I need to explain something a bit more. Over on Google+, I said the following:

You know what….Diablo 3 is painfully boring. I want to like it, and I’ve tried, but something is dreadfully wrong with the game.

Firstly, the Auction House. OK…I get it..really I do. Let’s all play alone together with the community linked with a market. Fine. But an economy in what was a traditionally single player “treasure hunt” game makes no sense. What really is my motivation for playing if I can just buy loot off of the AH. I don’t care about loot drops while playing at all. I think the AH is a mistake. No…let me say that again: the AH is an objective mistake.

Secondly. Instead of a big bad ass hero, I feel like someone just gave me a bat and told me to go play a fun game of whack-a-mole. It just doesn’t feel right. It feels off. I don’t like combat at all.

I have other issues with the game…but my eye is starting to twitch.

Ugh!! Torchlight 2…take me away. Please.

The premise is pretty simple: I think Diablo 3 is boring because the AH has made the treasure hunting aspect of Diablo unnecessary.

The Diablo action RPG series has been one member in a long series of “slot machine gaming”. I pull the lever (i.e. play the game), and I get a prize if all the cherries line up. The anticipation of watching those spinning symbols (i.e. game play, dungeons) for a possible match-up is adrenaline inducing. It’s addictive. The DING DING DING sound, and the lights, and the fireworks (i.e. monsters, leveling), and the dancing girls, that go with all that loot (…new boots! Yayyyy!!!…) spilling out of the “slot machine” make coming back again and again to insert yet another dollar (i.e. my time) for another pull at the lever. Why. Why, why, why in heaven would I want to put my dollar into the machine and bypass the pulling of the lever altogether? Why is is more fun (…stay with the analogy, cause you know it’s awesome…) instead, to go shopping around for other people’s prizes from THEM pulling the lever? Why is that even an option? Where is the fun here? A clever gamer (…or not so clever..) would say, “well, it’s the shopping around that is fun”. Really? I thought playing the game and finding your own treasure was fun…not, not playing the game and shopping for treasure. Why would I care about dropped treasure when other people’s treasure will clearly be better. Good bye lever…hello AH search tool. Since when did shopping inside a game become a fun thing to do….especially when that game IS DIABLO??!!

Alright. Fine. “Get off my lawn!”. Yeah, I’m an older gamer. I understand that gaming is “evolving”…but I’m smart enough to ask the obvious followup question: “Evolving towards what?”. I’ll leave that question in your head to ponder about. For me, “it’s evolving” is not a good enough answer for this D3 AH crap if the end goal of the evolution is not understood…or even defined.

It is clear what Blizzard has decided to spend its design time on, and it was not in the area of taking what made Diablo and Diablo 2 fun and expanding upon it. The specters of “always online” and “gaming economies” and…I would even argue….RMT, is driving design here. Clearly, the idea is to drive revenue…and that’s fine…but the purpose of gaming has always been to deliver a fun experience and, traditionally, revenue has always come as a result of delivering that fun. Gamers have always rewarded companies who deliver a fun experience and this is being forgotten not only by companies who should know better, like Blizzard, but also by gamers who’s memories become shorter and shorter with each passing generation.

As a gamer, I just can’t get into Diablo 3 at all. It’s just not fun. Period. Yeah, it’s a subjective call, but I’m starting to suspect that it’s not. Stating that “D3 is not fun” is becoming more the rule than the exception. I’ve already covered why I think the AH is an objective mistake, but things like combat, and environment, sound, graphics…all of them really, really fall short. Let’s just take combat as an example. The combat just feels dead. I played the Warrior and the Demon Hunter extensively and both of them feel like I’m swinging at things with a limp noodle. I just don’t know how to explain it better. Hmmmm. OK. Look around you right now. You see colors. You hear sounds. You might even smell pizza cooking downstairs in the oven. That was Diablo 2. Now, imagine a world where you only see black and white. You hear nothing. You smell nothing. You taste nothing. This is Diablo 3. It’s just a dead world where there is nothing connecting you to that world at all. You don’t care when you’re in the game swinging your big axe around because you don’t get the tactile “feeling” (…”feel” in the gaming sense. Vet gamers will get what I’m talking about…) of swinging that big axe around. Gah! It’s Diablo, damnit…I should feel something when I’m in the dungeon.

There it is. Diablo 3 in it’s current state is boring. They’ve taken away purpose and replaced it with meaninglessness. They’ve taken away fun and replaced it with economy. They’ve taken away Diablo and replaced it with a Farmville cow-clicker.

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