D3 and WoW

On October 24, 2011, I made a post wondering if Diablo II would be the biggest threat to WoW.  Has that come to pass?

I think about when Rift came out and it was directly competing with WoW.  Our guild lost exactly one person to that game.  We had other guidies who tried it for a week, but they all came back to WoW.  Then SWTOR came out.  It made a little dent in our player count, but no one ever missed a raid night in WoW because they were busy with SWTOR.

Now that D3 is out, how are things looking in your guild?  Here’s a screenshot of my friends list on WoW on a Saturday evening, during what would normally have been a raid night…

On any given evening, my guild now has 3-5 people online, whereas we used to have 10-15 even on a slow night.

Of course, I can’t lay all of this on D3.  Its also a result of the long tail at the end of the expansion cycle, where we are all sick to death of Dragon Soul and looking for something else to do.  This is actually a fairly brilliant piece of timing by Blizzard.  Bored WoW players are playing D3, but due to Battle.net they can still see which of their friends are online in WoW.  It keeps that connection to WoW so that we won’t forget about it.

For WoW players who didn’t buy D3,, though, it sucks to log in and see a nearly empty guild roster.  I think those players are the most likely to get disheartened and leave the game.

D3 is not a long-term game.  You can play through the whole story in a few days (or weeks if you’re very casual about it).  Then you can replay it as a different class, or go on to Nightmare and Hell modes.  I think that long-term playability isn’t there.  If Blizzard is as smart as I give them credit for, they will have the pre-MoP hype ratchet up as the D3 players dwindle.  Then bored D3 players will jump back to WoW for the pre-expansion world events and the class/talent updates in advance of the game release.

For that to happen, the final buildup to pandas needs to start up sometime this summer.  We’ll see…


3 Responses to “D3 and WoW”

  1. 1 James Hood
    May 31, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    You don’t think D3 has long-term playability? Have you ever heard of the Diablo series? Diablo 1 and 2 are still being played and have had strong followings since their release. Not to mention they predate WoW by years. The Diablo series has always been about item grinding, not about the storyline or achievements. There will always be a better item to find.

    That said it isn’t an MMO so I don’t see people quitting WoW permanently. Likely they are taking a break until the next expansion (as you stated) and then they will likely play both.

    • June 1, 2012 at 6:24 am

      I can only speak for myself, but I feel like my gaming style is fairly common. I don’t think that playing exactly the same game over and over again will keep the attention of the majority of players. Sure, there are some who are completionists and won’t stop until they win on the hardest mode or get the best gear. I don’t know that this represents the majority of D3 players – especially when you consider how many of them are only playing because they got the game free with their WoW annual pass.

      I played Diablo. Played it through once and that was it. Diablo 2 didn’t hold my interest to even make it through the game once.

      When WoW came out, it was very grind-y. Look at the changes WoW has made to remove the grind in order to keep their subscriber base. I’m not convinced that grinding games are what the current market desires.

  2. 3 Reigan
    June 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    I also don’t think I’ll be playin’ Diablo 3 forever, but the main draw, I’d say, even more than looting is the Elite and Champion battles in Nightmare and above. Normal gives you a good introduction to the game; however, until you run into that first “trash”, slightly undergeared, you haven’t found where the game really shines.

    First off, I’m not using the AH, and I set aside 1 toon to play solo; that probably has alot to do with my satisfaction with the game. The mob enhancements when playing multiplayer just don’t scale well to keep up with the additional dps & player skill. From my personal experience, as the # players goes up, the encounters get significantly easier…since we’re forced to use the mouse, its not facerollable, but pretty close. 😉

    Solo, however, every Elite/Champion encounter turns into a boss fight; and with the many different affix combinations, the encounters always feel unique. While there will be some players that plow thru the game relatively quickly and move on, and others that’ll say “story’s done…nothin’ more to see here”, I bet there’s gonna be a sizeable audience that’ll stick around for the combat. Diablo 3 feels like a casual player’s paradise. Unless you’re stuck on the story being replayed, reaching each checkpoint in an Act feels like a huge accomplishment. I doubt most of the players have an issue with the story being repeated as we’re all probably MMO/RPG/Diablo players, and accustomed to this limitation.

    I doubt Diablo 3’s popularity will stay where it is now, but thats not necessarily a bad thing. The server traffic will lvl as the outer edges move on to GW2, Torchlight 2, and the next flavor of the month MMO and those who stick around will be blessed with a lag free, error free (due to server overload), dungeon\champion\elite hunting experience…and play wow once or twice a week on raid nites.

    NOTE: The experience I described happen for people playing in groups\AH users as well, just in later play thrus.

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