Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Return of the King

Blizzards’ Diablo III dropped yesterday, I bought it and I’m enjoying it. After the snafu in the early hours of launch everything seems to be running smoothly. A few people beat the game in the ridiculously short time that some people will always try to achieve. Diablo IIIs' strength is its simplicity. No customization other than a few choices here and there, it is simple and unadulterated action role playing at its best. I made a couple characters and then I was off to the races. It’s a fun game, with a predictable but interesting storyline. Add to that a solid combat, though it makes me itch for a controller, and its one for the ages. And unsurprisingly, beyond the expectations of the vocal minority, it hasn’t brought on the end of the world.

It has been almost twelve years since Diablo II dropped. It’s a long time between games even for a series as loved as this one but sometimes the King has to leave for a while for people to appreciate him. It’s been four years since The Dark Knight, it’s hard to imagine but Heath Ledger’s crowning achievement released in major theaters in 2008. I, like the rest of the world, was surprised when he got the part, until we saw that fateful Super bowl commercial when he asked ‘why so serious’, then we knew and understood. You can say that line in a crowded room today and people will still probably know what you’re talking about. It was one of the first times comic book movies were taken seriously by both the media and the public as a commentary on our society; it was the birth of a king. Others came afterwards, trotting along the path that it broke, some have even gone their own way. 

Now we come to Diablo III, a game from which all others of its kind will be measured and quite likely found wanting. Diablo III has four player co-op that lets you easily jump in and out games and it lets you play with people around the world seamlessly. It lets people use their wallets as they see fit, to make or spend money, or not at all. Top notch graphics and an excellent storyline; add randomized dungeons and you have a nigh perfect game. In other words you have a King. Blizzard made tough choices, some of them they probably went back and forth on. Keep hacking down to a minimum but make sure the online was fluid and unimpeachable, meant that they had to take steps they knew weren’t going to go down well. It’s funny when people cheat in the latest Call of Duty or Battlefield, the internet lights afire; there are few things gamers hate than being beat by a cheater online. There is always the call for the developer ‘to do something’, to make it fair for everybody. Of course when the ban hammer comes down, out comes the fervent argument that this player and that player didn’t know it was cheating; besides everyone else was doing it.

Sometimes a king leaves because he needs to time to formulate a plan or to make his people remember why they need him. Like most anything, too much of something lets you forget why it was so important in the first place, you expect it and believe that it is a right rather than a privilege. Peace, Justice, Truth, Freedom; you start believing that these things come easy or without price. You expect greatness from a game rather than rejoice that it happens at all. You nitpick the small inconsequential things rather than comprehend how easily it all disappears. What a king does best is lead those that follow along the right path. A king leads so that others might follow. He breaks the new ground, takes chances and the unpopular choice so that his followers can grow and prosper. As a good king does, Blizzard made the hard choices, and they seem to have succeeded more than they failed; such is their right and such is their burden as king. Long live the King.

No comments:

Post a Comment