Diablo III Leveling Lacks Customization?

Along with the noob questions, the open beta weekend is bringing a lot of discussion and debate about issues we’ve kind of beaten to the glue factory, but which are fresh to new players. A prime example is this post, which goes into a lengthy and not very well argued complaint about the lack of character customization options or skill choices granted per level up in Diablo III.

I’ll excerpt from the OP, since it’s long and not very clear. We’ve heard Bashiok’s reply many times before, but the difficulty level element is kind of new, so maybe it’s worth a read on a slow Sunday. The full thread can be seen here.

…Diablo 3’s leveling experience is a painful compromise in a genre of games where leveling and directing a character is an integral part of the gaming experience. Other than D3, no other RPG has such an absence of choice when leveling up. I see this as a deeply influential flaw that will turn away a lot of the cerebral players out there.

…When you level up, you don’t even think or plan or do anything. Mercenaries have a more organic feel to leveling than your main. This is laughable. All I do in Diablo 3 is click click click, pick up items, and when I level it doesn’t feel like leveling at all – just another skill or rune I never planned for thrown at me. We’re really supposed to put up with this all the way to 60?
I think it’s a symptom of the beta where you’re in the part of the game where we’re very deliberately guiding players by handing out a skill here, a rune there. It’s really a crafted and linear experience to start (both in system introduction and environment) because the first couple hours are the most crucial to a successful and long term experience. We’re not in the mindset to drop all of the game systems on you and say “Good luck, sucker!”

To some the approach we’re taking is likely a turnoff because they want to feel like they’re part of an elite group able to figure out complex and obtuse game systems, and be challenged the second the game begins. I think if they stick with it they’ll find that there is a ton of depth and complexity to the game. We put the depth into the gameplay, skill, and decision making itself and not the requirement to overcome the UI or understand how the game even works.

If you’re one of those players you’re going to blaze through Normal, hit Nightmare, and things are going to start feeling really good for you. You just have to understand that not everyone is like you, and we’re making the game so a wide range of people can enjoy it.

I agree with everything here, except the whole “you’re going to scream through normal” thing kind of sucks, honestly. I want to enjoy the story the first time through and also feel challenged. But it seems like that’s not gonna happen until at least nightmare. But then I’ll already know the story and what’s going to happen.

Not sure what the solution could be, but it’s kind of a bummer.
Honestly many people here find the later acts of Normal very challenging (like they can’t beat the last boss for weeks on end challenging), but I don’t want encourage someone to pull up my words later and say “You said it would be difficult!” 🙂 I’m not sure what additional balancing could happen before release.

If you’ve stopped laughing at the line about “turning away cerebral players,” consider that both the OP and Bashiok have a point. Yes, the early going is pretty brainless, without any real choices to make or strategy required, And there are never really any skill choices with even a semi-permanent impact in D3, since you can always respec in a matter of seconds. (Well, I guess if you died in HC due to stupid skill choice, that would count as a permanent effect.)

That said, by level 30, much less 50 or 60, every character will have literally hundreds of skills + rune effects to choose from, plus a couple of dozen passive skills which, if chosen wisely, will make a major difference on your skill choice and use. No, you don’t have any real character customization in Diablo III, but you do have vastly more skills than you can use at once, which functions as something along the same lines. Right?

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109 thoughts on “Diablo III Leveling Lacks Customization?

  1. Some might say that since you can easily get through normal that the story it’s self is the driving factor of that difficulty. 

    Personally I don’t mind it. I want to soak it up by listening to every dialog, and by reading very book.

    • I completely agree. Blizzard intend for people to spend most of their time at level cap; and I think that Flux unfairly characterizes character customization. By the time you reach 30, you’ll have many more legitimate options before you than you ever did in diablo 2. Granted, the classes are pretty much set in their designs, but I am so glad that one misclick doesn’t ruin 3 weeks of work. The diablo 2 system of leveling and character building suckkkked so hard.

    • Agreed, Normal will be a nice introductory period where you’ll learn what skills you like and how you want to play out your character while taking in the story.  After that then it will be time to figure out the best possible builds and how to get the best gear the fastest!

    • I’ll meet you halfway: having all skills available at lvl60 makes sense, because it allows everybody to experience the whole range of each character, without constantly having to level up new characters. HOWEVER, the fact that D3 automatically distributes stats based on class removes alot of creativity with builds. For instance, a melee sorceress should have different stat allocation than a spellcaster. Experimenting with these stats is an opportunity to be unique and creative. Right now you can already be creative with your skill choice, and spendable stat points would allow for true customization of character.

      also, its increibly gratifying to be able to make a character whose stat and skill point allocations are dominant and brag worthy (not to mention secret).

  2. I completely agree with OP, the game lacks any customization of the character, and threfore when you hit level 60 with all classes, what should you do next? Just grind grind and more grind? Seems boring. Create a new character, that will be of the other gender and nothing else different when you hit 60 with it?
    I belive the game will be great fun though, but just can’t forgive them taking out all possible customizations. Especially for Hardcore, where vitality is most important factor, and since you can’t manually put points into Vitality, you will play Hell with sorceress with 300 life, and die before you hit Hell

    • I guess you have forgotten that you put things on your character called equipment, and that equipment is the customization factor.  You want a Wizard with 300 health?  Then just get the gear that gives that to her. 
      As it stands now Barbs, although they have more health, are more likely to die then a Wizard.  More then likely the barb will be the least played HC class, with WD or DH being the most due to their survivability.

      • I think later in the game there will be far more ranged/fast monsters, which will make it much more dangerous for the ranged classes.
        The barb also gets a lot of nice life-leech and survivability skills later on.

      • i don’t get this equipment argument. what the fuck were we doing all throughout d2 then?

    • This is the OP here from the original thread on the Diablo forums. Have been a regular browser of dii.net and this site for years, big ups to Flux and the community here.

      I never expected blue response about this, but I feel strongly about this issue. Admittedly my post contains some ham-fisted arguments and sections, so I want to clear some things up. This issue isn’t about the lack of a skill-tree, or no stat point allocation or all that other nonsense – that is a dead horse beaten to a bloody pulp.  

      This is about reintegrating some customization into the current rune/skill system so choices can be made by the leveling player.  I would love to see a system where in a addition to passives, runes and perhaps select skills are “unlocked” for selection by players at distinct levels. Don’t get me wrong, some low level basic skills should be forced onto players. In fact most skills should. But along the way, is it too much to ask for some choice?

      To reiterate from my OP:

      System they have now – runes dispensed to player in preassigned fashion at certain levels
      System with choice – you choose which rune you want to get at certain levels.

      By max level both systems will have given the player full access to all runes. The difference that during leveling, the player actually had some input with regards to what was going on. The former is alienating. The latter injects some meaningful choice into the equation. Which do you choose?

      • I don’t think you are even realising what your asking for, the system while from a pure player based view is good. From a designers view it’s a nightmare without end. Some rune effects will be more powerfull unbalance than others before certain skills are available some things should not be available at lower levels. (mainly rushing skills)…
        Then again that argument is a bit meh. A much better question is that if you want Blizard to sit down designing a system that does not really contribute much other than some players choosing some runes at some levels that does not matter in the end because they get them all. And then there is the other thing about it, Blizzard have been scared for a bit, after realizing that a lot of people failed at WoW (could not really play it probably/dropped at the frustrating amount of time it required and the confusion in quest+ deaths and the annoyance within) of making their games to difficult for a newcomer to gasp. This system you want implanted would do just that.
        Generally games are designed for people to enjoy it so a healthy newbie to pro help is needed in every game, and well Blizzard isn’t a small time company and won’t be so for a long time. By that I mean that they simply aren’t part of the companies that can allow themselves to sit down and chose a small group of players they want and hereby make their game worse by focusing on that play group.
        *Heads of to bed*

      • While I appreciate you coming on here and owning your post, I have to say (although you are certainly entitled to your opinion) that I completely disagree.  Although there are some skills that are lack luster, it is nothing on the level of D2X which essentially had 1 maybe 2 builds per char.  With weapons/buffs, it appears there will be countless viable builds.  

        Further, I will say that without an alpha-build, i find myself practicing real skill in the game.  My DH- hungering w/ rapid fire switch off.  Using that vault thing with the little bombs (sue me the game is new I dont remember the names) to slow mobs and CC.   Certainly a far cry from D2X 109.  

        A lot of folks claim they are Diablo OG and stuff, playing when they were 10yo.  Well, maybe your 10yo brain doesnt remember the game so well.  D2X, as great as it was, had a lot of flaws.  I think they did very well making changes to the system.  ADmittedly, we still need to immerse in the endgame and all but I am encouraged thus far.  After all, this diablo.  I don’t know what people were really expecting.

        But good news for haters…PANDAS ARE ON THE WAY!!!!  😉

        • Every class in D2 had loads of possible viable character builds but even if this wasn’t the case its faults shouldn’t change the way you judge D3 systems.

    • wut? I thought you guys were complaining that the game is too easy… Now that you can’t just make cookie cutter build involving dumping vitality and you already complaining??

      I can see it now, the forum a week after release “OMG BLIZZ INFERNO IS NOT HARD BUT I CAN’T PUT VITALITY SO I DIEDD!! NERF PLZ” 

    • Hmm, I must disagree, there is no permanent Customisation but the only result of this is really just that people won’t go, let’s pick this and that… And then someone goes oh strategy guide A is so good it really helped me… then they need to redo the character the Customisation is still there hidden in skills and runes
      I remember playing with a friend, saying he felt he wasn’t really killing anything compared to me. I was on a monk and he a Demon Hunter, then I recommended he used (think it was Hungering arrow and the rune variation belonging to it, instead of some boring single target skill) and he instantly felt an improvement. 
      So I’ll go as far as to claim that there is more customization and strategy in this, because of the simple fact that many people won’t follow strategy guides since they don’t need to any more (at first)
      Because they can all go and change it later… (in the end resulting in more competent platers in my opinion)

      • Yep your going to get more on the fly builds (that is ones the player comes up with) as people will realize that they can change there skills if need be. Diablo 2 theres was one rule above all other pick a high level skill/s that is a lvl 24/30 one and max it as your main skill and what ever you do dont max out the low level ones unless it a synergy to your main skill or you want to be gimped.

  3. Having now played the beta I can say I don’t like the hand holding and that leveling up is lack luster.

    – You gain a level and you get access to a new skill and/or skill rune… and that’s it. 

    – Then, if it’s a new skill and you have not opted into Elective Mode, you cannot even choose your desired skill slot/button for the skill.  And what’s worse than that, when you get access to your 3rd skill, without Elective Mode, you cannot decide to use 2 primary attacks.  Your only option is choose one of the two available primary attack skills and be stuck with using the secondary attack skill whether you want to use it or not.  All I can say here, is thank god for Elective Mode.

    – Next, skill runes being handed out by level instead of being an item drop is frustrating.  You have to wait several levels to get access to your first skill rune, and then… you find the skill rune you were given access to is for a skill you are not even using!  Talk about a slap in the face for leveling up.

    Having said this, I did find the game fun and I will buy it, but leveling up is just not as exciting as it should be.

    • hmm did you know that in the original design you didn’t get Runes to drop unto Act 2 right?  So if runes were items you wouldn’t get to play with them till some time around 17th-19th lvl.  Would that have been more of a slap in the face then trying out the runes at 6th?

      The way it is now you will have (by 19th) 15 runes to play with, and five of them are for the same skills, meaning you will start to have choices not only in what skills you want to use but also what runes you want to use.

      By lvl 30 you have more things to play with then you had at lvl 99 in D2 (just in case you wanted to know you have 70 things to pick from between skills, runes and passives. 120 things by 50th lvl, and 146 by 60th)

      • Rune drops starting in Act 2 was what Blizzard were testing.  Even if Blizzard decided to stick with rune drops starting in Act 2, when we got our first rune it would have been useable.  The plan was that the rune would be useable in any of our skills for us to test out in any of our skills.  But what did we end up with… a system where our very first rune can be for a skill we are not even using, with no option of trying said rune in any other skill.  So to answer your question, if I could choose between the current system and waiting for runes until Act 2, I’d rather wait for runes in Act 2 and have my very first rune be useable.

        Also, my complaint is just about leveling up being lack luster and the stupidity of the introduction of runes.  At level 60 where we have access to everything and lots of choices, everything will be OK.

    • I feel like the obvious answer to your second point is to turn on elective mode? Not really sure what your complaining about when its all fixed by clicking a check box in the options menu.

      As for your skill runes; You realize you get them earlier now than you would have in the old system right? It would have been level 30 before you could even equip and use them. And even then, you had to HOPE you found the correct rune for you skill. You could level all the way to 60 and not get a rune for the skills you use the most. Now you have all of them, no matter what. Not really sure how the new system is more frustrating than that?

      • I thought I made it clear that turning on Elective Mode was the answer for my second point.  But my comments about the matter are still relevant because Elective Mode is not the default mode and I can guarantee that come release day the issues I pointed out will plague hundreds of thousands of noobs that are not aware that Elective Mode exists.
        As for the skill runes, the level at which we start getting them is not the issue.  It’s that when we start getting runes the very first rune can be for a skill we already decided not to use, thus leaving us with nothing for our level up.  It’s bad enough that we only get to choose a skill or rune effect on level up, but it’s worse when we are road blocked and cannot choose that exact skills we want (unless opted into elective mode) and/or get a rune for a skill we don’t even use.
        And again, once everything is unlocked at level 60, it’s not really an issue any more.  But there is definitely little enjoyment in leveling up, especially when you get something you cannot use or it appears you cannot select the skill set you want.

  4. stopped reading at topic. how many times we can bring this topic back to main news page ? its boring already …

  5. Because the first 10 levels of D2 are so full of customization right?  Let me give you guys a little flashback, just in case you forgot…

    Early levels in D2.  All stat points go to strength, for every class, until you reach the magic number you looked up on a message board or guide to know exactly how much you need to wear the equipment you want to wear 80 levels later.  1 skill point goes into any pre-req skills that happen to open up, the rest of them you don’t even spend.  Yes people, often times in the first half of the first act of D2, you didn’t even come close to putting points in a skill you would reasonably use later on.  Unless it was a synergy skill…. which forced even more cookie cutter builds.

    This argument has been old and tired since the new skill system was revealed.  If you get more enjoyment out of clicking a button once on some arbitrary tree of different skills than you do getting a new skill and actively testing it out to see how it works in conjunction with your other skills then you are still looking through rose colored glasses about D2.  

    Also the lack of permanent choices gripe is ear grating at this point.  What was so permanent in D2?  Picking a build, and then getting rushed through 3 difficulties in an hour or two to dump every level up reward into a pre-determined set of skills?  Then if you end up making a mistake or not liking the build… proceeding to get another hour long rush and have your problem solved?  

    I am just like most of you on here, a hardcore D2 player with thousands of hours under my belt, and like you i have been eagerly awaiting and criticizing D3 as it goes through various changes in development, but the skill argument is so awful and boring to still hear that it’s gross.  The new system offers all the customizing you could want, and you get to figure it out in a proper way: by actually testing the skills in conjunction with one another on the battlefield to develop your own unique approach to tearing through swarms of demons.

    If the new system bores you tears and you don’t want to play, great, then i probably wont have to deal with you in public games, which will make the experience even better. 

      • Really? All i can see is some irrelevant drivel due to the fact he conveniently omits relevant information, such as gee wiz there not being attribute reqs anymore, making his entire argument against statpoint customization as moot as fuck. Or the fact that due to the existance of a respec system people wouldn’t have a reason to massively hoard skill points anymore, so then how does he argue against the customization skillpoints would provide? He doesn’t, his post is just one unbearably long “i hated D2 because it wasn’t perfect and i will use that fact as a non-argument against the notion that meaningful customization is so obviously lacking in D3” post, and you fell for it like a total fucking clueless tool.

    • You’ve put into print what I’ve been trying to say to people for months. DII had far LESS customization than DIII. What people are getting hung up on are skill/stat points. It’s like they think if you don’t get “points” to spend here and there, then there’s no customization.

      I’m sorry, but having dozens of usable skills and permutations by lvl 60 is orders of magnitude better than being stuck with 4 or 5 usable skills that you’re limited to because of synergies and lack of choice.

      • And you are being generous with 4-5.  When it came to actual offensive/combat type skills it was maybe 1 or 2 at best.

    • I agree with you that D2 was exactly like that, but i would have liked D3 to do even better then it does now… letting you actually choose the runes you unlock at the level you get the 1st rune for that skill would have been better
       Of course to make that work they would have had to settle on the current rune system 6+ months before they did… and spend the extra time making the runes more balanced with each other etc.

      • Not all runes are created equal, and they’ve put a lot of the most powerful and/or interesting ones further down the road on purpose. If you could unlock exactly what you wanted when you’d level up you’d have a finished character build, with little reason to experiment, by around level 20. Forcing you to wait to get some of the ones you think you want encourages experimentation and actually gives some reason to anticipate hitting those later levels to unlock new runes for the skills you’ve come to enjoy. Without that to look forward to there’d be less incentive to level up.

        • This, hell for my Arcane Build for one of the Wizards I plan to roll I changed the builds Secondary Attack because I couldn’t get the rune I wanted for Arcane Orb so I tried out the other skills and fell in love with Arcane Torrent.

          • Call me crazy, but i plan on experimenting with all the runes before actually finding one i’ll use in a build…

        • You know what i want the main reason to level up to be? Having fun… also, you’d still unlock new ways to play, as you’d eventually get bored playing the same build from lvl 20 onwards.     
            And getting new runes would still be restricted by level, you’d just get to choose which you get 1st…    
             But yeah, the more interesting ones are at the higher levels, i would have just preferred all the runes to be interesting, which is why i mentioned they’d need more time to do it right…   

          • While you might still enjoy getting those “extra” runes as you level up, not everyone sees it that way. Some people want to gain levels in order to get rewarded somehow, not just for the inherent “fun” of it, and so this system provides a tangible reward to those people. I don’t think it really hurts anyone else that much to have to experiment with builds early on.

            I think some of the lower-level runes may be more powerful than some of the higher-level runes, but the high-level ones are usually more complicated. This system also ensures that people have a strong handle on the basics before getting themselves confused by the hundreds of options available to them later on. Having to pick exactly which skill and rune to unlock early on, with dozens of options open to you, would be really intimidating to a lot of players. 

          • @MRR
             Point is they would still get rewarded, but instead of getting a fixed skill you’d choose one out of the pool, and if you want to change the one you got you’d have to wait for the next unlock level to get a new rune… that’s why i said they’d need more time, as all runes would have to be balanced at low levels etc.
             The argument that it forces other to experiment is sad, as anyone should want to try different builds, especially when it’s so easy to, and not just pick a build from teh get go and stick with it forever because “it’s the best” in the 1st place…
             I for one hope for a game where you decide your build based on it playing a certain way instead of simply being the best at killing fast (not that that shouldn’t be an option, just not the most viable one)..

    • So why not just change the strength requirements on equipment?  Make stat points meaningful at level 1? Let me make that decision.

  6. The OP (bnet) is cracked or a troll.  After the open beta I love the new skill system.  I’m really glad the runes are not tied to leveling (or rank) anymore.  The lower level rune can be just as powerful as the higher level runes, it depends on the build you want to play.
    But that going again the bneter’s, so lets keep that to ourselves.

  7. You can’t say that the early game doesn’t matter and that there should not be any choice here. You can say that the game needs a shallow end for the newcomers to come to grips with the game. That I understand. There should always be choices, it is a game after all not a movie. All I do in the beta is click on the close button, next button, whatever button, hell I didn’t even complete the beta before turning off the voice cause its so pointless and mind numbing. The rest is just bitching about doing the same thing cause there is absolutely zero insight you will get into Diablo 3 by playing its beta. There is nothing here. Its not even ankle deep, more like little toe deep. It is boring, and its blanch and that’s fine cause its a beta. But it does project the game under a negative light for a many.

    • I wouldn’t say it’s boring as long as you only play it for the 45-60 min it takes you to kill the SK… the lack of any new content beyond that it’s what makes it boring… 
       Actually no one i know that’s only played it just that once found it boring… everyone who played more did…

  8. Open Beta for me, And I played three diferent build with my Barbarian, same for Wizard and Monk. Why I see customization and other People no?

  9. I really love when someone states his/hers opinion, but keep refering to us/we etc (in Geordie ‘us’ = ‘me’, but still…) in an effort to put more weight behind it.
    All things aside, I honestly think the skill system in place is working very well. You don’t make a choice in what skills you learn, as you’ll end up learning them all, but that also means you’ll have a chance to toy with skills you might never have invested in, in a skill point system. One of the joys of any rpg, for me, is to take a skill that is considered useless or underpowered and make it work. If I can’t, at least I’ve gained knowledge why…

  10. I’m sure the ultra-noobs could handle making a choice every once in a while. I’m not sure where they got the idea that the uninitiated are terrified to make any choices.

    • You do get to make choices in the early levels. Perhaps not immense choices, but choices are there. A wizard gets to choose between ray of frost and arcane orb early on, and between magic missile and charged bolt. It may not seem like a huge number of choices, but it’s still more than early D2 play offered.

      • Man what an important choice if when you want to undo it it takes a whole 10 seconds.
        Captcha: perfect world.

        • I’m tired of seeing this pathetic argument about how d2 had permanent choices and d3 not having them ruins the game. You know, you could NOT change them, making it effectively permanent. Just don’t rob others of their freedom to do so. 

          Some people simulated hardcore mode earlier in the beta by deleting their character at their first death. Others played ironman mode by not wearing gear. Neither of these modes were officially supported by the game system then but they could still be done. Likewise, if you want to play IAMANOLDMANWHOHATESINNOVATION mode with permanent skill choices, THEN DO IT, I DON’T CARE and so do the others who don’t want that permanence.

          If you need the game to force you to not revert your skill choice, then I’m sorry, the problem lies with you, not the game. 

          • Yeah why not remove all cooldowns from all spells while we’re at it! I mean you can always simulate your own cooldowns! Just cast meteor then wait 5 seconds until you do it again.. 

            Bad game design is still bad game design.

            Doesn’t have to be PERMANENT, but they could have made it so that you have to pay a gold price to respec. 

          •  @MagisterMan

            Cooldowns are an actual combat mechanic, not being able to modify skills is just a time sink to get you to re-roll a character so you can artificially spend more time in the game leveling…

          • @MagisterMan:
            Or they could make it so that, each time you start a game, you have to think about what build you’re going to use for that whole session. If you change your build partway through, maybe you’d lose some substantial bonus, like a big magic-find buff.

            OH WAIT… 

          • @MagisterMan That’s your crowning argument ? Guess what. 

            Cost: 60 Arcane PowerUnleash a massive Meteor that scorches enemies caught in its blast. 


            Don’t be silly, behind the sparkly visuals, it’s all just numbers with different costs and maybe time intervals to make them feel different. Homogenising them all just makes for less choices of your preferred method of number generation.

            Oh wait, you guys are anti-choice. Let’s lock them in so majority of the players have to look up builds online, follow them to the letter, avoid spells that they were told were bad without ever actually experiencing for themselves that they were bad, take spells that they were told were good just because “someone crunched the math already”. Put stats into an arbitary number decided by someone who calculated the optimal number for you. So much choice huh ? Bad game design is still bad game design. 

            And I agree with MRR, the Nephalem Valor buff already deals with that, which is way more pricey than a dumb respec cost . 

        • Yeah, and choosing not to spend anything at all for the first 18 levels of Diablo 2 was SUCH an important choice!

  11. Even after playing the official beta I’m still not convinced. The problem is that its hard to have a full feeling of the full possible customization because we are only playing a tiny portion of the game, but my initial impression wasn’t very good anyway.
    Its really frustrating leveling up and don’t be prompted to use your brain to increase your skills/stats. I was playing with a barb using cleave, hammer of the ancients and ground stomp. I couldn’t use my 4th skill (bash) because I didn’t have any extra open skill lots and when I leveled up the system told me a rune for bash was available. Hooray! I leveled and nothing changed because I wasn’t using bash. I have the impression the same feeling will carry over until level 60.
    Right now I’m sticking with my decision to wait for a few months past release to see if I’m buying it or not. IMO the RMAH and the lack of customization will make this game unplayable right in the first year.

    • You didn’t level “nothing”, you leveled your available choices. You say there’s a lack of customization, but when customization options are presented to you it’s gripes about how you didn’t get exactly what you wanted?

    • and you didn’t feel the same when you leveled in d2 and put a point in a skill you would never ever use just for the synergy ?

  12. I played through the beta this weekend and I didn’t have a single meaningful decision to make as to the development of my character. All choices were either taken away or made shallow and meaningless due to the fact that they can be reversed at any time.

    • no one forced u to change them after u made yr decision. if anything else, it just shows how flimsy your resolve was in making yr decisions.

    • Yeah, i mean compared to starting a new char, having a friend take you to Baal, then doing runs until you’re high enough lvl do start putting points into the skill you want it’s not very meaningful, is it…

  13. I’m a big diablo fan. I have diablo 1 and 2 on my shelf and I got my hands on diablo 3 beta this weekend for the first time. I’m quite disappointed with it. I have heard about the lack of gothic atmosphere on it but playing beta I could realize how important this discussion is. I know this game is surely a good game, but definitely it isn’t diablo. I pre-ordered my retailer version hoping to get a diablo game, and I still hope I can get it some time in the near future. Blizzard must do something about this!

    • D1 i get, but in D2 the only stuff that felt “gothic” to me where the skill icons… which where mostly ported from D1 actually…
      So, anyone else want them to redo teh skill icons in D1/2 style right now?

  14. i dont know why people are complaining about not being able to use stat points. in d2 it was pointless all u had to do was put everything into vitality and use minimum stregnth to use items. if you were melee u did everthing into vitality and minimum into strength and then whatever u need for dexterity to get 75% block. 

    • No, it wasn’t pointless.
      It wasn’t perfect, i grant you that, infact i’d agree with it having been far from perfect, but it wasn’t pointless.
      The choice to go with a huge strength/dexterity bonus at the cost of life wasn’t a pointless choice.
      The choice to not go with 75% block wasn’t a pointless choice.
      The choice to go with energy shield and thus invest in Energy wasn’t a pointless choice.
      I once made a javalin wielding Paladin and went with almost everything dex (since it boosts javalins damage) enjoying high defense and very high ar as a result. Was that a pointless choice? NO IT WASN’T.
      You can argue that the choices were few, but they’re few more then D3 has.
      I’m so fucking sick of these lies that are a direct result of that scumbag of a Jay Wilson and his “illusion of choice” BS. You know what, even if he would be right, and the examples given are just illusions of choice, well then that’s still better then nothing.

      • And now that stat allocation is in the form of Items. Whats the difference? In D2 once you allocated stats you couldn’t get them back, now you can swap out gear if you’re interested in a different playstyle that requires a different stat setup.

      • “The choice to go with a huge strength/dexterity bonus at the cost of life wasn’t a pointless choice.”
        Actually, that’s pretty much the epitome of “pointless choices” in D2. One of those two options was viable. The other was not. That’s not a “choice”, that’s a pass/fail test. A choice is effectively pointless when only one of the options available to you leads to success.

        “The choice to go with energy shield and thus invest in Energy wasn’t a pointless choice.”
        Maybe, but that’s only one choice (a skill choice), not two.

        I think I can safely argue that the meaningful choices are FAR greater than what D2 had, contrary to what you suggest. The amount of viable skill/rune combinations far surpasses the number of viable build options in Diablo 2. 

        • “Actually it was the epitome of pointless choice”

          Thanks for proving to me you never played D2, now i can safely ignore you. But just to have a good laugh at your ignorance, please tell which of the two was “the viable” choice, more vitality or more strength/dexterity?  I’m already loling in anticipation of your idiotic answer. 😆

          Also if you noticed, i never argued against skill/rune combinations (although the current version is weak sauce compared to the one from a year ago), but that’s just one customization system, and one without any permanence whatsoever, until ofcourse you’re DONE leveling and want to keep some artificial valor bonus.

          @AxeX: D2 also had items with stat bonusses, the difference is that there also was a seperate customization system allowing one to customize ones stats when leveling up.

          • It’s very common knowledge that D2 balance was skewed heavily in favor of dumping everything into vitality once your minimums were met for strength (enough to equip armor) and dexterity (enough to get a reasonable block rate). If you didn’t have a huge life pool you’d get one-shot on higher difficulty levels, and the marginal increases you’d get to your damage from increasing strength or dexterity weren’t worth it. Energy was entirely useless once you had a bit of mana leech gear, unless you were playing with Energy Shield in which case Energy becomes another form of Vitality.

            Thanks for proving to me that you’re just a troll who only posts here to irritate people, now I can safely ignore you. 

  15. Very interesting thread and article. I agree with the original poster but I think there’s a good amount of customisation within the sub quests and through repeating Nightmare, Hell and Inferno that we won’t get every bit of the storyline from just playing through Normal. Xaulior.

  16. The customization is there. It’s amazing the different builds you can do. I can be a caster WD or a pet style WD. Oh wait hat wont happen till around 20 or later. With some desired runes till around 50+. I think that is what might be frustrating players. At least that is the case for me.
    I’m not sure Why some people say that D2 didn’t have customization in the early levels of D2. You had 3 trees to work with. All the classes had 3 different trees to work with and they all had  a different feel even in the early levels. D3 doesn’t have that IMO. You are hand fed what skills are available and most of the great customization is not till you get more skills available to you. That is my issue.
    The game is great but if I were to make another character of the same class, In the early levels there isn’t hardly any difference in uniqueness. 
    Why would I make another character of the same class?
    Perhaps I do want for instance a WD that is a caster or a pet class ( if there is one) Or a monk focused on getting in the fray or midranged fighter. 2 different styles of play but not available till well into the game.

  17. Yes, the complete lack of character customization means D3 will have a relatively short life.

    • That is not absolutely true. If you think about the endgame of Diablo 2, there was not much of a room for customization either. Some builds were totaly unviable on Hell, so you had to go probably with around 4-5 builds for every class if you wanted to have a shot at hardest difficulty. And if you are forced to do something, just to get where you want, where is the customization? Oh and fitting captcha: Case closed.

      • So D2, in your opinion, had little room for customization.  Okay.  Guess what?  D3 has even less.

    • Yeah, i mean remember how many characters where you put a lot of points in Energy you made in D2 when you wanted to play in Hell…

  18. Actually i follow Blizzard completely in this , I really like experimenting with each skill and choosing skills that i feel are fun so i can have FUN while playing and not have to think about : is this viable? will it make it impossible to complete the game? etc. These things really made me hate D2 and go to builds to see if i didn’t put my points wrong in my abilities/attributes. The game was hard to finish on your own IMO , even on normal. not because the combat was so gruesomly difficult , but because somewhere on the way i fcked up my build because i wanted to test that skill etc. To be able to beat Duriel at the end of act 2 on your own you had to already know you were going to face him and get some skills that were effective vs him (frost) or just set up a town portal going back to shop , coming back , setting portal again , rince and repeat.

  19. After playing beta over 22 hours this weekend, I concluded that this game will be worth every my buck. Yeah, at start you don’t get that many choices, hell, even first few hours are boring until you hit around level 6-8, but if stick with it, whole new world opens up. I think it is safe to assume, that around level 30-40, the game will change very much. And we will get our customization. Every skill is useful for something else and different situation and you will use some skills more than other, because they simply appeal to you more. Of course, the hardcore players will find this play style bit of lacking, but the experience will be solid for everyone else. I don’t get why many diablo fans have such entitlement complex. You like diablo 2 and think Diablo 3 is crap, fine, continue playing Diablo 2 and ignore Diablo 3 all together. Every gamer out there plays games for fun, so I don’t get why should someone play game he does not like instead of the one he likes. And it is not like Blizzard will pull the plug on D2 as soon as Diablo 3 releases.

  20. Lol.  I hated D2?  Really,  cute way to put words in my mouth to make yourself sound like you have a sound argument.  Because I clearly said I am one of the many who played D2 for thousands of hours.   Obviously i play games i hate for massive amounts of my free time, because that’s perfectly logical right??

    So…because theres no stat requirements stats don’t matter?  Have you even followed anything about what stats do in D3?  How they directly affect damage/defense/ and other modifiers?  So you want your precious 5 points back so you can perfectly optimize it into some build that you tore off the internet?  You have fun with that, i’ll spend time trying out all the various skills + runes customization and find a build in   a way that’s actually both fun and experimental.  

    Again if you think D3 is so boring and has no customization then don’t play it.  It’ll be a joy to not deal with aggressive nonsensical toolsheds like you.   Oh and just to be complete.  A respec system fixes skillpoint hoarding?  Guess what you have right now, a goddamn respec system.  You can respec whenever you like at the cost of a cooldown and the lost of one of the most important end-game bonuses (nephilim) there will be.  

    You can make an arguement for why there should be skill points, but if your only point is that WE NEED RESPECS! You are completely missing the point…  Saying give me respecs is showing how clueless you are… they’re already right there in the game. If you want to discredit me, maybe try a little logic in doing so. 

    • AHAHAHA at you thinking my argument is “WE NEED RESPECS”, you’re a clueless idiot. Remind me again how you debunked the notion that a stat/skill point system could add meaningful customization to the game? Oh right i forgot. YOU DIDN’T! You just whined about the flaws of D2 and how the lack of a respec system ment copying internet cookie cutter builds in fear of making a booboo. QQ. Nobody cares. It isn’t insightful. It doesn’t point towards anything other then your lack of creative thinking.
      Captcha: well done.

      • You seem to be spending a lot of time telling me why im an idiot, as opposed to, you know, actually forming an argument and saying what about a skill/stat point system DOES bring to the table.  That’s very clever of you, actually.  You know you can’t actually form an intelligent counter-point so you resort to the classic internet troll trick of just telling someone else they are stupid and wrong, instead of trying to say why you are smart and right…

        Good job with that by the way.  

        None of my posts are whining, like ive said 3 times now, i loved D2, i enjoyed it.  But saying D3’s system is a lack of customization over D2 and not even trying to give reasons WHY just continues to show why you are a childish toolshed who needs something better to do with your time.

        D3’s skill system has just as much if not more customization because you have reasons to try different comibations, you have options, you have the ability to try a multitude of skills, runes, and passives all together to form a combination that works for the playstyle you want to experience.  

        I’m sure you’ll write this off with another cliche’d internet jab like “QQ noob” or some similar nonsense, which is fine, it just continues to show how much of a typical internet troll you are.  

        • I haven’t said one bad thing about the skills in question, i think many of them are great. But that doesn’t take away the fact D3 lost a lot of character customization with the cutting of a statpoint system (that they promised to include in a new and exciting way, if you have been following the game) and a skillpoint system (that was more or less included with the skillrune levels, but now, like so many other features, bluntly cut out of the game). The only sort of argument you have given to counter the notion D3 lacks a lot of meaningful customization is your yapping about balance issues in a 12 year old game Blizzard hardly ever looked at, much less fixed. (Ironically their latest “fix” was to introduce freespecs, Blizzard’s creativity is astounding, isn’t it?) But hey, continue to tell people that are noticing and identifying a serious lack of meaningful customization in D3 that they’re wrong because D2 this and D2 that, because obviously i’m the troll here right.

    • This, +1. There is still tons of customisation, just that Blizzard has done a lot to cut out the middle man or make them more accessible with the same amount of depth (such as base stats and crafting, respectively).

    • One of the best reads I’ve had about D3.  Thanks for the link, I’ve been looking for it for a while.  

  21. It is really important to make sure this game is a “diablo” game before starting to discuss skills customizations and etc. Old school diablo players, newcomers, is this really how a diablo game should be?

  22. by the time you reach 60 there will be an “infinite” number of skill, rune combinations, but at lvl 13 I’m finding most skills useless 

    as a witch doctor there is no need to do anything other than poison dart with splinters, grasp of the dead with unbreakable grasp and zombie dogs with rabid dogs  and jungle fortitude 

    (and I am very happy with that)


    spiders, toads, bats, haunt, horrify are all useless

    sure, its just normal difficulty, and a lvl 12 char has out leveled the content, but I can see the huge number of available skills has been whittled down to a core set that I will focus on 

    and sure, you could kill with bats and spiders,
    but you could also use a blood golem with skeleton mages in D2,
    but why would you when clay golem and skeleton warriors are so much better ?

    • (and I am very happy with that)

      that is he character you envisioned, not the character everyone envisioned.  i’m finding spiders much better than darts

    • Soul Harvest with Dire Bats kills faster than any other build I’ve seen in the beta. This is especially true in 4 players games, where a decently +INT WD can clear champion packs by himself with a single globe of mana.

      So I’m not sure that your assessment of useless skills in the beta is accurate. 

      Of course, you can switch out your skills and test it, rather than start a whole new character; this is one of the advantages of Diablo 3. 🙂 

  23. though in D2 there was a perfect build with all characters there was freedom to experiment. I feel with D3 that freedom is lacking… they hand you the skills and you dont even get to pick your stats. I just feel like im playing a game made for completely inexperienced gamers. Granted the game plays and feels awesome, I just want more decisions to make in the path of my character.

  24. I find it a bit weird that it does not matter much what kind of weapon you are using, only its DPS (and other attributes), for example it does not matter if I use a dagger or a javelin for a witch doctor as you always use skills. I have not so much problem with that a witch doctor or a wizard can have any weapon, that I am irritated about is that more or less all skills are connected to your weapons DPS. I would really have prefered to have skill points, just feel more natural that a jar of spiders is affected by how good you are at training those spiders (or whatever the witch doctor do with them) instead of how big your sword is…. Sure everyone with a particular skill would have maxed it out anyway so it would not have been that different but it would have felt more natural… 

    • the price u pay is making the casters superior mfers since weapon dps can be sacrificed for mf, which means everyone will have the d3 equivalent of a light sorc to farm gear for a char that u’ll hardly use because u’re too busy trying to get that perfect item again

      • Good point, but is that so bad if there is one char that is a little bit better at MF than others (there will always be one that is the best anyhow)? And ranged chars will be less dependent on equipment than melee anyway so it is not like they have fixed it perfectly… I just find it a bit weird that the same weapon could be the best for all 5 classes (it will prob not be one that is absolutely best for all but I can definitively see a scenario where people is trading around a single weapon between several different chars through the shared stash.)  

        • The scaling as well – I like knowing every upgrade will actually feel like an upgrade, as it affects virtually all abilities

  25. One of these days, someone will be smart enough to make a great RPG game w/o a level system. Leveling mechanics are starting to wear thin. Progress should come from achievement, not repetition.

    • The term “leveling” refers to character progression but then abstracted into, you know, character levels.
      Technically speaking an RPG doesn’t even require “progression”, imagine a game where you create your entire character at the beginning of the game, and then you play the game adhering to the rules of that character. Infact, i think it would be a more true roleplaying game, since you’d play the role of that character from beginning to end as opposed to building it while playing the game.

  26. You can tell hes a noob because he states the Followers have more inherent choice than the classes themselves, saying that he had to make a decision as to what skill he wanted his Templar to have. This is of course clearly not the case as you can right click their portrait and respec them, though from what I’ve seen this is not as widely known nor made easily known to new players.

    I think the point he was trying to get at was the lack of permanence in choice, which is quite true but I believe to be very unnecessary in a game where the choice is in the visual department. The best course is to then reward players for sticking to their builds, which Blizzard is trying to accomplish through the Nephalem Valor system. I say keep the permanent choices to features such as story choices, where it can have a big impact on the game, not the gameplay itself.

    Also, I find it interesting how they’ve had internal debates as to how long it’ll take people to fully clear and be able to farm Inferno, and here Bashiok states many at HQ are taking quite a long time to kill the final boss in Normal.

  27. I dont see him hating diablo 2 in his post but hes just bringing certain things to light. The stat allocation was NOT a strong customization option as most builds across all classes used the same ones. For example: str to wear amor, zero in energy and rest into vit. Or str to wear armor, dex to block, zero in energy, rest to vit. Or str to armor, dex to wear weapons, zero in energy and rest in vit. With that i described 95% of the builds in d2 as far as stat allocation.  Oh and for hardcore boost vit as you go.

    The real customization came from skills and equipment. Same as in d3. However runes are a far more useful tool for customization that stat allocation. Although in all honesty not all five runes for each skill will be useful. More like 3 or 4 runss per skill  are actually useful. 

    I wouldnt say d3 has less or more customization than d2 since we havent played the full game yet. But lets be patient yet we get a rune, skill, or passive every level to 60. We only got couple new skills or passives every 6 in d2.  

    Sorry if bad spelling pr grammar types this on my phone.

  28. In my opinion, whoever said that classes are not customizable is talking out of his ass. I made a couple of variations on the barbarian barely at level 13 that play drastically different.

    – Big 2-hander barb: You use cleave, hammer or shockwave for rage dump. Good against swarms of enemies, but high-hp enemies are tougher. Expect the skeleton king to start giving you trouble in nightmare.

    – DW barb: Frenzy, lots of small hits, great single target DPS. Great rage generation, but easily overwhelmed. 

    – Reactive/Shield barb: This one was unexpectedly good and a lot of fun. Use bash runed for extra damage, you don’t want to stun stuff. Rend runed for range is your main rage dump. Since this is bleed damage, skip the crit passive and go for iron will. Use revenge and leap. Essentially, jump into a big pack of enemies, bash, and rend everything. Shield and Iron will lets you take a lot of hits which is where you regain health with revenge. 

    This is just a single class at lvl 13 with a fraction of the abilities unlocked. Customizability is fine.

    • Yes lvl 13 is very customizable for all classes and it’s pretty amazing however the journey to that level is where the majority of the complaints are. I am one of those that like making at least 2 of every class.
      playing 2 wd to level 13 is nearly identical. At level 6 and 7 the only choice as a primary is Corpse spiders or darts. With the Splinter rune for darts that does 60% damage for each dart (3) why would even use spiders? top that out at level 7 grasp of the dead has a rune that slows them 80%.
      The other choices could be fire bats or zombie dogs as the 3rd skill but zombie dogs aren’t that durable and does mediocre damage. Fire bats has huge damage on top of whatever weapon you use.
      It gets a little better when you have soul harvest. but.
      Anyhow argument could be moot as you really breeze through fairly quickly especially if you have weapons in the stash for you next character that has decent damage output. And the fact that we’re killing mobs at lower levels when we get past lvl 10 so the experience wouldn’t be the same if we were fighting mobs at the same level.

      • You can’t expect customizability at level one, that’s just ridiculous. The whole point of introducing the abilities one at a time is to familiarize players with basic mechanics and to introduce them to new abilities piecemeal so that they can test each new skill. Yes yes I know we are all Diablo veterans and that the process is both too easy and too slow. You know what? Levels 1-10 aren’t made for you. They are made for the entire new generation that Blizzard wants to introduce to Diablo.

        Remember D2? You only had a couple of skills to start learning a new hero. Everything was “on rails” there too. Once you put points into a skill, you were going to spam that for hours. Want to try out another skill for a while? Nope. Reroll. So you’ve finally gotten to level 30 and gotten a taste of all the skills. Except not, because trying out all of the skills meant none is high-level. You find a skill you like and want to try a build made around it, but to try it out you have to dump your character and gimp yourself  horribly the first 4 hours of the game. That was fun wasn’t it? Not. 

    • The problem is the entire system is on rails.  You can’t choose your stats, when you get your skills, when you get your runes, or how powerful the aforementioned two things are.  The entire thing is automated.  Blizz gutted WoW’s game systems in lieu of convenience thinking it would bring more people in.  Now they can’t stop it from tanking, and they wonder why.  There’s NO REASON TO KEEP PLAYING BECAUSE THERE’S NO DEPTH LEFT IN THE GAME!

  29. I find it funny, that there are so many articles out right now that attack players who have objective feedback to give Blizzard about their game. Fans often blow them off ( The people giving criticism) as not getting it.

    This then allows Blizzard to get lazy with their reply’s knowing that no matter what, they don’t have to save face for the product. I wish this aspect of the game community did not exist because it does not help the product, but in fact detracts from it.

    [email protected]  


  30. I personally wish there were some extra customization options. I liked the Talisman/echantment systems, its a shame they were removed.


  31. Lolll 
    A really simple question: why can’t blizzard satisfy both crouds with the simple way of a check of a box??, they know this method they did it for skills and for advanced tooltips!!!!! I mean they could let the player chose to allocate stat points or they could handle it for newbies!!!! Many games had this systm and it works really well, also for skills and runes i think the system is as good as it is because u get to understand what the system of runes is and know how to experment in builds!!!
    Giving to MORE choise to the player reall won’t hurt the game at all!! Infac it will breath more lifetime in it!

  32. This just in:  Customization on rails is linear!

    After 7 years of grinding gear, Blizz srsly thinks we want to grind MORE gear to the exclusion of everything else an RPG is supposed to be about?  Come on.  Yes Diablo is about items.  It’s also about customization.

    But hey, it’s Blizzard Irvine trying to make a Blizzard North game so I’m not really too surprised.

  33. The only problem i have with skill rune effects is that they aren’t being stronger as you progress. They are just different. It lacks the feeling of skill runes being more powerful (after say level +/- 30) and at the same time it adds frustration because of waiting for THAT “different” skill rune at level 50+ you want. It is because they are tied to character levels. This wasn’t problem in the earlier system because runes as drops could have different quality/rarity so they could be more powerful depending on a rune you would find.

    The system as it is now is not bad at all but it feels rushed and not well-thought to me.

  34. I’ll meet you halfway: having all skills available at lvl60 makes sense, because it allows everybody to experience the whole range of each character, without constantly having to level up new characters. HOWEVER, the fact that D3 automatically distributes stats based on class removes alot of creativity with builds. For instance, a melee sorceress should have different stat allocation than a spellcaster. Experimenting with these stats is an opportunity to be unique and creative. Right now you can already be creative with your skill choice, and spendable stat points would allow for true customization of character.  also, its increibly gratifying to be able to make a character whose stat and skill point allocations are dominant and brag worthy (not to mention secret).

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