One of the running jokes about the Diablo games is how they kill mouses, lead to carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. But is it true? I mean yeah, obviously you click the mouse a lot while playing Diablo, but how does that compare to the clicks per minute playing an FPS or an RTS? Or to a less click-intensive semi-ARPG like WoW?

    I have no answers to those questions, but if anyone wants to use a mouse clicking program to count up your clicks per hour, it might be interesting to compare. In theory D3 is a bit less clicky than D2 was, since you cast a lot of skills right from the 1234 keys in D3, plus you don’t have to click on every damn stack of gold, if you even bothered to pick up gold in D2.

    The questions are spurred by a new piece on Kotaku, in which the author used a click counter, did a full DiabloWikiDiablo 3 beta playthrough with a DiabloWikiBarbarian, full-clearing every level, opening every barrel, etc. (Thanks to Fmulder for the tip.)

    The entire run through took the better part of two hours, so if you’d like to try to estimate the result using some sort of imaginary clicks-per-second number, feel free. Just do it quickly, because we’re coming up on the big reveal.

    And now that all of that ado is adone with, here’s the grand total: Diablo III Beta Test Barbarian Run Through Mouse Clicks (Normal Difficulty): 9,067

    Surprised? Truth be told, this was a much smaller number than I imagined it would be, but then I also imagined getting carpal tunnel and a few days off work. Unfortunately the Barbarian’s massive area-of-effect attacks cut down the number of mouse clicks considerably, even when figuring in all of clicking I did emptying out my inventory every five minutes to make room for more loot (oh yes, I had to loot everything).

    So that’s at least 4500 clicks per hour. But how many were left vs. right click? And how may keyboard keys were used for spell casting and potion drinking?

    The author did answer one of my questions, by saying that he uses the click and hold method to run. If you’ve watched many beta gameplay movies, you’ll note that some players left click constantly to move, as demonstrated by the constant stream of little orange circles appearing on the ground. All those clicks are unnecessary, since you can just click once and hold the LMB down while you move. You can also just hold down the mouse button for most skill or spell casting, or to keep your attack locked on a specific target.

    That seems to be how how more experienced players play, once they’re confident in the controls. I base this unscientific conclusion on observations made at public gaming events such as Blizzcon. There you get to see people who are brand new to a game such as D3 (or D2, as I observed at E3s back in the old days) put hands on, and they immediately show their unfamiliarity with the controls by clicking constantly, nervously, frantically, even just moving through an empty dungeon corridor. On the other hand, steadier old hands click only when necessary, driving their characters with more precision, and perhaps even extending the life of their mouse.

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