I want Diablo III, but I don’t want Diablo III

The first videos of Diablo III are now pouring through YouTube and now we can have a somewhat better idea of how the game is going to work:

Now, from someone that played Diablo I and II, Torchlight, is curious about that huge Skill tree on Path of the Exile and checked most of every other ARPG around, Diablo III looks pretty boring. Just looking at the video, it seems like a larger, darker version of Torchlight — but, then again, the ARPG format was explored a lot already, so there isn’t much difference between ARPGs these days.

And then you have the very simplified skill system. Good, bad? Don’t know, but seems… meh. Character personalization seems to fall all around runes, and there are only 4 options to each of those. Poisonmancer, Golemancer, Minion master, Bonemancer… All those are “builds” of Diablo II Necromancer class; all other classes had a lot more builds. So even with 7 classes, the number of builds made it possible to expand your gameplay a lot more. Now… not so much.

So skill system doesn’t provide enough uniqueness, visual is not impressive, gameplay is almost the same… what is left? Story. That’s the only thing that could drive me to Diablo III now: A meteor? What was that? Is there any references to the Wanderer? Is Tyrael doing something after he destroyed the World Stone? Yes, I’m curious about it. On the other hand, that’s the only thing I’m interested right now.

But then we fall back to everybody (and they mums) complain about the game: Always online requirement. Sure, sure, Blizzard can say whatever they want about the “proper experience” and “secure place for the Real Money Auction House” (as if World of Warcraft are hacked by the thousands every day and those are Battle.Net accounts now, so you can imagine the problem when you go in vacation and half way through it you can’t use your credit card anymore ’cause your limit was maxed when someone got your Battle.net account and bought half of the auction house with your credit card attached) but there are lots of problems with it already. Rock Paper Shotgun had a experience with the servers and, although they are still in beta, they shown a small experience what happens when your connection, your router, your modem, your ISP, Blizzard’s connect or their servers go haywire.

Also, by the report above, it seems a hacked version of Diablo III is very very unlikely to happen: They adopted a Guild Wars mode where the server comes with everything and you play in instantiated zones and you can bring your friends with you, sharing the instance. The only way a hacked version would work would be implementing the whole map generation, item generation and AI mobs in a server, so you can scratch any possibility of getting a version that doesn’t require to be online.

I mentioned before my problem with Always Online requirement (the number of things you need to check to be sure you can play is too much and Blizzard gave me a bad taste of their “maintenance time” while living in Australia) and now it seems Diablo is region locked — which probably means I can now only play with other Brazilians and their continuous trolling in online games — makes a complete turn off about the game.

Boring + Stupid Requirements > Good Story. Good thinking Blizzard, you basically killed your game.

Assassin’s Creed Is What I’ve Been Missing

Last week I bought “Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood” with only one thing in mind: Multiplayer. I’ve been watching some videos on the internets with people playing online and I thought it seemed fun enough to buy the game. As any other game, before jumping into multiplayer, I felt I needed to play the story more first to get used to the controls and such, just to be ready for the battle. I still didn’t join a single multiplayer game.

No, it’s not that the controls are that confusing. First, I’m hooked into the story. Obviously, over the years playing casual/indie games and MMOs, where story is a side element (sometimes even forgotten). Not that all MMOs ignore story — Rift, for example, have a full story line quests for every zone and every time you “warp” into the zone, the loading screen show your progress on that zone (something like “You freed the peasants from the oppressive goblins, but a deep terror still lurks in the shadows of Zone”, when you’re mid way through the story quests) — but it’s not the main focus of MMOs these days.

Second, it’s the number of side games and my obsessive compulsive idea that I need to complete all them. The main story line is that you’re trying to take revenge on the Borgia family, but during that you can do assassination contracts, remove the Borgia control over certain parts of Rome, which opens small business that couldn’t work due their oppression, which you can reform, which gives you money, which allows you to get better gear, which allows you to claim more towers and so on. I’m probably spending more time in those side games than in the main quests.

Honestly, I was kinda afraid of buying it. I saw a friend playing the first Assassin’s Creed and, although the movement was fluid (as Brotherhood is) and the parkour looked fun (again, Brotherhood doesn’t stay behind), the missions were really repetitive: Go there and kill this guy. Not that Brotherhood goes too far away from it, but there is a mix of the assassination mode, escape runs, stalking walks and such, with the breaks from time to time to tell a story (cinematic like, but using the in-game engine) and those side missions, gives enough variety to avoid the boredom of killing people over and over again.

If you’re looking for a quick summary of how this game works, all I can say is: Remember Tomb Raider 1 and 2 and how it was fun? Well, this is kinda like that, except with less puzzle solving (in general).

It may be somewhat strange that I’m burning Blizzard for it’s Diablo III “online only” play when Ubisoft added the same DRM on this game. Although they work the same, the game in question works in different ways. I’ll expand on this soon, don’t worry.

PS: I know it’s an old game — XBox players have been playing it since November 2010, but the OS X version was released only in May this year.