By the time you reach Inferno mode with a character in Diablo 3 you’ve hit the level cap and beaten the story three times. Are you ready for a fourth playthrough with the same character? Are you ready for the edge-of-your-seat difficulty that Inferno brings? Is the game still fun at that point? I raise a lot of questions but the main question here is: just how much replay value does Blizzard’s new game have?
Replay value is something that Blizzard games tend to have. They normally stand the test of time and many of them are still played to this day. StarCraft, Diablo 2, WarCraft III, and World of Warcraft are all great examples. Diablo 2 itself has been one of the most played PC games since its release in 2000. In Diablo 2, players only had three difficulties to run through in Normal, Nightmare, and Hell. The game had a level cap of 99 and each difficulty was meant for a certain set of levels. Normal would get you to level 36 most of the times. Nightmare would carry you to about 60-63. Finally, Hell would bring you from that point to 99. There was a feeling of constant progression in Diablo 2.
In Diablo 3, when you hit the end of Hell you will be level capped. In Diablo 2, you still have plenty to go as the last 5 or so levels took quite a long time to get. There was something to work for. With Inferno Mode in Diablo 3, the main thing we have to work towards is actually beating the damn thing. Hell in Diablo 2 is no joke. It’s tough stuff. However, it isn’t anything like Inferno. Inferno mode is at least twice as hard as Diablo 2′s Hell. I honestly did not find Diablo 3 actually hard until I hit Act IV in Hell.
However, after I beat Hell I launched Inferno mode right away to see what the hissy fits were all about. There are a ton of people complaining about Inferno difficulty for some of the classes. You only hear a couple classes being mentioned out of game but in-game in the General chat you will see complaints about all five. Inferno mode is tough. When I hit it, my Witch Doctor had 32k health, 18k DPS, and about 60 resistance to all elements. That’s all I could afford when I upgraded for the new and final difficulty. After I hit Act II, I started to really question why I was going through this torment. I looked back at Diablo 2 and I realized what was wrong here. I wasn’t progressing. I was suffering through unending death and chipping away at champions health bars for nothing. Yeah, I’ll get better gear but then what?
Don’t get me wrong! I enjoy these games. I enjoy finding loot everywhere. Hoping that I’ll finally get something good for me to use. I get a virtual high off of it. However, I need something else there to drive me. When all it comes down to is “perhaps I’ll find some better bracers today”, there’s a problem.
Diablo 2′s final difficulty had you leveling still throughout it. Inferno does not. You are literally working towards nothing but challenge here. I don’t care about challenge. I enjoy working towards something. If it is challenging while doing so, then that’s cool. If that’s all I got going for me? I don’t give a hoot. I don’t care if I can possibly find a better weapon. I don’t need it. I hit level cap and I’ve pushed my character to its limit. I could go farther if I farm for hours upon hours or hit up the Auction House and hope I could afford something but is it worth it?
What I think I’ll be doing for now on in Diablo 3 is hitting level cap, beat Act I Inferno, and move on to the next character. I need that feeling of constant progression. Seeing the level up overlay and the new skills and runes come my way is exciting. Watching that experience bar fill up makes me keep going. I hit every corner of the map. I redo maps if I log off for some reason or get disconnected. I do everything possible to get more EXP. Hell, even WoW kept the experience bar moving after level cap with the reputations.
I just don’t feel a need to play through Inferno. When I was going through Act I, I did not hit every corner of the map. I looked for the exit and moved on. Why? Because unless I want to farm for hours or run into an insane enemy combo and get frustrated, I’d rather just get further into the Act. Nothing is making me scour the maps. I find myself saying, “I’m level 60 who cares?” all the time now.
Diablo 3 will not last as long as Diablo 2 did. D2 has a long term sense of progression. The level cap of 99 kept you going. Unique items were almost always worth finding. There was something to work for. Legendaries here need to be fix. They are being fixed, but right now they aren’t worth crap. When I find them, I normally try and AH sell them or throw them in my stash. So what’s left? The fact that I beat Inferno? That’s cool. I guess.
Diablo 3 needs a sense of progression at all times. Players in these games need to feel like they are working towards something or boredom sets in. As for right now, I’m working towards getting every class to Act II Inferno and then I’m going to call it quits. I played Diablo 2 since its release. It made me feel like hitting 99 was an impossible task. Every little tick at the experience bar was exciting. So close, so close I would say. When I hit that for the first time, I was ecstatic. It is still one of my grandest achievements as a gamer.
How does Blizzard fix this? Add five levels. Levels 60-65 are for Inferno only. Make the experience needed high enough to make the difficulty last and then some. Bring some new runes in to help each class out in Inferno as they move on from Act to Act. That will also solve the issue of some classes having just too hard of a time in the mode. You won’t have to nerf Inferno. You won’t have to nerf some builds “because they are used too much”. Just add five levels, a couple runes, and maybe a skill or two. That alone would increase the longevity of the game and fix some existing issues.
With Legendaries getting buffed soon, these five “Inferno” levels would fix the mode and add more to the game. It would “fix” Diablo 3 for me.