A thoughtful and personal exploration of games

A Week in Tristram – Diablo III Initial Impressions

Well, the long awaited “conclusion” to the Diablo series has arrived! Initially I was iffy about purchasing it, but I was motivated late last Monday to invest in the game upon hearing that one of my friends was interested in playing it on launch night instead of our usual tabletop roleplaying game. It’s been almost a week and I have a few thoughts.

First of all, let me say that this game is just as fun (if not more) than Diablo II. The graphics upgrade, the varied skills and enemies, the lore entries, voice acting, music, atmospheric elements, destructible environments, and so on make for an incredible experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed myself this past week.

I do have a few small issues I’d like to point out.

Issue the First: I have the hardest time reading the font in game. Seriously, could you give me a little bit of size control on that? I’m running the game at a lower resolution than I’d like because my computer can’t handle it at 1280×800 (I wish I could), so I’m playing at 1024×620 (I think). It looks pretty darn good, it plays rather well, but the font is so damn tiny! I’d like to be able to read my stats AND the chat box without needing a freaking microscope.

Issue the Second: I’d like to be able to flag items for not selling or breaking down. Kind of like in D&D Online where you lock the item. Sometimes I mis-click. Admittedly, I really appreciate the buy back option for the vendors: it really really REALLY helps me. I’ve accidentally broken down a few items and I hope I get them again one day.

Issue the Third: Sometimes I don’t know when there are new conversation topics with the NPCs. The blue asterisk only shows up occasionally and I’ve learned to not rely on it for knowing when there’s something new to talk about. It’s not that its presence isn’t accurate when it is there, it’s just that its absence is sometimes a false negative if you catch my drift. I’ve missed a conversation with Cain twice now and I’ve missed one with Shen because I kept going back and nothing was new, so I played and then the story moved along and I missed them again without really a heads-up.

Issue the Fourth: This one really pisses me off: they didn’t finish the game guide before the game came out. So, they released their long awaited game and THEY DON’T HAVE A MANUAL! That thing on their website is NOT a manual and it’s FAR from complete. Seriously, assume I’m a new gamer: how am I supposed to figure out some of these things? They expect us all to be detectives? How is a player supposed to know that, regardless of the weapon category you’re using, your abilities use the damage ratings to determine their effectiveness? How are we supposed to understand the chat box functions? There isn’t a tutorial for how to use these things. As is, this game is NOT new player friendly. The tutorial is about 30 seconds of “click to move” and “click on zombie to hit it”. Those may be the fundamentals, but the finer points, like crafting, dyes, the chat box, grouping, adding friends, trading, I figured all that stuff out on my own by messing around. I LIKE to read manuals. They let me know if I’m missing anything. They give me extra context into the functions of the game and make me aware of ALL the functions. If anything, this shows me that you really dropped the documentation ball. Someone needs to be whipped through the office hallways at Blizzard for this severe oversight. I literally had to give a briefing on some of the details to a friend of mine who started playing with us on Sunday. I should NOT have had to do that.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, my barbarian is waiting to kill the Skeleton King.

Until next time!

– Elorfin

P.S. “For want of a nail the shoe is lost, for want of a shoe the horse is lost, for want of a horse the rider is lost.” A proverb that means that a seemingly insignificant thing that goes wrong can result in problems of enormous proportions.

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