Grrrr! There is no excuse!
I have been playing Diablo 3 – Reaper of Souls like Sauron likes to forge rings: by pouring into it my cruelty, my malice and will to dominate all. Eager to see what Blizzard had come up with to – essentially – reinvent a game that was struggling to hold the attention of its players.
My monk just made level 70 (jumping right into act 5 and nicely making it there just as I entered the last area before Malthael – The Pandemonium Fortress! (geek squeeeal!)).
The first thing I want to talk about is – naturally – the ability to morph the look of your your equipment. Now at first I was not very keen on this as I did like the sometimes random – but always epic – look your hero would have as your gear got upgrades (unless you would rather not upgrade with an ugly item – not that I ever did that!). I thought that being able to customize would just mean that you kept the same look all the time – some times you just need the game to be a bit “mean” to you for it to be interesting. As it turns out – however – I found that the possibilities for customization is making me change look, color and style all the time (especially when I find a really fugly legendary). I’m loving how versatile it is and it works very, very well as a minor money sink.
Now as for the less important parts of the game. I was initially frustrated with Act 5 as the items that dropped for me wasn’t really upgrades yet I could feel that the game was expecting me to get better. I was levelling hot and fast and reached level 66 without replacing more than a couple of items. I had to go from playing Torment 3 to Torment 1 (and had to drop out of Torment to defeat the first boss at all). It was only after the first couple of legendarily items dropped at level 70 that I started catching up to the game – the transition really did not feel smooth at all.
I remember my first go at the first WoW expansion – The Burning Crusade. As soon as one got to Outland common items were dropping that easily replaced your blue and purple stuff. It felt as if the game was basically telling you: “Well – time for something new on a whole different level” and I did not mind at all.
Crafting materials on the other hand – we are back to Diablo now – did a quantum leap. Leaving my stores of gems and dust and tears and whatnot completely irrelevant. I can’t help but feeling a bit miffed because I really liked my collection of crafting materials – I made a conscious choice to not sell my loot and convert into materials instead of coin and now the game is telling me: “too bad son – should have gone with the gold because – damn – you are going to need it”. Sadface.
All that said I was enthralled with the new story. Diablo excels at storytelling and I don’t mind that it is not an RPG (you have no choices and no impact on the world whatsoever). Instead it is like reading an epic fantasy book with cool cut scenes, detailed lore and a great game to play while the story unfolds! I played through it all in one sitting and afterwards leaned back, had a cigarette and… then I had a go at Adventure Mode! I still don’t know if I will be doing any more full playthroughs with my level 70 characters – the rewards can’t possibly be as good as the ones offered by Adventure Mode but then again it is nice and relaxing to retrace your – monster gore splattered – steps in that – by now – well known dance.
While the skill revamp was done as a patch I feel like it is the best part of the expansion. So may fixes and the new way to pixk mix and match your skills based on their damage opens up so many exciting possibilities. I have not found a way to use the Monks Epiphany yes but I am gagging for the Wizrads new Black Hole (wait what did I just say?).
Now it seems to me that my complaints take up much more space than my praise BUT I really do love the shit out of what this game has become. It’s challenging, strategic and fun and very much Diablo. I am happy that I got it and I know I will be playing it for… well at least until ESO starts (in like 4 days – yikes!).
Lastly: about that enchanter. I understand that it has a powerful ability. I understand it should not be for free (and that the game needs a money sink) but as it is now it is just a source of frustration more than it is a help (well – it is a frustrating source of help). I can accept it for what it is BUT! Please don’t do this to me:
I like the “Blizzard humor” – on occasion. Like here where I meet a spider with a somewhat familiar name:
I like it less when my brooding and oh so serious Demon Hunter finds an awesome bow that shoots chickens (or rather has a 41% chance to “cluck”). It’s too good to not use it – I guess that’s a joke in itself as well.
Just as I was done typing up my last post about Diablo 3 I sat down to actually play the game a bit and got a drop that illustrates perfectly how the equipment you find now can change your play style completely (some people who prefers to play in just one way using the same set of skills in their “killer combo” obviously won’t find this enjoyable). Maghda gracefully accepted her defeat and gave me this:
While before using the set items from the Hallowed Defender set (mighty weapon and shield) with this build and +15% fire damage. I instantly switched to this build using lightning damage (dual wielding mace/mighty weapon) instead. A major upgrade all in all (even though the Barbarian does not have that many options based on lightning) as well as a nice change of pace and style. The one downside is the limited storage space – you need to save the gear with the elemental and/or weapon enhancing properties on them. I am currently running Torment II and it’s a breeze really… but I know I’ll probably have to let either Brawler or Ruthless go for a more defensive setup.
I have been playing a lot of Diablo III lately. And though I swear by my Monk I have especially enjoyed advancing and trying out the other classes as well.
I like to tag my posts about games with – for example – “RPG” (Role Playing Game) or “Strategy” so that people interested in that kind of gaming can read posts about similar games. I have never really figured out what to tag Diablo with though. It’s a point and click destruction game? It’s a repeatable one track story RPG? Or was it a game about making gold to spend on the auction house? Hard to tell. But now – after the recent patch – Diablo III is a THS. Treasure Hunting Game (about fucking time too).
As such I loved the recent update of The Noob which tackles the subject in it’s own hilarious manner. What I really like about this page is that it illustrates just how I was forced to a halt in a certain games based upon a popular fantasy setting. First a boss encounter – that me and my group had spent considerable time reaching – that we could not beat because the group ran out of certain items (which the game kindly offered to sell us) and then a whole area where fighting the mobs with items obtained without spending money was just not feasible (sure – I had the option of going back to the lower level area and grind until my level alone let me beat the mobs. But game satisfaction tends to fade pretty fast when you can’t play level appropriate content).
In other semi-related news I just got a Hearthstone beta key (my friend calls it “Magic The Gathering for the mentally challenged”) and am feeling my way around Blizzards newest endeavour. I am actually enjoying the game itself. You can get to feel endlessly clever when you play it right… but you can also feel extremely frustrated because a lot of the game is settled by blind luck – that is – do you draw the right combination of cards or not. If your opponent has a good hand to counter your own you will get trampled and there’s very little you can do about it (other than hope for a reversal of fortune – Tymora favour me now).
On the subject of microtransactions hearthstone does not really use that model but I can’t ignore the fact that the “special” cards are usually more powerful than the not so special ones. It is – of course – a matter of combining cards in the right way but when you face an opponent who plays just blue, purple and orange you know you will not be allowed a win. As such you can buy power by buying cards and obtain an advantage over players not spending as much – and that is not a model I’m overly fond of. Again I would much rather spend a one time amount and have more interesting ways to obtain new cards available to me in the game.
And just to round things off – look at this amazing piece of “art” from the Neverwinter webpage:
Oh look there’s a weekly sale next to the boobs too!