I still have this thrice-damned, scum-sucking flu, but I managed to drag my carcass onto this blog to post something. Enjoy my disease-addled ramblings.
Diablo III Thoughts:
As I may have mentioned before, I played Diablo II many years ago — in retrospect, I don’t know why. For those who never played that game, I offer the following detailed walkthrough of the entire game to give you an idea of how it played.
1: Roll a barbarian.
2: Spam the buttons for bash and health potion.
3: Spam the buttons for bash and health potion.
4: Resist the urge to cut your wrists.
5: Spam the buttons for bash and health potion.
6: Spam the buttons for bash and health potion until you realize Diablo lies dead at your feet, then walk away from the game and wonder why you just wasted 40 hours of your life.
But that said, Diablo II wasn’t totally without merit. It had the epic story-telling we’ve come to expect from Blizzard, and a rich cast of memorable characters. It also had a wonderfully dark and spooky atmosphere. When you went into a demon-infested cave, you did so with genuine fear in your heart.
So knowing the base concept had potential, even if the previous execution had sucked, I was mildly curious about Diablo III. And then Blizzard said I could have it for free, and I’m not one to turn down free stuff. So now that I’m a future owner, I decided to do some reading on D3, and I learned some interesting things. The following is not a comprehensive preview, but it does cover the new features that stand out to me.
I’ve always said that there are only two things an RPG needs to be successful: an immersive atmosphere, and interesting classes. Based on D2, I’m willing to bet D3 will do well with the former, so that leaves the latter. I was initially very unenthused with the D3 class choices (monk, demon hunter, barbarian, wizard, and witch doctor), but as I read more, I realized they may be better than I gave them credit for.
I got really intrigued when I found out each class uses a different resource, and only one of them (witch doctor) uses mana. I’ve come to the conclusion mana is a sucktacular game mechanic, so I appreciate any opportunity to avoid it. Two classes’ resources stood in particular.
The first is the demon hunter, which uses a system of two resources (one for offense and one for defense) that sounds almost identical to Dungeon Siege III’s focus and power. I loved the resource mechanics in DS3, so this intrigues me.
The other is the wizard, whose arcane power sounds similar to a WoW rogue’s energy — rapidly regenerating. I believe I also saw something about them being able to cast their basic spells even when completely drained of power. A caster that can never go out of mana? I am so there.
You shall not travel alone:
One new feature I was completely ignorant of up until recently is followers. Followers are NPC companions that will follow you throughout the story, helping in combat and leveling along with you. They are also distinct characters with their own roles to play in the storyline.
I know not everyone likes the idea of NPC helpers, and the idea does have a somewhat checkered history, but I, for one, love the idea. It’s always good to have a little help to fall back on, and NPCs never go AFK or rage at me if I get myself killed doing something stupid.
Nuts and bolts, blood and guts:
Rather than D2’s system of arbitrarily spending skill and attribute points yourself, D3 characters will automatically scale and learn new abilities as you level. I’m sure real RPG players scoff at this “dumbing down” of the game, but personally, I despise any system where you can spend the skill point you wasted hours grinding for on a new ability, only to discover that new ability is actually pretty awful. This is a very welcome addition for me.
One final thing that intrigues me about Diablo III is the blood. Watching the gameplay videos, I’ve seen multiple abilities for all classes that cause enemies to liquify and explode. Call me a sick bastard, but I love this. Any game that involves swords but doesn’t have dismemberment mechanics is always a little disappointing to me. I look forward to wading ankle deep in the blood and entrails of my enemies when the game launches.
I find myself cautiously optimistic about D3. My past experience makes me skeptical, but judging the game on its own merits, I see little to worry about.
How about you? Did you sign up for the annual pass to get your free Diablo III, and if so, are you looking forward to it? What do you make of the new mechanics?
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And now for something completely different (and Warcraft-related).
Blizzard enters the gold-selling market:
I’m sure you’ve all heard about this by now, but I might as well add my own personal rant. In case you live on Mars and haven’t heard, Blizzard has begun selling a new in-game pet, the Guardian Cub, from its store for $10. However, unlike past pets, the Cub is bind on equip, meaning players can sell it at the auction house. The going rate seems to be slightly under 20,000 gold, which is roughly equivalent to the combined wealth of all my many and sundry characters.
In other words, Blizzard is now offering in-game advantages for real life money, something they swore they were never, ever going to do. This isn’t going to break the game completely, and I won’t quit over it, but it does make me question Blizzard’s integrity as a company. I can’t help but wonder how long it will be before valor points and tier tokens are available for a small fee.
Your thoughts on this? Is the Cub an evil scheme, or an adorable companion?
I feel pretty!
I continue to go transmog happy. My shaman is the latest to get his sets completed. I chose to create two different looks for his enhancement and resto sets, though a few pieces are the same either way. This is already a very long post, so I won’t go into what gear I used, but I’ll answer any questions you may have about it in the comments should you see something you might want to use yourself.