It’s Blizzard Bashin’ Time! Proviso: I originally wrote this article without the intro paragraphs. But my column was not generating enough hate-filled invective in the forums, so I have added some controversy. It?s a Rush Limbaugh technique; lets see how it works for me.

    A phenomenally-popular pastime of D2.net forum members is to debate Blizzard?s (and Vivendi?s) management, merits, and general right to exist and consume valuable world resources such as oxygen and food. It is a rare day indeed that one does not witness yet another ?I hate Blizzard because?? post. The usual pattern is for a disgruntled player to post his (remember, they are all ?his,? there are no ?hers? in D2) rant, which is promptly followed by a flaming bombardment from Blizzard sympathizers, which is followed by a smattering of ?hey, I kinda agree with some of this guy?s comments,? followed by more bashing? you get the picture. These complaints cover everything: ?Blizzard banned me just ?cause I use Iths on five of my accounts,? ?G. Frazier still hasn?t washed my car like he promised,? and ?Blizzard trained a dingo to eat my baby.?

    Let me say right off that I was once a Blizzard sympathizer. I was forever amazed at the whining, enraged vitriol spewing forth in these flame-bait posts. Jesus, Joseph and Mary, the game is three years old, the patches are still coming free, realm play is free, and 1.10 is nearly an expansion (free, if you haven?t noticed a pattern) and Blizzard never gave a release date, just a ?hoped for? estimate. By the way, I am providing you these thoughts for free.

    But I?m over all that, and now I?m on the bashin? side. I have issues. Big Issues. Writ large and filled with all the angry, hurtful, spite-filled wrath that I can muster after several Vodka Collins. Grab the torches and follow me to the castle boys, we got a monster what needs burnin?!

    The #1 Problem with BNet/Diablo II
    Listen: We all have our complaints. Lag. PKers. Hacks. Class Balance. Game Economy. These are all legitimate concerns and hopefully 1.10 will adequately deal with some of them, but I am fairly certain the eagerly-awaited and highly-vaunted patch will fail miserably in correcting the absolute number one flaw in realm play: I can?t read the character names in the channels.

    Seriously, the font and organization of the chat rooms sucks. (sux0r for you l337 types) 40 people in a channel, all of them with avatars and titles taking up all the room, the names squashed together in a tiny, poorly chosen gothic font. Someone asks a question or needs to be squelched and it takes forever to find them. And its not like those avatars are real avatars, they are not truly personalized, they are just slight variations on seven pre-made character symbols. I can?t exactly pop into a channel and quickly determine that OxyH2O is here, or note Suryl?s new avatar, or see that GotenSSJ2 is online tonight.

    OK, so now you are saying to yourself, ?Wow, that is right on the money, I feel like I just had an epiphany, Osteomata is absolutely correct in everything he has ever said, and despite that fact that I have heard this before, his new and exciting take on the situation really adds some depth and insight to the discussion, thus improving my overall world view and quality of life.?

    So, dear friends, what is to be done about this egregious situation? Well I?ll tell you. Take any other public chat system, be it MSN, Yahoo, AIM (even Hot Adult Chat, or so I?m told), every one of them has a far more readable and user friendly set up. BNet, here?s a tip for you: there is a brand new system just invented for organizing Things That Have Names, we call it ?alphabetical.? A list of the channel participants in alphabetical order would go a long way towards easing my pain. Heck, maybe it could even have two columns so as to include account names. And little coffee cup symbols to indicate they are AFK. Ooo Ooo Ooo, and little cans of Spam symbols if they repeat a message more than twice in 10 seconds. You get the picture. Use a little less code developing neato-keano gothic back grounds, useless gem activation, and standardized avatars and instead worry a little more about Osteomata?s eye sight.

    The #2 Problem with BNet/Diablo II
    My merc is ungrateful. See, I?m an equal opportunity employer. I feel obligated, by law and conscience, to hire all the different merc types, regardless of age, sex, or uselessness. So unlike 99% of the Hardcore population, I actually have characters with something other than an Act II aura merc. OK, OK, I don?t like those Iron Wolf wussies. Everyone knows their kind are slack wits, lazy, and will steal from you any chance they get. But I do have Rogues and Barbs, thus meeting my moral obligation to the National Organization of Women, the *** and Lesbian Action Group, and the Hair Club for Men.

    Anyway?my Desert Warriors and Rogues will say an occasional ?Thank you,? but does my Barb show even the smallest appreciation for the life saving potions I provide? No, he doesn?t. If I spend hours MFing or trading for a nice new sword or helmet for him, will he offer even the tiniest acknowledgement of my effort? No he won?t. Oh sure he might say ?I?ll put this to good use? but it?s not genuine, it?s not heartfelt. They way he says it you would think he found the damn sword. On the whole, my barb is uncommunicative, emotionally withdrawn, and unresponsive to my needs. Not to mention his frequent violent fits of rage. I have tried to get him to come to counseling with me, but he always has an excuse. Sure sure, I understand that Death Maulers need slicing, that Flayers are distracting, and that he has an obsessive need to run down and kill everything, but could he take just a few minutes to sit down and work through our problems? No, he couldn?t.

    I want Blizzard to fix this bug. Oh yeah, you may argue that an aspect of the game that was never planned, never coded, and having no effect on the functioning of play is not really a bug, but then you are not writing this article, and are therefore wrong. It?s a bug. Specifically, it?s the Barb Merc Silence bug, not to be confused with the overrated rune word. Look, it is obviously a source of irritation to me and millions of other emotionally needy, clingy, codependent players, so it?s a bug. Fix it. How hard could this be? Cut and past the code for the Rogue merc responses into the Barb code. You can use

    right? Whatever. And while you?re buried up to your watoossie in COBAL or FORTRAN or whatever they write games in these days, add a little zip, a little pizzazz to the responses. Make them variable, with a wider range of options. Hell, even if my Barb said ?This sucks? when I give him something, it would be a step in the right direction, he?s at least communicating! And wouldn?t it be cool if your Rogue said ?I?ll thank you properly for this later?? Yes it would. Yes it would.

    The #3 Problem with BNet/Diablo II
    Warriv bugs me. I have been playing this game since it came out. I have read the guides. I visit the websites. Despite what people say about me in forums, I am not a moron. Therefore, Warriv, I am well aware of the situation here in Diabloland, or that the caravan is prepared, and if you try to interrupt me one more time to inform me of this little gem of info, I will kill you.

    Perhaps I am not making myself clear. I have mules. They are level one. They have not completed any quest. If I bring a mule into the game (for the purpose of muling in case you didn?t pick up on that) Warriv wants to greet them, and he is persistent. Ignoring him simply means that he will strive for your attention (Good DAY!) again and again until you finally give in and click on his sorry ***. Warriv does not understand that I don?t give a tinker?s damn about his little game intro speech. This is particularly annoying when I am on the phone, or I am chatting with another player, or just fantasizing about what I would do with a drunken Kashya/Charsi combination platter, and he keeps interrupting.

    So Warriv: Shut. The F. Up. I. Am. On. The. Phone. If you say ?Good DAY? in that falsely enthusiastic voice again, the voice that says you really want to skip on out of this glorious hovel of a rogue camp like yesterday, then Warriv, I will kill you. Blizzard should do this for me. It should be an optional setting. Hit

    , select

    . Select

    He should die with at least as much vigorous energy as Diablo.

    I could go on and on, but I?m spent, and my buzz is wearing off. In summary, I?m waiting for 1.20.

    Bone App?tit is and written by Osteomata (Jack Likens) and hosted by Diii.net. The views expressed in this column are those of the author, and are not necessarily the opinions of Diii.net.

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