Since Bashiok was sent forth last week to deliver the “item hunting is not enough of an End Game” message, there have been countless articles on general gaming sites about it. I haven’t read all of them, but the majority are treating the announcement as a huge revelation, or an admission of utter disaster. Which is weird, since it’s neither.
What’s also weird is that I haven’t seen one of those general gaming sites point out what pretty much all long-time Diablo 2 players thought when they first read Bashiok’s post; that D2’s end game is item hunting, and that it’s been going strong for more than a decade. Thus the problem isn’t (just) that D3’s end game is item hunting… the problem is that the item system needs improvement, which makes the hunt a lot less exciting.
It’s been said many, many times before, but D3’s item system is nowhere near as interesting as what we had in Diablo 2, largely (but not entirely) since D3’s Sets and Uniques are boring, underpowered, and far too rarely-found. (Happily, the developers agree on those points and they’re working to make big improvements to those items in a upcoming patch.)
What about the larger issue, though? Should Diablo 3 have provided more to the end game? Obviously the lack of PvP is unfortunate, and I think it’s going to be a huge deal when the Arenas go live, since basically every knowledgeable fan I know who played PvP in the demos at Blizzcon 2010 and 2011 thought it was awesome and much more fun than the PvE demos at those shows. But PvP aside, thanks to the largely-flat Inferno difficulty, D3 offers vastly more farmable end game areas than D2 did. It does not offer MMO style end game exclusive content though, and that seems to be what’s disappointing a lot of the casual fans and WoW players, which seems to be the audience Bashiok was addressing, and that’s definitely the mindset that the articles on general gaming sites are coming from. For example, here’s a new piece on Kotaku this morning.
It makes sense that players are expecting more than what Diablo III currently provides. This is the type of audience the gaming industry — with its day1 DLC and long-term content plans — has primed. An audience hungry for more, because there always is more.
I’d go as far as to say that games like Diablo III are already somewhat complicit in that reality. Games that have procedurally generated elements have greater replay value, and if a player doesn’t lose interest, the game does its best to provide “new” material to stay engaged with indefinitely.
Consider, too, that design sees constant player engagement as the holy grail. If a game doesn’t provide content in equal measure, however, then creating a game that knows how to keep users playing is useless.
You can’t create an environment like that and wonder why users clamor for more. Of course 500+ hours of content is not enough. 500+ hours is still a game that ends.
So what do you guys think? Has the market and industry changed to the point that a game with Diablo 2 style end game is no longer acceptable? After all, if D2 were released today, all the complaints about D3’s end game would hit it even harder. When I think back on the year of D2C and the number of runs we all did through the tiny Act 4, which was the only thing even approaching end game content, it makes any complaints about what D3 offers seem comical. But 2012 is not 2000, and what was enough back then is not enough today.
In a few months D3 will have a much better item system, as well as PvP… but will that be enough? Or does the community demand more. More! MOAR! What would that be, then? We’re not going to get whole new dungeons or levels, not until the expansion in 2 or 3 years, but I’ve seen a lot of comments asking for more end game modes, such as endless dungeons, tower defense game types, team play, and so on. Want? Need? Too late/don’t care? Let’s vote.
What does Diablo 3 need for End Game improvements?
- 4) All of the above. (51%, 4,612 Votes)
- 1) Fix the items. Uniques and Sets especially. (36%, 3,237 Votes)
- 3) Additional end game modes. (7%, 584 Votes)
- 2) Waiting on PvP. Soon, dammit. (4%, 394 Votes)
- 5) None. The current system is fine. (2%, 155 Votes)
Total Voters: 8,982