Latest Diablo 3 News
DiabloWiki Updates
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 23
  1. #1
    IncGamers Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Kyushu, Japan
    Posts
    322

    Is Diablo's team just full of too many opinions?

    I originally wrote this topic's title as "Is Blizzard growing too large to function?", but I think that's a poor way to phrase the discussion. It certainly isn't valid for at least 2 of their 3 franchises, since MoP was one of Wow's best received expansions ever and HotS has been absolutely drowning in hard-earned fan good will.

    So.. what's so different with Diablo? Why are SC and WoW thriving under Big Blizzard, while Diablo is rotting? 2/3's success rate means that it probably has little to do with Bobby Kotick, sooo... is it incompetency on behalf of Diablo's developers? Even though that's what most of the posters on Diablo forums would suggest, I strongly doubt it. These people were hired by Blizzard, meaning that they are some of the best brains and talents out there. That's a payroll reserved for very, very extraordinary people held to very high standards.

    I don't think the problem with Diablo is a bloated corporation or incapable game directors. I think the problem, actually, is much more more 'human'. Take a look at these excerpts from the latest 1-page Q&A (x-posted from the front page comments section, sorry about that):

    "It's hard to say.."
    "Something we could explore.."
    "Something we talk about a lot in the office.."
    "It's definitely on the table.."
    "We want to make sure we make the right choice.."
    "It's certainly possible.."
    "We'll be looking at how crafting fits into the big picture.."
    "We haven't decided on X yet.."

    This is it. This is why the team can't produce content, can't move forward, and can't make a solid game. They CAN'T make decisions! Even "adding a socket" seems to require board meetings and office discussions ad naseum, with little to show for it. If they're having issues with small things like this, imagine the nightmare it must be deciding on more over-arching game design and direction.

    So.. why? Why do the Starcraft and WoW teams have such solid visions and consistent progress, while the Diablo team is still paralyzed a year into it?

    I think the answer is that the team -- like the community -- is currently full of too many conflicting opinions on what makes a good ARPG. I'm willing to bet some serious bucks that the in-house headbutting between "old school" and "new school" is absolutely hamstringing Diablo's ability to move forward. Free specs vs. commitment, deep itemization vs. easy access, casual vs. hardcore, story vs. no story, "badass from level 1" vs. progression, gothic vs. painterly ... There are really two schools of thought at the base of all this, and if the last few years have been any indication, they mix like oil and water.

    I think the team -- for the future health of the game -- really needs to pick either the oil or water and make the difficult decision to dump the rest. Even in a room full of the smartest people in the world, you're not going to make progress toward a singular goal when you can't even agree on what that goal needs to be.

  2. #2
    IncGamers Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    1,218

    Re: Is Diablo's team just full of too many opinions?

    I think, to add to your point, there's a lack of any kind of driving vision. I'm sure their PR would disagree, and say something like, "We think Diablo is a really cool monster-killing loot-finding game, and we hope you do too!" But, nonetheless, it really does feel like a "game-by-committee" where things are iterated and polished over until everyone can agree on some aspect of them. Which, in line with your thinking, explains a lot about how they phrase responses and why development takes a long time.

    In any case, it would be interesting to see what a Diablo game oriented from someone's singular, powerful, driving vision looks like. Right now, there's no unifying vision, but a lot of disparate elements that still come together to form a cohesive whole, but not one that's really more than the sum of its parts.

  3. #3
    IncGamers Site Pal InteNuIgen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Up north
    BattleTag Majo666-2473
    Posts
    463

    Re: Is Diablo's team just full of too many opinions?

    Good post OP, you described what has been my feeling all the time

  4. #4
    IncGamers Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Brazil
    Posts
    1,501

    Re: Is Diablo's team just full of too many opinions?

    Great post OP.

    To me, I think that everything that could have gone wrong in D3, did go wrong. Both in terms of development and corporate meddling. I think the team had a direction for D3 to follow and suddenly that was lost, the initial direction was the 2008 game, we have skill trees, choices, more items (there was a throwing knife in one shot I believe), skill runes as items that could enhance the skills like Hydra and Alabaster (sp?) runes.

    At that point, D3 seemed like a very solid game and its no wonder that it got everyone so pumped up. So what happened in those 4 years? I would speculate that the problem is that D3 had more roles fill rather than just being a good ARPG, it was bound to go to consoles so the game suffered alterations because of that, it was an RMAH experiment, it needed to catter to everyone, including the casual grandmothers and WoW-players. Rob Pardo's "Wow-strike teams" interfered in the development, it was even state that those strike teams didnt even want elective mode to be in the game, and were the reasons why advanced tooltips were off by default.

    There was just no way to combine that form of meddling with a proper and healthy game design direction, with that game was doomed, and through these 4 years it was hacked up to pieces and there is nothing left now, I mean.. hell even that 2011 september delay, that event was what made itemzation based around main-stat, such an important design decision was rushed in the last hour and no wonder, it turned out to be a disaster.

    Now, its not that I think that this team has suffered a big injustice, I think that coupled with the meddling also came with the team's innexperience on the ARPG field, many of the design flaws in D2 were things that accidently worked towards the game's longevity, but the D3 team analyzed those flaws in a burocratic manner and doing that they "fixed" many of those "flaws" but didnt make anything to make up for something that has been lost. Take character customization for example, there is NONE in D3, its just scary that games like Farcry 3 and Tombraider actually have choices for you to spend skill points on but D3 has NONE, we see catch phrases being tossed like "Illusion of choice" yada yada, probably from a senior game design perspective, D3's skill system is flawless but from a gamer and Diablo fan, its a disaster. Everything was done in a methodical manner, the "big picture" was never taken into consideration, "Illusion" is what games are, if we have a "Illusion of Choice" it means we at least have one, its better than no choice at all and thus making our journey meaningless when all characters are the same and because of that, I have no attachment to my characters, my WD isnt my WD, it is just a lv 60 WD with all skills unlocked for him.

    Its also hard to know if those things that JW and the other developers were spewing out are actually what they truly believe, some WoW-Strike Team member must have commanded them into changing the skill system in a way that no casual gamer had a chance to screw up their character or waste time doing hard choices and the "Illusion of choice" meme is what they had to come up to defend it since they cant say that their bosses made them do it.

    I am sure that the work enviroment in the D3 team was just unbearable, I do believe that every single one of the developers, programers and artists hated working in the D3 team, with that enviroment it was just impossible to have a vision if not one that the corporate suit's agenda had for D3, the result is this messy disgrace that D3 turned out to be.
    Last edited by Kiroptus; 21-03-2013 at 05:55.

  5. #5
    IncGamers Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Posts
    29

    Re: Is Diablo's team just full of too many opinions?

    Zero conflict is bad, but too much conflict can also be bad. Makes me wonder how many on that team begrudgingly did what they were told and were all the while thinking "This is not going to end well" but hesitated to speak up about their misgivings. Now I wonder how many of these people would love to shout at a meeting "HEY!!! I told you so!!!!"
    I'm actually glad that there is conflict, because they know how fickle the player base can be at times. You want a socket quest? Ok they implement it, and then some players will whine about how its excruciating to re-do the quest when they acquire a new upgrade. It was semi-annoying in D2, unless you had a friend who was willing to rush you so you could get all 3 socket quests. Keep in mind that they would have to make it so the quest is a one time thing, or make the cost for it fairly high, it could work but they have to make an idea fit, and I think they are trying to be very very cautious based upon the negative response this game has gotten so far.

    Someone above mentioned how they fixed some things in D2 and did not replace the fixes with anything meaningful. That made me think of the Cow Level, god that was a fun run to do. They nerfed it and then there wasn't much left except endless Baal runs, or maybe trying to sneak into a dueling game and run the pit level 1 and 2 just to get 8 players. I'm still waiting to hear about any other ideas about other end game content, the monster density will help a lot because I love act 1, and I am getting sick of act 3!! I still would like to see a couple other options, places to go, the pony level was a good idea, but then they nerfed that. Maybe this will be addressed in the expansion (god the game hasn't been out a year and we all want an expansion already!)

  6. #6
    IncGamers Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    123

    Re: Is Diablo's team just full of too many opinions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kiroptus View Post
    I have no attachment to my characters, my WD isnt my WD, it is just a lv 60 WD with all skills unlocked for him.
    This is a big part of the lack of insight on their part which shows their lack of experience in the RPG department because as we all know when Blizzard North left, all of that RPG experience left as well. With that said, they have to ask the question based on, what makes the player feel attached to their character and its the reasons you gave. Even in WoW you had more of an attachment to your character than Diablo 3.
    It comes down to the question like I said what makes a person feel attached to their character and your quote iterates the counter idea that makes a character not feel like its yours; its just another WD with all the skills unlocked. Permanence, choices, hard choices etc.

    Anyways to stay on point with the OP, I think is very accurate. There is certainly this cross roads of casual vs hardcore gamer that has been coming in to play in the last 5 years and Blizzard tries to blend the two as much as possible.

    Really though at this point, little changes aren't going to bring me or anyone else that sees the flaws in this game. It's not even worth the time. They know the issues are core design philosophy issues so they need to fix them or gtfo.

  7. #7
    IncGamers Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    California
    Posts
    246

    Re: Is Diablo's team just full of too many opinions?

    It's amazing how you can read their minds like that!

    And what even more amazing is how the thoughts you read match up perfectly with the opinions you already had!

    Funny how that works.

  8. #8
    IncGamers Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Cologne
    Posts
    240

    Re: Is Diablo's team just full of too many opinions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soval View Post
    It's amazing how you can read their minds like that!

    And what even more amazing is how the thoughts you read match up perfectly with the opinions you already had!

    Funny how that works.
    You know what stringing together little bits of information to a personal view is called? Speculation! I don't think that anyone in this thread doesn't know what he's doing here. Ok, well, there's obviously you...

  9. #9
    IncGamers Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Durance of Vague Dislike
    Posts
    271

    Re: Is Diablo's team just full of too many opinions?

    SC2 and WoW are inherently different setups from D3. HOTS is, long-term, a $40 multiplayer expansion pack with 7 (I think) new units for multiplayer battles. The campaign will be played by everyone at most 2 or 3 times and forgotten. WoW is based on continuous content additions in between expansions that are funded with the subscription fees. D3 won't have that, regardless of how much the RMAH brings in. It was established before release that this wouldn't be the case. Their stories are also about as poor as D3's, but few people over there really care about them as far as I can tell. Though, they have yet to kill off a signature character in those... So there is that.

    It's not even so much that they fixed D2's flaws, as recreated them in different form. Str for gear + dex for block (or not) + vit is the same problem that mainstat + allres + crit + vit on gear is, just in a different form. Build pigeonholing with synergies is the same as build pigonholing with 6 slots and a handful of must-have skills per class, as both limit the effectiveness of off-peak setups. Best-in-slot legendaries (SKORN! MANTICORE!) are best-in-slot runewords redone. They did make the whole thing worse by chucking out parts of the old system like socketing and ID all for no apparent logical reason.

    All that said, I think the biggest problem is D3's failure to realize the vision of the game itself. It's a failure to implement what we were originally promised, and I honestly don't know where things started to break down. Passives were supposed to be big, impressive changes of the way a character functions, but some (most?) of their benefits are miniscule or obviously outclassed by the must-haves. Skills were supposed to be viable in large combinations, but most combinations are sub-par. Gear was supposed to be varied an interesting, but... trifectas and all that. Legendaries failed to be legendary. So, let's play armchair developers and fix all those, given what we know of D2 and what should be changed in D3 to get closer to that.

    A) Gear overhaul. Not just what stats spawn in what numbers... quinfectas are the core of the problem. Make useless stats (thorns, dominate, minion summoning, elemental damage types) comparable to main-stats in some ways, for some builds. This leads to
    B) A full skill overhaul for every class. All of them. Make the boring crap useful. Make the over-powered stuff more tame (but NOT useless). Make some skills scale well with off-stats for some characters, so builds can actually have variety in play AND gear needs. And then
    C) Put a sanity check on stat-scaling per class. Buff gains for off-stats so they aren't useless. Give barbs a chance to counterattack on dodge with a passive, that scales with dex or something. You know, interesting variety.
    D) Re-balance inferno to work with the above.
    E) Add variety in inferno areas, as currently promised, that makes wider farming variety possible.

    That would about put the game where we were told it would be. And yet, they're deciding if adding a socket might be a good change. Maybe there is something to the over-use of committees at work here, after all.

  10. #10
    IncGamers Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Kyushu, Japan
    Posts
    322

    Re: Is Diablo's team just full of too many opinions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Soval View Post
    It's amazing how you can read their minds like that!

    And what even more amazing is how the thoughts you read match up perfectly with the opinions you already had!

    Funny how that works.
    You know, considering this forum gets about 10 new posts a day, you might want to try to encourage discussion instead of trying to shut down what little there is with snark.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •