Special Attack

Special Attack
Serial Monogamy

Mur Lafferty | 25 May 2012 22:32
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I expected all of the problems. I didn't like them, but I expected them. So I downloaded the game and prepared to wait for server space. I managed to get on right away, to my surprise. I posted on Twitter that I was playing, which got a warning from a friend that I might be inviting nerdrage for posting that I was playing because other people weren't able to log in. I wondered if I was supposed to stay offline for solidarity.

Because you know the kind of people who get mad at others playing a game they can't get into would totally stay offline in solidarity if I couldn't have gotten in.

So I got into Diablo III easily last night. Sorry. But when I started to play, I was struck by how little I cared.

When you take a beloved game and make a sequel, there's a fine balance to hit. You have to create enough new content and innovate enough to make it worth buying, but retain enough of what made it worthwhile in the first place. I remember when Diablo II came out. (Cue turn-of-millennial music here.) I was passionate and excited, and utterly hooked. I had no memory whatsoever of what was going on, but I remembered there were demons that would sometimes vomit up magic pants when you killed them, and you have to poke the big scary monster with a stick to win. (Amazon + spear attach FTW.)

Just like when I started Diablo II, with Diablo III I had no memory of what was going on at the end of the last game. That's a missed opportunity, since Blizzard puts such care into its plotlines you'd think that instead of "Armies Of Light And Dark Will Battle, Rar!" *battle sounds* you would get something like, "Deckard Cain, remember him? The name rings a bell? Right, it's been a decade. OK, let's sum up..."

Only, you know, more majestic and dramatic.

So I got in, no idea what was going on, and I'm this white haired monk lady who's wearing next to nothing. And it's not even weird fantasy erotic next to nothing chainmail; I'm like an orphan in rags with abs of steel. Only I'm badass and good at killing zombies. I'm also good at busting up barrels, stumps, and piles of bones. Those piles of bones did not know I was a lady not to be messed with.

Sadly, I found myself unable to care. While I was still amused when a monster vomited up magic pants or a pair of gloves, I was mostly bored. The plot was all, "Darkness, scary, zombies, talk to the lady inside!" and even after I got a pair of magic pants (which, to the UK people snickering right now, really do look like pants- I don't think about Daisy Dukes when I think "armor" but I guess I'm alone here.) I lost interest.

Warcraft III was a game that managed to get right the balance between innovation and nostalgia. They kept us reminded what the plotline was and we were into it. Diablo III fails to do that for me. I like the idea of the new character-specific plot points, and the new classes (I always like kicking things) but it's just not enough.

So I sigh and go back to looking for my next serial monogamous relationship. Maybe I'll go back to Mass Effect II and wave my gun around ineffectually as my friends scream, "taking friendly fire!" Or, since we just got an Xbox 360, maybe I'll look into the classic, XBox only games. Because I can't be without a gaming relationship. I just ... can't. I might be forced to read a book or something.

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