If I had to describe Diablo III in a word I would choose “Boring” with very little hesitation. I played the first ten levels and walked away because I completely lacked the desire to keep playing. I think the painful truth is that Diablo should have been allowed to stay a cool game from more than a decade ago instead of making this monstrosity and ensuring that any fond memories that I had of the franchise are good and dead. Let’s take a look at the timeline. The original Diablo was released by Blizzard on 12/31/1996 and the Hellfire expansion (which was not a Blizzard product) for that game came out less than one year later on 11/24/1997 and then Blizzard released Diablo II four years after their original game on 06/29/2000. I played all of these games from start to finish multiple times which will not surprise the people who know me. I have an addictive personality and when I get started on something I keep going with it until I have completely dominated it; that’s just what I do. I have over 24 hours of playtime of Sudoku on my phone (I just checked) and I would rather play that than Diablo III. D3 was released in North America on 05/15/2012 almost sixteen years after the original and twelve years after the last installment. At this point the game has completely lost relevance. I did not go back and play the first games to “ramp myself up for D3” so some of the names of people you meet in D3 sound familiar but honestly it’s been so long ago I cannot remember why they are important.
The opening cinematic was reminiscent of the original both dark and foreboding and it accomplished what I think it was made for: it made me want to play. When I got to character creation I felt my first let down. While it is true that you can now select male or female for any class instead of having to play what Blizzard selected for those classes the video game industry has progressed far enough that this level of customization just does not cut it anymore. You have more options creating a Mii for the Wii than you do creating your character for D3.
I started a demon hunter and walked twenty feet after I got control of the character and encountered my first bad guy. I really didn’t know what to do as I could just barely see him off the side of my screen and I hadn’t gotten close enough to trigger the tutorial telling me how to fight. I did what I think any reasonable person would do: I clicked on him and he exploded. This very first kill laid the ground work for where the game failed to entertain me; everything just seems to die at your feet with very little resistance. In no more than 20 minutes I was fighting groups of 16+ Mr. Baddies and they would all die before I had lost 1/4 of my health and that’s if I was just standing there and not using any of my “defensive” abilities. It seems logical that the game would start out easy while you learned that clicking on something means you kill it but that eventually the challenge rating would have to ramp itself up. I never got a tire on that ramp and instead the road through D3 is as flat and straight as it could be with vast deserts on both sides as far as the eye can see… in a word Boring. I made it to the first boss without getting close to dyeing even once and with the most elementary of tactics defeated the boss without any threat to my wellbeing. It was at this point that I said to myself “Self, you can spend 300 more hours doing this exact same thing clicking things to death and collecting more gear that will make clicking them to death even easier or you can go downstairs and flip channels.” That was not even a decision let the channel flipping commence.