Posted by Azuriel
As you may or may not have noticed, Diablo 3 has clawed its way back onto my Currently Playing sidebar.
Actually, that sentence is not entirely accurate on two counts. First, it has not clawed so much as been exhumed. And second, I am “playing” D3 as one plays daily quests – mechanically, and with iTunes going in the background.
I just completed Act 1 of Hell last night and am past the first boss of Act II, having went through the entirety of Nightmare without a single upgrade off of the ground. The problems I had with the Dervishes appears to have been an isolated incident (or things have been nerfed), insofar as my thoroughly literal faceroll tactic has obliterated every other challenger. A link to my build can be found here. In essensce, I hold down left-click to teleport and pummel mobs while an auto-AoE scoures the bones of my enemies to dust. I have not meaningfully changed my build since level 21.
After defeating Nightmare Diablo, I spent 50,000g on the AH and walked out with this:
There is something very specific I want to say about this picture. It is NOT a rumination of the overpoweredness of AH-bought gear. It is NOT an invitation to speculate how it would be expected of players new to Hell to have such stat increases. It is simply this statement, originally posted at Penny-Arcade:
[…] What I’m saying is that getting new shit actually is the game. For us, anyway. Getting and, crucially, equipping new loot. The whole AH thing short-circuits the entire idea: the game is, functionally speaking, a pinata. Right? Obviously, you could just go buy candy at the store. It’s not about having candy. It’s about getting candy.
The fundamental, crippling gripe I had with Torchlight was how I went the entire 20+ hour campaign wearing the exact same level 4 (legendary) amulet. These games are predicated on the stimulating the slot-machine areas of the brain, and to fail at this task is for the game to be rendered pointless at a conceptual level. Dropped items do not excite beyond the promise that I can extract more than their vendor price on the AH, so as purchase actual upgrades from the
cash shop AH.
As much as RNG has always been a part of the Diablo environment, I nevertheless feel a certain perversion of the formula. There is nothing RNG about Diablo loot anymore. Sell what drops, and equip what you buy. This is by no means a novel, late-breaking concern; people have been speculating on this issue from Day 1 of the announcement of the AH. I am confirming that such people are 100% correct.
Still, I trooper on, for various reasons:
- To say I did.
- Get a better, more equitable understanding of the endgame firsthand.
- In the off-chance I stumble across an unspoiled pocket of actual fun.
- For the Benjamins.
That last one is not entirely serious, although I know two people – one a commenter, and the other a close guildmate – whom have either sold or came upon an item worth $180 or more. The former said he/she sold a ring for 250 euros, in fact, completing the Diablo Annual Pass Challenge in a single stroke. These are level 60 items, of course, but it still boggles the mind a bit.
Many have predicted the RMAH market would be drying up soon, and maybe they are right. However, I predict a truly ridiculous renaissance once the PvP patch hits. Can you even imagine the volume of sales?
Posted by Azuriel
I am normally a gamer that dislikes playing more than one game at a time. For some reason, I have been all over the place lately.
Shining in the Darkness
It have been 15-20 years since I played this game, and I still have most of the first dungeon level memorized. Funny thing is that I made the exact same mistake I did when I played the game the first time as I did this time around: the king gives you 200g to buy some equipment, and I ended up buying a bronze dagger for 100g that I already had equipped. Considering you spend levels 1-4 running around within the first 20 feet of the dungeon entrance killing slimes for 2g apiece, it was a costly mistake. And “Holy eight max inventory slots that count your equipped gear, Batman!” I haven’t busted out the graph paper yet, but I know the 2nd dungeon level has trap doors that drop into lower level coming up.
Played through the prologue, and just spent some time in the first Inn hustling the fist-fighters out of almost 100
gold orens. It makes me wonder though, whether the game designers put those fist fights in there as a way of rewarding “expert” gamers, or if you are intended to quintuple your starting wealth in order to succeed. Game is alright so far, but I sort of hope the combat system gets a little deeper than the truncated Action RPG/DDR simulator is feels like at the moment. I mean, I was seriously expecting a Block or Dodge button to be necessary, but so far all I see is a “double-tap WASD to do practically nothing” prompt. Really digging the steam magic-punk setting though.
As an aside, my first glance at the sort of leveling up/skill tree system in Witcher made my eyes glaze over. People talk about Blizzard dumbing down WoW’s talent trees and combat ratings and such, but this is why. No doubt it will become second nature by the end, but my first impression of that unintuitive mess of an interface is not good.
Far Cry 2 was the first review I posted on this site, so I figured I may as well try out the first game when the Steam deal came around. I knew ahead of time that it was nothing like its sequel, but wow, it’s nothing like its sequel. If difficulty is based on the number of times I have been killed, Far Cry is thus far a really difficult game. That being said, this “difficulty” feels more like the sort of trial-and-error LIMBO/Out of this World style rather than challenging per se.
For example, there is a stealth meter, but I don’t actually get the impression that it is a stealth game – a serious design issue I have with a LOT of FPS titles that pretend stealth elements can just be plopped down into any game. When I think about stealth games, I think about Tenchu and Metal Gear Solid and Assassin’s Creed. You know, games that A) dissuade straight-up combat by making it difficult, B) have enemies with relatively predictable pathing, C) have ways of silently killing foes, and D) aren’t first-person / giving you some way of knowing how stealthed you are. Maybe this is a personal problem I have with FPS games, insofar as I expect to bring my mad Counter-Strike skillz to a game that wants you to sneak into that merc camp instead of killing them all (and getting killed through an opaque screen wall that the AI can magically see through).
Fallout: New Vegas – Lonesome Road DLC
I ended up caving and buying this DLC right away for the full $9.99 price because, much like LIMBO and Bastion, I could not get them out of my head despite having other games to play until they went on a Steam sale. So far, the environments are amazing in that “this is why I play Fallout” sort of ways. I do have two “gamey” issues that sort of break the immersion though. First, one of the gating mechanisms is how you have to detonate nuclear warheads to clear paths of debris. That’s fine… except when you detonate nuclear warheads next to buildings to just clear out some wooden pallets. It’s Fallout, so I’m not expecting destructible buildings in a game where looking at your Pip-Boy freezes time. But… they’re goddamn nuclear warheads.
The other gamey issue is the signature weapon, the Red Glare, which is a sort of rocket-launching minigun. The weapon is actually fine, it’s the rockets. I’m playing in Hardcore mode, so each rocket weighs 0.25 lbs. As you may know, you can break down a lot of the ammo in the game for parts to create better versions – breaking down 2 rockets for parts to create a High-Explosive rocket, for example. When you break down a rocket though, you get a Cherry Bomb, a 0.50 mm primer, and a Conductor. A Conductor in Fallout: New Vegas weighs 5 lbs. So, yes, each 0.25 lbs rocket breaks down into a 5 lbs Conductor. It’s gamey and should be trivial, but the little things are sometimes the worse offenders.
I haven’t taken this many screenshots-that-will-be-desktop-backgrounds since the original Fallout 3 and Point Lookout DLC.