D3 DLC and expansion abuse… Arrrrgh! But some cool stuff too.

Blizzcon is usually a somewhat exciting time of the year because one of the better game developers out there usually announces something interesting.  This year, Blizzard decided to throw a wrench in the whole concept and say some things that have me worried and others that I think are completely stupid.   Let’s take these one at a time.

StarCraft 2 is going to be a trilogy… okay, I can accept that as cool and all because who wouldn’t like the idea of a lot of StarCraft content?  Here’s the downside… “Each campaign is treated as a fully fleshed out game, with each title ending the same way.”  That sounds ludicrous!  Splitting the campaigns into three and then charging for multiple expansions so that you can play the other campaigns just to have them all end the same way doesn’t make any sense at all.  According to Blizzard, “The change will allow for more characters, more missions, and more complete experiences overall.”   [Source]  So on one hand there’s a lot of content… on the other hand it’s just an excuse to charge you 3x the price.  Dumb.

Diablo 3 is going to mark the end of an era.  Blizzard is more than likely going to charge for DLC (Downloadable Content) in Diablo 3.  “We are going to monetize features so that we get to make them,” said Wilson. “We kind of have to.” [Source]  Basically, there won’t be modding in Diablo 3.  Instead, Blizzard will make the content and charge you for it.   If it’s supplemental stuff then I won’t be so bothered by it, but if it’s anything pertaining to expanding the story then I’ll be really bothered by it unless they release it in an expansion.

Graev has been calling this for years now and both of us still think it’s a possibility.  Blizzard has already stated that they’re moving the way of DLC instead of modding in their games.  The next step is a subscription plan for Bnet. Although Jay Wilson said that they don’t have a “great desire” to charge for the B.net service, part of me know it won’t be long before we see a “Battle.net Premium plan!” where you pay a certain subscription for all the DLC.  It’ll be a masked means of charging for Bnet under the guise of DLC – everyone’s favorite scam.  If Hellgate london offered a life-time package then you know Blizzard is going to do it.  But honestly, the company practically prints their own money.  Why the need to capitalize more is beyond me.

Not all of the Blizzcon stuff has been garbage though.

The Wizzard announcement for D3 looks fantastic.  Looks like the class will have a lot of neat spells and abilities.  After the trailer I think I’m now leaning towards playing one because of the neat shield they had and the splitting themselves into multiple forms.  I have a feeling every class revealed will appeal to me though.

The ability to attach runes to abilities (the Rune Skill system) thus altering how they work sounds nothing short of revolutionary.  If this can translate into mmorpgs then we’re going to see a fantastic level of customization.  The example of attaching a rune of striking to a teleport ability and having it turn into an offense skill sounds really cool.  Where Blizzard is able to take this in D3 will say a lot for the future market diversification for the system.  Hopefully it will work flawlessly.

  • Isn’t the rune system just the inscrpition crafting for wolk? It sounds pretty much the same.

    Also, I think at this point Blizzard knows that they can get away with whatever they want, so they are doing just that. I mean, if it were me, I’d probably do the same thing.

  • Aye Inscription in WOTLK is exactly the same thing, which is relatively the same thing as Runewords in Diablo 2.

    Nothing new to see here… move along.. move along ;-P

  • No, this sounds a lot different than Runewords. Runewords are runes that are slotted into an item to make a new item. Rune Skills are skills that are slotted with runes that alter the way the spell work. Altering the way a spell works – something that is dynamic because of the human component and interaction – is quite a bit different than crafting a static item.

    Taken to a mmorpg, this system would really be the next step in spellcasting; or so it seems in theory. I’d really like to see spellcasting take on a new dynamic – not like the spellweaving in AoC which turned out to be a bust.

    Blizzard would be on to something if they brought that to WotLK.

  • Well, they’re making WotLK too so it’s not really stealing… 😉

    And yeah, it looks really similar to Inscription (a system that I think sounds great). I’d like to see the system taken one step further by giving players the ability to highly customize their spells even more.

  • I also think its very cool to be able to change spells to the effect that you play the character differently. Blizzard is taking this to the next level but if you think about it warhammer does the same type of thing with some of the tactics. For example, I am very fond of the don feel nuthin but da waagghh tactic for shamans that makes your bubble also increases damage done and when I have that tactic on I sometimes will cast it on dps even if they aren’t getting hurt.

  • What’s the big deal about DLC?

    You say you’re fine paying for an expansion, so why does it matter if you get mini-expansions at 10 bucks a pop rather than a full expansion for 40? The end result would most likely even out. I don’t see Blizzard doing something as silly as only releasing something like a new “loot pack” and charging people for it like you see on Xbox Live. It’ll most likely be content updates that are worth the money.

  • @Myrix

    They will have expansions as well as DL content. Some of this DL content will improve your toons abilities and thus overall effectiveness in the game. Basically, those who have more money, to throw at Blizzard, will have toons that are more powerful.

    Blizzard may as well sell it’s own gold. Same concept imo. Obviously they do not have enough money.

  • My problem with Blizzard charging for DLC is that they have always been really awesome about providing additional updates, game content, maps, etc. for free. Probably one of the last companies to have still done it. Now they are choosing to charge for it? That is more than slightly disappointing.

  • I was listening to a podcast from “The Instance” today, and they were talking about this very subject.

    The phrase “Blizzard prints its own money” kept flying around the conversation. For some reason, this statement really annoys me. Lets make one thing perfectly clear; only the Government can print money *cough* bailout.

    I have not liked the way that Blizzard has been conducting business ever since they “sold out” to Activision. Their new marketing scheme may very well be a byproduct of the monopoly that they have become.

    Blizzard earns its money from us, the customer. If they are not careful with their money sucking schemes, their customers will go elsewhere, as I have.

  • Where have people gotten the idea that you will be buying things that make you more powerful? I cannot find this anywhere in any of the coverage.

    As for the subject of pay DLC, I am amazed that so many people are against this. Do you not pay a subscription fee for your MMOs so that they can continue to be improved and developed? All this does is allow Blizzard to continue to release content for Diablo 3 and NOT force you to pay a monthly subscription. I’m excited and cannot wait to see what kind of shit Blizzard designs for the future of this game.

  • blizzard is recognized as one of the greatest developers for a reason. imo, they are heading down a dangerous path. it may work out well for them and it may not. its a risky change and those things normally win big or fail big. i wont be surprised if either happens.

    in the end, valve wins anyway.

  • *snort* @ modding

    The modding community has only worked in only one, i repeat ONE, instance: Half-Life. Everything else has been droves and droves of garbage.

  • The modding community for the Battlefield series is/was amazing. Trauma Studios was so good that they were bought up by DICE.

    If you count the custom maps community for Blizzard’s RTS games as modders then they’re loads of quality as well.

  • For sure. Mods and openness were one of the reasons cited that the US/EU gaming industry had accelerated past Japan in terms of advancement. Unfortunately Blizzard is suing for the rights to DoTA since it runs on their platform. 🙁 Dota is a great example of a well balanced popular PVP game Mod, just like Counter Strike. My brother plays it all the time. Its even got arcade like voices saying things like “Monster Kill!”. You guys should definitely try it.

  • I’m with you on D3. The DLC might not turn out that bad, but I’m wary.

    It worked well with Oblivion in that Bethesda offered expansions of all types and sizes, each at its own price (some better than others). But that was a single-player game. Having more than very occasional expansions in a multiplayer game is likely to divide players.

    But I played Diablo 2 almost exclusively single-player. I’ll probably do the same with Diablo 3. Hopefully, just like in D2, I can connect with friends directly and not have to go through Battle.net.

  • As long as my son and I can still play D3 together over a LAN or TCP/IP, I don’t care.

    But if Blizzard make D3 multiplayer via Battlenet ONLY, and BNet is turned into a Subscriber-only service, then I won’t be buying either a Regular or a Collector’s Edition when D3 comes out (I currently plan to buy both). I might buy a Regular edition when a hack appears that lets me circumvent BNet and just multiplay the old fashioned way. Given what happened with EA and Spore, that will probably be the day before D3’s official release 😉

  • The one thing about D3 that worries me right now is that you can’t adjust your player’s attributes. That could work out well, since it means the developers can design challenges more accurately. But it’s also one less way to customize your character into exactly what you want him to be.

    In Diablo 2, you could design a barbarian to be a brute or finesse fighter, depending on whether you sunk more points into strength or dexterity. How well will be able to distinguish between the two types of fighters without attributes?