Diablo III in the Living Room: legacy of Cain

Brandon Cackowski-Schnell and Tom Chick will be posting daily updates on Diablo III for the Xbox 360 over the coming week. This is their sixth and penultimate entry.

Brandon: Tom poked fun at me for not knowing King Leon’s name, but let’s deal with the elephant in the room here, namely the writing in this game.

Tom: Oooh, this should be good. Take it away, Mr. “I’m In It For The Story”!

After the jump, once upon a time in Tristram

Brandon: First of all, I understand that Diablo is some ultimate evil or something, but why are we still listening to Deckard Cain when he clearly can’t get the job done? I’ve seen this guy in all three games at this point. He and his books are about as useful as those Bracers of the Pigeon you’re trying to con me into buying.

Tom: The day will come that you feel bad about dissing Deckard Cain. I predict it will come soon. And you missed out on the Bracers of the Pigeon. Haedrig already boiled them down into a subtle essence. You snooze, you lose. However, if you act fast, I can sell you some Illustrious Apprentice Britches of the Badger for a reasonable price.

Brandon: I’m a huge fan of Supernatural so I’m used to evil getting banished and released ad nauseum but I think this series needs a new villain. Enter Diabolus, Son of Diablo! On a related note, after I killed King Lothario, someone mentioned something about pieces of some sword out in the countryside and my character said “that must be why the goatmen are rampaging in the fields!” First, the way it was delivered was like it was perfectly normal for there to be goatmen, it was just the rampaging that was abnormal. Everyone knows that goats are awful hellspawns so if there were such a thing as goatmen, rampaging would be expected behaviour due to their hideous parentage. Second, why in the hell would it be normal for there to be goatmen? The other monsters I somewhat understand as Diablo has unleashed the forces of Hell but I don’t get the feeling that this world is one in which bipedal goat humanoids just roam around, eating tin cans and plowing fields with the local farmers. Sure, I understand that the story is supposed to be the leveling and the skill development but this is some paper thin shit. I can sum up the plot of this game in a tweet and still have enough characters left for the #SeenItBefore hashtag.


Whew. That felt good.

Tom: Why don’ t you say mean things about Leah while you’re at it? Go ahead.

Brandon: What didn’t feel good was dying a whole bunch this morning. I expected it to be this huge monetary penalty but instead my equipment took a ding. All things considered, I guess it wasn’t too bad. Sure, I have to pay to have it repaired, but I can also just wait and replace it with other stuff seeing how my equipment only breaks when I die.

Tom: All those hours of Blizzard repair fees in various games and that never occurred to me. Brandon, are you available for real-world financial management as well?

Brandon: I tried not to die, honest I did, but in yet another brilliant display of Diablo obfuscation, I didn’t know that health potions have a cooldown period. What genius came up with that idea? If I want to blow through all of my health potions, that’s my business. It’s my party and I’ll guzzle health potions if I want to.

Tom: Blame Geralt from The Witcher for introducing the idea that if you drink too many potions too fast, you’ll get addicted. Wait, am I thinking of heroin or potions?

Brandon: So now that you’ve spent almost an entire week with the game, are you missing the auction house and battle.net and the constant internet connection or are you ready to say goodbye to your PC characters and sit on your couch until you slide into the cushions and disappear forever?

Tom: I don’t miss the auction house one whit. It’s an interesting idea — and by interesting, I mean Activision’s shareholders must be tickled pink with all the green it’s bringing in — but the economy of Diablo III is better off without it. This ain’t no MMO. Furthermore, I’m keenly aware that some of the systems work better without an auction house gumming up the works. Suddenly I’m actually invested in the blacksmith training. Suddenly, I’m very particular about managing my gems. Suddenly, the item find bonus matters all the more. Suddenly, without the auction house to undermine it all, Diablo III is playing as it was designed.

As for the always online, I’m mostly inured to that. It’s still a dick move when publishers do it, and it’s destroyed its share of games. The latest SimCity, for example, falls apart almost tragically for how poorly EA implemented what should have been a solid design concept. But I only minded Diablo III being online about 0.01% of the time (i.e. when the servers were down). However, you have a point about the couch. Which leads me to what might be my favorite thing about the living room version of Diablo III. We’ll get into that when we finish up this series tomorrow.

And finally, this isn’t the end.