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The Great Disconnect Between the Diablo Universe and Diablo 3 the game.

Discussion in 'Diablo 3 Community Forum' started by Azzure, Jan 31, 2013. | Replies: 121 | Views: 11741

  1. Azzure

    Azzure IncGamers Member

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    This has been discussed a lot in the past, mostly regarding the terrible dialogue and overall dissatisfaction with Diablo 3's story elements.

    But I want to focus this discussion on the broader scope of the Diablo world and how it is presented in-game, in Diablo 3.

    When we go back in time, and look at the pre-release content, previews, books and other media associated with Diablo 3, we see a dark, mysterious and familiar world. Familiar to Diablo 2 and the broader Diablo world. We saw art like this: we see videos like this and the entire website, which was in the form of a story being told by a mysterious character writing about what he has seen, felt very right and was totally up the Diablo alley.

    It was intriguing, mysterious, and very "Diablo". It was exactly the type of theme we wanted to see in the next Diablo game. A realistic, dark and mysterious world, where demons stand in shadows and angels work in secret.

    And then Diablo 3 came out.

    It was absolutely nothing like all the media leading up to it led on to feel like. It was a pop culture, childish and in some cases, cringe-worthy world. There was no mystery in it, no Diablo-esk themes such as the notion that demons and angels were almost mythical beings that hid in the shadows and tugged on the strings of man (as the lore says they do).

    It resembled a c-class low-budget horror movie, fully equipped with cheesey villains with terrible one-liners, horrifically bad story-arch and laughable themes.

    It was as if someone pulled out bits of every pop culture film, song and theme, and put it in a giant blender and set the blender to maximum speed and served it to the hungry Diablo masses.

    How did this disconnect happen? How did Blizzard get it right at the start, and then fail so epicly in the delivery? How is it possible to output such a good and Diablo-esk story theme in the pre-release media and then completely betray it in the actual game?

    I mean even the first gameplay video in 2008 felt "right" and emitted the Diablo feel. And all subsequent videos that showed story felt correct. What changed?
  2. Kiroptus

    Kiroptus IncGamers Member

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    I agree that there is a huge disconnect but I am going to disagree with your examples.

    That art seemed okay, not Dark enough to be considered Gothic Horror, more like something that I would find on Naxxaramas, and the video with the Wizard was cheesy, from there we could notice the Saturday Morning alike cartoon villains that would soon spread to other big characters like Azmodan and even Diablo.

    Now yes, that gameplay trailers a whole diferent beast. Elemental Effects, you felt like the weapons were actually important other than a simple number changer that they are now (you could be equiping a teddy bear, it doesnt matter as long as its dps is high). The 2008 gameplay trailer sent people up in the sky, everything looked perfect from there, what happened? WoW strike steam happened, that misterious september delay was what speeded up the process of downgrading the game to what it is today.


    I will return to those other two examples: the art and the wizard video. When some kind of features emerged, we were still so dazzled and mesmerized with the prospect of finally playing a sequel to D2, still crazed and itching to play the game showed on that 2008 video, it was hard to criticize anything other than the huge ammount of time it was taking to finish the game. But some more sane people were pointing out the wrong direction which the game was heading, in retrospect, I would say I was one of the fanboys who would help the mass to shun those people down.

    But they were right in the end, and even more than it looked. By the time the female diablo model appeared and leah was introduced in the first cinematic video, it was easy to connect the dots, and everyone was right.

    You know what I think that happened? Blizzard underestimated how people craved by another Diablo title, they thought that the Gothic Horror art of some older age was already lost and people just wanted beautiful colors and epic-cheesy heroic dialogue with cartoony villains. Remember this?

    http://www.gameranx.com/updates/id/...iii-will-sell-only-3-5-million-by-year-s-end/

    Those kind of burocratic analysts that have no idea on what gamming is about are what blizzard are listening to, any older PC gamer could predict that people would devour the game as soon as it was avaliable to play, maybe thats why we had so many server issues, Blizzard thought that the Diablo fanbase was dead, that the demand for another Diablo title wasnt that huge, so they need to broaden that appeal to make it more profitable.

    But thats the grave mistake there, the franchise WAS still legendary even 10 years later, Rob Pardo's lack of insight and his personal distrust of the franchise might have contributed to this misfire, he thought he needed the WoW players to enjoy Diablo because the diablo fanbase was already dead and the franchise's name was on life support (hence why the artwork looks a lot like WoW's and so is the itemzation, plus there was that annual pass...), to me, all the streamlining and dumbing down are a consequence of that lack of faith on the Diablo name.

    And it was a serious shot in their own foot. They like to give WoW a lot of credit because of the ammount of money that it gave to them but the franchise that actually skyrocketed blizzard's name and even online multiplayer gamming was Diablo 2, Blizzard Irvine failed to acknowledge that and now the faith of so many Blizzard fans was shattered. Seriously, I would feel bad about buying HoTS even tho I want see the story but I really feel disgust in giving any more money to blizzard and I never felt like that over a company before.
  3. TheDestructor

    TheDestructor IncGamers Member

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    Jay Wilson's favorite movie last year was Underworld. The one with Kate Beckinsale.

    That's how this happened.

    I think Blizz North knew they couldn't tell a great story, so they went easy on it, and left it mostly out of the way. While this new team was absolutely sure they'd knock it out of the park, and there was no one in the room to tell them otherwise.

    Though that's kind of wrong since Metzen was there back then also, though I don't know if he had as much influence on story design back then.
  4. Kiroptus

    Kiroptus IncGamers Member

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    JW is a puppet, I dont know why so much hate is directed at a puppet. What happened to D3 was something a group of clueless suits would conjure and JW would obey.

    When they fired the D3 producer on september and let the wow strike team to take control the development the producer said "These guys are going to kill it with Diablo".

    I wonder if there was a subliminal message, a double meaning with that phrase. He probably knew what was going to happen.
  5. Bad Ash

    Bad Ash IncGamers Site Pal

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    Nip and a tuck job I think. The 2008 gameplay video is insanely different than the shipped game in gameplay aspects. Look at everything the game lacked when it shipped and you see why horror theme might have taken a back seat, the game wasn't finished gameplay wise
  6. Azzure

    Azzure IncGamers Member

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    The thing that baffles me is that at some point there comes a time where you look back at something and just think - wow, this is way too terrible to ship. Surely the QA testers said something?


    YOU WILL NEVER DESTROY THE HELL RIFTS
    OK YOU DESTROYED THE HELLRIFT
    BUT YOU WILL NEVER DESTROY THE SECOND HELL RIFT
    OK YOU DESTROYED THE SECOND HELLRIFT
    BUT YOU WILL NEVER.......
  7. nurman

    nurman IncGamers Member

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    Diablo's greatest weapon is killing the player's motivation.
  8. Soval

    Soval IncGamers Member

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    Seriously, you're trying to revive the old art controversy nonsense?

    Seems all some people want to do is uninspired whining.
  9. krischan

    krischan Europe Trade Moderator

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    Yes, these aren't very witty texts, but you have to admit that those of the D2 act bosses aren't more inventive.

    I'm a bit surprised about the expectations on the story for a Diablo game. It's DIABLO! People don't play it for hundreds or thousands of hours because of the story line, but to find LOOT and KICK ARSE in some manner. I guess a lot of them skipped the story completely and cut off all text lines when the game came out, just to win the inevitable (and IMO dumb) race about who's the fastest. Second, it's for children from 12 up IIRC, so a 30 year old player shouldn't expect anything like a Shakespeare drama with music from Wagner. It's more likely to find a kind of Power Ranger or Pokemon shallowness.

    IMO the story becomes irrelevant after being through it for a few times. I didn't listen much to the monsters or NPCs anymore after playing through D2 three times, for example, and i didn't notice a difference with D3. I also don't think that D3 lacks gloom. The act 1 dungeons and the second half of act 4 have enough of it. Since D2, the game doesn't have much of a gothic atposphere, so I neither expected it in D3 nor was it missed by me. That's a matter of taste, however.

    It's other things which make the game at its current stage (or the last stage I played it so far, to be honest) fail at providing long-term play fun.
  10. Kiroptus

    Kiroptus IncGamers Member

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    I dont think people expected the story to be amazing.

    But they didnt expect it to be attrocially bad either.
  11. krischan

    krischan Europe Trade Moderator

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    What you said is so ambiguous that I wouldn't be surprised if an archeologist has already found an ancient stone tablet with a text like that about Homer's Iliad :D
  12. Kiroptus

    Kiroptus IncGamers Member

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    Then you are really lacking in reading comprehension.

    Let me put it in an easier wording then: People were not expecting some shakespearing and citizen kane alike oscar nonimee script, like you so exaggerated put on your previous post, but what is in the game not only is horrible enough to make Michael Bay's films look deep but it is also shoved down your throat through the game so it gets more spotlight on how horrible it is. If it was like D2 where you could ignore the story if you didnt feel like caring about it, maybe people wouldnt complain about it so much.

    I mean, Torchlight 2 story is horrible but it doesnt get the same flak that D3 gets because it doesnt get shoved down your throat so much that you have keep your finger on the ESC button and be ready to skip cutscenes every 3-4 min of play.
  13. krischan

    krischan Europe Trade Moderator

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    No, I don't "lack in reading comprehension" (interesting construct BTW), but with such a communication problem between us two, our discussion ends here before it even started.

    Perhaps you mean comprehension of texts, but "reading comprehension", that makes no sense to me. I think it would be a good idea for you to concentrate on your lack of vocabulary and grammar instead of pointing out an imagined lack of reading skills or at comprehending English texts.

    Sorry that you wasted any time on that.
  14. Kiroptus

    Kiroptus IncGamers Member

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    Well its not my first language. But I am sure you understood what I meant, you just wanted to nitpick something else about the post (its grammar) rather than the actual discussion in the thread.
  15. mr punk

    mr punk IncGamers Member

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    IIRC, i believe jay said he was going for camp. in any event, it's par for the course since narrative is emphasized much, much more in modern games. D3 was probably pitched like a movie. perhaps, D3 is jay's homage to Army of Darkness.

    apparently, they thought it was great. in fact, jay says their internal testers and strike teams thought the entire game was awesome. of course, later blizz admitted they were wrong about a lot of things concerning D3, but that's besides the point. the real problem is you uncultured ingrates can't appreciate a great story or modern game design. ok, jay didn't say that, but he's probably thinking it.

    Q: How do you handle fan feedback? Of course, there was the art controversy a few years ago. Were there any aspects of the game that fans criticized, and you thought, "Hey, these guys have a point"?

    JW: Well I actually can honestly say that I don't think I've made a decision on this project, or the team has made a decision on this project, that hasn't been criticized by someone.

    So you learn very quickly to listen, and decide whether you agree. And that's critical. And that's one of the things that I think, when we do get criticized sometimes by some people in the audience, saying that we're not listening -- it's really more that we're not agreeing.

    Listening and agreeing are two totally different things. And if we listened to everyone complain and try to solve all their problems, we would have a mishmash mediocre mess of a game. I can't even get two groups to agree, a lot of the time, about exactly how they disagree about something. You have to listen, but you still have to make your own judgment call.

    And so a lot of the times we've had a lot of negative responses to the skill system [from fans]. We looked at the complaints that we had, and a lot of the complaints were, "Okay, that's not reflected in what we see internally." The problems that they're running into, the things that they're complaining about, we're not seeing. That's not what we're seeing internally when we have people test the game, when we look at our own developers playing the game, and listen to their responses. Is [the complaint] invalid? No, but is it a downside that we can accept? Yeah.
  16. pulli

    pulli IncGamers Member

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    Well the game directors DID market diablo 3 with "completely changing the way a story is told in a game, making it much more natural and better".
  17. Sass

    Sass IncGamers Member

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    They did. We go from finding story only in completely out of place books to more NPC focus to a combo of them that incorporates more of the reading lore to give it depth, yet keep it more out of the way to streamline gameplay IF that is what the player chooses to do.

    Lore was never ignored for the sake of anything. It was kept in the background like it has in every Diablo game. If the player chooses to delve into the lore, it's very rich and the immersion lends suspense and intrigue. When you play it more than 2-3 times (enough to get all the little journals), it becomes boring, lame, etc. If you delve into it expecting it to be a horrible story, you distort the perception before it began, and it leads to the biased whining you get. There is a big difference between a legitimate disapproval and whining because it didn't match your imagined fannon. There's a noun for that feeling, but it escapes me.
  18. pulli

    pulli IncGamers Member

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    Tell me how to ignore all those cutscenes, cheesy lines and boring comments?

    The only good game with lore I played recently was dragon age: origins. There the lore actually gave the game more dimension. In diablo all the lore about monsters etc is so boring and distached from the game.

    Another good game with good lore is the half life universe, there also the story unfolds as you walk through the game.
  19. stillman

    stillman IncGamers Member

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    It was all an elaborate con job. They made the game for children, but they wanted to trick the older fans into anticipating a darker game for adults. There is a long list of lies:

    -the game will get darker in later acts.
    -"a near infinite number of items to find."
    -all kinds of new features (skill rune drops, talisman, supposedly many others, etc).
    -pvp will be ready shortly after release.
    -DH will have medieval armor.
    -Cydaea, female barb, and mystic all had rougher if not hideous faces suggestive of a scary game.
    -barb will be the same from d2.
    -we're not modelling it after WoW.
    -we're watching movies to copy--I mean research how horror works.
    -Less related, but their panel literally laughed at the idea of cheats and security breaches.
    -5 billion (or w/e the number was) builds with the skill variants--I mean "runes" system.
    -we're removing burning crosses and such b/c we want to develop Sanctuary's culture.
    -we want you to send us your ideas on new item mods, some of which will end up in the game.
    -these pitiful legendaries are just placeholders!

    All of this is suggestive of a nightmarish game that carries over plenty from d2. Admittedly, I was suckered in by ignoring all the warning signs.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013
  20. Kiroptus

    Kiroptus IncGamers Member

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    ^Oh I remember those. Also when people were pointing out how lame the legendary item stats were they said "Dont worry, those are just placeholders".


    It is very interesting to see how they changed their tone after some months of the when the game shipped. At first they were throwing champagne bottles all around celebrating the success of D3 sales (which they didnt seem to have too much faith on) foolishly thinking that their great design decisions and blizzard's themselves that earned all those sales but if they were more sane they would realise that it was due to Diablo 2's legacy and thats what people expected, so they should be scared of those sales. As soon as the torrent of criticism and hate that the game received, they were quick to dismiss it as a "vocal minority" and boasting sales numbers and the approval of internal test teams would say that the game is perfect.

    But something happened that changed their tone and threw them in a huge rush of despair to throw as much band-aid fixes to the game so much that the PvP that was supposed to be in 2 months maximum after the released had to not only be pushed back but also to be completely scrapped in favor of a very basic form of PvP. Maybe it was probably a huge decline in the playerbase soon made them realise that the criticism wasnt particulary a minor group as they first thought and that the legacy and name of Diablo 2 was still too strong to be changed like that, so yeah, Mike Morhaime himself had to do some damage control, it was all just too glaring for them to just remain silent, it was that bad.
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2013

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