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Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

Discussion in 'Diablo 3 General Discussion' started by Flux, Jul 8, 2010.

  1. Flux

    Flux Administrator

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    Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    While fixing some broken captions in the D2 character gallery, I saw a few concept art pics of the chars, especially of the Necromancer, and it reminded me of those early days. I'm talking 1998-1999, before D2's release, and how passionate and argumentative fans were, in regards to their favorite characters.

    Even before we know more than just a little bit about how the characters would play, and before anyone outside of Bliz had even played the game, we had guilds for various characters, fiercely territorial forum communities centered around them, etc. Fans were arguing and flaming over whether the Paladin, or necromancer, or barb was the coolest, with some contingents for the amazon and sorc as well. (But it was mostly the 3 male chars, since it was male fans idealizing them who did the arguing).

    The Necromancer was the most popular, especially amongst the rabid fanboy type, since he was cool and evil and dark and stuff. (There was a minor riot when final char designs were released and suddenly he was bony and skinny and had white, Billy Idol hair.) They remained huge fans of the necro though, and we had another riot when we posted our 1999 Bliz North visit articles, and the Necromancer one was deemed insufficiently detailed and worshipful. At that time we were hosting a bunch of guilds (yes, even before the game was into beta) and the Necromancer-only guild went crazy, flaming our forums, getting temp banned, etc. I repeat, this was a guild we hosted. Providing them with free webspace and publicity. And their adoration was based on never having played the char. Just on his look and style, etc. This kind of pic stirred that up:

    [​IMG]

    Which brings me to D3, and the lack of that kind of passion. Does anyone care that strongly about any particular character in this game? There have been outcries about various things; the "too colorful" graphics obviously got a huge burst, and the Witch Doctor was quite unpopular after his early reveal (mostly with Necro fans, as it turns out), but in general, the partisanship that was so prevalent pre-d2 seems mostly a nonfactor pre-D3. And when it does show up it's all negative; the game's too bright, the WD sux, auto-placed stat points sux, etc.

    Why not the character identification/passion, this time?

    There's not a shortage of people interested in D3; this site is certainly much busier than our old site was (pre-Diabloii.net, even) before D2's launch. Some possibilities, any or all of which may be contributing:

    1. Is the fan base older and thus more mature/less emo?
    2. Has the wait been so long that we're all just eager for the game, rather than focusing with crush-like intensity on any given character in it?
    3. Are there so many other entertainment options than the attention of the fickle and hyper fanboy fans is dispersed?
    4. Does no one role-play anymore, and thus there's not that much identification with any particular char?
    5. Maybe the characters in D3 are more generic, and thus less likely to spur intense devotion?

    It's not as if something has changed in human nature or society; look at the unbalanced adoration lavished upon various IPs: Harry Potter fans during that series' heyday, or the Twi-Hards now. I'm sure there are some up and coming games or movies or anime series that today's equivalent of our old Necromancer fanatics, (13-18 y/o white boys needing something cool and dark and violent to idolize) are all over.

    Which sort of answers my own question; but only in terms of the necromancer; there's not that dark, gothic, evil character in D3 for that demographic to latch onto. But why don't we see it in general? There were very devoted and noisy fans of other classes, Pre-D2, as well.
     
  2. NASE

    NASE IncGamers Member

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    Re: Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    Because we are keeping out identification/passion for the best character in the game. The ranged character that is yet to be revealed.:yes:


    Seriously though, I wasn't around at the Diablo 2 development, though could it be that they did less strange things to the game.
    People are crying about the colours because there might be something to cry about. Was there something to cry about in diablo 2?
    Same for stats. People are crying about it because there is something to cry about.

    Now, why are they crying about that not about character, because those things are more fundamental then the characters. Great classes can completely be abolished when those features are handled wrong.

    I think we are simply focussing on things that really matter - and to which some agree and some disagree. And that we haven't started about classes because there are more important things to vent about.

    P.S. A second reason might be the novelty. At this moment, we have seen a zillion barbarians and wizards. So it's not new anymore and hence not so interesting.



     
  3. permaximum

    permaximum Banned

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    Re: Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    It's good to see Flux has been much more active in the forums lately. We need quality threads.

    In fact your claim is somehow surprising because there are much more passionate game fans these days. Still i can guess why it's been exactly opposite for Diablo since the announcement.

    I have been a fan of Diablo since the beginning. I was reading magazines and some articles on the internet but i wasn't really into fan sites and forums. After Diablo 2 that has changed a little bit with the evolution of internet in my country (ADSL). When i imagine now, i think i wouldn't be that passionate about the characters if i was involved with the community. My passion would be about the upcoming game in general.

    As for today, i don't have the passion i had for Diablo 2 despite the fact that i wasn't following the game on internet. For me, as most readers know, it's about the general direction Blizzard has taken for D3. It includes the generic characters. Don't get me wrong. I wouldn't want any characters from D2 to return. There is always more to discover and there can be 5 more new and unique characters. But i don't like current characters. Let's review the old D2 classic characters:

    Paladin: A true holy man. You could get that holy feeling from his armor to his holy skills. Reflects the people who believes in absolute good. They're determined warriors.

    Necromancer: A misunderstood dark sorcerer. His skills show the dark side of his personality. He reflects the people in real life who is misunderstood because of his appearance, anormal actions and glides to darkness thus seeks revenge. They are in the middle between good and evil.

    Barbarian: A strong warrior. You can feel his enormous brute force from apperance and combat style. Reflects the people who wants to be a glorious warrior and become a legend fighting the evil.

    Sorceress: A mighty magician and the master of elements. Her skills use the limitless power of magic. Despite this power you can feel her fragility from her apperance and armor. Represents the people especially women who believes in spirit and would like to gain unnatural destroying power without caring about their fragility. Her style is aggresive, because of her dim past.

    Amazon: A powerful woman warrior. Her skills show her casual but effective attacking style. She acts from far and her attacks are brute which she perfected in wild lands. She represent the aggresive nature of women who lived with violence in their childhood.


    For an Action RPG, the characters were cool and they fit into the dark gothic and religious atmosphere of Diablo. Due to the game's nature, fans of the game are generally hardcore and the characters were perfectly represting those fans.

    As for Diablo 3, it's obvious i think. Although there won't be many critics for the characters, they don't have the materials for hardcore fans to be passionete about them pre-mid-after D3.

    I should mention this again. I'm not one of those :) I have far more important problems with D3 :D
     
  4. Malaterre

    Malaterre IncGamers Member

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    Re: Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    Two ideas concerning this.

    First. In the end of the 1990's, when D2 was coming out, there was not youtube and the like. Videos on the internet were quite rare. The first view we had of D3 was the gameplay video with the barbarian and the witch doctor. Somehow, with this video, we were already talking of gameplay, skills... and the like. I think that, most probably, in 1998 or 1999 characters were introduced through artworks and some description of where the character is coming from... not some detailled gameplay video.

    So somehow, we have much more details on how the characters are working and much less to imagine. We are discussing technical details and not the general feeling of the characters. Perhaps, then, we are already evaluating these characters in term of gameplay : will I like to play this or this skill... A more rational approach and not something where you have to let your imagination work and choose a character based on his story, on his general background.

    Second point. I think that, somehow, the classes, for the majority of them, are too close to previous ones and we cannot really become enthusiastic for some classes that are not completely new.
    - Barbarian: Same guy.
    - Mage: Very similar to the Sorceress. The fact that the female character was first introduced, that she is young, has brown hair... deepens the impression that it is the same character.
    - Witch Doctor: Here we felt that this was the "new" necro class, with less charisma than the necro.
    - Monk: the only rather original class.
     
    Last edited: Jul 8, 2010
  5. Sass

    Sass IncGamers Member

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    Re: Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    IMO, the same fanaticism is found, but isn't on the same topic. D2 had people talking about chars and such, but where were the discussions on art, gameplay, items, etc?



    D3 has people on both sides fanatically attacking and defending things like art, chars, systems, etc. It's the same...ish...but focusing on other things people are legitimately concerned about as opposed to liking something to the point where guilds are made to support it and such.
     
  6. Moonfrost

    Moonfrost IncGamers Member

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    Re: Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    Evidently, the fan base has matured in the sense that there's more emphasis on actual gameplay mechanics and systems nowadays, because fans are more experienced in analyzing those things than ever before. Character progression - a key element in all RPGs - is the root to all of this because the more complex a game is, the more theorycraft is needed to figure out how to maximize your character's potential in any given area. Since theorycrafting takes time, the longer a sequel is delayed the more technical and "hardcore" the fan base gradually becomes in their pursuit of perfection.

    So, when this fan base finds out a sequel is in the making, will they analyze it through the eyes of a newbie or through those of a theorycrafting veteran? The latter, naturally.

    If you want another example of this, just look at WoW and its expansions. You'll see the same shift from "oh wow I get to play as a voodoo troll!" to "oh wow, this talent was nerfed from +6% crit to +5%, that'll affect my whole PvE spec!"
     
  7. Apocalypse

    Apocalypse IncGamers Member

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    Re: Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    i can think of 3 reasons why its not as big this time around

    1. alot of people fully expect the game to take forever and a day to release so they are not "getting into it" this early. i have several friends who refuse to listen to anything about D3 til it gets closer

    2. many people are still playing D2 and are still into those characters. when D2 was coming out people did still play D1 but many had moved on and most who were playing went back to it as a means of waiting for D2. also D1 was alot harder to play with random people

    3. not every class has been released yet. i myself am waiting for the 5th class to come out and hope it uses a bow as a main.

    those are the 3 main reasons imo why its not a big. could go with a 4th and say the characters just are not as interesting. personally none of them have grabbed me yet like the amazon and barb (what a let down) did in D2.

    also like said above, alot of the fans have probably grown up and dont get into such little debates anymore. hell i used to cause all kinds of trouble in the chat room now its just not worth it to me
     
  8. Putz

    Putz IncGamers Member

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    Re: Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    Those same D2 fans are now 10 years old now.

    I'm 27 and don't feel the need to argue over which class is better - "maturity" is a odd thing.
     
  9. Cattleya

    Cattleya IncGamers Member

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    Re: Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    Here are my thoughts:

    (1) Basically what Moonfrost said (and much more eloquently than I would have.)

    (2) Online communities in general have matured a lot. Back in 1999/2000* the whole idea of online forums with a large number of members was still pretty new. With that I think came a lot more excitement in general about topics of conversation. I wasn't playing D2 at the time, but I was a member of some other communities, and I remember thinking how cool it was to be able to talk about shared interests with people from all over the world.

    (3) I think to some extent, we've moved beyond the RP aspect of gaming. We don't load up D2 to become a Barbarian for a little while, we load up D2 to play our Barbarian. I'm not sure what has caused this and it's not just a D2 thing. Perhaps it goes into Moonfrost's point that we've become more analytical in our play over time.

    *I know that the internet was around and popular even before that, but I think it's still fair to say that when it came to the general public, it was still very young.
     
  10. Technomancer

    Technomancer IncGamers Member

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    Re: Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    I think everyone raises good points. I think the 2 most relevant things are the higher average maturity level, and that the characters, on whole, are just not that original or exciting. Malaterre gave a good break-down of the classes so far, except I would say the WD is a Necro-Druid hybrid and the Monk is a Pally-Assassin hybrid. One problem is that there is a saturation level where a lot of the classic fantasy archetypes have already been explored, so now we're down to recycling, recombining, and digging through second-tier archetypes. The results of that are likely to simply not evoke as powerful emotions.

    Another problem with saturation is something I read about a couple years back about art/entertainment that struck a real cord with me: When we play a video game, listen to music, watch a movie, etc., it actually changes our brains. We 'learn' things, and that is what is actually stimulating about it. We gain new perspectives, ideals, skills, stimulation, etc., but after exposure to something for a long time, we've gained everything from that piece of art/activity. Our brains have fully absorbed/assimilated the information, so it isn't stimulating anymore. That accounts for 'burn-out'. In response to that, we seek new experiences, often of a higher level in order to stimulate ourselves once again by 'learning' new things.

    By finding experience after experience after experience, we can become saturated on an entire artform, or at least a certain segment of it. This is particularly apparent with people who play games for a living like reviewers (or play so many games they SHOULD get paid for it ;) ), who eventually become jaded because they've "seen it all before". Nothing is hardly ever good enough for them unless it is completely new and original, because that's the only thing they could 'learn' anymore from.

    Now, on a smaller scale, this is probably going on with a lot of Diablo fans. We've seen it all before, and it sounds like anyone who's played WoW (which I haven't) is especially jaded about anything that even remotely reminds them of it. This neural over-saturation is going on across the entire industry and is what largely fuels the "we gotta figure out a way to use up someone's new quantum computer-level video cards" graphics rat-race. The way it translates to Diablo is no one being satisfied with anything because it isn't original/'better' enough to provide them the extra high that the original game did. They just fail to realize that their brains were blank slates ready to be dazzled back then, but now, it takes almost impossible awesomeness and originality to even come close to that level of "WOW!". That's why everyone always thinks the music they grew up listening to is the best music ever and everything that comes after sucks. It's virtually impossible for them to be as impressed by something written into their head when it was still an empty glass, than they are by something poured into a glass that's already overflowing.
     
  11. Flux

    Flux Administrator

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    Re: Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    There actually were quite a few D2 gameplay movies. Including ones for each character. They were very low quality and poor visuals, compared to the game, and certainly to D3 gameplay movies, though. Blizzard wasn't as PR controlled in those days, so they let out a lot more info, released screenshots of the skill trees, etc.

    On the other hand, we got a lot less good quality official artwork. There was very little concept art also; I went through the whole D2 char art folder just yesterday, and there are like 2 concepts for the necro/pal, 1 barb, and none for the amazon/sorc. I'm sure they were drawn, they just weren't released. (There's almost zero monster or environmental concept art either, for D2.)

    Maybe the lower quality visuals back in the day, and the general lack of concept art allowed fans to use their imaginations more, and thus they could create versions of the characters they were intrigued by; rather than being so constrained by the game versions?

    For instance, D3's Barb is the D2 barb, returning. He's older, scared by battle, etc. We know his bio. We know the D3 wiz is young and headstrong and rebellious, etc. This might make it harder to geek out fanboy style, and imagine your own ideal version of the chars? If you want your barb to be 18 and reckless, you're going against the game lore. Same if you want your wizard to be an elderly, Gandalf-like mage, etc. So we know enough about the d3 chars to know what they aren't, but their char info is just an outline, which isn't enough to draw us into emphasizing with them?

    If all you knew was about a boy wizard who was an orphan and fighting a bad guy, you'd just shrug. But if you're a fan of the Harry Potter novels and you've read them all, then you saw so many events and you really grew to like the titular character and rooted for him in his struggle, etc. (For example.)



     
  12. Pyrohemia

    Pyrohemia IncGamers Member

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    Re: Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    I can't say that I have any authority in psychology but this is my theory:

    The characters in Diablo 1 the classes were professions: Sorcerer, Warrior, and Rogue. They have no history or identity. Picking one of these characters resolves around how you want to fight.

    Welcoming in Diablo 2, classes have histories and identities. When you pick a character for the first time you are picking which one you want to identify with and that you want to be represented by. It becomes a much more emotional choice than how you want to fight. While waiting for the game to come out and then finally get to play, players would be expected to defend this emotional decision. Decisions that are purely emotional are those that people champion the strongest and fight the hardest for. This is the phenomenon behind fanboyism with its notoriously viscous conflicts and it sounds a lot like what you described occurring.

    Now, why not the same thing for Diablo 3?
    Most of the people interested in Diablo 3 at this point were fans of Diablo 2 and have come to expect to play as every character eventually, or at least several of them. After playing as several different classes players no longer identify themselves with just one class with its appearance and identity. This breaks the tight connection of the player identifying as the class they have chosen. Sure, people will have favorite and least favorite classes looking up to the release of Diablo 3, but they have this expectation that they will eventually be playing and identifying with every class so their choice for their first character is no longer the one that they tightly identify with.
     
  13. Dahmer

    Dahmer IncGamers Member

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    Re: Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    These are true for me.

    I started with D1, bought D2 when it was released, bought the expansion when it was released and now....I'm getting tired of waiting.

    @Pyrohemia :
    What you said about the D2 class choice was true for the start of the game but eventually I ended up having one of each (or more, I had several barbs) and the choice was more like D1. I'm still a barbarian though :)



     
  14. nurman

    nurman IncGamers Member

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    Re: Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    [​IMG]






    1.Is the fan base older and thus more mature/less emo?

    Honestly, I have no idea.


    2.Has the wait been so long that we're all just eager for the game, rather than focusing with crush-like intensity on any given character in it?

    Of course we are eager for the game, it's already been too many years.
    I think female WD is hot. (No explanations here.)

    3.Are there so many other entertainment options than the attention of the fickle and hyper fanboy fans is dispersed?

    Kinda lost you on this one.

    4.Does no one role-play anymore, and thus there's not that much identification with any particular char?

    I haven't seen hardcore roleplayer in a while, even in WoW's Roleplaying servers there was no/if any hardcore roleplayers.


    5.Maybe the characters in D3 are more generic, and thus less likely to spur intense devotion?

    If it ain't broke, don't fix it!
     
  15. Sass

    Sass IncGamers Member

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    Re: Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    The hardcore roleplayers are probably just the ones seen in costume at the conventions :D
     
  16. stillman

    stillman IncGamers Member

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    Re: Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    Maybe it's just the art of forum debating being so perfected now. Suppose I decree class X is the coolest of them all, no way around it. There are now many well developed counter arguments that have been perfected over the years. So we would see the second poster saying "To each his own." The third would bring up how we cannot possibly make such assertions until we have played the game. A joker would want to lighten things up by saying "thousands of class Y fans would beg to differ, but all opinions are correct!"

    Back in the pre-d2 days, people heard such arguments Z number of times. But today, they have been heard Z + 10,000 times. The thread would get resolved pretty fast and sink. Wasn't dial up a big thing in those days? Ah, how times have changed.
     
  17. Kiroptus

    Kiroptus IncGamers Member

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    Re: Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    Diablo has actually never been a game for roleplay. It might be classified as a ARPG but the RPG part was mostly limited to skill/gear choices and the level up system but its just an action game at its heart.

    Maybe people just realised that roleplaying in Diablo is pointless, the goal is to kill and loot. Plus you select pre-defined characters and not actual classes. The barbarian from D3 is a character from D2. You can play with him and use him but he isnt "yours" the only thing thats really yours is the name you can select but he has his own persona, aligment and background. You believe your assasin is a honorable and humble warrior? Well but when she defeats mephisto she will say "THAT was mephisto? He was no match for me." in a very cocky manner. Your necro is a very good guy even tho he messes with dark magic? Well the first thing he will say when going out on the blood moor is "All who oposses me, beware..." in a menacing tone. You have no control on your characters motives and personalities, they all have their own.

    Its kinda like Team fortress 2, all classes are a unique character (and very good ones indeed) with their own personality and origins. Diablo follows this style so I dont think there is much to speak about them now as we barely know them but we are sure that they are not "our" characters, they blizzard's characters that we can play with them, that emotional attachment will never be present, the only attachment we have with them is with the time we had to level them up and the gear we found, as we have zero of these now, the emotional attachment is null.

    Roleplay means something deeper that just killing monsters, and thats what Diablo offers. If someone really want to roleplay they should go to other games like Baldur Gate 1 and 2, Mass Effect, Fallout, etc... Diablo is no game to roleplay.
     
  18. Sass

    Sass IncGamers Member

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    Re: Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    I would agree with the loot and kill as an end game thing.


    The RPG will exist during the first time experiencing the game, but once you've "been there done that", the rest of the game (which became competitive) is gear and level oriented.
     
  19. Cattleya

    Cattleya IncGamers Member

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    Re: Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    I think I probably mispoke when I talked about the RP aspects. What I was really thinking was more along the lines of story immersion. (Story immersion lets you identify with a character, even if you have little control over it's personality.)

    As I think about it, it think the biggest thing here is that many games have evolved away from a single play through and into "endgame" content. Endgame content (whatever it is) almost always has goals that are a part of the meta game, and aren't tied to the story of the game themselves.



     
  20. Flux

    Flux Administrator

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    Re: Emotional Character Attachments = Not in pre-D3?

    I'd forgotten all about it, but it popped back up when someone commented. My first (and worst) Diablo fanfic, posted back in 1998 (well before D2's release), has some feedback and commentary about the rabid nature of fandom and character attachment in that era.

    People were genuinely outraged about who won and lost (and how they were portrayed) in a story where I had a Paladin and a Necromancer fighting. Sadly, I never posted a proper feedback on that story, and when I got around to reposting/archiving it on my own site in 2002, I'd lost almost all of the 50+ emails I'd received about it when it was first posted.

    I don't remember anything specific at this point, but I do recall people who were angry that I'd written the Necromancer as weird and disturbing, the Paladin as kind of a holier-than-thou asshole, etc. Even though it was fanfic, players wanted the story characters to represent their visions of the game characters. For better or worse. The idea that this was just one author's vision of the characters and created with literary license was a lot of, "Wut?"

    http://diablo.incgamers.com/forums/showpost.php?p=7374433&postcount=4
     

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