I’m actually playing a game at the same time as everyone else! Instead of being months behind for once, I’m only days behind.
Disregard the fact that my only experience with the earlier Diablos include, when I was about 12, telling my brothers they were stupid to play such violent games. And also 15 minutes of the first Diablo at Blizzcon. (It’s a vivid memory because I totally panicked after my friends got tired of waiting for me and left.) It’s a very new and exciting feeling. Since I know that any tales of Diablo would be absolutely riveting (and because I’m compelled these days to write about anything but WoW on my WoW blog), I will share the chronicles of my perilous quest to
mindless kill stuff to trap demons in a rock to save the world from the forces of evil.
Choosing My Hero
I like to get things right the first time. I read the description of each character, I reflected on their possible lore and personality. Then I looked at the most determining factor: the outfit.
You can’t imagine my disappointment when, in the next screen, my character was wearing a loincloth.
After playing a lot of Bioware games lately, the lack of customization took me a little by surprise. Not that I minded not feeling compelled to spend a half an hour debating the depth of my hero’s eye sockets. I just didn’t realize they (general “they” of course) still made games where you didn’t spend as much, if not more, time designing your character than actually playing the game.
So my default, loincloth-clad, tiny witch doctor made her way into the world.
The Annoying Friends Thing Everyone’s Talking About
When the concept of Real ID came out, I was a little worried about not being able to hide from my friends when playing alts. Then I discovered that the following conversation doesn’t hurt at all:
Me: Hi! How are you?
Friend: Good, you?
Me: Good! Just raiding/checking out Diablo/trying to dig up that stupid archeology artifact.
It also helps if you choose to only add non-annoying people and utter strangers who’ll never talk to you anyway to your Real ID list.
I haven’t been having trouble with people demanding to play with me. I think having a mildly obsessive compulsive personality is great at keeping overly friendly people away. Playing with me goes kind of like this:
Friend: Where are you going?
Me: Don’t you see that sliver on the other end of the map? It’s still blacked out.
Friend: There’s nothing there, we just didn’t get close enough to that wall for it to show.
Me: I don’t care. It’s blacked out on my map. I want it not blacked out.
Friend: You need to go to town AGAIN?
Me: Bags are full.
Friend: You realize greys only sell for 2g right?
Me: I DONT CARE I’M NOT LEAVING PERFECTLY SELLLEABLE GEAR JUST LYING AROUND.
And if that wasn’t enough of a deterrent, I also have terrible problems concentrating.
Friend: Um…where are you?
*5 min later*
Me: Oh sorry, I alt tabbed out and got distracted by something someone posted on Facebook.
Me: Have you seen that video of cats trying to do the YMCA?
Friend: Um…where are you?
*15 min later*
Me: Oh sorry, I got hungry, there was nothing in the fridge so I started making popcorn.
Friend: Um…where are you?
*6 hours later*
Me: Oh sorry! You totally won’t believe this! I fell asleep right with my face on the keyboard and slept thought the night!
Yep, I hardly ever have to turn people down!
More seriously, I’ve taken to hanging out on Mumble with my friends while playing. They’ll play together, I’ll play on my own. That way I’m still hanging out with my fellow D3 players, but I can keep my own pace.
When I first got my town portal, I thought it too good to be true. I expected it to vanish if I spent more of a couple of seconds in town. If I had to leave some stuff on the ground when porting from a dungeon, I didn’t expect it to still be there when I got back.
But it was. It was true. It was good and it was true.
Then I thought it would trivialize the game the way portals trivialize WoW. But if you’re like me and lose sleep over discarded items, and have so little bag space, the portals are necessary to keep you actually playing the game and not spending most of your time running to town. So they feel just right.
Playing with the Mouse
In WoW and SWTOR, I used ESDF as my movements keys. In Mass Effect, I use WASD. Which means that when I play D3 and the fight gets a little intense, and I have to move, my Spell Selection Interface pops up.
While I’ve got non stressful movement down (maybe a little bit too well…whenever I go back to playing WoW I spend the first minute panicking because no matter how much I click, my character won’t move), I haven’t managed to unlearn using the right mouse button to talk to NPCs. As a result, all the poor vendors and crafters (and my
bank stash) have to regularly stand in the graspy hands and icky snakes.
Why do I need multiplayer mode? With my Dogs, my Giant, my Templar and sometimes Leah (and sometimes my chicken shaman – go go chicken shaman!), I have lots of (imaginary) friends. It’s a far cry from Bioware’s companions (wtf why doesn’t my witch doctor get a sex scene with the templar?), but Bioware is Bioware and Diablo is Diablo.
Diablo, I discovered early on, I play to blow stuff up. Barrels? Boom! Crates? Boom! Urns? Boom! Little pesky spiders? BOOM!!
With so much gleeful destruction and massacre, the story and my relationships with my followers take a backseat. The camera angles and voice acting aren’t conducive to good follower-relationship building either. Usually I find myself skipping through the speech and going back to read it after. It also doesn’t help that my followers prefer to start yapping while I’m trying to listen to a lore book snippet.
But I do enjoy the random conversations that occur between my followers and between my followers and my character, granted they occur at the right time. They do keep you company, and, this is one thing Diablo followers have over SWTOR companions: they talk spontaneously and say different things each time (until they run out of things to say and start repeating themselves).
Booming and Smashing and Beyond
I haven’t decided yet if I’m going to keep playing once I finish normal mode. Mostly likely I’ll take a break, play some SWTOR for 2-3 weeks, then come back. (I still have a couple of months left on my SWTOR subscription and I’d kind of like the money to not go to waste.) Maybe dabble with some other classes then start the harder modes.
Right now normal mode is taking forever, but I suspect that the storyline is actually very quick if you don’t obsess over OMG discovering and looting EVERYTHING. So maybe I will get a chance to see all the classes and MAYBE reach Inforno mode. Maybe.
And to answer everyone who’s asked me how I like the game, well, I love blowing shit up. I love not having to think. I love how gorgeous the scenery is. I’m very impressed at the cinematics (the cinematics panel at Blizzcon has been my favorite for the past two years. Last Blizzcon we got to meet the Diablo cinematics team and get a glimpse of their work. It was impressive, but I never in a million years would have guessed that there would be so many and such polished movie scenes. Sometimes you have trouble telling if you’re watching an animation or if you’re watching a live scene. If I ran Blizzard, I’d totally give the cinematics team a well earned bonus!)
Unlike my disgruntled friends, I’ve no cherished memories of early Diablo games clouding my enjoyment. So I’m just sitting back, relaxing, admiring the view and, really, basking in glorious, glorious violence.