It’s tough to understand why Diablo III recycled the settings of its predecessors when there are dozens of new alternatives, unless we frame Diablo III as an installment in a series that now has its own genre conventions. It’s the rough equivalent of a Metroid game having a lava area and an ice area—it’s just the way things are done.
The question of setting choices came to my mind last night as I finished up Act I and headed to Act II, only to find myself taking a caravan from Tristram to the desert just as I did in Diablo II. We’ll see if I end up searching for tombs again.
Not that the repeat of settings is a bad thing, just like naming a street “Market Street” or some running water “Deer Creek” are not bad things. But with a whole world of possibilities, you might wonder why the team didn’t seek to inject something new in the scenery.
My hope is that this was the knee-jerk reaction of a new team taking over somebody else’s legacy and wanting to maintain the association with the previous versions. Maybe we will see new places when the first expansion comes along.
Of course, that brings up the whole topic of Blizzard and expansions. Will this be in the old Blizzard model, where we’ll get just one expansion, but it will show up in a year? Or will we see a few expansions, but have no idea when they will show up?