Please, anyone tell me that they enjoyed the guild wars system? It took all the sense of building a unique character out of the game!
Q u o t e: There's no doubt in my mind Diablo 3 will be a polished and well-game, but I'm concerned that it may not be a game that I'd enjoy playing; or my time would be better spent playing something else. In other words, I wouldn't be interested in a particular golf video game no matter how well put together it was, because I have no interest in golf.
That being said, the things that I enjoyed in Diablo 1 & 2 that won't be in D3.
1. The gritty and realistic art style. No, it wasn't super realistic and all doom and gloom, but if you look at Diablo and D2, the art style is more in the realistic direction than D3. There are proper/realistic proportions, and the lighting and colors are not as saturated. I don't see how anyone can deny this. And I'm not saying the Diablo 3 art direction is bad. I think it is actually good. I just prefer the art style in the older Diablo games. And to be frank, the D3 art style is reminiscent of World of Warcraft, which I didn't like (the game was OK though). Finally, no pentagrams. I know why they removed pentagrams (to be politically correct, avoiding controversy), but I don't agree with those reasons; and these reasons do not address the impact that this change has had on the art style.
2. Stat and skill points (the latter in the form of books in the original Diablo). There was something gratifying about hearing that *dong* when I leveled up, and then distributing my stat and skill points. Whether or not energy was worthless in D2 is irrelevant, because the stat system could have been revamped so that each stat was worth sticking points into (e.g., energy gives spell power). But instead of keeping the option open and working on it, they decided to scrap it altogether, making the game more simplistic and less interesting (at least for me).
The same thing with the skill tree. It was fun surveying my entire skill tree, planning, and looking forward to maxing out skill X or Z. But instead of expanding upon this idea in D3, or correcting it, they scrap it. Now players just unlock tiers of skills and select six of them to use at a time, akin to Guild Wars (and I didn't like the skill system back when Guild Wars was new).
3. Open PVP. By open PVP I mean if somebody was outside of town calling you a newb, etc., you could hostile him, go outside, and then show him who's boss! (or die). Or one could participate in legitimate duels--in which both players agree on the terms, hostile, and then fight. Or one could arbitrarily hostile an entire group of players, and then run to the area that they were leveling in as fast as possible to kill a few stragglers. This made the game more exciting for me. I've PKed before and I've been PKed before, but it was ultimately all fun for me (and I played hardcore).
4. PVE and PVP competition. This is a tricky one. What do I mean here? Well, in Diablo 3 you'll be permitted and maybe even pressured (to stay competitive) to buy or sell items for real money. Yes, people did do this in Diablo 2 through third-party websites. But the people who did do this were considered losers and cheaters; and these types gambled their accounts each and every time they visited one of these item seller sites due to the threat of keyloggers. But in Diablo 3 they'll be considered typical and legitimate! And they won't have to worry about getting hacked (or banned) for it. What's more, since this practice will be facilitated by Blizzard (instead of it being fringe and looked down upon), this sort of thing will become extremely common.
For me, a big part of the entertainment in Diablo came from the urge to become stronger than other players in either a PVP or PVE context. I wanted to kill monsters quicker, and I wanted to be able to kill so-in-so in a duel. And in order to become stronger in Diablo, you have to grind bosses and monsters with the hope that you'll get lucky. Well, in D3 that will necessarily no longer be the case. Player A could invest in-game time and effort to obtain their gear while player B could simply buy their items.
And, evidently, some people like these changes to the Diablo series. Good for you guys. Enjoy your castrated Diablo game. But is Diablo 3 truly a Diablo game?
Regardless, thank goodness for Path of Exile. No, Grinding Gear Games, being an independent game developer, doesn't have the money or man power that Blizzard does; and PoE won't be as polished and as well-made as D3 on release, but it will have the heart of the Diablo series. And hopefully, the polish will come later.