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Comparison of Diablo 2 and Diablo 3

With the Diablo 3 expansion coming out in a month, I really want to get more paragon experience and gold, but I can’t because the game is too boring. Instead I’m playing Diablo 2 and it’s been fun. This post is about trying to write down why. Who knows it could help with game dev.

Leveling Up

Diablo 3 – When you level, you get points automatically allowed so they’ll always be increasing but you won’t really care or even bother looking at it since you can’t do anything about it. You also unlock new skills but they unlock automatically so the only choice is whether to use it or not. Some of the skills won’t fit your play style so when that happens the level up means absolutely nothing and you just continue playing the game without caring.

Diablo 2 – When you level, you get 5 attribute points and 1 skill point. These are up to you to spend however you want. You can save them, distribute them evenly or focus on something, whatever you like. Every time you level, if you don’t do something (even if you’re saving you’d have to check if you’ve reached the level you saved up for) the leveling means nothing so you have to care about it.

Maps

Diablo 3 – The maps are kinda randomized but not enough so that it feels like doing the same thing over and over and gets really boring.

Diablo 2 – Even you’re done this quest a hundred times, the maps are so randomized that it feels like going to a new place.

Quest Rewards

Diablo 3 – You get experience and/or gold. You don’t have to think about anything so you continue playing the game.. (sound familiar?)

Diablo 2 – Some quests give you skill points or an item while the more interesting ones give you unique rewards like being able to socket a item or imbuing a item with magical properties. These involve you more because you have things to do and choice to make.

Same class different character

Diablo 3 – All characters of the same class have the same attributes (because it’s automatic) and have the same skills. The only difference is the gear. A lot of people go for similar gear because they’re considered the best and everyone wants the best. It’s easier to the required gear thanks to the auction house so everyone of the same class ends up being very similar.

Diablo 2 – You only have a set number of skill points, so you have to choose wisely. Most classes will focus on a small number of skills so you’ll more likely see 2 characters of the same class using different spells. Attribute points could be similar but they could also be dramatically different depending on the build. They are unlikely to be exactly the same and the same goes with gear.

Elements

Diablo 3 – Poison, fire, lightning and arcane are purely visual. You can’t get poisoned and gradually lose health over time. Cold can slow you there’s not much of that but instead seems to be dominated by the elites with the Frozen attribute. All in all, the elements are less interesting as they mainly just do damage like regular physical damage.

Diablo 2 – Cold enchanted could slow enemies, poison would…. get you poisoned, there were elemental resist shrines. Enemies would resist or be immune to certain elements. Elements played a bigger role in Diablo 2 and I felt like it added more depth to the game.

Always Online

Diablo 3 – You always have to be online even in single player. I play hardcore since softcore felt meaningless and boring in Diablo 3. However, now I’m staring at the connection bar all the time, and that’s annoying.

Diablo 2 – I focus on the game, and that’s how it’s meant to be.

Story Elements

Diablo 3 – There’s a lot more dialogue and it keeps getting in the way of the game. Sometimes you have to press esc, other times space-bar (usually a couple of times) to remove it. The dialogue is also very bad. The story was good the first time but hearing it over and over makes the game feel more repetitive.

Diablo 2 – NPCs would talk to you to give the quest, sometimes during if it was important and then after completion. They pretty much only talk to you in town and you can easily skip it with 1 button press because most of the time they only have 1 dialogue box. You also can’t redo quests so you won’t have to hear them say the same lines over and over as much.

Conclusion

Diablo 2 made you feel like the character you played was yours. It gave you more customization and had more depth to the game by giving you more to do. Diablo 3 seems to remove a lot of the depth (because they thought it was not needed?) and focus on killing monster to get better gear, which is probably oversimplifying things too much. There is no connection to the character (which is why I play hardcore but it still doesn’t help). Diablo 2 to me is more about coming up with a character idea, growing that character of yours and seeing how it goes in the game. I want to keep playing the game because I want ‘my’ character to get stronger. The expansion could fix these issues and I’ll be getting it when it comes out despite the flaws in Diablo 3.

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