Send it Back to Hell

Diablo III for PC and Mac

I have been meaning to write about my abandonment of Diablo III for a couple weeks now, but have been so irritated by the state of the game, that even the opportunity to whinge about it has been a turn-off.

But anyways…

I’ve complained previously about how D3 has a bit too much of a World of Warcraft feeling, and while that IS unfortunate, that isn’t what ruined it for me.  What ruined the game for me is the purposely crippled “carrot-on-a-stick” gameplay mechanic that the franchise is known for.  A Diablo game has always been about finding better loot so you can fight better opponents.  It’s that acquisition of great loot (not the great loot itself) that feeds your desire to venture onwards, often repeatedly through the game, for many months or even years to come.  If you invested a bit of time in Diablo or its sequel, you knew that you would regularly be rewarded with some gear that would help you advance.  In Diablo III — especially after patch 1.0.3 — it’s clear that Blizzard has left the stick in place, but has hidden the carrot behind their Real Money Auction House (aka, “RMAH”) “feature”.  In fact, you can totally bypass the game proper and acquire great loot without ever killing a single minion of Hell.  All one need to do is open their wallet.

I’ve put more time into the game than I care to admit, and while I’ve found a great many magical items, I’ve never found anything that was very useful to my character at the level in which I found it.  No matter how much time I invest in Blizzard’s Chinese gold-farming trainer, the loot never makes for anything more than “vendor trash”.

Diablo III Real Money Auction House

The biggest enemy to be found in Diablo III is the “Real Money Auction House”.

I bring this up, because I called bullshite on Blizzard’s “RMAH” as soon as I heard about it, and had intended to ignore it altogether.  But what one finds out as they plow through D3, is that the game is designed to force you into the Auction House in order for you to advance past a certain point.  The drop rates on decent loot seems to be extremely low, and in a nutshell, you either spend an absolutely ridiculous amount of time farming the same area over-and-over in attempt to raise millions of gold to buy decent Auction House gear, or you skip the boring and life-consuming grind by paying REAL money in the “RMAH” for your pixelated 1’s and 0’s.  To me, the game is deserving of neither option, so I choose to tell it…and Blizzard/Activision…to piss off.

Of course, there is no mystery as to Acti-Blizzard’s motivation for the whole Auction House scheme…  At a charge of $1 per transaction plus an additional 15%, they clearly have it designed to print an absurd amount of money, for what they assumed would be a long-running proposition like Diablo II (a game still played to this day; 11 years after it’s release).  But what Blizzard apparently failed to consider, is that unlike Diablo III, Diablo II was a game solidly built around FUN.  You were rewarded for playing, and you could certainly find “phat lewts” for a little investment of time.  And also unlike D3, D2 got better with each update, as at that time, Blizzard was concerned with merely making the best game they could.  With D3, each update only proves the point that Blizzard wants to force you even harder into their “RMAH” money pit.  (The removal of special drops from destructibles like barrels and the astronomically increasing repair rates that wipe out hours of earned gold all point to this.)  Clearly, this is a company that is no longer concerned with making a great game that exists primarily to entertain the paying customer, but is instead solely concerned with creating a device that extends income past the $60 retail price of the core game.

Diablo III is all about the money

Yep. That pretty much sums it up.

In short, Diablo III was designed, and is continuing to be designed, around the “Real Money Auction House”, not the idea of fun for the player.

This is all so very unfortunate, because just like the success of World of Warcraft  has seemingly ruined the MMO genre, that game’s success seems to have also ruined one of the absolute greatest game developers of all-time.  I fear that Blizzard is no longer the master of the art that they once were, and have simply devolved into a whorish studio, willing to increase the shareholders profit by any means necessary — even at the cost of the quality of their games.  (I believe their upcoming MMO project, codenamed Titan, will prove this point even further, as it will surely be even more focused on an “RMAH” type of mechanic than Diablo III is.)

I had originally recommended Diablo III, and I still do, but only if you could get it at $20 or less.  At $60, D3 has proven to be one of most regrettable video game purchases I’ve made in a while.

About the author

Fatsquatch

Discovered as a young 'Squatchling in a Pacific Northwest woodland area in the mid-70's, Fatsquatch was soon domesticated and introduced to the fledgling arcade scene, where he became addicted to the magical sights and sounds of gaming. As years passed, his addiction only worsened, and eventually lead to his desire to write about all things gaming from a veteran point-of-view. Hence, Fatsquatch created The Jaded Gamer in 2001, and set about leading it into permanent obscurity.

Readers Comments (4)

  1. This is the same sentiment I have been hearing about this game. I haven’t played it and don’t plan on playing it. I stopped playing Blizzard games after they merged with Activision as I saw this as the beginning of the end. The last Blizzard game I played was Warcraft 3 which was probably the last good game they made IMO. It’s a damn shame.

    The industry is being ruined by day 1 DLC and micro transactions and you know Blizzards next MMO will be free to play in favor of “paying your way through the game” via micro transactions that will cost you 100’s of dollars instead of the good old $50 that it used to be. Oh well… at least the independent games scene is thriving now thanks to digital distribution and crowd funding…

  2. I agree with you, with the exception that Blizzard’s “Titan” MMO will be free-to-play. I’m quite confident they’ll charge $60 for the box and $15-per-month for access…all the while having a version of Diablo III’s Real Money Auction House in it for the extra profit.

    At its core, Diablo III isn’t much more than a test-run for this RMAH bullshit in their upcoming MMO…a test-run that they knew would also bring in LARGE profits on box sales from dedicated fans of the Diablo franchise.

    As one of those fans, it’s pretty damn tough to not feel duped.

  3. Yep Fat, pretty much on target. My wife and I are still playing, but only because Hardcore mode adds some excitement. I figure I’ve gotten my $60 worth, but my image of Blizzard has been forever tarnished. They let greed damage the fun of their game: a short term gain, but a long term mistake.

    Zfunk has it pegged: if you want innovation and idealism in gaming, you’ve gotta go to the indie developers.


  4. Dana:

    …but my image of Blizzard has been forever tarnished. They let greed damage the fun of their game: a short term gain, but a long term mistake.

    I’m with you completely on that.

    I think we all had a feeling that Blizzard was in danger of going downhill when WoW became so stupidly successful, and even more so when Activision came into the picture. Discovering that their main objective with D3 was to release an RMAH app (with a less important game “feature” attached to it) only proved those fears were founded.

    And yes…long-live Indie game development!

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