June 5th, 2012, by alex

Why Diablo 3 is less addictive than Diablo 2: a “scientific” explanation

UPDATE: Got a response from Blizzard! Click here to read it.

Lately I’ve been amusing myself by reading Charles Duhigg’s “The Power of Habit” and playing Diablo 3 (not simultaneously). Diablo 3’s launch was a clear success, with 6.3 million sales in the first week, but also came with the predictable chorus of “the old game was so much better!” complaints.  One section in “The Power of Habit” struck me as an amusingly on-topic explanation of why some of the complaints have a grain of truth to them.

Why Diablo 2 was addictive

“The Power of Habit” describes an experiment performed on a macaque monkey named Julio. Stop me if any of this sounds familiar.

Julio was placed in front of a computer screen showing some shapes, with a lever, and a reward in the form of a tube with blackberry juice. The book explains:

First, he saw a shape on the screen:


Over time, Julio learned that the appearance of the shape meant it was time to execute a routine. So he touched the lever:


As a result, Julio received a drop of blackberry juice.


That’s basic learning. The habit only emerges once Julio begins craving the juice when he sees the cue. Once that craving exists, Julio will act automatically. He’ll follow the habit:


This is how new habits are created: by putting together a cue, a routine, and a reward, and then cultivating a craving that drives the loop.

Julio’s brain activity is particularly illuminating:


Even more interesting, once the habit is formed the reward response happens before the reward is even delivered:


The parallel to Diablo 2 is obvious to anyone who’s ever played it: see monster on screen, kill monster, receive reward in the form of an item that makes your character stronger. Diablo 2’s brilliance was in how the rewards were designed and spaced out – just powerful and rare enough to be meaningful, just frequent enough to enforce the loop described above throughout the game.

Why Diablo 3 is less addictive

On the surface, Diablo 3 would seem to follow the same basic structure: see monster on screen, kill monster, receive reward in the form of an item. However, for a number of reasons – many of them having to do with the introduction of an Auction House – the rewards are designed to be much more rare, and much less satisfying.

Diablo 3’s cycle is actually very different. As strange as it might sound, the reward comes from playing the game itself, which is for the most part very well done. The characters and skills are interesting, combat is a blast in the two middle difficulty settings, and satisfaction comes from bashing and destroying your way through the game world, complete with loud noises and shaking screen. Eventually the game becomes more difficult, and the only way to progress without being frustrated is to open the Auction House, buy new equipment, and proceed to enjoy the game again as your character is now significantly stronger - until the next time you get stuck and have to buy more equipment.

A hypothetical “enjoyment graph” for Diablo 3 might look something like this (forgive my crude diagram):


While for Diablo 2, it might look more like this:


Diablo 3 has no real reward loop – there is only a frustration loop, which can be temporarily alleviated by using the Auction House. As the game progresses in the hardest difficulty (Inferno), the frustration part of the loop gets longer and longer, as upgrades become more and more difficult to buy.

“The Power of Habit” has something to say about this, too:

When the juice didn’t arrive or was late or diluted, Julio would get angry and make unhappy noises, or become mopey. And within Julio’s brain, Schultz watched a new pattern emerge: craving. When Julio anticipated juice but didn’t receive it, a neurological pattern associated with desire and frustration erupted inside his skull. When Julio saw the cue, he started anticipating a juice-fueled joy. But if the juice didn’t arrive, that joy became a craving that, if unsatisfied, drove Julio to anger or depression.
For those monkeys who hadn’t developed a strong habit, the distractions worked. They slid out of their chairs, left the room, and never looked back. They hadn’t learned to crave the juice. However, once a monkey had developed a habit […] the distractions held no allure. The animal would sit there, watching the monitor and pressing the lever, over and over again, regardless of the offer of food or the opportunity to go outside. The anticipation and sense of craving was so overwhelming that the monkeys stayed glued to their screens, the same way a gambler will play slots long after he’s lost his winnings.

Ouch. Hits a bit close to home, doesn’t it?

In the end, Blizzard is left with two groups of players:

  • New players will not experience Diablo 2’s reward loop, and will not get hooked. They will enjoy the game, get to the end, and (for the most part) wonder what the big fuss was about, lose interest, and wander away.
  • Old Diablo 2 players will be left frustrated, unsatisfied by the lack of in-game rewards they were craving, and become angry, depressed, and reduced to flinging poo on the Battle.net forums.

Out of necessity, Diablo 3’s reward system has to account for the Auction House. Because equipment is never destroyed, in-game rewards can never be too frequent or powerful or they will flood the Auction House, eventually trivializing game difficulty. There have been many solutions proposed (here is one particularly insightful discussion), but the reward system seems so intertwined with the Auction House that it’s difficult to see a radical change coming. Blizzard’s response over the next few patches will be very interesting to watch.

168 comments Subscribe Comments

  1. By Kim on June 8th 2012

    dude wtf? you are regretting your article?

  2. By Matt Kuzma on June 8th 2012

    Diablo 3 is in fact less addictive than Diablo 2. Is that a bad thing? Would you argue the monkey in the cited experiment was having more fun than his outside-enjoying food-eating counterparts? If addiction is the measure of fun, there’s no reason to invent another game. Slot machines have it down. Or for the shut-ins of the world, there’s Farmville.

    Sid Meier did a fair job of defining fun as “making interesting choices”, but exploring, enjoying new experiences, solving challenges, and accomplishing goals are all valid kinds of fun as well. I think it would be hard to argue that Diablo 2 was better at all of those things than Diablo 3.

    It should not be surprising that many people who really loved Diablo 2 don’t like Diablo 3 as much. It’s a different game. It has a different appeal. I loved Final Fantasy Tactics, but haven’t gotten into another Final Fantasy or another tactics game since. It would be great if the people who made games we loved could continually produce more games we love, but that’s just not how minds work, yours or the creators. It’s rare that your favorite game studio, band, director, or author will perpetually make things you enjoy more than the previous one. So rare, in fact, that it’s an unreasonable expectation.

    I played a lot of Diablo 2, but it felt more like an experiment in addiction than fun. Diablo 3 I play not because I’m craving rewards but because I am doing things I enjoy and look forward to doing more of. That makes it a better game in my book.

  3. By Katsuki on June 9th 2012

    Great article

  4. By Neal Clayton on June 9th 2012

    The big draw of D2 was the ability to do multiple things within the confines of the game, and have those multiple path choices within that context be useful, not just to yourself but to the economy.

    Wanna farm bosses? Great, you’ll get stuff to trade. Wanna farm cows instead? Great, you’ll also get stuff to trade. Wanna farm keys and trade those instead? Great, you’ll have stuff to trade. Wanna keep leveling new toons solo ad infinitum? Great, even you will get chipped gems to trade.

    Diablo 3 has none of that. As the author states above, there is only one path to nirvana in D3, which is farming gold. You can’t choose to do something different, or you’ll be worse off. So smashing jars it is, boys. Smash em good and fast, your gold per hour is the measure of how much fun you have in D3. That’s not gonna be good enough to keep people playing for more than a few weeks, and honestly the money AH will in all likelihood make it worse than what we have now with the gold AH. Once someone has sufficient gear to clear inferno what should they do? Farm to try to make D3 a minimum wage job via the money AH? Interesting concept but I don’t think it’ll last very long.

  5. By Tydorius on June 10th 2012

    Except now they’ve nerfed a lot of the gold farming as well. I went from getting 10k with 200% gold find in Royal Crypts to 200 gold. When level 60 items are 10 million plus gold, 10k per run isn’t that much to ask for, as it’s still about 8 hours for every 1 million gold. Now it’s like 830ish hours for 1 million gold. I went back to farming mobs, but it takes a lot longer. Now I’ve just uninstalled Diablo 3 and I’m waiting for Torchlight II or something else. Maybe I’ll go back to Terraria.

  6. By Grommash on June 10th 2012

    Why is the game -bad-? The game is bad because it’s to straightforward, to easy and without continuity.

    This game lacks mystery, the lore is pushed down your throat and you have nothing new to explore, no possibilitys of doing something no one has done before, something hard to achieve, like all the shit with griswold in D2, that was epic.

    Also the game lacks purpose after defeating the last boss on inferno difficulty.

    So quite simply, we have a game with 4 difficultys and a set of game events that needs to be beaten whilst the story of the game is shoveled down your throat with books that you don’t read because they aren’t interesting at all. There’s nothing shocking, nothing mindblowing about this game except that it’s got the SAME type of game mechanics that Diablo 2 had.

    This game crossed with WoW universe? Yes please, not like it is today. Just imagine if:

    Ferryman: 15m gold and i’ll take you to the land of the dead (access), WICH would include super hard mobs and a boss only beatable with 2 or more in a group, this would also imply good lore about something else than prime/lesser evils.

    Or why not have the damned horadric cube where you could craft items randomly, that was interesting! I got really nice upgrades from pieces of crap in D2.

    NO! They say at Blizzard. Let’s simplify this game so EVERYONE can buy it, the more 5-year olds that can play, the more money in our pocket. Good riddance, a-hole company!

  7. By ELVH on June 10th 2012

    Great article. I think you hit the nail right on the head. I was wondering why Diablo 3 wasn’t causing me to stay up until the wee hours of the morning, or take days off from work. I suspected that the useful item drops were scarce, and this just solidifies that notion.

  8. By Subhn on June 10th 2012

    You are missing one of the primary characteristics of operant conditioning - a ‘reward’ that consists of the removal of a negative stimulus (IE frustration) is reinforcing in exactly the same way that providing a positive stimulus is (IE blackberry juice).

  9. I didn’t read your post, sorry, but I’m pretty sure I agree. They nerfed the drop rate (aka the reason you played D2, to see good stuff DROP) of the good loot (and made the really good loot, uniques, suck for the most part) because of the auction house. The only reason I was able to play Diablo 2 over and over again for hours was because I would get the Unique and Set items, not because I was amassing ridiculous amounts of gold so that I may be able to buy one of them.

    But hey, at least their real money auction house is going to look good for a few months before everything is worthless. /hattip blizzard

  10. By MarcJobs on June 11th 2012

    This is where Torchlight 2 will be better than Diablo 3.

  11. By Jose on June 11th 2012

    Very interesting, but oversimplified. Julio’s scenario is a well-controlled, exceedingly simplified laboratory situation. Playing D3 is a very complex set of contingencies that interact in very complex ways and are very difficult to tease apart, if not impossible at all. The main flaw in the reasoning is that it assumes that loot is the only or most important source of reinforcement (the juice) in the game, which is debatable. I am not saying that loot plays no reinforcing role at all. It does, but it competes in complex ways with other sources of reinforcement, especially whn playing the game the first time. Perhaps a survey should be made on this, but I find loot less reinforcing than leveling-up (and everything that comes with it: getting new skills I can experiment with, new effects that come with them, the pomp and circumstance of it all, etc.). The skill system (perhaps the most novel aspect of D3 vis-à-vis D2, if my memory serves me well) I find *very* reinforcing, more so than loot. Leveling-up and getting new skills, of course, is more spaced in time than loot, but this does not make it a less effective reinforcer. On the contrary, it makes it more effective, as the literature on intermittent reinforcement (Pavlovian as well as operant) and the effect of the intertrial interval clearly shows. Now, once one reaches the maximum level, that source is gone *for that character*, but this happens only after many hours of playing, when the habit has been already formed (or, at least, it is well on its way of being formed). In the formation (or “acquisition”) of the habit, leveling up seems to me to be as strong a factor as loot, if not more. At this point, loot might certainly become the main determinant of the *maintenance* of the habit (and, as the commented analysis indicates, it may well do a poorer job at it than D2). However, leveling-up returns as a major source of *maintenance* with *new* character classes (that’s a lot of hours of habit formation right there). Once you have maxed out all the character classes, then you might make a case for loot as a major source of reinforcement, although even this admits a richer analysis: Looting regular monsters is less reinforcing than looting specials (blues, yellows, bosses, etc.), and looting bosses is more reinforcing than looting blues or yellows, and so on and so forth. Other two reinforcement sources when playing the game first time around are discovery and act transitions (with the awesome cinematics that come with it). And this is only the single player experience. How about sharing with your friends or PVP when it comes out (if it’s good, of course; it might well be a dud; we’ll have to wait and see what happens with that)? And the different sources of reinforcement work differently with different players. There are likely to be significant differences in the reinforcing role of loot between those of us who already had the experience of playing D2, and those who did not. Bottom line, and as usual, things are much more complicated.

  12. By Jose on June 11th 2012

    And as for the notion that “the items in Diablo 3 “feel” less rewarding than in Diablo 2″, it might be true. However, this is not necessarily caused by some objective feature of the items themselves. Someone would have to do a detailed comparative analysis of the different objective features of items in D2 and D3 to attribute the “feel” to some objective difference. My point is that the feel might have a different explanation: Having had the experience of playing D2 before has a reduced-novelty (or “familiarity”) effect. One implication (to be tested experimentally!) is that items in D3 will be more reinforcing to players who have never played any Diablo game before, than to players that have.

  13. By charles kafka on June 11th 2012

    i have the solution :-),
    and it’s a good one,
    but can’t give it away for free silly! :-)

  14. By Jose on June 11th 2012

    Another interesting survey would be to ask how many hours those of us who played D2 dedicated to D2 and how many hours we have dedicated to D3 thus far. It would yield further evidence.

  15. By Jose on June 11th 2012

    Now, for what it is worth, this is the very first time in my decades as a gamer that a game intersects with my job as a behavioral neuroscientist! Now, how awesome is that??? Here’s an interesting experiment: PET or MRI recordings of people while playing D3, and compare them with people playing D2-LOD. I wonder whose brain reinforcement “centers” (e.g., MPFc) would activate more!

  16. By Jose on June 11th 2012

    Oh, and also, Duhigg is not a scientist. In my experience, popular-science books written by non-scientists tend to be oversimplified, and very biased and selective. So, careful with that too.

  17. By Jose on June 11th 2012

    Oh, I failed to mention the obvious: virtual gold is yet another great source of reinforcement, and it may well play the role of a secondary reinforcer when used to buy items from merchants and from the AH(very much in the same way money works as a secondary reinforcer when used to buy goods).

  18. By totalcreation on June 12th 2012

    You forgot the part where blizzard requires a connection to their server to play a single player game. This is dumb.

  19. By Jose on June 12th 2012

    Yeah, well that’s one of the *punishers*, which is a different (albeit certainly related) topic.

  20. By Obi-John on June 12th 2012

    I was a long time Diablo fan having played the first and second games to death. I can remember having some great game play moments with friends playing over an internal LAN, trading and having a really awesome experience undertaking the various chapters of the story.
    The overall appeal of the simplistic combat mechanic mixed with, a simplistic but viable crafting/upgrade system and RPG elements capped off with a wicked good story/ cut scenes.

    After playing D3 it’s embarrassing for a company like Blizzard to have waited so long to revisit this IP and worse essentially release an intentionally flawed and inferior product to its predecessors.

    Visually it’s superior on a whole, but so is everything else on the market since 1999.

    Game play is essentially the same with some aspects that are more or less annoying than D2. “Inventory Tetris” for example was annoying but surprisingly missed.

    The true tale of the tape comes when you add the need to be online to play with no offline single player play. Which infinitely detracts from the potential to experience the story telling as well as access the game.

    Add to that the horrible first month launch experience, server maintenance, being booted from game and overall down time. Not to mention no world persistence when this happens, forcing the player to replay maps and areas he has already cleared.

    Now add the paranoia of accounts being hacked and more recently compromised auction house sales and probable roll backs. The game begins to lose all credibility compared to D2.

    Add to that the fact that the only reason for the required connectivity to the internet (as D2 proved) is to validate and support the Live Auction house (which Blizzard postures as a live service to improve player experience).

    Now factor in that Diablo was never an MMO. This is not WOW. After paying the box price for the game, the player should not be forced to subscribe to a gaming as a service model.

    In other words the decision to remove offline play was a TOTAL GREED based decisions process to encourage micro transactions through the live Auction house.

    Factor all that together and this game because insufferable and a disgrace to its predecessors.

  21. By John on June 12th 2012

    Gold should not be considered a form of reinforcement. The omnipresence of gold-selling businesses in mmos display the tedium that most players associate with it.

  22. By Jose on June 13th 2012

    Such omnipresence precisely indicates the reinforcement value of virtual gold.

  23. By Evi1M4chine on June 13th 2012

    Game design EPIC FAIL! XD

    (Or more like: Greed level: OVER 9000!)

  24. By DoStuffZ on June 13th 2012

    Yeah I follow you, Alex. I could play D2 with no end in sight, just go and go. With D3, I do perhaps 30-60min solo - then I fall asleep and do something else.
    As for the auction house, I put something on there some time ago. Not sure if they sold or whatever.

  25. By Jensan on June 14th 2012

    I like D2, and feel a little bit disappointed with D3. However, I am not having the same reason as yours.

    To me, D2 is an awesome invention in the game industry. I can see most of the MMORPG online games are following the model, even for the recent ones. This described how successful D2’s idea is.

    When D3 comes, I was expecting something totally different from D2, and invent another game model which everyone is going to follow again. However, it still looks quite similar with D2.

    But yet, there are some differences, and so I am just a little bit disappointed on the game play experience.

    Actually the most disappointing thing to me is…Server Maintenance. It is badly managed. They have many years to plan but it still fails. Hopefully it will be stable in the future.

  26. By JJ on June 14th 2012


    “Actually the most disappointing thing to me is…Server Maintenance. It is badly managed.”

    It wasn’t even necessary, it is the stupid single player DRM that screwed everyone over. If they just let the game disconnect from the net to play it none of that bs would even exist. The fact that 6 million retards bought it means we’re going to see more of it thanks to the impulsive addicted retards of gaming land.

  27. By ZMJ on June 14th 2012

    This is the exactly the F2P pattern…gating…pay skip gate…gating.

    Agree with less rewarding compare to D2.

  28. By Jmobi on June 19th 2012

    I personally lean towards D3 being designed to connect to your bank account (and the greed dictates design model).

    Win via rmah. Take advantage of kids (simplify game add pony level), addicts (no need for explanation), gold farmers (turn us all into one), all while adding on a transaction fee.

    Is the game really that good? Tune bosses & elites, nerf exploits, sounds more like “lets manage the progress of the ‘curve’” before too many people quit. This isn’t a p2p game, yet inferno is nothing more than a 4 tier raid instance. Guess what expansion will be like?

    Definitely an evolution of some kind (think ZMJ is right). I hope there’s an indie company valuing good game play with more forms of “fun” currency than just gold being converted to real dollars.

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  32. By uri on July 23rd 2012

    just got d3 my self the other day only to act 2 and already partially bored with the game… I played diablo 1 and diablo 2 for days on end trying to get new gear ect…

    The story’s not bad, Really. The games graphics seem childish. The lack of talent trees with set skills at certain levels really seems overly simplified… This seems to be blizzards trend now a days. I guess there just not the good old trust worthy blizzard we used to love any more.

    No more pre-orders for me any more.. Getting kinda tired of being treated like a 5 year old with rich parents instead of an intelligent, adult gamer.

  33. By uri on July 23rd 2012

    Forgot to add, Really Really Hate the online only requirement. that’s just complete B.S. Seriously, getting tired of companys forcing online only (out side of Mmo’s obviously.) or digital downloads. what are you gonna do with your games when in 10 years you wont be able to play them any more? (for digital downloads and online only games.)

    The worst bit is your still paying for packaging and contents. Go to the store and purchase any new game pc or other wise for around 65$ usd … Go online and purchase a digital download for 65$ usd?? I’m curious if people are just plain stupid or like to take it in the tail pipe…

    I prefer a Solid copy and game box any day. you can always opt to pick it up in a store now a days even. Sometimes they even ship copy’s of games out a little early so you get it by the release date.

  34. By Pan Groove on August 7th 2012

    After playing D2 from its release until now, and D3 since release, I feel entitled to my opinion. Diablo 2 was great for some of these reasons:
    Char customization of stats and skills, with the option to reset and rebuild by collecting essences, switching builds on the fly in D3 is cool, but part of the diablo franchise has always been about making choices that better your character and personalize them, in D3 I just swap items and skills so theres no reason to build, lets say 2 wizards…

    Runes- runewords kick ass and are not all that hard to get, they add a lot of replay value and act as a currency.

    PVP- although this is coming in D3, they still can’t figure it out, D2 pvp was epic before the scripts and bots and can still be fun in the right game.

    The Art: D2 just looks darker and more “evil”, the crude 2d feel adds a mature flavor and looked great for its time, D3 looks a faggy cartoon.

    No Auction House! Trading was actually a skill and you could market your items in trading channels. Trading was actually fun, not a chore that left you wanting to just drop cash on AH.

    Buying items: buying items through third party websites was not only reliable and fast, but inexpensive. Since I work full time and have a life, I spent about $500 bucks on D2 to fully equip 2 entire accounts! Some people frown on this, but in D3 500 bucks will buy me what? 2 top tier items, fuck that, and I already invested 250 in D3 to have a Wizard that cant clear Act 3 Inferno.

    Item drops: Farming D2 will yield much more uniques, gold, and great rares than D3. D2 Uniques are actually useful and good compared to D3 Legendaries.

    8 people in a game, with mercs means great team game play. Mercs were actually useful/good in endgame, in D3 inferno followers dont do any damage and die in 1 brawl.

    Single player offline! Mod-able single player, I use to have fun making my own items for single player.

    Leveling! Getting to 99 was actually a worthy achievement, yet not impossible. D3’s max Lvl 60 is a joke and can be reached in a week with casual gaming.

    The list goes on and of course there are down sides like the spam/hackers/duping/monotony/lack of support, but in my opinion it is a much more involved, in depth, and well thought out game. Hopefully D3 will improve with expansions/patches, but for now its kind of a lame grinding frustration. Will I stop playing? No but not so much until they fix it and item prices are regulated.

  35. By Faye on August 24th 2012

    The monkey has no third person perspective of choice, limiting the creatures habitual actions, the monkey does not place effort towards anything, they exist in their monkey heads. Humans exist in their human heads, but also outside (third person), a human could choose to not drink anything at all (refusing the experiment) and die, a poor choice, but the crux of this entire concept. Games are a human creation, run on the Internet they are doubly so, good job salivating the monkeys posting here, but us humans will smile, sit and watch you animals trip over watered down scientific theory. A funny article though for anyone who is easily tricked into belief systems and spoon fed educational perspectives, this article could almost be intelligent if your purpose was to rouse the rabble monkeys from their train track minds, all laid out for them and tell them “hey” this is ironic, cue the ‘LOL’ :)

  36. By The Duke on September 14th 2012

    When my kids go on a treasure hunt the final clue leads them to a treasure chest fill with candy, not a cardboard box with a coupon in it that they can trade for carrots and celery sticks. I never played to farm for trades in D2, I always played solo. I played to get good drops and try and build sets, not forge them from 100 tomes and 50 horse feet. Remember the excitement of seeing the gold or green colour on dropped items? Now the green drops are scrolls that tell the story. Blah. They should have used a different colour, I am so conditioned from D2, it is a letdown every time.

  37. To Jose - You obviously didn’t play D2 long enought to know what kept people coming back. Levelling certainly was part of the game but that was so you can use better gear. Skill sets were a small part of the game. Those were figured out in the first couple months of the game and article after article was written on how best to create your character. Which skills to invest in for MFing, PvP, etc. So you either followed those paths or your character would get pwned by those that did follow the character build guidelines. So the real reason the game was sooooo addictive was… LOOOOOT. I spent hours and hours just MFing with my sorc so I could trade to get better gear for my PvP Smiter. Runes were the best currency and the best way to get them was to trade items for low level runes and level them up to get better runes and create or trade for runeword items. And to make a great runeword item like a grief sword or a HOTO… You’d be trading and looting a loooong time. So if you played just for skills. I could build you a level 80 any character in about 3 days. The gear would suck but I would tag along for oodles of Baal runs and get there in no time. Regardless, you played for skills and not items so your game is over at that point any way.

  38. By D2 > D3 on November 5th 2012

    I loved d2 becuase simple items could be godly… like a white named item with +3 nec skills +3 bone spear ect… The gear was just more epic. PLus you could join a huge Pk game with 8 players just going at it killing each other. Diablo clone would pop out of nowhere which was fun, you could challenge yourself against the ubers and get a torch. The feeling of power in that game was addicting, had you searching and trading left and right and you felt the power. Runes were badass, the feeling of getting a high rune and knowing you can trade it and get some badass item or make your own runeword. Diablo 3 is just gay as shit, boring and gay. Items look like world of warcraft stat items, the damage is like wow, health is like wow. I think imma go play diablo 2… ya its 2012 and diablo 3 is out, people still play d2 > d3.

  39. By Lil Jason on November 5th 2012

    Why is it im a huge diablo fan and i hate diablo 3? The game really is shitty. Didnt feel like diablo at all.

  40. By zooo on November 14th 2012

    i just bought d3 last week, and soon after tried my hands on Torchlight 2. I’ve been playing d2 for so many years, and found d3 to be much less compelling to play. The reason I play d2 for a long time is due to trading, MF is only sort of side-income, because at higher in-game wealth, MF doesn’t really help unless you run some illegal program to emulate farmers. Trading on the other hand builds wealth, and over time I could afford really rare stuff like perm 08 Valk, perm imps, godly rare weapons (for pvp mostly). Then there’s also Low Level Dueling scene, which creates a niche with its own definition of Godly items and creates a neverending quest for the perfect rare items. My favourite chars are PvP GM melee zealot and fury druid, and those chars really need good in-game wealth to shine. Some people hunt for trophy items, and I happened to own 1 of the best legit pvp fire sorc rare diadem on West. When I quit D2 last year, I thought D3 will be better. Well, somehow I went back to D2 although not active anymore because most people that I knew in-game had left, and worse Blizzard deleted most of my accounts, so I lost quite a lot of in-game wealth. Luckily I still have my main account so I’ll still be checking D2 every now and then.