#2) We Are Just Experiencing the Beginning of Hearing About It
I’m not even going to pretend the comments on this aren’t going to be a bright river of hatred, since “Diablo” is a sacred franchise and guys my age have spent literally a decade waiting for it. But I’m not going to be alone on this. A lot of people are going to call in sick from work today, hit Gamestop or download it, install the game, play it for a few hours…and get really, really angry.
Conversely, a lot of people are really going to enjoy it. Thus, a tiresome nerd argument will spawn, and will not die no matter how much we click on it.
#1) The Auction House Mechanic Makes This Quite Possibly The Most Bitterly Cynical Game Ever Released
It’s common to joke about Blizzard being a digital crack dealer, but honestly, the auction house mechanics cross something resembling an ethical line, here, to the point where it kind of sucks the fun out of the game knowing that it’s there.
There’s very little Blizzard, or any game company, can do about grey market loot, but this “if you can’t beat them, join them” strategy seems to be the most nasty digital Skinner box ever designed. Grind the game, sell the loot, grind the game, sell the loot…isn’t this bad? Isn’t this what we’re supposed to revile and hate about PC gaming?
Stop and consider that Blizzard is, quite literally, bribing players, especially more casual players, to keep playing the game. And not with fake money or better items or exclusive dungeons: it collects 15% off the top in the Auction House and gives you cold hard cash, after taking another 15%. “We don’t have to make this game better or different or unique. We’ll just make playing it pay, so you’ll keep playing it.” In light of abuses like goldfarming, of which Blizzard is all too aware, it feels counter to, well, the entire reason we play games, not to mention encouraging labor abuses and other issues. You earn loot drops. That’s the entire idea. That’s the driving force of the damn game.
Yeah, it’s not available in Hardcore mode, but so what? That just means it’s aimed squarely at the kind of market that buys better loot instead of earning it in the first place. And it’s obvious this mechanic is really what’s new about “Diablo”, is really what drives the game. Notice that crafting replaces skill points…so you can craft and sell, craft and sell. You can’t sell your character anymore…but you can sell chunks of their skill!
True, you can just use in-game gold, but that the cash option is there at all is troubling. It gives what should be a welcome return the stench of a cash grab. Again, you can’t tell me, with a straight face, if any other franchise tried to pull this little stunt, that fans or the gaming press would tolerate it or enthusiasm wouldn’t fall straight off a cliff. “Diablo” is getting a pass in the wider press because of nostalgia, and it shouldn’t.
That’s my perspective. What’s yours?
I want more like this!
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