Monday, May 7, 2012

D3: Coop centric?.....Sorta.

Jay Wilson, and other folks from Blizzard have been promoting Diablo III as a coop-centric game.   A great deal of development time has been working towards this end.  I like this idea, but I think Blizzard could have done a much better job at implementing robust tools to facilitate this type of play.

Currently I am envisioning a Diablo 3 where you enter into an inferno game and begin working together with your teammates.  Before venturing out to kill demons and starting to build up Nephalem Valor charges, you must set up your skills, since changing your skills mid-game will remove the buff.  Who you are playing with and what skills they are using will determine what skills you are going to use.  If your teammates are already using abilities that snare enemies you might be inclined to use abilites that increase your teammate's damage since getting another snare ability would make your group too defensive without any strong offensive abilities.

This brings up a lot of questions.  Are these options going to be discussed through typing messages in chat?  One can image how cumbersome this would be.  No voice communication closes so many doors towards cooperative play.  You can't call out for help, or request a heal from another player very easily.  And you cant discuss skill planning strategy prior to venturing out of town. 

Outlets for the average player to form connections with other players are there, but very limited and/or inconvenient to use.  Things like Guild Support, and Voice Communication would go a long way to helping players establish communities, partnerships, and friendships in-game.  This would make Diablo III a truly "coop-centric" game.

Update:  Shortly after writing this article, Blizzard announced a Clan system to be released for at the same time as StarCraft 2: Heart of the Swarm, which will be later this year.  This is good news for the Diablo III community.  Even if it will come months after release. =)


  1. I think the clan system is the only one relevant, the only one that will greatly increase the gaming experience of the average players. If players wouldn't discuss their task as a group member with typed messages, how much better would they fare if there was an ingame tool for voice comms?

    Anyway many players put way too much focus on labeling abilities defensive or 'nuke mode'. This might be because blizzard themselves have done so in their silly skill separation chart. For many classes I find I could easily take 2-4 of their 'defensive' abilities in a build, and put them to good use also as tools for unstoppable aggression.

    Anyway to get back to the clan support thing. A lot of these not so hardcore players would surely like the experience of being part of a clan, but might see venturing outside the game to hunt for potentially suitable clan as something way too nerdy, whereas clicking a button to join a clan's public chat channel would be right up their alley as social gamers. Good job there, Blizzard!

  2. I would agree that the clan system is definitely more important than the voice comms, but would not go as far as saying voice comms would not be relevant. This is for two reasons. First is simple, you need to meet people to communicate with before you can team up and communicate via voice comm. The clan system facilitates the initial connection between players and encourages communication. Secondly, the "no voice comms" problem can easily be fixed outside the game via 3-party apps like ventrilo. Alternatively, since the game is only 4 player, this is something skype can easily handle as well without the need of renting a ventrilo server.

    You make a good point about the way skills are categorized. There exists a spectrum of "skill types" and where a certain skill falls on that spectrum can be somewhat subjective. Also, runes can easily change a skill from being more offensive based to more defensive based.