Treasure Goblin Pet from Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Collector’s Edition

This is my Day 4 post for #Blaugust.  I probably should have been adding that to my previous three posts, but simply didn’t think to do it.  I have two goals for this blogging project.

One, of course, is to write one blog every day until the month is over.  The other is to write blogs that are related in some way to my favorite video game – Diablo III. I decided on that topic to challenge myself, since I am a person who regularly writes three or four blogs a day (on various websites).

I’m writing this as most of the lovely people I follow on Twitter are getting super excited about the upcoming announcement from Blizzard about … well, we don’t know exactly what that will turn out to be.  Speculation abounds, as it typically does when people get the idea that WoW is due for another expansion.  We’ve seen all of this before. I’m kind of bummed that there doesn’t seem to be much new coming to Diablo III, though.

Unexpectedly, I found myself starting to get excited about what might be coming up in World of Warcraft.  This, despite the fact that all of my characters are low level, and that the only time I’ve stepped foot into Draenor was when I was playing the Warlords of Draenor beta.  I didn’t put a ton of time into the beta, but was able to help by reporting a bug. (It was the one that made female Draenei appear to be bald – because the helmet the pre-made level 100 characters were automatically assigned was somehow invisible and taking the place of the character’s hairstyle.)

It’s clear that Blizzard is going to have to do something spectacular with… whatever it is they are about to announce… in order to appease the mass of disgruntled players. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Blizzcon 2013, and distinctly remember feeling the atmosphere of the place noticeably chill after Chris Metzen described the upcoming Warlords of Draenor expansion as “a boy’s trip”. There has been contention since then not only about his initial statement, but also about a plethora of other things.

As for me, I was super happy at Blizzcon 2013 because that was when Blizzard was sharing a lot of information about the upcoming Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (ROS) expansion. My fellow “loot deviants” (to share a somewhat-but-not-really inside joke) were all as excited as I was.

My best guess is that the majority of Diablo III players believed that the Reaper of Souls expansion would “fix” the things that weren’t quite working so well in the original “chocolate” Diablo III game. We were more than ready to dig into the expansion, especially after getting a taste of it at Blizzcon where attendees could sit down at a computer and play through a little bit of it.

Previous to ROS, the RNG in Diablo III could be best described as “stingy”. Players were getting tired of having to play through what is now called “Story Mode” over and over again. That problem caused people to get incredibly bored with the story line (which, in my opinion, was a good one – with some loose ends that hadn’t yet been tied up).

There were some players who were big fans of the Auction House system. There was a “gold” Auction House, and a “real money” Auction House. Players who couldn’t find the gear they needed in-game turned to the Auction House in the hopes of finding it. This system almost turned Diablo III into a “pay-to-win” game – sort of. Those with money could buy the loot they wanted. Those without kept on slaying demons and hoping one of them would drop the armor or weapon the player was desperately trying to find.

A better way of describing the Auction House system was that it affected Diablo III in an unanticipated way. Instead of getting in-game, and farming monsters, players were, essentially, farming the Auction House. Farming the Auction House was more efficient than farming in the actual game. I cannot imagine that Auction House farming was more fun than actually playing the game, though.

So, along comes ROS, and it did fix a lot of the biggest problems that the original Diablo III had. The RNG became more generous. Adventure Mode was added, which gave players the option of doing something other than Story Mode over and over again. Story Mode had entirely new content – Act V, with added story, new places to slay monsters in, and a “big bad” that just might steal your soul. There was a brand new class to play – The Crusader. The Auction Houses were removed from the game because they weren’t as necessary anymore.

ROS wasn’t perfect, of course. It didn’t include the PVP system that a lot of players had been calling for since they first heard that there would be a Diablo III. It didn’t change the requirement that people had to be online in order to play D3:ROS, even if they were intending to play solo. There were some people who were super upset that they couldn’t play the game offline.

My point is that Blizzard was able to take a somewhat disgruntled group of players, and provide them with an expansion that greatly improved the game. True, ROS didn’t instantaneously make everyone fall in love, all over again, with the Diablo series of games. But it did make a significant number of players much happier. You can’t please everyone, no matter what you do.

Now, if Blizzard could take a game like Diablo III, which could be reasonably described as “broken”, and add an expansion that improved the game and “fixed” many of the problems it had…. could Blizzard do it again? Could Blizzard produce a WoW expansion that will “fix” the things that are wrong with WOD, and in doing so, turn the mass of disgruntled players into players who fall in love with WoW all over again?

The answer to that question remains to be seen. I get the feeling that there are going to be a lot of strong emotions about whatever it is that Blizzard is getting ready to announce about World of Warcraft. Social Media is going to be filled with more joy, and outrage, than ever before.

Posted in Diablo Creativity, Diablo III

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