I’ve written before about my previous chronic addictions to Diablo 2 and Diablo 3, which were like, genuinely impacting parts of my life I was playing so much. I was concerned that I would get sucked into the vortex in an unhealthy way with Diablo 4, and while I did feel that old pull right at launch, I have…not felt the same way in the longer term.
To be clear, this is probably good for me, though there is a clear distinction between “hooray I’m not actually addicted to this” and “huh, I don’t really feel a need to log in at all,” and lately, I’ve leaned toward the latter. When Diablo 4 first launched I figured it was a no brainer that at the very least, I’d work my way toward maxing all five classes at 100 with solid builds, even if I didn’t go crazy with the seasonal model after that. But my interest is starting to wane pretty heavily. Why? I think I can pinpoint three main reasons.
1. Loot – First and foremost, I think this is the main issue with the game and the grind. While I still have leveling to do, looting in this game gets exhausting at a certain point. The problem becomes that while yes, you are occasionally looking for one unique (which you cannot target farm) or one aspect (which is best found through Obol gambling), actual moment to moment looting is just…a ton of reading.
Yes, reading. This is because the game has made the best pieces of loot in the game Ancesetral Rares, which are just Legendary drops without an aspect. But since you can put any aspect on them you want, they are better than Legendaries because they have 50x the drop rate. But that gets annoying! If you don’t read all the stats on every single Ancestral Rare, you are potentially losing out on a god roll. But that is just exhausting, and while this philosophy encourages loot diversity, it is not fun in practice.
2. Loadouts – I wrote a whole article about this earlier this week, but it’s a real factor here. Once you have a build set in Diablo 4, it is too exhausting to think about changing it, or changing it often, at least. Experimenting with new builds is a process that involves millions of gold and respecing dozens of skill points and hundreds of paragon points. The costs aren’t prohibitive, but the time? Absolutely.
If I could more easily switch back and forth between my gear, skill tree and paragon boards for say a Necromancer bone build, blood build and minion build, rather than sticking with bone spear for 80 levels, that would really freshen up gameplay. Yes, yes “build identity,” but it’s another one of those things that sounds good in theory and is not very fun in practice in the modern age of ARPGs.
3. Competition – This one is not Diablo 4’s fault, but it’s a factor all the same. Diablo 4 has dropped into one of the most competitive video game years in at least a decade. I always thought my gaming time would be a battle between Destiny 2’s live offerings and Diablo 4, in reality, it’s been Tears of the Kingdom, Remnant 2 and now Baldur’s Gate. Armored Core, Starfield and Spider-Man are on the way. I can’t find the motivation to march my way toward my “maxed classes” goal when there’s just so much else to play. Again, bad luck for Diablo, but it’s just how this year is going.
Again, there’s nothing necessarily wrong with Diablo 4 not being utterly addicting. It’s good for me, actually. I’m just a little surprised! Has the game changed, or have I changed? I’m not entirely sure, but the reasons above are why I don’t find myself playing as much as I would have figured.
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