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"Then he hit a demon. Then he hit another demon. Then he hit the demon again. Then he hit it again."
May 28, 2012 3:21 PM   Subscribe

Slo’ugh froze suddenly, gazing at his three new sets of gloves with an unblinking intensity. All that moved, for three long, silent minutes, was his eyes. They stared at first one pair of gloves, then the other pair, then the third, and then back to the first and then to second and then to the third and then to the first again and then to the second again and then to the third, and so it repeated. After a time, Slo’ugh shook himself out of his mysterious reverie and pulled the first pair of gloves onto his huge, meaty hands. He scowled, and immediately removed then. The second pair saw the honour of being donned by his heroic hands, but were similarly dispatched. On went the third, and then Slo’ugh froze again. Stared again. He grunted, and decided ultimately on the first pair.
-- The Saga of Slo'ugh - An Unofficial Diablo III novelization.
posted by empath (56 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Slo'ugh-upon-Th'ames, now.
posted by cromagnon at 3:30 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's a pretty funny article, and on point. Diablo III is a huge disappointment. It's a shame they didn't include the part where Slo'ugh got to level 60 and then never played the game again because he was too busy being a Sanctuary Pawn Star, flipping stuff for ca$h on the auction house.

Apparently Blizzard is already preparing their first big series of gameplay and performance patches, but they've lost me. I have absolutely no interest of ever coming back to this franchise.
posted by codacorolla at 3:33 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm glad I RTFA first before coming to the thread here, as the FPP title kinda gives away the gag.

But that's what the Diablo franchise got right since game one: straight-to-the-business hack-n-slash. No endless dialogue, no hyper-choreographed attacks, no complicated fighting strategies, just CLICK CLICK CLICK KILL KILL KILL.
posted by LMGM at 3:34 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Come friendly bombs and fall on Slo'ugh!
It isn't fit for humans now,
There isn't grass to graze a cow.
Swarm over, Death!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:34 PM on May 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


Meh. This just feels like more of the "it's repetitive! it doesn't drop my loot!" hate parade.

If I need more of that, the D3 forums are a never-ending supply of hate parade. Granted, that's true of most game forums in general, but I kind of hope for something better when I hit MeFi most days.
posted by Archelaus at 3:37 PM on May 28, 2012


But that's what the Diablo franchise got right since game one: straight-to-the-business hack-n-slash. No endless dialogue, no hyper-choreographed attacks, no complicated fighting strategies, just CLICK CLICK CLICK KILL KILL KILL.

This has never been what I liked about hack and slash games.
posted by JHarris at 3:41 PM on May 28, 2012


What's the mater PeterMcDermott, don't you like girls?
posted by Saxon Kane at 3:44 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I keep skin g my friends playing if it's like 1 and 2, "yes" they say. Whats the point really?
posted by Max Power at 3:49 PM on May 28, 2012


Meh. This just feels like more of the "it's repetitive! it doesn't drop my loot!" hate parade.

If I need more of that, the D3 forums are a never-ending supply of hate parade. Granted, that's true of most game forums in general, but I kind of hope for something better when I hit MeFi most days.


I don't know about a hate parade, but I think it's weird you discount the opinion of so many people out of pocket especially when the same three or four complains occur consistently when anyone discusses their dislike of the game.
posted by codacorolla at 3:49 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Coda: The thing is: a lot of the stuff they are complaining about is -by design-, and wholly expected in a Diablo title, since that is exactly what the first two were like.

Complaining about the design of a game as being "not what you wanted" when it's very clear up front that that's what it is is ridiculous, in my opinion, and quite -worthy- of dismissal.
posted by Archelaus at 3:52 PM on May 28, 2012 [17 favorites]


Yes, one of the perils of being in the games business is if you keep things exactly the same, people complain it isn't same-y enough or it's not as good as previous installments. On the other hand, if you change things or try to improve them, people inevitably complain that it's not as good as it used to be and you should've kept you exactly like it was.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 3:55 PM on May 28, 2012 [12 favorites]


Quite, Ghostride. Witness intense (though polite) discussions in the Dungeons of Dredmor forums as to whether or not it is "Roguelike" enough (and what that even means).

There's no genre, no title immune to this phenomenon. It's a shame, as it always looks like a lot of wasted energy to me. Go play something you enjoy more!
posted by Archelaus at 3:57 PM on May 28, 2012


What's the mater PeterMcDermott, don't you like girls?

Towards the end of his life, Sir John Betjeman was asked if he had any regrets. "Yes," came the disarmingly frank reply. "Not enough sex."
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:58 PM on May 28, 2012 [6 favorites]


Honestly, Archelaus, my pet theory is complaining about games is just some people's hobby moreso than playing them. Witness the forum-goers that lurch from MMO to MMO chasing the dream of a game that only exists in their head but content to complain until the game launches, then move on.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 4:00 PM on May 28, 2012 [5 favorites]


You want repetitive? Check out my novelization of Pac-Man:

WAKKAWAKKAWAKKAWAKKAWAKKAWAKKAWAKKAWAKKAWAKKAWAKKAWAKK-

If you want to read more you have to give me a quarter.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:00 PM on May 28, 2012 [38 favorites]


Complaining about the design of a game as being "not what you wanted" when it's very clear up front that that's what it is is ridiculous, in my opinion, and quite -worthy- of dismissal.

This exactly.

Honestly, Archelaus, my pet theory is complaining about games is just some people's hobby moreso than playing them. Witness the forum-goers that lurch from MMO to MMO chasing the dream of a game that only exists in their head but content to complain until the game launches, then move on.

I've found mine.
posted by Talez at 4:03 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I played Diablo II until I realized I had just been button-mashing the mouse for a couple hours continuously.... Then I moved on.
posted by kaibutsu at 4:09 PM on May 28, 2012


Customers who bought Pac-Man by The Card Cheat also bought Pong by Saxon Kane:

Blip.





Blip.





Blip.





Blip.




Blip.

posted by Saxon Kane at 4:10 PM on May 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


The disembodied voice said “No, Slo'ugh. You are the demons” And then Slo'ugh was a zombie.
posted by radwolf76 at 4:22 PM on May 28, 2012 [9 favorites]


I then drew three more cards. The top card was the King I had been waiting for—the King of Hearts! I placed it in the empty column between the Eight of Clubs and the Jack of Diamonds. I knew that once the Queen of Spades showed up, I could move that latter column to its new location, and deck would begin almost sorting itself. I then rose from my chair to refill my coffee cup and go take a well-earned pee.
posted by not_on_display at 4:31 PM on May 28, 2012 [20 favorites]


That last gives me the vague urge to do some sort of "Solitaire with the King in Yellow" Arkham spinoff.
posted by Archelaus at 4:33 PM on May 28, 2012


I feel like the target audience of games has been changing over time, and this article more or less sums up what has happened: as games become more mainstream, and generate ever bigger revenues, they must make sure to cater to the lowest common denominator.

I played Diablo3 on "Normal" mode (as we all have to) and wasn't exactly thrilled with it. If they were targeting 20 million lifetime sales, then they needed to make sure that the "game" they presented its audience was playable by the majority of those 20 million people: and hence, mind numbingly easy for people who consider themselves gamers.

Playing through it on Inferno is fantastic, however. There is a lot of twitch reaction involved, and careful consideration of boss and elite abilities. Rakanoth, for example, has an instant teleport-strike attack that can one-shot kill a demon hunter. His blades glow, and you have a less than 1 second window in which to hit smoke-screen, an ability which itself gives you a 100% dodge chance for only 1 second. You need to have a "balanced" build: because of the NV buff you receive that penalizes you for switching abilities mid-level, you need to have your balance of single target and AOE damage, balance of mobility and defensive / offensive cooldowns so you can beat enrage timers. You need to consider the different skill builds you will use when grouping up: your role may change fundamentally. I like how the elites and champions spawn with up to 4-5 random abilities each presenting strange and unique challenges: and I definitely like the fact that some combinations are so hard that the right thing to do is run away and skip them. I especially like this: that it isn't a given that you will win - where losing is not uncommon, and not to be ashamed of, and the smart thing to do is not to fight at all.

Every choice you make feels so critical. The choice between having a skill that gives you 70% damage reduction for 5 seconds, usable once every 30 seconds... or having a skill that gives all party members a permanent 10% damage reduction. I like this game because there are plenty of hard questions and no final answers.

I think Blizzard already worked out what % of playerbase wouldn't make it past Normal mode. I think it's genius that they've managed to make the difficulty scale the way it has to satisfy both the casual and gamer crowd.
posted by xdvesper at 4:53 PM on May 28, 2012 [8 favorites]


This reminds me of Wing Commander 4.123106, a parody novelization of Wing Commander IV, where all the shooty bits in the game translated into:

Uncloak! Activate sensors! Gun power to shields! Torpedoes locking! CAPcoming after me, but they're way behind! Ten thousand! Lexington's firing allshe's got! Bam! Bam! Evade, Blair--No! Don't lose lock!

Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Jesus, how'd they get close enough to--no, they're justtrying to distract me. Bam! Bam! Shit, they did! Corkscrew--oops, almostlost lock! Careful, Blair, you're not an ace with this bird yet!

Five thousand! Nearly locked! Steady up, Blair, you gotta hit this ship headon, and it's a damn small target from this angle! Bam! Bam! Clang! Shield'sfailing, transfer some engine power! Locked! Steady...launch! Clang! Clang!Crack in the canopy! Comm damage! Shit, guns damaged! Engines max, the restto shields! Turn, Blair, turn!


I read it when I was a teenager, so I make no claims as to its actual worth as literature or entertainment.
posted by chrominance at 5:00 PM on May 28, 2012


I disagree entirely; the fact that I was forced to play through on Normal mode was a terrible decision. I have little interest in replaying the same story over and over again and would have preferred being able to start the game on, say, Hell mode the first time around.

Sure, have an unlockable difficulty. But to have them ALL be unlockable and force me through the tedium of normal mode? Come on.
posted by Justinian at 5:00 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oops, I was referring to xdvesper and failed to quote.
posted by Justinian at 5:01 PM on May 28, 2012


Sure, have an unlockable difficulty. But to have them ALL be unlockable and force me through the tedium of normal mode? Come on.

I kind of wish you could start on an unlocked difficulty with a new character - I would like to try all the classes eventually, but I sort of hate the idea of playing through normal 5 times. I understand why they did it, though - this way they can scale Nightmare based on level 30+ abilities, whereas trying to make it work with both level 1 and level 30 characters would be really obnoxious.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:21 PM on May 28, 2012


I bought Diablo 3 because most of my WoW friends were playing it instead of WoW. I never played Diablos 1 or 2 and was lamenting shelling out $60 just to see if I liked it, unlike WoW, which you can try for free for 10 days. Well, having shelled out that $60, I now see why they don't give free trials to the game I now refer to as Diablow 3.
posted by Maisie at 5:26 PM on May 28, 2012


Can anyone want to play Diablo after watching this awesome synopsis?
posted by winna at 5:32 PM on May 28, 2012 [4 favorites]


There is a free trial, though. The boxed copies come with passes for it, or you can wait a couple of weeks and it'll be open to everybody.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:36 PM on May 28, 2012


Then he hit a demon. Then he hit another demon. Then he hit the demon again. Then he hit it again.

And then he just freezes because he has lagged out.
posted by astapasta24 at 5:40 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


Justinian: Well, most of the more dedicated Diablo3 players will be doing that exactly - replaying the same story over and over again. Maybe about 100 times on Inferno. Having them do it an additional 3-4 times on Normal doesn't seem like a big ask at all, and I would argue, an essentially part of the skill / combo discovery process - you need a sandbox in which to experiment in (that doesn't punish you for using suboptimal skills). Otherwise players would need to min-max right from the start and end up not using 90% of the skills in the game.

The casuals would just finish the game on Normal on 1-2 characters and consider the game done.
posted by xdvesper at 5:40 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Zarquon, I heard about that. I just didn't have the patience to wait.
posted by Maisie at 5:51 PM on May 28, 2012


this way they can scale Nightmare based on level 30+ abilities, whereas trying to make it work with both level 1 and level 30 characters would be really obnoxious.

If you allowed people to make fresh level 30 characters without any gear once Nightmare was unlocked, you could keep the scaling to 30+ and drive up demand for level 20~30 gear on the AH, while also driving down supply for level 0~20 gear as these characters are no longer playing through normal. You would probably need to restrict these characters' access to normal quests, and force them to play through from the start of Act I normal like everyone else. Given that massive oversupply of items at all levels on the AH does a lot to kill the joy of random loot finds, anything that increases demand and reduces supply is a good thing.

In a more cynical world, Blizzard might be planning something along these lines to coincide with the release RMAH, hoping to cash in on people who want to play a new and gearless level 30, 50 or 60 character for nightmare, inferno or hell and are willing to shell out $10 to get them equipped from the RMAH.
posted by kithrater at 6:09 PM on May 28, 2012


To clarify, that is allow people who have finished normal to then make fresh level 30 characters who could play from either the start of Act I normal or nightmare.
posted by kithrater at 6:22 PM on May 28, 2012



Lifting my rigid wood pickaxe I sink it deep into the fertile soil. It quakes under the blow, giving forth a rustle of pleasure. Again I thrust home my tool, and the block of soil explodes in a shower of delight, leaping into my inventory, a slave to my desires. Behind this loamy conquest lies a new desire, a block of cool stone, smooth to the touch, aching to be shaped by my mighty weapon. My tool raises of its own accord, eager for the challenge, and I lunge forward with a mighty downward thrust...
posted by The otter lady at 6:40 PM on May 28, 2012 [16 favorites]


I love Diablo III; it is not exactly what I expected but a worthy, modern successor to Diablo and Diablo II. It does not disappoint. There are just a couple of minor things I would change.

But I'm not obsessed. I have 4 characters in Nightmare Act 1, and a poor unloved Barbarian in Normal Act 2. I'm not one of those people who's lost 4 level 50+ hardcore characters already.

It's possible I may never reach Inferno difficulty at all, and I certainly won't grind away on gear in Inferno Act 1 so I can survive to grind gear in Inferno Act 2 so I can survive to grind gear in Inferno Act 3 so I can complain that Act 4 is not mathematically possible to survive. And the RMAH could disappear and I'd never notice.

Of course my attitude -- enjoying the game quite a lot but occasionally seeing sunshine and wife and office and even other games -- makes me persona non grata on the Blizzard forums...
posted by Foosnark at 6:45 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm casually playing through the game one or two hours at a time. I'm enjoying the art in particular and the dialog has its moments.

Oh, and I kill things too. That's how Pookie The Barbarian rolls.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 6:54 PM on May 28, 2012 [1 favorite]


In EVE, a lot of the big nullsec alliances plan their wars around competing games like Diablo III. It was expected that players would go play D3 for a while, then get bored and come back to EVE. My alliance scheduled a month of downtime for this. We did something similar when Skyrim came out.
posted by ryanrs at 6:58 PM on May 28, 2012


Hilarious, but really -- how many games would come out any better from the same treatment? Or more to the point, should they? At least Diablo is fairly honest about what it's about. I lost interest in KOTOR when my Jedi character started looting a dead body, and I realized how ridiculous it was that the game would even allow this.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 7:12 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


xdvesper really captured what I'm enjoying about the game, and I haven't even quite unlocked inferno. Heck, in the previous difficulties I hadn't even noticed rakanoth's blade glow because the strike doesn't quite kill you and I killed him fast enough that I could recover from the mistake.

I wonder if there's a similar tell for Izual's "freeze the entire platform". Hm.
Of course my attitude -- enjoying the game quite a lot but occasionally seeing sunshine and wife and office and even other games -- makes me persona non grata on the Blizzard forums
?

Bnet forums are, best as I can tell, almost entirely comprised of the following:
1) my class sucks, a different class is better
2) this game is too easy/too hard
3) real money auction house will ruin everything
4) legendary items should be better
5) random loot is too random
6) I've been hacked/blizz doesn't care about hacks/etc

I think that's most of it. I haven't seen any threads where someone's been like "what you went to work? GTFO"

Although the forums are just too generally terrible for me to spend much time there unless I'm at work and at my desk and I've exhausted most of the internet's usual possibilities (don't worry, I'm still doing my job).

Anyway! Regarding the link!

I read it earlier when I checked in on RPS. I thought it was worth a chortle, especially the item comparison bit, including trying on each item to see what it does to your character sheet calculations. I obviously didn't think it really worth an FPP, but then I don't really make FPPs, so.
posted by kavasa at 7:33 PM on May 28, 2012


So I'm down for what you mentioned about twitch gameplay in Inferno, that sounds kind of fun. But my ping never drops lower than 250 ms, and can jump to 500+. How can I play a twitch gameplay game with a 1/4 second extra delay on everything I do? That's been my problem so far, yelling, "dodge! dodge! I hit vault why haven't you vaulted!" Then I do two vaults in succession, one away, one right back into danger.
posted by SomeOneElse at 7:36 PM on May 28, 2012


My take when I read this was: "Well... huge chunks of that describe most games pretty much ever."
posted by Decimask at 7:45 PM on May 28, 2012


Sequel to Major Game Resembles Earlier Editions in Some Ways, Departs in Others; Some People Outraged: Film at 11.
posted by chimaera at 7:51 PM on May 28, 2012


For what it's worth, I enjoyed Diablo 3 MORE than Diablo 2. One of the primary reasons is that in Normal Mode, it's actually somewhat easier to beat. I didn't have to sink 80 hours into beating the game, I just had to sink about 20. And there are 3 more difficulty levels if you really to want to go to a lot of trouble.

As far as the complaints about it being an endless click-fest, to the writers of such comments, I ask: where the hell were you on the last 2 Diablo games? I detect no notable difference in how much of a clickfest it is. And because Normal mode is somewhat easier to defeat, I didn't feel like I had to just grind to level up enough to kill off Diablo this time.

I guess the TL;DR for this is: suck it, haters.
posted by chimaera at 7:54 PM on May 28, 2012 [2 favorites]


SomeOneElse: My understanding of how Blizzard balanced the game - the melee classes (Barbarian and Monk) have less twitch reaction required, and have an innate 30% damage reduction. They are designed to take some amount of hits, and explicitly do not have those "instant dodge" type skills. It's more about careful positioning before you commit to a fight, and accepting that you will get hit by some of the AOE damage before you can get out and just making sure you have the defensive cooldowns to survive it. It's not any less thoughtful, but much less twitchy. So for example when a boss casts a fireball on the ground and creates a burning circle of fire: the DH can see it coming and run / vault out of the way to completely avoid the damage. While the Barbarian may eat the fireball straight to the face (since he was in melee) but must run out ASAP - he will take some burn damage, but that's compensated for by his 30% damage reduction. Being slow with a DH is the difference between getting hit for 10k or nothing - being slow with the Barbarian is the difference between getting hit for 7k or 5k. In general, the melee classes take more damage, so gear is more important (grindy game gets even grindier) but having a lag spike or getting hit by something you should have dodged is more survivable.
posted by xdvesper at 7:57 PM on May 28, 2012


This so much reminds me of the fake Doom novelization that was floating around the net a dozen years ago or so.
I looked up, and was pleased to find more helmets, which I also put on, albeit somewhat awkwardly as I had to stack them, one on top of another.
posted by Jugwine at 8:47 PM on May 28, 2012 [3 favorites]


Diablo is not a deep game, it never was. It's a fun game. There are a number of fascinating psychological aspects to the interaction between player and game. One of the most interesting and devious is the mind numbing nature of the hack and slash clickfest - suddenly interrupted by OMG RUN vaultvaultvault smokescreen dammit dammit DAMMIT!!

There are many things to like about D3. Depth isn't one of them.
posted by Xoebe at 9:39 PM on May 28, 2012


Behind this loamy conquest lies a new desire, a block of cool stone, smooth to the touch, aching to be shaped by my mighty weapon. My tool raises of its own accord, eager for the challenge, and I lunge forward with a mighty downward thrust...

...while behind me, something creeps closer, and closer, stalking down my mighty shaft with a sinuous gait. I lay aside my pickaxe, and reach for a weapon truly capable of defending me and mine - the bicycle pump. I swiftly and deftly attach the nozzle to the creature, and it stands frozen, trembling as its body begins to balloon beneath my furious inflation...
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:35 AM on May 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm enjoying Diablo 3 (albeit at a slow pace), and I found this highly amusing.

Apparently, I'm the only one.
posted by gurple at 9:30 AM on May 29, 2012


Diablo 3 has been both addictive and laughable in equal measure for the week or so I've been casually playing it. I'm really glad I decided to reroll in hardcore mode over the weekend. It heightens everything about the game - the fight or flight response is that much more intense, the puzzling over the minutiae of equipment feels like a life-or-death decision, and every major victory is that much sweeter. I'm forming a real bond with this character, despite all odds. When I inevitably die and lose the hardcore character, I'm not sure what I'll do - maybe move on to another game. I'm not obsessed but it's good fun while it lasts, and underneath the mindlessness there's some real decision-making and strategy. The gold auction house ends up being a pretty interesting minigame, too. The only unforgivable thing (which isn't news to anyone) is the possibility that I'll lose my hardcore character to lag rather than my own faulty gameplay. A single-player game should not have lag, period. I sure hope this is getting fixed.
posted by naju at 12:09 PM on May 29, 2012


Decimask: My take when I read this was: "Well... huge chunks of that describe most games pretty much ever."

This. I await the same author's write-up of the Tour de France: "He pushed the left pedal. Then he pushed the right pedal. Then the left pedal. Then the right pedal. Then the left pedal. Then the right pedal. Then the left pedal. Then the right pedal. Then the left pedal. Then the right pedal. Then the left pedal. Then the right pedal. Then the left pedal. Then the right pedal. Then he drank some water. Then the left pedal. Then the right pedal. Then the left pedal. Then the right pedal. Then the left pedal. Then the right pedal. Then the left pedal. Then the right pedal. Then he moved his handlebars a little to the left. Then the left pedal. Then the right pedal. Then the left pedal. Then the right pedal. Then the left pedal. Then the right pedal..."
posted by Halloween Jack at 2:17 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


RIMMER: So there we were at 2:30 in the morning; I was beginning to wish
I had never come to cadet training school. To the south lay water --
there was no way we could cross that. To the east and west two armies
squeezed us in a pincer. The only way was north; I had to go for it
and pray the Gods were smiling on me. I picked up the dice and threw
two sixes. Caldecott couldn't believe it. My go again; another two
sixes!
posted by The otter lady at 2:56 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously though, you can make the most interesting story boring, or the most boring story interesting, depending on how you tell it. I mean, heck, "Harry Potter. He talks a bit then he does some stuff. Then he did some more stuff and talked some more. Then some stuff happened. Then he talked to some people and did some more stuff. Then he did different stuff. "
posted by The otter lady at 2:58 PM on May 29, 2012 [1 favorite]


"He pushed the left pedal. Then he pushed the right pedal. Then the left pedal. Then the right pedal ..."

You are not actually disproving the point here.
posted by kyrademon at 3:33 PM on May 29, 2012


Also he's totally neglecting the crucial steering component.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 3:36 PM on May 29, 2012



You are not actually disproving the point here.


Hmm. Let's try this, then: there's a lot more to something like the TdF than just pushing pedals, and if you can't see past that bit, then maybe it's just not for you. And maybe you shouldn't be writing for a cycling magazine if that's what you get out of it, which is this guy's relative position since he's writing for RPS.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:23 PM on May 31, 2012


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