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Diablo 2, Diablo 4, and Single Player: An open letter to Blizzard

Open Letter

As a staff writer here at PureDiablo.com I wanted to pen this open letter after I read the post about the delay for the next Diablo 2/R season. There was a nice sentence that was posted concerning single player:

“Lastly, I know there were a lot of voices wanting this in SP. I can say that it is being looked into but for now, I would expect this to be a Ladder S2 feature as we are able to make tweaks to online numbers on the fly while SP has diff values for XP and needs to be tuned differently. The desire is high, but we want to get this nailed down for ladder play first and will move into looking at it for offline afterwards.”

Players want Single Player

It’s been this way for quite a while.  The sheer number of players that play this game offline more than online is vast and we are a very vocal group.  Does the data you have support more than a small portion of the player base?  We aren’t 5% of the people and if we are I’d be very surprised.  RPGs in general have one very common denominator.

Yes, Diablo is an RPG, an action one, but nonetheless, it is an RPG at its heart.  I can decide what skills to use, what equipment, and roleplay pretty much any type of character because the engine was built with the ability for people to play off-the-wall builds with ease.  We are forced into a storyline and the game is not an open world like The Elder Scrolls, but we have a beginning and an end that spans the growth of a character from level 1 to somewhere in the 80s.  I’ve done it countless times with numerous characters with the same skills and different gear or same gear and different skills.

How about Baldur’s Gate and Icewind Dale? The Elder Scrolls, Skyrim?  Fallout?  Elden Ring? Dark Souls, Mass Effect, and countless more.  What do all these RPGs have in common?  The majority of them are played exclusively single player. Is there a reason why these major games are like that?  Why of course!

Not everyone wants to play with others and some just want to play in their own worlds at their pace and explore and enjoy the content.  I know I do that in Diablo 2.  I know the storyline, I know the content, but you know what I don’t know?  What my next drop will be and I have no idea if it’ll be useful.  That is the thrill that has kept me enthralled for years.  I also hope to feel this way with Diablo 4 and feel some input from people who have played this game from a single player perspective for many years could shed some light on how to keep single player gamers engaged.

Diablo 3 is pretty much a single player game unless you want more experience and to kill faster since trading doesn’t exist outside current party members when an item drops.  You also have a whole portion dedicated for the season ranking as solo.

Single Player Reach-out

In a nutshell, I’d love for the development team to reach out to players on the SPF or myself to see what ideas we have that could add longevity for Diablo 4 outside of seasonal rushes.  If the core gameplay is great, the rest is just a fantastic bonus for everyone.  Some basics would go a long way to not only keeping us happy, but the gameplay implementation needs to be carried over from Diablo 2/Resurrected and that would have a lasting impact in a positive way for all players.

Respectfully,
Vang

2 thoughts on “Diablo 2, Diablo 4, and Single Player: An open letter to Blizzard”

  1. I sure hope that D4 is new and exciting and not just a rehash of D2 for the D2 worshipers. Give us a 100% solo option. I do not want to see other characters in my game If I want social interaction I will talk to my wife.

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  2. I completely agree with Vang. About 5 or so years ago, I realized what I disliked most about multiplayer games was the fact that they were multiplayer. I get that there is an appeal in playing with friends and sharing a fantastic experience with others, but personally, I don’t play games to interact with others, I play games to immerse myself in a rich environment, story, and engage my creative thinking (particularly if problem solving is involved).

    In the early 2000s, Diablo 2 devoured more of my life than I’d like to admit. Was it because of loot? Actually, no. It was because tinkering with my build and coming up with unorthodox ways of handling Hell mode required planning and creativity (seeing it come together was a bonus, but the process was what I really enjoyed).

    Ironically, the very thing everyone whined for (the ability to respecialize and/or bake in some forgiveness when one had a bad idea) is what (in my opinion) hurt the Diablo franchise the most. Diablo 3, growing pains aside, was a vapid, soulless time sink of “meta obedience.” Bye-bye creativity and planning! Instead, every class was basically a reskin of one another–each capable of doing precisely the same things (zip around large areas and make monsters go boom very quickly). It’s entertaining for a little bit, but I’d rather play the Skyrims, Elden Rings, and Witchers than mindlessly sacrifice hours of my life to an empty experience.

    I think the real problem is that everyone is so focused on loot and meta balancing that the bigger issue isn’t even noticed. The experience of the game itself is hollow. I hope that Diablo 4 addresses this in some way. Instead of being concerned that every class and everyone can do the same exact things in a game that is boiled down to what kind of nonsense can you pick up in your multi-hour engagement with a predictable, repetitive world; adjust the ethos to where some classes are better at different things than others; that a build can work across the span of the game, but may require a little more sweat equity if a scenario isn’t tweaked to their strengths.

    Focus on making the game a… game! Don’t patronize the players. Even the 12 year olds that find their way into these games dedicate so much of their developing gray matter to the singular task of achieving a win, that they’ll manage no matter how complicated or difficult the game may be.

    And let there be consequences! Screw respecing. If you have a bad idea or worse fail to plan at all, then suck it up, go back to the drawing board and try again. It builds character (pun intended). It makes the experience all the more worthwhile when you actually get it right (even more so, if you dared to try something a little weird and make it work).

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