Since its debut in 2012, Diablo 3 has been taking hold of Diablo fans the world over. Though there was much controversy over some of the character classes that would be featured (and those that would not). Excluding the Druid, and Necromancer classes, for example, caused an uproar from Diablo 2 fans who assumed they would have similar classes, with better graphics, story, and adventure.
Blizzard clearly saw things differently though. Creating an expansive world that never changes (excepting from patch to patch), and is both overwhelmingly easy and boring to play through. At least, off the top of game play, that is exactly the exuding vibe.
In its defense, there certainly was immense graphical improvements, with exhilarating cut scenes, and well defined environments, but the over all gaming experience left much to be desired...at least until one hits level seventy. Below are ten reasons why Diablo 3 is both boring, and breeding lazy gamers...and five reasons why Blizzard is still in the clear; having created a fantastic game in Diablo 3.
15 Pro: Awesome Story
Why not start off with one of the good aspects of the game, before getting into it properly? One thing that Diablo 3 must be praised for, is its fantastic story line. Heartbreaking, and visually stunning. Being reintroduced to familiar characters like Cain, and Tyrael (and in a lesser sense: the likes of Adria, and Leoric), really gave Diablo fans a wonderful sense of home. And then to be introduced to Cain's niece was a fun way to add what could have been a love interest (but thankfully was not, in a cohesive way from both Cain and Adria. The heart break (spoilers ahead), comes from the death of Cain, and the righteous ripping of Tyrael's wings. Again, with the brilliant cut scenes to bolster the story arc, it is beautifully acted, and animated. Meeting characters like Imperius, and Malthael really add to the intensity, and urgency of playing through the game, and saving Sanctuary. That being said, that urgency may be thanks to the need to beat the game, and break level seventy before anything gets interesting in game play. But no matter what, the story is gripping, engaging, and does not fail to impress upon gamers the gravity of the situation in which they're put.
14 Con: Slog To Level 70
So here's the thing. The game is overwhelmingly easy but still must be beaten the hell out of to reach level seventy (unless of course one is playing online, and getting rushed by someone who is already a god in the game). Why is it so important to reach level seventy? Well, as this author discovered, whilst playing through it, as amazing as the story is: there is really no exciting game play until one reaches that level. There are only three difficulty levels available at the outset of the game, and each of them are far too easy, but a whole new world opens up once one reaches this final level, and begins the process of building up their paragon points. If one loves crafting equipment: pointless until level seventy. If one wants some degree of challenge: pointless until level seventy. If one desires to play through adventure mode: pointless until level seventy (though one can play in this mode as soon as the game is complete -- both original game and expansion, that is).
13 Con: The Expansion Is The Actual Game
As aforementioned, one can only play the adventure mode in Diablo 3 (which really is the game proper), if one has beaten both the original game, as well as the Reaper of Souls expansion. This means, of course, that one must purchase both the game, and the expansion to have any real fun (as the main story is much easier to play through than Diablo 2). for some, this would have come as a pain in the ass, and for those who play the game on console (for which it was much better adapted than its previous sequel), both the game, and expansion come together with purchase, no matter what. As easy as the story is to play through, the fact that one must run through the main story acts, and then complete an additional one just in order to have some actually fun game play, makes this initial foray into Diablo 3 a fairly boring trek. Thankfully there are some great cut scenes, and voice journals that one comes across in an attempt to keep the player interested in what's going on. But imagine not being able to actually enjoy Diablo 2 unless one purchased, and had beaten Lord of Destruction. Granted, the expansion was stellar, but not a necessary part of game enjoyment as Reaper of Souls truly is.
12 Con: The Useless Book Of Cain
So as spoiled above (five years after the game's release) Cain dies in this instalment of Diablo. When playing through, one might wonder then just how all of their items would be identified. Would one have to continually waste gold and inventory space on scrolls and tomes of identify? Nope, not even close. Because what kind of boring game would have something as minutely challenging as that? Instead there is the Book of Cain (which is an actual book that can be purchased online, full of all of the lore one comes across in the game). This book, in game play, can be used to identify all items that require it, at once. This is indeed a handy tool, and makes up, somewhat, for the loss of Deckard Cain. However, if one is traveling through a dungeon, and comes across what may appear to be a superior weapon, one will hardly want to wait to go back to town. No problem! Simply click on the damned item, and identify by one's self. How useless can something be rendered in so quick a time? What point is there to use the book? How is it that suddenly the protagonist can simply identify with one click, without scrolls? The only point to Cain's book then, is if somehow one ends up with multiple, unidentified items at once (which would hardly happen if one can identify at will, on the field of battle). There used to be strategy based around how much inventory space was allotted to scrolls, and how many visits to town to visit Cain would be made. Now, there is an easy, and boring solution to this.
11 Pro: Bounties And Rifts Are Bountiful
Once one purchases Reaper of Souls, and once one beats both the game proper, and the expansion, and once one finally reaches level seventy: both bounties, and rifts become the name of the game. The interesting thing about Diablo 3 is that there really isn't a lengthy story line, but it is engaging enough to get a gamer through the boring stuff (for the most part). But the game play doesn't really begin until one starts in on bounties and rifts. Why is that? Well, the sheer amount of diversity in gear, and enemy engagement is spectacular. Leveling up becomes easy (though it will be only into paragon levels at this point, where one can begin to become a god). Levels can also begin to become actually difficult (should one choose). Then there's the ability to harness item powers, craft amazing gear, and journey to other dimensions to fight several big bosses at once, in exchange for some great stuff. Even all the way down to the treasure goblins who, yes are found in the main game, but are far more varied, and challenging once one reaches the ability to alter difficulty, and challenge one's self. Two brilliant additions of the game that certainly keep gamers gaming.
10 Con: A Pathetic Replacement For The Necromancer
If there was one thing that Blizzard really messed up, it was the exclusion of certain characters in order to add some new, and fun ones. Unfortunately, in the case of the witch doctor, new is the only one of those two aspects that apply. A sorry replacement for the well loved necromancer, the witch doctor is perhaps one of the most boring characters, if not the most boring character to have ever graced a Diablo game, and that includes the very first instalment. So seemingly boring and useless is this character that, unlike the game, this author could not be bothered to see him through till level seventy in order to discover if he gets any better. With no direct physical attack, the witch doctor is a very cumbersome, and unexciting addition to the Diablo roster. Character classes like the druid and the necromancer made Diablo 2 a far superior game than if they had no been present. At least the paladin class is hardly missed (so long as one has the Reaper of Souls expansion), for the crusader is a much more balanced character over all.
9 Con: Whatever Happened To Difficulty?
As alluded to several times above, Diablo 3 is not a very difficult game to beat. In fact, it is borderline insulting that Blizzard thought it should render the game possible for a two-year-old to play, and beat with ease. As one will observe in the photo above, there are three highlighted difficulties. Each of these are basically as breezy as the last, with only a few bonuses the higher one goes. Even the Master difficulty is not much better. Not until one breaks into the Torment levels is there any sense of true difficulty. For those Diablo fans, think back to facing Duriel in Diablo 2 for the first time. This big, hard hitting, and fast demon slug, on the easiest difficulty, could be a handful the first time out. How many town portals did one attempt to cast in order to heal, revive mercenary, and head back for another slog? With Diablo 3, there is something missing in that regard. Now, it could be that Blizzard did this on purpose to make the story line an easy play, before really digging into the fantastic functions of the actual game play later one...but then those who are without the expansion are left with nothing but an extremely easy game, that is doing nothing but collecting dust on the shelf.
8 Pro: Thankfully The Necromancer Returns!
Though there is no specific date yet set, there is a new expansion of sorts coming to Diablo 3 that is complete with the character class of the beloved necromancer. Sometime in 2017, gone will be the days of the shoddy witch doctor replacement, and in will come the raiser of the dead. Now, Blizzard has already stated that this character will be quite different from the Diablo 2 version, so it really does remain to be seen just how good this addition to the game will be, but the excitement that has been building since the announcement is mounting with overwhelming joy. Especially given that one comes across a necromancer several time during game play of Diablo 3, and is thusly constantly reminded that one cannot play as the once amazing character. Ultimately, as long as one can raise a skeletal army, gamers will likely not care what else has changed about this class. The fact that it will exist once again in the Diablo universe is something worthy of praise to Blizzard. Giving players what they want, in this regard, is going to be a huge money maker for them (since the character does not come in a new patch, but will be sold as a separate character expansion).
7 Con: The Town Portal Used To Be A Challenge
Granted, it was never much of a challenge, but at least one had to go out of the way to find, or purchase scrolls of town portal, and eventually tomes in which to put these scrolls (once one sourced enough money early on in the game). But in Diablo 3, the scrolls and the tomes have been gotten rid of. One simply has the ability to cast a town portal on a whim, without and adverse effect. True, one can be interrupted in the casting of this portal by enemies, but there are items and powers that put an end to that fairly quick, and given the ease of the game, it's never too hard to find a space to cast, and complete the portal. Much like the identification issue with the useless Book of Cain, and the additional ability to identify at will, this town portal nonsense makes for ultimately a less challenging, and more boring game. And the powers one can harness, or the items one can find in order to aid in the casting of town portal simply put an indestructible shield around the character while casting. If one were interested in streamlining this process, Blizzard should simply have made the portal instant in that regard. Otherwise it just becomes a waste of time, without worry of monsters getting in the way. Making the game more...boring!
6 Con: Potions Are Pointless
Yes, potions, one of the things always needed in inventory in both Diablo 1 and 2, have now been rendered useless. Potions are ultimately pointless in this game. For starters, there is no more use of mana in any way shape or form. The closest one comes to mana, is the wizard's use of arcane. But instead of potions for character's skill usage, one has wrath, or arcane, or some other type of power that is boosted by basic skills. So the mana potion, or rejuvenation potion are rendered obsolete. As for health potions, there is only one slot for health, it does not take up inventory space, and it is set on a timer. So one can only use a potion once, and then must wait for the turn of the clock before using it again. In a way this can make the game more difficult in that health is not always readily available (though some health potions drops, and there are still health shrines to be found as well), but in Diablo 2, one had to plan out how much space potions would take in inventory, as well as on belt pouches (especially depending how many slots a particular belt may have), and also sort out what type of potions: whether they be for attack, or health. There are other potions in Diablo 3 that one can utilize that rejuvenate different qualities of a given character, but these are not available for use until level sixty one, and not likely acquired until well after level seventy. And they are used in place of the health potion; still only affording one slot for their use.
5 Con: Same Old Maps (Diablo 2 Did Better 17 Years Ago!)
The dungeons of Diablo 3 are indeed very pretty, greatly detailed, and engaging as well, but they are all the same. Whether in story mode, hunting bounties, or running rifts, the maps remain the exact same. True, in the case of rifts at least, they may be dished out in different orders then one might be used to, but they are, regardless, still the same. In Diablo 2, there was a wonderful world to explore that shifted with every new game. Things would never quite be in the exact same place as before. Of course one could randomly come across a map that had been played previously, but the wide expanse of varied maps between first and second encounter is certainly more than enough to make one forget that fact. But, in Diablo 3, one is always wandering the same hallways, running down the same stairs, and slaughtering one's way through the same caverns. There is nothing particularly exhilarating about the maps of Diablo 3 once one has gone through the game in full once. So boring these maps can be that this author happens to know someone who consistently falls asleep while running the deserts of act two.
4 Pro: Kanai's Cube Is Killer!
Perhaps one of the best functions of the game, Kanai's Cube allows the user to extract powers from items, and use them separately from the original item from which it came. One can also reforge legendary items, upgrade rare items, convert items, and open portals to other dimensions through use of the cube. Hearkening back to Diablo 2, Kanai's Cube is a wonderful homage to the Horardric Cube of days past. Though Kanai's Cube is not an inventory item (which then allows greater storage), it does have remarkable abilities akin to, and greater than those of the Horadric Cube. Even the discovery of the cube is an exciting adventure. Journeying to the ruins of Sescheron is a wonderful post-game adventure that just goes to show how good the game can be once the level seventy, expansion-beating hump is overcome. Knowing that one is worthy of acquiring such an artifact, and working alongside Zoltan Kulle once again (though he does no longer turn against the party), such amazing secrets of crafting, and capturing as never imagined before in a Diablo game are opened to the world of the gamer.
3 Con: General Crafting Is Useless
There is a neat function of crafting in this game whereby one must upgrade, and level up the different merchants in order to obtain schematics for the building of certain items. Unfortunately, almost without exception, these items are absolutely pointless to craft in the early stages of the game. Thankfully, there is a whole slew of crafting materials to be found on the corpses of enemies, and in the salvaging of items clogging up one's inventory, but one can hardly find a use for these materials until, yet again, that level seventy, expansion-completion gap is crossed. The notion of crafting, and indeed the post game crafting, is indeed a great idea (and does eventually come in handy), but leaving one open to the temptation of building a weapon greater than the one found in a dungeon, dropped by an elite enemy, is just mean. And this sort of temptation makes for pointless, repetitive, and boring crafting, in vain hope of creating something worthwhile.
2 Con: Way Points Are A Waste
Much like the town portals, way points have also found their way to being a complete waste of time. If, in Diablo 2, one could simply bring up the map, click on a destination, and appear there without issue, the game would have been rendered far inferior than it turned out to be. True enough that the way points are indeed necessary for some stretch of the main story mode game play, but this fact appears to be strictly so that one is given the chance to use way points before the real game is unveiled, and one can simply hope from place to place via the map. The same thing applies here as it does with the town portal issue: there is a great deal of strategy, excitement, and anxiety lost to this map-jumping ability. It was once worrisome to players to discover that they were running low on, or indeed had used up all of their scrolls of town portal. This would make for either a long, tiring, and difficult journey home, or a slog into battle in the hopes of finding a scroll on the corpse of a foe. This engaged the player more with the fictional realm in which they'd been put. To simply be able to bounce back and forth, a player is taken out of the suspended disbelief, and views the game as...simply a game, rather than a world to really explore.
1 Pro: The Diablo 1 Patch Makes It All Better!
This one aspect of Diablo 3, however brief it was, is perhaps one of the greatest reasons that it is ok that Diablo 3 can be too easy, and quite boring. Celebrating the twentieth anniversary of the Diablo franchise, Blizzard put together a small dungeon in the style of Diablo 1. Once through the portal to this homage, even the graphics change to an older, clunkier, and choppy style, circa the very last day of 1996. It has its flaws in that there are few rewards for the anniversary event, and the game play over all is not changed to match that of the original installment of the franchise, but there is a great sense of nostalgia, however brief it may have been. Encountering enemies of old, like the Butcher, Leoric, and the original Diablo himself, instantly transports those gamers around for the first Diablo into a world long past. Mini dungeons like the Halls of the Blind, or the Chamber of Bone did just the same as well. The three worthwhile prizes for this little event were the two pets one could acquire (the Calf, and the Butcher -- in a smaller, cuter form), and the red soul shard. This item, placed into a character's helmet, allows a random burst of devastating Diablo fire that can char enemies en masse. Oh, and there is one other brilliant part of this event -- the original, and awfully frustrating cut scene from the ending of Diablo 1. If Blizzard can keep people with such simple things (promising more events like it), then Diablo 3 will be the driving force of the franchise for years to come.