Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Diablo is DEAD!

Yes! I finally dispatched Diablo today with my Monk (that is, of course, on Normal Difficulty).

It wasn't extraordinarily hard though, but it was pretty challenging. One tip I can give to players is to recognize your opponent's pattern of attacks and devise your own pattern of attack accordingly.

I'm not sure if I would have been able to dispatch of Diablo as easily with a Barbarian though. I'm sure other players would find the Barbarian easier but I just really liked the Monk gameplay. It's fast, lethal, and pretty awesome looking.

Now that I've finished the game, I can say that it's pretty awesome. Definitely much more exciting than Diablo 2 and yeah, even the other games I played before (Drakensang and Path of Exile). I guess it has a lot to do with the story. There is a very precise and strong narrative that drives the story along. It's not an overly complex story (in fact, it's a pretty simple one) but it's tight enough to keep one excited, especially from Act 3 onwards.

I would describe the first two acts as just coasting along with the last two suddenly going into overdrive. I would have never have finished the game so quickly if the narrative wasn't so compelling. You know, I just HAD to know what happens next. I just HAD to see where things were going.

And before I knew it... I'm face to face with the last boss.

I could quit right here, pack up the game in the box and move on to the next one but I'm still pretty much in Tristram in my head. I want to continue playing. And the best thing is, I can play it again but this time on a more difficult setting: Nightmare. And when I finish that, there are two more further difficulty settings: Hell and Inferno.

What keeps me going now, especially now that I know what the narrative is? I guess it's like watching the Titanic movie. You know the thing is going to sink, but you can't help but still watch it. The difference here is that the added difficulty makes it a slightly different game. Since monsters are harder to kill, one has to adjust his gameplay accordingly. I can no longer just coast along, blundering headfirst into mobs and just let God sort it all out.

Now, I have to think more. I have to be much more cautious and plan my attacks. I can't take any monster for granted. The littlelest creature can kill me now (and they did, actually).

Now that I'm on Nightmare, I don't have to rush it. I could just take my time.

After all, the job awaits and I can't afford to miss deadlines because of this game today (like I did so horribly in 1999). Ha, ha, ha!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


I finally reached Act 3.

Okay, as a preamble, let me say that Acts 1 and 2 were pretty much what I had been expecting to play. It's like Diablo 2 but kind of beefed up. It's still exciting, kind of easy going, and relatively stress free playing. I get this feeling when I play other games like Drakensang and Path of Exile. I get to play an hour to a couple of hours a day. It's easy to pause and go off and do something else. It's all pretty nice.

But then I hit Act 3. And I'm like...


The game seems to have been injected with alien steroids on crack. All of a sudden I'm on the edge of my seat, clicking like mad, floods of sweat on my face. All of a sudden I can't stop playing. Just today I played like 4 hours straight

 It may not be much to most gamers, but that's a LOT for me.

The cinematic alone that began Act 3 should have been a clue to the Armageddon that waited for me then. Never have I uttered so many profanities in quick succession in playing a game. It was just insane. I mean it is insane...I haven't finished Act 3 yet. I just had to stop and pause for breath. Maybe I should just turn in and go to sleep. I'm almost scared to go back.

It's kind of undeniable the influence The Lord of the Rings had on Diablo. I haven't played Diablo 1, but it was obvious to me in Diablo 2. It's even more obvious in Diablo 3. I'm pretty sure the designers of this game saw Two Towers, especially the whole Helm's Deep sequence and thought "hmmm... this would make a pretty good video game".

And they pulled it off amazingly well.

Just one funny thing... in the middle of a battle torn fortress, with all sorts of monsters prowling around attacking and circling. There's this little room where this guy is selling weapons and armor like it's, you know, a regular day at the local market. Where does he get stuff to eat? Where does he sleep and piss? The minute he goes out that little room, he's dead.

I just found it funny.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Switching Classes + Attributes

After playing a Barbarian for 20 or so levels, I tried playing the Demon Hunter, which turned out to be more difficult than playing a Barbarian (at least for me). I played the character for a few levels and then switched again, this time to a Monk.

And man, the Monk is AWESOME!

He seems much stronger and more durable than the Barbarian and the Demon Hunter (at least in my experience) but his moves and attacks are much more cooler. Visually, at least they look more lethal. I tried taking a screen shot of my character but it doesn't seem to work. WTF, Blizzard.

Anyway, I'm thinking I'm going to be playing the Monk for a while.

All right, now I think I can talk about how attributes are distributed in this game.

Path of Exile attributes distribution.
With something like Path of Exile, or even Diablo 2, you get to choose which attributes your character will achieve (Intelligence, Dexterity, Strength, etc). In Diablo 3, a set group of attributes is given to you each time you level up.

I only noticed this when I did level up and I looked at the bunch of text that appeared on the lower left corner of the screen. I didn't pay much notice to that area because for much of the time, it simply repeated what's being said on the screen by the characters. But when I looked again, it actually listed the attributes that were added to my character when I leveled up.

Now, for me, that takes a little of the fun out of the game. In Diablo 2, you get to choose which attributes to improve. In Diablo 3, they're spoon-fed to you.

I guess it makes the game more accessible to casual players but to someone like me who has played Diablo 2 and other games which allowed me to have bigger control over how my character is developed, well I'm kinda frustrated.

And disappointed.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Diablo III on your...iPad!?

Apparently, one can play Diablo III on an iPad if you wanted to (thanks to Jean Paul Castillo for the tip).

According to Time's Techland, all you need to play Diablo III on your iPad is Splashtop’s Remote Desktop app (currently on sale for US$ 5.00, it usually costs US$ 20.00) and the companion Splashtop Streamer desktop software.

After that you're all set to go (though it sounds kinda limiting playing the game on an iPad screen but I reserve judgement until I actually have had the opportunity to try it out).

"Splashtop mirrors the display of any Windows PC or Mac, and it’s one of the fastest remote desktops I’ve used. That makes it perfect for Diablo III, which only requires basic mouse controls to play."

There is a downside, however.

"Framerates in Diablo III aren’t as good on the iPad as they are on a fast PC, but the app has no problem keeping up with the action."

You can read the rest of the article at Time's Techland. Click here.

Thus it Begins...

Like a little kid who has dutifully finished his veggies and has thus earned his dessert, I installed Diablo III after finishing off all of my outstanding projects.

I've been putting it off for a few days now (I actually got the game on May 15, 2012) because I'm afraid that I'm going to miss all my deadlines once I start playing, similar to what happened when Diablo II came out somewhere back in the year 2000. But now that no obstacle (read: work) remains in my way, I decided that it's time to begin my decent into hell.

I brought out the box and popped that Diablo III CD in there and let 'er rip! And boy did it ever!

You're going to need to create a Battle.Net account before you start to install the game (don't worry...registration is fast and it's free). Just head on over to Battle.Net!

During installation there were was the requisite eerie background music playing which started as something like from Simon and Garfunkel and ended up as something Wagner-inspired. Aside from the music, you're treated to a story told in motion comics style (the illustration done in rough pencils was just gorgeous) giving you an overview of this particular chapter in the Diablo series.

After installation, I proceeded to create my character (Barbarian of course) and put him through his paces. I was supposed to take some screenshots of my first few adventures but it seems that I can't take any screenshots while being in-game which was a bummer.

Diablo III does take some getting used to however (it seems a lot more complicated now) but the game (thus far) remains as exciting as I remember it (more even).

I'll see you guys in hell!

First Impressions

I finally got my copy at Brochiere, Robinson's Galleria last Wednesday. I got it for Php 3,100.00 something with no extras. Jonas Diego and co-Diablo 3 Philippines blogger got the same thing for Php 2,550.00 (click here for the full details) and he got a poster for it too! What the...?

I'm kinda thinking Brochiere owes me!

That aside, I started playing it Thursday afternoon and, I gotta admit, I was pretty excited.

I do have to say that while waiting for Diablo 3 to come out, I've played other Diablo-type games like Drakensang-Online and Path of Exile, so comparisons to those games are bound to come out whenever I talk about Diablo 3.

Click for a larger image.
Having played those games for the past few months, I sort of got over my indignation over Diablo 3's requirement for an always on Internet connection. Meaning, although you can install the game in your computer and play it solo you have to go online, register with Blizzard's and log into one of their servers for you to actually play this game.

Drakensang and Path of Exile both work with that kind of mechanics so I had gotten used to it. It has its own pros and cons, of course. The bad thing about it is that you are always at the mercy of the stability of not only your Internet connection but also of the stability of Blizzard's servers. Although you paid for this game (I'm assuming that you did), it will not always be up to you when you will be able to play this game.

Obviously, this seems to be a response to piracy but it terribly inconveniences those who actually buy their games legally.

The good thing about it is that your game will always be up to date. If the "social" thing is more your thing you might find a lot of things to like about it because you can chat, trade, and do the auction thing. But for someone like me who doesn't care about all that stuff (I mean, I just want to play the damned thing by myself without anyone else intruding on my little happy time) all of that is just unnecessary stuff.

But I can live with it.

What do you guys think? Is this always online thing something that can stop people from pirating Diablo 3? Even if you have pirated software and codes there is still the matter of logging into Blizzard for authentication so you can actually play it.

Anyway, as for the game itself...

I think it's pretty awesome. The action and effects are pretty cool. I'm playing a Barbarian (currently Level 19) and he's pretty brutal.

I'm kind of confused about customization though. I mean, the development of the character through skills is kind of confusing. One would think that you gain more and more passive skills as you go along, but from what I'm seeing you only gain access to passive skills as you level up, but you get to choose what passive skills you can use at any given moment. When you choose one skill, you drop another. Is that right? Would it make more sense for you to be able to have both passive skills at the same time as you grow?

Yeah, right now that skill system is very confusing.

Click on thumbnail for a larger image.
I hope to get a better grasp of how characters are developed as I play the game further. In comparison, Path of Exile has a pretty awesome skill tree. (See image on the right.) You get to choose which attributes you can enhance as you level up, no confusion at all.

I was already at Level 19 before I first encounter my first socketed item. Wow! That far in? I'm not sure what to put in it yet because I've yet to actually encounter gems or any kind of item that you can put in a socket.

I find Normal Setting rather difficult (what more in the more difficult settings of the game). I've lost count how many times I've died (I'm guessing around 15 times now). It's crazy but it's all right: a challenge is what it is.

Graphics-wise, beautiful as Diablo 3 is, I have to make another comparison. Path of Exile's graphics is really just more stunning. But what Diablo 3 has got over Path of Exile is excitement of gameplay.

And to me that's a very important part of the game.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

EVIL Returns and EVIL is MINE!

May 15, 2012 Wednesday saw the release of Diablo III, one of the most eagerly awaited games of the year (if not the decade which, if you think about it, was how long most of us was waiting). Before its release, the game broke several pre-sale records and became the most pre-ordered PC game of all time on

I had mine reserved just to ensure I would have a copy (read about it here).

I headed off to DataBlitz at Greenbelt 1 to get my copy around 1:00 PM and while I was expecting the game to be in demand I certainly did not expect the long line at the store.

Click on thumbnail for a larger image.

I dutifully got in line and waited my turn to purchase the game. While waiting I noticed a "no Diablo III Collector's Edition" sign placed at various locations within the DataBlitz store (I guess they got tired of telling people).

Click on thumbnail for a larger image.

After waiting for almost 2 hours outside, I finally got inside the store only to find that there's another line inside!

Click on thumbnail for a larger image.

After waiting another 15 minutes or so, I finally the cashier to claim my reserved copy.

Click to enlarge.
They informed me that there were two prices: the cheaper Php 2,550.00 and the more expensive Php 3,150.00 which comes with a raffle stub to join an online contest from the folks at e-Games and a free t-shirt. Frankly, I just wanted the game so I opted to go for the cheaper option (I did get a free poster though which was enough for me).

And at last! The game is mine!

The only bummer was that I manage to rip part of the box skin up top when I was removing some piece of tape.

I didn't break out the CD and install it right away (apparently there is still a lot of bugs according to several accounts that reached me from the web). I decided to wait a bit and savor (as well as document) each part of the process including the un-boxing.

Check it out!

Click on thumbnail for a larger image.

Click on thumbnail for a larger image.

Aside from the CD there were also a lot of nifty things that came with it.

Click on thumbnail for a larger image.

Inside you'll get the CD, the Diablo III Quick Start Guide, 3 Diablo III Guest Pass, 1 World of WarCraft Guest Pass, and a stationery.

As much as I'm excited to get hacking and slashing I still got some stuff I need to finish this week so I figure I'll wait until the weekend before I install and play the game lest it wreaks havoc with my production schedule and other important matters that require my attention.

Until then, I'll see you guys in hell!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


YEAH! Diablo 3 comes out today!

Brochiere at Robinson's Galleria sent me a message telling me I can already pick my copy up. Unfortunately, I won't be able to go to Manila until tomorrow and I probably won't be able to play it until Thursday evening.

I'm not in a hurry though.

Part of me wishes I could have just bought the digital copy straight from Blizzard. I could have been playing it today. But the old fashioned me wanted the CD (or is it DVD?) and I've already paid my downpayment.

Today, millions upon millions of people around the world will literally disappear and never heard of again.

I might be one of them!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Diablo III: Wrath

Blizzard Entertainment teamed up with renowned director Peter Chung and acclaimed animation studio Titmouse to create this unique vision of a fundamental moment in the battle between the High Heavens and the Burning Hells.

Peter Cheung is best known for his unique style of animation, as the creator and director of Aeon Flux, which ran as shorts on MTV's Liquid Television before launching as its own half-hour television series.

Following are some behind the scenes of Wrath stuff. Find out more about this short-length film and what it took to bring its story to life, from concept to creation.

Just a few more days!
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