Diablo 3 (Very) Quick Impressions

Clickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclick….

…”goddammit I’m still not in!”

More clickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclick…

…”goddammit, now it’s not letting me make a character!”

Even more clickclickclickclickclickclickclickclick…

…”and now it’s not letting me log in…oh, wait, nevermind, there it goes”.

A TORRENT of clickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclickclick…

…”wait, WHAT time is it? GAD!”

Diablo 3 is, from what I can see, a gameplay experience that’s polished to a fine sheen. I’m not sure yet if I like it more than I do Torchlight, since Torchlight has a sort of earnest eagerness to please and indie charm that you just aren’t going to get from the Blizzard monolith. I do like it, though. Diablo’s just as compelling as it ever was. Getting rid of the skill trees was a stroke of brilliance, too, that takes away the stress of worrying about your “build” and lets you get to the part you actually want to play.

That said, there’s one bit that ISN’T polished, and it’s the servers. Folks, having to log into a single-player game is bad enough. Having said single-player game not let you log in because the servers are too busy is just downright perverse. I think I saw the entire Internet start screaming “YOU GOTTA BE KIDDING ME” in unison a few hours ago, and they had every right.

Sure, rocky launches for online-only games are normal enough, but this never needed to be an online-only game. The only reason it is is due to Blizzard’s terror at the idea that the game would be reverse-engineered by people looking to game their real-money auction house. It will be reverse-engineered anyway, of course; but in the meantime, you’ve got people who own a single-player game that they can’t play because the servers are overloaded.

The worst part is that tomorrow’s going to be worse. This was just the die-hards who were willing to stay up all night. In about 14 hours or so, those servers are going to get hammered like a fratboy on St. Patrick’s Day. Unless they take action soon, it’ll be a debacle, and the stench of it will hang over the entire game for a good long time.

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2 thoughts on “Diablo 3 (Very) Quick Impressions

  1. Pete Davison says:

    Oddly enough I’m finding it tough to get riled about the online-only thing with Diablo III because to me, Diablo has always been an online game. I get why people are pissed at the DRM, but there are plenty of single-player focused skeleton clickers (such as Torchlight) which work fine offline to play in the meantime. For me, Diablo has always been about playing with friends.

    I can’t even get too angry about the login issues. I know we should be past the stage where login issues for an online game should be “expected” at launch, but we’re not. And as far as online games go, Diablo III is a biggie, so for the servers to throw open their floodgates at midnight and promptly crash, while frustrating for those who want to play RIGHT NOW DAMMIT, it is not exactly unexpected or unprecedented — particularly for Blizzard titles.

    Of course, I may have been more pissed at all this were I not currently away from home on holiday. 🙂 Back tonight, though — we’ll see if things have been resolved by then.

    • craigbamford says:

      I’ve only ever played Diablo single-player. (One of the reasons I thought Torchlight was such an effective take on it; I didn’t miss the multi that I never played in the first place.)

      And, yes, there are other clickers they can play, and if D3 were an exception to the rule, that’d be different. It isn’t. It’s one example among many, and it’s a beloved series that’s been seriously damaged by this nonsense.

      It’s the best and worst of the modern gaming industry all wrapped up in one: excellent, carefully crafted, meticulously playtested, analytics-conscious design…married to utterly obnoxious DRM that just spoils the whole damned thing.

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