Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review - Diablo 3, Part 2; The Bad

You'd think that based on part 1 of my D3 review, that this section would be rather small.  If that's the case, you thought horribly wrong.  Prepare yourself, because for everything Blizzard did right, they did a half-dozen more things wrong.

First off, let me say they had more then ample time to develop Diablo 3.  They had the better part of a decade.  Sure, they were busy doing other stuff, and it's obvious that development on this game stopped, and started again multiple times during that effort.  That lack of programmatic consistency shows.  When you have multiple teams of developers working on a project through a piecemeal timeline, you get garbage software - which I attribute to the majority of the problems Blizzard is having right now with the auction house and servers.

 The Bad:

- Launch day was a nightmare.  As was most of Launch week, and to an extent launch month.  I find it very hard to believe that they didn't expect a certain # of people to slam those servers the moment the game went life.  Even Blizzard isn't that retarded.  They knew EXACTLY how many people pre-ordered the game, and how many people patched it and installed it when it was unlocked two days prior to the go live date.  The data was out there and available - they chose to not care, or ignore it.  6 million people, assume they're all there spamming the log in button.  Be prepared.

- Security problems galore.  From the session theft problem (rumor) in public games, to accounts being hacked, this is something Blizzard games are notorious for - people hack the motherless shit out of them and steal your stuff, just to turn around and sell it for real $.  I say rumor because Blizzard denies everything and refuses to comment on security breaches.  Just this week I was hacked through an authenticated account and haven't received anything other then the standard "We can roll back your character" cut and paste reply.  I'm going to step out of what little professionalism I have left when it comes to journalism here and say Fuck You Blizzard.  That's right, you read that correctly.  Eat shit.  I hate you, and will never support one of your games again.  Ever.

It's not because I lost progress, because I didn't.  Thankfully if I told them to roll back my character, it was from a point after which I had stopped playing.  I didn't make any progress since then.  But the support team handling my 'ticket' cuts and pastes the same garbage and ignores my real problem - an account that is persistently hacked through authentication.  This has been happening for years.  No more.  There is not a virus of any kind on my computer, it's not my fault, it's yours, figure it out before someone like me figures out a way to slam you for a lawsuit and take you for everything you've got.

Moving on.

- The game length is appropriate, as I noted in part 1 of my review.  However, you're only about level 32 when you complete normal.  You'll be in the low 50's at the end of Nightmare (your second play through, 40+ hours for a casual person) and finally level 60 by the time you complete the game on Hell difficulty, probably more than 60 hours into the game.  By then, you'll probably have spent the majority of the past 10 hours in-game rolling through content as fast as you can without much of a challenge.  You'll finally have all your character abilities unlocked.  90% of those abilities suck and are useless after the Nightmare difficulty.  That's a big problem in and of itself.

Then comes Inferno, the level 60 only difficulty, where your enemies slaughter you endlessly with little to no hope of survival.  Blizzard blew their trumpets in glory of what they accomplished with Inferno.  Hey, cool job guys, you multiplied enemy hit points and damage, and gave bosses one more random ability.  That probably took you about five minutes and a fresh deployment of the code to actually accomplish.

The problem isn't the challenge, I LOVE a good challenge.  I love getting my face smashed in over and over until I figure out what I'm doing wrong and correct it.  Inferno doesn't provide that.  Inferno provides a massive time vampire for which you're expected to spend hundreds of hours running the exact same few quests in an act in order to either find gear that significantly enhances your power, or find enough gold to buy said gear off the auction house. 

- Getting back to abilities, there's a lot of combinations.  All but 2-3 for each class are worthless wastes of time.  Just like in Diablo 2, and every video game in creation, there's a good way to do things, and there's a good way to waste your time.  Inferno's good in this sense, it punches you in the throat for having stupid abilities selected and then spits in your face and asserts; "No.  You can not use Zombie Dogs here."

Yeah, there's actually builds that let you use Zombie Dogs.  It requires you to give up your damage in order to have your shitty pets survive long enough to do some shitty damage, and maybe, eventually, kill some enemies.  Cool story, totally worth millions of gold in equipment to accomplish - a slower way to maybe kill enemies, eventually.

- The voice acting.  If you don't mind a spoiler, go to youtube and watch a few videos of the last quest.  Listen to what the boss says.  It doesn't even sound like the same actor, aside from it being a random quote that has almost no place in the story or situation in which it's delivered.  7 people does not = a legion.  (You'll get it when you watch/play it). 

- Not very random dungeons.  I dreaded parts of Diablo 2.  The jungle in Act 3, as an example, will make anyone who's played that game cringe in the horror of endlessly searching for the Gidbinn or Travencal.  There's a few places like that in D3, but not very many.  Honestly, I don't even notice the randomizer throughout all but one part of the game (again, in act 3).

- The auction house is a fucking nightmare.  Thank god they limited people to only 10 auctions at a time, otherwise it'd be full of even more useless gear then it's already got - and that would crash the internet.  This is of course under the understanding that the auction house is even available.  It's offline often because 10 years to work on a game wasn't long enough, and Blizzard has absolutely no money for more servers.

- I wish I could record my own voice-overs for this game.  Instead of the usual banter, every vendor would just make a fart noise when I clicked on him and allow me to immediately sell all the uselsss shit from my inventory.  No more "Check out my wares!"  or "I found some useless shit on my latest dig!"  Nothing but a wet fart, a repair screen, and the option to "Sell all" or buy back a sold item.  That's it.  The shit they sell is second only to . . .

- The random loot you find is unrelenting.  You go out on a quest, you come back, you sell everything.  You go out, you come back, you sell everything.  This is how the game operates from level 40 on.  Your only hope of finding an upgrade is the auction house, which you'll have plenty of gold for thanks to the retarded amounts of useless shit you've sold throughout your adventures.

To clarify:  It's bad for two reasons.  The first is that there's a fuckload of it.  You can't be out for more then 15 minutes and not fill up on blue items to vendor.  All of which will be useless to you because of the second reason - the loot is RANDOM.

Items which only one class can equip, that have stats that one class would never use or consider stacking.  You're not only fighting demons from hell, you're fighting the odds.  And the odds happen to have brought the lube - because for every 1000 pieces of shit you find, you might get one that's useful to you.  That number isn't an exaggeration, if anything, it's an understatement.

- Party size limited to 4.  Stupid.

- You need to play with people that are about the same level as you.  Otherwise you get less xp, and you level just as fast as they do, keeping you levels apart and rendering you useless against enemies simply because you aren't high enough level.  Cool idea.  So I either play my character exclusively with my friends at the same time, or don't play it at all.  Or I can play alone and get ahead, and make them follow me around forever, getting nothing done, making the game take longer, and getting them killed over and over and over and over and over.  More stupid Bullshit from Blizzard.

- Performance is HORRIBLE.  Diablo 3 is dead in the middle when it comes to graphics.  It's nothing new, its nothing old, it's how games should look.  5/10.  There is nothing special, and it's not very pretty or well defined in any particular part.  Yet it's the first game to make my graphics card overheat and actually cause Kernel loss/recovery.  This is a relic from programming practices and optimizations that were probably developed over the course of the past decade.  NOTHING I've played taxes my CPU/GPU like D3.  Not Skyrim, not heavy video/graphical editing, nothing.  It runs fine on my computer, mind you.  No lag, no stuttering, just massive resource consumption for a game that honestly is barely at par for expectations these days.


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