With Diablo III’s release right around the corner, there has been a huge amount of discussion about it recently.
As the internet is wont to do, a lot of this discussion is concern over how fans that have been so invested in the series are absolutely certain that it’s going to be horrible. “You don’t have to specialize anymore!”, “Enemies drop healing power ups!?”, so on and so forth. I say: Rubbish.
The Diablo series kicked off with one of the best dungeon crawlers that had ever been made. It defined the genre for me, and I know I’m not alone in that. I still remember the first time I got Arkain’s Valor, or killed The Butcher. The game was amazing. It was slow paced crawling through dark corridors, where players found themselves ambushed by legions of undead and demons. The game was pure dungeon crawling goodness.
Diablo II rolled around some years later, and it flipped the series on its head. This is super important. Diablo and Diablo II were incredibly different. Diablo II introduced skills specific to each class, something that didn’t exist in Diablo 1. Even items that were class specific. It distinguished between open field zones and the dungeon style zones that made up the entirety of its predecessor.
You could almost say that the two games shared very few specific similarities: the magic item system, the fact that there was a blacksmith in town, and that Deckard Cain guy. And this is the point. Diablo III looks to change a lot of features from Diablo II. The skill trees are totally different, the quest schemes are different, the areas are different, but different clearly doesn’t mean bad. Diablo II was awesome, despite being totally different than Diablo which was also awesome.
Fact is, and I don’t care how little you care for World of Warcraft, the guys at Blizzard rarely do you wrong. They’re one of the most consistently solid studios out there. Objectively. Disregarding any portion of Diablo III as “poorly designed” or “a bad decision” at this point would be folly. I’m sure it won’t all be amazing. Diablo II not being released with cool downs on skills messed up any semblance of balance the game’s PvP might have had (Frozen Oooooooooorb), but I would put money on the fact that players gaining access to all of a classes abilities is not going to be the reason people don’t like Diablo III.