Well D3 was darn popular

Well it seems Blizzard has more than one cash cow after all, as Diablo 3 made a fair crop of cash for the studio (Polygon article). 20 million sales of the game. The subscribers numbers for WoW have lead some folk to say that WoW is in trouble, and perhaps even the concept of an MMO is in trouble too (MMO’s are dying). I don’t buy into that because frankly I think MMOs are another arrow in the quiver of game styles that gamers like myself enjoy. D3 was popular, as was D1&D2; they’re not the same as WoW, but they represent that games are still able to make a tidy profit and that the audience for games hasn’t evaporated as much as some of the end of the world style blog titles imply. These games don’t signal the end of anything except the short period while one game has it’s pinnacle of popularity. I’ll wait for D4 happily, or a variant clone from another source happily.

The games will transform, might shudder a bit, but multiplayer games have been around for a darn long time, and we’re only seeing better and better graphics and gameplay as the decades roll along. A good game is worth paying for. A great game is worth following, and any studio which can release a solid product often will garner loyalty from wallets. As much as I sometimes dislike small parts of Blizzard’s approach, they do keep creatig things I find fun. I don’t kickstart/crowdfund much at all because I think I could use my money on other things, and the risk is not worth it. That might mean that I’m not on the cutting edge of new games, but I’m also not dropping US$80 every three or four months on the same set of tripe shooter, mmo clone, or games that never get completed.

I would spend something on a single player, turn based, strategy game set either in misc fantasy land or space … if it was a revamped and upgraded Master of Orion 2. MoO3 was awful, and MoO2 hit that sweet spot of fun that I still think about. What happened to the popularity of the turn based games? I guess I’ll wait for them to come back into favor.

d3-angel

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Play for free, Up to level 13

A few weeks ago Blizzard announced that D3 was going to have a free play option for low level characters (FAQ here). I’m not sure why I missed this initially, but perhaps the silly work and wow cycle was as much eye candy as I could take in.

Regardless, this is offering which I think is a benchmark for game distribution in today’s market: give the player an opportunity to see if they like your work. Do not expect that people will pay to test if the game sucks. They won’t. If they trail it, then they can pay for the full thing when it makes them happy, if not then they get caps and limits that might keep them interested periodically. That demo might be a week’s grace, or a level limit, or whatever style is suitable. Either way you get players who wish to play, not players who are angry about getting some of the money’s worth.

A long time ago I played and loved Master of Orion 1 and 2. When MoO3 was released I pre-purchased that game and regretted it straight away. It was a poor imitation of the old game, with bright and shiny graphics which did nothing to distract from the shitty actual play. A total waste. Since then I’ve been a mad and angry purchaser of any game product. Temple of Elemental Evil was a similar experience as while the game was technically playable the crash rate and list of things that when SNAP! was too large.

So now I rant about free to play capped options with furvor and wrath.

For Diablo 3’s free play option they chose a max level number like unlucky 13 for the free players. That is just too much fun. Well done guys, it made me smile.

The demonically-besieged world of Sanctuary needs heroes. Now you can join in the apocalyptic battle for FREE via the all-new Diablo®  III Starter Edition.  Available exclusively via Battle.net®, the Starter Edition allows you to fight your way up to the Skeleton King boss in Act I, and advance all the way to level 13, without having to purchase a copy of Diablo III.

Diablo 3 is enough of a game that I think I would have purchased it away way, especially as it has no ongoing subscription; but I might have avoided it early on if I hadn’t had a Blizzard annual pass. I feel the same way about trialing GuildWars2 – play it if its free to see if its good, but otherwise I’m not interested in paying box price to evaluate software anymore.

I generally assume that most games released are not worth it until I read staggeringly good reviews from multiple sources, and a friend says its good, and it is released. A little while ago I said “I’m planning a short return plunge into WoW briefly before playing Diablo 3, and possibly SWToR. I’ll wait till Panda-randa is released, then decide if I pick it up.” Now that more details are about I’ll probably buy MoP in advance. It is good enough and close enough that it is a low risk.

I still don’t like Pandas though. Perhaps that means I’m looking forward to killing a few.

Prestige for endgame D3 players

paragon ding x100

Ding 60! Grats. And then ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. You get the idea.

D3 is adding 100 extra “paragon” levels of character advancement into the game with a coming patch, to satisfy the endgame players who desire more power and prestige.

Here’s how it works:

– After you hit level 60, any further experience you earn from killing monsters will begin to count toward Paragon levels

– There are 100 Paragon levels
– Every Paragon level will reward you with:

Core stats such as Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, and Vitality in amounts similar to what you’d gain from a normal level 3% Magic Find and 3% Gold Find

– In addition, a distinctive increasingly-impressive border will surround your character portrait in the in-game party frame to denote your Paragon progression, with a new frame earned after every ten levels. Your Paragon level will also be visible to other players wherever your normal level is shown

Excellent. Players who desire this style of grind and advancement will likely love the idea, and it shows that Blizzard is still very interested in keeping the long tail of players active in D3 as much as they were in D2. It allows the really advanced players better odds of finding good random loot, and feeds that gear through to the Real Money and Gold Auction Houses.

It’s not for me, but hey – everything can’t be. Welcome news, and if generating 75 pages of comments on an announcement is a sign of success, then this is being taken in a mostly positive light by the community too. The negative comment seem to be focused on a dislike of grinding out levels as “endgame” and a dislike of the motivations of driving activity to the AHs. I paused to wonder if the negative players actually played the other Diablo games if this was unexpected or disliked. D1&2 were all about the grind.

Perhaps the new content should include twenty or so new level features as mini-experiences (save the ghost lady, etc), and ten or so new monster models with a variety of new spell colours and effects. Then attach an achievement to getting each and collecting the set, so that the completionists can get their groove on as well. What is even considered endgame for Diablo anyway? Certainly not raid content.

Refs:

Diablo 3 patch … What exploit?

Aside

Aside … Diablo 3 has a mini-patch 1.0.3a to address some small issues, and it reminds me that I’m out of the loop in terms of game exploits (via wowinsider).

Fixed several gold and leveling exploits

Gone are the days of getting out a hex editor to snaffle straight 24 stats in Bard’s Tale 2. I wish I knew more about the exploits they were fixing, just to have cool insight into how it worked. Darn it.

It is no longer possible to create fake achievement links.

Ha! I’m sure there was some comedy gold in there due to that, the odd complaint, and perhaps a dummy spit. Fixing it is a fair thing though.

Witchdoctor – Zombie Bears should no longer become stuck on objects with which they shouldn’t have collision.

But they will still be stuck on items for which they do have collision? Whew! Why do they get stuck, instead of either pathing to the toon?

You know a game is wonderful when the collision mechanics for Zombie Bears is a consideration. This note alone should be a marker for people to try the game. Now if it was Zombie Bear Cavalry then the world would play. Or Feral Zombie Bear Tanks with Guns!

Go read the rest, I’ll stay here and create more silly Zombie Bear notes.

Happy killing, TyphoonAndrew

Quick aside on D3

Aside

Diablo III Act III

Diablo III Act III (Photo credit: JBLivin)

I enjoy that I can play Diablo 3 for a minute at a time, and not be punished. Casual? Yes. The game so far has no respawns that will find you when you if AFK. That makes coffee/wife/kid/phone breaks easier.

A few things I’ve changed in the game settings: Turn off auto join, and Turn on move key. Both are tweaks which make the game more pleasant.

Real$AH WTB Authenticator

Apparently the Real Money Auction House will be up for play tomorrow, and restricted to people who have authenticators. Shucks, I think that is good news.

Why? – Well security, and knowing that the cash transaction is far more likely to be the real people involved, not a hacker exploiting. The only barrier I can see if those people who cannot afford or desire either a dongle authenticator, or a mobile device authenticator, and I seriously think that if you are willing to risk your game account by not using the almost free tools then you are not really invested in the game(s) at all.

Wanted: Account Setting Lockout – I still won’t be using the real money AH though, my real money is far too valuable to see being spent on golden pixels, and I have not interest in selling gear for cash. I would like an account setting in the Battle.Net profile to block all Real Money AH type transactions. This way even if my account is compromised, the hacker needs to make a setting change, and kids and partners cannot buy/sell “by mistake“.

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Fire from the sky has ended

To postpone the hungry cadre of gamers trying to install Diablo 3, the system declared that the fire from the sky had not ended. We waited. None patiently.

Now the great zerg to play D3 has begun. A few updates and patches, some apologies for errors, and a lot of persistence has players now enjoying the game. My take – well I’ve created a toon and entered the world, but I’ll only be commenting on major stuff in the first ten levels which is different from the beta, or where something is darn odd. I’m pleased to say that it is exactly as expected so far. It’s entertaining.

The class intro media were very good too, which was new to be from beta. It does feel forced to have such a strange mix of heroes from all over the world converging, and that was always going to feel a bit forced. At least we didn’t meet at an inn, with a fight breaking out like a D&D game. Well, ahem, perhaps that bit is in the starter story too.

A few thoughts from around the web worth reading too, Tobold has an observation about D3’s pricing, and Keen and Graev have 5 Things We Like and Dislike about Diablo 3.

Happy killing.