Diablo III Gaming… Just Like Your Old Days?


Leading up to Diablo III’s release, I saw numerous forum posts (and heard in personal conversations) from people who said it had been years since they’d looked forward to a new game they way they were for Diablo III. Literally; a lot of people said they hadn’t *really* gotten into a game since Diablo II, and in most cases they meant Diablo II in like, 2003. Or earlier.

I don’t know how satisfied those types of fans are with Diablo III now that it’s finally arrived, but speaking as one of them, I can say that it’s hard to compare… literally! It’s been so many years since I’ve invested serious hours into playing a video game that doing it over the past few weeks with Diablo III feels a bit like attending an online class reunion. It’s familiar and nostalgic, and yet I’m different than I was, and so is Diablo.

Two recent online articles touched on this issue, and I’ll give a quick quote from both.

Online Gaming Acknowledges That “Hey, You’re Busy.”

I have two kids, a full-time job, a yard that needs mowing, freelance assignments, dirty dishes, a full DVR and adult responsibilities involving bills and something called “escrow.”

Luckily, “Diablo III” is the rare demon-themed entertainment product that’s sympathetic to my domestic plight. Frequent checkpoints allow me to drop out of the game pretty much whenever I want without losing any progress. Even in group games, when you pair up with other adventurers, nobody gets bent out of shape when you type to your team, “Sorry, time for bed, gotta go.”

I’m getting older. I’ve been gaming all my life. And I’ve had to admit to myself that I simply can’t take on games that eat up all my time.

…I’m not alone. According to the Entertainment Software Association, the lead industry group for video games, the average game player is 30 years old and the average age of the most frequent game purchasers is 35.


The Diablo Blues: When the Games Don’t Change but We Do

After that first week of jumping back into the world of “Diablo III,” I realized something was different. I still wanted to play. And it still felt addictive. The game was just as well-made as one would expect, and it really had a lot of marked improvements from “Diablo II.” Yet I had mixed feelings about playing it as often as I played its predecessor.

It wasn’t until I was struggling to pencil game time into my daily schedule that it came clear to me: I never had to do that before. Because when “Diablo II” was in its heyday, I was in my early twenties – and I had all the time in the world to play video games.

I joke about being too busy writing about video games to actually play video games all the time, but this was the first time I actually realized the level of conflict involved. As much as I wanted to play, I also had a lot of other things I wanted to do. It wasn’t just annoying, grown-up responsibility stuff like cooking dinner or taking the car in for a tune-up. I wanted to do other things that included getting off the internet and going outside.

This is an issue with a lot of games, these days. And it’s odd to find how many more obstacles there are between you and your gaming time as you get older. When I was a kid I remember thinking how great it must be to be an adult, with money to buy what you wanted, no parent telling you to go to bed or do chores, etc. And how adults just laughed

There were people in their 30s and 40s (and beyond) playing games back in the 90s and 00s, but they were the exception, and in many cases they’d just started gaming recently. Most of today’s thirtysomething gamers have been playing since they were kids, and it’s odd to try to fit a time sink semi-MMO like D3 into an adult life. I think it’s especially noticeable for people in the Diablo community, since we had to wait so long for D3 that we’re out of practice. Not just for the click click click, but for playing hours of any video game at all. I doubt the average age of a Diablo III player is much different than that of a WoW player, but those poor Murloc-hunters have stayed in practice.

So, is any of this ringing true for you guys? Or are you like 21 and hearing this whole post in Grandpa Simpson’s voice? Or better yet, you’re 13 and wondering who the hell is Grandpa Simpson?

Luckily, Diablo III can be played perfectly well with an onion tied to your belt.

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  1. Yes, this is definitely true. I scheduled a weekend of Diablo 3 playtime in advance and after the first night of playing, I couldn’t go on anymore. I called some friends and we went outside and hang out for a couple of hours. After that I spent some time reading a book I haven’t had time to read and resisted an urge to check my work email and get an early start for the new working week.

    I did end up playing Diablo 3 again after the first marathon night, but to be honest with you, come this monday, I kind of felt relieved I didn’t “have to” play for the 3rd day straight.

    Now I’m feeling pretty old but also good about myself.

  2. Anything Flux has ever said or done that I didn’t like has just been balanced out by that Grandpa Simpson reference. Thank you, sir.

  3. Yes, the game if fairly addictive until higher levels where the elite packs have very unreasonable attributes. Then it becomes a frustrating experience. Every pack will vortex your squishy wizard into melee range, teleport on top of him, or jail him and proceed to beat on him.

    Itemization leaves something to be desired as well. I find the items bland and boring compared to Diablo 2 items. There are also few viable skills/spells as your character advances to higher difficulties. I have a level 60 wizard and a level 60 witch doctor.

    The lack of appropriate item level drops in Act 1 and 2 of Inferno also makes the game frustrating.

    Lag is also frustrating at times. I played hardcore D2 in single player mode. I’ve never ever consider playing hardcore D3 based on the server stability issues and the insane monster affixes.

    The next patch is supposed to start addressing some of those issues. I hope they are willing to put in the work needed and not just make a fix or two and say “done.”

    • And you only ever slightly touched the topic as a means to get that rant out. You add value to my internet.

      • That was hardly a rant. I’m a fan, not a fanboi so I can admit flaws in a game. Diablo 3 is suffering on Metacritic precisely because of the issues I brought up. The “professional reviewers have given it a good score because they have not made it past normal or they are paid by Blizzard or just are brown-nosing Blizzard.

        • Yeah no one cares. Millions are still playing, metacritic is irrelevant because millions have bought and continue to buy the game. Sorry dude, you’ll never get what you want. 😉

          • In the end I think hell get exactly what he wants. Every blizzard game since the original starcraft has underwent a major overhaul that ended up turning it into a completely different game than it was at release. Why do you think Diablo 3 will be any different?

      • he did only just lightly touch on the op but if what he’s saying is that, ‘yes we are getting older and new responabilities arise that may impact the way we view gaming nowadays, however that’s not the reason im feeling disenchanted with this game..’ then we share the same viewpoint.

    • Agreed. I think people are just trying to play it off as though they don’t have time to play rather than admitting that the game doesn’t have the appeal that they really wanted it to have.

      • Wrong. I’m 36 and have been playing video games since 1984. I just made it to inferno with my wizard because I barely have time to play video games anymore. I work from 8-5:30 with an hour long commute each way, have a wife, a house, a new GT500 on the way, and bigger things to tackle than inferno. I miss the days when time didn’t matter. I can honestly say that time, not disappointment is what keeps me from playing.

  4. Since I never played D1 and was late to the D2 party, I see D3 as THE big game.
    It has lots of flaws still, but Blizzard will patch it (super excited for 1.0.3!) and even with the flaws, I think it’s much more fun than D2 was.

    • It’s more fun than Diablo 2 IS, but I’m not sure it’s more fun than it WAS at release. It’s an important distinction.

      That said, I’m enjoying it. I’m in my early thirties and played all three games at the appropriate times. As far as the people who complain about high review scores, I think they rate the game based on stricter standards than the average video game. I’ve put 100 hours plus in this game already. That’s crazy. This game is clearly at LEAST an 8, or you’re just hating and/or nitpicking.

  5. “onion belt” … ahaha, great. But you hit the right, it is different, with 25 you had more time, now, nearly 40, the whole thing is, mhhh, difficult. But for now, i enjoy the time.

  6. Flux, it’s not the same because the game isn’t fun in the same ways. You can admit it to yourself any day.

    • YOUR opinion isn’t an absolute truth for everyone. Yes, there are A LOT of “old timers” unhappy with D3, but, personally I’m not not one of them.

      And yes, I played D1 back in 1997 and D2 / LoD back in 2000 / 01, and I’m finding D3 to be immensely enjoyable and outright fun in ways D2 never could be, for ME.

      Perhaps I’m trying to be objective and just enjoing it for what is, because nothing can compete against nostalgic youth memories of a favorie movie/game/book whatever.

      • “Perhaps I’m trying to be objective and just enjoing it for what is, because nothing can compete against nostalgic youth memories of a favorie movie/game/book whatever.”

        wow. quite full of yourself are you?
        you really think most of us didnt get to that conclusion ourselves years ago?

        i am nowadays not a heavy gamer anymore. i prefer to do other things like almost everybody else who gets into a certain age.
        i even admit that i get bored after what, 1, 2 hours of gaming.
        also with D2.

        and still, diablo 3 is lacking. lacking badly.
        go and grab yourself the most voiced haters statements and reasons why that is so – and you will have my wholehearted agreement on 90% of those.

        i am not complaining that i am getting bored of it, i am complaining that i am getting bored within 20 or 30 minutes. why? because it is very frustrating to play this game in its current state.
        graphics wont change, story wont change, items will maybe get somewhere where its actually fun to grind for them – but all in all, diablo 3 is an underwhelming experience.

    • Your propensity for failed troll comments continues to amaze me.

      • You want the baby boy soul, you gotta pay the troll toll… You gotta pay the troll toll to get into this boy’s hole…

        HAHAHAAHAHAHA

  7. So true to me, since WoW.

  8. Luckily I’m jobless ^^

    >> a lot of people said they hadn’t *really* gotten into a game since Diablo II, and in most cases they meant Diablo II in like, 2003. Or earlier. <<

    Oh, there were a few. X-III Reunion (with xtm) or Dwarven Fortress, for example.

  9. “When I was a kid I remember thinking how great it must be to be an adult, with money to buy what you wanted, no parent telling you to go to bed or do chores”

    That’s how I see my reality. Not that everything’s fun and games, and I surely could use more hours in the day. But since mid-twenties, and now early thirties, I’m having the time of my life. It’s even better than I imagined.

    I’ve yet to have kids though…

  10. Hate to admit being in the sweet spot for this article. For D1, I was in high school, and happily spent a good chunk of my free time playing games with friends. It was terribly exciting that we could play on the computer easily together and we played D1 obsessively.

    D2 came out in college, and I got and played both classic and x-pack when they came out, but I didn’t really sink into it until I had graduated and had nothing else to do. Then it was night and day for an unhealthy amount of time – I loved it, absorbed all the data I could, planned builds and farmed items, etc.

    Now, in my early 30’s, I had a blast eagerly anticipating and debating the game, but that took maybe half an hour each day if I were replying to some articles. The Blizzcon trips were great. But while the wife will good-naturedly joke a little about being “Diablo widow,” in reality there’s stuff she wants to do together, stuff to do around the house, realities of work and projects, and I generally go days at a time without playing, and when I do it’s only for an hour or so. I have one character at lv. 32 that just finished normal, and a lv. 5, and that’s it.

    But it is true that the mechanics of D3 lend themselves really well to that kind of erratic play, so I do appreciate that.

    I keep thinking as long as I can manage to keep around copies of all my favorite RPGs around, one day retirement will come a’ calling!

  11. So I work from home. There was a time a few years back (2006ish) when I’d play WoW way too much during the day when I should have been working. But I was in my 20’s then. Now at 33, I have no issues making sure I get plenty of work done. I take an hour to play during lunch but its back to work after that. Also having a pretty easy time not starting if I need to do household stuff, or breaking to go make dinner and spend time with the wife. It’s just a symptom of growing up and becoming a lot more responsible.

    That said, I’ve still put in 100+ hours and f’ing love the game. I’m anticipating being able to play this game for a very long time. Between patches and expansions, I would anticipate this game just getting better and better.

    I don’t have kids tho. Opting out of that game. So I do get to be selfish and play almost whenever I want.

  12. I’m 31, recently married, and JUST bought a house. This whole last week and a half I have been going to the house straight from work, working on it (painting, sanding, setting up services, etc.) and going to bed, repeat. Having played D3 in like 2 weeks, actually haven’t even setup my computer yet, that busy. Add to the fact that I actually want to do things like train for an ultra-marathon and not just plop every waking moment in front of a computer screen..

    Yea, I think things have changed.

  13. Im 29 and played D2 intensively. Now it’s different since there are alot of responsibilities. Still I play D3 for around 20hours a week atm. Hardcore mode. Lost my first char at 56.

    The big difference with D2 is that progression is so much easier in D3. Items come easy (with the auction house) and skills are powerfull. That combines with a fast interactive human means ownage. In D2 you needed to farm NM for a long time to go to hell.

    Still a great game but less addictive. Thats a good thing 🙂

  14. D3 has launched when I luckily have a summer slowdown at work, so it’s worked out very well. I had previously missed most of the Open Beta weekend, as I was working very long days at that time.

    I HAVE looked up at the clock some days, and realize that I’ve been playing for hours… I have to calm myself down a bit, and say “No, no! This is what you wanted! Don’t feel guilty!” :b

    I still have only maxed one character, and haven’t needed to take advantage of player matchups yet, but all in good time.

  15. I agree there’s a problem with itemization, but I actually am still having more fun than I did in D2. Inferno is just impossible right now, but given the last few blue posts I can see that they’ll fix Inferno soon. That’s enough for me.

    I really can’t relate to the article that much, since I’m still 19. o_o But I still have responsibilities and while I certainly can game all day, I see that as unhealthy and unfulfilling. I’d rather resist the urge to play and do something else (hang out with friends, cycling, watch a movie, etc).

  16. Did people stop having kids?

    There’s no new people that are 21 gaming these days?

  17. Far from the old days but its ok.

  18. Only problem is, the Nephalem Valor buff makes me feel like I can’t stop playing. Dinner needs cooking… but… must keep playing until I get to the next boss!
    I’ve heard a lot of positive feedback about the Nephalem Valor mechanic, I guess I must be the only person who doesn’t like it.

  19. I’m 33 yrs old and D3 is the only game I ever bought since LoD. Still, me being older doesn’t change the fact that this game is childish and dumb with no ambience nor artistic value whatsoever, and the loot is boring. The gameplay/action is 1000 times better than D2 though, so, whatever… not the same game at all, period.

  20. Yeah the game is fantastic. I think it is sad that its hard to keep up with younger players because it takes more time put in to get the gold/items you need to move forward. Regardless, its a great game and I am having a blast playing through it. I think the reunion was a great analogy. Never have I seen so many people I once knew all in one place at one time. So many old friends are back in my life thanks to Diablo 3. Which is kind of awesome.

  21. I’ve just turned 29 this week, and I can definitely tell that gaming has become my guilty pleasure, in a whole different way than back when I was 16 years old. I had all the time in the world to play Diablo 1 back in 1997 as a 14 year old, and almost as much time playing Diablo 2 back in 2000 and there from on and off for 10 years, but nowdays, it’s not as easy finding the time.

    I live with my girlfriend and her 12 year old son, I work 9-5’s, I train at the gym, I need to socialize, attent meetings, plan projects, do housechoirs, visit family, cook, spent time with my girl… you get the picture.

    But the bad part really is that D3 has been a huge letdown for me. And you can’t really call me a troll for saying what I feel. I have loved these series since being a kid, and while the gameplay is 100% more fun than any other game in the series, all the actual ‘meat’ that made Diablo so much fun is gone. Items are awful, no permanents builds, no boss runs, always online DRM and so on and so on.

    I have now come to the realization that there is no point in keeing trying to convince myself that this game is great, and it’s only I whom have grown up, and can freely admit this game is not to my taste, plain and simple.

    I am, however, looking eagerly forward to both Torchlight 2 and Dark Souls coming up this summer, and have rather high hopes of Grim Dawn as well when the time comes.

    It’s not about becoming older, neccesarily, it’s more about the entire gaming industry changing as a whole, I believe.

    /End Grandpa Simpson rant.

  22. VERY TRUE! I am turning 27 and d2 took up the majority of my time back when i was in high school and college. I don’t have any kids atm but still it is hard to find time in life to really sit down and play for hours like i did with d2. Also very true about how when you were younger thinking of how much better your life would be living on your own and making your own money, ect. and having older people just laugh because they know you will find out the hard way about how much being an adult isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

  23. D3 is a perfect game for family life. With work, wife and two kids I get to play very inconsistent seesions, wildly varying in length (20-120 minutes).

    WoW was never an option for me, D3 is! 😀

  24. I have to say that I played Diablo I (for the playstation) and Diablo II at a fairly young age. Both games were rated M and in 1998 (release for the playstation I believe) I was only 9 years old. So in actuality, it depends on when you started playing the games themselves.

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