And I never played the original, I only came in after the reboot. After the auction house was gone the game was rebalanced and became a lot of fun to play in my opinion. Only with the endless pursuit of higher greater rift levels did the game become boring for me.
It has incredible gameplay for the genre. Really top notch, fluid, fun to play.
Those games live and die on reward loops and economy though. It *needed* an auction house to be the 1000+ hour, huge active player base game they wanted it to be, but their reward loops simply did not do enough to support that. Without the auction house they were able to re-balance around a less integrated economy, which made for a better core game experience but that loses engagement faster. They had no hope of that long term value prop that Path makes so much money off of.
I know Blizzard had economists looking at their economy model because on a high level it was a good design (for the time, flaws are obvious in retrospect), but they didn't have any game design / balancers who know a damn thing about the game economy because it didn't reflect their model at all.
...but I digress into my own real world rabbit holes and get far off topic.
I love that there are party roles in the first place, something AD&D and Pathfinder spectacularly fail at delivering since they weren't designed with clear party roles in mind. I especially love that almost nothing in Pillars is a complete waste of your experience points since even a subjective trap choice has niche uses, unlike a lot of the bloated systems in 3.5 and Pathfinder.
...ok I can't help but nerd on it a bit.
You also have to keep in mind that D&D and its descendants are a ~40 year old product from an era without a lot of competition. It was a revolutionary product! It was also really poorly optimized and a lot of the rules were bad and it didn't matter because it was the only thing of its kind, and it got enough right that radical departures didn't really stack up.
It has been 40 years, however, and we know a ridiculous amount more about game system design than we did then. At the same time D&D and its lineage has a ton of design debt, locked in because they want to create new versions for players that are locked in from a combination of nostalgia and familiarity. If you want to make a game for those players they *can't* shake things up radically.
Everything on that system is the modern equivalent of put putting around in your Model T because it was great god dammit, why would you ever change anything? It works well enough for tabletop gaming because the market for radical system design there is so limited, it's all about the modules and fitting them in seamlessly. On the flip side video games have at a minimum 8 figure and frequently 9 figure development budgets, with a need to hit sales that justify that, and a crappy nostalgia system isn't going to get it done there when we know how to build race cars now.
I totally get why BG and friends grabbed the D&D system along with the IP to tap into that tabletop market - wise at the time - but doing that today is just a bad decision, betting big to try and squeeze small returns. Expectations are too high, you need to do better.
Edited by Ensign, 07 January 2019 - 12:00 PM.