Am Playing: More Diablo III
I didn’t have the best weekend in the history of my weekends. I took a rough tumble in the woods (sneaky tree roots, made to trip me up on a hill), and then sat on the deck in the warm April sun to cheer myself up and immediately got a raging sunburn, and then the rest of Sunday was just a mess that I’d rather forget. Except for the few hours I spent at the beach reading LoTR (too cold to be out ON the beach, but I’m a big advocate of car sitting at West Dennis Beach, it’s such a pleasure, with the windows cracked so you can hear the sea and…I’m off track here).
So last night, I logged into D3 for some stress relief.
It’s a really great game for stress relief. There’s lots and lots of button mashing, and when you’re a melee class there’s something really satisfying about watching the mobs wilt in front of you. The crusader is a tank, so you can take quite a beating (less running frantically) and their abilities look BADASS. I decided I was being a bit of a wimp playing on normal and bumped up to hard to see what would happen (nothing, as it turns out, perhaps I need another bump) (I AM still only in Act II tho).
This time around, because I’m taking my time, I’m noticing a lot of things that Blizzard does so very right. As I explored the King’s castle, I was horrified/impressed at the level of detail that the various torture devices had — from the guillotine like ax blades crashing from the walls to the iron maidens and the weird circular … whatever those were. Roasting pits? Quartering machines? Anyway, it’s a thoroughly creepy place. And if you listen to King Leonides’ slow departure from reality via his journals, you see exactly how nuts the man became under the influence of his advisor, Lazarus (who in turn seems to be serving Asmodeus and preparing Belial). And when you first enter that awful dungeon, you are greeted by the ghost of Leonides’ wife, whom he beheaded in a fit of paranoia (you can watch it happen in a ghostly memory). She is, of course, holding her own head up by the roots of her hair to see you better. There’s a Terry Pratchett king in one of the witches of Lancre books who does the same thing, actually.
There are blood stains where large, unknown somethings are dragged through doorways.
There’s the crazy cultists, who stand in loose groups and bang their staves on the ground, leaving a dull, hollow booming echoing through the halls. Mobs can break through doors, and you see the door kind of bowing under their hands. The boss fights! The end of Act I is the butcher, who (as Magda taunts you) is standing on the other side of a gate, banging on it with one hand and leaning on it with the other. He yells at you as you kill him that Zombie flesh is nice but HUMAN flesh is even nicer, before trying to grab you with grappling hooks.
Diablo makes you feel epic. This is a game designed to make you feel head and shoulders above all the people you interact with. You are the hero. You are working with the fallen angel Tyriel and you are literally going to save the world from the forces of evil.. WoW tried to do the same thing, but by it’s very mmo nature you are never the central hero, no matter how quests try to make you be so. I know Blizzard wants you to imagine you are one of 25 heroes — like, every mage is one of the (x) mages that helped save the world from (insert bigbaddie here). It’s a great theory, and it helps you suspend your disbelief while questing or possibly within raids, but all the same when you are hanging around in the middle of Stormwind among 100 other mages you just don’t quite have that same feeling.
So anyway. Excellent stress relief. Excellent reminder of why Blizzard is really good at making games (legitimate criticism of D3 aside. There’s a lot of that, too. But Blizzard is VERY good at making games, all the same).
Tomorrow, more broken age: shay!