The release of Diablo 3 last year for PC was a big deal, the kind of massive natural disaster too big for words but constantly finding myself informed about. "Servers? Bad? Blizzard? Bad? Servers? Good? Good. Auction house? Bad? I can't go through this again, eventually everyone will appreciate the auction house..." No, that was wrong. And its actually really sad, this one community of players, a group I might define as dedicated and loving of Diablo 2, kind of got completely screwed.
Yeah, there was lots of anger, but that sort of makes sense. You can look at really old posts on Blizzards forums and people are angry about servers and always online, then they say, "It seems fixed, now hopefully this auction house thing works right." D'oh. My admission-not a PC gamer, when last I dealt with that space it was just too much effort and only for people who knew what they were doing. There weren't really people making gaming rigs, if you felt like redoing your system every few months go for it, but it wasn't for me. Half life was a great game though, I'm glad I saw that from the inside, it was a beautiful experience.
So when Diablo 3 released for consoles last week I wanted to check it out. I've dealt with a love of Borderlands for a while now, and Diablo sort of made that thing happen, right?
Well, Diablo 3 was, famously, not created by the people involved in the original games, some have even gone so far as to say the people didn't care about the source material. Others might mention that the auction house feature throws a fee back to the people who made the game, which is weird for a game you already purchased. Others, maybe the most crazy I thought, that the game was designed to be ported to a console, that it was overly-simplified for consoles.
So the game finally released for consoles, guess people weren't that crazy, but when Blizzard representatives came out at the PS3 launch everyone has to admit they didn't think a game from last year would be the reason. "But is it good?" you say. Yeah, Diablo 3 on console is very good, but it's also just another step in this weird saga. If you decide to go to the Diablo 3 area on reddit it's weird as hell. 2 different camps, 2 different versions of 1 game, like occupiers in a foreign country. PC and console animosity at that weird level not often dealt with since the industry has so completely segregated itself that only MOBAs, most of Blizzard, and a handful of other groups are really thought of as solely PC. But all these groups seem to be making a move towards expanding on consoles if they have that ability, yet as gamers we all decide based on where we get our news and info-is it a site for PC gamers or not.
So, Diablo 3 isn't news any more, you won't see a lot of press compared to a fresh release. But the console port is quite fun. The story can't be changed, so it's not quite stellar. They focused a lot on art assets in the game, a few cinematics, some good voice acting, but to someone who hasn't played the previous games it doesn't do itself any favors. I liked not knowing this world more than knowing it cause it's pretty dumb, "trash fantasy" has been thrown around. The world is a series of maps with some random elements, which can be dungeons or events. I wish the dungeons were bigger, but I guess since people wouldn't want to deal with the stuff while farming it would be content going to waste.
Let's cut to the chase, this is a loot grab. Figuratively from a publisher standpoint and literally from a game mechanics one. The auction house, the other precautions, when Diablo 3 first released on PC it was a paragon of the ways in which modern publishers try to maintain their profitability and yet these, to borrow the phrase, draconian measures really just added pressure to a group of gamers that already wanted to give all their money to whoever would give them Diablo 3. But it is pretty clear, as consoles are getting an upgrade of Diablo's most recent patch, that over the next year the developers learned a lot of game design lessons the hard way. Loot drops more frequently on console, no it's not always better gear, but gear isn't segregated by level now so if you get a piece of gear it might be that awesome bow from before-this gives players a freedom of play that I always like in my games. And they have the paragon system, so while you're running around harder difficulties looking for upgrades you still get that satisfaction, Pavlovian though it may be, that only comes with leveling up.
And of course players have "Reaper of Souls" to look forward to, and now that they've successfully expanded the player base that's a lot of people. Diablo is still a problematic game, that endless loot running at the end is just a weird mechanic and sort of screams of being before developers understood expansions or DLC. But it was kind of beautiful for that.
Demos of Diablo 3 are available on consoles. What does everyone think of this release or the bigger story in general?