Desperately Seeking Diablo III

As I have previously noted, I am subject to bouts of game nostalgia. And, after more than 30 years since I received an Atari 2600 for Christmas, that is a lot of gaming ground to cover.

Lately I have been feeling the urge to play Diablo II. I blame Michael Zenke for this, as he put an article up on Massively a week or so back that triggered it.

The article itself was about Hellgate: London and was primarily posted to point out an excellent analysis of HGL by Shamus Young on his site Twenty Sided.

(And, as an aside, while you are there you should also check out his web comic, DM of the Rings.)

And how did this lead to Diablo II? I’m getting to that.

Shamus chose, as a major vehicle for his review, to compare HGL with the development team’s previous project, Diablo II. A good chunk of the team at Flagship Studios, where HGL was developed, came from Blizzard North, the group that was responsible for Diablo II. And so the two products end up being laid side by side at different points throughout the series of posts.

This not only highlighted the flaws of HGL in both a dramatic and a tangible fashion, but it also brought out what was done so well in Diablo II.

This lead to me digging out my Diablo II CDs.

Which, in turn, lead to a minor conflict between my memories and reality.

I decided to just install Diablo II and not the expansion. The four acts of the original game were all quite enjoyable and I did not think I would need any more than that to cover nostalgia.

After installation the game launched and resize the display down to 640 x 480. “No problem,” I thought, “I’ll just go into the options and fix that once I get into the game.”

I had forgotten that, in the base game, there is no resolution beyond 640 x 480. Digging around I discovered that and alternate resolution did not come into the game until the expansion, The Lord of Destruction. And even then, that alternate was only 800 x 600.

I figured that might be tough to cope with on my 1600 x 1200 LCD monitor.

I was committed by this point though, so I loaded up the expansion. And, yes, seeing the game running at one quarter the resolution of my monitor was a bit taxing.

At first.

But then I started playing, getting into the clicking rhythm of the game. It took a few minutes to stop putting my fingers on the WASD keys. Soon though, I was under the spell of the game.

It is a very good game, even today.. It always feels so dark and gloomy. Even in the bright sunlit areas, there is a sense of foreboding and the feeling that clouds are going to pass over the sun at any moment. The graphics startlingly good for their low resolution. The map system is outstanding. It feeds that obsessive compulsive desire to make sure you see everything. The difficulty of the whole game scales when you have more people playing with you. And, of course, there are elements of that game that we now recognize in our favorite MMOs. For example, punctuation marks anybody?

I found myself plunging into the game, appreciating both its simplicity and its depth.

This lead me to wish, yet again, that they would make a new version of this game. I want Diablo III!

Only, in my gut, I know this is never going to happen, for one of two reasons.

The first reason is that, theoretically, it already has been made, it was called Hellgate: London, and it stank on ice.

The second reason is that, while Blizzard no doubt has the talent on hand to create a Diablo III, that talent was put into making World of Warcraft. WoW owes so much to Diablo II that it is, for all intents and purposes, the technical sequel to Diablo II. After playing WoW for a couple of years, going back and picking up Diablo II can be a stunner. You start to see the logical progression of features, the things improved, borrowed, or lifted outright.

The only thing wrong is that Blizzard chose to place the game in Azeroth and give it a brightly colored appearance rather than setting it in that dark world of Diablo II. And that makes all the difference.

Not that WoW is a bad game, but it certainly does not feel like Diablo.

There have been a number of Diablo knock-offs as well, with Titan Quest probably being the most well known and best reviewed, but none of them have quite captured that Diablo feel either.

So I suppose I will go on wishing for a new version of Diablo while poking around again in Diablo II. I have friends and family who still play the game.

Do you think Blizzard will make another Diablo game?

20 thoughts on “Desperately Seeking Diablo III

  1. Tim

    I had the itch to play IceWind Dale the other day and so I installed it. Its only resolution is 640 x 480. And I always play in a window, as I have two monitors. I like to be able to have a browser open in the second. So in windowed mode, I have a 640 x 480 game running on a 1920 x 1200 LCD, sitting next to a 1600 x 1200 LCD. I could only stomach playing about 5 minutes. The game looked even worse (imo) at 640 x 480 taking up the full 24″ monitor.

    Sometimes memories are just better left to memories.

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  2. Spectre

    I had a Diablo II itch a few months ago as well and installed it. Instead of just playing the regular game and expansion I went and installed an unofficial expansion called Eastern Sun. There is a SA forum post here with detailed information about it:

    http://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=2702741

    They added/updated an incredible amount of stuff and I would really recommend giving it an install if you want something new out of an old game.

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  3. Justin

    I’m with you John, I’m waiting in the wings for Diablo III to come out as well, I had posted a little bit on it a while back, it seems Blizzard has at least purchased the domain name.

    Mythos is a much better “Diablo Clone” IMO, but I’m speaking from ignorance since I’ve not played HGL.

    All we can do is Hope and Wait, and click click click click click…

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  4. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    I had forgotten about Mythos. That has some promise from what I have read, but I have not been able to get my hands on it as yet, being beta and limited in access and all that. Some day.

    Meanwhile, I’ll have to go take a look at Eastern Sun.

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  5. Aaron

    Absolutely, they’re making Diablo 3. In fact, I think Blizzard has stated flatly that it’s coming… they just haven’t suggested when.

    But it could easily turn out to be less fun than the original, even if made by the same designers.

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  6. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    The only thing I have seen about Diablo III and Blizzard is some speculation about some job postings.

    With all the money they are making, you would imagine that they might come out with something new. The last full product they released was WoW at the end of 2004. We might see StarCraft II in a year or so, but they ought to have something else in the pipe.

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  7. F0rd

    Blizzard bought the Diablo 3 domain, but other than that, there’s not much more than speculation at this point. What buying the domain means as far as production cycles are concerned, especially with a company like Blizzard, is little to nothing.

    Think back, for a moment, back to a time when Starcraft 2 was just a twinkle in Blizzard’s eye (i.e., the first information was released); and now, look at how it still hasn’t manifested itself in any meaningful way.

    My main problem with game companies has to be the way they’ve begun to advertise for something before they even have a tentative date set for release, especially when they know they probably won’t deliver the game in any reasonable time period.

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  8. *vlad*

    I got Diablo 2 out again a few weeks ago, and unlike everyone else, I was disappointed.
    Way too much aimless wandering around, far too many trash mobs and respawns, as well as the UI I came to hate over time.
    I’m giving my copy to my nephew next time he comes round to visit.

    Like

  9. Mace

    I was wondering about all the TOP SECRET project titles onthe Bliz job boards too. DIII would rock but I wouldn’t mind seeing a WoW treatment of StarCraft either.

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  10. Wilhelm2451 Post author

    True enough. On the other hand, they announced SC II over a year ago now and there is no ship date in sight. What does that mean, timing-wise, for any potential Diablo 3 release? Years to go, if ever.

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  11. ReelTime

    I was in a conversation with someone I used to play with and they demanded that I start with the new ladder. I think he said it reset this week or next.. I told him to send me a message when Diablo III makes it to the shelves. I played D1 until D2 and I played D2 until D2LOD, and I tried to play D2LOD until D3… but that was like, well forever. I have moved on since then. I promise myself that I will play D3, even if I have to suck because I am married by then and have limited playtime.

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  12. Mace

    And of course I log into WoW yesterday for the first time in a week and what do I see but cinematic and game play trailers for DIII.

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  13. pkudude99

    Sorry for the necro-comment, but… any idea why this would show up as a new post in my RSS feed today?

    Like

  14. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @pkudude99 – Sometimes when I update an old post… often to fix a typo, but in this case to kill an old link to a site that became a virus trap… WordPress.com will see fit to throw the post back into the RSS feed. It seems to happen most often with pre-2009 posts.

    The six other posts where I killed links to the same site did not get put in the feed, including two older than this one. No idea why.

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