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Why Diablo III may become the next Game of the Year

Aw man.  For all the gamers out there, you can relate.  If you’re not a gamer, feel free leave me a comment with any questions you may have, and I’ll be happy to answer them.

I’ve been playing Blizzard’s World of Warcraft (or WoW for short)  for going on six years or so.  Though I’ll continue to “love it long time”, it has grown stale.  Here are but a few reasons why.  You can learn more about my recent throughts on WoW in my other Blog Posting on why WoW is losing steam.

1.  The inundation “trolls” (people messaging simply to incite arguments)

2.  “spammers” (bots or even some humans who attempt to trick you into visiting a “phishing” site under the guise you’ll be able to get a leg up on the competition by having the option of buying with real money virtual Gold, Gear, Equipment, Weapons, Mounts and Supplies.

3.  I’m having a hard time finding friends who can come online to play with me while I’m online.  Getting harder to connect with them.

4.  The challenge of finding fun people to play with (who don’t have an attitude if you’re not insanely perfect)

5.  Difficulty in finding and joining Raids.  Raids are dungeons you go into with groups of 10 or 20 people at a time, as opposed to dungeons where you’re limited to 5 people at a time.  Many people who do raids are not sympathetic to those who are new to raiding.

6.  The latest expansion pack, Mists of Panderia, isn’t near as exciting or fun as I predicted.

7.  The Refer-A-Friend Program released by Blizzard.  Generally I’m a big fan of such promotions, but when they involve giving those new players (aka “newbies”) the chance to literally jump 50-70 levels in mere minutes, it loses the magic of playing through from Level 1, and experiencing the “world of hard knocks”.  The new people who get and/or use such a jumpstart don’t grasp the appreciation for what it’s like to start from Level 1.

While a member of World of Warcraft, I signed up for what’s called a WoW Annual pass.  Essentially you commit to staying on as a member for a whole year.  In exchange you get early access to the Mists of Panderia Beta before it’s released in Retail, you get a “free” flying mount (much like a Pegasus) for all the characters (aka “Toons”) on your account (You can have up to 50 toons, up to 10 toons per realm/server).  Finally you get Blizzard’s new game, Diablo III for free (digital download only, approximately 13 GB).

I’ve been looking forward to Diablo III for years, and as it turns out, it was worth the wait.

Granted, they needed to really jazz it up to impress players and pull them back into the Diablo franchise, I have to say that overall it’s pretty cool.

I’ll start by getting all the things I DON’T like about it, out of the way now:

1.  Spammers are already hitting Diablo III.  Clever bums!

2.  It auto-logs you into General Chat.  I usually start each game leaving that chat room because I often either play solo or I play with a couple friends.

3.  The chat window is too, freaking small, to make it even worth reading!  I wear prescription lenses…I want the awesome graphics but I don’t want to have to strain my eyes trying to read the text throughout the game.  One of the common problems in Intermediate to Hardcore Gaming is the tradeoff between being able to read what’s going on and read equipment descriptions vs. having beautiful graphics.

4.  About half the cut-scenes are kind of a yellow-browned-tinged pencil drawing look, which seems kind of like they got chinsy and cheaped-out instead of using more or all CGI-level animation.  It was kind of cool and artistic in the beginning, but the more I see it, the more I think they took the easy way out.

5.  See #3.  Once fonts get too tiny and hard to read, it’s

Now onward and upward to the awesome things about this game!

1.  Like Diablo II, the idea is you pass it in Normal Difficulty Mode, then repeat in Nightmare Mode (which will be increasingly harder), then I think Hell Mode (even harder) and I think the max is like Insane Mode or something like that, where if you die, your death is permanent.  I’ve never gotten that far, but I’m assuming if you die once, then you have to start another character/toon from scratch to attempt the highest level.  If you manage to complete the highest difficulty you have passed the game.

2.  Create up to 10 characters on your server.  There are 5 character classes to choose from:  Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Wizard, Monk, and Witch Doctor.  You wouldn’t think they’d all be awesome,…but they are!  They all have their cool factor and quirks that make them unique.  Choose between Male or Female.   For example, you can have 5 female toons (one of each class) and 5 male toons (one of each class)

3.  It’s easy to learn the controls.  If you’ve played Diablo I and Diablo II, the controls will be very familiar.  They’re not overly difficult and give you a enough controls to feel fresh.

4.  If you’ve never played Diablo before, the story told while the game is installing will catch you up and bring you current to the storyline.

5.  Gameplay is fluid.  Except for the occasional lag-type glitches.  Am not sure, but may be related to at&t DSL connection (1/10th the advertised/billed download speed).

6.  Graphics are spectacular and give it an overall creepy, ominous feeling.  A lot of interaction with the environment.

7.  Great for those who are fans of blood, gore and flailing body parts.  Caution to parents of young children.  Parents, you might want to play it a while yourself, and then determine at what age you wish to expose your kids to the awesomeness that is Diablo III.

8.  Seems like everything is voiceover work.  Which I LOVE!  In this day and age I think most if not all games should be Voiced-Over.  If you miss something you can always repeat it and see it in written form, as well.

And thus far, from what I’ve seen out there in the gaming world, at least when it comes to PC/Mac-based games, I think Blizzard’s Diablo III stands a great chance of becoming Game of the Year 2012 (aka GOTY)!!!

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