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The Diablofication of WoW

By Suzie Ford on October 04, 2016 | Columns | Comments

The Diablofication of WoW

Now that World of Warcraft: Legion has been out for just over a month, some of the classic ‘fatigue’ with any expansion is beginning to set in. As an up-to-recently avid Diablo III players, Shelassa and I began to notice several things in Legion that seem awwww-fully familiar and what we now affectionately call the “Diablofication of WoW”.

In today’s column, we’ll take a look at four ways that Diablo systems have been brought into World of Warcraft and opine on whether or not we think the two are well-suited to one another.

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With the release of the Reaper of Souls expansion, Diablo 3 players gained access to a new game system called Adventure Mode that has absolutely had an impact on Legion.

Randomness and Increased Levels of RNG

There is no question that World of Warcraft has had a lot of RNG. Between waiting for that lucky drop in a raid or finding the right herbs to collect or tracking down that elusive Time Lost Protodrake, RNG has always been a part of WoW. However, Legion has gone crazy overboard with the randomness in just about every system imaginable.

For instance, if you’re into secondary professions and have taken the Cooking skill in Legion, you’ve no doubt met Nomi --- ah yes, that little Panda so affectionately raised to be a skilled cook in Mists of Pandaria (or not if you didn’t bother but the game thinks you did...but whatever). He should be good at what he does, no?

No is the right word. Players carefully gather cooking ingredients to take to him for the off-chance that he’ll grant a recipe of a higher skill level to improve our cooking. Kind of the middle man. More times than can be counted, Mr. Burn returns charred remains of ingredients painfully collected via fishing, monster kills, etc. and no recipe. Or, if you’re really lucky, he returns a recipe you already have.

Neat. I’ll take a chance on that RNG in the RNG please!

Nomi is only one small example of the amazing level of randomness in Legion too.

The same can be said about world drops that can potentially drop gear up to Mythic levels of quality. While Blizzard couched that with the “extremely rare” prefix, it is obviously the hope that players will continue to keep going through repetitive content on that minute chance of unbelieveable!

If you’ve played Diablo 3, of course, this is pretty standard fare. Players are often on the hunt for those random amazing drops and they come back over and over just on that off chance it’ll happen.

While this is great for D3, it might not be so great in the long term for World of Warcraft. Most would probably have said that the levels of randomness prior to Legion were quite high enough, thank you very much. Now? Through the roof, which brings us to point two.

Item Quality & the D3 Ancient Legendary System

Blizzard is clearly hoping to tap into the gambler’s mentality by offering minute, but still present, odds that Mythic quality gear will drop on any quest that rewards gear. There are also the Emissary quests -- four per day -- that reward a loot box that has a statistically small chance that a legendary item will be contained within and, of course, loot drops in dungeons and raids also have a chance to become something amazing.

Case in point: Legion has been out for a month. Through all that time, not a single item over 860 has dropped in the world for either of us. Suddenly today in a Suramar World Quest, the reward item proc'd to 865. Sure, not as high as things can go, but pretty dang good and it was a ‘gasp out loud’ moment when we further discovered that its stats were perfectly suited and not the usual “hey this is great except for that darned versatility stat…” thing.

 

Remind you of something, D3 players? Right you are! It’s the same thing we hope for in every game we play. We want that Legendary armor / weapon / jewelry to not only be exactly the one we want, but we want it to be Ancient and with all the perfect stats on it too. It’s what keeps us going back to keep trying to build THE perfect set, right?

World Quests & Bounties

This one probably needs little explanation but is worth mentioning. World Quests are achieved when players reach level 110 in Legion. Diablo 3 players unlock “Adventure Mode” when one character has completed the story quest through Reaper of Souls. In both games, when the stated objective is reached, the map opens up with quests popping up everywhere, often now labeled ‘adventure’ or ‘world quest’ that are the same quests we ran while leveling, just now with a random reward attached in the case of Legion.

There is little difference between the two in the big picture. Each game sends players on randomly generated quests in locations throughout the game world. In Diablo, each of the game's zones has its own bounties marked on the map with a reward box (or two if it is the "bonus" location) at the end perhaps making it a "better" system from the standpoint that players can run multiple zones for up to ten caches per game. Want more? Make a new game, rinse and repeat.

For Legion, world quests run on a timer for a specified amount of time and for a variety of rewards that can include running for crafting materials, gold, Order Hall resources, Artifact Power, etc. Once per day, a named faction will offer an Emissary quest that sends players off to complete four world quests in order to earn a reward box for so doing. These caches can contain gear (including Legendaries), gold, order resources, AP, etc.

 

Mythic + Dungeons & Greater Rifts

Once a first character is through D3’s main quest line, once more than a few bounties have been run to get geared up, once lesser rifts have been run to get Greater Rift keys, players begin to run timed rifts featuring random monsters, random maps, random bosses all with a timer ticking away in the background in order to maximize the rewards at the end of the rift.

In Legion, players can do much the same with the Mythic + dungeon key system. Any time a regular Mythic level dungeon is run, players have an RNG chance that a Mythic + key will drop for a random Legion dungeon. The keys are valid for one week and, once placed in the special receptacle in the appropriate dungeon, a progress bar appears and a timer starts ticking away.

 

The big difference between the two, and probably the one thing that will keep players more engaged in the D3 version over the Legion version, is the randomness of the encounter. In D3, there is no telling what players will run up against (up to a point, of course), while in Legion, all is a known quantity. There is some randomization in Mythic + when new variables can be added such as tanks not being able to keep aggro as well, etc., but overall, the dungeon is the same regardless and the same party composition needs to be taken: Healer, Tank, DPS -- maybe some variety if an off-tank is taken, for instance, but largely the same.

In Diablo 3, while there are some groups more successful than others, it’s very easy to pick up a Greater Rift key and slap together a group of buddies and go on in regardless of party composition. In a way, that further adds to the random, and perhaps, more fun nature of its system over Legion’s. Add in leaderboards, unlimited progression through a potentially infinite level of difficulty and personal best-in-class achievements, and the D3 way of doing things may be hard to beat.


All of these similarities are no coincidence. Developers doubtless saw how much D3 players were willing to do to get the perfect items and thought that something similar could be deployed into WoW. These systems that have worked so brilliantly in D3, however, may or may not meet with equal success in WoW. Generally speaking, ARPG players and MMO players are often times quite different in the way they approach their games so it’s rather a gamble to see how many players will stick to these new features over the long haul.

What about you? Do you see the similarities? What do you think of how WoW seems to be getting Diablofication? Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

Suzie Ford / Suzie is the Associate Editor and News Manager at MMORPG.com. An avid gamer, Suzie lives in the desert Southwestern US with her own personal minion.
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