Monday, May 21, 2012

Diablo the Third

If you're a gamer, then you know that I refer to the recently released Blizzard game Diablo 3, which came out last Tuesday at midnight. This game has been in development for years. Unlike The Avengers premier, I didn't stay up for the midnight launch. My youngest son did.
Not only did he stay up for the launch, getting the game from a local game store at midnight, but he then stayed up for hours trying to logon and play the game. I guess he gave up about three in the morning and then slept for a few hours. He then was sick from school for Wednesday. Lack of sleep contributed to his health problem.
By the time I managed to logon for a few minutes on Wednesday night he was far, far into the game. He has since finished D3 on Normal mode and is progressing with his monk through Hell, the second level of difficulty. After that he will no doubt play Nightmare and Inferno. Whether he plays a Hardcore character or not is still questionable. In Hardcore, when your character dies he is no longer playable. I'd be done with the game if this was always the case. I've died at least once with each of my four class characters.
Four? Yes, I'm a bit fickle. I started with the Monk, but realized I would need more space in my personal stash for my characters. It cost ten thousand gold to upgrade with seven more slots (they say fourteen, but most items take up two slots, so that's sort of a cheating thing on Blizzard's part, isn't it?).
Realizing that my Monk had over three thousand gold after just an hour of play I thought I might be able to create another couple characters and get to that ten grand pretty fast. I created a Wizard and had four thousand pretty fast. Yahoo! So I created a Barbarian and before I even knew it he had the requisite ten grand to upgrade my chest.
The gold is shared among all your characters. Just saying. I didn't know that.
So then I wanted to play a cooperative game with my son. Diablo 3 makes this extremely easy, and (for once) gets it exactly right. When someone joins your team the monsters you fight become stronger and harder to kill. When someone drops off your team, they become a bit easier. My brother and nephew did this a few times over the weekend and it worked like a charm.
So my son and I both started new characters and completed the entire Act I of the game on Normal mode. This time I created a Demon Hunter (as in hunter of demons, not a demon who is a hunter) and he created a Witch Doctor. We both ended up with a lot of gold and at about level twelve after defeating the Butcher. Okay, my son defeated the Butcher. I died in about the first two seconds. In my defense, it was the first time I'd seen the room. Stay off the fire grates. I told my brother this and he did so. I died in that encounter too (got trapped in a corner), but at least my brother resurrected me for the rest of the fight. My son just soled the Butcher and let me watch. Funny guy.
I am not a big fan of the Witch Doctor. He walks funny. Yeah, that's enough for me not to play him. I like the Demon Hunter, but need to get smarter about playing him. I think he takes a lot more skill than the Monk, who can basically wade into a group of monsters and shred them. The Barbarian rocks, literally. Like the Monk he can take on a group of monsters at once. Unlike the Monk, he can jump right into the middle of them. Then he just tears him up. From a graphic perspective, the Barbarian is a hulking brute, even the female versions. If he was green you'd think you were in an Avengers movie.
I am not sure at this point, but I think the Wizard might be my favorite to play. I took her (yes, I made her female - I thought I might as well go with a girl character since the guy looks like a girl anyway) all the way through Act I and defeated the Butcher pretty easily. For a lot of that time I carried a wand and a very good shield. Yes, a wizard with a shield. How cool is that? I like to put some protection around her with Diamond Skin, go into a group of monsters, freeze them with Frost Nova, then explode them outward with Wave of Force. A couple of runed Arcane orbs and most of the time the battle was over.  Sometimes I had to run around a little, rinse and repeat after the cooldowns. Tons of fun!
My brother pointed out that Act I in normal is basic training for how to play. You're not supposed to die. He's right, of course. He is a gaming adept, so he knows what he's talking about. When he and I first grouped up we were a couple of Barbarians about town, knocking things apart and gathering gold. I have to say I got a lot of satisfaction out of that. Sometimes I wish real life was like that. But then I'd have to look like the Barbarian, which might be okay for me.

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