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Old May 25, 2012, 12:48   #31
PowerWyrm
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Originally Posted by Magnate View Post
Anyway, if you thought D2 lacked replayability, I think D3 will be a huge disappointment. It's just as big if not bigger in terms of number of areas - and the scenery's very pretty, and as I've noted before they've done a good job of making the procedural generation give each area a slightly different feel each time through (cf. Hellgate's terrible repetitiveness).

But the real replayability in D2 was about skills. It's what kept me playing through again and again - I loved finding uniques I'd never found before (and the fact that they dropped from Act I Normal onwards was a big part of that) - but that was a pleasant side-effect, not a reason for replaying the game.

Let's take the barb as an example, since the class is common to D2 and D3. In D2, my first barb was a sword-using Frenzy barb. My second was an axe-using Berserker. My third was a mace-using Concentrate barb (in 1.1x when Concentrate got huge defensive synergies), my fourth was a throwbarb, fifth was a singer, sixth was a polearm whirler. That's six completely different experiences of playing the same game through - different mastery, different primary attack skill, different permutations of warcries and defensive skills. And there were dozens more barb variations that I didn't get round to try (I think I had a total of about 30 characters in the end, so an average of only four builds for each class).

In D3, my barb currently uses Frenzy with the Sidearm rune. I'm sure I'll have settled on something better by the time he hits level 60. But the point is, to try a different permutation of skills, I don't have to level up a new build - I just load up this one, select new skills, and go off and try them out. Unless there's something about D3 I haven't yet discovered or understood, that has slashed replayability by a factor of about five or six, immediately.
Basically what you say is that once you played the game with one class, you switch to the next one... which means a great total of five characters. Oh boy...
I guess to increase the game lifespan, you should try playing on Hardcore mode... it should take some time to level all characters to 60 without dying.

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The other issue is that I never hit cl99 in D2, not by a long long way - despite what must have totalled thousands of hours of play. My highest ever char was around cl80 or so, so there was always a feeling of progress. I hope that D3 ends up with a higher level cap than most people could normally attain, for the same reason.
The big problem with D2 is that a level 99 character is not really more powerful than a level 50 character... you just have slightly better equipment and more points for your skills, which also tend to give less and less return on investment.
And at high level, you play the same area over and over again...
A level cap in D3 means that you will reach your full potential much sooner, cutting by a lot the need for grinding. However, this also means a much shorter game lifespan. I guess once bored, you still can create a PvP game and make some duels for fun (this implies of course that PvP still exists in D3...)
This is where a final area really would rock. Once you finish the normal game, you get a side quest and open a new area. Lethal. And death is final. You would get experience and could level to 99, risking death on every move. Then post-game would have a meaning...

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So I still have two main issues where D3 is inferior to D2: skills and items. Both are pretty crucial to longevity of a roguelike - but I'll keep my views updated as I progress through the game. I won't really form a final opinion on its replayability until I've completed the game with every class and start on second builds.
I tend to find less items in D3 actually an improvement over D2, though I'd really like more variety in the drops.

However, a video on Youtube I saw recently about D3 made me VERY sad... A guy was explaining how to pathetically cheeze the equipment for your new characters from items stored in the stash by your high level characters. For people not knowing about multiplayer variants of Angband, try doing the same on official servers ("hey, I found Feanor with my warrior... I'm gonna give my old +10 speed boots to my level 1 mage") and see the reaction of veteran players (or admins). At least in D2 you had to go through the hassle of transfering stuff through public games with the chance of losing the items you wanted to transfer...
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Old May 25, 2012, 12:49   #32
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But wait a minute - D3 runs on the same principle as WoW: the game logic all runs on the server, but your multi-gigabyte client handles all the UI and display issues. There are a trillion mods for WoW - everything from highlighting drops in different colours to realtime combat stats tickers and inventory- and toon-management snap-ins. So why wouldn't the same type of mods - which merely interrogate and use client data and modify the UI - be possible for D3?
b/c they're detectable by the server. This happens with StarCraft 2 right now... mods that change game resources are detected by the mothership when the client logs in and sends a checksum (or whatever).

Since SC2 is such a competitive game, Blizzard keeps tabs on mods that might give another player a competitive advantage. There have been mods, though, that they've given the green light to -- the most obvious one that comes to mind made the player colors in team games much brighter, so you wouldn't kill your teammates accidentally.

Then again SC2 has an accepted mechanism for customizing the game experience, which is the map editor. D3 has no such thing, as far as I know, so...
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Old May 25, 2012, 12:54   #33
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Alas, the days of modding are over. No longer does the game run on the client - online only was introduced to maintain control over what happens in your game.
Don't tell me D3 is a pay-per-month online game? Once you bought the game you can play online for free right?
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Old May 25, 2012, 14:51   #34
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Don't tell me D3 is a pay-per-month online game? Once you bought the game you can play online for free right?
Yes, it's free. You buy the game once and play forever - but you have to connect to bnet to do it - no offline play. So far ...
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Old May 25, 2012, 14:52   #35
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Originally Posted by debo View Post
b/c they're detectable by the server. This happens with StarCraft 2 right now... mods that change game resources are detected by the mothership when the client logs in and sends a checksum (or whatever).

Since SC2 is such a competitive game, Blizzard keeps tabs on mods that might give another player a competitive advantage. There have been mods, though, that they've given the green light to -- the most obvious one that comes to mind made the player colors in team games much brighter, so you wouldn't kill your teammates accidentally.

Then again SC2 has an accepted mechanism for customizing the game experience, which is the map editor. D3 has no such thing, as far as I know, so...
Right - but the point is that there's no technical limitation on UI mods, if Blizz will allow them. I can't see them being upset about a mod that makes gems and recipes stand out from white items ...
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Old May 25, 2012, 15:06   #36
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Originally Posted by PowerWyrm View Post
Basically what you say is that once you played the game with one class, you switch to the next one... which means a great total of five characters. Oh boy...
I guess to increase the game lifespan, you should try playing on Hardcore mode... it should take some time to level all characters to 60 without dying.
I had that exact thought. I never played D2 HC at all - I didn't need to, I was nowhere near running out of interesting builds to try in SC. But I think it won't take me many weeks to beat SC Inferno with all five classes - at that point the only way I can make the game different with a class I've already played through is to try HC. In a way I'm looking forward to it, as it really will be a lot like Angband in 3D. I wonder if you can loot your HC corpses to get your stuff back? I assume so ...
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The big problem with D2 is that a level 99 character is not really more powerful than a level 50 character... you just have slightly better equipment and more points for your skills, which also tend to give less and less return on investment.
And at high level, you play the same area over and over again...
A level cap in D3 means that you will reach your full potential much sooner, cutting by a lot the need for grinding. However, this also means a much shorter game lifespan. I guess once bored, you still can create a PvP game and make some duels for fun (this implies of course that PvP still exists in D3...)
You'll love this - PvP "wasn't ready" for release (after a mere 12 years of development), so it's been held back for a free patch (not a paid-for expansion). I don't do PvP so it doesn't affect me, but I know a LOT of people were upset about not being able to PvP on day 1.
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This is where a final area really would rock. Once you finish the normal game, you get a side quest and open a new area. Lethal. And death is final. You would get experience and could level to 99, risking death on every move. Then post-game would have a meaning...
I kind of see HC as this. I think many people would balk at having to play HC at such a high level, having previously played the same character SC.

I have to say that I found Acts II and III worryingly short - quite a bit shorter than Act I. I've put in about 15 hours with my barb and I'm at the start of Act IV - I clearly spend a lot more time faffing in town than the poster who finished Normal in 12 hours ...
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I tend to find less items in D3 actually an improvement over D2, though I'd really like more variety in the drops.
I think they've actually been quite canny about this. There are actually a huge number of affixes (I'm not certain whether there are quite as many as in D2, but still probably enough), but they've spaced them out a long way, so that plenty don't start showing up until well into Nightmare (and some even later). So early items only have a small pool to choose from, but later on in the game the items get much more varied. I still think the paucity of item colours is a shame, but the actual generation mechanism is pretty good.
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However, a video on Youtube I saw recently about D3 made me VERY sad... A guy was explaining how to pathetically cheeze the equipment for your new characters from items stored in the stash by your high level characters. For people not knowing about multiplayer variants of Angband, try doing the same on official servers ("hey, I found Feanor with my warrior... I'm gonna give my old +10 speed boots to my level 1 mage") and see the reaction of veteran players (or admins). At least in D2 you had to go through the hassle of transfering stuff through public games with the chance of losing the items you wanted to transfer...
This is called twinking, and it's like any other kind of scumming - you can do it or not, as you choose. Personally I really enjoy twinking - I love trying to put together the perfect kit for a toon of any given class and level - and I'd find the game much less enjoyable if I couldn't swap kit between my chars. I see them as a team working together, rather than as discrete attempts like Angband chars. In D2 you couldn't twink HC chars from SC ones (unless you used ATMA or some other hack) - I wonder if D3 is the same. That would imply a completely separate HC stash, which I doubt exists.
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Old May 30, 2012, 01:05   #37
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hardcore monk reached L60 and act 3 hell.

only 2 more big bosses to go...!
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Old May 30, 2012, 13:44   #38
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In D2 you couldn't twink HC chars from SC ones (unless you used ATMA or some other hack) - I wonder if D3 is the same. That would imply a completely separate HC stash, which I doubt exists.
I can confirm that HC uses a completely separate stash - and also a completely separate gold balance. The artisans need levelling up separately too - it's a complete re-set.

Which leads me on to my new biggest beef about the game - I'm only allowed to retain ten characters! WTF? Is there a way around this? In WoW I can have ten chars *on each realm*, up to 50 in total on my account. In D3 it seems like I'm only allowed to play each class twice (or once in SC and once in HC), and then I have to stop? (Or delete them!)
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Old June 1, 2012, 07:58   #39
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Wow, Act IV is short! Really somewhat underwhelming. I finished Normal difficulty in about 18 hours, so I'm significantly slower than dzhang's 12 hours - but I suspect most of that extra time was spent faffing about at the stash (I am a complete packrat and mule everything).

It's just weird though. It feels like they finished the game in a real hurry. Acts I and II are both big - linear but interesting. Act III is a bit shorter, and Act IV is less than half the length. The final fight is a big anticlimax (either that or untwinked monks are as overpowered as d_m claims!).

Haven't tried Nightmare yet - the EU servers went down at 1145 last night, two hours ahead of scheduled maintenance. Ho hum.
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Old June 1, 2012, 12:56   #40
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Haven't tried Nightmare yet - the EU servers went down at 1145 last night, two hours ahead of scheduled maintenance. Ho hum.
You know what this means... nerf patch
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