One life to live #54: Waiting is the hardest part


1.04 brought us more levels. 1.05 brings us Ubers and /players 8. All great changes, and it’s nice to see those mechanics that worked in D2 making a return.However, one of the best features of D2 is still missing, and nowhere is it more apparent than DiabloWikiHardcore

Even with the changes( and upcoming ones) one thing is still lacking in my games. It’s not legendaries,(though I suppose there’s that too)it’s other players. I bought Diablo 2 for two reasons. I loved Diablo, and I wanted to play online with other people. I bought Diablo 3 for the same reasons. Yet, each and every time I’m on; I’m playing by myself. Hardcore is already a smaller player base, so we have less people to play with and few games in which to do it.

The problem is in how we join games. We join by quest. We don’t know if the game we enter is on the quest or farming the act. Instead of simply joining a game that has an open area to explore we are hindered by arbitrary choke points separating us from each other. With these choke points in place it also makes it hard to actually get a group for a quest as the few players in public games are farming the end.

I’ve opened my game to the public several times and managed to finish my run before anyone joined. I had hoped with monster health now not scaling as high people would be flocking to public games. I was wrong. We are still set in our ways. Multiplayer still needs more of an incentive for people to delve into it. It’s still too easy to just create, farm and ignore the rest of the population. Yes you can play with your friends, and many do. However, What about the population you haven’t met yet We need a game naming system in place, and searchable games to play in. If we’re bringing back other parts of D2 why not bring that back. Then we could advertise what we wanted from our group and vice versa before we even enter.

What can be done to change D3 into a multiplayer haven? Just like Paragons act as a carrot to keep going; we need a better carrot for games. Maybe it’s an extra stack of valor or better drops. Maybe for every 500 elites killed in multiplayer you get a BOA legendary, or perhaps something I’ve never thought or heard of. Either way we need a better reason to come out from the safety of single player.

I met a lot people in my D2 days. People I saw in each game I joined, People I raced for levels, and gear. Sometimes I was logging in to compete with them, sometimes to play with them. Right now I miss that.

How has multiplayer lived up to your expectations?

One Life to Live covers the Hardcore play and life style in the Diablo community. It is written by Xanth (a paragon of objectivity) and published weekly. Post your comments below, Follow me on Twitter @HCXanth or contact the author directly. For all the archived news about Diablo 3 hardcore check our Archives!

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  1. When I first played the Beta it was immediately apparent how idiotic the Battle.net .02 and match making system was. I foolishly thought it would be changed for the release of the game. Sadly, it is the exact same and is one of my biggest annoyances with the game as a whole. It structurally discourages cooperative play and I have had numerous occasions that people leave the game, only for it to be too ‘late’ in the quest for more people to join. The match-making system is a disaster.

  2. i highly doubt they purposely release something that would frown on co-op play. I am sure a few things wrong with it.

    It can be improved and i have faith with all the recent pushes they will acknowledge it. if not get it known more.

  3. This hit the nail on the head for me.
    The thing about D3 that just doesn’t gel for me is not the game play, but the menus and matching systems.
    I really miss looking through the public games list for “trist-82” and “hairybaalz-5” and knowing that these people where doing exactly what i wanted to and my presence actually made their experience more enjoyable(read: profitable).
    As it stands the game just doesn’t reward multiplayer enough to make it worth the hassle.

  4. Yes , such an lobby or something else i missed it too. In the past (D2) you come to your favorit channel and talk to the people were you played with. That was nice, you see the little char that swing to left and right.

    It maybe “old scool” but something like this, i thing, will form a bit like a community. Now we are more or less lonely stranger and only your friendlist show the possible “multiplayer part”. Not that feeling of the good old times 🙂

    • yes, because the d2 lobby was always filled with interesting, thought provoking conversational pieces that really spoke highly of the social standing of the people within it. The maturity level, and courteousness of it reflected highly of their good standing.

      /sarcasm.

      I for one, left chats, ignore them and just jumped into games.

      In WoW i stayed out of any general/trade chat.

      in any game I do, just a bunch of people trying to say the most idiotic thing

      as a disclaimer it wasn’t always like that 100%, because some people are not idiots. but you have to admit, more so than not it was.

    • Avatars, private channels, named games, chat lobby’s like gbr-1 etc not the random 100 people we see in general these days. Stuff that this game is really lacking and hampers community and longevity. Bring back these and u willgo a large step towards fixing this game…. If it isn’t already too late.

  5. First I’d like to say excellent work on that first line. I always read your column but this one had me click through in a frenzy!

    Multiplayer needs some kind of buff. They keep pussy-footing around it, making it easier. Who cares it will always be better to do it solo no matter what.

    I think they should just jump all in and make it obviously better. Extra stacks of NV is the obvious choice. They have said since the beginning they want to promote group play… Well then fucking promote it. Of all the things they say/do in this game, multiplayer is easily the hardest one I try to wrap my head around.

    Giving extra stacks of NV will encourage people to play pub games. From that you will meet people who know what they are doing and build a friends list of people you will want to (can) play with.

    Its simple really. They have said since the beginning this is a multiplayer game. That they will promote multiplayer. Just promote it already… People are social creatures. Just do it. Boggles my mind.

    Great post as always Xanth

  6. Monster Hunter 3 (game where you fight dragons) does a great job with their online system IMO. There are a number of things that make it work.

    1) When players log in they choose a ‘server’ for the general type of game they want to join. Examples are low level only, high level only, open, and farming.

    2) Within a server, players create games with names. There are a bunch of predefined game names, like ‘questing’, ‘serious players only’, ‘High rank Lagiacrus’ (specific boss farming), etc.

    3) The bosses are very difficult in Monster Hunter. Even with good equipment and skill, it can be difficult or impossible to defeat the last few solo. If you die three times you lose the mission. If the time limit expires (usually 50 minutes) you lose the mission. As a result, being a team of up to 4 *really* helps. Not only can you take down the monster faster with more DPS, but the monster has to choose amongst multiple people to target, and certain groupings of skills/weapons are very complementary.

    I have not yet tried multi-player in D3 because there does not seem to be a huge benefit. I play multi-player in Monster Hunter most of the time because it is much more fun and quicker to make progress.

  7. This game is anti-social by design, you only need to look back at their original philosophy to understand this. The end game was to be the loothunt, period. They’ve admitted that was wrong after the fact but the systems that support that end game philosophy are still in place, so nothing has changed or will change until they completely overhaul things.

    Just look at the subpar communication and community building tools keeping players separated and isolated from each other (horrible chat with no private channels, inability to create games with names, auction houses that override player to player trading/interaction).

    The game in essence turns the player into a human controlled bot, farming to put things in the auction houses which are then easily monetized.

    The only other option to explain this is they are incompetent. During beta they were told of these issues by testers and they did nothing to address those concerns.

  8. Why don’t we just take D2 make it HD/3D and rename it D3???

  9. hopefully this means stat and skill points will return too

  10. I think its getting better. I do not play hardcore (no idea why anyone does tbh,) and since the latest patch I find that I am playing with other people the vast majority of the time now, where pre 1.04 I was content to just play with people I knew were competent (usually those on my friend list,) or solo.

    I still think they need to do more mind you, increase the drop rate in multi or add another type of incentive, but multiplayer has come a long way in this game since it was released. The days when another person joining your game meant an instant death for any melee character who was in combat when the other joined are gone, so a large part of the negative aspects of added players to the game are gone, now if they could just add a few positive ones.

  11. This is exactly how I feel, also their so stubborn but has anyone else realized that they played with other people in d3 because it gave more xp/drops? Whats wrong with that? They can’t handle people leveling and paragon leveling faster in public games? Instead they have to go for this “Its more efficient to play with people so you level/get items 3.7834% faster” I mean common, just make it more rewarding to play with friends and in pugs, its really simple.

  12. First of all – Naming your characters after continental philosophers?? I thought only I did that.

    Secondly: You’re absolutely right that choosing a specific quest to start on is a bad way of matching people in multiplayer games. But I hated D2’s method even more – games based on whatever dumb name people chose at the time seemed worse, to me. It seemed like 5/10 were misleading or on the wrong quest, 3/10 were racist, and 2/10 were begging for free stuff.

    I think you should just pick difficulty and act and go for it. Maybe you need to delineate it further when you’re in normal difficulty and there is a huge difference between the end of an act and the beginning. But for inferno especially, it only makes sense to open it up.

  13. 1. Keep follower buffs
    2. Higher difficulty (check), increased rewards accordingly.
    3. The ability to create games and find games.
    4. We, the players, need to become more active.

    Let me elaborate #4. In the 90’s it wasn’t much easier too find or create games to play in. There were MANY more errors and disconnects. Bad interfaces, etc, etc. The difference was that we actively build communities. This site is a remaining example of it. We created places where we could talk, make clans, organize tournaments, etc. Nowadays, we and the new generation have become too lazy. We expect the developers to do this all for us… And I don’t say they shouldn’t, but back in the 90’s we didn’t want to wait and created it ourselves…

    It isn’t impossible to do in D3. We can create games and open for specific people. We just need to meet each other first somewhere. And make it interesting to go there.

  14. edit/addition to the above: me particularly have become very lazy overall, and I will never create a community that is needed to make any multiplayer game better. Join I will/might though.

    Last night I decided to join a hardcore act 3 nightmare public game, but there just weren’t any. ZERO. I would have gone to normal, to boost some players, but can’t… They should allow it.

    People that want to play co-op can always add me. Hardcore or Softcore. I’m not guaranteeing it will be fun though before Blizzard made the necessary changes I mentioned earlier. Battle-tag here: http://eu.battle.net/d3/en/profile/Snipe-2434/ European servers.

  15. Notice the gear on my HC scoundrel btw. Trying to build the worst scoundrel in the world. Can u beat it?? 🙂

    +why cant we edit previous comments?

  16. Personally when seeing you online, due to your much higher dps than the rest of my flist, i [wrongly] assumed that you would rather solo than be slowed down by others. Ironically that was partly due to the fact you’re always solo. A vicious circle.

    Duly noted!

  17. With the auction house continuing to break the game (even in hardcore now) I don’t think that fixing multiplayer will make that much of a difference. Even if it’s fixed you will continue to suffer an increasingly small player base. If you look at most of the \who wants to play hardcore with me?\ topics on the forums they are riddled with the same old responses from new players. People saying they would try it but don’t trust Blizzards network stability (and rightfully so) paired with players who tried to jump in once and then died for a variety of reasons swearing to never return.

    • Aug. Few things, i think you mean to say that the economy is broken? If so, I totally agree. But it was broken since release, for a few very simple reasons. The solution however is not simple, and will have huge implications. Blizzard indeed has a big dilemma. At some day in the (near) future they will NEED to fix it, and I’m looking forward when they announce their solution to the problem or admit it just can not be fixed. I can not think of one that does not affect many players. And you´re right: fixing multiplayer will also not do the trick…

      But I disagree the economy is broken on Hardcore. Maybe you can explain to me why it is? I am not saying it is very stable or healthy, but it does have the basic requirements Softcore has not, and omitted certain economy breaking ‘features’ SC does have…

      Somebody asked a few posts ago why people play HC at all. Besides other reasons, having a working economy and to be able to use, analyze and try to profit from it, brings me a lot of extra fun to the game. On SC no economy exists, so i play HC as well. Simple.

      Overall Hardcore gives much more satisfaction and variety.

  18. i never wanted multiplayers anyways, but i can only see it gets worse. The ubers sounds like a different play mode, so it wont help your public games, maybe makes it worse. The players 8 will have better reward, unlike multiplayers, so all the strong players will go that route instead of playing public. with ~100k you can basically solo inferno act 3 with at least players 2, 150k for players 3. I cant really see how 1.05 will improve the current situation in public games.

  19. People in D3 multiplayer are just generally so RUDE and uninterested in their fellow players.
    * Rarely if ever do people say more than “hi” in a game.
    * Zerg zerg zerg, ignore all else.
    * If you die twice on the same elite pack, quit the game and join a different game.
    * Run off into random dungeons when people are trying to do quests and simply “not help” even while being asked nicely.

    Back in d2, at least you could hold a little bit of conversation before joining a game, because the channels actually put people together before they joined a game. Now, it’s fully anonymous, and you leave, you forget. General chat is full of goldsellers and other spam bots,. it’s pathetic to say the least. Not a damn thing is being done about it and this game is suffering for it.

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