Daily Archives: May 16, 2012

Impressions of Diablo in the Age of World of Warcraft

The headline hints at my initial impression of Diablo III.

It is certainly, from my perspective, a mix of good and ill.

The first two installments of the Diablo series pre-date World of Warcraft by a few years and did, in fact, influence the design of Blizzard’s first MMO.  Certainly not in lore nor in the graphic style, but the mechanics of the game show Diablo’s hand clearly if you care to look close enough.

Oh hey, a quest!

More than a decade later, the shoe is clearly on the other foot.  WoW dominates Blizzard as sure as the sun dominates our solar system.  There is no escaping it.  It intrudes everywhere.

Like everything else, this can be viewed as good or bad depending on your own baggage.  I tend to like WoW, but I still find some of the intrusions annoying.

Anyway, in order to put some structure around my first night impressions, I will divide them, like Gaul, into three parts, which, because they are long and meandering, you will find below the cut.

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NBI – Playing Blogroll Breadcrumbs

So many people have posted actual substantial constructive advice as part of the New Blogger Initiative that I am actually a bit stunned.

There is a surprising lack of the sort of advice I dislike, the pretentious “one true way or your doing it wrong” sorts of posts that have annoyed me over the years, that I am starting to wonder what I can add.

I have another post under way that is something of a philosophical post on the subject of blogging.  But since I can sum it up in one line… Be the blog you want to read… I wonder if I will ever bother finishing it up.

So while that post gathers moss in my drafts folder… along with about 40 other posts at last count… I am going to suggest you play a game.  And I mean the collective you, both the old hands and new bloggers alike.

This game involves blogrolls.

Wikipedia’s Glossary of Blogging describes the blogroll as:

A list of other blogs that a blogger might recommend by providing links to them (usually in a sidebar list).

The blogroll is a strange beast, both over valued and under appreciated.  It is, to my mind, a philosophical statement by the blog owner about their relationship with the community of MMO blogs.

Some blogs have short blogrolls or just a few key blogs they really like.  Some list only well established blogs.  Others try to call out the more obscure.  Some focus on only a single game, like WoW of EVE, while others are a complete mish-mash.  Some will only link if the other blog links back, and some just throw out links where they feel they are due.  A few blogs try to include links to all the MMO blogs they can find… Kill Ten Rats is noteworthy in this… while some blogs decline to put up a blogroll at all.

And some blogrolls are well tended gardens, while others are so full of dead links you wonder when the last time the owner updated things.

My own philosophy is to have a blogroll that is short enough to be manageable and which sends people to active MMO blogs that post content which I think adds value to the community as a whole.  So I keep an eye on my blogroll, hiding blogs that are down or on hiatus and adding new ones from time to time.

Oy, look at all those words and I still haven’t gotten to the game yet.  So here it is.

Blogroll Breadcrumbs

-Start at your blog’s main page

-Pick a blog from your blogroll and click on it

From that blogs blogroll, pick another blog and click on that one

-Repeat until you are at least ten blogs out

-From that final blog on your outward journey, attempt to find your way back to your own blog once again via blogrolls without visiting any of the same blogs you saw on the way out.  If your blog is new and you fear it might not be in a blogroll, choose a blog you like, presumably one you link to, as a final destination.

Hints: Kill Ten Rats… or Bio Break… have nice long blogrolls if you get stuck.  Try to get to them.  Tobold’s blog is well linked, but is a blogroll dead end. Don’t go there unless you chose that as your final destination.

-Winning: The journey is the reward.  You can find all sorts of blogs you have never seen before, all of which are connected, at least in one direction, to your own blog.  You will find small pockets of blogs linked together, often connected by a single thread to other groupings of blogs.  You can click through waves of WoW blogs, and suddenly end up in an EVE or LOTRO cluster.  You can find blogs that have been dormant for ages and blogs that have only sprung up recently.  And you will start to get a sense of just how many fellow bloggers there are out there.

Oh, and actually finding your way back to your own blog is pretty cool too, especially if you are lost in a sea of new blogs and suddenly spot that link back to you or somebody you read regularly.

Clearly Diablo III is not Out of the Woods Yet…

I actually got home, had dinner, and was able to log into Diablo III on the first try ever.

Blizzard had the servers down for emergency maintenance earlier in the day, and it appeared to have done some good.  I was able to make my first character, play for a few hours, and form my early impressions of the game.  Those I will cover in another post.

Then after hitting a stopping point, I decided to log out of the game and then try to log back in, just to see how things were holding up deep into the prime time of game play.

That did not go so well.  I did not get error 37, the error that actually trended on Twitter, but another error.  Error 75.

A new error for a new day

I thought to myself how silly it was to log out when things were going smoothly.  But then I heard from a couple of other people that they had been kicked from the game with the same error.  And then Blizzard started announcing that there was a problem on Twitter as well as on the game login screen.

So the peak of prime time, when both coasts in the Americas were heavily invested in the game, seemed to push the system over again.  I went to the forums, to see if just once there might be some more information there, but things seemed to be going badly for the forums as well.

No forums, go check Twitter please

This was the outage that took down World of Warcraft as well as all StarCraft II online play.  The influence of Diablo is vast!

Well, we we are still less than 24 hours from the go-live point, and I have had as much trouble or more playing stand-alone games on launch day in the past.  But these are issues on Blizzard’s side of the fence, and I hope they get them straightened out muy pronto.

I give it until the weekend before somebody starts seriously talking class action lawsuit.