What's Wrong with Diablo 3?

by Winterfate

An article touching upon several negative details that have marred Diablo 3's quality and, by extension, the Diablo franchise.

Don't get me wrong, I want to love Diablo 3. I think any self-proclaimed Blizzard fanboy wants them to succeed. However, there are currently too many things wrong with Diablo 3 as of today. Patch 1.0.4 will soon be released to attempt to address some of the most blatant issues, but I believe that it is just a bandage on a hemorrhaging wound. What are some of the problems with Diablo 3 right now? Well, read on and I'll list four of them.

1. Worthless Legendaries

Garbage with nicely-colored text.

Legendary items are the top tier of items in Diablo 3. Essentially the equivalent of Uniques in earlier iterations, Legendary items have a variety of solid bonuses including some unique modifiers not normally found in other items of the same type (such as Life on Hit on pants for example). Or, rather, they are supposed to. To be honest, I've had three Legendary drops as of the time of this writing and two of them have been vendor trash. The third one might be viable for a Barbarian at the specific level, but is still rather underpowered.

What gives Blizzard? Aren't these supposed to be the best items in the game; barring perfectly rolled rares of course? I sincerely feel that someone decked out in full Legendary gear should be in the top ten to twenty percent of the server community in terms of competence and ability to clear Inferno (as long as said Legendaries actually help your build of course). Only someone equipped with perfect rares for every single item slot should consistently outperform the Legendary character.

Or, take the easy way out and rename them Uniques again. At least there you can justify some of them (read: most of them) being worthless and devoid of everything except collector's value.

What will Blizzard do: This is one of the chief issues Blizzard is addressing in Patch 1.0.4. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

2. Nephalem Valor

Because a longer item grind is somehow better than a shorter item grind.

You may be surprised to find this in my list, but the concept of Nephalem Valor (or NV for short) bugs me. In theory, it is pretty cool. Once your character has reached the level cap of 60, when you kill an Elite mob (Champion or Unique), you get a stack of Nephalem Valor. You can store up to five stacks of NV and each one will give you 15% gold find and 15% magic find. At maximum stacks of Nephalem Valor, you get a bonus, guaranteed, rare when you kill a Champion pack, a unique, or a boss. However, it runs counter to what most people did for their item grinding needs in Diablo 2.

Back in the day, you picked a boss (usually Mephisto or Baal) and repeatedly ran him over and over again to get loot. Or get ninja looted by your party members, because drops were grouped and not individual like in Diablo 3, but I digress.

Now, to do the equivalent of a Mephisto/Baal run, you'd have to kill Elites until you get maximum stacks of NV, go kill the boss you want to kill, and then maybe get something good (read: cross your fingers the guaranteed rare doesn't absolutely stink).

What will Blizzard do: Probably nothing. The idea of boss running isn't popular with the Diablo 3 development team. Same reason why actually reaching a boss is so hard; so you can't grind boss runs.

My opinion: This feels like a carrot added to the game to force people to play Diablo 3 for longer periods of time or not be efficient. Feels so much like an MMO in that respect. Which brings me to negative point #3...

3. Diablo 3 - The MMOARPG

Massively Multiplayer Online Action Role Playing Game (What a mouthful!)

Part of the problem with Diablo 3's design is that everything is about the grind. I'm not going to act like Diablo 2 had no grinding elements, because that would be delusional. However, the grind in Diablo 2 was vastly more satisfying. See, if you wanted to play solo offline, you could open up the console in Diablo 2 and type in /players8. Voila! The game acts like you're in a full party and adjusts difficulty and drops accordingly. If you want to party, then the amount of loot dropped increases. In Diablo 3, you share your Magic and Gold Find with your teammates. Drops are individual and don't really get any better even with a full party of four to be honest. The only positive thing I can say is that if you're addicted to playing alone, you won't be in any real disadvantage. However, that's the only good thing I can say about the topic.

It gets worse, of course. Legendary items have a terrible drop rate, and I already explained why that's bad in the first section (if they're going to be super-rare, the least they could do is not be glorified vendor trash). Good items, once you reach level cap, are hideously rare too. Most items you'll find are, at best, as good as what you already have on. Most other items are just flat-out worse. The game seriously needs to stop dropping item level 50 items at Inferno difficulty.

Dying at level cap is atrocious. My capped monk has about one million gold in gear and it costs me about five thousand gold in repair bills every time I die. In theory, it's a good system, as punishment for death is a good game mechanic. However, when every other Elite has Molten or Mortar (they're bugged as of right now, by the way), it becomes more of an endurance race than a video game.

What will Blizzard do: This one is really tricky. Maybe they'll fix it. The part about the repair bills is going to get fixed a bit in the next patch. However, maybe they won't fix the other stuff.  If they don't fix it, it's because World of Warcraft subscriptions are recurring profits and Diablo 3 is a one-time profit. Of course, if I'm right about their motivations (and it's a cynical view, so I hope not), I'm going to be saddened.. If they do fix it, it's because they genuinely care about the game. We'll see. I hope they do fix it though. The grind should be satisfying.

Why does this happen, you may wonder? The Real Money Auction House. Blizzard wants you to get tired of the grind, give in to the temptation, and shell out some real cash for the items that would take you weeks to get realistically (if you're lucky). I'll elaborate in the next section.


4. The Real Money Auction House

A disguised rat wheel for both buyer and seller.

This is probably the worst thing to happen to the Diablo franchise. See, while the above points are bad, this one single-handedly ruined the game. You can thank the real money auction house for the terrible drop rates in-game, as they want to maintain a sense of scarcity so that supply never exceeds demand. I wrote an article a while ago predicting what would happen to the in-game economy (and the game itself!) once the real money auction house came into being, and it seems I was largely correct.

It is genius in one aspect though: It makes people grind and actually be appreciate of the grind. It's actually evil, if you analyze it. See, everyone is playing the game to get that one godly drop that will sell for over ten million gold in the gold auction house, boost their own character into the ranks of the top players, and then farm the game repeatedly to get salable items for the real money auction house. The mere existence of the real money auction house makes people grind in an attempt to place even one item that sells for cash.

The worst part is the fact that it has influenced so many other aspects of Diablo 3 as well.

What will Blizzard do: Nothing. The entire game is built around the concept of the auction house. If they wanted to do something, they'd have to make Diablo 4 auction house free (yeah, and pigs fly while I'm saying hyperbolic and unrealistic things). The damage is done for this particular iteration of the franchise.


These are just four of the things that are currently wrong with Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo 3. I'm sure that you may disagree with some of these. Some of you may have your own, differing, ideas as to what's wrong with Diablo 3 currently. Feel free to talk about what you believe is wrong with this entry in the Diablo franchise in the comments section below.

Until the next time, take care and have fun! ;)


Updated: 08/13/2012, Winterfate
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