I’m near the end of Act III in Diablo III‘s “Hell” difficulty mode, and at this point, I find myself being incredibly annoyed by some of the game’s features — especially as they pertain to multiplayer with the D3 community.
Here are the things that have me incredibly close to saying the hell with the game; shelving it until that first expansion pack arrives:
Auction House: Initially, this seemed like a good idea, but in reality, I find the Auction House to be a detriment. Just like in World of Warcraft, you’ll often experience gear-bias in multiplayer groups, with other players deeming your gear to not be up to their standards. What this amounts to is a lot of unwanted gear-related scrutiny from other players, instructing you to play the Auction House mini-game to get the gear that they think you should have, when all you want to do is simply go play the goddamn game. This kind of gear-over-skill mentality is a highly irritating holdover from one of the worst aspects of WoW, and the existence of the Auction House only exacerbates the problem. (Nothing is more annoying than popping into a new multiplayer game and having someone harass you for your “damage and armor scores”, as they inspect your toon for gear stats — instead of taking off to play the game.)
It also doesn’t help that truly good gear for your level and difficulty setting rarely drop, forcing you to use the Auction House to some extent. You can try to ignore that the Auction House even exists, but sooner or later, you’ll find that the game seems to be forcing you to use it in order to advance even the slightest bit.
(Oh yeah…it’s buggy as all get-out, too.)
Character Skills: In single-player, the many different skills and abilities you can choose from is a great feature that enhances the gameplay and fun factor, but by having “builds”, it becomes a pain-in-the-ass in multiplayer. It doesn’t take long in multiplayer mode till you come across “experts” spending time telling you what skills you should be using and how you should be playing your character. I find nearly all of the abilities to be effective in one way or another, and to Blizzard’s credit, they’re varied enough to fit just about every type of play-style. However, you’ll come across other players who will give you shit about not playing the current “build o’ the day” — whether it fits your particular play-style or not. (Again, another one of WoW‘s worst qualities.)
Spam: When I first became fed up of the endless chat channel spam in WoW (many, many years ago), it occurred to me that keeping a blacklist of advertised domain names would be a good way for Blizzard to cut down on the gold/power-level spammer’s advertising. All of those types of channel spam mention a URL, so removing the ability to post those particular URLs goes a long way in cutting down on the bullshite. But here we are, many years down the road, and Blizzard STILL hasn’t implemented any such system. And after the last update to D3, you’re automatically logged in to the “General” chat channel, and pretty much all you’ll see is paragraph after paragraph of gold and power-level spam. You can manually choose to leave the channel, but it resets every time you log out, and there’s no setting to opt-out of automatically joining the “spam” channel.
Crafting: For some reason, Blizzard thought that bringing pseudo-crafting to D3 was a good idea, and as they have proven previously with WoW, they simply don’t understand how to implement a crafting system that is worth a damn. In D3, you simply spend loads of gold training the blacksmith and jeweler up in levels, and with each level, you can buy new items from them for more gold plus various collected materials. The thing is, though, all of the crafted items are generally pretty crappy, and you will have always collected FAR better stuff off the battlefield. Other than for collecting a couple of achievements and wasting hundreds of thousands of gold pieces, this lame-ass “crafting” feature is utterly worthless. (Yet AGAIN, just like in WoW.)
WoW-Derived Gameplay: The staple of World of Warcraft raiding — “Don’t stand in the fire/poison clouds/shite puddles!” — is featured prominently throughout D3, from both bosses and less important mobs alike. Not only that, but you’ll also find cooldowns on character abilities, as well as on potion use. These two mechanics alone make the game feel very much like mini-WoW, but Blizzard went the extra mile and dumbed the game down by not only making it much more linear, but by adding indicators pointing to your objectives on the mini-map. The overall mystery of the stages and the need to heavily explore them to get through the game has sadly been gimped.
Completely intentional or not, Blizzard brought too many elements from World of Warcraft over to D3’s design, and it adds some tarnish to the game. To be fair, some of my complaints can’t be blamed on Blizzard at all, and are entirely related to the more annoying portion of WoW‘s populace who made the move over to D3 and brought their old habits with them.
It’s funny that back when the first screenshots of D3 were released, so many of us were concerned with the game looking too much like WoW…but now we’re finding that perhaps the game feels a bit too much like WoW instead.