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Lockdown Thoughts: Diablo 3 Classic?

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A lot of people played a lot more games during their respective countries' lockdowns, but for us ARPG/Diablo-like enthusiasts there's not really much choice out there that we haven't played through x billion times. So during an extended period of playing Diablo 3, Lost Ark and Path of Exile on something of a loop, I came to a very weird thought: would Blizzard releasing a "classic" version of Diablo 3 be a good idea? By classic I mean Vanilla D3, before the new legendary system, before greater rifts, ye olde Normal-Nightmare-Hell-Inferno paradigm.

Ok, before you say/scream NO in my face, hear me out!

First of all, let me assure you I'm not insane by saying that, no, D3 vanilla wasn't better than what the game is now. It's just different. Those of us that actually like Diablo 3 (or, at least like it well enough to still play it, even if occasionally), have really gotten somewhat tired of the seasonal loop - get to 70, get your legendary/set setup in 1-3 days and then grind away for those marginal upgrades so you can push a few more higher numbers in the GR treadmill.


Vanilla wasn't that much better than the current endgame, in fact or some it was significantly worse. Inferno being the main/only thing to do back then and the insane jumps in difficulty from act to act really put a damper on things for most, but personally I enjoyed it significantly more than the current Greater Rift meta. There's something about a big, significant chunk of difficulty being set in front of you that motivates players to push through, and boy was Inferno like that. Getting to around your highest level GR and then having to fish for good versions to push higher or get that little upgrade piece that will give you 1-5 more levels just isn't that big of a deal for me personally, and while the Inferno grind was much, MUCH harder/longer, the progress you'd make was a much bigger deal. Once you entered act 2 and got destroyed by a singular bug projectile (or those god damn firebombs from the Lacuni in the canyon...), it was pretty clear you're not really getting through this without seriously improving your gear back in act 1. Now unfortunately that mostly means endless Butcher runs and act 1 doesn't have that many alternatives to farm, but it still creates a big obstacle for players to push through, and after a while start inching through act 2 little by little, adjusting the build etc.

Ok, so the video isn't actually from Vanilla, but an Alpha/Beta, but it's still cool.

Obviously a Diablo 3 Classic released now wouldn't have the auction house (well, maybe the gold variety but I think that would also be a mistake, as it turns the entire game into an infinite gold grind), so we'd have to deal with the vanilla drop chances which were clearly tuned around the AH. Legendaries were extremely rare (as they should be, IMO), but were also mostly useless and not much/at all better than rares, but the item chase was much more relevant, and actually seeing a legendary drop, despite there only being a very small chance of it being good, was still an amazing feeling. The main thing D3 Classic would have going for it is how different it is from the current version. Unfortunately not as much has changed in Diablo 3 as it has in WoW, despite the 8 years since its release, but a lot of things have. The skills and runes were changed a lot in RoS and after, there were no crazy powerful set or legendary effects that changed the way a class played, and as I mentioned before, the difficulty was more intense.

All of this is just fun speculation, of course, but it shouldn't be too hard to pull off (unless they lost/overwrote the source code again, like what happened with Diablo 2 and Vanilla WoW), as presumably the game still exists in its Vanilla state somewhere (the console versions were released with loot 2.0, aka the RoS pre-patch, so definitely not that version). Whether anyone would actually want it is a different question entirely, but it was definitely fun to write about at least!

With the original game's release 8-year anniversary coming this week, it would be a cool thing to think about, set up, announce and release in the next 4 days!


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AFAIK there are pirate servers providing exactly that experience. So as far as "hard to pull off goes" seems it can be done.

But from my perspective at the time you had to be either a ...

  • god with glass cannon DH (that died to reflect).
  • barb that facetanks everything
  • monk that facetanks everything, explosive palm that still deals dmg based of mob hp ❤️
  • anything with enough gear to basically facetank everything but without the 30% dmg reduction so it was little bit tougher

Results looked mostly the same, stand and spam attack animation fast enough so you don't die.

Just because the 'endgame' was locked behind excess grind or potential "paywall" at the time does not make it much different once you get a build and gear that roflstomps stuff.
Sure you don't get to do a journey for an easy entry level stuff, so you are back there scraping by and abusing whatever was OP at the time like stacking venom hydra and what not until that moment where one ok drop changes your life.
Unless you don't get it, then get a friend to hand it out to you.

Sure it would be an interesting change of pace and it would pretty much create the similar feel that WoW Classic did as in "yeah we are so hardcore now that we are back in vanilla, vanilla was the best, you know nothing and we are better than you" but probably without the "here's your daily dose of promoted streamers showing how much fun it is while falling asleep as they are being boosted by fans".

If I have any fond memories, it is the old skill runes which mostly made little sense but were somewhat fun and also stuff like 2hands with 250+% crit dmg on them, old explosive palm... a good thing to venture into and remember why it actually sucked.

All in all probably not something actiblizz could properly monetize and thus most likely a no go but with readily available free alternatives.

Edited by Koxsos
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D3 vanilla would be a fun seasonal event. A season where you can level ust to 60 and RoS content is gone. And shitty items drop again 😄 i would re-visit for such a season!

"The season of past sins"

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No thanks, itemization was horrible. Chances of getting useful items were very low, which forced people to farm gold and buy them off AH. 

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Ah...  a legendary sword with 1 Strength for WD, no crafting legendries, no rift, no Paragon level, one shot death in act 1 with losing your money as well, no inferno rings / amulets, and upmost, playing with mighty invincible minions?


Oh my god, no thanks for me, but it would be good for someone who really doesn't know how messy it was lol

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D3 classic, the game that had its Game Director changed in order to become a ''decent game'' at the very least? Who wants that back?

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Yeah... no thank you. Getting rid of wilson was at the time, the best decision they could make. This began a chain of decent decision and closing AH was the other stepping stone on the road to redemption. 
I'd NEVER go back to "classic", I've wasted nuff time on that when it was a thing. It was a half baked mess and should be considered an extended beta not a full game to be played by a normal person. Those were dark times...

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9 hours ago, BobTheHuman said:

D3 classic, the game that had its Game Director changed in order to become a ''decent game'' at the very least? Who wants that back?

Yea... D3 was OK at best. But if I was given option to play D3 Vanilla or RoS I choose RoS 100x over. RoS is what saved D3 to begin with, and I sure as hell hope that D4 doesn't require an expansion to pull it through the weeds.

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