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Diablo 3 Review - Is Blizzard Failing the Gaming Community?
With the launch of Blizzard Entertainment's anxiously anticipated PC game, Diablo 3, starting off with huge server problems and thousands of disgruntled gamers... the now owners of D3 appear to be gravitating into two camps. Whether you belong to D3's defenders or D3's complainers, everyone should at least acknowledge the apparent short-comings of Diablo III and Blizzard's failings to live up to all the hype they created for their most recent title.
The problems go much deeper than simply releasing a game that needs to be patched because of server issues and lag.
Addressing just the server bugs and lag...
This should have been avoidable. Blizzard already runs the largest MMO on the planet, WoW. They also launched StarCraft II which required gamers to be connected to play Single Player and started with multiplayer from day one. That launch did not turn into the catastrophe Diablo III's did.
Blizzard's games have been intertwined with servers since the original Diablo and the launch of Battle.net. They're pretty much experts in this department by now.
Then there's the stress test and the pre-sales data. Either Blizzard rushed the launch of an already delayed game without the proper infrastructure in place, or the company made a bottom line call to just ignore the numbers. Either way, they totally dropped the ball. They apologized, but did so in a less than sincere way, with some jokes, and stating they thought they overshot the server stress-load estimate.
Now, the DRM.
If you check out the first link above, one commenter compared buying a video game to buying a car, while another said you cannot compare the two.
What makes this different than a car? I get to test-drive a car. And not just a piece of the car, the whole car. I can take it on the freeway, try out the AC, play with the gadgets, everything. Then, I can decide whether or not to buy it. If I do buy it and decide within so many days I don't like it, I usually can return it or exchange it, especially if it's brand new.
Diablo III on the other hand... I cannot really test play the game before launch. Even if I play the first couple of hours, I will be disappointed. I'll barely be able to touch the tip of crafting available, the battles will seem very mundane and repetitive, the story not all that compelling, the crypt and graveyard graphics a bit dull.
So, I buy the game. If I don't like it, I cannot return it. I cannot exchange it. $60 down the drain. I cannot even sell the game to someone else.
You combine these factors:
1. Inability to really test a product before purchase.
2. Inability to return or exchange a product or sell it to someone else.
3. Servers making it unable to play the game at launch.
4. Servers causing lag so bad during a game that one cannot play the game well.
And now you, as a gamer and a consumer, start to really feel cheated.
But wait, the wound festers more.
You're not just some gamer, some prospective buyer. You've been buying Blizzard games for well over a decade. You bought the original Diablo and Diablo II. You stuck by Blizzard even when they let the core developers of those games go because of creative disputes. You stood by them even after they butchered WoW with patches and expansions that catered to kids.
Your reward as a loyal fan and customer? To be backed into a corner. To be tricked into buying a game with inherent server problems which you cannot do anything about. You feel robbed. Not just because Blizzard stole your trust, but they also stole your money, and they do not seem to care.
Then you look at their grand plan, the Auction House. How long did theyhunt down players for selling their "digital property," for selling intangible gear and characters you created and slaved to get? Now, they finally figured on a way to profit from it. They decided to become the eBay of Diablo gear and make millions off of players earning and finding digital loot. Blizzard's imaginary loot. A scheme that runs on borderline gambling facilitation.
You look back at that $60 you paid. You look back at how Blizzard threw your trust out the window. Diablo III should have been free. Blizzard will be making residual income from the game for years, possibly on par with WoW. And this time they didn't have to promise anything in return in the way of new content or expanding the game.
And this game… this game they plan to profit so highly from that they cannot even launch it properly.
What Diablo 3 gamers are really complaining about.
Many positive player reviews dismiss the negative ratings as simply disgruntled players who could not jump right into the game on midnight on launch day. But if you actually read those reviews, you'll find them littered with other complaints…
- Poor and linear story.
- Dated and series breaking graphics.
- Dated top down view of game-play with no camera control.
- Lack of character model customization.
- Too simplified character ability and progression systems.
- The beginning of the game is too easy.
- And in the end… more of the same. A similar problem plaguing SC2.
So yes, there are many other flaws surrounding Diablo III that long time Blizzard fans are very disappointed about. That gamers in general are disappointed about.
Some of the items on the list may seem dismissive because the original Diablo games did not feature them.
- We never had control of the camera.
- Diablo never had that great of a story.
- Diablo's graphics were never revolutionary.
All true. But after this many years, after all the hype, after games like Dragon Age, Skyrim, etc, and considering the largest gaming company on the planet put this game out… they could have done much more than create Diablo 2.5. There's nothing groundbreaking about the game, so why such the big deal? Why not just create another expansion for Diablo II?
More of the same.
It just feels like to many gamers that Blizzard did the bare minimum in creating the next Diablo game and did as much as it could to build a hack-proof DRM. Yes, this is Diablo, but it is in many ways the Diablo you remember. And that's the biggest problem.
We stopped playing Diablo II, just like we stopped playing StarCraft. We wore those titles out. When Blizzard brings us back to these worlds, we expect something vastly new and intriguing to revitalize our thirst and addiction. But when it’s more of the same, it just leaves a bitter taste in our mouths.
Pile on all the 9.0 ratings from critics, who at this point appear insane to many Blizzard gamers (especially because some of them point out the same flaws, but still give the game an A rating because, well, it's Blizzard and it's Diablo), and factor back in the terrible launch and $60 gone forever…
What a bitter taste. What a bitter taste indeed.
as long as we live in a country that grants freedom of speech and glorifies our capitalist system of supply and demand. Gamers have every right to complain about Diablo IIIThese are the masses speaking out, these are the consumers demanding.
Blizzard Entertainment... the beginning of the end?
At this point, Blizzard has much to answer for. Unfortunately, along with the critics and a few other gamers, the company appears to be completely oblivious to it all, or just doesn't care.
Alexis de Tocqueville once equated democracy with mediocrity, rule by the masses as a force depriving people of greatness. Too many gamers feel Blizzard has lowered its standards and that the company feels that mediocrity and simplicity are what gamers want.
And now Blizzard might go the way of Square, a once great game developer that no longer caters to it's long time fan base and today creates "average" games.