I've played Diablo 3 single-player this week. I find it utterly perplexing. There are some astonishing design decisions. They seem so poor and obvious that I realise they can be nothing but deliberate. These are:
- Gold is something you need to pick-up, rather than being instantly added to your inventory. Why oh why?
- There are really special magic items need to be identified before they can be used. This takes a right-click and about 10 seconds. WHAT is the function of this mechanic?! I am completely baffled by this.
- The story seems neither good nor bad but completely antithetical to the sort of game that Diablo 3 attempts to be. In multi-player, especially, I can't see how the story could do anything but get in the way.
- Health orbs drop at such a rate that they are frustratingly difficult to avoid as they work instantly and don't do anything if you're already at full-health. It's as though I'm being punished for not being very good at evading a good thing (that I might have wanted to come back to later).
- Every attack is a special attack. I was completely thrown by this. How do I make a normal attack? You don't. It probably didn't help that I started with a Monk and therefore assumed that he wouldn't be using any weapons at all.
- Aside from the big fat men that explode snakes, none of the monsters have been particularly interesting. I was expecting a lot of funky variations. Maybe they come later. Maybe.
Almost all of the issues and weirdness can be blamed on D&D. Designers need to get beyond D&D. Game rules for RPGs are basically arbitrary. You can come up with whatever you want. D&D had a whole bunch of really dumb stuff that was baffling when played around a table and completely useless when played on a computer. RPGs, computer or otherwise, need to get away from D&D almost completely.