Friday, May 25, 2012

The EVE of Diablo III

So lately I've been sort of hanging with a new crowd, some guys I work with. Mostly dick and fart jokes and trolling and trying to outhomo one another, badger calling, and faux-southern accents. Also, nonsense like Epic Rap Battles of History and Neature Walk. (Insert twenty minute interlude while I stare at Youtube.)

So one of these guys tried to get the three of us to play EVE Online with him. Somewhat reluctantly I downloaded the free 21 day trial and decided that I really like mining asteroids and blowing shit up in space. The thing I like most about the game is that it is basically lawless and everything about it is basically player driven. Players alliances and corporations can drench entire systems of war that basically make those systems impossible to traverse. Those same wars increase the demand for ships in the game, which causes the market to fluctuate and let players sell ships and materials for ships for higher than normal costs.

The game is very interesting in that there are no npc vendors. All of the stuff on the market is stuff that has been mined, created, or looted from wrecks by other players, aside from certain things. The game is basically just a massive pile of spreadsheets full of statistic and percentages that basically just give me a nerd boner. You can even insure ships to have a payout when you get your ship blown up, and there was even a time where people were engaging in insurance fraud to make cash off of buying and blowing up their own ships.

Pause for a moment while I obtain more scotch.

Anyway, I love the game. It has a lot of aspects to it that channel what I love about running games. There's a lot of data management that goes into playing. You need to have the right skills trained to use certain ships and modules. The twelve (real time) days of training required to allow me to use tech II heavy missile launchers were a lot of patiently waiting with a fairly nice payoff, as fury missiles pack a helluva punch.

The game is an MMO, but not an RPG or flight sim or anything like that. Maybe an economy sim, heh. Anyway, there aren't levels, but you do train skills. Oh Dog. I just had a revelation. EVE is the GURPS of MMOs. My nerd boner is so hard it hurts now. Your skills train while you are offline, so you just have to set up your queue and let it tick down as you accrue skill points based on your attributes. Those skills you learn qualify you for progressively more specialized/powerful skills. For instance, you need to train standard missiles and missile launcher operations up to a certain point before you can start training to use heavy missiles. It is a neat game, but you have to like spreadsheets and percentages to really develop an affinity for it I think. Also, this doesn't hurt as an introduction to EVE tactics. Or at least that is what my corporation told me when I joined up. Heh. John tried to get me into EVE a few years ago, and I think Tony tried it for a while, but I never did. I regret that decision immensely now. Sigh, these things happen.

To continue with the video games theme, perhaps you've heard of it, but there is this PC game series called Diablo. Diablo III dropped on the fifteenth worldwide, and those guys I've been hanging with convinced me it would be a swell use of time to buy it. Due to working nights, I was up at 3:00 AM when it launched and was playable. It was not playable. Massive errors and server issues caused it to immediately be shut down for maintenance due to the heavy workload placed on the servers by the entire world trying to play the same fucking game at the same fucking time. It was so bad a launch that it screwed up the World of Warcraft and Starcraft II servers as well. Good job Blizzard, you fucktwits. Who knew people would want to play Diablo III when it released? Right?

The awesome thing is that you have to have an active internet connection and be connected to at all times to play the game, even if you are playing without your friends. Mind you, Diablo III is a single-player game, not an MMO.

The game itself is pretty good, it is more Diablo with nice graphics and a streamlined system of character advancement. Diablo has never been anything more than a click fest of murder and looting, ever. It is the iconic action RPG. There are no hard or moral choices to make or any sort of real character development. You click and click and click some more until your fingers gain muscle mass and definition, and you love every second of it.

There is definitely a bit of World of Warcraft in Diablo III, but there was a heap of Diablo in World of Warcraft in the first place, so it is basically still based on itself. I have to say, I enjoy the more focused levelling system. You no longer distribute skill points or attribute points. The attribute gain is specific to each class, and your class abilities don't have ranks, but they can be modified by runes you unlock. They've also relaxed the inventory Tetris aspect of the game, which is helpful. I guess ask yourself the following: Do you like Diablo? Would you like to play more Diablo? If yes to either of those questions, you'll like Diablo III. That is assuming you aren't infuriated by the stupid fucking online at all times requirements and the periodic server errors that crop up. If those are deal breakers for you, go play Torchlight, which is a glorious game.

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