I recently took back up with Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls (D3RoS) and what I thought would be an enormous amount of fun in Season 5. Unfortunately, I was met with the same situation as before:
- Get to 70 within 2 hours
- Get a free set within 5 hours
- Grind...and grind...and grind...
This was within 10 hours of starting Season 5. Granted, I wanted to try out multiple classes to see what has changed, and even (sadly) lost one of my characters (I only play Hardcore). But the ease with which I acquired items made getting to Great Rift 65 a proverbial joke. Moving beyond this requires dedication; dedication to mindless gameplay.
I don't enjoy the mindless gameplay. I like thinking, I like a plan of action. It seems within the ARPG genre, games have moved back to the mindless grinding in the hope that "RNGesus" blesses the player with that one piece of gear that is game-changing. This goes back to how much cheese you set before the rat...too much and the rat gets fat and tired. Too little and the rat finds something else to eat. But just enough and the rat continually hunts to find that next piece of cheese. D3RoS has gone towards overfeeding the rat with a wheel of cheese within 3 days of a season starting.
I've flat out given up on MMORPGs for the most part, as their gating structures lead to nothing but frustration. Developers haven't figured out a new gimmick to keep me interested in the genre (Camelot Unchained is on the horizon, and as a Founder, I am eager to see if it will fully capture my attention).
So how can one solve this problem of lack of mindful gaming?
Include more gameplay puzzles. One could argue the Set Dungeons were an attempt to add this to D3RoS. The problem is they are, in their current state, simply tied to the novelty of an achievement and have no effect on the overall game. What needs to be part of the game are puzzles. The ARPG genre is a barren wasteland when it comes to this. Perhaps they need to take a hint from Legend of Zelda titles?
More challenge early on. D3RoS is the opposite of Path of Exile on this one, and I believe Path of Exile gets it right. The game should be somewhat easy (not mindlessly easy) and move to unbelievably hard. Nobody who plays D3RoS will want to hear this, but I believe players should have to re-accomplish things before jumping into adventure mode. I get it, they don't want to because they've done it before. I'm going to venture other than to do it as fast as possible, no player has had to earn their way back through the game.
Add other leagues. Again PoE wins here too; D3RoS needs to have daily, or weekly survival leagues. This is one feature that D3RoS could have that would again, put people back into the core game.
Okay, so this turned into a comparison; it was only used to help illustrate how D3RoS is lacking and can be improved upon. Blizzard is notorious for taking ideas from other games and modeling them into their own. Perhaps it is time they looked for new solutions to make their games less of a mindless grind.