It’s been a few months now since Diablo 3 was finally released. In that time we’ve covered usability issues with the Diablo 3 auction housetwice now. And Blizzard hasn’t been resting either; a frequent stream of patches has brought changes large and small. Most recently, patch 1.0.4 made a handful of changes with the auction house aimed at improving its usability.
So lets take a look back at our previous articles on the topic and see what has and hasn’t been addressed in the original list of complaints.
One of the many game modes in the EA’s Madden NFL football series is the “Create a Superstar” mode. It puts an RPG-esque twist on winning the Lombardi Trophy by letting you “level up” your superstar’s skills as you gain experience. This concept certainly isn’t novel though – I’ve talked a little bit about a similar mode in MLB 2K12 recently.
Since you are creating a superstar after all, there are quite a few details to be worked out – from hair style to shoe color and all kinds of things in between. Madden NFL even includes an extensive list of colleges that your superstar could have attended. I’m not sure exactly how many there are, but it’s a ludicrous amount. And this is where the problem comes in – EA might have picked the worst possible way for players to select a college.
World maps are a standard-issue feature in games of all kinds of genres, and have been for a long time. In many games the map is a critical feature, and gamers are constantly flipping to it in order to avoid getting lost. For PC gamers, this is usually straightforward – there are a lot of keyboard keys available to enable direct access to the map.
Gamers playing on a console don’t have it quite as easy. In fact, sometimes it’s downright hard to figure out where you’re going. Let’s talk about three different patterns console games have used for getting players to the map screen:
Directly access the map
Use a status menu
Use the pause menu
Of course, not that we needed to ask for directions…
Diablo 3 was released recently to much fanfare in the gaming community. The much anticipated game doesn’t stray too far from its roots; the gameplay is pretty true to the click-and-kill formula popularized by the legendary Diablo 2. Not to say that nothing has changed of course – one massive new feature is the addition of the auction house where gamers can buy and sell in-game items for in-game currency or real money.
The auction house, while not the first of its kind, makes a huge difference in how players attack the game. With the popularity of Diablo 3, it’s also got a huge variety of items that have been randomly generated from around the world. The items don’t ever get destroyed, so unlike with real world auctions, there’s no reason the total number of items is ever going to decrease. That means there needs to be an efficient way to search through all these items. Unfortunately, that way doesn’t exist yet, because right now the auction house is…you could say…”hell” to use.