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June 1st, 2023 at 6:00PM Central Time, Hell’s Gates opened up for early access.
If you do not know what I am talking about, basically, the game, Diablo 4, released into early access.
As someone who pre-ordered the deluxe edition of the game, I was able to play it at that time.
Before the game’s release, I estimated how long it would be before I would get burned out from the game, and with that in mind, I estimated that I could take off Friday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. With the weekend, that would give me six full days of being able to play the game, with a few hours on Thursday night when the game releases.
I entered in my request for vacation, it was approved, and an June 1st, it began.
Diablo 4: A Great Game With Some Poor Design Decisions
Starting out, I personally loved the campaign. A friend of mine and I blasted through the first Act, as we already played the heck out of it in the beta weekends. Nothing much to say about this Act, but it felt a bit slow and undramatic. We started Act II before I decided to log off for the night and go to bed.
The next day, I decided to spend some time finding and obtaining all the Lilith Statues while waiting for my friend to get off work. After spending the day finding the statues and starting the renown grind, my friend finally logged on, and we started burning through the next few Act’s.
Come Saturday, and I decided to go solo and finish up the rest of the Act’s by myself, and it actually wasn’t too bad.
The story was definitely not on the level of Final Fantasy XIV, but it was pretty good for an ARPG.
In my opinion, I liked the way the story ended, and opened it up for the quarterly story updates Diablo dev’s mentioned were going to happen.
Lilith Statues and Renown Grind
This is probably the most annoying aspect of the game. Having to spend multiple hours running around the map finding hidden statues just to get some additional stats. By themselves, it isn’t a huge boost to your stats. But after you figure in 100+ lilith statues across the game world, the stats increase do become noticeable.
After finishing the Lilith statue grind, the next thing on my list that I wanted to accomplish was maxing out the renown rewards. This required 2,000 renown in the five map areas of the game.
This grind almost made me quit the game.
Whoever at Blizzard thought a renown system would be amazing in an ARPG needs to reevaluate this decision.
I played the game for 10-14 hours per day during my “vacation,” and I finished the renown grind on Tuesday mid-day.
Almost three straight days of doing nothing but side quests, new dungeons, and unlocking the maps.
It was… a grind.
I didn’t do any of the end-game activities, as I wanted to get the renown grind done and over with, as I didn’t want to worry about it once my vacation was over.
But, that grind pushed me to the burnout point. Side quests alone need to be reworked. I don’t mind doing new dungeons. Jumping in a dungeon for 8-12 minutes to destroy a bunch of mobs is the joy of an ARPG.
But, spending 30 minutes running between multiple. NPC’s, killing a few monster here and there, and sitting through minutes of quest dialogue for 20 renown and a measly amount of XP was just frustrating.
Diablo 4 is an ARPG. It shouldn’t have FedEx style side quests like an MMO.
Honestly, the more I play the game, the more I think that Blizzard tried to make Diablo 4 more like an MMORPG, instead of an ARPG.
Oh, and what makes matters worse, they will be resetting renown for every season. If that stays, I will definitely not be creating season characters, unless they make getting renown a lot easier.
Endgame Activities and the Monotonous Activities That Just Suck
After finishing the renown grind, I was finally able to experience the end game. I did some nightmare dungeons, participated in the Helltide, and did the Whispering Tree quests.
All of it was pretty fun! Until it started to get a bit monotonous.
No, not because of the actual activities. Helltide/Whispering Tree/Nightmare dungeons are all fun. You get to kill and grind on mobs. Which is what an ARPG is.
It’s the monotonous activities in-between each dungeon/activity that is annoying.
As it stands, if I were to grind nightmare dungeons, I would need to…
- Finish the dungeon.
- Teleport to town.
- Look at my inventory and review all items, since there are no loot filters.
- Decide what needs to be sold/salvaged/extracted.
- Travel to separate sides of the town to accomplish the above activities because Blizzard, in their infinite wisdom, decided to separate them making you have to spend an unneccessary amount of time traveling between them in town.
- Review available nightmare dungeon items, and activate a dungeon.
- Open up map and teleport to nearest waypoint to the nightmare dungeon.
- Jump on horse and make the trek to the nightmare dungeon.
- Enter, do the objectives, complete the dungeon and repeat.
Coming from playing ARPG’s like Path of Exile and Last Epoch, the amount of time sinks they include in this grind is insane.
For example, with Last Epoch, my end game process is…
- Complete the monolith node.
- Teleport back to the monolith base with all the necessary NPC’s/stash right next to each other.
- Review items in inventory which are few since you have a loot filter.
- Sell and stash items, which are literally a few in-game steps away.
- Walk back to the monolith, and enter another map node.
- Complete it and repeat.
Not only is it a fewer number of steps. But the traveling between the store/stash and getting back to grinding is a lot shorter then that of Diablo 4.
What Diablo 4 created is a bunch of unnecessary time sinks in-between the activities that people want to be doing.
In my opinion, it’s bad design, and it makes me want to close out of the game after a few dungeons because I hate spending x amount of time playing the inventory management/town runner game in-between the actual game of blowing things up with my Sorcerer’s skills.
Nevertheless, I Still Like the Game
I put in nearly 65 hours into the game since it’s release on June 1st. The last 6 days have been the most unproductive days I have had in a long time, and I love it.
I will continue to play the game and grind a few nightmare dungeons here and there. I will also make sure to play the new story every 3 months, as I want to see where the story ends up in this game.
But, Diablo 4 will definitely not become my main game. If anything, playing Diablo 4 has made me want to jump back into Final Fantasy XIV, as its game designs are a lot more tolerable, and I generally miss playing the game.
However, Street Fighter 6 came out on the 1st, and I want to get my hands on that game as well. So, we shall see what I end up playing next!