Greedy Goblin

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"We're not douchebags"

I read the transcript of the press conference on Blizzcon. In this, Jay Wilson from the Diablo III team stated: "We're not really concerned about making 1-60 some ridiculously long grind. We're not douchebags".

What? Making players playing being a douchebag? This tells much about the attitude of developers towards gamers. But they are not evil per se. There is at least a loud minority or even a majority to blame for this. This developer believes that players hate playing and only do it to get pixel rewards to feel good about themselves. Or alternatively, Diablo III will be a terrible game, which wouldn't be surprising considering it's free to play. I bet on the first option.

The "boring grind" attitude is surprising even in WoW, where the endgame seriously differ from the trivialized leveling. It's completely possible that someone enjoys PvP or raiding while hate to level up. That's bad design on its own, but here it's not the point. Diablo III "endgame" won't be any different from the leveling. We will be wandering in the same scenarios, killing the same monsters, with the same group size. Obviously the Inferno monster will be harder than the first imp in normal act 1, but this is definitely the same game. If someone enjoys doing it, he will enjoy doing it.

However the Hell Baal runs of Diablo II tell otherwise. Hell Baal was the endboss of the game. If you killed him, you won Diablo II. You even got a nice cutscene. But people kept bashing Hell Baal again and again to gain more levels and especially to gain more gear. They duped in large to get even more gear. Why? Only for pure vanity. After you killed Hell Baal there was nothing more to do in the game. Yet people wanted more gear and levels, just for itself, to show it off to derive a twisted sense of "l33tness" from it.

This attitude explains and predicts lot of gaming design features. Developers don't want to be douchebags, so they won't make the players do anything hard or long to get the shinies. It of course affects us too as we can't play anything immersive or challenging, unless it's under the radar, not providing new shinies, therefore uninteresting to the target audience.

But who are they? No, not the kids. Kids like pandas and sparkling ponies, but don't really care about numerical improvements of their characters. Otherwise they wouldn't be ungemmed, unenchanted and mis-specced. The target audience are the socials who want nothing but being respected and liked by peers. They consider everything status symbol and collect it, in the hope that it will make them special, or at least "not worse" than the "community". Funnily the people actually think of them as no-lifers, since anyone who has something they don't must be playing 40 hours a week.

Remember that the "i got an uber sword lololol" guy is a person in real life. We have to handle these creatures both in game (any game) and in real life. No point fighting them, they are a mindless swarm of zombies. It's much better to abuse their primitive mind. There is a slogan used to this: "I have a Bridge in Brooklyn for sale to them". I have better one: "I have a bunch of pixels for sale in the Diablo III RMAH"!

PS: remember fellow goblins, we are not game developers. When we are dealing with them, we can and shall be douchebags!


Sean said...

The conclusion is wrong because Gevlon has read it in the wrong context. WoW is in the final stage of it's lifecycle and there are now very few new players. The ones doing the 1-60 "grind" are people playing alts.

This is in contrast with Diablo III and WoW-vanilla where the enjoyment of playing a new game will make leveling fun.

Yaggle said...

I am not positive that Diablo III will truly be free-to-play. What is to stop them from periodically adding content that is optional but must be paid for? If this optional content had new drops, then of course anybody trying to sell items on the auction house will have to purchase it. If Blizzard are goblins, then they would do this, right?

Anonymous said...

"Q. How many hours do you anticipate the average player will have to invest to hit level 60 in Diablo III?

JW: This is a really hard question to answer, people ask me this all the time. The answer depends on how insane you are... I'm gonna say... I'm not even gonna guess, because if I do I know that's going to come back and haunt me. We're not really concerned about making 1-60 some ridiculously long grind. We're not douchebags, it'll be based upon what feels good.""

Seems to me they're pretty much talking about Diablo III.

Wether WoW has to finally seriously invest in the new player (instead of lazy alt-leveller) experience to staunch its bleeding, is something for another post.

Artemicia said...


"Finally seriously invest in the new player?" I think the old world revamp was about as serious an investment in new players as it gets.

Bobbins said...

The sooner people hit the top level the sooner they will invest in their equipment. Leveling gear and end game gear will have differing monetary value with the latter going for a premium.
This means Blizzard will make more money with the RMAH when characters reach level 60 as more people will be willing to invest in their characters at that point.

Anonymous said...


In short: the old world was the new world to new players, they changed it for jaded alt-levellers who just wanted to get to cap ASAP.

The succes of the old world (which, unlike later expansions, felt like a world) is illustrated by the fact that Blizz still uses the old content to draw people, only recently did they e.g. start using Goblins in their 'WoW is F2P' campaign (wether this constitutes fals advertising as you can't play Goblins as F2P is another issue).

Nils had a post about this ( )but there are other blog-posts as well, the whole easy levelling thing is primarily there to get the nth alt to the Raiding threadmill.

And really, if Blizzard had any real concern about new players, they wouldn't have created - and kept creating - enchantable Heirlooms and even allow them to be used in PvP outide the Twink-BG's (twinks btw obviously being expelled for the good of alt-levellers, not so much new players).

Anonymous said...

The name of the game is "planned obsolescence". By making the levelling less relevant and the level cap more relevant, as soon as a new expansion hits they can make the old level cap and everything associated with it (read: gear) obsolete.

If they were to make the level cap not so relevant there would be less need for buying a new expansion, as long as you are satisfied with the levelling experience of the original game.

For reference most older single-player RPG games had a level cap which was very difficult to reach, and actually gave no significant advantage since after a while a new level would give a very low increase in strenght for the character. A similar approach for games like Diablo or WoW would mean a much difficult "planned obsolescence".

Anonymous said...

Transcripts don't carry emotion. He is clearly trying to sell his product saying "don't worry, it doesn't matter." whereas you read way too much into that. Also, you took it out of context for a rant. People who start with D3 must all level up whereas people who play WoW are mostly lvl 85.

Brian said...

If we're looking at leveling "grind" from a social perspective, I think the big reason it's treated as a bad thing is because you can't be "cool" until you're max level. Being a great level 53 paladin is pointless from a status perspective since anyone at the level cap, no matter how bad a player, is so much more powerful than you.

No matter how much fun the leveling process could be in WoW, the people who want to show off (which is a lot of people in a social game like WoW) won't be happy at any point while leveling. It's just something to get through as quickly as possible so you can hit 85.

Anonymous said...

Can you blame him for saying that? All players whine about is "grind" "tew hard" and "I haz a life". So if they did make it long, they will be raged against. And now they're being belittled because they don't want to make it grindy. Personally, I think they should stop listening to the whiney playerbase and do what they do. They created an amazing game because they know how to do it.

But when you get the community involved so heavily, you can't get an accurate stance on where people's true opinions lie. Because everybody is so worried about battling the "elitists". So they say anything they can to make it sound like the majority of the playerbase hates raiders, and that the game should be changed accordingly. If they really want to keep the game going in a good direction, they need to get rid of the official forums. Or put restrictions on it.