The current state of Diablo III

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Blizzard games are all the rage right now, and I’m probably going to get a lot of flack for this post, but I’m sick and tired. I love Diablo. I caught the tail end of Diablo 2 back in 2008, just in time to get excited for Diablo III, and boy was I excited. Upon launch, you could barely get on the servers to play. Much like that first date where your suitor starts naming your unborn children, this should have already been a major red flag. But, okay, we gave Blizzard the benefit of the doubt and assumed they perhaps weren’t ready for the influx of diehard fans wanting a taste of the new Diablo.

Two years later, no, I’m not kidding, two years later they released the expansion – Reaper of Souls. This was great! It came with a new class, more end game objectives, new class sets, legendary items, a range of difficulties and a new act. Again we set out grinding our hearts out for perfect gear as we pushed ourselves for faster, more efficient farming, but what for? Nothing, really. Blizzard had still not released Season leaderboards or PVP.

The Season of Grinding

Then came Season Leaderboards, and Diablo became fun again. Now you could grind out gear for a purpose as you push the leaderboards in the Greater Rifts. Endgame had a purpose, and this was all about who could farm the most efficiently, and who had the best RNG when grinding. But, as with other previous patches, it became stale again soon, but with each Season patch, came new updates and this was a good sign of progression.

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Last year a group of friends and I decided that each Season we would make characters and play until we got bored. During Season 4 I must have spent roughly 14 hours a day playing Diablo… It was a very lonely time for me. But also, Diablo III was that fun again. Season 5 came and with it a lot of changes to redundant sets and some class reworks. I unfortunately barely took part in Season 5 due to lack of internet, but come Season 6 I would be ready, and I was. Except I was let down, hard.

Nothing had changed between Season 5 and 6 other than a few changes and character fixes. No new items, no new features, nothing. I have been grinding, and will probably continue grinding after I’m done writing today, but only because I am a sucker for shiny legendary items.

Oh, they did add a few cosmetic items to the Season, which is cool… I guess.

No challenge

The patch has been out for three  days and already people are pushing Greater Rift 100 plus. For those of you who might be a little lost, Greater Rifts are what put you on leaderboards. You have 15 minutes to complete a rift of higher difficulty, and of course, the higher you go and faster you complete it, the better spot you get on the leader board. You can do these solo, groups of two, three, or four.

In the first iterations of Season rifting, progression was slow, and a real challenge for those who took it seriously enough to push the leaderboards. By the time I’d start losing interest in a Season, groups of four were maybe pushing 80-85 Greater Rifts. Today, after three days of Season 6, players have already pushed as far as 102.

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Leaderboards

To give you some perspective, last season after, after five months, players got as far as 114. It’s almost as if Blizzard have lost all interest in Diablo III as the prepare for other titles, like the impending Overwatch.

Some would argue that there are those people who spend hours and hours grinding through the Public Test Realm, finding out the perfect gear combos, readying up for the Season so they can progress quickly, but surpassing GR100 in less than a week? I’m not so happy about that.

Where does Diablo’s future lie?

At the moment, nobody knows. At every BlizzCon die-hard fans wait for the announcement of some sort of update, patch, expansion or new title, but it never happens. It has been two years since Reaper of Souls came out, and nothing has been hinted at yet. Lore lovers will agree that the story is getting good, and we need more. But we are still waiting.

We still don’t have any sort of PvP, which was promised, but we gave up on that about three years ago. Diablo is slowly slipping away, and unless Blizzard releases new content next Season, I fear I will stop playing for good. I’m still enjoying the game, don’t get me wrong. The grind is fun, the friendship that comes with it is amazing, but I’m starting to lose hope.

I have this recurring nightmare where I’m privileged enough to get a tour of Blizzard HQ. There I’m taken through this amazing campus where they show me the different departments. Starcraft II is filled with die-hard fans, trying to figure out how they can make it great again. World of Warcraft has its own dedicated several floors. Overwatch is an entire building of devs and marketing people. Heroes of the Storm is a giant whiteboard of bad ideas. Hearthstone is basically a replica of Gringrots Bank in Harry Potter, and in a lone broom closet, far from any glamor and glory, is one lone developer trying to keep Diablo alive.

Last Updated: May 3, 2016

Kyle Wolmarans

Critical Hit's esports guy. I talk about esports and drink whiskey. I also write and cast for elsewhere - but my work here is independent of that.

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