It’s been nearly eight years since the release of hack n' slash RPG Diablo 3, and we're champing at the bit to sink our teeth into the upcoming Diablo 4 - whenever that may be.
However, as nostalgic as we are for Diablo 3, there’s no denying that the game initially launched with a number of design and technical issues that saw developer Blizzard dealing with fan backlash.
We’re hoping history won’t repeat itself, so we’ve laid out seven of the biggest mistakes Blizzard made with Diablo 3 and how the developer can - or plans to - rectify them in Diablo 4.
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Why play when you can buy?
The auction house was a major problem with Diablo 3. For those unfamiliar with it, basically you could exchange items not only with in-game currency, but also with real money. This quickly became a game-breaker when players stopped playing to get better loot. Why spend your time grinding when you could just buy the parts needed to move forward? Players spent more time trading items at the auction house than actually playing the game.
Fortunately, executive producer Allen Adham has stated that an auction house won’t appear in Diablo 4, but there will be a trading system of some sort. We hope this system only improves the market between players without harming the desire to actually play the game, perhaps doing away with the pay-to-win option altogether.
"The servers are busy at this time. Please try again later. (Error 37)". This frustrating message will probably be familiar to anyone who played Diablo 3 at launch. Error 37 was an extremely common issue for those trying to log into their accounts. It quickly became a nightmare for the majority of players, even creating one of the most famous gaming memes of the last decade.
The connectivity issues wouldn’t have been so much of a problem if you could play Diablo 3 offline. Alas, you couldn’t even do that.While playing on PC, you always needed to be connected to Blizzard’s Battle.net client. As incredible as it might sound, this issue still exists if you play on PC. On the other hand, console players have the option of playing offline (and it plays fantastic on Switch).
Unfortunately, we know that Diablo 4 will not feature an offline mode. So we will just have to hope we aren't plagued with connectivity issues once more.
Give players freedom
Character customization changed drastically between Diablo 3 and the previous entries in the series. For example, in Diablo 3, you couldn’t assign stat points for your character as you leveled up, it was automatic. However, these points were completely free to assign in both the original Diablo and its sequel. You were no longer capable of creating hybrid characters or more unusual builds in Diablo 3.
Furthermore, something similar happened with the skill trees. Previously you got “random” skills in Diablo, because they were based on drops. In Diablo 2, you were asked to choose specific skills and reject some of them. There was a weight in deciding how to build your character and it encouraged you to try multiple characters. But, in Diablo 3, there were no choices to be made: you would unlock all of the skills just by leveling up.
These two issues aren’t only about freedom, either. They significantly made the game easier, because you weren’t able to make “wrong” decisions while building your character. While it’s something that could ultimately end up ruining your game, and most players may be grateful that it’s no longer possible, at the same we think it’s something that changed the series’ soul.
It seems Diablo 4 will give players more control again, as each class has a talent tree that allows players to customize their build.
Nerf the items
While completing dungeons in Diablo 3, you might have discarded most of the loot you found because it was simply useless. Nevertheless, this doesn’t mean that items were ineffective. In fact, quite the contrary: the damage your character inflicted was almost exclusively defined by the items we carried. This decision made the aforementioned issue with the stats and skill trees even worse.
Diablo 3 had a strong focus on set items, and basically you only needed to find that item and the rest of your character progression didn’t matter. Once again, there was limited customization when it came to equipping your character - making for a less exciting experience.
Also, we kind of missed the runes from Diablo 2. They added more depth and finding worthy combinations was an interesting task. However we know that, in Diablo 4, the rune system is gone completely, instead replaced by a system that sees you spending points on skills to improve them - with some gainer new effects at higher levels. But, you’ll be able to enhance equipment and weapons through a new Rune Word socketing system.
While it’s not a mistake of Diablo 3, it’s worth noting the fan backlash to Blizzard’s recent Warcraft 3: Reforged. Warcraft: Reforged has a lot of problems including automatic defeats on campaign, no clans, no ranked matches, recycled cinematics, framerate issues and no customizable keys.
But arguably one of the biggest issues with Warcraft 3: Reforged is that the content created by players is owned by Blizzard. That means the company can distribute and use the content as they please, preventing players from distributing or reusing their own content.
We hope this isn’t the case with Diablo 4 but Blizzard hasn’t shed any light on whether this is the case so far.
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