mad clicking around on the ground.

  7. Noobs don’t know how to hold mouse button to move >.< That would’ve saved him atleast 1/3rd of his clicks, and it’s SO DARN easier(and more comfortable?) to play like that.

    • What?  It says “The author did answer one of my questions, by saying that he uses the click and hold method to run.”

      • Yeah, I wondered what his total would have been otherwise. How many clicks does it add if you path by clicking steadily, instead of click and hold?

        In combat, there might actually be more clicking early on in D3 than later, since you have to acquire a new target constantly as they die so fast. Plus characters run out of resource quickly. Not like D2 where you could play say, a Bowazon, and just hold down right click for 20s while aiming in the direction of the monsters, using your keyboard to cycle through mutishot, guided, frozen, etc, as needed.

  8. I have played Diablo2 for at least good 7 years and 3-4 years casually and still for the most part prefer to click rather than hold due to the simple fact that you can walk in one direction and aim at another. That doesn’t mean i click like a retard, but saying that people that hold rather than click have more precision is a big bullshit.
    In conclusion, i absolutely love this site, but this gotta be one of the stupidest things i have read in a while…

    • I knew some people who used click click click to move would find something to object to in this post, but I didn’t mean it as an insult. At conventions though, I have seen dozens of people play D2/D3 who were new to the game, and in almost every case they clicked frantically and non-stop, usually to the detriment of their play experience, character movement, overall control and aiming, etc. And it’s annoying for other people; it sounds like a rat trapped in a box playing the game beside you.

      Watch a little kid play a game sometime. Or a non-gamer. They slap the buttons frantically, just about tear the joystick off the machine, overreact, etc.

      The moral: Not everyone who clicks excessively is an unskilled noob, but almost all unskilled noobs click excessively.

  9. It’s less efficient to keep the LMB clicked and pressed to move, than it is to have several clicks.  Particularly when you’re trying to kill monsters and move at the same time.
    Holding sucks, in general, because to do so efficiently you need the cursor right next to your character (otherwise you run into serious pathing issues) and in general you don’t always want to be right next to monsters when you’re moving, which puts your cursor in an inopportune place to use attack abilities, for anything other than a melee character.

  10. Carpal tunnel, back pain for bad posture, eye problems for staring at the screen, obesity because your just sittin there… seriously, the health aspects of this game are not very promising…

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