Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Some thoughts on the Witch Doctor (part 2)

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A lot has changed since my last post, not only in my playing but also in the game. As I started to feel like Inferno was kicking my ass a little bit too much, I decided to have a serious run through of my stats and  ponder what I had to change to be able to advance further into the game. As it was, I was literally being two shot by anything, even non-rare mobs and it was quickly getting a lot more frustrating than fun. Everyone wants some challenge but I recall, after having died to the same lame crap for the tenth time in five minutes, that I was just about to give up on the game. Fortunately, some of my friends play WD as well, and offered some advice.

Turns out, I had been doing rookie mistake 101, by stacking health and intelligence rather than any other stat. As I was doing Hell a friend of my bf said I'd notice in Inferno that stacking health wasn't all that good for this type of class, because even with shitloads of health you'd be pretty much one shot if the mobs got a hold of you (which they do). The trick was to out run the big blows and survive the "smaller" ones. I say small, but obviously they're still massive. with health regen, armor and resistances however, you can mitigate them enough to live to see another rare mob. I didn't heed that advice then though, thinking that there was no way that a couple of hundred extra resistances could make up for tens of thousands of hp. Turns out, I was wrong.

After consulting further advice, all of them pretty much saying the same thing, I decided to give it a try. After all, it couldn't get much worse and worst case scenario I would've have wasted a lot of money. In the end I swapped about 20.000 dps to about 250 extra resistance in all schools, 800 hp/s and some more armor and dps. And I did notice a difference. Suddenly I could take a couple of hits of Mortar/Plagued/Arcane/all the other shit that kept killing me. And surviving more than two seconds meant I had a chance again. Seems everyone else was right.

Like many of you I had noticed just how powerful attack speed was pretty early on. I am guessing this is somehow related to how much you already have in dps, making attack speed more and more valuable the more dps you have, but this is just a guess. Seems like Blizzard thought it was a little bit too good, so when I logged on the other day I had a couple of thousand dps less than before. Twitter solved the mystery for me, and I didn't actually notice much of a difference, although I didn't particularly like it anyway. It kind of reminded me of the spell power nerf they did in BC, where most casters saw their spell power halfed over night, which caused a minor outrage. Until people noticed they were still performing about as well as before. Thinking of it now I can't really remember why they did that nerf.

I can see the point in nerfing, or lets say fine tuning, a stat. What I didn't enjoy however was the nerf to repair costs. I went from paying somewhere around 8k for red gear to a three double cost of around 25k. At first I didn't think much of it, because to be honest it seemed like the market would quickly be flooded with gold what with the amounts that were dropping. But then I noticed what a spiraling effect this had on everything else. suddenly, I didn't actually profit anything from a run, in fact after an encounter with an especially horrid elite mob I would lose more money from playing than I could regain. This turned out to be a real issue, because when I needed better gear to counter the increased difficulty, I found that I had no money to buy them with. Apparently I wasn't the only one with that problem, because my sales on the Auction House dropped significantly as well, eventhough I had the same level of prices. That in turn meant another drop in income since I didn't get my crap... er, awesome rares sold anymore.

I've found that the only way
to battle this is to go and farm old content. And we all know how much I love farming. Not. I agree that the overall money income from just playing was a bit high, but I can't help but thinking Blizzard went a little bit overboard with the repair costs. Or am I just being whiny?

I have been further experimenting with my skills since last time. I am pretty satisfied with Spirit Walk and Poison Darts, but I found I really missed not having Grasp of the Dead, with the extra slowing rune. As for cc I definitely prefer it over Wall of the Dead and even Horrify. The short cooldown is what does it, allowing me to run around kiting mobs a lot better than with the other two cooldowns. I really enjoy Hex as well, although since I am currently farming Butcher *sigh* I've chosen not to use it since it isn't very useful on bosses. People keep telling me to use Firebats with Direbats rune, and I can definitely see why people like it. I just think it is a bit too unprecise, and it drinks my mana like nothing. But most annoyingly, it doesn't really respond to cast the way I want it to, meaning I have to stand still and pause to get it to work. At the moment I am using Haunt and Spirit Barrage instead, two skills that are awesome when kiting.


diablowiki.net


As promised last time, we'll take a closer look at the passives this time around;

Circle of Life - I haven't found much use for this skill. As I mentioned in my previous post, the average life expectancy on a Zombie Dog is about 5 seconds. Having a low chance to summon something that probably won't be around long enough to do any good doesn't seem very interesting. I would think this skill is only interesting to people who go a pet handling spec, with skills like Sacrifice for instance.

Jungle Fortitude - A skill I currently use, because taking 20% less damage from everything is pretty nifty. I do occasionally swap this for other passives though, depending on my mood.

Spiritual Attunement - A must have for me currently, due to my mana issues. I constantly run out of mana and that is even with the mana regen rune on Spirit Walk. I definitely need to get more mana regen gear.

Gruesome Feast - This is a decent passive I think, if only it lasted for longer than 10 seconds. It might stack up to five times, but you rarely get the stack that high because health globes simply aren't that frequent, unless you happen to coop with a barbarian who has the extra health globe drop passive. Which I am not.

Bad Medicine - This is probably a really good skill when coupled with an aoe poison attack like Acid Rain, or perhaps to use on a boss coupled with Poison Darts for example. As changing skills removes my Nephalem buff, I tend to avoid boss-specific skills and have been trying to find a set of skills that works well both on bosses and running through dungeons, meaning I'm not using this passive at the moment.

Blood Ritual - This could probably be a pretty good solution, or at least help, to my mana issues. I have not dared to use this however, because my life is scarce enough as it is without me having to spend extra everytime I cast a spell. That would be extra horrible against Reflective Damage mobs.

Zombie Handler - Back when I was still using summons I found this quite useful. The usefulness of this passive drops about as fast as the usefulness of the summons, because even the extra health doesn't save them.

Pierce the Veil - A skill I am currently using, and of course a big of my mana issue. I find it is worth it though, because I can definitely use all and any extra damage I can find.

Fetish Sycophants - I've noticed a couple of builds that use this passive, but I find it more fun than useful. I definitely don't get a proc often enough for me to like this passive, and of course the rare times I do it's always when I don't really need it. I try to avoid passives that have more downtime than uptime.

Spirit Vessel - I used to use this, mostly for the proc which saved me countless of times. But then I realized it was probably a better idea to use passives that prevent me from even ending up in a situation where I could die, rather than one that saves me after the fact. Kind of like how I didn't like Spirit of Redemption in WoW because it was only useful when dying and dying is something you're supposed to avoid anyway.

Vision Quest - I haven't tried this yet, although it could possibly be very useful. At the moment I am not using as many as four skills that even have a cooldown, and I am not sure how this passive works with non-cooldown skills. Do you know?

Fierce Loyalty
- I have never used this skill either, because when I had my pets I didn't really have any life regen and now that I have life regen I don't have my pets. If I do get enough life regen even my pets might survive longer than a handful of seconds. What they really would need though are my resistances.

Grave Injustice
- A pretty good passive for farming, but basically useless on most bosses since only a few bosses have any amount of adds. 8 yards is a very short range however, and not one you want to be within as a WD anyway, so this really needs a lot of extra pick up range to be really useful.

Tribal Rites - The only cooldown I use out of the three is Hex, and I find the cooldown on that one is short enough already. Using a passive slot for that alone would be very wasteful.

Which ones are you using?

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Some thoughts on the Witch Doctor

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My first (and so far only) character to level 60 in d3 is the Witch Doctor. Back in d2 I always preferred the Necromancer, and so I chose the Witch Doctor because it seemed like the most similar option, what with the pet handling and everything, one of the features I loved most about the Necromancer. I have mainly been playing the game co-op, and up until Inferno the Witch Doctor-Monk combo that I have been playing has worked awesomely. We've seemed to compliment eachothers weaknesses, making most encounters a breeze. Up until now I haven't really tried any other class except Barbarian, and seeing what a Demon Hunter and Monk can do. Compared to these classes I think Witch Doctors are ok, but they seem to suffer from one huge issue - they're considered a ranged class but many of their skills, if not a majority, require you to be pretty dang close to the enemy to be able to use. My main issue right now is trying to survive mobs that two-shot me, mobs I'd rather not be anywhere close to. The difference in survivability between me and my Monk bf is huge, I can easily die five times more often than him on most elites eventhough he is right up there in the fray with them, and I am trying to keep melee range to a minimum. We have similar stats, I have a lot more resistances and he has the 25% damage reduction from being a melee class (that I heard they were going to remove?). Why is the difference so huge?


Yes, I am pink for the achievement.

I definitely enjoy playing my Witch Doctor, but I am not sure it's the class I am going to enjoy playing the most overall. Most of the WD skills and spells are interesting, fun and original, but then there are a couple that just are a little bit too weird to feel useful. This is not me saying they don't have a use or that they're bad, but like I don't really get how to use them. Plague of Toads is such a skill. I am certain they have their areas of use, but most of the time I just don't see the point of having a handful of toads jumping around doing some slow ass damage right around my feet. Again, I do not want to have to stand right next to the mobs to be able to do damage to them. Other skills are quite enjoyable, like Flashbomb. Seeing that thing jump around wrecking havoc on unsuspecting jars and urns with the Flash Fire rune just never gets boring.

I am also disappointed about the fact that the pets quickly lose their usefulness as the difficulty level of the game increases. I know having a pet is a huge advantage, not so much for their damage but for the fact that they avert attention from the mobs, but making them basically useless towards the end of the game did not make me too happy.

At the moment I am struggling to find a balance between enough cc, enough aoe damage and enough single target damage. In normal, nightmare and hell difficulty it often sufficed to just switch skills before a boss fight to whatever suited that fight, but I find that in Inferno I constantly feel like I need more of everything - more cc, more aoe and more single target damage. And definitely more of any skill that will heal me. Which is another issue, because when I use runes that allow skills to heal me, it often means sacrificing damage or even worse, mana regen runes. I have serious issues with ooming, all the time.

The core concept of attacking and moving with the same key, or mouse button, is something that is starting to become a big problem as well. You can use a key to make sure you attack rather than move, but now I feel like what I really need is something that allows me to move instead of attacking, or preferrably move while attacking with my mouse button attack. At the moment I am having too many situations where I furiously scream at my own character to move the fuck out of fire, and when fire kills me in two shots that quickly becomes  extremely frustrating. I have already moved around my "stand still" button, because using shift was cramping up my little finger. Unfortunately it seems like Move/Interact/Primary Skill are locked to left mouse-button, but I have to figure something out because it isn't working the way it is now.

Let's take a look at the skills;

Poison Darts - I am quite fond of this skill, and it seems to be one of the skills that most people use, but at the moment I am choosing to use the Corpse Spiders instead because I have noticed that mobs sometimes attack the spiders instead of me and that is priceless. Also the spiders seek out mobs and don't require much aiming, which is great when I run around screaming like a headless chicken. Although a headless chicken probably wouldn't do much screaming...

Grasp of the Dead - Using the rune that adds extra slowing to this skill, this skill has saved my ass countless of times. It has a short cooldown and doesn't cost too much mana, allowing me to kite around mobs and/or flee from them when needed, and trust me, it is needed.

Corpse Spiders - One of the skills I currently use. It has served me very well all through Nightmare and Hell, but now I consider using the Poison Darts for more damage instead.

Zombie Dogs - Very useful throughout Normal and Nightmare, mostly because they kept the mobs off my ass. In Hell and Inferno I find that they die way too fast for me to want to use them unfortunately. They also have a tendency to pull things I'm not ready to fight yet, something that can be disastrous in Inferno.




Firebats - Some people seem to really like this skill, but I think it is clunky and difficult to use compared to other skills. It does deal a lot of damage, but it is difficult to aim and I usually prefer the aoe skills or single target skills instead, this is some sort of inbetween that just doesn't work for me.

Horrify - One of my favorite skills, and another that has saved me countless times. Most things seem to be fearable, unlike in many rpgs where special skills just don't seem to work against special mobs (yes Final Fantasy, I am looking at you).

Soul Harvest - I really liked this skill, and used it throughout all of Nightmare and most of Hell until having to run into melee range became too much of an issue and I tried to get skills that would avoid that. All that extra damage is great of course, a full stack can increase my dps my a thousand last time I looked (not to mention the extra resistance), but having to stick out my neck like that to get it was getting very uncomfortable.

Plague of Toads - Like mentioned, this skill really never hit home with me. It's stiff and weird to use, and I've mostly avoided it since the first time I got it. If you know I am wrong about this skill and feel it deserves a second chance, becomes some skills become more or less valuable depending on what you're fighting, give me a shout.

Haunt - This used to be one of my "use when fighting bosses" skills, alternating with Spirit Barrage. All through Nightmare and Hell I prioritized aoe skills when on the maps but now I am feeling like Haunt is becoming more and more valuable. I can set it to heal me and place it on several mobs which gives me a small, but desperately needed income of healing.

Sacrifice - This is one of the skills I have yet to fully understand the usefulness of. I realize it is best coupled with passives that spawn Demon Dogs and the Summon Demon Dogs skill, but I just don't see how a skill that requires me to have so many other skills can be any kind of useful compared to everything else I have to choose from. Sure it deals a lot of damage, but surely the overall dps can't be very high? someone who can explain this one for me?

Zombie Charger - I found that the usefulness of this one was quite dependant on which rune you decide to use. The original zombie charger isn't very good, being slow and difficult to aim. The Explosive Beast and Zombie Bears rune however are quite good, if pure damage is what you're after. Zombie Bears was one of my favorite skills throughout Hell.

Spirit Walk - Definitely one of the skills which usefulness changes depending on difficulty. Not very useful in Normal and Nightmare, I find this to be a must have in Hell and Inferno. I couldn't even say how many times this has saved me, and with either the mana regen or life regen rune this is priceless.

Spirit Barrage - Much used by me in boss fights, like mentioned I often used this or Haunt. Both Spirit Barrage and Haunt are comfortable in that they travel big distances and aren't bothered by obstacles, which is quite handy.

Gargantuan - I loved my Gargantuan all through Normal and Nightmare, then in the beginning of Hell I noticed him dying way too often, making him more on cooldown than actually in field. It is a shame, and I miss him dearly.

Firebomb - One of my favorite skills, especially with the Flash Fire rune which allows you to smoothly off-shoot mobs while targeting a main target. This proved especially useful on bosses that summon adds, where I can just focus on the boss mainly while my Firebomb jumped around wreaking havoc everywhere. The only reason I am not using it at the moment is because I have to find a mana regen skill to replace my spiders. And using Spiders and Firebomb simultaneously doesn't seem like it would work well either, but hey, it might.

Locust Swarm - I am worried Locust Swarm is one of those skills that is amazing but that I just haven't been able to handle properly and therefor dismissed as a pretty bad looking skill. My problem with it is the range and targetability, I just can't get it to do what I want. Another issue with it is that I can't really see where it is either, and the fact that D3 lacks a UI for dots placed on mobs (as far as I know anyway) I suspect that I recast this more often than needed or maybe not as often as needed just because I don't know if it is up where I want it or not.

Acid Cloud - Heavily used by me throughout Nightmare and Hell, it is still one of my favorite skills. Very good targetability and aoe damage, I especially enjoy that it follows a target ever when the target teleports or is knocked away (yes I am looking at you Monk) right at the same moment that I am casting the skill. The biggest drawback is that it uses a lot of mana, and now that two casts of this baby no longer wipes out a group I find myself too oomed to be able to use this as I used to.

Hex - Another skill that has saved me countless times. I love the fact that elites and even invulnerable minions are hexable. Sometimes my little fetish seems to get stuck in thought and not engage in combat properly, otherwise this is an amazing skill. At the moment I am alternating between this and Horrify, using the Hedge Magic rune. The heal is quite minor however so I might check out other options for this skill.

Mass Confusion - I'd love this skill if it wasn't for the long cooldown. Even with the rune that lowers the cooldown to 45 seconds rather than 60 I find it too long to be as useful as other skills I am currently using.

Big Bad Voodoo - BBV suffers from the same issue as Mass Confusion, with the cooldown being too long for me to want to use it anywhere but for very specific fights. The buff does up my and my bfs dps by a thousand each, but it is not only with a cooldown but also in a limited area. I'd definitely prefer this skill a lot more if it was an aura rather than an area.

Wall of Zombies
- One of my favorite skills, not only does it deal a good amount of damage, but it also prevent those nasty mobs from reaching me for a short period of time, if placed properly. I have a few issues with Wall of Zombies, none of which have turned out to be big problems. First of all, it is stationary, so if my Monk bf decides to do a knock-away just as I cast this he might very well have wasted that entire cast for me. That could be solved with some better communication between us, possibly. Secondly, there is no way for me to decides in which direction it gets placed, meaning it can randomly decide to go in a direction that is more or less useful. Most of the time it does what I want it to however.

Fetish Army - I've tried to use this from time to time, but I don't feel like the damage warrants the cooldown. Eventhough having a bunch of fetishes running around dealing damage can be useful, especially since it doesn't really require me to think to do damage, I actually prefer having a little more control over my damage, especially now in Inferno. Maybe this is yet another misunderstood skill, but I feel like there are a lot of other skills more useful than this.

That's it for the active skills. Since I don't want to exhaust you too much, I will leave the passive ones for my next post, along with what will probably be a lot of whining about how frustrating Inferno is. Until I find that balance of skills, and possibly better gear, it is almost more frustrating than fun at the moment. Any suggestions or thoughts on what skills to use are very welcome.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Field Report - Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now?

4 comments:
It is as if WoW wants me to stop play. It keeps throwing bricks in my face saying "get lost already, I've been looking at your ugly face long enough now. Isn't time for you to move on? You know, get a life and stuff?". I don't know where things went wrong, what made it change. For six years Wow has demanded my constant attention, whispering promises to me about all the fun we are going to have together, looking at me in disappointment whenever I hinted on doing something else for a while. And I didn't mind, I would gladly spend hours on time, every day, with WoW. For six years we had so much fun together, and I thought it would never end. Although I suppose in the back of my head I always knew something like this had to happen. The first crack surfaced already two years ago and things slowly went downhill from there. But even then I still had fun, amidst all the issues and problems I suddenly found myself in, I would nothing rather than to continue playing. Then the day finally came when I realized I hadn't logged on for several days, without any good reason. I wasn't on holiday, my internet connection was fine and my computer was working like it should. What had gone wrong?

I always found it impossible to say if lack of interest comes from within or outside. Is the fact that I play WoW less now because I've changed or because WoW has changed? Probably a bit of both, I can't say any of us is without blame. But I'd like to think I really tried, even when things were getting tough I put in the effort to make it better. It does feel like things fell through my fingers and there really wasn't anything I could've done differently. Even the way things are now, I don't regret any of my choices. But there is no denying that ever since I first decided to leave from my first raiding guild, that day in late summer two years ago, I have not really found a new stable raiding guild. I was in that first raiding guild for three years and during the two years since then I have been in three different guilds. I've never swapped guilds arbitrarily, in each and every event it has been because the raiding was virtually, or completely, lacking. Anyone who has followed my blog will know this line of history already and in a way it is beside the point, because I am sure that regardless I would've ended up in the situation I am in now.

And maybe that is exactly it. Because you see, I am not ready to quit yet. I still enjoy Wow just about as much as I ever have. I love the raiding, I love the random pugging and the leveling of yet another alt. I could see myself doing that for another couple of years with ease, and I am really looking forward to Mists of Pandaria. My problem is that everyone else has left. Like a chain reaction, once one piece of the domino chain fell, everyone else seemed to drop off with it, and suddenly I see myself logging on with absolutely no one online on my friends list, unless they are playing Diablo 3. The guild is completely empty, on hiatus until MoP officially but I silently find it difficult to believe that it would be able to find its way back without a massive effort from the guild managements side, a management I have seen or heard from in months. The last time I properly raided must've been in April sometime, when we had some ill-fated tries on Spine of Deathwing heroic. Bad setups and bad sign ups lead to continued drop offs, which only frustrated the people who were still giving a shit even more and the spiral continued downward. Most of you reading this have been in a similar situation at least once before if you've ever been into raiding. They didn't leave because I swapped guilds, I swapped guilds because they left so it leaves me wondering if this was inevitable.

I've always played WoW mostly for the social part. I have played a lot with random people, and love it - it is the only reason I still play WoW at the moment - but there is no denying that without any friends playing Wow anymore the big majority of the enjoyment has gone out of it. I log on once every other day, do an instance on an alt and log off again. The hours on end I used to play have been diminished to a handful of hours per week, at best. And maybe this is the best way it could end? Except I don't want it to. I would love it if I could get back into proper raiding again. But how? Unless my guild actually does get its act together for MoP, and that means waiting a couple of months anyway, I need to do the guild swapping again and frankly I find it difficult to find the energy. I want to hope, to believe, that the next time will be the last time, but there are just no guarantees and seeing yet another guild fall apart around you just drains so much. Trying to keep people cheerful and hopeful, while everyone already knows that it won't last and everyone dread the day someone will be the first to utter the words of quitting, the first in a long row.

And unfortunately, the problem isn't just on the WoW side of things. With my new job schedule, I don't really have the time to put in several days a week into raiding anymore. Two nights a week is probably going to be my maximum and even then I could never guarantee being able to show up. There are guilds out there accepting even terms like that, but I am wondering if I could ever get into the kind of raiding I am interested in with such a guild. How could I demand more of my guild than I am able to put back in? I could never do that, and that is a major issue to work around. With that blocking any real possibilities for me to get into "proper" raiding, and with basically all of my friends gone from the game anyway, I find it difficult to see how I could back into it without an extreme stroke of luck (which I am known to have).

With things being the way they are,
I will probably never be able to find the energy and motivation to go guild hunting again. I am pretty certain I would never spend any amounts of money into server transferring and race changing again, which is further severely limiting my choices. Fortunately, I am on what still is a highly populated and nice server, and I could possibly find a good raiding guild there that agrees even to my lousy terms of cooperation. Actually, at this point I am not asking for much. Just some friendly faces and stability. In the meantime I have Diablo 3, but you will still see me logging on to WoW every now and then to do the odd random pug. And who knows what the future holds? I've found that things usually work out for the best, tui tui tui, peppar peppar and knock on wood.

But I am curious, how is WoW faring for the rest of you out there?

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Diablo 3 Post

8 comments:
My relationship with the Diablo franchise probably isn't very typical - D3 is in fact the first game of the series I am playing as it is current and intend to play to the end. Well I did play D2 to the end, but that wasn't long ago. Anyway.

When the first Diablo game was released I was 11 years old and I remember the mere thought of fighting hordes of undead monsters scared me into playing Settlers 2 instead. But I watched as my brother, then 8 years old, and mother played the game and I loved the concept. When I was 15, Diablo 2 came out but for some reason I never got around to playing it until ten years later (and especially remembering the lovely installation process - "insert disc 2"). Now, 2012, I have been anticipating the third part of the series as much as the next guy and eventhough I have been swamped in work lately I have done my best to avoid the beautiful swedish pre-summer to work on my anti-tan indoors by the computer playing d3. Inevitably I intend to share some initial and random thoughts on what I think of the D3 experience. Do you want the good news or the bad news first?




Let's start with the good news; Yes, D3 is very addictive. I can't put my finger on what exactly is so much fun about running around for hours randomly killing shitloads of mobs just to see what they drop, but it is. It was fun 1996 and it is still fun today, and by fun I mean it is nearly impossible to stop. WoW has a lot of this but for some reason I never enjoyed the random farming of mobs as much in WoW as I do in D3, it just makes more sense in Diablo than it does in WoW. Maybe because there are other things to do in WoW but farming is really what D3 is all about. I've only tried two classes so far - Witch Doctor and Barbarian - and seen Monk and Demon Hunter being played, but my general impression is that all of the classes are fun, fairly balanced (although apparently the ranged classes are considered superior at the moment). Instead of talent tree and stat choices of Diablo and D2 we get the skill choice system that Blizzard intend to also implement in WoW for MoP. I quite liked the talent tree of D2, but I think I like the skill choice system more. It does allow for a much simpler and convenient way to adjust your skills after your mood and foes, making re-speccing a core feature of the game (and as far as I remember, you couldn't even re-spec in the previous Diablo games).

Diablo 3 is something as freaky as a multiplayer singleplayer game. No, it doesn't sound like it makes any sense, but it really does. As long as Blizzards servers are working, this concept really is a good one, where you can join any of your friends and play co-op with just a click (something that can be abused by trolling friends, making sure you don't have morons on your friends list has never been more important). All the money you collect is shared over your characters, which nearly made me choke on my morning tea when I started a new character and saw over 100k gold lying in his bags, before I realized what was going on. Items can be put in a stash that is shared among characters, allowing you to pimp up your lowbie characters with ease (and we all know how much fun pimping is)(that came out wrong...). This does not apply to hardcore characters however, who are completely left on their own, regarding co-op and money/item sharing (other hardcore characters might be able to join possibly, don't know about that).

My Gargantuan chilling with the ladies


One of the best news, and something I hope any game designer who intend to stuff their game full of lores copies, is the read-out lore. Some games come crammed full with pieces of lore, sometimes amounts that rivals any encyclopedia and I don't know anyone who reads it. All those man hours put into something that could've been spent building a better storyline, graphics or physics motor. And it is not because of disinterest, at least not in my case. It is because when I sit down to play a computer game, I do not want to spend a couple of hours reading - I read books when I want to read, I don't play games. Blizzard have solved this by having any found lore read out loud, so that you can listen to it while you continue to play, ingenius if you ask me. I could wish for the possibility to find all the lore in some menu to re-listen on occasion, in case I didn't pay too much attention the first time around. Listening while trying to kiting ten angry, charging bulls off your ass is a challenge. It is possible this feature is there somewhere, I just haven't found it.

But then there are a couple of things that poke on my awesome grinding experience like a (albeit small) splinter in my eye. As with real eye splinters, they're quite dull and something you'd rather be without. So let's see, where should I start?

The story of D3 is quite... I'm sorry to say, but uninteresting. Don't get me wrong, I am not asking for Shakespearian dialogue and Game of Throne-esque character development. The Diablo series is not known for it's ellaborate story line, but I would've definitely wished D3 to be more like the first Diablo rather than the second in this regard. There is a reason people think back to Diablo with a look of pure happiness on their faces. Diablo wasn't just about the grinding, it was a game with great atmosphere and great gameplay. The look my brother made when Butcher screamed "FRESH MEAT!" was priceless and about as classic as the dogs crashing through the windows in Resident Evil, a defining moment of many peoples childhood.

I'm not asking for Fallout-esque characters either, but something slightly less annoying than Leah would've been welcome. I am sad she has such a big part of the story, when everything about her screams unoriginal, stupid and predictable. Even my Gargantuan is more interesting and lovable (seriously, he is amazing). Fortunately, most other characters at least do their part of the story well enough, eventhough I don't think any of them is particularly memorable. Am I asking for too much when I want Blizzard to put some minor effort into the story and not just into creating more rares for me to find? Maybe.

There are some small issues with gameplay, but they're so small they're barely worth mentioning, but just barely. The movement AI of the character isn't always the best, if you stand next to a stair and click it it doesn't always understand to walk up the stair but tries to walk straight into the wall instead. The companions and pets are maybe a little too eager on getting into new fights, I don't mind them being bold but pulling mobs I wasn't even heading towards when I am low on health is more than I wish for. And why can't I check my skills when they're on cooldown? That is actually really annoying, especially since some skills have over a minute cooldown. Once I've used it I have to wait for the full cooldown before I can even check out the runes or options for that skill slot. I realize this is probably to prevent people from changing skills that are on cooldown to ones that aren't, but not even allowing me to look is taking it too far.

Since I am WoW-damaged by now, I am also somewhat uncomfortable with the fact that I can't have any addons. It's not so much the addons as the fact that some things about the UI just plain bug me. I dislike not having my cooldown/proc skills and my resource in eye level for instance but instead I constantly have to avert my eyes from the killing and possible standing in shit and down to the action bar, like this was 2005. It's a small distance for mankind but a massive distance for a gamer i.e me.

Overall, I know D3 is going to suck many hours out of my life however and I am going to enjoy every second of it. It will possibly, probably, also have the highest replay value of the three and I could easily see myself go back to this game in five years and enjoy it as much as I am today - there is just something about finding treasure and rare items that never gets boring. And I have only found one legendary yet, that needs to change.