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Alright, so I've seen a lot of news posts recently, some of which have really bothered me, especially how many people are reacting. To start this off, yes, in here I will be complaining about some of Blizzard's ideologies, but I would like to say off the bat, that I am going to be purchasing this game. I am doing so for nostalgic purposes at this point, but I am hoping that I am still able to enjoy the game as I would like to. I feel as though several changes need to happen however in order to keep this game alive.

A Brief History
I picked up D2 about 9 years ago, as some of you know, this is still after the expansion had hit, and I missed the most legendary patches -- 1.08 and 1.09, long-time fans still claim these to be the glory days, but this is the same sentiment shared by many veterans of any game. Regardless, when I first started playing, I dabbled mostly in single player, with some forays into my first major step into online gaming. About a year or so after I began to play, I realized that I was missing out. I would see players join who had things that I did not, and would make monsters, even in Hell mode, fall over, a feat to which I struggled with. I joined my first online community then, GameFAQs, and was an active member, of sorts, on those boards for almost 3 years. During that time, I learned how to play the game "correctly," learned about gaming economics, and flourished to the "top." By this, I mean, I had, at most times, the "disposable" income to purchase any set of gear that I wanted for my myriad of characters. At one point, I had four full accounts, 2 of which had geared characters for either PVE or PVP and 2 accounts just stocked with items.

So, with this out of the way, I want to go into what I've heard about D3 in recent weeks.

Mods
When people hear this, they immediately think of two things: Bots and Maphack. Both of these were widely used by many people, myself included at one point, and I'm not here to rationalize choices made by these individuals. People need to realize that these are HACKS not MODS. These are something that Blizzard did not intend to have used online, and as such, they are a HACK. Now, when you MOD the game, you are not able to connect to the actual Battle.net server, and as such, these are single player experiences (for the most part). From what I understand, modding D2 was fairly simple, and there were many tools to use in order to achieve your goal. As far as I know, these tools were player created, without Blizzard's involvement. However, many of these mods were enjoyed by many.

For example, one of the most famous mods is Eastern Sun. This mod completely changed gameplay, adding in different skills, changing the leveling curve, making your Hirelings more accessible with gear, and more. Some would even go as far as saying it was almost like a completely new game, much like CSS and L4D use the same engine, but play very differently. Many people do not seem to understand that the modding community was doing just that, creating new gameplay experiences for others to enjoy to further extend the life of the game, all without costing Blizzard anything.

Now, in another thread, I brought up some of my favorite mods, and I will do so again here. For my use, I heavily abused Hero Editor and mods that enabled "Ladder-Only" Runewords on the single player client. This allowed be to import and export items, create my "ideal" situation for a character, and then test out how viable the character actually was, before ever spending "money," and time, to bring the character to life online. In order to get a character "dueling-ready", one must level a character from 1-85 (as high as 90), in order to get the number of skill points, and stat points, necessary for the build. Each character can take quite some time to level up, and as such, making this investment of time and "money" to bring the character to life, only to see it fail, kind of really sucks. Sure, there are fancy spreadsheets that one could make, modeling possible stat point values and whatnot, but that's not quite the same as just bringing it to life in the comfort of a single player environment, offline, where nothing of value is being lost.

The thing with Diablo is, there are many possible combinations of items that can be used by individuals. When you look at a game, such as World of Warcraft, when you get to max level, you have a couple of choices as far as what your character is going to do. In each slot, there may be a choice between Hit, Expertise, and Critical Strike. In Diablo 2, you had so many more choices. You could choose to use a "Beast" Runeword One-Handed Axe, which would do less raw damage than a "Breath of the Dying" Axe, but, you would then gain a Fanatacism Aura, which increased attack speed. Or, you could go with a completely different setup, maybe you wanted to go with a Two Handed Weapon, or this or that, there were quite a few choices as far as your weapons, and armor, went. Sure, there were definitely some pieces which were "the best," but then, you had to match that "best" with a skillset. For your skill trees, you had one shot, and with these points, you became highly specialized in one or two moves, typically. Oh, and lots not even get into charms, which can be used to either increase skills, damage, life, resistance, etc. What's the best combination to fill up all 40 inventory slots? There were many possibilities for everything, and looking forward to D3, there seem to be just as many possibilities for these classes.

Now, as you can see, I'm ranting a bit, not quite frothing at the mouth, but I really enjoyed this process of learning what is going to rock online, through trial and error in single player. Necessity? No, I would have to say that this is far from a necessity. However, I would like to point out that, there is a huge modding community, and while my focus was different from others, I did dabble in some of these mods. These were player created, and player driven. There was a community here, artificially extending the game for many individuals. Now, I realize that Blizzard is trying to tighten down the net on what happens with their game, but I do not see why they cannot have a single player portion of the game which is completely separate from their online system. If I played single player, and created a weapon of mass destruction using Hero Editor, and then was never able to connect to Battle.net to "taint" the system, why would that matter? This brings me to the next bullet:

Necessary Internet Connection
I used to have a laptop. When I did, I had some games on there. Starcraft and Diablo 2. These games ran just fine on them, and I greatly enjoyed playing them while on the go, or whatever. I used to travel between my parents house, and there was no way I was going to bring my rig with me. For the longest time, my Dad didn't even have internet. I had plenty of entertainment though through those games. Sure, whatever, I could always play a different game, but what if we wanted to play *that* game. What if your users wanted to just try out a random new character and blast some Fallen to bits in Act I? Why penalize your players who are trying to enjoy their game? How about implementing a solution like this: Players not connected to the internet at character creation may not bring this character online, ever. Or, much like we used to be able to choose "Ladder" "Hardcore" "Non-Expansion", why not add in another: "Offline." At that point, the character is then saved locally, and will see the light of the servers... no corruption of the masses ensues.

The old Battle.net, which has been around for however long now, was able to detect that I was running a mod, and would not let me online. If your old system was capable of telling you that I was running Eastern Sun, why can Battle.net 2.0 not tell you that I am now running ES D3 edition? I do not understand the logic here, or why you would take away an awesome functionality, as I would like to look at it, of your predecessor?

Auction House
Honestly, I do not mind this idea. I would rather see a central place, such as this, for such transactions to be made. I do not have an issue with real money being used to buy equipment, as the true testament of skill is going to be on the battlefield anyway. However, DO NOT let this function get in the way of the rest of the game. I think that this game could be so much more, but I see this "cash grab" as getting in the way of what D2 was, and what D3 could be.


Conclusion, because I'm tired of typing
As I said before, I will be purchasing this game. I just wanted to put my thoughts down somewhere, and hopefully incite a discussion amongst gamers with a different point of view in mind. Basically, most of this could be summed up by HACKS ARE NOT MODS, but that would be too simple, now wouldn't it?
 
F@H
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F@H
(14 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7 920 @ 4.0ghz EVGA x58 132-BL-E758-A1 2x EVGA 460 1 GB G.SKILL 3 x 2 GB 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
Mushkin 40 GB SSD / WD Black 1 TB Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit DCLCD 20.1" Logitech G15 
PowerCaseMouse
Antec TP 750 Antec 900 Logitech G5 
CPUMotherboardRAMCooling
i7 2700k ASUS Maximus Gene-Z z68 G.Skill 2133mhz Noctua NH-D14 
OSPowerCase
Ubuntu 10.10 BFG 650 Silverstone TJ08-E 
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Reply