Thursday, 4 April 2013

Going Crazy, Playing Diablo 3

Have you ever felt like your brain, in a desperate attempt to explode forth from your body, is going to smash into the front of your skull so hard that it will cause your back to snap and your entire body to fold up and implode in on itself leaving only a pale sphere hovering where your stomach used to be?

I've been playing Diablo 3 recently.  Diablo 3 is a fairly good game that was very nearly ruined by the auction house (the one for in-game currency, not the real money one) and the goal of incorporating competitive PvP.

The PvP thing is not mentioned as often as the auction house thing.  Something that is actually very disappointing about Diablo 3 is that there is almost nothing to analyze, numerically speaking.  More than any other game I've ever played it really highlights the tension between "balance" and fun.  By tension I mean that balance isn't fun at all.  Forget about balance, just make everything awesome.  Basically balance is only important for PvP.  When you play against a computer you can just set the difficult how you like it, or use console codes in single player mode if you really want to, or use mods.  Of course you can't do those things in Diablo 3.

People talk a lot about the auction house, but essentially the biggest problem it created is that the most efficient way to make your character more powerful is to log out for several months.  The endless recycling of items on the auction house means there is rapid deflation of prices on everything other than the very, very best gear.  Right now if you have a few hundred thousand gold you can buy yourself a set of equipment that will easily beat inferno difficulty, but months from now you'd be able to buy better things, and then even better months from that.  In fact, once you've levelled a character to 60 you can just never play again, knowing that you are improving your character about 80% to 85% as efficiently as you would if you were playing 10 to 20 hours a week.

The story also goes completely off the rails in act 2.  It makes no sense whatsoever.  Belial is the lord of lies, but the only thing he seems to be actually lying about is being good at lying.  In reality he is the lord of smashing you to bits with his gigantic arms.

Ultimately Diablo 3 should be seen as an exercise in living in the moment.  If you can manage to live in the moment then you have have fun as your cute little wizard drops meteors on hundreds and hundreds of zombies and demons.  But while you try to do that, your attention will be constantly tugged at by all of the facts about the past and the future that should add up to ruin your experience.

Because of the problems with the game I can't see myself going on with it much longer - I've played and quit before.  But I'm sure that even if I leave it behind again soon, a few patches from now I'll start another level 1 character and play for a while.  Go little wizard!

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