I often hear people talking and speculating about the difficulty of Diablo 3 saying, ” How hard will Diablo 3 be? How fast will people hit 60? What will Inferno be like?” Diablo 3 has 4x acts and 4x difficulties, meaning it can be broken into 16 stages of progression. This allows a great deal of room for variety. Suppose for a minute you were given the ability to make the game as hard as you wanted. How difficult would you make Diablo 3 if you had the power to choose?
My inclination is most people would answer the question, saying “Not too easy, not too hard.” Perhaps they should reflect on this question a little longer.
Forget External Motivation
I want you to forget about the Diablo 3 real money auction house, forget about attaining the best gear in the game and forget about Diablo 3 PvP for a minute. Those topics are entirely unique universes amongst themselves and should be secondary in thought to the crux of the game – PvM and the story.
I know when I look back at any game I’ve ever played; the levels I got stuck on the longest were thrown in the same memory dump alongside the most thrilling, epic and fun experiences.
The amount of time dedicated, and the energy exerted to beat a challenging stage; combined with significant levels of emotion, leaves one hell of a rush and a great sense of accomplishment upon completing it.
Climbing the Mountain
The harder the climb, the more epic the journey feels, and the more rewarding the end of the journey becomes. You either give up or eventually reach a destination. Think about this concept for a second – it can be applied to all facets of life.
I’ll never forget playing one of Paper Mario’s last stages back in the day, when I was a youngster. The part I’m talking about was a puzzle/maze that seemed like it would never end. I spent over 3 hours unable to solve it and trust me when I say – it was nothing compared to a rubix cube.
Frustration eventually set in and I wondered why I couldn’t complete something that seemed so simple. I remember having an intense headache for over half of the time I spent trying to beat it. It was the only part of the game I got stuck on for an extended period of time and it was right before I completed the game. After finally beating it, I was relieved.
To this day, a similar pattern occurs nearly every time I come across something that appears challenging to me. It’s a matter of progression; being able to take on hard problems in the moment opens you up for newer, future challenges you never would have dreamed of taking on before.
Inferno Should be an ASS-KICKING
With this in mind, I’m hoping that Hell Mode takes the best players’ months to complete. Although I doubt they will release content that hard, I really want a challenge with this game. In fact, I want Inferno in Diablo 3 to appear impossible. I’d like the first full clear to happen no sooner than 6+ months.
There are several reasons why I want this content this hard. First of all I want there to be a large gap from noobs, to average gamers, to experts. Secondly, I want each stage of the game to feel memorable. Finally, I want people to have to put in hours of critical thinking to beat certain situations. Statistics and build choices exist so people have to constantly weigh them to figure out what is best, or what suites their playstyle (aka strategy/method).
If the content is easy and you can beat the game with nearly everything, then what is the point in having so many variables? The hardest parts of the game should appear like complex puzzles imho.
How Will Blizzard Address This?
I doubt the game will be as hard as I’d like, but I’ll stay optimistic regardless. I’d expect a big company like Blizzard to see a problem with seemingly insurmountable levels. They can leave a stain in a player’s mind forever and can discourage a large part of the population who can’t deal with such challenges presented.
My answer to this is… if a player wants to have fun in a game and is tired of struggling in end game, then they always have the freedom to play easier content. Hard parts exist in a game because there are easier parts that lead you up to a greater challenge. A flat game isn’t fun.
If Blizzard did their job then extremely hard parts in end game will exist and players will be presented with alternative choices. I’d assume the game modes are where this concept will be worked in. Frankly, people shouldn’t be rewarded with the feeling of beating a game as epic as Diablo without having to put in due effort and/or skill. If this post doesn’t resonate with you; I challenge you to think about why you play games and more specifically, what attributes of a game are appealing to you.