Post-Diablo Frenzy

May 23, 2012


I am mad from lack of sleep, I think. It didn't happen at once, of course, but getting 4-5 hours of sleep each night for the past week has finally caught up with me. I don't think I can function as a normal human being anymore. I stare off into space. I am irritable. I can't concentrate.

And all thanks to Diablo. I suppose I should thank Blizzard for shipping the game with huge glaring flaws so that I could escape its grasp this quickly. Of course, I'm not done playing it, but it has lost enough of its luster that playing it is now no longer more attractive than sleeping. Sleep is looking pretty awesome right about now.

Also, I foresee that I will restart work on Lazy Robots in the next couple of days as the luster continues to fade.

I'm not saying Diablo is bad. It's great. I have a lot of fun playing it. Normal mode was incredibly easy, but I'm having a blast in nightmare and hell blowing things up with a barbarian. I hear things get impossibly hairy in inferno, but that's not really my complaint here, as I haven't experienced it first-hand.

No, my main complaint is the lack of a feeling. A feeling so true and wondrous, it was the very core of the Diablo 2 experience: that some truly fantastic, amazing piece of loot could drop at any time - that you were always on the cusp of uncovering some great artifact.

And I just don't get this feeling in Diablo 3. The first reason why not is the horribly abysmal drop rate of legendary items. I have played through the game approximately 4 times now and have seen only one legendary drop. Of the people that I play with, I have only heard of two other legendary drops among all of them. That doesn't exactly send me into a wild frenzy of legendary hunting. I'm not going to play the game for another 60 hours out of the hope that I'll get to see one more drop. That's stupid.

And the second, much bigger problem, is that the legendaries are not really that great. The level 9 axe that I found was quickly out-classed by level 10 and even some rare level 9 weapons. Aside from the fact that it was a different color, had a cool name and did 5% extra damage to human-class enemies (all 2 of them!), it looked like every other weapon in the game.

And this speaks to the larger issue of the horrendous itemization present throughout the game. Cool properties that might be present on unique items can't hold a candle to the ever-present ideal of "stack your main stat in all situations," as your main stat is how you do damage, and damage is how you kill things. That's it. That's all there is. Every gear slot has the potential to give you +stats, so for every gear slot, you look for the same thing. As a barbarian, that is +strength and +vitality, as much as possible in every slot. Some attack speed increase would be nice, too, I guess, and rings and amulets can also add extra damage, but the whole system is pretty one-note.

Gone are skill points and with them, the glorious "+1 to all skills" buff, which made some low-level unique items totally viable even in the end-game. And then there was good old Iceblink, which was really awful, low-level armor except for the fact that it had the hilariously useful ability to freeze anything that you hit. Now we have normal weapons that have the possibility of an enchantment that freezes targets, like, 1% of the time. Because that can be relied upon in a close fight.

I dunno. I'm done harping on Diablo 3. Some things are broken, but there were a lot of things broken with Diablo 2 when it first came out. A lot of things. I have every confidence that they will be fixed and balanced in time. It may take multiple years, and, much like a character in WoW or your artisans in D3, given enough effort, it will eventually reach the "exalted" status that D2 currently holds with its fans.

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