Diablo 3 is superior to Diablo 2
Debate Rounds (4)
INTRODUCTION AND DEFINITIONS
This debate will be focusing on the Blizzard's Diablo series, particularly Diablo 3 (released around 15 months ago) and Diablo 2 (released over a decade ago, but still with an active community).
Just some clarifications; when I say 'Diablo 2' I am speaking of course of the game as it is today (1.13d), including all the updates that have taken place over course of the game as well as the awesome expansion pack Lord of Destruction that was released around a year after Diablo 2 itself was released. Likewise, when I says Diablo 3 I am speaking of it as it stands today (1.0.8), not as it was on release.
When I say 'superior' we will take into account all aspects of the game and while yes, a lot of factors are going to be largely subjective such is the nature of almost all debates and we will leave it up to our good audience to judge for themselves who had the better arguments.
This first round is purely for accepting the debate and offering any definitions you might deem necessary.
I assume we are talking about playability, storyline, equipment, skills, enjoyment, etc. I will not argue that the technological aspects (such as graphics) of Diablo 2 are superior since obviously game technology is far more advanced now than it was in 2000 when Diablo 2 was released.
I have been a gamer for a long time. I’m 26 and the first game I can remember playing (called Brat on the Atari) was in 1991 so I was 4. I played a bit of Diablo 1 back on the console and never came remotely close to clocking it on any difficulty (as it was hired from a video library). Then, when I was 12 I got my own computer and for Christmas, I got the amazing Diablo 2. In all my years, I cannot think of a game I loved more than Diablo 2 and subsequently its expansion pack Lord of Destruction. Wow I played that game a lot. I distinctly remember keeping the thick game manuals in the toilet so I could read them over and over, like actual tomes of knowledge written by Deckard Cain.
Anyway, I played it a lot. Every day, after school I’d play it until bed time including eating dinner in front of the computer. Arreat Summit was the first website I can remember bookmarking… but there is something I remember now retrospectively. I never got very far. I cannot remember playing Hell difficulty much, if at all. I think (it’s difficult to remember) I had maybe 2 character about level 60, a Barbarian and a Sorcerer (it was a long time ago). It wasn’t a particularly forgiving game. When Diablo 3 was officially announced, I simply had to revisit Diablo 2 (known as D2 and D3 from now on), so I bought it again, linked it to my Blizzard account and cranked that mofo up. Some updates had happened but it was mostly the same game. The pygmies in Act 2 weren’t as annoying as I remembered and there were more runewords, some balancing changes behind the scenes and Uber Tristram for super challenge but basically the same game I grew up with.
Anywho, I played a bit, deciding on a cookie cutter Necromancer build which I copied to a point. Within an hour or two, I realised that it would take me dozens upon dozens of hours to get even a chance at a single piece of endgame-viable gear so I shelled out twenty or thirty bucks on an unaffiliated site for what was almost certainly gear collected by a bot, got myself power levelled to Hell Act 5 and did a bunch of Baal runs until I got passed level 90. And the nostalgia of it all was wonderful. I played a bit here and there (including playing a bit of Act 1 Normal with by brother who was also excited for D3) and faded back off in favour of other games and real life stuff.
Diablo 3 came out and I didn’t have a computer to play it on. So I built one with money I probably should have saved to pay for more important things (like somewhere for myself, my pregnant partner and my step-daughter to live, lol, don’t worry that stuff was paid for anyway) and bought it. I played my Monk through the Normal difficulty campaign with self-found gear (the Auction House was still very much in its early days then and I never used it) and then moved house, didn’t have the internet and 12 months passed. Now, I’ve been playing Diablo 3 again and I must say, I’m having a complete blast with it. I’ve got a Paragon Level 10 Monk doing 97,000 DPS and surviving Inferno MP6 quite well. I’ve spent some money on gold, flipped a few items for profit on the AH (which is fun in itself) and joined a guild of people who know a lot more about the game than I do. I’m playing it every day and with 4 classes I’ve barely touched and a lot of room for progress with my Monk I can foresee many, many more hours of gameplay ahead.
The reason I’m doing this debate is because within the Battle.Net forums, I’m seeing a hellava lot of people saying Diablo 2 is a lot better and I just don’t see it. I’ve read the best from both sides of the argument and as I do, I made this debate to bring the discussion/argument to DDO.
So without further ado, here are my opening arguments:
EASE OF USE
Many people say that Diablo has been ‘dumbed down’ with the removal of stat point and skill point allocation in favour of auto-stat points per level and all skills being unlocked at level 60, but restricted to the 6 slots (left click, right click and buttons 1-4.)
I beg to differ. How many people were honestly able to keep their first Diablo 2 toon? I’m guessing nobody. That’s because there was no possible way of fixing the mistakes you made with your stat points when you first started playing. Even once you did read the forums and articles on correct stat point allocation, you almost HAD to put them a certain way to be viable in the latter difficulties of the game or risk being inferior to everyone else. That problem is gone. Likewise with skill points; how many ways could you really configure your skills and still be able to kill Baal on Hell difficulty? Sure, you could fvck around with interesting builds but what I think people seem to forget is that you can still do that now. With 6 types of skills, multiplied by 5 different skills per type, multiplied by 5 runes per skill multiplied by 6 different slots for you to put your skills in, subtracting the ability to use the same skill with a different rune in more than one slot AND the 3 passive skill slots with 13 choices, you have literally quadrillions of combinations  and that’s without taking the gear into account (I’ll address gear more in the next round.)
TIME WELL SPENT
Once upon a time, I did Baal runs with a Hammer-din  bot to level up my Necromancer. If the bot didn’t auto-grab it and the other players didn’t grab it, it was basically worthless (maybe to sell for gold to fix your gear.) That’s what I remember about D2 gear. Now obviously other people had different experiences. Maybe they had friends or guild mates who would share their gear. Maybe they fairly took turns for every drop that Mephisto gave when he died. That’s irrelevant, because the majority of players didn’t have that unless they put time and effort into the game. With D3, everyone get their own drop. No-one can see yours, you can’t see anyone else’s and bingo, the problem is solved. So you jump into a game (and I’ll cover ‘finding games’ in the next round) and you start mashing mother fvckers with some strangers. Maybe they’re cool, so you add them to your friends list. Maybe they think you’re cool, so they add you. Regardless, you’re mashing sh!t. And you mash and mash (just like you mashed and mashed in D2) and you’ve got a whole bunch of rare items and none of it is good enough to use or sell (I’ll cover using items in the gear section of the next round and selling in the next section) so what do you do? You salvage it of course and then you can use the Blacksmith to craft an item. It’s like rerolling gear. Sure, it’s random and sure, you’re probably not going to craft something good either (once you get decent gear anyway) but even those crafting materials have sellable value because when you craft, especially once you’ve max levelled your Blacksmith, you can choose what kind of item you’re rolling for and if you roll enough you’ll probably get something of value. Additionally, while you’re grinding you’re earning gold, which brings me to my final round 1 point…
A PROPER ECONOMY
Finally, I have to mention trading. Trading is so, so vastly improved from ‘the good ol’ days’ of D2. Now, if you find something you can find it’s approximate value by looking at the in-game AH, put it up for trade, receive the currency of the game (gold) from that trade and spend it all within the game. You’re wanting an item with a certain combination of statistics? Easy, the AH has a searching function. You don’t have to troll through a billion trade games or the god awful trade channels of old. You can see the approximate price and buy it with the currency you’re earning just by playing the game.
I have a lot more points to add, but my introduction took up a lot of characters so I’ll be leaving them for the next round. The main point I’ll be getting at it accessibility.
Thank you for a well reasoned and thoughtful argument and I appreciate another kindred Diablo enthusiast.
I purchased D1, D2, and D3 on their respective release dates, and played the heck out of each one of them. I like to compare the Diablo trilogy to the Star Wars Trilogy (the original trilogy). D1 forever changed gaming in the same way Star Wars forever changed movies. It was epic. Empire Strikes Back is arguably one of the best sequels ever (1) by changing and improving on the original, but keeping true to the spirit of the original. D2 did the same to D1. D3, while still good, dumbed down its predecessors, and did not improve enough on it. Hello Ewoks in Return of the Jedi. (Then came the death spiral brought on by JarJar Binks. I simultaneously cringe and salivate when I think of a Diablo IV)
I played D2 for 8 years. I never spent real money on the game. I traded for about 4 or 5 items in that whole time. Everything else I found was self found. And I found a lot. I kept a spreadsheet of all the Set and Unique items in the game, and I found 78.1% of them. And D2 did not have sucky versions of a specific Unique or Set item. I achieved Matriarch/Patriarch with all 7 classes, and multiple times with some of them.
In D3, my main is a Paragon 69 Witch Doctor with 136K DPS. I have played him for just under 600 hours. I have probably another 250 hours on other characters. No real money spent.
I will go through each of your points, since I think they make a better argument for me than they do for you.
Ease of Use
I agree with you that few people got their first character to finish Hell in D2. Most likely, they made major mistakes, and had to go back to the drawing board. Of course there were lots of mis-spent stat points, incorrectly created runewords, and bad skill choices. But that is EXACTLY what made D2. It is called investment.
Theordore Roosevelt said, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty.” (2) Restarting a build is difficult. Realizing you messed up on stat points or skills in D2 caused pain, and it took effort to get yet another build to the end game in D2. But that is what made it worth while.
Many players frown on cheating in a game. But what is cheating? Cheating is essentially getting something good without “earning” it. In D2, “earning” something meant hours of gameplay, researching builds, testing builds, etc. You yourself mentioned D2 still has an active community. 13 years after it was released! People do not stick with a game that long unless they have investment in the game.
In contrast, D3 does not encourage investment in the same way D2 does. In D3, if I am playing a Monk, and hear about another better Monk build, I can switch skills within seconds and buy new gear in the AH within minutes. If I do not like the build I can easily switch to something else. I can test 10 builds in one day. In D2, to test 10 builds it would take weeks, maybe months.
Sense of Accomplishment
For the 8 years I played D2, I was actively involved in the D2 community. I made many friends, shared experiences, laughed, and cried with the community. In the year since D3 has been released, I have struggled to find a good D3 community that was as close as that D2 community was.
There are many reasons for this, but one of the main reasons is sharing a sense of accomplishment among D2 players.
In D2, if someone announced a new, viable build they had found, it was because there was a sense of pride in what they had accomplished. They wanted to share that with others. I myself wrote 3 different build guides for certain builds I had succeeded with. The guides covered strategy in different areas, where to spend stat points and skill points, what runewords worked, where to farm the socketed items to build them with, what immunities caused problems for the build, and how to work around them, how to defeat certain bosses, what affixes to look for in items, etc.
In D3, build guides are as simple as listing what skills to choose. Except for a few select builds, there is no difference in what items you look for. The strategy for all fights is to lay on the damage as quickly as possible. There are no immunities to account for.
In D2, if you found someone with good items, very often it meant they had found those items, or worked hard to get them. You could look up to them and congratulate them on their accomplishment. In D3, when I see someone with good items, I KNOW they did not find them all by themselves, and very likely they spent real world money to get those items.
Time Well Spent
In D2, you mention people grabbing loot first since it was community drop, and I agree that this is where D3 improves on D2, but in D2 there are multiple ways around this. As I mentioned before, D2 had a stronger sense of community, and playing with people who you frequently posted with on some community forum was the best way to do Multiplayer. It was rare that you would fight over items if you knew who you were playing with. For my D2 experience, I played Single Player (SP) almost exclusively. In SP, there is no fighting over gear. Those people who played non-passworded, Multiplayer games in D2 quickly figured out that was NOT the way to play.
A Proper Economy
It is true that D2 had a major problem with their economy. D3 attempted to fix this by introducing the Auction House (AH) and the Real Money Auction House (RMAH). When it comes to the RMAH, unfortunately, this was the wrong way to go about it. Jay Wilson, D3's Game Director, admitted such in an interview in March after he left the D3 team. (3) In his words “It's not good for a game like Diablo. It doesn't feel good to get items for money, it feels good to get items by killing monsters." I could not have said that better myself.
Although they have not admitted it directly, many people believe Blizzard is regretting the RMAH. The Console Version of the game that is coming out is removing the RMAH. (4)
The presence of the AH itself is minor. It is the necessity of the AH that is the biggest problem. With 15 months of playing almost 600 hours, my Plvl 69 Witch Doctor has 1 piece of equipment he is currently using that was self found. Everything else was purchased in the AH. There is no sense of accomplishment in that. My WD is not finding and using gear. He is grinding for gold in order to buy that next minimal upgrade. This is in no way unique to myself. Other than crafted items, I doubt any character that can handle over MP1 in Inferno is using more than 2 items they found themselves.
My WD is the only one I use AH purchases on. Mostly so he can farm for my other characters. I recently tried a character that was using ONLY equipment he found himself. It gets extremely difficult after Act 1 Hell, and virtually impossible in Inferno MP0. Any level of Monster Power in Inferno is out of the question.
This is not a bash on D3. I love the game, but it pales in comparison to D2. Things are getting better, and I hope an expansion pack to D3 is as incredible as Lord of Destruction was for D2. The main thing D3 lacks in respect to D2 is the investment, sense of accomplishment, and years of replayability that D2 had. D2 is still being played 13 years after release. I do not see D3 surviving that long. Not when you can experience the entire game in a couple of months by using a credit card.
tvellalott forfeited this round.
Not sure why my opponent forfeited, but I assume he just did not have time to respond before the deadline. In the interest of fairness, I will not present an argument in this round either.
Forfeit on account of lack of time. Sucks. >_<
Pro and I have decided to let this debate fizzle out and start a new one on the same topic at a later date when we both have time to give it proper attention.
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