Diablo 3 is out. You might have noticed. A handful of people have been talking about it, but hey, if you happened to miss it I wouldn't be surprised. Other things have been going on.
I think. Honestly, even major world events have been hidden from my view over the past week. The third (and allegedly final) installment in a trilogy which has, to put it mildly, been a long time in the making, is fantastic. Seriously. If you're playing it right now, you're doing one of two things: enjoying yourself, or looking for flaws, and then vocalising said flaws as hyperbolically as humanly possible. Which is why I'm writing this guest blog.
Diablo 3 has some enormous problems, which I'm going to touch upon so that we might accept them, and then move on with our lives.
First up, there's the gear, which isn't using the tier-based roll-and-pray system World of Warcraft uses. Diablo has never really done this before, I admit, but here, the quality of a piece (from magic to legendary) dictates how many random bonuses it has. That's it. There's no unique gear, you just need to grind over and over to find the most "perfect" version of something. This isn't fun, it's maths coupled with ceaseless labour. Back in beta, legendaries had unique class-specific bonuses. Now? Nothing. This is probably the worst thing about Diablo 3, apart from the next issue…
Online play. To stymie hacking, cheating and interference with / separation from their real money auction house, Blizz introduced an always-online component. No matter how bad your internet, you're forced to play on their online servers, meaning you can literally die due to lag whilst having a single-player experience. And if for some reason you don't have internet, you literally cannot play this game. It's a cruel, stupid, profit-driven decision, but the game is so fantastic and is selling so well that financially it will probably even out for Blizzard.
And finally, the auction house. This isn't as bad as the last two, mainly because you can avoid it if you want. It's creepy, and it means you could potentially blow more hard earned money, but self restraint will make this a non-issue.
Oh, and the ending is a little sudden, and comes at the tail end of a pretty rushed fourth act, but it's not a bad ending perse. It's left wide open for expansion packs, which I sincerely hope we get within the next year, because the plot was so compelling, and the characters to moreish, that I can't hold on longer than that.
Once again, these are the only problems with Diablo 3, in my mind. Sure, there are niggling issues, but most of those (cosmetic choices, for example) come down to personal taste and design sensibilities, and in the end, they don't matter a lot. The game is a juggernaut, built specifically to be replayed over and over with as many friends as possible. And if Blizzard can iron out some of these issues over time and give us yet more content, it'll definitely end up being at the peak of a damn fine trilogy.
By Paul Verhoeven