A thoughtful and personal exploration of games

I’ll Get There Eventually – Linear Difficulty

I’ve recently started playing Diablo III again and I’ve moved in on Nightmare difficulty (or difficulty #2). It’s not too hard (as a level 35 Wizard, Act I of Nightmare starts out fairly easy), but I’ve died once already due to unexpected circumstances (read: fighting rare bad guys and getting rammed by a giant bull didn’t do wonders for my health meter).

Playing through the beginning of Nightmare has got me thinking about what’s ahead: Hell and Inferno difficulties. Unlike in other games, they’re much less avoidable than you’d think. The trick to Diablo is that the game starts with you playing Normal difficulty then, when you beat that, you increase the difficulty and do it all over again, and again, and again. The obstacles are essentially the same, they just become harder to overcome… but that’s okay because you’re gaining levels and experience and new equipment the whole time to keep you competitive.

Honestly, this might be the first time where I get pretty far into Hell difficulty. In Diablo II, I got part way into Act I of Hell difficulty before I got frustrated and quit. Here, well, I don’t know. In order to keep decent level progression going, I’m going to need to play Hell and maybe Inferno difficulty. The real trick is that it’s not my only choice.

With the implementation of quest reward experience and the ability to go back and do the quest over and over again, I could just farm quests in the earlier difficulty levels and kill hordes of enemies for the mass kill bonus experience. I might not have to actually play Inferno difficulty. Why is this an option for me? Well…

I’m here to have a good time. I play Diablo III to enjoy myself. The Wizard is FUN to play and I’ve rarely died with him (it’s not fun to get your character killed). I don’t want the excessive challenge that Inferno (and maybe Hell) difficulty brings. I want to have a good time. At a certain point in a lot of games, the challenge and the fun reach a point where the former exceeds the latter (for me at least). When the game stops being fun, it stops being a game and starts being work. Sometimes it takes me a while to realize this and often times this is in that grey area where I’m not entirely focused on fun and I’m frequently telling myself, “Oh come on, I made it this far, I can totally do this.” Typically this is the point where I make a new character or I change games for a year.

The past couple of days I’ve been playing a level 34-35 Wizard in Normal difficulty picking up achievements and getting some of the things I’ve missed… also building up money. It was so much fun! Eventually though, I really wanted to get a couple of levels quickly and so I started in on Nightmare difficulty and already I’m level 37 (shooting for the sky, but hoping to get level 39 or 40 soon due to some cool abilities I’ll get by then). In the mean time, I’m super happy that most games have a single set difficulty. That means I can experience the whole game on the easiest setting and have the good time I’m looking for.

I might get to Hell difficulty. I might get to Inferno difficulty. I don’t know if I’ll enjoy it though, and that’s my main concern. Diablo III is a great game and a big part of me is okay with sticking to the lower difficulty areas if it means that I’m not stressing out and I’m having a good time. That’s what it’s all about after all, right?

Until next time!

– Elorfin

P.S. “Difficulty is a severe instructor, set over us by the supreme ordinance of a paternal guardian and legislator, who knows us better than we know ourselves, as he loves us better too. He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper.” – Edmund Burke


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