I wouldn't say "destroy", but it changed so many things ... In my opinion not always to the better ... Did I mention the guy who ranted about Drakensang being really bad an far too easy etc. ? I assume nowadays that he played Drakensang like an Action-RPG of Blizzard' invention.
My fear is that the newer gaming generations are so much USED to this tyle of gameplay ... THat they consider "Dark Souls" as being "brutal" and "difficult". Now, in Dungeon Mster one get health points substracted for colliding with a wall ... Dark Souls imho just isn't that difficult - it is this younger generations not used to this kind of gameplay, because they are only used to fast "zerging"-like running-through game play.
I never played Dungeon Master, so I cant say if that wall colliding was implemented good. But harder is not necessarily better. You got the good, challenging hard, but there are so many frustrating hard, because of bad game design for example.
My writing about Blizzard was rathr directed at a newer generation of games & their players. Nowadays, everything fast and speedy seems to be king, and bloody, too. Violence [as a means to solve prolems] is glorified. There just is not a single FPS game having anything other that killing people included asmeans to solve "conflicts". Diplomacy is for wussies, to put it quite cynically.
Those are just games for the masses. Zynga games like farmville is(was) also popular, and it just involves clicking in specific intervals.
But I also find questing and diplomacy lacking in RPG's these days. Most of "RPG's" dont even have quests where you can make real choices. You just either do the quest or don't. Divinity games are still one of the best in the last years. Before that Troika games were King in it with gems like Arcanum (wow, that game is from 2001 already
But Blizzard don't make RPG's. Diablo is an action game and WoW is a grind game.
One trend of the Games Com this year was the overall total dominance of anything militaristic, shooters, killing, an again militaristic. There weren't even that much "cute" games for consoles shown. Shooters had the biggest booths and the biggest queues. People like to play killing, obviously.
Isnt that already the case for years, the typical shooters and sport games get majority of the attention.
And this s my biggest gripe : The loss of anything in terms of gameplay that is not about killing others. Everything is there just to provide better killing. Better loot -> better killing, better loot -> better defense -> longer time frame of being able to kill, better loot -> better halth potions, better magic potions, better magical artifacts ... In the recent times other dialog options have been completely eradicated. And for Blizzard, other dialog options weren't worthy to implement anyway. And success gets copied ...
Imho you cant just blame blizzard for that. Yes, they are successful, and successes get copied. But other developers can (and should) do their own thing. It's just the amount of people who jump on every gaming hype and want to make a quick buck. I mean, FIFA games sell well every year, but that doesnt mean every developer should make football games.
There are no more RPGs wich are like them !
PS:T : Great, but who would buy it ? Most certainly not the newer generations of players trained towards fast-paced gameplay. Dialogs are sooo00 boring !
There still are games like that, not many, and you have to look for them in the most obscure places. And it are small developers, so they dont have the attention or money that the big ones get. But Age of Decadence is one example of that.
Blizzard and other big players are kinda like the Hollywood of gaming. If it's not your cup of tea, it looks like there are only those type of games. But then you need to search for alternative places to find what grinds your gears. I do that the last years more and more, most fun I get are out of developers with 2 people or so, and their games cost 10-15 bucks at most. And I get more fun out of them then out of the typical AAA game.
Edit : I must admit that I've grown quite bitter over the last years. Today's gaming just isn't my" gaming anymore, thus influencing my view.
I also think you overestimate the amount of deep and slow paced games that came out in the "early years".
But then again gaming is still relative young, and is still changing a lot and it is still going to.
And nostalgia used to be better back in the days ;-)