How many Diablo 3 hours played have you accumulated? How much did you enjoy those hours? Can an entertainment product really be measured by time spent using it? A fan brought up that question and got a Blue reply:
Most games today are over 50$ and offer about 10 hours of gameplay or less. I’ve racked over 400 hours of gameplay. That’s about 15 cents an hour of entertainment, you cannot find this anywhere else (ie: movies)
Grimiku: I would like to chime in, and both agree and disagree at the same time. Playing a game for a certain number of hours might make it worth the money spent on it, but spending a lot of time in a game shows a deeper investment. When a design decision that you don’t agree with is made, it would be easier to dismiss it if the game only had its monetary value for you. However, if you disagree with a change and it’s a game that you’ve sunk a lot of hours into then it can feel like worlds colliding.
Either way a complaint is feedback and it all counts. As long as people are addressing the issue and not the individuals surrounding it (i.e. players or developers) then we are happy to read it and pass it along.
This issue has come up lately in regards to fmulder’s end of the year hours played survey, and (see also the main page commentary) it’s instructive to view the figures. That forum vote is still running, but here are the current results:
How many hours of D3 have you played in 2012?
0-50 hours — 3.89% 50-200 hours — 15.00% 200-500 hours — 32.22% 500-1000 hours — 37.78% 1000+ hours — 11.11%
Obviously there’s a self selection issue with people voting in a fansite forum, but 96% having played over 50 hours, and 81% over 200 hours, would *seem* to point to a very good, popular game. As we all know from the comments though, that’s far from an unanimous view. Video games are odd that way; no one watches a movie or TV show or reads a book 10 or 20x over if they don’t love it, and yet the most vocal haters of games often come from the ranks of those who have played the most hours. In one way that’s logical; you’ve got to play a lot of a game like Diablo 3 in order to get deep enough to see some of the problems with itemization or other systems, but it is odd that video games can be played so long and so deeply by people who wind up vowing that they disliked the experience.*
One truism I’ve heard spoken is that, “No bad movie is too short and no great movie is too long.” That’s kind of a koan, in that it’s self-proving (if the movie is too long it becomes less good, and vice versa) and yet it’s basically true about movies… but not about video games. Perhaps since the more you like a game the more you play it, until eventually your hours spent begin to lower the perceived quality of the experience, as you grow jaded and are bored by things that delighted you 50 or 100 or 500 hours ago.
* Philosophical footnote: Another related field is the issue of perceived enjoyment at the time vs. remembered enjoyment afterwards. We’ve all lived experiences that we really liked at the time but that left us with no lasting memories. And we’ve all lived experiences we disliked at the time but that lingered and improved in our memories. Lots of the “it’s for your own good” type experiences fall into this category.
No one much enjoys say, cleaning their house or washing their car or giving birth, but you’re usually glad you did it afterwards, and in your memory you tend to retain and elevate the positive result memory over the “it was tedious/awful” moment-by-moment memory from when you were actually doing X.
This basically correlates to the “nothing’s as good as it used to be” mentality most humans fall into. We remember only the high points of past things and compare those to the actuality of whatever we’re doing today. Thus is a vague memory of D2 perpetually held above the current experience of D3 (in the minds of some) while we all grow a sort of amnesia about how boring we found it doing hundreds of repetitious, unchallenging cow runs or meph runs or pindle runs, and how annoying it was finding yet another green breastplate, etc.