I was a junior in college when the original Diablo video game came out from Blizzard Entertainment. The game puts you in the role of an adventurer fighting against the forces of Hell. The game primarily uses the mouse for movement, combat, and abilities.
I remember watching my friend Roclar play it. “Okay, so there’s this guy called the Butcher.” Click click click. “Okay, so, I’m gonna” click click click click “kill him with ease by-oh. Oh. Oh no!” Click click click click dead Roclar.
“I’ll just reload.”
And so it went, for hundreds of hours, substituting the Butcher for any number of characters, and Diablo for Diablo II or any of the expansions.
The game was devastatingly, stupidly simple: Left and right click on stuff while killing monsters, looking for treasure, and gaining new powers.
I literally wore out a mouse playing this game; the buttons were used so much they just broke. The left mouse button got stuck in the down position, and the right button wouldn’t register clicks half the time.
I just became part of the beta test group for Diablo III on Wednesday. I installed the game immediately, and have started playing the game.
Everything is the same, just with new character types and better graphics. There’s still the click click click and the excitement of uncovering a stash of magic items.
But I’m not having any fun.
If Diablo’s formula hasn’t changed, maybe it’s me?
Most of my online gaming time is spent playing StarCraft 2, which is also made by Blizzard. StarCraft 2 is mostly an online game where you (or you and your teammates) battle against other players. There are three races to choose from, and each race has a ton of units. The game is very complex, and requires a mix of strategic planning, quick tactical thinking, and extremely fast reflexes.
The left- and right-clicking of Diablo feels like the equivalent of turning on the television and drooling on myself.
Case in point: I drank a cup of coffee this morning while playing Diablo III. You can pretty much run the beginning part of the game with one hand. I had a conversation with my dog Pearl yesterday while I held down the left mouse button and killed a throng of zombies.
This is not compelling gameplay. This is not “holy shit I can’t talk to you right now” gaming, or better yet, “we had a conversation about redecorating the house? Sorry, I was multitasking while doing a drop and keeping my macro up.”
Diablo III has been extremely true to itself so far. It’s not bad that the game is formulaic and single-threaded; it’s just not what I am looking for in a game right now.
That being said, I can appreciate the allure of a dead-simple monster bashfest. Despite my grumblings, I still have the game open. A pack of undead dogs surround my witch doctor like a UFC fighter and his training crew. In spite of myself, Sedagive? may hear a lot of click click click for the next month or so.