I’ve been wanting to write this review for a while now, and have had a very hard time figuring out where I stand with this game. I was a huge fan of Diablo, Diablo 2, and Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction. They were really the pinnacle of top down, kill all, click click click, Dungeon Crawlers. They were all about playing several times through on each difficulty to get slightly better gear, to do slightly better damage, so you could kill things slightly faster, to get slightly better gear. They really were one of the first truly addictive games. And the nice thing was, you could either play them for hours on end, or jump in for 5 minutes shop or crawl, and leave again.
So, fast forward to Diablo 3, and you have many of those same things. The click click click is still there. As is the gear race. But… something ended up missing. I haven’t ever quite put my finger on it, but several friends, and others online have all claimed it was the Auction House(s). The game released with the Gold Auction House. This allowed you to spend Gold (from the game) to buy gear (and conversely, sell gear). Which, at face value, is a great idea. There were just a few problems.
- It unfairly biased the game toward farmers. Those that spent all their time collecting gold, so they could buy gear.
- It took away the challenge from early game since you could pretty easily buy very good gear, if not sexy gear, for cheap
- And most of all, Blizzard didn’t implement any kind of FED, or organization to regulate the value of gold. So VERY quickly, things that used to cost 10,000 gold, started being listed at 100,000 or 1,000,000 gold.
Some of the above was made WORSE by the Real Money Auction House. This allowed people to spend real currency on items. And as you’d guess, it allowed you to buy gold for currency as well. Further exacerbating the gold inflation issue. Plus, once real money was brought into the equation, things just didn’t feel right.
Now, to Blizzard’s credit, they heard these complaints, and as of March 18, 2014, both the Gold and Real Money Auction Houses will shut down. At the same time, they’re going to be implementing a new Loot system which hopefully will fill the gap the Auction House will leave.
All that aside, the Story of the game was pretty good, though it felt a bit too much like a Diablo 2 remake. This being largely due to the reuse of the “lands” that were in Diablo 2. Obviously they looked much better, but it just always felt like I knew what was going to happen next since it seemed like I had been there before. This may have been due to me playing through Diablo 2 and LOD in the previous months. I’m sure Blizzard did this for continuity rather than out of laziness, but for me, it felt more of the latter rather than the former. But I’ll admit, I have to be careful bitching about any of this too much, since a friend of mine was on the writing team1, and the gameplay was quite good once they got the kinks worked out. And obviously the issues with launch were non-minor, but I’ll cut them some slack for that. It can be extremely hard to load test a system that is going to host over a million users.
And since I first started this post, and now, they’ve announced an expansion due at some point in the future (I would guess around the Auction Houses shutting down, but that’s purely a guess). Will I play it? Absolutely2. I’m a Blizzard whore (even though I still haven’t played Heart of the Swarm).
You can see my character profiles here (at Diablo 3 Ladders).