For #6, we have a game that became a polarizing experience for many, while still being one of the most successful games this year.
A new Blizzard title is always cause for celebration and the release of Diablo 3 was no exception. The sequel to one of the best PC games and one of Blizzard’s flagship series was a big deal for many.
What we got was an interesting mix of old and new design: the classic hack and slash loot piñata formula, with a new skill system.
The skill system which drew polarizing opinions from old and new gamers was one of my favorite additions to the series. Instead of being locked into game deciding choices with skill points, players could mix and match the various skills into a number of unique builds.
Combined with adding skill altering runes helped gave Diablo 3 a lot more variety and flavor in terms of character design. The skill system was just one of the several ways Blizzard attempted to streamline the design for new gamers.
The big change was the primary attribute progression system. Before, every attribute had some noticeable impact for the player to consider when building their character. But in Diablo 3, each class had one attribute that affected both attack damage and defense.
With only one attribute factored in, this greatly simplified choices when it came to what gear to wear. And made the auction house system a more viable option for getting gear that would matter for your character.
However, all the changes built towards simplicity were one of the main problems with Diablo 3 and why it didn’t rank higher on my list. The simple act of finding upgrades became too much of a crap-shoot and combined with the overall difficulty of inferno difficulty made the game frustrating.
High end loot such as set and legendary items was nowhere near as useful or amazing as rare items due to the lack of useful modifiers. The game definitely had a pacing issue with the game being very easy for the first three difficulty levels, making it hard to fully see how different builds would work. After which hitting the player over the head with inferno with enemies who could kill the player in a few shots.
Since launch Blizzard has been trying to make amends in several ways. The loot tables have been re-balanced to making higher loot better and the chance of finding ones that you could use better. A change to set and legendary items have increased their stats while providing item specific modifiers.
The big win would have to be the monster power setting that was introduced a few patches ago. By adjusting the monster power setting, players could increase the stats of enemies while raising the item find rate. Allowing them to both make the game more challenging and provide them with a greater chance of being rewarded at the same time.
Lastly, there has been the addition of new end game content in the form of the infernal machine, which when put together will allow players to fight extra hard versions of the bosses for a new item. The prospect of more events like this one has me hoping that this wasn’t just a onetime deal.
Whether or not Blizzard can win back the fans that got burned on the initial release remains up in the air. But regardless of how I felt about Diablo 3, I still spent over 80 hours playing it, which is a testament to how well the core concept of the game was designed.
This, by the way made Diablo 3 my 2nd most time spent playing one game this year. And to give everyone a clue, the game I spent the most time on is my #1 pick which we’ll be talking about very soon.
Up Next: Number 5