May 24 2012
Inferno seems like a wall at this point, if Hell’s difficulty is any indication. I assume there will be patches and fixes and update and new strategies crafted, but until then, it’s where my characters will probably stop playing.
I want to swing back to something that’s the core of all Diablo titles, and one of the major issues the game seems to have: loot dropping. I’ve come to terms with the fact that there are no more Baal runs. The game has made that explicitly clear by having bosses drop ZERO rare items in Nightmare and beyond. While it’s annoying that even the FIRST time you kill Diablo himself in Nightmare you get nothing good, I accept that the best items are found in the roaming champion mobs around the land, and the way to get better gear is to move forward in the difficulty.
But past that, there are many, many issues that need to be dealt with, or at least explained. For starters, With my 55 hours, my friend’s 40 and my roommate’s 20, that’s a solid hundred or more hours of gameplay where between us we’ve found exactly ONE unique legendary item. It was my Witch Doctor in Act I of Normal that stumbled across a level 7 unique monk weapon (which was garbage), and we’ve seen nothing similar since.
The only good place to find Legendaries is the Auction House.
I understand low drop rates, but to find ONE legendary item in over 100 hours of gameplay seems ridiculous. Equally goofy are the stats on Magic (blue) and Rare (yellow) items that make up 99.99999% of the other drops. Blue items are now not only viable, but they’re actually TOO good at times. No one finds joy in picking up a blue, but it’s strange when it ends up being better than the high level rare you have in terms of damage or stats. There are even reports that some blues have stats better than Legendaries themselves, and it seems like a bad system. No one wants to be decked out in blues in Hell mode. Rares and Legendaries need to be buffed, and the drop rate of the latter needs to be increased.
But why won’t it be? Why are Legendaries so hard to come by? The Auction House, which is itself the source of much confusion in the game. Blizzard didn’t want the market flooded with the best items, so they’re making legendary drops almost non-existent. That’s great for the economy, but bad for players trying to farm items and have fun.
The Auction House in general seems like it mucks up the entire point of the game. In Diablo 2, there were only a few ways to get the best items in the game. Either you would farm until they dropped, or you would farm until other items dropped that you could trade for what you wanted. You either needed skill in farming, or skill in bartering, but now? All you have to do is grind, as gold is king.
Simply put, the Auction House has made farming for items and the new smithing system almost entirely useless. Why spend time farming for a vitality item when you can just plug in +100 vitality to the Auction House and spend 10K on what you’re looking for? Why spend time and money rolling the dice crafting 12 pairs of rare pants when you can go to the auction house and get exactly what you’re looking for at a fifth of the price?
If you can spend real money on items, I haven’t found that part of the AH yet.
I guess Blizzard doesn’t realize that most people think the fun of Diablo is not beating the levels, but getting the best gear. Before it required a lot of luck and a lot of trading skill to get what you wanted. But now? It’s only about the hours you put in amassing gold. Anyone can buy anything with simply enough grinding.
It’s funny, because this whole system was put in place to PREVENT as much mindless grinding. If you’ve played the game for X amount of time to get X amount of gold, you deserve to have the item you’re looking for. I guess it’s kind of nice in that regard, but I felt almost like…a cheater when I finally broke down and buffed up my health by 10K by spending 60K in the Auction House for new items for my Barbarian. That said, without these upgrades, I probably wouldn’t have been able to move forward in Hell, so it’s kind of a two way street. I’m still trying to figure out if it’s a better or worse system than the old way, but all I know for sure is that it would be nice to find more than one legendary on my own every hundred hours.
The game is fun, but obviously rushed. Outside of the problems with the items, it’s clear things started to get hurried toward the end of development. Acts 1 and 2 have 10 missions each. Act 3 has 7, Act 4 has 4. Even though this game took a decade to come out, it clearly had to sprint near the end to meet some deadlines, and it shows.
It’s undeniably enjoyable in many ways, but there are a great many issues that are going to have to be sorted out if they want people to keep playing at higher levels. I’ll see you back in here in another week or two, and we’ll see if the game has evolved any further.
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