As far as I understand, visceral player actions are primitive, natural, and come from players’ internal desires without much thinking. Visceral player actions usually provide in deep, cutting, and inwardly satisfying feelings for players. When I was playing Diablo III, I found many of my operative actions came from raw emotions and brought strong feeling of satisfaction. In this section, I’m going to identify and define the components that create that polished game feel. (I’ll only discuss about the PC version since I haven’t played the console version yet.)
The core control mechanic (PC) of Diablo III is very simple: Click, click, and click. The functions vary from how you click and what objects you click at. For intense, you can move to a spot by a left-click or drag your mouse to change directions. You can click to pick up stuff or speak to NPCs or interact with other objects. You can also assign skills to your left and right mouse buttons. However, multiple command inputs may cause conflict or confusion for players. According to Wyatt Cheng (Senior Technical Game Designer at Blizzard Entertainment on Diablo III), their solution is to prioritize animations and skills based on command queuing rules.
In fast paced action games, simple and intuitive control reduces the burden of knowledge from players and evokes players’ emotional desires.
- Distinctive Avatar
- Isometric Projection
- Diverse Operative Actions
With fascinating graphics and sounds, Diablo III builds the feeling of sensation very well. The visual effects system plays a significant role in the feedback system. For instance, the loots spray out like confetti when you open a resplendent chest; the enemies blast after you slay them; colorful and bright particles bloom when you cast your skills … The strong visual impact tremendously increases players’ emotional satisfaction and acts as a great motivator.
Diablo III also makes good use of the audios. Other than common sound effects, different characters have different voice acting in the game. When your HP goes low, your avatar will warn you to get healed; when you finish a massacre achievement, your avatar will say something (or even bluff) as a compliment. The audio helps better present their personalities and build stronger connection between the player and the avatar. Thus it helps evoke deeper and inwardly emotions of players.
It’s also very important to make sure the feedback is very explicit and intelligible. When players play action games, they not only have to contend with the frantic actions, but also have to pay attention to other elements such as indicators. In Diablo III, different actions have different sets of feedback, the density and duration vary based on their priorities. Diablo III did a good job of prioritizing them to make sure players are better involved.
Diablo III uses different methods and components to create the sense-pleasure for player actions. Simple control and player-centric perspective reduce the player’s burden of knowledge for visceral actions. Diverse actions and multiple interactive options give player flexibility to make interesting choices according to their internal emotions. Strong and clear feedback enhance the sense of satisfaction and encourage the players in a natural and positive way.
More importantly, those components that create visceral gameplay can be artfully merged with indirect control. When players feel emotionally satisfied by taking an action, they will have stronger motivation to do it again or step forward. Thus we can indirect guide them in the game.