Diablo III 'Item Hunt' Is Not A Sustainable End-Game, Blizzard Admits

Diablo III inhabits a sort of strange hybrid new position in games. Neither entirely singleplayer nor an MMO, it straddles the world between the two, using its constant internet connection both to connect players to each other in a social experience and to make some cash.

As such, Diablo III finds itself in an unusual position for a game that isn't technically an MMORPG, which is this: players are clamouring for more and better end-game content. Community manager Bashiok acknowledged on the Diablo III official forums that the lack of end-game content is an issue. "We recognise that the item hunt is just not enough for a long-term sustainable end-game," the post admits from the top, and then continues:

Killing enemies and finding items is a lot of fun, and we think we have a lot of the systems surrounding that right, or at least on the right path with a few corrections and tweaks. But honestly Diablo III is not World of Warcraft. We aren't going to be able to pump out tons of new systems and content every couple months. There needs to be something else that keeps people engaged, and we know it's not there right now.

Even though the team is aware of issues around the end-game, though, any significant changes are likely to be quite a way off. The next patch due for the game is 1.0.4, which will contain "as many fixes and changes we can to help you guys out." But PvP arenas aren't due until later patch 1.1, and any larger changes would come even later:

I think both those patches will do a lot to give people things to do, and get them excited about playing, but they're not going to be a real end-game solution, at least not what we would expect out of a proper end-game. We have some ideas for progression systems, but honestly it's a huge feature if we want to try to do it right, and not something we could envision being possible until well after 1.1 which it itself still a ways out.

End game solutions? [Diablo III Forums]


Comments

    A bazillion years in development and this only just occurred to them...? Just add random dungeons you can tackle in teams.

      A bazillion years in development and it's still the same gameplay!

        thats cause its diablo... why does everyone just expect the wheel to get reinvented each week?

          Yeah, it's just like Diablo 2 the key issue is that they let you pay them to not have to play the game any more.

          If a game is about loot being able to just buy any loot you want will make it pointless.

    Yeah I agree, I got bored with this game after beating it on normal mode, up to the 2nd chapter in the 2nd difficulty, haven't gone back to it since. Considering I played Diablo 2 up to Hell with quite high characters, I was kinda surprised D3 isn't just as addictive, but it just seems to be lacking a certain something, can't quite put a finger on it.

      I certainly agree that it the game is lacking that old spark. Do games like this even need to be sustainable at endgame? Yeah cool if there was an expansion around the corner but just seems too much like a casual game until you unlock the harder modes at which point why bother?

      The certain something is the items. They are just stat sticks. No flavour. Every drop is just a small increase in a number. The items don't have any interesting Affix's that make certain build styles viable. The itemisation system is identical to WoW in many ways. Stat sticks in WoW was ok because you used those stats to do lots of new content. Diablo doesn't have any new content so the only new things to do is play the game differently i.e. gear that allows different builds to be viable. As it stands stat sticks force you into a 1-2 cookie cutter builds. The exact opposite to all Blizzards stated philosophies. The changes over the last few weeks indicate to me they have no idea what they are doing. So very disappointed. I have faith they may get their shit together, but they're current total lack of understanding the most important aspect of the game (items) tells me they don't really know their game.

        No the certain something is that all character builds are the same. The game relies entirely on items, rather than character builds.
        In Diablo 2 the player must choose the attributes and fill the skill tree in a particular way that will build there character in which ever way they desired. So you could make 3 pally build all with different attributes and different skills, and all be seeking different item sets.
        Diablo 3 does offer the same experience, there is lack of punishment for failure, the game now relies entirely on items. This negates the connection and intimacy the player has with their toon.

          oops shoulda read davids post entirely before adding mine ;)
          +1

          "In Diablo 2 the player must choose the attributes and fill the skill tree in a particular way that will build there character in which ever way they desired."

          No in Diablo 2 they had to put 75 points into DEX, 100 into STR and everything else into VIT, and only put points into the skills that worked at high levels, otherwise you'd hit hell difficulty and not be able to keep up. The only recourse? Start again and spend another 60 hours doing it the right way.

          I love the D3 route, I'm constantly trying out different builds because it takes 5 minutes to try something out and see if it's working for me rather than 50 hours.

          None of my friends have the exact same skills for any of their characters so I'd say it's working well, swap out skills to match your play style instead of follow a guide or die.

            @Blake, not only is that factually incorrect, but you also gained 3 stat resets per character.

            There are entire builds based around DEX boosting, but of course you would know this... if you actually played Diablo 2.

            Then again, if you actually played Diablo 2, you most likely wouldn't enjoy Diablo 3.

            "None of my friends have the exact same skills for any of their characters"

            None of your friends are in Inferno, and judging by your post, you're not either. D3 is actually far more restrictive in its end-game cookie cutter builds than D2 ever was. D3 gives you what, 2 viable Inferno builds per class (if that!)? D2 gives you thousands:

            http://forums.battle.net/thread.html?topicId=19065186439&sid=3000

            But hey, stay misinformed. Ignorance must truly be bliss.

      Tend to agree, but also looking at it as time the old games existed and context - think both the model of Diablo and the overall market have moved...

      The 2 points:
      - D2 locked your character development by forcing you to chose which very specific skill paths you were going to commit the character to maxing skill points on. So if you got bored of running a javelin-amazon, you'd start from scratch with a bowazon. If you found a particularly awesome unique weapon at higher levels... chances are you were going to need to start another character (unless you already had a stable of 15 heroes). I kind of like the flexibility of the D3 skills as I really DON'T want to have to open up 4 specialised demon hunters who can only make viable use of 1-2 weapons/skills. But the price of that is the game won't suck up the same sheer volume of hours testing out different unique builds.

      - And 2... think about the 2000-2001 gaming world at the time D2 came out. You had a few rare epic gems that were time sucks (Deus Ex... or 5-year apart Elder Scrolls), but most releases were 8-10hr single player fps/platformers (or other end - rts games that had 3 hr resource farming rounds). Until broadband/fleshed-out fps multiplay (around 2005 BF2) D2 was everyone's fallback for a 20-min burst or 4-hr LAN while waiting for the next short-burst game to be released.

        Wow yeah, just look at all these terrible games!

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2001_in_video_gaming

        Compare that with the 2012 list and you'll either be laughing or crying.

      They completely missed the mark with this game. The original creators of the franchise left blizzard along time ago and it clearly shows. Just look at the classes. The Barbarian (from d2), The monk (the paladin), Demon Hunter (a mix of the assassin and amazon), The Wizard (the sorcerer) and The Witch Doctor (the necromancer). Typical Blizzard just rehashing old content, even the skills are similar or the exact same. The same Act areas; D2 had farm land, Dessert, Marsh, Hell and Foot Hills. D3 Has Farm Land, Dessert, Foot Hills and Hell/Heaven.
      D2 was a huge step up up from it's predecessor and this just seems like a step back. One thing that made D2 have such a large replay value was re-rolling the same character 100 times. To try new builds and min/max stats when you got a new item. Rushing players or getting rushed , then doing hours and hours of cow levels because you needed 10 more strength points to equip that Storm Shield Baal dropped.
      Now the game is a joke, endgame won't fix this only an overhaul of the item, skill system, and stats system will.

    End game solution:
    Buy a better game.
    Play it.

    (I finished Normal, got bored, and haven't gone back)

      I am finding Nightmare a much more interesting and diverse challenge than Normal, but I'm struggling to see how the higher difficulties could replicate that. And going back to Act 1 Normal to start a new class sounds like too much dull grind.

    I'm up to Diablo on Nightmare with a With Doctor at level 52. He has good items but his survivability is ridiculously low despite constant my contantly evolving skill set which I've shuffled about 15 times now trying to do it myself. I've tried it solo and I've tried it with friends. Turns out even on Nightmare it's not the level and skills you have but the items you have - which are either found, made by Haedrig or bought on the Auction house.

    So I'm now getting all of the classes up to about the same point hoping that along the way I'll get some items to help my poor little witch doctor - but it's likely he'll be stuck there until I spend the cash on the Auction house or give up on him.

    I think at this point it's more likely I'm just going to give up on D3 all together and move onto the next game until the first expansion arrives.

      I have a 60 WD up to act II inferno and I find their survivability to be pretty good. You have lots of CC and a few oh-shit buttons you can hit. I use something like this http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/witch-doctor#aZUReQ!WZV!aaaZYb for Diablo NM/Hell. If you can avoid all the crap he does haunt can pretty much take care of him with splinters thrown in when you have the opportunity. Also what is your weapon DPS? I found levelling that a new weapon/mojo helped more than any other piece of equipment.

      Why do you have to spend cash in the AH? You realise you can spend gold right and items sub 60 can be had for cheap..

    I play for a week then have week off from it to help cope with burnout/repetition. I just hit lvl 60 on my main an 51 on my alt, but can't seem to find the urge to play atm.

    I got a lvl 59 monk and a lvl 29 wizard. Completed Hell. The only reason I go back to play is to play with my friends. We chat and play and that's where I get entertainment from this game. =D

    After many years of WoW, where the endgame is basically where things start, Diablo 3 has been a disappointment. The gold grind/item hunt is dull as dishwater, far worse than any WoW grind. There simply isn't enough to do, and this non-pvp player doesn't see himself going back in a hurry, save for the odd skype infused session with mates.

    Man I thought Diablo was about an end game that actually was the end and then if you really wanted all that endless multiplayer fluff you just connect.

    Inferno is great fun to run with your friends, but the game does suffer from a lack of substance. Oh, and fix Inferno Ghom plz blizz...that shit is just all sorts of nasty.

    I'm pretty sure Diablo was never going to be about 'end game content', it's a game you pay for once not something on a subscription model.
    So many people seem to be complaining about getting bored after playing it for 30 odd hours, I'd say that's quite an acceptable amount of game for your money.

      Not for Diablo it isn't. I played DII for so long I had to buy the game disc on three separate occasions. 30 hours is just the start of the game. Blizzard simply forgot how to make Diablo games entirely.

    People complaining about end game content and then saying they didn't proceed past Normal

    ..Okay

    Even though D2 was a great game, the stat system was broken and D3, in my opinion greatly improved on that. D3 is not an MMO and just like 9 out of 10 games that are released each year you are eventually going to get tired and move on.

      There are more people currently online in public games for Diablo 2 than there are in Diablo 3.

      What does that tell you?

    I gave up after killing Fem-Diablo in normal mode. There was no reason to continue. The other classes hold no interest for me, and I'd finished the story - Why bother stressing myself doing something I'd already done, only incrementally harder?

    I'm not really sure why it should matter? It's not an MMO, there's no subscription fee, therefore they aren't making any money unless they're sellling DLC... (ignoring the skimmings off the auction house but I doubt that even covers the cost of the servers)

    People got longevity out of Borderlands' endgame, farming Crawmerax for Pearlescent weapons. But, each to their own, I guess.

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