When Blizzard started spilling the beans on Diablo 3, over the many months that followed I began to feel apprehensive. You see, during this time I was also playing a lot of World of Warcraft and some of the similarities that Diablo 3 shares with WoW left me scratching my head. Like many others who noticed the same thing, I was wondering whether our beloved Diablo was turning into some sort of WoW-lite, or action-WoW.
Leaving the two obvious facts that both games are made by Blizzard and both are RPGs at their core, I'm going to list a number of ways in which Diablo 3 is more similar to WoW than to Diablo 2 or 1.
Players must be connected to Battle.net when playing either of the two games. This is perhaps the biggest controversy since Diablo 3 was announced and it's not hard to see why. Most of us probably never expected this to happen but Blizzard managed to pull a fast one and there's nothing we can do about it. Whether we like it or not, it seems that Blizzard's future is to be 100% connected .
2. Auto leveling attributes
Another point of contention, albeit an older one, Diablo 3 no longer allows you to allocate attribute points when you level up, like Diablo 1 and 2 did. In this aspect, this "functionality is very much like WoW. When I first started playing WoW I found it very strange that I couldn't allocate my own points. Eventually I got used to it and never thought about that until it was announced that Diablo 3 would follow the same procedure. I'm still on the fence over this issue but until I get to experience the game I can't decide whether Blizzard made the right decision or not.
3. Separate resources
All classes in Diablo 1 and 2 shared the same type of resource: mana. World of Warcraft is one of the few games (if not the only one) I've played in which certain classes have a different resource than mana. I never expected Diablo 3 to have a similar philosophy, yet it does. In the end it's not a bad thing for classes to have different resources. It felt a bit goofy, for example, that Barbarians used mana, which traditionally is more of a clothie resource.
Separate resources help differentiate classes from one another and also give them flavor. But it's not just about calling "mana", say, "focus". It's also about how these resources are generated. The Barbarian's fury starts empty and recharges as he uses certain skills. The Demon Hunter has the dual-resource system. The Wizard's arcane power is quick-charging. And so on.
4. Skill wording
One of the things that annoy me the most about Diablo 3's skills is the general wording of the skill descriptions. Having spent so much time playing WoW, it feels like D3's skills are some new WoW skills or talents. Just look at these:
"Reduces all non-physical damage by 20%. Whenever you take damage from a ranged or elemental attack you gain 3 Fury."
"In addition, when you critical hit with Ancient Spear automatically resets the cooldown and on a critical hit an enemy with Weapon Throw returns 20 Fury."
"Whenever you use Vault, Smoke Screen or backflip with Evasive Fire you gain 60% movement speed for 2 seconds."
This, to me, sounds like WoW wording through and through.
5. Skill icons
Diablo 3's skill icons are such a big departure from Diablo 2's that they can easily be confused with something coming out of World of Warcraft. I wouldn't be surprised if the two games share an interface designer or two. Even if not, the style is very similar: bright colors, suggestive icons.
6. Auction house
Did Diablo 2 have an auction house? Of course not. But now both Diablo 3 and World of Warcraft have a gold auction house. I see this as a very good thing because now we have an official and secure way in which to exchange items found in the game. I'm not complaining, just pointing out the similarity.
Now Diablo 3 also has disenchanting of magical items, same as WoW. In both games, disenchanting an item gives you mats that can be used to craft other things.
While WoW implements enchanting in a different manner, Diablo 3 also allows players to place enchantments on their items with the help of one of the three craftsmen, the Mystic. Does this recipe I picked randomly look damn similar to WoW or what?
"Formula: Enhance 1H Melee Weapon - Minor Hostility"
And there we go again talking about wording: this recipe could just as well be found in WoW.
9. Purple items
Diablo 3 now has purple items, same as WoW but different than Diablo 2. In the words of Jay Wilson, "...we’ve changed their color I think we did purple which is a bit of a nod to World of Warcraft..."
Finally, both Diablo 3 and WoW (as well as StarCraft 2) have an in-game achievement system. That was bound to happen and I don't really care. In fact I doubt I will strive too hard to gain achievements, unless there's some form of reward associated.
These are just a few of the similarities between Diablo 3 and World of Warcraft, that push the former farther away from its predecessor, Diablo 2. It might seem disheartening at first glance but for every similarity there's at least one difference between them and this is something that I will discuss in a future article. If you have other similarities to share, don't hesitate to shoot me a comment.