A Casual Player's Manifesto for Diablo 4 (Season 3 Edition)

Long time player, first time poster for Diablo games. I am also a regular Overwatch player.

I have found myself of late voicing feedback live in my head as I play this game, because I feel it has so much potential and there are some very easy (and some hard, but necessary) changes that could make this a great game.

For context, I have reached:
~75 Druid in Eternal (pre-Season 1)
~85 Rogue in S1
~100 Sorc in S2
~100 Barb in S3

Feel free to comment on any of the below, I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. And I might be flat out wrong or outdated on some perspectives. I am, as I said, a casual player.

To start, I will say I think the art design in this game is fantastic. And I personally enjoy many of the core build mechanics. The skill trees feel right, the skill points feel right, there are real tradeoffs to be made in build design (I’ll get back to that) and the Paragon boards add a lot of flair to particular builds.

With where we are in February of Season 3, however, this game is just boring and incomplete. And trending backwards.

S2 felt fresh because the bloodharvests were fun and different enough, the mechanics of them were engaging enough, there were multiple new things that were hard and had to be progressed into, and the new bosses multiplied the variety of things to grind for. It was the first time we had to make real tradeoffs in how we spend our time - farming blood for example vs. farming glyph XP. The game needs more of this (tradeoffs), and those tradeoffs need to evolve. The tradeoffs in S3 are basically non existent. You run vaults to finish your stones, then you run the same things you did in S2. You can’t call last season’s tradeoffs a compelling reason to play this season.

When you ask players to put a huge timesink into an endgame activity, for the same rewards as the prior season, with basically the same builds plus or minus a glyph or skill here or there, that is very boring. The S3 team didn’t really change the game, they just added a new type of endgame dungeon and one new boss.

The vault aspects of the game have been well covered elsewhere so I won’t dwell. I don’t mind vaults in terms of density and the end room challenge but they’re not different enough or engaging enough to warrant the time. I couldn’t wait to finish my stones grind so I could just do nightmare dungeons for glyphs (again). Pearls are meaningless as currency, I just grab 30-40 stacks and I’ve never been short on them. Silly mechanic.

The sentinel is quite powerful, but it doesn’t feel interesting.
I wish I could customize the pet’s appearance, first off, cosmetics would have been very cool drops to see, the world full of a variety of vault stalkers. Speaking of which - why can’t I see my party members pets? The whole design was also very bland. A shako ripoff and flash of adrenaline basically sum up what everyone is grinding for. Also, these things need real health bars. They’re not pets, they’re basically just potions with an avatar.

Imagine this - say you had the option to have two constructs with each track separated to each construct (one governing stone each), OR you could combine them into one pet with more health and +50% to one of the abilities (or something like that)? And maybe making some glyphs like the tank ones only available as a combined pet? You would have some people running them as true tanks, others using them as an uber buffer, others for regen, it would give a much stronger feeling of tradeoffs.

And on the END GAME -
My friends at Blizzard, we are in the 4th round of playstyle updates to this game (counting eternal launch) and the end game is very stale. Helltides, whispers, uber lilith and the end game bosses for S3 appear to be the same set as S2.

Nobody wants to repeat content season after season, especially end game grinds. The paragon grind was terrible, and you got rid of it (great!). Uber lilith is still the hardest boss in the game, and the only hard boss in the game that most casuals wants to beat solo (because it’s better to rotate mats for the S2 bosses that dropped). The nightmare dungeons are getting better and have more variety but with most glyph xp getting done in the nightmare vaults now (while doing stones) you spend less time in them, and the guaranteed 925 bosses make them irrelevant for gear.

I will just say it bluntly - I have no desire to farm old bosses to get the same materials to farm the same boss for the same gear. How hard is it to have 3-5 new end game bosses in each new season? Or newer, more interesting faction grinds (with new side quests, zone changes, etc…)

On that, Malphas is not an end game boss, because by the time you’re farming him, you’re scooping up stones so quickly you won’t need them in a day or two. Then you’re done with him. Please add glyph XP to the loom so there is at least a point.

Why doesn’t EACH vault have a challenge version with a giga boss? Who can drop materials for Duriel or at least a sub-boss to Duriel? At a lower rate than the S3 drop locations, so you still had a reason to opt for other content?

On in season events -
The S2 holiday event I played for an hour, and felt like I made almost no progress. The S3 shrine event I’ve played for 20 minutes and feel like I’m almost done. You really need to hire someone who can do math.

Speaking of which - I’m sick of hearing about balance changes when we’re just not getting content for this game. This is not a pvp game. Most people won’t care about the leaderboards. 95% of the teams energy should be spent deriving fun, creative ideas for pushing content and 5% should be focused on tweaking builds to make what should be core builds for every class viable (minions??).

Multiplayer - big missed opportunity. Seeing other people run around in helltides and getting help on big bosses is great. But why does Cross-Play almost never work? I know sometimes it’s turned off for bug patches but that is even more frustrating, because I never know if cross-play is off or bugged again when I’m having trouble with it, I’m sick of reinstalling just to see if I can get into my Duriel group. PVP is broken and unbalanced and that’s fine, as long as there is new PVE content being delivered and its not. Clans are a joke. The find a clan system is barely operable on console, and I’ve never grouped with someone in a clan. Why not add some simple mechanics like a LFG option open to clan members? Or trade request board?

Inventory - getting better but still feels like whoever was running this hasn’t designed a game since 2002. I would love to be able to sort gear by item level to just look at 925 when I’m max level, to filter on certain stats / affixes (…I know it’s “coming”…hopefully not at the expense of another end game boss). And to sort the stash by gear and affix so I don’t have to disenchant everything just to see how many rapid affixes I have in the bank side by side.

Can we please have more mount variety and customization…I know this is a “serious” game but it’s seriously boring…imagine an uber-rare horse driven cart with room for your party, or a caravan cart with a trader in the back, a lot of stuff could fit the theme…

All told - it feels like there was a ton of passion for getting this game to look good, and someone did a great job designing the skill trees, but there doesn’t seem to be any passion in making this a great game to play on an ongoing basis. I am almost bored with S3 already. I’ll try S4 knowing it’s the S2 team but then I’m probably done, unless this game really changes. And sorry, I’m not buying an expansion just to hope that happens. That’s coming from a guy who has spent thousands of dollars on games and cosmetics for Blizzard games over the years - I don’t mind spending money when I’m having fun. It’s just not happening right now.

6 Likes

first i gotta say great post, you nailed pretty much everything & you did so with class. bravo
but as i’m sure you’re aware the majority today is all; “tldr,” so don’t expect too much in replies imo. that doesn’t take away from how spot on your post is in any way shape or form & the time you took to do it.

this right here is every game with the live service/seasons model, it’s as if they put absolutely ZERO thought into what happens after we’ve played the game for a month & then 3 & so on, they introduce pretty much nothing new, fresh, or fun to keep us engaged in their game. it’s all just regurgitating the same content ad nauseam & expecting us to just keep playing. it’s clear to me these corps/devs have no idea how to deal with the “hardcore vs casual” player base & how they can make their game fun for both groups on launch & into the future. gaming along with everything else has become strictly about how much money can be squeezed out of every single player.

why is there not a new class introduced every season? if not a new class why not add to the skill tree that adds a new way/style to play each class. the recurring theme here to me is you are doing the absolute minimum while expecting us to give our time & more of our money for your as little effort as possible. <-see why your playbase is dwindling & playing OLDER games instead like POE? new class or new skills would require effort i know, but don’t you think it would be a great way to keep your players engaged & invested in playing your game rather than someone else’s?

this corp has shown itself to be of the scummiest, the prices of their mtx cosmetics for a 70-100$ base game is well discussed & everyone knows the absolutely absurd level of greed that is rampant throughtout this company. on top of that this is the only corp i’m aware of that outright blocked people from game sharing upon release & then tried to lie & blame a technical issue. i “had” to buy 4 copies so my kids & i could play together on launch instead of 2.(not because of fomo because my kids & i had been looking forward to this for a number of years.) 2 of my kids begrudgingly finished the campaign, out of nothing but guilt, because they knew how much we spent, they have NOT TOUCHED THE GAME SINCE! so i paid 200$+ tax for them to play the campaign. my other kid is the hardcore diablo fan & still plays (barely) but is not having fun. he played 3 up until a few weeks before 4 launched!

they are literally pushing their own diehards away & then saying; “it’s okay to go play other games…” could you imagine being a shareholder & hearing that from a dev!?! a live service game encouraging their playerbase to go play other games. i thought the point of live service was to keep people playing your game!

this brand has the history & creative freedom to really do amazing stuff but instead they’re throwing out nothing but lazy, repetative, boring, trash content again. what is it with Blizzard & astoundingly bad launches? while the cosmetic mtx shop is obviously hoarding the most talented members of the team.

concerning the mtx cosmetics, why is everything only available in bundle form? WHY CAN WE NOT BUY INDIVIDUAL PIECES? if i like a tat from one set, a weapon skin from another, boots from one, pants from a different one, etc… why can i not buy what i want? you really think we, who understand the value of money, are going to drop 150$ for 6 bundles so we can get the single item we want from each set? you can’t really be so consumed right? how are your mtx prices HIGHER THAN FREE-TO-PLAY games like Apex, CoD, etc? right? it’s just another example of that inherent scumminess & abhorrent greed that afflicts this corporation.

Vaults are boring, the lunar event, like the xmas event, BOOOORIIIIIING, lazy, terrible content that is just shameful. they obviously put more time & effort into the cosmetic mtx outfits for the event than they did the event. how does that make sense?

these types of fetch quest events are SO uninspiring & lazy i truly can not believe they would put the diablo brand on them. these must be for the uber casuals because this “ain’t it,” for anyone who has more than an hour a day or a week to play. i can not stress enough my complete & absolute disappointment in the seasonal content.

one of my biggest gripes with seasonal content is the added story. first of all it is far too short & imo having it all completed before you leave the first world tier you start the season on is… is… smh just atrociously SAD. did they fire all the writers after launch or something? i know, they must be the part-time employees while the mtx cosmetic artists are the only full-timers. seriously what the hell!?!

please, please, PULEEEESE put forth more effort in the writing & story/lore. seriously, please. and spread the content through the tiers so that the end of the season’s story concludes in wt4. it is so disappointing to wrap up the entirity of new story/lore in the first 15-30mins of the new season. so lame. so lame. soooooo lame.

THIS ^, SOOOO THIS ^

there is so much more i want to say, so much more that needs to be addressed… but tldr right.

sorry if you feel i highjacked your post, not the intention. i agree with everything you said & you inspired me to take a little time to post myself. again spot on post, i hope it reaches those that need to see it the most… looking at you Blizzard big-wigs & devs.

I don’t care about bosses in this series, they always sucked and will continue to because of how diablo plays (limited to 6 skills, isometric view etc) This series just can’t compete with raid bosses of blizzard own WoW, or other games like Elden Ring. Diablo endgame IS helltides or nightmare dungeons. Bosses, whether here or in D2 are junk gameplay