Much like everyone else that played Diablo 2, I highly anticipated the release of Diablo 3. As difficult as it is to imagine, my unwavering impatience was kept at bay by the idea that the Blizzard of 2012 would get it right just as the Blizzard of 2000 did. It was simply a matter of “shut up and take my money!” In hindsight, I’m surprised I was so naive.
Diablo 3 isn’t a bad game but it’s not true to it’s roots. Had Diablo 3 come out under another name, I’d of played, finished and shelved it without feeling any animosity towards the developers because it’s a fun and fast paced game. It’s a game that held my attention for a few months yet my expectation was that it would hold it for just as long (if not longer) than it’s predecessor did. This wasn’t meant to be a pleasant surprise like Titan Quest or Torchlight, this was Diablo 3!
To be fair, Blizzard have taken steps to improve the fun and longevity of the game but these changes to date have barely held my attention and they’ve somewhat missed the mark. News today is that dueling is going live in the 1.0.7 patch (which will no doubt conincide with the open beta launch of Path of Exile) but to be honest, I don’t really care. At best, I might log in, give it a whirl and then log out. What Blizzard is probably hoping – yet what I won’t do – is bust out the credit card to buy gear from the RMAH in order to win duels.
There’s a disconnect between Blizzard and their audience. A perfect example of this is the paid name update for Starcraft 2 – due to the delay, they’ll be granting everyone another free name change yet they fail to understand the reasons people want unlimited (free) name changes to begin with. It’s not just some of their games that are a mess, their culture is fundamentally broken as well.
When any news article mentions the success of Diablo 3, there is little doubt they’re referring to the financial success of the title. Being the lead designer of the fastest and best selling PC title in history will no doubt do wonders for Jay Wilson’s career should he seek employment at another studio – one where the success of a game is solely measured by the bottom line. People ask why this clown has yet to be removed but why would they fire him when Diablo 3 has been a huge success for the company? Jay Wilson and co are measured by the bottom line, not what a bunch of Diablo 2 players think about the quality of the game.
What the number crunchers don’t know or understand – what we as gamers do – is that he claimed such titles on the back of Diablo 2 and not of his own merit. It wouldn’t be fair to place the blame for Diablo 3 solely on Jay Wilson, Blizzard shoulder much of it themselves.
Much of my time as a teenager was spent playing Diablo 1 and 2, Warcraft 1 and 2 as well as Starcraft. These titles defined the positive in what were awkward years for not only myself but many others. Having played World of Warcraft since launch day, it too provided many enjoyable years. Starcraft 2 was one of a few early warning signals that things are no longer as they once were.
I didn’t buy Mists of Pandaria, I won’t be buying Heart of the Swarm nor will I get any expansions for Diablo 3. I’ll be taking a wait and see approach for future titles such as Titan and Blizzard All Stars. When Jay Wilson talks about “Blizzard Quality”, he may as well be speaking a foreign language because the quality of which he thinks he speaks is no longer there.
Believe it or not, I’m not out to convince anyone to stop playing Blizzard games. If you enjoy Diablo 3, all the more to you. I’m trying to reach those who are probably of a similar age who remember how things were and want something to fill the gap that Diablo 3 didn’t. That might sound like the ramblings of an old gamer but there is a game on the horizon that is a fitting successor to Diablo 2. That game of course is Path of Exile.
I’ve been playing PoE since early December and it’s been a long time since I’ve been so excited for the release of a game. While the art style and graphics are perhaps lacking a little polish (I actually like it but it’s a common objection people raise), it more than makes up for it with it’s skill and passive point system. If you enjoy building characters, PoE hits the spot. I strongly encourage you to give it a go.
Open beta (essentially a soft launch) is set to begin in a mere 12 days time. If you’re a fan of Diablo 2 (or even Diablo 3), this is one game you don’t want to miss! Check it out at http://www.pathofexile.com/