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Author Topic: Jay Wilson moving away from Diablo 3, Woo Ooo  (Read 44486 times)
Malakili
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Reply #35 on: January 18, 2013, 01:02:11 PM

How does that line up with the jillion people in the WoW thread all going "why won't they listen to us?".


It doesn't.  But I am not saying that community feedback is poisonous, but rather that designing a game to sell to a particular group is generally bad because it puts the commercial aspect before the game aspect.  It is sort of a riff on the same reason I hate the free to play model (it forces developers to make decisions based on their monetization plan rather than on good game design principles), but also different for obvious reasons.
Rokal
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Reply #36 on: January 18, 2013, 01:07:54 PM

It's a symptom of the "New" Blizzard.  For as much as people want to say Kotick would be a fool to kill the golden goose, people do just that all the time, and Kotick has.   He's done many interviews where he brags about how Blizzard employees used to come to meetings with him with only ideas or notions and speak in roundabout design terms.  BUT NOW they come to him with spreadsheets, ROI projections and discussions of alternate revenue streams instead of "Hey, this would be cool."

These quotes were about non-Blizzard studios Activision owned and were made shortly after Activision bought Blizzard. Diablo 3 doesn't strike me as a situation where revenue was the #1 concern and the game itself was an afterthought. The game was in development forever and they were constantly throwing out and remaking major systems. If this was a cash-grab, the much more logical thing to do would have been making HD Diablo 2 with an AH in a much shorter amount of time and swimming in money pools. Instead they tried (and failed) to revolutionize the Diablo formula. Jay Wilson was not a bad design director because he was too focused on revenue, he was a bad design director because he was unable to guide his team towards fun systems and lead them to more failures than successes.

They've been resting on laurels too long, and they are slowly trying to break that habit by removing people who just want to ignore the customers. 2013 will be a make or break year for Blizzard in terms of their staff.

In what way are Diablo 3's problems due to ignoring customers? The game is stream-lined and over-simplified to the point of absurdity. This wasn't done because the developers were building a game for themselves, they were trying to build a Diablo game that they thought would appeal to gamers in 2012. The game probably would have turned out better if they had built it for themselves rather than trying to build it for the customer they wanted, we probably would have ended up with something less accessible but also complex and interesting like PoE. Their older designs for pretty much every system in the game seem more interesting than what we got but they scrapped them to build something that they thought their target customer would be able to understand easier.

Aside from the always-on connectivity, they've made or are working towards pretty much all of the feedback they've gotten. There was some initial pushback when the game came out about what they thought was best, but after the first month when it was clear how badly they'd fucked up and how many people were disappointed with the game. Since then they've been paying complete attention to their customers. The game is still bad because the foundations for loot/stats are so rotten, but they're responding to feedback and doing what they can for a live game.

I don't know if Blizzard has the balls to completely revamp the loot/stat system in the inevitable expansion pack which is what the game really needs, but they're at least heading in the right direction.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2013, 01:09:35 PM by Rokal »
Ingmar
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Reply #37 on: January 18, 2013, 01:24:56 PM

Yeah I really don't think this can be laid at the feet of Kotick, the game was in development for years before he even showed up. I mean I guess maybe you could assume he "rushed" it out the door but the game was in development for 7 years, there's no additional amount of time they could have spent that would have changed the game into something substantially different than what we got.

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Azaroth
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Reply #38 on: January 18, 2013, 01:30:41 PM

So people were looking for perfection and got disappointed.

Lots and lots of nerds are being dramatic about a video game.

Alright. Now that makes sense to me.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2013, 01:32:13 PM by Azaroth »

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Reply #39 on: January 18, 2013, 01:31:46 PM

In what way are Diablo 3's problems due to ignoring customers? The game is stream-lined and over-simplified to the point of absurdity. This wasn't done because the developers were building a game for themselves, they were trying to build a Diablo game that they thought would appeal to gamers in 2012. The game probably would have turned out better if they had built it for themselves rather than trying to build it for the customer they wanted, we probably would have ended up with something less accessible but also complex and interesting like PoE. Their older designs for pretty much every system in the game seem more interesting than what we got but they scrapped them to build something that they thought their target customer would be able to understand easier.

You answered your own question. Not understanding who your customers are is the same thing as ignoring them.

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Lantyssa
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Reply #40 on: January 18, 2013, 01:57:41 PM

That be a pretty nice job actually.  why so serious?
Not if you get vertigo easily.  @_@

Hahahaha!  I'm really good at this!
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Reply #41 on: January 18, 2013, 06:43:59 PM

Some days I wonder just who Rokal is at Blizzard that he feels the need to so vehemently defend their shitty decisions over the last 5 years.

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Kail
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Reply #42 on: January 18, 2013, 07:13:45 PM

Some days I wonder just who Rokal is at Blizzard that he feels the need to so vehemently defend their shitty decisions over the last 5 years.

I dunno, from the perspective of someone who hasn't played MoP or D3, he sometimes makes the most sense out of all of you.  I mean, you're looking at a game that most people admit isn't bad, has great production values and solid controls, it made hundreds of millions of dollars amid a sea of failing game companies, and you're pointing at the guy in charge going "Thank God this fucking asshole is leaving so the game will finally stop being such a total goddamn failure".  It does seem a bit puzzling at times.
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Reply #43 on: January 18, 2013, 07:17:37 PM

Clearly, if something makes a bunch of money it must be good.

Thanks for clearing that up forums poster Kail!

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Kail
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Reply #44 on: January 18, 2013, 07:45:50 PM

Clearly, if something makes a bunch of money it must be good.

Thanks for clearing that up forums poster Kail!

I didn't say it was good, I've never played it.  It is a success, though.  You seriously think Activision is looking at Jay Wilson and going "Well, Diablo 3 made 500 million dollars, but I read on an internet forum that it suxors, and that's unacceptable, so you're fired"?

I mean, go ahead and debate the gameplay if you want, I can't really contribute to that discussion.  But let's not pretend that the game as a whole was some kind of titanic failure, or that the guy who made it is some kind of hilariously incompetent moron just because the game has some issues with loot tables or something.  Like 99% of the game, the art, the control, the sound design, the stability, from what I hear, are all solidly done.  There's a difference between "the game's not perfect" and "holy shit, this guy is a huge fuckup" which a lot of people seem to be raging right across.  It's not like we're talking War Z or 38 Studios here.
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Reply #45 on: January 18, 2013, 07:50:37 PM

Making 500 mil when you probably expected to make a billion and walk away with every GOTY award is pretty much a failure. Remember that most "failed" MMOs end up being really profitable still.

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Reply #46 on: January 18, 2013, 09:03:22 PM

Making 500 mil when you probably expected to make a billion and walk away with every GOTY award is pretty much a failure. Remember that most "failed" MMOs end up being really profitable still.

The important part to remember about games and their success is the expectations involved. There's a certain amount of play you need to get in order to sell expansions and RMAH fees.

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Margalis
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Reply #47 on: January 18, 2013, 09:08:22 PM

The problem with Diablo 3 is not Kotick or ignoring customers. The problem is that the individual design decisions made just weren't good ones.

Bobby Kotick doesn't design the game and dictate specific design decisions, and as much as community involvement is a big deal these days it's mostly as a placebo. Listening more or less is almost completely orthogonal to making a good game.

Whatever crazy high-level rules Kotick imposed on the game (most likely few to none) it still could have turned out much better.

As far as being a success or not, I had people on my Facebook page who I didn't think even played games at all excited about D3 without knowing anything about it. "Diablo 3" was going to sell well, regardless of what it was, simply because it was Diablo 3. The fact that it was successful in some sense doesn't say much about it.

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Rokal
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Reply #48 on: January 18, 2013, 09:14:26 PM

Some days I wonder just who Rokal is at Blizzard that he feels the need to so vehemently defend their shitty decisions over the last 5 years.
Meanwhile I've probably got one of the most negative posting histories for this subforum, but keep on  Tinfoil Hat

I don't even understand how you can construe my last post as positive.

We both agree that the game is bad (as an ARPG) or at the very least disappointing. I just happen to think that the reason it's bad/disappointing is because of a bad development direction rather than corporate greed.

I didn't say it was good, I've never played it.  It is a success, though.  You seriously think Activision is looking at Jay Wilson and going "Well, Diablo 3 made 500 million dollars, but I read on an internet forum that it suxors, and that's unacceptable, so you're fired"?

Regardless of how much money the game made, I doubt Blizzard wants to be known for creating disappointing games. The frantic back-tracking on major decisions via patches, and the metrics we do have (xfire stats, etc.) which show the game's population diving off a cliff ~2 weeks after release, indicates that the game wasn't just disappointing to the minority that post on the forums.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2013, 09:17:30 PM by Rokal »
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Reply #49 on: January 18, 2013, 10:15:53 PM

My own experience was:

1.  Online only.  WTF?  Lost playtime due to servers down, my isp down, etc. 
2.  Disappointing loot.  The game is to buy the good loot at the AH?  What?  You kill monsters, you see what drops, THAT'S Diablo.
3.  Or I have to finish the game multiple times to access the good loot tables? 

They made these mistakes due to their desire to monetize loot.  Making money trumped design, where D1 and D2 made money due TO their designs.

I don't think I'm the only one pissed at these mistakes.

D3 was a guaranteed slam dunk for success, but a couple of very poor design decisions quickly soured what otherwise is a fun, attractive game.
Malakili
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Reply #50 on: January 18, 2013, 10:33:44 PM


3.  Or I have to finish the game multiple times to access the good loot tables? 


This turned out to be the biggest problem with the game for a lot of people who loved D2 I think.  End game loot used to start dropped in Act 3 Nightmare.  Granted, not everything that dropped, but some of the best items in the game could drop there.  By sequestering level 60 off with its own difficulty and loot tables, I think they forced a too rigid end game. 

But even more that that, the game didn't whet people's appetite early in the game with things like first boss kill unique tems.  You could play just normal mode and have a set item or unique item here or there, and in Diablo 3 they really did adopt the "level to 60, then loot begins to matter" type of mindset (from WoW?) and I just don't think it quite suits a Diablo style game.  And a lot of people (particular the demographic here, but not only) just simply can't be fucked to level up to the end game before a game starts getting interesting anymore.
Rokal
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Reply #51 on: January 18, 2013, 11:23:49 PM


2.  Disappointing loot.  The game is to buy the good loot at the AH?  What?  You kill monsters, you see what drops, THAT'S Diablo.
...

They made these mistakes due to their desire to monetize loot.  Making money trumped design, where D1 and D2 made money due TO their designs.

They've improved the drop rate for loot significantly since the game launched. The loot is still disappointing.

The drop rates were an issue, but the bigger problem was that none of the loot was actually interesting. Legendaries were just rare items with a different color. Most of the interesting modifiers from Diablo 2 were gone. The way stats benefited specific classes and the importance of weapon DPS for every ability in the game meant that everyone wanted the exact same items for each class and that you were always looking for slightly better versions of items you were already wearing.

That's not a design caused by a desire to monetize loot, it's just a bad design.

Someone made a pretty amazing infographic that went over the problems with D3 loot and it has nothing to do with drop rates or the AH. Diablo 3 would still be a bad loot ARPG even if the AH never existed and the drop rates launched with the values they have now.

I don't want to destroy the thread by posting the giant image, but it's really worth taking a look at.

http://i.imgur.com/h6OUS.jpg
Setanta
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Reply #52 on: January 19, 2013, 01:33:32 AM

Rokal: Pretty sure that picture absolutely nails it. There was so much that D2 did right (including runewords) that got turned into WoW-gear mentality in D3.

I actually rolled a second barb just to use that helm - god it was fun.

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Mosesandstick
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Reply #53 on: January 19, 2013, 05:03:51 AM


That really isn't an accurate picture. For a start D2's itemization at various times was all over the shop and LoD and 1.10 made significant changes to it.
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Reply #54 on: January 19, 2013, 05:24:50 AM


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Malakili
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Reply #55 on: January 19, 2013, 06:49:37 AM


That really isn't an accurate picture. For a start D2's itemization at various times was all over the shop and LoD and 1.10 made significant changes to it.

It is kind of accurate.  True, Diablo 2 wasn't quite as good in LoD hit, but particularly with regards to main stats and weapon DPS, I think that picture is right.  Right now Itemization isn't just boring because the loot is kind of boring, it is boring because the underlying mechanics for which you need to gear have no variation. Want an amulet? Find the one with the most [Mainstat]+Vit+crit chance+crit damage you can afford and equip it, the end.  This is a direct result of the way they've designed stats and skills.  Diablo 2 has many builds which were dependent on very different kinds of gear because skills didn't take their damage from weapons.

Setanta
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Reply #56 on: January 19, 2013, 07:02:24 AM


That really isn't an accurate picture. For a start D2's itemization at various times was all over the shop and LoD and 1.10 made significant changes to it.

But it was fixed.

So why didn't the D3 devs learn from it?

To make a mistake once and fix it sure. To revisit it? Stupidity

50% stupidity and 50% arrogance actually

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Mosesandstick
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Reply #57 on: January 19, 2013, 07:48:21 AM

I'd just like to make clear I'm not trying to defend D3 in any way or form. I'm just trying to point out that people have a habit of giving D2 qualities it didn't have.

Anyone who played a physical based character (baba, non-hammer pally, amazon, etc.) was extremely reliant on their weapon for their effectiveness. High DPS and life-leech were your bread and butter. As a caster +skills would usually be your main focus as they were the main (only?!) way to increase your damage.

In classic good items were very high level rares. Uniques and sets were generally POS and you got better items just by getting better and better rares with the focus being on the same stats. After LoD uniques were pretty haphazard with some exceptional uniques (e.g. buriza) being good and others completely underwhelming. 1.10 saw more uniques, more utility and cooler options being added.

I do think that one of the issues that image describes well is that itemisation doesn't exist in a vaccum, it has to sync with how your characters are developed.

The one thing D2 clearly had was that broadly it was an easy game. You didn't need to be optimally itemised to play the game and have fun.
Margalis
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Reply #58 on: January 19, 2013, 07:50:24 AM

The whole notion of weapon DPS as a stat to base things off of is just nonsense. "DPS" isn't a raw stat, it's an aggregate of damage over time. If you attack a dude once with some special attack why would your "DPS" matter?

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Rendakor
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Reply #59 on: January 19, 2013, 12:38:50 PM

Tying skills to DPS is something inherited from WoW; because gear balance is very important (in WoW), you can't tie skills to weapon damage or slower weapons will always be better. Thus, skills were normalized to use weapon DPS to make the whole range of weapons useful (or to stop the devs from having to remove weapons with differing attack speeds). This all assumes weapon-based skills like Cleave; tying spells and such to weapon damage/DPS is just silly to me.

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Outlawedprod
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Reply #60 on: January 19, 2013, 09:33:54 PM

Interesting discussion so far.  I think I can sum up most of the reactions to this news with a quote from one D3 dev though.

Quote
Fuck that loser.

=p
rattran
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Reply #61 on: January 19, 2013, 11:09:53 PM

To quote Mom "Don't let the door hit you on the way out, 'cause I don't want ass prints on my new door!"
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Reply #62 on: January 19, 2013, 11:13:58 PM

 Ohhhhh, I see.

 Ohhhhh, I see.

 Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

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Reply #63 on: January 19, 2013, 11:32:19 PM

Interesting discussion so far.  I think I can sum up most of the reactions to this news with a quote from one D3 dev though.

Quote
Fuck that loser.

=p

Gorramit, I was so going to post that obvious, but entirely appropriate, response.

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Margalis
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Reply #64 on: January 19, 2013, 11:34:59 PM

Tying skills to DPS is something inherited from WoW; because gear balance is very important (in WoW), you can't tie skills to weapon damage or slower weapons will always be better.

Or you can make slower weapons have lower DPS, so that their DPS when taking special abilities into account is roughly the same as faster weapons.

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Rendakor
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Reply #65 on: January 20, 2013, 12:04:38 AM

That might work if all skills used the same coefficient related to weapon damage, but they don't. They would need to redesign skills and weapons in a fundamental way in order to make that work, for no reason other than the fact that tying skills to an abstract concept (DPS) makes less sense than the more concrete weapon damage.

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Margalis
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Reply #66 on: January 20, 2013, 01:59:32 AM

They would need to redesign skills and weapons in a fundamental way in order to make that work, for no reason other than the fact that tying skills to an abstract concept (DPS) makes less sense than the more concrete weapon damage.

But that is a great reason!

One problem with DPS as a basis for skill damage is that it just doesn't make sense. It's the very obvious hand of the designer. But another problem with DPS as the end-all of stats is that if weapons are balanced by DPS and everything is keyed off of DPS then all weapons are basically the same.

It's much more interesting to have more variety. Weapons that swing less often for more damage suffer more from overkill problems, which means their DPS is actually lower against mobs of enemies. If you have abilities that apply effects on-hit then fast-attack weapons are better. But if slow weapons do more damage for skills that's a point in their favor, etc. Make players think a little about what weapon and skill combination and strategy is right for the right situation, rather than keying everything off of one number such that a weapon with the higher number is just strictly better than a weapon with the lower number. Hell, make different weapons have different ranges as well, even for melee weapons.

Balancing things by having only one relevant number may work from a balance perspective but not from a fun perspective. With that sort of balance you effectively just have one weapon type and a continuous scale of power for it. Exact opposite direction you should go in if making an action RPG.

vampirehipi23: I would enjoy a book written by a monkey and turned into a movie rather than this.
Rendakor
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Reply #67 on: January 20, 2013, 02:27:17 AM

All of that is true for Diablo, and on that note I agree with you. I was just pointing out that the system was borrowed from WoW (and all my comments about reworking skills are regarding WoW), where tighter loot balance is more important. It makes sense in WoW, it's fucking stupid to shoe horn into an ARPG.

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Simond
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Reply #68 on: January 20, 2013, 01:20:36 PM

So how long until the announcement from Runic Games about their purchase by Activision?  awesome, for real

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Reply #69 on: January 21, 2013, 05:13:08 AM

Oh Dear God, DON'T.


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