Diablo 3 character profiles, as revealed by Blizzard recently, are on their way. What effect will this have, if any, on the player base? Well, it’s tough to say. Comparing gear is a huge driving force in any MMO and was in Diablo 2 as well (not strictly an MMO). Take a look at world of warcraft’s armory – being able to see how awesome (or indeed how terrible) a player is geared is a huge source of competition within online communities. Stats and achievements (added later to the character profile feature) will also exaggerate this ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ effect.
Character Profiles Coming Soon
We’ll soon be adding a new feature to our official Diablo III site. Profiles will let you review all of your character information at a glance, share it with others, and check out the accomplishments of the other heroes out there.
You’ll be able to look at your heroes (or your friends’ heroes) from any page on the Diablo III site through our personalized menu. If you’re curious about the exploits of your fellow forum posters, it’ll be a simple matter to click over to their profiles and feel envious of their gear or how long they’ve managed to keep their Hardcore characters alive.
Our first profiles release will include these two elements:
- A career tab that displays all of your heroes, how far you’ve progressed in the Diablo III campaign, how many foes you’ve slain, the names and playtimes of your fallen Hardcore heroes, and more.
- A heroes tab that shows off your equipment (including dyes, socketed gems, all equipment bonuses, etc.), your attributes and skills, the skills and equipment of your Followers, and more.
We’re planning to add tabs that’ll show off your artisans and achievements as well. Profiles will be available on the site sooner rather than later, but you should feel free to share your suggestions and thoughts in the comments section below or in the Website Features forum.
So how does that benefit the player base? Some will like the addition of these character profiles in Diablo 3 on face value. I must admit, when I played World of Warcraft regularly I was keen on checking out my progress and my guild’s progress on the armory character profiles. Part of that same effect will carry over to Diablo 3 – even though they’re very different games.
It’ll add a much needed social tool sure, but what else will change? I think we’ll see an increase – perhaps not a massive one – in those players who want to ‘perfect’ their characters before moving onto new things (be that a new alt or another game).
Think of the power of social contests. A percentage of players will find it compelling to boost their visible hierarchy. I cleared Inferno for my own enjoyment and to overcome the challenge but, sane (maybe!) and balanced (possibly!) as I may be, part of me did it so I can say I did it. To others.
This kind of psychology carries over to gear too. Let’s face it, clearing Inferno requires some hot gear. But even those who can’t quite do Inferno might feel compelled to upgrade. Whether a player valuers best in set items (if you know your class) or just full legendaries (which isn’t a great idea right now but some people have different categories of ‘best gear’ in their heads) social pressure is a big influence on player purchasing choices.
Even the level of gems in a player’s socketed items can end up as a factor in social judgements, “Lol you’ve only got Flawless Squares in your gear, talk to me when you’ve at least Star gems in there”. It’s a powerful force and not one to be overlooked. So I’d expect an increase in the sale of “top quality” gear and gems when this is introduced.
Diablo 3 character profiles could well go the way of gear score in wow (when that ran rampant). Active players could be excluded or kicked from runs based on their skill and gear choices. Inactive players may even be tempted to pop back in to boost their game credibility. I know it makes little sense but then again, a lot of psychology doesn’t (at face value) until you look at the workings underneath.