As I sat down at my desk to play the Diablo 3 beta, I took a moment to reflect. Many of things have changed in my life since Diablo II was released. I finished college, got married, bought a house, and nearly doubled in age. The fact is, life for me is completely different now. The way I play games has changed as well. My genre preferences have changed. The time I spend gaming per week has reduced. Point being, if Diablo hasn’t changed with me, how can I be expected to enjoy it the way I’ve enjoyed the first two in the series back when life was simpler? I was near sweating in anticipation of this answer. I stopped reflecting, double-clicked the icon, and opened the door to a new world. Or is it?
My very first experience with Diablo was in 1996. Brian had come over to my house as we installed the demo off a Zip drive. I think it took over two hours. But I remember so well having Brian right there next to me as we hacked and slashed through Tristram in a game that felt so raw and so new. Fast forward to 2012 and I couldn’t imagine playing Diablo 3’s beta with anyone but Brian. In a way, Diablo 3 is a reboot of the franchise. The game is advertised to be streamlined tremendously and to also focus heavily on what drew us all to the original: action, horror, and loot. After creating our characters we spent 3 hours in the town of New Tristram in what felt like a flashback to 1996.
Brian created a female Demon Hunter, while I started with a male Monk. Blizzard’s goal of simplifying the gameplay drew a lot of skepticism amongst fans. After all, Diablo 2 was full of options that lead to hundreds of replay opportunities. My question has been, “why bother making Diablo 3 if it’s going to be the same old thing?” I believe Blizzard asked the same question and for that reason, they simplified the gameplay in order to allow the player to focus more on why we all love Diablo: action, horror, and loot. And they’ve done it well.
Diablo 3 feels like a reboot to me. But, the focus on the franchise core strengths while making it very easy to play with friends and not have to worry about granular statistic management makes Diablo 3 a welcome addition to the series. I personally can’t wait for May 15th!