we compare games vs their predessorsDisclaimer: This will be a long read. This is also NOT intended to be a troll post, so please donâ€™t treat it as such. This thread is simply a speculative/theoretical post to answer/raise questions I have been thinking a lot, and sadly very passionately about recently. I will do my best to keep personal opinions out of my article and retain a neutral stance. I am not a professional writer and I do not claim to be one, so I apologize for any bad grammar or other errors found in this post. TL;DR will be located at the bottom just for the people who only want a summary.
Think back to June 29th 2000, all of us who played the original Diablo, and even those who never have, got to look forward to and play the new Diablo II being released. While the game may not have been ground breaking or revolutionary it was quite addictive. We all enjoyed our single and multi-player item hunt. Many of us would farm the same bosses for hours on end hoping to get that one piece of gear with the absolute perfect stats on it for our build! We could even trade itemâ€™s online with friendâ€™s and spend even more glorious time hacking and slashing away at the minions of hell! Many people including me considered ourselves addicted to this game. It was both simplistic and very in-depth at the very same time!
On the simple side of the spectrum anyone could hop into a quick Mephisto run and farm him for a few killâ€™s before work while drinking your morning coffee and watching the news. On the opposite side of the spectrum it was very detailed and in depth because of stat allocation, runes, gemâ€™s, classes, and in general the mass and almost infinite options of character creation. Now, youâ€™re probably thinking â€œbut what about min/maxing? That removes all customizabilityâ€! Yes, there were certain cookie cutter builds, but this is true in every game that has the option of min/maxing. It all depends on how you want to play the game that suits your personal preferences and tasteâ€™s.
Now, jump forward to June 27th 2001. Blizzard-North was releasing Diablo II: Lord of destruction. Building upon what was previously a very successful game by anyoneâ€™s standards. They decided to release an expansion for this critically acclaimed and fan favorite game. As they and everyone else expected, it turned out to be another huge hit and sold millions of copies. Everyone loved the new act, and the memorable Baal runâ€™s for more epic items! Blizzard-North threw down the gauntlet, and we as gamers happily accepted this new challenge. Besides a few minor tweaks of stats, and items and a few other miscellaneous things throughout the game, it roughly remained unchanged from its original form.
Now, it is Time to jump forward in time once more, this time to the launch of DIII. The date is May 15th 2012. The previous studio once known as Blizzard-North is no longer around. The company is now known as Activision-Blizzard. It is time for them to release their newest title for the Diablo universe. They release teaser footage about amazing new graphics, and features. First on the list of amazing new features, were the Nephalem cube, and the Cauldron of Jordan. The intended use of these amazing new features was to keep player in the field slaying demons and pushing back the minions of hell. Since this feature was added you would no longer have to return to town in order to salvage your garbage and sell your greys/other random vendor trash. Next Item on the list of new features was the ability to grab Health globes on the go, and add a CD to player consumed Potâ€™s to increase the skill ceiling of the game.
But the most amazing and highly anticipated new feature was the GAH, and the RMAH. These two features alone were supposed to take trading items and gearing up to a whole new level, and make it easier than ever before. With these new added features we could trade with thousands of people worldwide instead of just select friends on privately run and password locked servers. This made the process of gear acquisition much easier and more precise, as you could search for specific stats and items that best suited your characterâ€™s needs.
After many years of waiting for the game, and many teaser trailers later blizzard decided to remove the option of having the Nephalem cube, and the Cauldron of Jordan. The Auction Houses were also felt by many playerâ€™s to be lack-luster due to the limited amount of search features, and the magnitude of the same item being posted at once. Despite these changes The new title sold estimated 3.5 million copies in the first 24 hours. Over the duration of the first seven days it sold estimated 6.3 million copies. Millions of players across the globe logged in and began to furiously charge towards the ultimate difficulty labeled Inferno difficulty. Then problems started to arise, many people felt the game was over tuned and far to â€œgear dependentâ€ thus forcing them to use the respective available auction houses. Not everyone felt as though they should be forced to buy gear in order to progress. Many players preferred the idea of farming their own gear, however this proved to be rather difficult due to the drop rates of items from within the game.
After more and more players reached inferno, more people felt that the game was just a cash grab with the RMAH and low drop rates forcing them into buying their gear. Diablo III too many people felt less like a one-time purchase and farm your gear, and more like a pay to win business model. Many players started posting stats and links all over the forums of different sites that provided statistical data that the game was dying fast as the time went on. People felt the game had changed for the worse, rather than the better in regards to its previous incarnations in the series. Many playerâ€™s felt like they had been duped out of their money by Activision-Blizzard into buying a game that was not about the gear hunt so much as it was a gear buy style of game. People began to wonder how a game that used to be about farming bosses for hours on end had become a run around and farm elites with extremely difficult (and sometime outright impossible ability affixes).
Many players began to feel alienated that the Diablo they grew up with and loved had received so many drastic changes. Some people felt it was for the worst, while others felt it was great. However as time draws on the 2 sides begin to argue their points to the points it has devolved into senseless name calling rather than constructive feedback. If you enjoyed the game you were labeled a fanboy/girl. If you hated the way the game had taken a turn for, you were labeled a troll/band-wagoner.
How could such a previously amazing series had have had such a downturn? How a game that at its peak sold estimated 7 million copies, turn out to be such a failure in so many peopleâ€™s opinions? Many people believed it was due to the fact the difference between Diablo II and Diablo III was night and day. The only thing they had in common to many people was the hack and slash top down view of the playerâ€™s character in the in-game environment. Other than that everything had been changed, from the color scheme, play style, item drop rates to the new GAH/RMAH that had been implemented.
This brings me to the second portion of my article. Let me begin by introducing Natural selection. A game released October 31st 2002 by Unknown Worlds Entertainment. For the rest of this article it will be referred to as UWE. Now, I know youâ€™re asking yourself, â€œbut Helix, what does natural selection have to do with the Diablo universe? They are two completely different genres of games!â€ Well, please allow me to explain. For those who are unfamiliar with Natural selection it is a fps/rts style of game. It was originally nothing more than a mod released for the original half-life game. While it may be a mod for the original Half-Life game, UWE has no affiliation with Valve software. They are both independent game companies.
Natural Selection became popular to a very niche group (myself included). Many people loved the fact in this game both first person shooters had been combined with real time strategy. These gave the series an entirely new twist as players could play as the commander and tell his units (other real life players) on the field what to build and where to go. This was the marine side of the fence. Meanwhile the Alien forces known as the Kharaa, had no commander and had evolutions rather than â€œupgradesâ€. They also had different available life forms which kept the game very asymmetrical form of balance. While this may sound like an oxymoron it is in fact quite balanced. Both teams were supposed to play entirely differently but everything was supposed to have a soft/hard counter without homogenizing the game to much. Marines have flame throwers, grenade launchers, jet packs, scans, exoskeleton suits upgrades. While aliens had speed evolutions, increased bit damage, cloaking, and even the ability to build defensive structures wherever they were needed.
While I could not find specific numbers with Google for how many people actually downloaded and actively played Natural Selection 1 due to it being a very niche game. I played for several years and the community was always very active. I never had any problems finding matches to play for the several years I did play it.
Now, we fast forward through time again to the present. Natural Selection 2 is in beta stage. It has many of its previous players very excited to get to play a new and improved version of their long missed, well played favorite Natural Selection 1. Everyoneâ€™s first question tended to be, â€œHey UWE, what is new and different about ns2 from ns1?â€ Natural Selection 2 in its current stage of development remains relatively the same as its predecessor. The biggest change is that the graphics are no longer of the Half-Life 1 quality; they have received a major overhaul to tax even the most powerful of gaming rigs. This game is now on par with many current releases such as Crysis 2, and Metro 2033 to name a few of the many, many high end graphically demanding games on the market.
The second change is that now both Marines, and Kharaa alike require a commander. A popular fan base coined name khammander for the aliens. Both sides of these races will go head to head in this games amazing new mapâ€™s for strategic and competitive maps for control of the resource nodes. This is most easily described to new players as minerals or gas from StarCraft or any other popular RTS game.
Natural Selection 2 has since gained a much, much larger fan base than its predecessor. Is is also most notably a stand-alone game now rather than merely just a mod for a currently existing game. Since Natural Selection 2 has not finished its beta stages yet it has not been released. There are also no available statistics on how many sales it has made so far due to its unreleased status. However the game boasts an extremely active population with hundreds of active and full servers in its peak hours and a very active forum community.
Now, youâ€™re probably still wondering what Diablo III and Natural Selection 2 have in common. Well, the reason I am comparing these two amazing games is that Diablo II > Diablo III changed many, many aspects of the game. Some of these changes were for the worst, some were for the better. That however is for you, the reader to decide not me. The differences between Natural Selection 1 > Natural Selection 2 are few and far between regarding gameplay, not necessarily graphics.
I will conclude this article with the thought of did the Diablo series change to much from its predecessors and alienate its original fan base in order to attract a new crowd of players? The second question I would like to leave you with is, Since ns1 > ns2 changed relatively little about the game except for graphics the game has gotten a majority of its previous player to return due to nostalgia (myself included) and attracted thousand, if not millions of more playerâ€™s due to its original and unique game play style? I will leave you, the reader to decide what you think is the truth, as that is not my intention of this article. I want peopleâ€™s different opinions on the rise and fall of these 2 games and why they think it occurred.
Thank you very much to everyone who actually read this entire thing and giving me your attention long enough to consider my personal thoughts and opinions stated in this article.TL;DR was Diabloâ€™s mistake that it changed to much and alienated its player base? Or did something else cause it? Is NS2 so popular because it changed almost nothing but the graphics engine from its original? You decide.