Why Players Quit Diablo 3, and What Brings Them Back?


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Why Players Quit Diablo 3, and What Brings Them Back?

Former MVP and well-known community member DrothVader posted a thread in the B.net forums seeking player comments/complaints about what caused players to quit playing Diablo 3. Of course no one ever quite quits a Diablo game... players just take breaks of varying duration, and half the posters in the thread say they're going to leap back in for Season 2. Still, the thread has grown quite large, and with most of the comments/complaints more "constructive criticism" than "FJW rants," it's an interesting and sometimes thoughtful read.

The Blues seem to agree, as Tyvalir recently visited the thread with an approving note. Why Players Quit Diablo 3, and What Brings Them Back?

Hey everyone, thanks to all of you for sharing your thoughts on this and to Droth for the original post requesting player feedback. I've only read through the first few pages so far, but I've already seen a lot of good thoughts and ideas that I'll be passing to the development team. I'm looking forward to reading the rest and passing that on as well.

You've all really outdone yourselves with sharing good feedback here. Whether you realize it or not, these conversations help us to achieve a broader perspective of the game than we could ever get on our own, and I'm thankful to all of you for your passion and support as we continue to develop Diablo III.

TL;DR - This is awesome, and we appreciate it! [source]http://diablo.incgamers.com/blizzard-tracker/devthread/us/15700529949[/source]

I enjoy the irony of a TLDR for a two-paragraph reply that appeared on page 26 of a thread full of very long posts. And there's plenty more irony to be had, since most of the complaints are countered, intentionally or otherwise, by other posts praising the same feature others are damning.

  • Players don't like that specific legendary items are required to make specific skills awesome... and other players desperately want more legendary items with cool bonuses to different skills.
  • Players think the best items are too hard to find... and other players think gearing up is too easy and quick without enough ultra-rare item hunting.
  • Players don't like item sets requiring all the items to work big time... and other players want more item sets since they like hunting for a bigger reward from multiple item pieces.
  • Players don't like the escalating difficulty of Greater Rifts magnifying balance issues... and other players want more Torment levels to create a GRift-style challenge in the normal game.
  • Players don't like Ancient Items since they'll trump current items... and other players can't wait for Ancient Items to give them something new to hunt.

There are plenty of other contradictory opinions on the best/worst features in the game, and even a few complaints that aren't presented as two-sided coins.

Click through for some more compilations from the tread, and hit the comments to agree with a complaint, or explain why this is the internet, and therefore someone is wrong.

One common complaint is about the whole nature of legendary and set items now, in that they enable certain specific skills (and thus builds) to kick ass. Most players want more of such items to enable skills that aren't now boosted, while other players dislike that these items are basically required... but of course we had a Diablo 3 without such skill-boosting legendary items, and it was playable from May 2012 until about December 2013. Back then most green and orange items in the game were just stat sticks and we were all very bored by them.

Seasonal Legendaries. Often cited as a reason to anticipate S2, while others critique Seasonal Legs as splitting up the player base or making non-Season pointless to play.

Item Sets: Said to be too powerful, dwarfing the effect of single item legendaries, and locking players out of variety in too many item slots. (Of course others love sets, for providing a larger item-hunting project/goal.)

Bounties. One feature almost universally critiqued. They're not rewarding enough, and they've also become (in an unintended consequence) discouraging of exploration, rather than encouraging of it.

Nephalem Rifts: Most players like them, but others say they feel forced to play Rifts since that's where all the rewards are. Even their randomness is a split vote, with some loving it and others saying Rifts aren't random enough, as they all start to feel the same theme-less blur after a while.

Greater Rifts: Exacerbate feelings of inequality and put more premium on finding the best items. (Other players approve of higher challenge and want more Torment levels.)

My main takeaway from the thread? Making video games and pleasing people is hard.a
Continue reading the Original Story


Clan Officer - US West Hardcore
Some players really love certain things while others really hate it - News at 11


Diablo: IncGamers Member
I only agree that greater rifts sucks and that certain ultra rare items are way too hard to find.. i found a half crappy furnace means that i will never find another one or? thats what makes this game so bad.. u want a certain item and u cant get it, and i have tons of gold over 900mil that i could have spent in the AH and bought whatever i want for whatever price i could pay...


Diabloii.Net Member
"[...] And there’s plenty more irony to be had, since most of the complaints are countered, intentionally or otherwise, by other posts praising the same feature others are damning. [...]"

Yeah, damn those masses of demographically and geographically dispersed individuals for having differing opinions on subjective evaluations!

How are you supposed to take them even serious this way?
Just one more step away from taking drastic actions by simply BALANCING that whole nonsense ... >:|


Diabloii.Net Member
Threads like this are awesome, because it shows the disconnect between the player base. One of my favorite grips that people have about the Dev team is that they are "out of touch" or "don't really get what players want". Threads like this demonstrate just how hard it is to be "in touch" with the player base, as many have mutually exclusive views on things. Hopefully the Devs can continue to find ways to try to appease most of the player base.


Diabloii.Net Member
Would not the answer be looking at who gripes about what and who doesn't while comparing account time and levels?

This would give you a generalized idea of who is the casual player (logs in once or twice a week), your work force player (the average joe) and your hardcore mama-jamas. You can't please them all, but you can find that the average experience going to be somewhat similar in each instance to how they perceive loot in the game.


Diabloii.Net Member
Reason to take a break: Still no secondary game system included, allowing for player driven character developement, while the secondary game system of itemization, despite legendary affixes, still has unmemorable items at the core of its design, which in general is still too shallow to really awaken the interest in taking the formulas behind apart in detail.

Reason to come back: The primary gameplay of Hack'n'Slay is still the best you can get on the market.

Overall trend: The breaks get longer, the time played in between shorter. Which will be reset for a time, after a good amount of new content will be released. (That I'm sure of.)

Hope: Still hoping for Blizz finding a way, to keep up replayability while loosing the need of new content additions regularily. In my opinion this could only be reached by adding said player driven character developement and adding as much layers of metagames to the game, as could be fathomed. (In tradition of the series building upon single and group pvp. But balancing difficulties are an understandable reason, not really getting it done well enough to make fun. Perhaps, if part of the skillsystem would relate to an additional set of characteristics, let's call it "drives," that could be broken by other players defensive setups to decrease an attacks power, making PvP a real fight about keeping damage above an opponents healing stat continously that's more akin to wargames like chess or igo at its base, while cumulating in complexity kinda to a sportsgame like basketball or football by the ability of teammates of stacking for breaking a drive and other defensive skills and/or a tieback into the itemsystem allowing to brace against an attempt to break a certain drive. Of cause, this would make the option of directly changing skills in between the fight a wanted addition to the game, perhaps by using F1 to F4, perhaps even with different consequences depending of the type of skill. The Wizards' three armor skills come to mind here, which would be much more interestingly done, if it would be able to keep the basic effect selected, while switching the runeffect to one of the other two armors for a time, which would be proportionally to the degree of investment taking in the player driven character development secondary gamesystem.)


PS: Please cope with the convolution. Was in the mood for it ;)


Diabloii.Net Member
Addition to the skill switch: Of cause with a preperation timer, before becoming effective, and a delay, before it can be switched the next time. Both best related to investment in other parts of the player driven character development system. Even just two dimensional skill systems are just so Oldschool. Don't you agree? ;)


Diabloii.Net Member
The game as is doesn't even cater to all types of "hardcore mama-jamas". Not even to all types D2 has been open to. So while you're pointing out one aspect that can be analyzed out of the information, it's still far above only being this one dimensional.


Diabloii.Net Member
Online Only kills it for me. Kills it for everyone else too, apparently. Pretty sure that's why opinions about why the game sucks are so divided. D3 should be a super hard game where you can't find any items and get 1 shot by a zombie on the first map. At the same time it should be able to be played offline so you can mod all the best gear on your characters offline for shits and giggles and rape uber Diablo's face all day long. (I still load up my haxxed D2 chars sometimes with the inventory full of annihilus charms, lol)

That's why Blizzards earlier games were so popular... There was no right or wrong way to play them, because you could just sign off and mod them when you got fed up with/bored of the 'right way' of playing... It's not like that with D3. With D3 the devs are always trying to come up with one of their "we feel that the game should be played this way, because it'd be more fun for EVERYONE that way" ideas, and there's just no idea that everyone is ever going to love. And because these type of ideas are so radical by nature, it completely alienates the opposing segment.

My personal gripe with D3? It keeps changing every patch. Right when I get settled into something they release a patch and it's like the last version of the game was some beta test... I take solace that this is to be expected with the game incomplete. They still haven't even released the last expansion, after all.


Diabloii.Net Member
I quit back in the doldrum days of the auction house just from getting bored. I thought about coming back for RoS but have gotten extremely entrenched in Guild Wars 2 and don't have time for multiple games.

I'd be more interested in giving it a go, but the fact is that D3 still doesn't have features to enable the thing I like to do when I play - collect stuff. By sticking with a limited inventory as the only way to hold EVERYTHING you find, it puts a pretty low ceiling on how much you can hoard, which is exactly what I like doing. Contrast with GW2, which has a wallet for currencies and tokens, bank for crafting materials, wardrobe for item skins, collectible dye panel, miniature unlocks, etc. Still plenty of stuff filling up my inventories and banks, but I never feel like my effort is useless to acquire all the things. :p


Diabloii.Net Member
I bought D3 when it first came out, despite concerns over the following:
* Auction house
* Concerns over drop rates tuned to take into account auction house
* Online requirement
* MMO-style free skill respecs with no permanent choices/builds
* MMO-style weapons as stat sticks with boring DPS number and no meaningful weapon type differences (e.g. who cares if it is a spoon or an axe ... all hail highest DPS!)

After playing for a while, I found all of these to be serious issues. It wasn't fun, so I mostly quit for over a year. I figured I would not return nor buy the expansion.

When Jay left/was removed and the Auction house was dumped, they regained my attention. This was probably the most important change they could have made IMO. I want to find my equipment, not buy it!

The remaining issues remain, but the game is at least fun for me now. If they ever make a D4, I hope they stay closer to the D2 skills and weapon systems rather than trying to make it a psuedo MMO.

Steven Hazani

Diabloii.Net Member
Some people are bad at analyzing things and can only see what is directly in front of them.

For example: Some people see the current system in which you can't do anything unless a specific item allows it and they want more specific items, others identify the core problem and point out that if you didn't need those specific items there'd automatically be more variety.

Both of these core problems are the same. The player wants more viable builds and items. The groups are actually in complete agreement, despite appearing diametrically opposed.

Or like the GR thing, they might say GRs just make the game even more overcentralized but might ignore that if it means more loot.


Diabloii.Net Member
Completely agree, apart from the last sentence. They need not come as close to D2s skillsystem and its itemization. Generally it's just one core philosophy that has to be switched:

At the core of D2 was, to give as much arrays of different choices to the players, as possible, while keeping the whole logically coherent. This reflects throughout the whole game, be it skillsystem, base itemtype differences, crafting...: You name it! And though such a thing as respeccing definitely sounds like a welcome comfort option, the difference in permanence of each array added an additional layer of depth just by itself. And that's exactly what has to be taken out of the garbage bin again during the planning and creation of D4. Not the general design of a skilltree or the sticking to the same phantasy behind a difference in weapon selected. (Reflected upon D3, this would have to change individually to skillrunes behaving differently for each different type of weapon in use, anyways, and could only be taken over regarding speedimpact of armor types, though with some difficulties.)


Diabloii.Net Member
There may be many reasons why people quit D3 / RoS one of them could be that you are more or less forced to play in groups, to move forward and increase in exp and paragon lvls, playing solo is more or less impossible. Although more drops than ever are mostly dirt and unusable. if you want to find super gear you have to play day and night. some want the game to be harder, it means again that many do not bother more as they currently are being slaughtered in a split second. Before they had AH as an emergency solution might farms a lot of gold and so that way acquire better gear. The possibility exist no more and act with other player is harder than ever unless you are in a group / clan. Seems like Blizzard will decide how to play and recalls that in one of the first opinions about RoS said one of the developers directly, we want people to play in groups and not playing solo. D2 was much more balanced in difficulty and unique items, the new developer thinks apparently most of the elite's needs and their own and has again stated that they thought it is better on their way.
In my opinion, blizzard never been good at listening to people's opinions and now it's worse than ever. If the game is harder than it is at the moment I stop enough. My DH has no super gear despite I have spent many hours and para lvl 587 and can barely survive. I will regret that stop when I have played since the first D1 and enjoyed it for many years but have played a difficulty where it is impossible to enjoy themselves and to have fun, I say stop for the bottom is because the game is designed for all must be able to be with and not only the so-called elite, as everyone pays the same. Readily admit I fear the development of the game


Diabloii.Net Member
I never quit the game, I just would rather play something else. The game brought me back several times and it likely will again, but it doesn't have the draw to play it long term like D2 had. I'm currently playing PoE because that game does have a "nearly endless" replayability like D2 had.

Seasons are great because they tackle one of D3's biggest flaws which is level capping. Starting over is the #1 thing keeping me playing this type of game. The reason I stop playing is because things get stale.

The other reason things get stale: items.

Firstly, sets are far too important. If you want to play class X in build Y, then you equip set Z. With the RoRG, that means you have 1 item slot of flexibility usually, and then the slots not included in the set.

The issue then becomes what is the best item for a lot, and only finding that is important. Until then, every item is basically the same combo of 4 or so stats that you prefer and upgrades are simply a small % boost to those stats you already had. Additionally, with all resist being so easily attained, and resists not having a cap, there's no deep thought in item selection. More of X, less of Y is the most difficult choice you can have.

If I really liked playing the game, I'd level each class to the level cap every season, but it gets old too quickly for me to want to do that. Running legendaries over and over with no tangible gain isn't very fun. I think ancient items will make it a little better.

Not trying to trash talk the game and say "omg PoE so good" but really the game just has a better system for long-term draw. Diablo 3 is super fun for a short while, but there's no incentive to level new characters and you hit a brick wall very quickly.


Diabloii.Net Member
By weapon type differences, I meant things like the following:

* Reach. For a whirling barb, a poleaxe offered excellent reach (radius) while a maul offered excellent damage.

* Making damage and speed be the primary stats. It was cool to see a battle hammer that did a lot more damage than the sword you were holding. But you had to determine if it was worth it to take the speed hit. Now everything boils down to DPS and you barely look at the graphic or name of the weapon.

* Stat requirements. It took heavy commitment to both STR and DEX to wield top swords. A maul was slower but took only STR (IIRC). More interesting tradeoffs. e.g. I can spend more on STR/DEX and have a faster attack rate with a larger radius. Or I can concentrate on maximizing health if I use a weapon with poorer speed/radius but fewer requirements.

The bottom line was in D2 I actually knew the names of, and was excited for, the various weapon types that would drop as you progressed. Seeing your first Battle Hammer or Ancient Sword was pretty good and a nice damage improvement. Now I could not tell you the names of any of the weapons I've recently used. It just doesn't matter. And that is too bad.


Diabloii.Net Member
For me... the biggest reason I stop playing is the time it takes to get new content out the door. I understand that this isn't WoW and we aren't "paying every month for additional content." But my experience with D3 is very poorly paced, new content? Binge until you've gotten/done it all. That didn't take very long? Stop playing until the next binge spree. Now I'm not saying they should rush content out the door. Infact I'm not even suggesting more regular updates. Its kind of just the name of the game for me at this point. There isn't really a solution, its just the fact of the matter.