I fired Diablo 3 back up this weekend with my Son to explore the quality-of-life changes they’ve put in. The big one is the addition of the flexible “Monster Level”, which allows players to tweak the difficulty (and thus augment the XP and Magic Find) right out of the gate. It’s very convenient and for seasoned gamers like us who tire of the early leveling that’s dull and on the easy end of the spectrum, we were able to accelerate and get challenged much quicker. That was a big plus.
As for any other changes that have been made, I’ve not been back since the initial introduction of the Paragon leveling system.
In regards to the RMAH, yeah, I think it cause a huge problem. The game was designed and balanced around it – it was not just bolted in. So, the quality of those great items balanced against how frequently (read: INFREQUENTLY) they appeared was heavily skewed. You don’t have to crunch numbers to get a verdict, you talk to a teenage kid like Hunter. I asked him why he got bored of D3 and he said “Nothing good every drops. It gets dull after the first pass.”
Hiking up the challenge is fine, but reward should always match effort. Blizzard of all companies should know this. Those initial legendaries…yeesh. Talk about forgettable. There was a great article shortly after D3 came out that drew a line graph demonstrating the difference of how a player experiences D2 vs D3, comparing it to a monkey pulling a lever to get juice. When the rewards are rarer and less satisfying, people move on.
Fundamentally, Diablo 3 is another game that has suffered at the hands of the dumbhammer. Flattening the complexity out of the character customization led it down a path that produced an interesting side-effect: A game that was (at launch) mind-numbingly easy at the start and brutally oppressive near the end.
I much preferred the design taken in Diablo 2 (and early WoW Talent Trees) in which there was far more to customize (read: TO GET WRONG) and if you made poor choices, yeah…the game bent you over. As it should.
…make intelligent choices, and even at the highest difficulties, you wade through a sea of demons and slice through them like butter, while gold and rewards rain down from the skies.
Reward effort. Not laziness.