Based on pure playtime I don’t know that I have spent more time playing a video/computer game as an adult than Diablo 3. I may have spent more time playing the NCAA Football franchise, but because each of those is a different game I don’t know if that counts.
Blizzard makes very successful computer games. The fact that World of Warcraft is still going strong almost 11 (!) years after it came out is a testament to that. But the bottom line is that they continue to build on and iterate their games is what makes them so great. Diablo 3 is a drastically different game than the version that was originally released a little over three years ago. Even the iteration coming in patch 2.3 (sometime next month) is significantly different than where the game was when I got back into it last year.
The inclusion of “seasons” means that, if people are inclined, they can start totally fresh every few months. This means that it’s easy to leave and come back to the game whenever, and also means that it can level the playing field for those who play constantly and those are more casual players. Starting completely fresh in a new season means that in addition to leveling back up you also have to find gear again. Since this is one of the more fun aspects of Diablo, this is a perfect way to enjoy the game repeatedly.
There is still a great deal of repetitiveness to the game. But the loot dropping, and pushing higher level rifts at least adds some variance to it. The problem with Call of Duty for me has always been that the new map packs are not enough to keep me going because the game doesn’t change enough. The patches in Diablo 3 always affect more than just level design, and that makes a big difference in replayability. The game is also fun by yourself, which Call of Duty isn’t. Playing bots isn’t fun, and the campaign mode is fun once, if that1. But Diablo 3 is fun by yourself. The only bonus from playing with others is faster XP gain and a better chance of finding better gear. But playing solo let’s you go at your own pace and play how you want the entire time.
If I was going to select my all-time favorite video game franchise it would be impossible for me to not select the (now defunct) NCAA Football franchise. If I was going to pick my favorite singular experience I think I would go with Red Dead Redemption. I loved playing through that game, and badly want it to be included in the backwards compatible games for Xbox One so I can play it again. But that game is pretty much a one time play through. I tried to go back and play side missions after but it wasn’t as fun. When I consider replayability it sure seems like Diablo 3 is the clear winner. I would be scared to see how many hours I have spent playing it, but it’s surely more than any single Call of Duty game, and it sure doesn’t look like it’s going to stop anytime soon.
- I don’t even know the last CoD game I played the campaign mode on [↩]