My Chars

Monday, September 08, 2008

A scathing AoC review + Some D2 Fun

I don't, as a rule, write about any other games apart from WoW, as I want to keep this blog focused. However this AoC review/rant was just so good, I had to link to it. Some of the comments are also good or downright hilarious:

There is an endgame in AoC. It’s called the forums.

Of course, one could say the same thing about WoW and PvP, so maybe I better not expand on that ;p

So what about D2? Well as it turns out I had no Internet connection last night - some problem at the phone company preventing the ADSL connection from working. A bit bored, I thought of trying a bit of Diablo II LoD. I recently thought of Diablo after reading about D3. Anyway, remembering the crappy graphics, I didn't have a lot of expectations of having fun...

Man was I wrong, I had a blast :D

I rolled a Necromancer and started running around killing stuff and summoning skeletons. By level 7 (when I went to sleep) I had 5 skeletons, a Flesh Golem and an archer mercenary following me around. A veritable (regenerating) army that let me roll right over any opposition, pretty much doing whatever I wanted and going where-ever I wanted. "Bosses" were a bit more difficult, I had to hit them myself for a bit to help my skelies and prevent them all from dying too quickly (since I rely on dead enemy bodies, my supply is not infinite).

So what makes game so much fun, even after all these years, the dated graphics and the fact that I've played it through several times already?
  1. Fast furious action.
  2. You are truely epic. Nearly no mob in the game, except for bosses, can stand up to you. At least not in normal mode... :)
  3. Very re-playable. There are 7 classes and each has 3 talent trees (called "skills" in Diablo) to further customize the experience. For example I played a Necro-summoner last night, letting my army do most of the work and only physically getting involved on bosses. As you can imagine (or read from the various online guides), a curses/bone+poison melee Necromancer plays the game very differently.
  4. Nightmare and Hell difficulty levels add even more play options, although this is not exactly of the same quality as a WoW heroic vs. normal instance - bosses/mobs do not have different abilities, they are just harder. Of course, not all heroic mobs/bosses have different abilities, so this is, at least some of the time, a fair comparison.
  5. The loot :)
  6. Getting around is very easy, with the teleport pads ("way points") and town-teleport scrolls providing similiar functionality to WoW's Summoning Stones and Hearthstone. Actually getting around is almost too easy - I'm guessing the WoW devs felt the same.
Of course, looking at D2 (single-player mode) from the eyes of a WoW player, it's easy to see what is missing:
  1. Very basic quest system - only 6 quests in the entire first act! Compare that to WoW's several thousands of quests...
  2. Bag space way too small. Waaaay too small. This is just plain annoying. And unlike WoW, there is no way to scale this up. The stash doesn't help - I want more bag space when walking around, not back at town. If I go back to town I can just vendor the stupid item...
  3. Talent trees are relatively small (fewer choices), and there is no way to respec - once you've made a choice, you're stuck with it. Kinda makes you appreciate the WoW respec option, high cost and all :)
  4. A simpler character sheet. E.g. no trinket slots!
I could go on - but D2 was an older game and therefore it makes sense that it would be simpler. It was also at heart a single-player game, a very different beast from an MMORPG. E.g. professions make little sense in a single-player game. adds a system for letting several people play together, including a basic barter system - but that still doesn't make D2 an MMO.

I'll say it again though, all things considered, D2 is amazingly fun. Although it will also suffer from dated graphics, I now have high hopes for Diablo III :)

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