Tuesday 9 August 2016

Diablo III's Problems: Shallowness and Bad Writing

Diablo III and its expansion, Reaper of Souls, were without a doubt massive hits, both of them living up to their Blizzard pedigree. Despite that though, the game seems to have fallen out of favor with its creators - who are currently focused on other projects - and with its player-base too lately. While the former of those two problems is part of a sort of natural progression within the life-span of an IP, the latter is much more alarming, given how it calls the IP's very viability into question. Obviously, the lack of player interest has been driven by the lack of significant content-additions lately, but there are deeper-reaching problems at work here too, problems which some players had pointed out way back when the game was first released. These problems are mostly anchored in the shallowness of the story most people playing the game simply ignore. The mechanics are enjoyable but at the end of the day quite repetitive as well...the game still gets some hooked on its peculiar brand of bubble-wrap popping charm, and that's pretty much all it has  left going these days.

Beyond the silly fantasy names and the excruciatingly cliche story-line of some sort of demons being fought by angels over control of an imaginary realm, the actual story behind the game has no personality and no presence whatsoever. Marred by hilariously bad writing here and there, Diablo III's story is more of a nuisance than an asset for most players, leading some of the bloggers still roaming the Diablo III realm to proclaim that the game works best when one simply doesn't think about it.

The visuals are great obviously, as are the physics-based elements of combat, but there have been complaints in this respect as well, claiming that the game simply lacked the dark atmosphere of its predecessor and that it was way too cartoony to properly suck an old fan in.

At the end of the day, the game is a hack and slash and it stays true to those roots. When comparing it to Diablo II, one also can't ignore the possibility that those who had played that game too are now grown up and on to just how simplistic and mindless the Diablo brand of fun has always been.

Philip Thalberg has been involved in eSports coverage since 2004, as a member of GosuTeam.