World of Warcraft

I no-lifed Diablo 3 for a few weeks and then came back to WoW. It made me realize that systems like Corruption are not designed for Warcraft…they’re designed for Diablo.

wow2 - I no-lifed Diablo 3 for a few weeks and then came back to WoW. It made me realize that systems like Corruption are not designed for Warcraft...they're designed for Diablo.

So, this isn't a particularly new sentiment. When M+ was first released four years ago, people pointed out the similarities between it and D3's Greater Rift system. They also implemented a blood shard system identical to Kedala. Now, I personally don't think cross-pollination of ideas across IPs is a bad thing. I just wish it worked both ways. Or, rather, I wish WoW and Diablo had more discrete design philosophies, because what would work in Diablo wouldn't necessarily work in WoW. It seems to me that after that initial cross-pollination, the developers just kept on designing for Diablo.

The Absence of Meaningful Seasons

When you compare Diablo 3 to its biggest competitor, Path of Exile, the difference in seasonal quality is massive. Path of Exile introduces new mechanics and systems every season, with some of them becoming evergreen for the base game. Diablo 3, on the other hand, essentially rehashes the same journey, the same rewards, and all without introducing meaningful systems. Take for example season 14 (I think): double treasure goblins! That's it.

(As an aside, this is not a PoE vs Diablo 3 thread, so please don't argue about it.)

This is because their development team is a skeleton crew, so I don't necessarily blame them. It's just worth pointing out because ARPGs are systems-driven games, and Diablo 3 has ceded massive amounts of design space to PoE. Again, that's not a criticism, just a statement of fact. Now, with a number of Diablo 3 developers having moved on to WoW and D4, it's no surprise that borrowed-power systems have become the norm here.

A WoW expansion is a well made Diablo season. The Diablo fan in me is disappointed, because I imagine the Corruption system in Diablo 3 would be a massive amount of fun. The Warcraft fan in me is…confused? It makes me wonder why exactly Diablo's design philosophies have invaded WoW's design space.

There's really only one good reason I can think of:


Preserving Diablo's Design

With Diablo 4 currently in development, it stands to reason that the team (the Diablo team, not WoW's team) is currently brainstorming seasonal mechanics. I highly doubt that they want to keep losing to Path of Exile in creative systems. Given the recent history of cross-pollination between the two IPs, I don't think it's a crazy conspiracy theory to think that Ion's team is helping to preserve past and future Diablo mechanics; if you can trap these creative systems in amber, you can use them for later. This practice for Blizzard extends all the way back to their RTS roots, with overlapping mechanics appearing in Starcraft and Warcraft 3. To me, Corruption is one such mechanic. Adding on a tertiary affix to an already limited, RNG-heavy gear system is just torturous for the community. The fact that MOTHER exists to sell you specific corruptions goes to show that this system doesn't work in WoW without scaffolding.

In Diablo's endgame, however, the rarity of such an affix is offset by the fact you're literally carrying bags full of legendaries after every Greater Rift. Give Corruptions a flat % chance to roll on any piece of gear, and baby, you got yourself a stew goin'. The fact that Diablo is primarily a single player experience helps immensely to counter the feelsbad of getting a non-optimal drop. Am I predicting Corruptions will make an appearance as a Diablo 4 seasonal system? Well…maybe? It would make a lot of sense given the cooperative creative elements between the two IPs.

Obviously, none of us can say with perfect accuracy how modern WoW's systems will influence Diablo 4…but I will say we'll probably see less Diablo in our WoW once D4 is released and its seasonal cadence is on track. Until then, we're going to keep seeing systems like Corruption. As a fan of both games, I don't mind this so much. As long as they can properly scaffold these Diablo-like systems (I.E. MOTHER), they shouldn't be a problem to implement. Of course, balancing has never been Blizzard's strong suit…

What do yall think?

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