Diablo 3 Sucks And Proves Industry Reviews Are Bulls---

Diablo 3 PvP coming soon.
Will players embrace the new PvP system in Diablo 3? Or is the no risk, no reward set-up too boring for hardcore gamers? photo: hollywoodreporter.com

Diablo 3 is easily one of the most over-hyped games I have played in my 20+ years of gaming. The campaign is a joke. It took about 12 hours for the first gamer to beat it. Twelve hours of gameplay for a game that took 12 years to develop? Seriously Blizzard? Subsequent gamers reported beating the game in as little as seven hours. Seven hours of gameplay for a $60 PC title that took over a decade to develop is, in my book, not a noteworthy achievement. Yet, the majority of the gaming press lauded the game, giving it average reviews in the near-perfect range. PC Gamer named it an "Editor's Choice," with a rating of 90 out of 100. IGN also named it an "Editor's Choice," with a 9.5 out of 10. G4 gave it 4.5 out of 5.

Surely, then, if the editors of some of the premiere gaming sites loved it, the fans would follow suit. Not exactly. Of the 2,752 reviews on Amazon.com, 1,566 give the game one star out of five. If the game is an "Editor's Choice" then why did the number of players drop by more than half one month after the game was released? Why the discrepancy? Because Blizzard knows how to run a hype machine, and how to use the critical momentum for successes such as World of Warcraft to convince industry insiders they know what they're doing.

Diablo 2 was released in 2000. Before 9/11, American Idol, and the Xbox 360, PC gamers were thrilled to slash-and-loot their way to hell and back. It had only been two years since they first played Diablo, the genre-defining archetype of the hack-and-slash 2D adventure platform. Reasonably, fans expected Diablo 3 sometime in 2002. Maybe 2004? No, Blizzard was busy bringing us World of Warcraft. Blizzard shut down San Francisco-based Blizzard North, which had been focusing on Diablo 3, in 2005. But many of those game designers stayed with the company. So after five years of in-house development why did it still take seven more years to put this game on the market? WoW expansions hit the market in 2007, 2008 and 2010. Another, Mists of Pandaria, comes out later this year. Blizzard's priority, and duty to its shareholders, is to continue to develop the WoW series because it delivers what is now considered to be the Holy Grail business model in gaming: the steady revenue stream. People paying a monthly fee to play a game is, in the business sense, far superior to people paying once for a game. So how do you get a steady revenue stream from a game that isn't an MMORPG? Answer: The Real Money Auction House.

The RMAH is Blizzard's lame attempt to charge users for a game and then make money off of their gameplay time. Diablo 3 players can collect rare items in the game and sell them for real cash to other players online. Blizzard gets a 15 percent cut of the sales. This is, ethically, a terrible f---ing idea. So much so, that South Korea decided to ban the sale of virtual items for real cash. The argument being that games should be fun and for entertainment purposes, not monetized into some sort of pyramid scheme so that users can get devote hundreds of hours to make hundreds of dollars for Blizzard. Although one Diablo 3 user reportedly makes $1500 a week on items. Even so, when I get home from work I don't want to "work" for Blizzard and try to make a couple dollars on my own. I want to relax with a game, and Blizzard doesn't deliver that experience anywhere in Diablo 3. Are you a living, breathing human being with responsibilities and a personal life? Sorry. Only gamers with limitless free time and obsessive personalities are welcome in Diablo 3.

The abysmal gameplay is tied to farming for items. After beating the game on normal, disenfranchised users are told to try it again on a harder setting and find even more rare items. The gaming press praised the item system as some sort of cutting edge innovation. Excuse me? Difficulty settings have been around since 8-bit gaming and d-pads. Most games give better items for higher levels. The notion that Blizzard has somehow created a visionary gaming experience is bulls---. All they did was tell gamers their $60 isn't good enough, and to experience the REAL game, they need to shell out more money to get the top-tier gear required to beat the hardest settings.

Blizzard also gave a nice "screw you" to gamers who simply wanted to enjoy the experience on their own when they made an active internet connection a requirement to play the campaign solo. So, while gamers are intentionally farming for items to try and get their $60 worth of entertainment from an overhyped, underdeveloped travesty of a game they also are treated to lag and server issues.

The public stroke-fest the media gave Diablo 3 after its launch proves that hype, not content, is driving reviews on the big name review sites. A game is good because it's supposed to be good, end of story. Disappointed fans can only take to the comments sections to feel vindicated after learning a $60 lesson about media objectivity.

Diablo 3 is supposed to take place in Hell, not give it to gamers.

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