Greedy Goblin

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Diablo III vs WoW

There is a new post on my blog every workday for 3 years, excluding maybe holidays. No one pays me for blogging. I do it because of internal motivation. I guess it proves pretty well that I take pride of my work and consider effective working internally rewarding (you can use the term "fun" if you want to, I don't really like it). Such motivation makes me a perfect customer for the MMO market. Yet I'm considering leaving WoW. I won't leave  yet and will definitely wait for the next expansion. However staying is based on my hopes and not my experience. If Ghostcrawler would say "we are pretty satisfied with Cataclysm and the next expansion will be new content played the same way", I'd unsubscribe today. WoW endgame is a dexterity game and I don't like them.

Actually current WoW is a bad game because it starts with boring grind and continues with a dexterity endgame. The dexterity players (who could be the target audience) quit before 85, most "hard working" player quit at 85. 

I have high expectation to Diablo III. I played Diablo II a lot, despite it's called "grinding" game. "Grinding" is not the same as "hard working". Grinding is a series of trivially easy steps continuing forever. In WoW leveling my effectivity is capped by external factors like mob distance and disengage distance. I could kill more mobs if I could pull more, but I can't, so I'm forced to kill them one by one slowly despite they provide no challenge. I could go to attack orange mobs (who are challenging), but such activity is not rewarded by the game, I get less XP/hour fighting them.

Diablo II (and according to the beta videos Diablo III) is a "hard working" game. I can effectively pull more monsters increasing both my challenge and my XP and loot/hour ratio. From the first fallen to Hell Baal trash I felt that my skill is challenged, as I dictated the pace, and via that the difficulty, just like in a work. A more skilled worker finishes the same job faster while doing good effort. In a good "hard working" game, the more skilled player finishes the level faster while doing his best, while a less skilled finishes it slower, doing his best. They both have fun. In a bad grinding game (that is tuned to newbies), the more skilled player finishes the level in the same time as the newbie while being terribly bored.

What Diablo II lacked is the endgame. Hell Baal dies, game over. Of course there are players who keep on killing him for more gear, but what the gear is good for? I seriously hope that Inferno difficulty Diablo III won't be "for everyone" and will be very hard, giving me lot of time of entertainment beating it. I would love to spend 1000+ hours finishing Diablo III.

Diablo III (assuming that it can't be facerolled on Inferno) will be a perfect "hard working" game as progress depends on the quantity and quality of your play, everyone finds the perfect difficulty automatically by breezing trough the easy content to the point when it's not easy anymore. A newbie may have to slow down and pull carefully at the end of Act 1, I might have to do it at Nightmare difficulty or even later, but after a short period (which is masked by exploring the new world),  everyone will battle challenging monsters. Everyone will progress on the same content, no one will feel that latecomers or losers get all the rewards for free. Yet late newbies can catch up in a way that rewards the veterans: by buying gear from them in the AH.

If Diablo turns out to be a long-standing game, I will change the blog focus to it, giving gold (and therefore $) making tips once again.


Squishalot said...

Good post. Your comment about adjusting difficulty by pulling more is a factor that many people completely forget is possible in Diablo - running through the map, rounding up mobs, and fighting through them all at once in a giant melee (or single-handedly kiting a horde). Or, for the newbie, kiting individual mobs out of a pack and beating down on them one at a time.

Looking forward to your change in focus, as I think that WoW stagnation is starting to stagnate your blog as well (in terms of the quality of posts and comments), and having a fresh game to talk about will help significantly.

Andru said...

In my opinion, you should give other MMOs some trys before focusing on D3. Personally, I found D2 completely and utterly soul-crushingly boring. In fact, even though I don't play WoW anymore, WoW was subjectively less boring for me than D2 ever was. With a precedent like that, I'm not extremely encouraged to try D3.

Personally, I think that MMOs are irreconciliably different from single-player grinding games. Why? Because the single-player part must be perfectly balanced with party play. If it's harder, the single-player segment will inevitably whine that their single-player game is stolen by the multiplayer crowd. If it's easier, no one but socials will form groups.

Alas, these are the pitfalls of trying to make a single-player game use the same content for both segemnts. In WoW doesn't happen, since you can't solo raids. But can you imagine the outrage if Blizzard would say: "You must group up to kill Diablo"?

I'm rather expecting great things from GW2, and while SWTOR lost its appeal to me recently, might give that a try too.

Tom said...

It seems that, based on evidence, the talented game-theorists and programmers have move to D3 and the next Blizz IP. Gevlon, I hope you devote your gameplay hours analysis to the new things. WoW is now old and boring...don't tie your blog to that boat-anchor...

Energybomb said...

Gevlon, I know what you mean. It is the reason I left too. As allayed for vanilla the game was simply...the same, only more watered down and thoughtless.

I never understood why you don't try eve. It is a paradise for your philosophy. Everyone stabbing everyone else's back when it fits them. Even "friends". Goes miles to show what you have been trying to say ie that common profit outbeats a fake friendship at every turn.

Anonymous said...

@ Andru: Blizzard has said that players must group up to kill Inferno Mode Diablo. In fact they said players will have to group for for ANYTHING on inferno mode.

I think both from a gameing perspective and a blogging perspective (due to the real money aspect) D3 will be a superior game to wow.

And.. seriously.. D2 was more challenging open ended (due to so many class builds) then Wow currently is.

Foo said...

I think your dissaffection has a different cause. You are unable to show your goals (enlightened self interest over social) with the current wow model.

Communication and helping others learn the dance (and you can teach them; or even learn them together) trumps individual excellence.

While there is more dance in firelands raids than in previous raids; dance has been a feature on every 'hard' fight during Wrath as well as Cataclysm.

The pinacle fights of the previous expansion : Yogg Saron (normal mode - never saw Algaroth), Lich King was the same. Lots of dance; with a modest DPS requirement.

Even your undergeared project would have been significantly dancing; more so than the overgeared model.

You do have a valid point though, the end game has very little to do with the levelling game. This was a claim that I first heard levelling during the dying days of Burning Crusade.

If someone was to release a game where you could skip directly to end game 'dance' raiding (via cash shop or even just by choice), I suspect WoW would suffer an even greater loss of players.

Ulv said...

I've also got to a similar place with my WoW playing.

Sat in firelands working on 25-man HC kills and I realised I was bored with the content. Even HC modes which are 'new' were not new but more gimmicky fights.

WoW seems to have adopted fight mechanics that are closer to FPS shooters than even Wrath content. I don't find this satisfying - maybe that's a factor of my age or that I never got on with that genre.

I'm also looking forwards to D3, Diablo and D2 were my all-time favourites but my MMO time will be moving to The Old Republic when it is released.

About 50% of my current WoW guild is moving to the game so we'll be exploring the new story as a team.

Unknown said...

I think that WoW offers a great leveling experience if you are a new player (who does not know the game at all).

Tons of quests, items, rewards and achievements. Infinite places to visit and things to do. And don't forget the deep lore tied to the game (only SWOTOR can compete on this field).

These are all things that surely wont get your attention, because you focus on something else and you already know the game too much. But from a new player's perspective I think the game has a lot to offer.

Problem is... will Blizzard be able to catch enough interest among the new players... tocompensate the inevitable loss of "old" customers? Only time will tell.

p.s. Good post.

Jessica said...

I wonder if you really can expect any huge changes for the next expansion. Wow is what it is and perhaps it's time for you too to look around for your next destination, heading out on the roads again.

Four months after quitting Wow completely, it's definitely out of my veins. It feels like a far distant memory. But it took a little while. While I was in it, I was there with all my heart and effort and attention.

I didn't keep my blog. I did a break for a few months and started a new one and I'm very happy with this choice. I'm starting to feel more and more at home with my new place. A fresh start, without expectations or set ideas about who I am and what I write. That was actually quite nice. But maybe you'll be better off just switching games.

In any case, regardless of how you do choose to do it - best of luck from your old buddie (if a goblin can have such a thing) with the pink pigtails.

Luppé said...

One of the reasons why I think Diablo 2 lasted as long as it did, was because of the map generator. Although the quests were always the same ("find the stone circle"), a new world was generated for each character you rolled, creating a lot of replay value through the "exploration" factor you mentioned in a previous post.

Most games today have brilliant graphics but linear routes with nothing to explore (Bioshock anyone?) I hope Diablo 3 does not turn out this way, as I'm looking forward to it.

Ralph said...

Ah, I just *have* to mention this Jessica: I was reading your comment and after the first paragraph I caught myself thinking: I know this writer!!.

I haven't checked your new blog at all, but apparently there is something so unique about your writing style that it immediately popped out screaming LARISSA to me. Just a reflection.

And...on topic: although GreedyGoblin is still one of the top WoW blogs out there, I do like the way you think here. Good post.

Joshua said...

Interesting post. I might suggest guild wars 2 if only because it somewhat resembles a game idea you had long ago. Player actions or inactions alter the landscape and control of cities. Mobs conquer villages, you loose battles and people are killed. Or you win it back and restore part of it and get new goals based on that. Still you have the same issues. . .socials. Just an idea.

Look forward to seeing your work on D3. In fact, I believe there is a loot goblin there that you get to kick to get loot from. A throw back to Golden Axe.

Samus said...

It seems you are arguing for the City of Heroes system. You can adjust the level of your missions from -1 to +4, and increase the number of group members you count as.

You could hypothetically attempt to solo a full team's worth of enemies 5 levels above you. Most would consider this impossible, but that's the point. However skilled or unskilled you are, you can find your correct difficulty level.

And yes, you defintely get much better xp per hour, and much better drops, if you up the difficulty (and you can handle it).

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that Diablo's pulling difficuly works that differently than Wow, afterall you still have groups of mobs standing around waiting for you to get within their aggro radius, how many groups you pull can be regulated in both games. Specifically referring to the cannon fodder type mobs, not bosses or specials, I think what is different is perhaps how the balance of health and attack power differs between the two games, WoW favours slighly longer cannon fodder fights whereas Diable throws a great many more mobs at you at a faster rate (by default) but they don't have as much health (relative to their WoW cousins) nor hit as hard, this gives the illusion of being able to charge through and mow down much more in Diablo that WoW.

Anyway, I must say mashing hordes of Diable denizens does appeal to me and reminds me of my younger days playing Gaunlet in the arcades

I do however feel there is a serious question mark over the longevity of Diablo vs Wow though.

Wow has a complex and rich world with many 'simple' sub-games (gathering, crafting) as well as more complex meta-games such as AH PvP (fighting your enemies with trade rather than in the BG's). Also once you'd burn't through the standard dungeons, some of them could be re-played solo by coming up with novel uses of game mechanics as a challenging form of solo play, I believe you did this yourself for a time.

As contrast, whilst I've never played any Diablo, I have played Torchlight which is I understand a reasonable approximation of the Diablo experience. Torchlight utilises some fixed dungeon design with random generation.

The problem I had was that most of the quests consisted of 'find item/mob X on level Y of area/dungeon Z', all of which just seemed to be names picked from a (probably vast) lookup table. After a while I started to feel like a hamster on a wheel, the dungeons just consisted of cleverly designed squares randomly joined together with mob spawners at key points. There was an occasional boss battle and then that was it.

I stopped playing Torchlight after about a week as I didn't find anywhere near enough variation in activities that WoW had.

I realise that Diablo is not Torchlight, but from the extensive YouTubes of the Beta so far I'm not seeing a real lot of difference.
Hopefully the AH will be as compelling as it is in WoW and allow me to conduct AH PvP that I so enjoy in WoW, perhaps paying for my subscription while I'm at it.

Anonymous said...

"WoW favours slighly longer cannon fodder fights whereas Diable throws a great many more mobs at you at a faster rate (by default) but they don't have as much health (relative to their WoW cousins) nor hit as hard"

Actually in D2 normal mobs hit very hard and have a lot of health. But gear plays way bigger role in D2 than in current WoW - in Nightmare equipment you will most likely struggle in Hell, running for your life from any bigger pack in the first two maps, while with good gear you can kill reasonably fast and safe and in best equipment you easily solo Baal runs in 8 player games.

I also hope there will be interesting end game - the one thing D2 sorely missed. Well, sort of end game could be levelling to cap (but with the sheer amount of bots it was not really desirable for normal player I think) and of course amassing wealth - used to get equipment for other characters - especially to try various challenging/experimental builds like Riftadin, Bearsorc, Riftsin and of course to gear characters for pvp (not surprisingly the most costly endeavour of all).

Actually compared to WoW, D2 had quite interesting advantages - death penalty (especially at levels 90+ the experience loss was painful even in softcore), periodic wipe - new ladder with fresh characters, actually good equipment system basically creating the whole meta game (balancing stats, ratings, availability, random results of crafts, cost...).


Christof said...

the difference is the "flow", it is difficult to explain, but once you feel it you know what the term means.
Diablo 2 just gets its gameplay right.

Anonymous said...

Your post here details exactly why I started getting seriously into Guild Wars about a year ago. Self paced challenge, no silly dance moves.

Caramael said...

If D3 will be anywhere near as good as D2, then switching the focus of your blog will be an excellent decision. Looking forward to join "The PuG" in D3.

Bronte said...

I sincerely doubt they can sit in their cushy campus offices and say Cataclysm was a resounding success. It is the only expansion that saw a decline in subscriptions and if the blogosphere is to be believed, there isn't a lot of positive sentiment towards WoW in the last six months or so.

And you can't quit! I just joined your guild!

Anonymous said...

You will be playing Diablo3 long after you reached the end level and being gear capped.

Real money involved here. I can't wait until they introduce the RMAH in a free to play Wow in 2013.