Diablo 3 – My Review

I’m not an avid gamer, but I do play to clear my mind from time-to-time… keeps me sane.  And I’m not a console gamer, I’m what you’d call a Blizzard fanboy… I ONLY play Blizzard games (since Warcraft II in 1995 TM).  I really just haven’t had the time or interest to pickup anything else, and Blizzard games have satisfied whatever gaming cravings I’ve ever had, from WC2, WC3, D2, Starcraft, SC2 and yes of course, world of warcraft.  So Diablo 3 came out I of course had to give it a go.  Here’s my review.

Storyline:  I actually really enjoyed the storyline and the cinematics were wonderful. However the story lacked depth and left little for me to actually get into and become part of the adventure.  And by lacking depth, I mean it was short… damn short!  I felt there should have been at least 4 more acts, with far more storyline and subsequent cinematics.  The entire story should have taken you [at least close] to level 60, not 30!

I also felt like there was a complete lack of an original story.  Act III felt like it was straight out of Lord of the Rings, which of course is awesome, but not original.

The story was also very close-ended.  You get to the end and there’s really no questions asked… you beat the game.  That’s it.  Nothing really left to think about for an expansion. And you’re reward for beating the game?  You get to start the exact same storyline all over again!  Are you kidding?  But wait for it… this time it’s harder!  Don’t everyone clap at once.

ONLINE EXPERIENCE:  OK Blizz… I understand why the required login was created.  Being immersed in the whole battle.net universe thing is supposed to be cool and convenient and grants Blizz full control over the game.  And honestly, chatting with wow guild members while I’m playing D3 is nice.  I also don’t mind Blizz keeping the cheating to a minimum… so granting that control to Blizzard doesn’t really bother me.  I’ve heard there have already been exploits, cheers to Blizz for finding them and correcting them.  I have an internet connection wherever I go and that’s not gonna change, so whatever.  I pay for my games, so this type of DRM doesn’t really bother me… in fact I enjoy the fact I don’t have to buy the stupid media anymore… I saved a tree and contributed to being green for the week.  However, the whole online experience is just done wrong.

Like warcraft III, the online environment needs to allow for PvP and custom maps (although custom maps shouldn’t allow leveling).  The auction house in it’s current state is just awful… you can’t find anything.  The AH should be an improvement upon wow’s current system, which works well.  And speaking of the AH, why can I only auction off 10 items at a time and why can’t I cancel my auctions?  And finally on the AH note, I’m fine with the real money AH so long as it’s optional and I don’t have to participate.

Joining a public game is ridiculous.  9 times out of 10 the guy in the public game is AFK.  This should be a matchmaking process more like WC3/SC2.

I find the lack of guilds, or the inability to join one, exceptionally annoying.  I’d honestly love it it if there were a way to have my wow guild be all-encompassing; meaning it already existed in D3 and was an option available to members upon signing in.  This way, the people I already knew were already there.  It would have been nice to join a guild so I could team up with others doing the same content as me as opposed to the terrible experience of trying to join a public game.

Also, web profiles (not necessarily the API) should have been ready and available AT LAUNCH!

Server problems… seriously Blizzard… you underestimated how many people were going to login the first night?  With over 1 million Diablo passes from a warcraft annual subscription, not being prepared for anything less than 4-5 million people logging in was failure.  It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out.

Gameplay: Unlike most other reviews I’ve read, I find the gameplay surprisingly good.  I was doing just fine on my own, thinking talent builds were pretty useless until I got to Diablo, which forced me to refine and learn my capabilities so I could kill him (admittedly, I did get some help).  I actually appreciated this.  Granted, I’ve only played the Demon Hunter at this point, so maybe the other classes are out of whack and I just don’t know it.  I really don’t plan on finding out though because I don’t really find any of the other classes all that appealing.

I find gear pretty pointless.  I’m getting hit 3-5 times by non-elite mobs and dying.  Oddly enough, I get hit 3-5 times by elite (blue or gold) mobs and I die too, so everything seems to be hitting me the same, which I find odd.  You’d think the non-elites wouldn’t hit nearly as hard… not the case.  I could walk around with no gear on and two weapons in my hand and accomplish the same thing.  The lesson here… 99% of the gameplay is running away and avoiding being hit by mobs.  If you can runaway from a mob and occasionally turn around and shoot, you have successfully mastered D3.  BORING!  More boring considering you’re on the same maps again at level 30.

Health potions are far too expensive.

The gold drop rate is surprisingly good.

I understand Diablo is a point-and-click/mouse game.  Guess what?  All of us who loved D1 and D2 are no longer in our teens and twenties… clicking the mouse endlessly for more than an hour hurts like hell.  Why in the world wasn’t it also added into the game to use your arrow keys or customize/hotkey moving around to our keyboard?

Graphics: If you haven’t heard already, the graphics are horribly bad, embarrassing even.  For a company such as Blizzard to put out a game with graphics this terrible in an era or 64-bit gaming with uber high end video cards, there’s no excuse for a new game to come out that looks like it’s graphics are being rendered on the Nintendo Wii.  The entire D3 graphics team needs to be fired.  Like seriously, I’ve seen better graphics on Playstation 2 games. Here are some samples from my high end video card with all the settings maxed out:

Checkout the jagged edges in character base… lets forget about the fact you can’t zoom into your character.

and look at Leah’s arm… just bad.

Coming from the same video card that rendered this in Mists of Pandaria:

You can visually see how bad the anti-aliasing is… something I never experienced in Warcraft (although you can experience it if you turn the settings down) or Starcraft.  This really just looks like they used the same D2 graphic engine and increased the 800×600 maximum resolution.  And considering this whole game is based off of loot and building your character, I’m surprised more effort wasn’t put into zooming into your character both in and out of the game.  I don’t want to login to the map I’m on just to zoom in and I don’t want to have to open the profile viewer to rotate my character… this should be able to be done on the character selection screen.  And I shouldn’t have to map the stinking scroll wheel on my mouse to keybindings for the ONE level of zoom… zooming needs to be like wow.

Audio: The soundtrack is awesome!  I have the D2 soundtrack in my MP3 library and the D3 soundtrack is definitely just as good if not better.  The one downside is that the narrator voiceovers for lore/books are extremely difficult to hear whether I’m on my laptop or on my desktop’s 5.1 surround.

Overall, I’m sorry Blizzard, but I give the game a 2 out of 10, and that’s being generous.  What really concerns me is ALL of these issues were brought up in the beta forums before game launch.  And this is honestly the first time I’ve seen Blizzard completely ignore their users.  This game should have been delayed for another year.  I was really expecting this to be another Blizzard game where you stay up for 72-hours straight because you can’t put the game down.  But I killed Diablo in less than 24 hours and putting the game down for breaks in between was easy… D3 never gave me an opportunity to immerse myself in the game and become a part of the adventure… it was all on the surface.  Is this what we can expect from MoP… oh I hope not!  Diablo 3 is missing the most important things I’ve come to expect from Blizzard and why I tolerate the outlandish Blizzard BS when it comes to your release dates; thought, care and polish… exactly what makes Blizzard game worth waiting for.  Diablo 3 is just… bad.  And having played only Blizzard games for nearly 20 years, this is honestly the first bad game I’ve played in that time.  I guess it’s nice to know (but unfortunate) that even Blizzard does crappy work from time to time… they are humans afterall (well maybe goblins).

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