Monday, May 28, 2012

Diablo III: Not Quite Awesome

So, like most of you, I've been playing a lot of Diablo III. I've mostly been playing my Witch Doctor (level 52 and in Hell Act 1 now), mostly solo though some grouping as well. Some of the fights have been an interesting challenge and Hell is noticeably more challenging than Nightmare (Normal was a joke). Crafting and the Auction House have both been somewhat disappointing so far - crafting is generally more costly than justify its rewards and the Auction House has a disturbing habit of being up and down all the time as they sort out various issues with it (it's also rather lacking in search functionality and limits users to 10 listings which is a bit disappointing though I understand it).

Blizzard posted a dev blog this morning (Game Design Update) describing some of the issues they're seeing with balance and play-feel as well as roughly outlining some of their intended solutions. It's well worth a read if you're interested in Blizz's perspective about the course of Diablo III, and of course I have a few thoughts about it.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Beta By Any Other Name...

A Beta By Any Other Name...

TERA, Diablo III and Guild Wars 2

A couple of weeks ago, like many other people, I participated in the betas for TERA and Diablo III. While I wasn't particularly thrilled by either, they both had some interesting elements.


I'll admit, I only spent an hour or two on the TERA beta - back issues and a lack of compelling interest in the game got in the way. Overall, it seemed fairly polished, although everything was every bit as crowded as you expect an open beta to be. When I looked at the demo at E3 last year, I was impressed by the combat mechanics, and I still think they are an interesting innovation. However, combat does not an MMO make, so I was more curious about the world and the quests... unfortunately the writing is very uninspiring (Gary Gannon of GamebreakerTV dubbed it "TERA-ble", a pun almost as bad as the writing), at least in the prologue and starting area, and the pretty animations that impressed me at E3 got lost in the overall business of every location (open beta overpopulation). I'm sure if I'd played for longer I could have gotten away from that, but again, pretty animations are nice but not enough to keep me playing. The character designs are pretty but I'm getting a little tired of overly sexualized female characters in these games and it would have been nice to be able to make a badass female warrior who actually looks badass. One thing they did that I thought was interesting was start you out at level 20 for the prologue (you're reset to level 1 once you complete the prologue) so you get a little taste of some of the abilities you'll gain later on.