Diablo’s already sparking off a lot of discussion in the blogosphere.
Top bloggers are singling out some fascinating points about the game, and the discussion’s only just getting started:
- Tobold has visited the Diablo 3 AH, and believes that his predictions of low prices are confirmed – “. On the live servers people quickly realized that there is no such thing as bind on equip in Diablo III. Every item you find or buy, you can sell back on the AH later, even those that you used and replaced by something better. That means that each players every day is producing a constant stream of blue and better gear to feed into the economy, far more than there could possibly be demand for. “
- Remember Diablo 1? Tales of the Rampant Coyote does, and looks back to the time when Diablo arrived, and proved a dozen hypothetical design questions at once – “My attitude when I played the game – especially playing multiplayer for the first time, was “Holy Crap! They did it! These guys finally did it.” These discussions and arguments had been going on for years, in the vacuum of the Internet and bulletin board systems. It had all been theory, and the talk had felt endless.”
- Windsoar at Jaded Alt offers us a useful resource – a “what’s changed?” guide between Diablos 2 and 3 – “IF you have friends on your list who are ALSO playing Diablo 3, AND they have a public group, you can enter their “dungeon” from the character selection page. You can also choose to join public games at any time during your dungeon.”
- Matticus looks at the Diablo talent trees as a prequel of what the Mists talent system will offer WoW – “I’m hoping Diablo 3′s skill system, now that more people are exposed to it, will help open some eyes and encourage understanding to those who were vehemently opposed to Mists talent system. “
- Vidyala at Manalicious looks at the downsides of Diablo’s always-on, never-invisible social gaming – “With our current expectations of connectivity, it can seem radical or selfish to say “I’m not available at the moment,” but trust me – sometimes everyone needs a little space to get lost in the world, virtual or otherwise. “
- The Godmother at Alt:ernative looks at how Diablo 3 effectively hooks players into a new social network – “I can entirely understand the frustration of the lone player: I think the biggest single failure last night was that Blizzard didn’t make it clear that D3 is a new generation of game. It requires you to bolt yourself into an existing social networking framework, even if you have no need or desire to be part of it. “
- Beruthiel at Falling Leaves and Wings responds to players complaining about server downtime with the example of Blizzard’s astonishing decision to compensate people whose preorders were lost when a retailer folded – “Blizzard is going to absorb the loss of GAME’s poor business decisions, to ensure that Blizzard’s customer’s aren’t getting the short end of this particular stick. I haven’t done a ton of research on if other companies have taken similar steps in the past – so I cannot say that it is “unprecedented” – but I will say that this is extremely rare. And amazing. Really, really amazing.”
- Gaming For Introverts struggles with the way Diablo 3 gives you no option but to be social – “When I group with other people I feel this need to be efficient, and to be really good at playing the game so I don’t cause wipes or failures. Suddenly I’m not stopping to take in scenery, or paying much attention to the lore audio clips that play in the background. I don’t want to stop moving for too long while staring at my skills or the stuff in my inventory.”
- Finally, Scary Worlds is upset about Diablo’s DRM, but wonders if outrage can get in the way of enjoying a game – “Thinking back to my DRM chats and how much people hate it, I just wish I didn’t know about it. People like me ignore great games because they have a beef with DRM or asshats like Orson.”
Are you finding Diablo 3’s social networking aspects disturbing? Do you see gold in them thar dungeons? Let us know what you think!
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A week or so ago, Cynwise wrote a post talking about WoW’s evolution in the current era of the Internet, which touched on a lot of interesting points about social networks and how WoW’s design could evolve.
Now, that post itself has evolved, into a thorough look at how WoW and other MMOs can and should develop in the age of Facebook. After all, as Cynwise says, one of the big golden promises of the MMORPG was that you could play in the same universe as your friends, but thanks to guilds, servers, and various other impediments, the reality is far from that claim –
“World of Warcraft’s infrastructure requires players to create accounts on specific, mutually exclusive servers. If I roll on Durotan, I cannot interact with players on Drenden or Moonrunner, and vice versa. Each server is effectively its own independent social network, limited in scope, much like old-school BBSes were. This made sense in 2004, but in 2012 social networks are broader, which is the whole point behind Real ID/BattleTags grouping. Warcraft is moving players towards a cloud-based existence, where your server matters less than your friends list. I personally think this is a good thing, because no matter how nostalgic I am for the old days of BBSes, I enjoy the present day reality of a global social network …
Let’s take a simple example, a player who wants to play both Horde and Alliance. She joins nice guilds on both sides of the same server and enjoys spending time with each group. But depending on which character she chooses to play, she either has to choose one social group or the other. This doesn’t have anything to do with guild perks or reputation – imagine a social network that forced you to choose between talking to one set of friends or another when logging in, and see how popular that would become. It’s not enough to be able to talk individually. “
I really hope that the poor, underpaid guy that Blizzard pay to sit and keep tabs on the MMORPG blogosphere (let’s face it, we know they must have at least one) spends a good chunk of time reading this post. I’ve never seen Cynwise’s central question – “How can WoW change to survive the post-Facebook age?” articulated so clearly, and whilst he doesn’t have a solid blueprint – yet – he does an excellent job of not only articulating the various problems but also proposing solutions for them.
And for the rest of us, it’s worth reading this post because it’s likely to be prophetic. Cynwise has nailed a key element of any future MMO that isn’t doomed to looking like a throwback – certainly, I’d be astonished if Titan wasn’t designed around social principles. And he’s doing some interesting thinking about not just directly Facebookifying WoW, but also translating the strengths of WoW via the things that make social networks great.
I’ll be interested to see how the conversation develops around this one!
How do you think MMOs will evolve in the Social Age?
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Again I see that WoW’s no longer dominating the news today. Indeed, partially bolstered by the total silence from Blizzard on, ooh, anything, we’re looking at another 50⁄50 split today, between the scrappy contender of SWTOR (if a multi-hundred-million-dollar game can be a scrappy anything), and the tired giant WoW.
- Cynwise writes a fascinating and extremely long post on the future of WoW as a social network – “The advantage Warcraft has over Twitter is that you can do stuff with people while talking to them. You can go play a video game with people while chatting with them! You can have a real avatar, one that like moves and talks and walks and can wear clothing and kill Internet Dragons!”
- Aldous the Boozekin is having a rare moment of sobriety as he discusses how he both loved and hated Firelands because it was so hard – and easy – “Dragon Soul is, in my opinion, far easier as a whole than Firelands. I think the majority of players would agree with me here, but I could be wrong. But what exactly is it that makes it so much easier? And is that a good thing or a bad thing?”
- Gazimoff has hit Level 50 in SWTOR, and wonders if LFD is actually essential for modern endgames – “Today the MMO landscape changes at a much faster pace – in six months I could be playing Guild Wars 2, The Secret World or the Mists of Pandaria beta.”
- And Klepsacovic at Troll Racials Are Overpowered finds that SWTOR’s choices don’t always keep up with their storytelling – “Even if I really want to kill him, even if I have already rejected his offer in order to kill him, I cannot kill him. Nope. I am magically compelled to take him on as a companion.”
Don’t forget to vote for the People’s Choice Awards !
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