Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Diablo III beta experience

After receiving the opportunity to try out the Diablo III beta from a friend, I have come to the following conclusion: I am going to fuck up the final year of my PhD because of this game. Let me explain...

I have always had a strange relationship with Diablo. I never played the first one and was introduced to the second one roughly the time it was released by a cousin of mine. He was addicted to the game and explained how it was affecting his first year university studies. I gave it a go and didn't really see the appeal. Too much clicky, not enough rewardy is probably what I was thinking at the time. After a couple of hours I grew bored and shelved it with the intention of never playing it again.

Oh what a fool I was! But how was I to know? How was I to KNOW!? It's the numbers, you see. Oh yes, it was ... it was the numbers ...

sif not

So ... it was the numbers. Anyone who has played an RPG seriously or dabbled into the likes of games such as WoW will know what I am talking about. You 'see' numbers, whether they be related to your health or armour or critical strike chance or perhaps the damage you are doing, and so you ... see ... them. You see? See, the numbers are how they get you. It's like licking grains of crack every time you see and mentally process what they are. Low on health, a big crit, fuck tons of armour. The numbers don't lie, and your ability to maintain and fix a situation using other numbers is somewhat satisfying. You can be a terrible mathematician and still enjoy the process of observing big red numbers above your avatar, refilling your health bar with green numbers while simultaneously pressing buttons to make orange and white numbers appear on the enemies. It's all to do with numbers and people's want/desire to manipulate and rectify them.

Now, that probably sounds a bit insane. It probably is. In a normal situation, the previous scenario would likely be described by a regular fellow as (for example) "killing an elite who is doing a lot of damage to you while you pot and spam your abilities". That sounds more like a game, doesn't it? Still, while you may think you are looking at textured polygonal meshes translating and animating in three dimensional coordinate space, you are still undertaking the process of manipulating and rectifying numbers. It's just prettied up a bit to deceive you from your true nature - that you are obsessed and compelled towards changing numbers. Forever.

You're your yore

What the flying fuck am I talking about? Well, let's get back to what I was originally describing with my early Diablo experiences. It didn't take long for the numbers to haunt me back in the year 2000. As much as I thought I didn't want to play the game, I just could not let my health pool be that low. That axe could probably have used an upgrade too, hitting only from 3-6. What about that sash? It's only got 1 armour, is cracked and looks like shit! Come on, have some style at least. And so it began. I did eventually stop playing the game some time in 2002, though my high-school friends and I eventually picked it up again in our final year and eventually took it into first year of university. While some awesome moments did arise from that (e.g. the fabled Ratmen incident), Diablo slowly slipped away in the face of bigger, prettier and more time consuming games of similar nature. By which I mean World of Warcraft.

"Fuck! I died" - The Ratmen Incident

So, Diablo III. This post is already getting stupidly long and I don't care about going back and making it shorter so I will sum up my experiences of the beta so far in bullet point format:

• The beta is overall far too easy. No enemies, not even the boss at the end, really pose a challenge
• It was incredibly short
• It doesn't actually look that great. This is something I have a problem with Blizzard and their latest games. While I am all for performance, their production timelines are confusing
• It's very dark and gloomy. Hopefully this changes as the game continues
• Combat is somewhat boring and repetitive early on. This is unfortunately the nature of these sort of games though
• Sound design is excellent
• It feels very similar to Diablo II, albeit a few changes here and there (e.g. Artisans)
• Killing/destruction streaks give you incentive to pop the shit when you fight a screen filled horde of enemies
• It is addictive
• I will more than likely buy the game when it is released

So, with that out of the way we can get to the most important part of this post. Oh yes...

... that being the NUMBERS!!!!!! GLORIOUS NUMBERS!!!!! Mwaahaahaglrgrgrll!!!


Wllaarrgrala!! Wllaarrgralaaaaa!!!!





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