First, sorry if this comes across as a post full of bashing Diablo 3.
I have no problem if everyone else loves the game, I just was very disappointed in the original release and want to give a context for why that was the case so people can give informed opinions about whether I might enjoy what it has become. Because I keep hearing how Diablo 3 has totally changed, so I am interested. Unfortunately, when I tried to read other websites describe how the game has changed, I have a hard time finding a good list that addresses my complaints.
My original complaints include:
Free and easy re-specing: I used to love the effort of slowly building a new character in Diablo 2 just so I could try out an interesting build. It took time and effort, so the reward was satisfying. Diablo 3 seemed to dumb things down so there was no real cost or investment to making character choices (other than associated gear I suppose). I know some people really liked that, I just didn't myself.
Meaningless weapon types: all the mattered in Diablo 3 at first was the numbers plugged into a weapon or item. Specializing in, say, polearms and being able to utilize their unique attack range and fight style was a ton of fun in Diablo 2. It meant you could end up finding a good weapon, changing your playstyle for a few acts, then repeating with a new cool weapon of a different type you found. With some exceptions, different weapon classes meant different play-styles, which merged in interesting ways with melee-based skills. Again, Diablo 3 seemed to dumb that down a ton, basically removing features that older games in the franchise had, which I always find very frustrating.
Along the same lines, base attacks seemed to pretty much not exist in Diablo 3. Every attack had to be a skill of some sort. Not necessarily bad I guess, but just gives a weird feel to the game when a witch-type character picks up a sword, then proceeds to never swing it other than the shoot out fireballs or whatever. Why does having a strong physical-damage sword make fireballs more powerful? No clue, but it does. Does having slow, powerful attack weapons mean fireballs behave differently than fast attack weapons? Nope, only DPS matters (unless there are additional mods on the weapon). Again, it just gives the game a sort of detached superficial feel to me, personally.
Linear-styled non/barely-randomized maps. I think Diablo 2 did this very well, with a good mix between wide-open maps and dungeon/corridor maps. From what I remember, what I played of Diablo 3 was super-linear (in most maps, not all IIRC). Basically, start a map, run in a very obvious direction, end of map. Done. No exploration, minimal randomization, so it got old FAST. Which, for me, really cut down on the replayability.
Limited range of mod types on items. No, or almost no, mods like "10% chance to cast chain lightning on strike", or such. Diablo 2 had a ton of these, and I recognize a bunch were added later in patches and the expansion, so I'm pretty sure Diablo 3 will have added these sort of things in by now. Can anyone confirm?
No open-world PvP, or even multi-party PvE. I assume this has been expanded on quite a bit since release.
Online-only, no modding. I assume neither of these have changed. Huge complaint of mine, but I can look past it if other aspects of the game have been improved.
Auction house. This has been removed, IIRC. Anything replace it? Either way, I'm glad that happened, and I feel like it's probably improved things.
Basically, Diablo 3 felt like "Diablo 2 lite" when I first got it, just with better graphics. I know people say Diablo 3 has become much better than at release, but do you think I would enjoy it given my misgivings, or is it just sort of geared toward a different type of gamer than me?
I would go back to play Diablo 2, but I lost my disk, and I'm guessing it's either full of hackers or mostly empty by now : (