Time to hunt some demons and review this game after 10,000+ hours
Massive post by NibeluR (aka. Firzj, the author of this article), the devoted Diablo player.
This game is more than 10 years old to review, but I still continue to play this game since 2012. Many new and retuning players are still interested in trying Diablo 3, so in this article I will talk in detail about the development process, new and changed content, as well as try to recreate the entire chronology of events during the existence of Diablo 3.
I will also cover its pros and cons and attempt to answer these questions – Is the game still worth a try? Was this game worth the 10,000+ Hours? How the game changed since 2012? Let’s find out below.
Before the release of Diablo 3, many gamers around the world have been playing several other ARPGS available on the market. I personally played Titan Quest (2006) Sacred 2 (2008) and Torchlight (2009).
These were some decent games back then, and I don’t regret trying them at all. Share in the comments what other games you loved to play before Diablo 3. I’d love to know. And of course, how could I forget about old but gold, and magnificent Diablo 2 Lord of Destruction.
Players were really excited to dive deep into this world to create a new character, try out and master skills, learn in-game mechanics, create farming routes, share their guides, builds and opinions in person or on the internet, trade with people around the world for items, and of course slay enemies with an exciting sound design and gore.
Its game formula can still be found in many other games, even in shooters like Borderlands for example, and it is crazy to believe that this formula still works flawlessly and attracts many new players to this day.
And I’m actually surprised that there are still many new players around the globe, willing to try this game for the first time on consoles or PC. While this game is definitely not perfect, after all these years it still manages to drag players in.
Anyway, After several years and much anticipation, players have finally heard some news about a sequel, and it was Diablo 3.
In 2008, Blizzard made this clear – the game officially was under active development and the devs promised to make things right, because they listened to their audience back then. The same year, Blizzard also revealed the first trailer at a worldwide invitational event in France. Nothing else was shown, but Players and diehard fans were hyped as hell.
2010 was probably the most memorable year for Diablo 3. This is when Blizzard posted 2-part videos of the actual scripted but still gameplay. In these gameplay videos, Blizzard explained in details new features like destructible environment, barbarian skills, UI, elemental enhancers, new type of enemies, verticality of maps, 3D dialogue menu which was later scrapped, Co-op with a new class Witch Doctor, and the Assault Beast in the end of that Demo.
But this was only the beginning. Throughout that year, Blizzard also revealed in-game cinematics for Wizard, Monk and Demon Hunter, and 2 more additional videos explaining follower system and crafting. So basically Blizzard knew how to treat players and how to deliver.
In early september of 2011, The devs launched without a notice the first “so-called Friends and family” closed beta with no NDA (Non-disclosure agreement), which included all 5 classes – Barbarian, Wizard, Witch Doctor, Demon Hunter and Monk. This demo also included the first part of Act I with King Leoric as a final boss.
The same amount of content was made available later to all players in the Open Beta weekend, which took place on April 20 of 2012 – exactly 25 days before the official release.
It was that time when I tried Diablo 3 open stress-test for the first time. I tried several classes, replayed the boss fight countless times, enjoyed every second of the music and sound design. So I was absolutely hyped for the release and without hesitation pre-ordered this game. The rest was just waiting.
And on May 15, 2012, the wait was finally over. Diablo 3 launched its servers for the new Nephalems who were out of patience to save and protect The Sanctuary, but then this happened – the glorious Error 37 screen which later became an internet meme. People were furious. They couldn’t connect to the game servers and blamed an entire company for that decision to make Diablo 3 as an Online only game.
Glorious Sales and Regional Restrictions
After the crunch period and the final release, Blizzard attempted to fix their servers as soon as possible because the players couldn’t wait any longer and were already posting negative feedback on many forums, YouTube and other websites.
It was clear that closed and open betas didn’t solve all the issues, and the time period to analyze all the bugs was short. The lack of the actual feedback (during the stress test) turned this game into chaos. It was the rough time for the team to do everything in their power and not to lose the trust of the players.
In general, Blizzard weren’t expecting to face such difficulties and didn’t expect to see that massive amount of copies sold in the first 24 hours after launch (3.5 Millions), and over 12 Millions copies sold of the end of 2012. But they did the best they could, and a few days later the situation stabilized. Players could finally embrace the Sanctuary, play online, and try the Auction house – Everything was in the player’s hands.
But there was another questionable decision made by Blizzard – Region lock, which made the game restricted to one language, bound to a national currency and the local player base. This was applied to many countries including Spain, Poland, Italy, South Korea, Russia, Brazil and many others.
Players were disappointed to find out that their game-copy is restricted to a certain region, because before the release Blizzard stated that there would be no restrictions to play Diablo 3, but they didn’t specify what they meant by that. A few players even created a petition to remove this limitation, but blizzard completely ignored it.
Diablo 3 Dev team even had to explain that players are free to choose their region, but for the right price on their local market, but unfortunately for them this business decision didn’t last long.
The player base was harmed, the community was falling apart and 2 years later with the release of Reaper of Souls this restriction was removed along with the Auction House. And after that, players were finally able to freely communicate and play with everyone around the world and enjoy the story together.
Any game starts with a story. And Diablo 3 starts quite canonical and well-paced since you meet the classical character Dechard Cain, Old Tristram and Leoric King.
But the main goal was to find out what fell from the sky. I was actually intrigued by the falling meteorite, which could be seen in different parts of the locations of the first act. Maybe it was predictable from the beginning, but I was really surprised to see a mysterious wanderer who later turned out to be Tyrael.
After the butterfly Maghda simply killed the iconic character – Deckard Cain, the Nephalems set off with the fallen angel to save the world, but here was another surprise – Adria. The same merchant from Diablo 1 who was selling magic potions for old heroes. Turns out, She had served the Lord of Terror from the beginning, but no one suspected it. And behind the scenes, Leah also turned out to be the daughter of the Dark Wanderer himself. That explains her abilities to use dark magic and later she turned into that very Diablo.
The final Act was probably the most unusual for me. The heroes were finally given a chance to visit Heavens themselves, or rather what was left of them after the battle and destroy Diablo himself once again.
The fourth act was quite short – as short as in Diablo 2, but there were plenty of positive impressions – especially with those Cinematics that I sometimes revisit to this day.
But after killing The Prime Evil, all that’s left is The Black Soulstone, which Tyrael would attempt to hide from angels and demons. However, at this point the main game story ends with the credits and players are returned to the main menu with congratulations – The new difficulty awaits! Repeat the same story but on a higher difficulty and levelup your character. Rinse and repeat till Inferno difficulty.
For me personally, I was left fascinated by the story. Leaving aside the death of Deckard Cain, you can deeply immerse yourself in the story, learn a lot from the lore books and unique dialogues from different NPCs, but this game, like all the others are all about gameplay, and the story here only serves as the main function for immersion in the fantasy world of Diablo 3.
Let’s just admit that players come back to this game because of its gameplay and the end-game content. Blizzard really worked hard on the replayability. Even if Diablo 3 had no story, I would still give this game a high score just for the satisfying combat system, sound effects and loot.
Take for example the very first game in this universe, where Diablo 1 barely had any explanations or end-game activities. The whole process was about killing monsters, gaining experience and randomized loot, and this formula has remained unchanged for decades.
Apart from classic loot and monster slaying, the game also features a new 3D engine with satisfying physics for each different enemy model, destructible objects like barrels, walls, jars, and a wide variety of abilities that feel impactful with proper sound effects, particles and screen shake.
The other stuff includes auto gold picking, and questionable health globes system which intends to speed up gameplay and make it more fast-paced, especially with the recently overpowered sets.
And what I really liked after switching from Diablo 2 was the UI and the skill bar that allows a player to assign up to 6 skills and change them on the go. In my opinion, it was really a necessary change. And even after 20 years it was later decided to add the same skill panel in the Diablo 2 Resurrected (Patch 2.4).
As for the pacing, Diablo 3 had a very measured pace especially at the beginning of the game. Back then there were no over-powered builds that could wipe out the entire map in one minute; legendary items hardly ever fell; you had to constantly buy potions, repair your equipment, and pick up yellows hoping to boost your hero.
But that’s not the case anymore. The Pacing has significantly increased after all these years. Many players just instantly wipe out an entire map on the maximum difficulty by pressing one skill and filling their inventory with tons of legendaries. But lets go back to the vanilla experience for now.
Vanilla provided quite an interesting gaming experience. I was totally immersed in the gameplay and I had a personal goal to build the perfect hero and finish the maximum difficulty and then get into trading to help other players. Everything was just perfect to me back then except that the game forced you to go through the campaign four times to reach max level.
Another thing I didn’t personally like was the absence of runes, rune words, and skill trees. Many players were not happy with this decision, but now all that stuff fits into one window in the form of runes for different skills, that change the property of the spell and give it a different effect.
I think this harmful decision made Theorycrafting less flexible, but at the same time easier and more forgiving than Diablo 2. A wider audience unfamiliar with Diablo universe could also quickly understand the basics and play the game.
So in short, Diablo 3 improved and simplified some gaming aspects, leaving the core of the game untouched. This made the game more accessible to new players who have not played Diablo before, but I assume some veteran players were still dissatisfied and there is nothing we can do about it.
Difficulty Levels (Normal, Nightmare, Hell, Inferno)
Back in 2012, Diablo 3 introduced 4 difficulty levels (Normal, Nightmare, Hell and Inferno) which were tied to a single character.
The idea was similar to Diablo 2, to replay the story for at least 3 times to reach the maximum level which was 60. And each difficulty, just like in Diablo 2 introduced more and more elites with different affixes, higher-level items, materials and pain in general.
Blizzard believed that this formula should remain intact for the entire Vanilla experience so they didn’t bother to tweak much as these difficulty levels were obviously intended only for end-game players who wanted to
squeeze maximum damage out of their character and master this game.
But there were 2 hidden problems that Blizzard didn’t take into consideration. First, it was boring and outdated to replay the campaign for each individual character up to level 60 and, Second, the Inferno difficulty balance.
Inferno was the actual end-game activity back then, simply picking any quest step, and going out to slay enemies hoping to find an upgrade for your class. Sounded easy in theory but the real issue here was the drop chance and the loot system. Usually when you found a yellow or even legendary item, players had really low chances to equip this item because the stats were either crap or it was designed for a different class.
Apart from that, many players like me ran into huge problems after reaching Act II, because mobs hit hard, I died a lot, and the price to repair my gear was extremly high. I must admit that I even had to purchase gold once from a random seller on the internet to cover my expenses.
So this difficulty was a real pain, just as Blizzard promised in that video – You will Die. We Promise. Basically after reaching a certain quest step or new act, I was forced to retreat and go back to the previous acts just to farm monsters in the hope of finding good items, exchange them at the auction house if I was lucky or sell them to a merchant for precious gold.
It wasn’t impossible to kill Diablo on Inferno difficulty but yes, it was a difficult task. Only the most skilled players and streamers were able to beat this difficulty in the shortest time before the nerf.
Few moments later, the developers decided to spare the players and lowered the difficulty threshold to the appropriate level. The infamous gold issue to repair player’s gear was still a problem though.
A couple of months later in October 2012, after the first paragon system landed, Blizzard introduced a new difficulty layer called Monster Power that additionally scaled from MP1 to MP10. This challenging feature was greatly increasing basically everything – monster health, their damage, experience gain, magic and gold find, and higher chances to find a legendary item.
It was that time when many high tier players and theorycrafters were very interested in finding the best places to farm experience and items, testing different builds and discussing other options.
Auction House and Loot
Another issue was actually the auction house itself, but at first, everything seemed perfect…in theory.
The game didn’t force players to spend money for new items and this trading feature was almost identical to World of Warcraft but with one exception – you could sell these items or materials for real money. It was a very convenient tool for in-game trading between players. But things got messier once players touched the impassable barrier of Inferno difficulty, where their gear and hopes for a good loot were shattered completely.
There was no particular reason to suffer on Inferno difficulty trying to find any good item by yourself. This was a rather severe problem for Blizzard before the nerf of inferno difficulty. And so players could just open the Auction House and find the right armor or weapon for the right price and thus increase their power without much effort.
At some point, players were just buying up everything from the auction until they could get to the Act IV themselves and face the final boss.
But then the nerf happened, and Inferno difficulty became more accessible. More traders joined in to collapse the market, and many had a desire to sell their junk for the real money and thus establishing the black markets separate from the game.
Although the auction house had it flaws similar to modern pay-to-win games, I still kind of miss trading. Even if Blizzard only removed trading for the real currency, it still could a great place to put your hard earned items and then trade them for gold.
Removed PVP Content
And to tell the truth, although I’m not a big fan of PVP, especially the 2vs2 brawling, I was still upset not to see this mode in the final game. I guess this was probably the balance of classes that affected this decision back then. Here’s the official post about PVP by Jay Wilson (2012).
I even expected some deathmatch arenas against real players, leaderboards, clan battles, unique items, and experience, But in Patch 1.0.7 we ended up with a small portion of the map, where players can destroy each other with Sextillion damage per second.
Too bad, that this potential remained unexplored to contribute to the Diablo universe. And what do you think about it? Would you like to bring these PVP arenas back into Diablo 3?
And now it’s time to talk about the most beloved and pained topic of this game, which still causes endless discussions about unfair advantage and the negative impact on the balance – The Paragon.
Once the players reached level 60 and beaten Diablo himself, they had no idea what to do next. Should they start over again? Create another class? Start selling items? Mindlessly run around the map and kill everything around? or just farm achievements? And the Paragon system solved all these unanswered questions.
But hold your legendaries, we are talking about the version 1.0 which was great and didn’t cause a lot of problems. Don’t worry we’ll discuss the paragon 2.0 later.
The paragon cap back then was 100 and it was calculated separately for each new character. 100 levels may sounded easy, but it was actually challenging and repetitive. Some players even managed to get to Paragon 100 within 2 weeks, like Alkaizer did, but did this make him stronger? Not much, but at least satisfied. At least these paragon levels were quite useful for playing on higher Monster Power difficulties.
For the devs, It was the obvious solution to the problem to make the game as endless as possible to keep the players in the game for longer. And I don’t blame them. Once your hero reached level 60, you started to gain paragon experience and with each paragon level you received extra primary points like strength and vitality.
No crits, area damage, cooldown reduction or other stuff – just plain stats to make your character slightly stronger and also 3% to Magic Find and Gold Find per each level.
This new leveling system gave players a sense of progression and confidence to try higher monster power difficulties. Not to mention that For every 10 paragon levels a character received a unique portrait. These portraits are still in the game, but in the current state, they have lost their value, because to get to the paragon 100, you can simply blink your eye when closing the Greater Rift portal.
And there is pretty much nothing else to add about this paragon system. It existed before the release of Reaper of Souls, it was capped, it wasn’t overpowering your character, so it just existed to show others that you were an experienced and devoted player.
But before Reaper of Souls happened, Blizzard had other grand plans to make their game more accessible – Console Audience.
It turns out that before the game’s release, the developers were creating a working prototype of the game on current-gen consoles: Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, but because of the crunch period, they had to put this idea on hold.
Soon enough, Diablo 3 would cease to be a pure PC exclusive. And in 2013 it finally happened. Many welcomed the idea of porting the game to other platforms, many loyal fans weren’t happy about this, but what’s done is done.
The game officially appeared on consoles, but the happiness didn’t last long, because with the release of Reaper of Souls further support for the pastgen consoles was abandoned completely and the devs decided to target the next generation: Xbox One, Playstation 4 (Eternal Collection) and many years later – Nintendo Switch.
Was This a good decision for Blizzard? Absolutely. Despite the fact that I have not had a chance to try this game on consoles I am sure that the gameplay there is not worse than on the PC. The only problem that console players still have is the hackers running with edited weapons and paragon. I will also talk about PC hackers later in this post so stay tuned.
New Expansion – Reaper of Souls
The release of the new expansion went quite smoothly, so I will just briefly go over the details for this new portion of content.
Remember this Error 37? and this annoying difficulty system for character progression? and the auction house?
Well this was their chance to finally change everything and the next expansion Reaper of Souls just did so.
And I personally thank this guy, Josh Mosqueira, who was the lead designer after Jay Wilson left Blizzard and he made this game more versitile than ever before. He had a clear vision on how to improve this game and so he did.
Reaper of Souls introduced many game changing mechanics and endgame activities – Bounties, Seasons, new story and adventure mode, Torment difficulty, the mystic, randomly generated dungeons called Nephalem and greater rifts, Leaderboards, new Crusader class, reworked paragon system, tons of new legendary items, reworked potions, completely refreshed loot system which was named Loot 2.0 and many more different changes.
Although the players still encountered Error 37 at the initial release, the rest was a calm and sweet ride.
Let’s now take a closer look at these new features added in this expansion.
Loot 2.0 and Auction House Shutdown
So the devs considered this release as an opportunity to drastically change the loot system because the vanilla version had many flaws.
Finding at least one legendary was a difficult task, and most of that time players seen only tons of blues and yellows lying all over the place. Additionally each item had a chance to be with inappropriate stats and for another class so now we have this – Loot 2.0.
Each item drops only for the class you are playing, as well as the stats on it. So the chances to see another class item on the ground are now extremely low. This system would not exist if it were not for the removal of another important element of this game – the auction house and trading in general.
The devs decided that it was for the best. Players could now find all the required items themselves without trading and spending money. And all new items were also account bound, so players were forced to play in groups or solo, not just sit in the menu and spend the money for a desired item.
This system really improved the individual rewards for players, but there rised a completely new problem – There are now way too many useless legendaries which drop from enemies. So many, that players tend to ignore
them completely or they pick them simply to salvage for crafting souls.
And crafting has also become mostly obsolete, because players don’t craft yellows or legendaries anymore, except for Reaper’s Wraps bracers. People only use that to craft sets like Captain Crimson, Cain’s Fate or Sage’s Journey. The rest are just garbage.
Basically this Loot 2.0 turns the game into an amusement park, and gives players exactly what they want in the shortest possible time. Of course this doesn’t apply much to primals or ancient pieces, but nowadays you can literally find everything for your class and make a build with the right rolls within 1 or 3 hours and start destroying stuff.
Bounties and Adventure Mode
And Now for the bounties. Since all the waypoints were now unlocked and players could finally move freely between Act I-Act V, Blizzard decided to implement some sort of end-game activity where players to this day can complete random objectives from all 5 Acts to get the rewards. But originally, this activity was much more complicated.
The game wanted to run Acts in a certain randomized order to receive an additional chest from a bonus Act, and this was quite painful to see in public games, when some players deliberately ended the Act before closing the bonus Act first or they just accidentally clicked on Tyrael after porting to town. The group was outraged if that happened.
And there was another side activity inside the Adventure Mode – with some chance you could find a unique enemy only in a specific location which dropped a legendary crafting material for crafting sets or legendaries. The list of these materials can still be found here.
This wasn’t much fun to be honest. Imagine doing this every time you needed to craft a perfect Crimson set, or for example Reaper’s Wraps. Fortunately, Blizzard later abandoned this idea and removed this elite hunting from the game and included all necessary resources in the bounty chest.
Paragon 2.0 in its current state
As many players know already, the Paragon 1.0 was completely changed, rescaled, upcapped and updated to 2.0.
Just like before, after reaching maximum level, which is now level 70, players start to earn paragon points that can be spent on any desired stat in 4 different categories that cannot be exceeded. But once you reach level 800, the only choice left is to level Main stats which can be leveled infinitely.
Moreover, this paragon 2.0 is now account-wide and has no cap. That opens many different possibilities, such as faster leveling fresh characters, participating in end-game activities more and finding new players similar to your paragon level. This reimagined system has definitely improved the replayability and offered many players to go beyond limitations.
I think all the players were thrilled with this reimagined paragon progression, because the limit of 100 paragon did not provide any flexibility as the points were predetermined and didn’t reward the players much.
However, if Paragon 2.0 has solved these problems, a more serious problem occurred later – The infinite grind.
Seasons and Seasonal themes
Seasons are a new separate mode that adds replayability. They first appeared in patch 2.1 and offered players unique limited-time rewards that were only available in the seasons.
Usually these were legendary items with unique properties that were not available in the normal game, portraits and Conqueror’s Set for transmogrification, which is still the same. There wasn’t even a season journey tracker back then. It was all about leveling, finishing conquests, and finding new legendary items.
I played absolutely every season and received all the possible rewards. I would say that the very first seasons were the most boring of all. The only thing that kept me engaged was fresh content, new class, lots of untested legendary items and achievements that I wanted to finish.
Later, these unique items became part of the whole game and the main reason to keep playing the new seasons were the leaderboards and cosmetics.
Over time, starting with season 4 this concept was improved. The developers added a season journey with 9 chapters full of fixed objectives. These chapters are designed to guide new players and track their progress. After completing different chapters players are rewarded with unique cosmetics and the specified title that remains in the records indefinitely.
It is a pity that personal bests from the greater rifts and conquests are stored in the seasonal tab only for about 10 seasons and then deleted. This in my opinion devalues your personal achievements, but nothing lasts forever, right?
A few seasons later, specifically with Season 14, the concept of the seasons shifted to unique themes.
the first such theme was called Season of Greed that simply added double goblins, the next one, was about double bounty chests. Boring, but still manageable. And finally in Season 16 (The Season of Grandeur), Blizzard decided to make something different – to add time limited game changers – and this was it – the Grandeur buff that opened more possibilities for new builds, but it was that time when I finally started to lose interest to this game.
Despite all these recent changes and more appealing seasonal themes I dropped out of higher leagues, quitted rat-speeds (fast-paced Greater Rifts Meta with Necromancers) for paragon farming and decided to play other games instead.
Even the new sets (released between Patch 2.6.7-2.6.9) didn’t attract much of my attention. I’m not saying that all these seasons were bad, i’m just saying that Blizzard were too late to implement new sets and seasonal themes to draw my attention back.
After a few seasons, it became clear that the pace of Diablo 3 has accelerated. Players began to get more paragon points and could easily clear maps as early as possible. And the recent seasonal themes prove that point. Players had been turned into superheroes with Soul Shards (Season 25) and Ethereals (Season 24) to smash 150 GRs like the walk in a park.
It used to take months to complete all of the conquests, advance to at least 1000 paragon and augment a couple of items, but now it’s all done literally in 1 or 2 days. If you take the shard theme or the updated Echoing trials, Leveling the gems to 125 have become much easier and faster than running Greater ifts over and over to level up your legendary gems.
At least now I can get through these seasons, especially with trials in no time and play other games in peace – Thank you Blizzard.
Greater Rifts and new Pacing
Greater Rifts and Nephalem Rifts are undeniably the main activity in this game. They were first introduced in the Patch 2.1 and undergone many changes.
Originally, players had to farm bounties for the Nephalem keys to open the actual Nephalem Rift, kill the boss, receive a keystone of trials and then participate in the Realm of Trials similar to recently reimagined Echoing Nightmares, but without pylons, elites or special effects.
Players could test their strength in the arena and attempt to reach the maximum possible wave to receive an appropriate key with which you could then open the Greater Rift. And if players wanted to join a specific level of GR, they also had to contribute that specific keystone to enter the portal. Yes, it was very complicated and time-consuming back then.
And the Greater Rifts were actually hard for the first few seasons. Marauder Demon Hunter for example could barely squeeze enough damage to clear Greater Rift level 50. And remember, there were no cubes, no augments, no overpowered set bonuses – absolutely nothing.
But then few things changed, Rift Guardian’s HP was reduced, XP from killing monsters was reduced and granted only for closing the rift. It was a popular meta years ago to play highest possible GRs, kill some trash, get XP and leave the game. Now, of course it is no longer viable. Later in Patch 2.3, Blizzard removed the arena and added keystones to the nephalem rift bosses to simplify the process of opening portals.
This was probably the best time to join this game, it had many liveable clans and communities willing to play Greater Rifts, trying their best to learn in-game mechanics and reach the highest possible levels.
Back then, doing high Greater Rifts was like a suicide mission, and seasonal conquests were actually hard to complete due to the lack of damage and toughness. It was a time when I made a lot of new friends online that I still keep in touch with. Perhaps the Greater Rift portals are the only activity that left me engaged in the game and it allowed me to find players of my skill.
Unfortunately all good things come to an end and online has started to decline. People began to lose interest in the game because Blizzard couldn’t offer anything new. There were no new maps or bosses. Everyone has seen these map layouts and mobs many times before. Of course then came out the Rise of the Necromancer DLC Pack with new sets and seasonal themes,but that interest in the game didn’t last long.
The main end-game activity has remained the same for years. The only goal the players had was to level up their paragon and push their luck and skill into the leaderboards. Unfortunately, where there is a ladder, there is always an unfair advantage. – That’s when the botting problem started to grow.
Plus, Blizzard kept oversimplifying Greater Rifts and boosting sets so much, that they had to implement additional torment difficulties up to Torment XVI, so hitting high tier Greater Rifts was no longer a big problem.
The maximum 150 GR though was still unreachable and many players speculated what would happen beyond that number. But then of course this Greater Rift has been conquered thanks to key fishing and perfect maps (Battlefield or Woods) and few seasons later we have this – players easily destroy 150 GRs without effort and some even manage to use third-party programs like RosBot to gain an unfair advantage over legit players.
It’s enough to just open the leaderboards to find many banned accounts with high paragon. They might not of course directly ruin your personal gaming experience, but they ruin the leaderboards and fair competition in general.
That was one of the reasons why I decided to stop pushing leaderboards. It just lost its meaning. And the second reason – it was repetitive and way too fast-paced.
Yet, I still play Greater Rifts from time to time just to finish the seasonal theme or join my friends for a few runs. Basically, the root of these problems is the paragon. If it didn’t exist or if it had a limit, no one would compete or try cheating. Many players would just enjoy the game, try different builds and cooperate, just as in Diablo 2.
The root of the problem – Paragon 2.0
As I mentioned earlier, the Paragon system 2.0 has its pros and cons. It greatly contributes to replayability, it gives a sense of progression and unlocks higher, more challenging levels, but at the same time this system lures players to perform the same actions in the game – to play The Greater Rifts and nothing else, because that’s where you find the most experience. So, the more experience a player has – the stronger he becomes and the higher and easier he can perform the same actions later.
But that’s not the main problem. It’s just a drop in the ocean. The fundamental problem with this system is that the main stats from paragon don’t have a cap.
So, once Blizzard simplified the Greater Rifts and increased sets bonuses, many classes started dealing tremendous damage and were able to reach the highest levels in just a couple of days (especially with the recent seasonal themes).
And this started to be noticeable on the player’s paragon levels. Especially those who preferred to play only in a group. Basically, faster pace = more paragon. And if you play in a group – it is doubled. Thus it was the pacing of the game and the absence of Cap that drew the interest of the sneaky players to the game, or should I say Botters.
These people realized that the only way to get high paragon is to play Greater ifts, and so they made a bot that can do exactly that for 24/7. Of course this bot can do pretty much everything, but we are talking about Greater ifts in general as this is the core activity for gaining XP.
And if an average player doesn’t spend much time in the Greater Rifts on the daily basis (and you have to play Nephalem rifts for GR keys), the bot can do the same repetitive actions indefinitely, efficiently farming portals till the banwave happens to then start over again.
This certainly led to an unfair advantage that greatly affected the leaderboards and party playing. Of course, you won’t get banned for just playing with a bot player, who pushes the leaderboards manually, but if you plan to play together or want to get on the leaderboards, then be prepared to compete with these players and their bots.
Paid Services, Bots and Maphacks
Speaking of Bots, not only this kind of automation can ruin this popular and competitive paragon simulator game. There are many more different tools that can break the game and give extra advantage against normal players.
Despite the fact, that Blizzard regularly raises a Ban Hammer to punish bots across all regions, some players still manage to avoid this ban by botting, but playing less than 24/7 – because it becomes harder to detect such abnormal activity. But if they are still getting banned, they simply purchase a new copy and start from scratch. Funny enough, even after these players are banned, they can still exist in the leaderboards and occupy few of top ranks.
And seems Blizzard is ok with that: “We ban them, they buy our game, we ban them again, and the process repeats”. Nothing personal, it’s just business.
But what’s proved to be safe are the Maphacks. Blizzard never stated their position for 3rd party tools like Turbohud maphack, autoclickers or hacked camera view. To those who are not familiar with Turbohud – it is an overlay tool that reads Diablo memory to highlight hidden buffs, displays additional statistics, and hidden corners of the map to find exact spots for pylons, elites and exits.
I’d say it is a great tool to customize your UI, similar to World of Warcraft user addons, but drawing an entire map without the need to explore is an instant NO.
Not exactly sure why Blizzard decided not to give players an opportunity to create quality of life mods, but they missed that chance. So the modders took their place, who just wanted to make the game more enjoyable.
I honestly do not know anyone who would have been banned after all these years for using these programs,
because players still have to control their character on their own, unlike the bots, and apparently the anti-cheat is not able to see the whole picture behind the game.
And I haven’t even mentioned account sellers, and powerleveling services – They also exist, and it is inevitable for popular games like Diablo.
I’m not justifying cheating, but I think that Blizzard themselves brought their game to this state because of the uncapped paragon, fast-paced gameplay, and the lack of UI customization.
Perhaps not every game can live that long and be supported by the developers, and Blizzard devs continue to keep this game afloat with free content patches, seasons, and class rebalance.
Since the release of Diablo 3 a lot of new changes appeared. Kanai’s cube, Armory to store character’s equipment without the need to create multiple classes, set dungeons, updated Emanate followers (as part of Season 23), new Greater Rift maps, Seasons, reworked Trials (Echoing Nightmares), new sets for each class, The Darkening of Tristram event, and Challenge Rifts.
Some of these features were released for free from the planned expansion (The King of the North) after Reaper of Souls, and they successfully complemented the current content and prevented possible Powercreep.
Too bad that the second expansion to this game did not make it to the release, but even in its current state, Diablo 3 is still a playable product that is constantly receiving new portions of free content.
Complete (45 Minute) Video Review
Diablo 3 has drastically changed after the original release in 2012, and it aged like a good wine. Or is it not?
Obviously the game is not for everyone, and many Diablo fans could tell that it is not worth to return. The visuals are outdated, the pace is annoying, the seasons are boring, there is no proper PVP, and the leveling process is rather repetitive. I get that, and it is clearly on point. I’d say this game certainly has many pros and cons, and each player can see Diablo 3 from a different perspective.
I personally found the combat system great. It is always satisfying to slay enemies no matter what class you play, and it is fun to just find a group, make new friends, play a few Greater Rifts with the voice chat, while enjoying area damage lag spikes, or try different playstyles or group roles and achieve new heights.
And it is still intact after all these years, although I’ve seen all the maps, classes and leaderboard records, including bots thousands of times, it still holds pretty well. That’s what I like about this game.
Other players will definitely find something else in this game, despite the fact that the amount of activities in Diablo 3 is pretty linear and straightforward – you either play Story mode, farm Nephalem Rifts or push Greater Rifts for endless XP and new records. There is nothing else to do here. It is just some repetitive stuff over and over.
But at least Blizzard tries to do some basic stuff to hold this game above the ground, providing set tweaks, small portions of content, seasonal themes and cosmetics – All for FREE! I give them credit for that.
Simplified and overpowered
But what saddened me after a few years after playing it, is that Blizzard kept oversimplifying Diablo 3, making it less and less challenging and more open to new casual players. What do I mean by that?
If some of you played the game in, lets say 2015 or 2018 for example, you probably remembered back then, that reaching even Greater Rift 50 or 70 respectively was super hard and required much effort to finish the actual conquest and complete the season journey. Nowadays of course that’s not the case.
Speaking of party Greater Rifts, things changed fast. It used to be challenging: you needed like 1,000 keys to fish for the perfect map, a group full of experienced players who know their job, you needed lots of paragon points to at least see Greater Rift 150 for the first time in your life, and you needed super luck, pylon positioning, proper elites,
mob types and the right Rift Boss to get the record. And now this whole competition is gone.
Players, nowadays, can just dive into new season and after like 2 weeks close greater rift 150 like it was nothing. The game basically became oversimplified, and Diablo 3 changed its focus to a wider audience.
Do I regret playing this?
So if someone asked me that question – Do I regret my decisions and spending thousands of hours in this game? Probably not.
It really was my first game where I spent so many hours in. The other games could hardly match that number. I think the credit for this goes to the replayability and online play with friends. Without them, I wouldn’t have played Diablo 3 so voraciously.
In Diablo 3 I met my friends all over the world, and it motivated me to learn more about different cultures, break my language barriers and try something new. Thanks to this, I made this documentary/review post to share my Diablo experience after 10000+ hours.
I believe that many returning and new players will definitely find something interesting in this game. I’m still quite impressed that there are so many new and returning players around (especially on Reddit) who want to buy and play Diablo 3 for the first time or continue their journey. I hope you will not be disappointed.
But Me, as the player who played this game since its initial release, I’ve seen enough and Diablo 3 is no longer the same as it used to be. It is like a farming simulator to me, but this game still has a special place in my heart.
Who knows, maybe even after the release of Diablo 4 I will come back to this game to complete another season, get nostalgic and just run a couple of Greater Rifts with my friends. Time will tell…