Stillman’s Slab #39: Pl-e-e-e-e-e-a-a-s-e! No Read! No Watch!

I am a true believer…in padded cells and straitjackets. This week I am looking into the entrails of some of those insane (but likable) characters from Diablo I you could actually interact with. From Gharbad the Weak to Zhar the Mad, do these nut cases even know which side they are on? Click through below for the secret of why these bad guys are our friends.

Pl-e-e-e-e-e-a-a-s-e! No Read! No Watch!

Diablo I has some interesting monsters who you did not necessarily have to kill. While this added some frustration at times (especially when you had to walk away and come back to find a confusing resolution), it also added some diversity to the gameplay. Most of these characters have one thing in common: you talk to them, get a gift, then tickle them with your sword a bit and get another gift. Take this line from the wiki: ?Gharbad the Weak is a single player quest that some players hate, other players find adorable, and everyone profits from.? Note that last part about everyone profiting. I will get back to this later.

Gharbad is a goatman whom you should kill for insubordination. It seems weird that you should have to keep your enemies in line when that should be someone else’s job, but come on; He is just standing around while the other goatmen do all the hard fighting. At least he puts himself to some use by working on an item for you…which he wants to keep for himself! Kill that rascal!

We all remember Gharbad’s trembling voice which added a touch of comedy to the game. Gharbad sounds like this god awful cover of Do You Think I’m Sexy? You have to hear the chorus before the stuttering kicks in. Be sure to watch the whole video to get into that Gharbad mood. 

Well, after watching that, you are probably shouting, ?It’s unbearable! Where’s the Report Thread button?!!? Let’s move on to Snotspill and forget the whole thing, shall we?

Snotspill is an extra weird little one. From what I remember, he is both your friend and foe. He makes a deal with you (I think he even gives you an item), you help him out by fetching a coveted quest item, then he summons his posse to club you to death? I don’t get it. I had to put up with this guy blocking my path on level 4ish of the dungeon each time I went through, so I can never forget what he says. ?Go now! We strong. We kill all with big magic!? Of course, I figured he was talking about…he and I? But no, ‘we’ was referring to his gangbangers who ambush you as payment for helping them. I guess he is like Gollum from Lord of the Rings who cannot decide whether or not to kill the hero.

Both Gharbad and Snotspill are wretched little punks who end up going back on their word. You should kill them just on principle. Lachdanan is true to his word, but actually worse because getting him to appear means you miss out on the Armories of Hell. Upon fetching an item like the dog you are, he commits suicide and drops a helm in which you cannot see a damned thing. It would be good if you could kill Lachdanan for his insubordination and take the helm the old fashioned way.

Zhar the Mad hands over a tomb as a sort of bribe for you to leave him alone. I would say he is much like Archimedes, who was too busy with his math studies to surrender before an invading Roman soldier (who then got angry and promptly killed Archimedes). After killing Zhar, the hero says, ?See you at the party Richter!? No, actually, the hero says, ?I’m sorry, did I break your concentration?? Of course, the guy is dead so…how can he hear the joke? I wonder what the Roman said? ?Maybe I should derive this sword in your belly??

You seem to have some choice whether or not to befriend these guys. If you like their presents, simply stop pestering them and walk away. If you are a clickity click clicker about everything, they will eventually attack you. You obviously instigated the attack, though. Zhar clearly outlined the deal; he gives you something, and you are supposed to leave him the hell alone. Gharbad never explained it so well, but did you expect him to give you free handouts forever? Come on, he has things to do, like standing around doing nothing. Anyway, it is a nifty way to give the player a choice, though doomed to failure of course. How many players are going to stop clicking when they were given a reward for clicking?

I figured out why these characters are memorable and likable. Is it the option to make a deal with them, the little break you get from fighting everything, the comedy, the quest some of them grant, the bit of story? Hell no; That stuff was all confusing.  What we like is the fact that they give you something for free. Nothing beats getting that double drop. You take their stuff, then you kill them and take their other stuff.

Blizzard should know by now that this is how you make players happy. I wonder how many fans angered by Diablo 3 concepts could be pacified with this simple law of nature. People don’t like auto-stats? Well, what if the auto-stats gave you loot? No Necromancer in Diablo 3? Well, what if choosing the Witch Doctor gave you loot? No weapon switch? What if hitting ‘w’ dropped an item every 5 minutes instead? Bind on equip…hmmm. What if it clones itself when you equip it, so you get one to wear and one to trade? What if the rainbows could be harassed for LOOT? Having solved all the fiery debates and issues with Diablo 3, I think my work is done here.

Opinions expressed in columns and guest articles are those of their authors, and not necessarily those of

Stillman’s Slab is where all Diablo characters are dissected and examined piece by piece. It is written by Nicholas Stillman to reintroduce Diablo series topics in a new light or put forth novel themes that have not been fully explored in the forums. Slurry collected from the centrifuge will always contain something new and unheard of at the time of publication. Post your comments below or directly.

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