August turned out…interesting. Apparently, skill points, stat points, traits, the talisman, offline play, level grind, incentive to reroll, and ladder conquest have all gotten cut at some point. What am I supposed to cut into now? This month, I cover the Jeweler and the gem system which thankfully survived.

    Gem Cutting

    Diablo 3’s Jeweler, the shadiest of the artisans, will travel to various struggling towns and leech off players’ exploits. From what we know of him, he seems in it purely for profit, only caring for personal gains at the cost of others. What a villainous scumbag. He probably relishes in destruction and mass slaughter so he can bleed the innocent dry, selling back to them treasures the demons tore from their slain families. Finally, someone who understands.

    The Jeweler appeals to the greedy elitist monster in us all, in a game more wealth and item driven than ever before. Judging by the obvious name of Diablo 2’s vendor Gheed (one letter off from “Greed”), the Jeweler will probably go by the name Medd Schooly or Haza Hotwife. But like the Jeweler, we too can have obscene wealth in Diablo 3 some day. You just need to exploit and grave rob hard enough in the perfected economy which will not get inflated/destroyed by anything this time

    [except the expansion].

    For now, let us derive what subliminal marketing imagery we can from the Jeweler’s concept art. Seen below, this little Ferengi has one hand in your pocket, and the other one is giving a peace sign. Oh Blizzard, I know exactly what you intend to pull here.

    Give them a few more weeks to overhaul the aesthetics female Barbarian style. Then you’ll see.

    Despite the lack of gambling in Diablo 3, we meet this casino worker in a valorous quest to find a special gem (and steal it by killing its owner, as usual). Little does the Jeweler know that the real treasure lies in the fun adventure, the lessons learned along the way, and the development of a new friendship! Actually, I don’t have to help him again in Nightmare and Hell modes, do I? DO I? Well, I better get the bigger half of that gem when he splits it. After that, I shall pick Intimidation which increases damage and REDUCES VENDOR COSTS [unless it gets cut from the game for not being an item].

    With 14 levels of gems and no way for players to upgrade them independently, the Jeweler could become the most visited vendor for selfish pillagers (i.e. you) after he joins. And with gemfind affixes, more socketable end game items, gem extraction from gear, more prominent gem-given bonus, and crafted jewelry usable by every class including your followers, the Jeweler will certainly have you by the jewels. After all, what other artisan entices you with what amounts to a giant treasure chest on their front?

    Ok, besides that one? While no artisan looks like a radiant star, parking their asses next to the waypoints this time around should keep the players happy. By the way, if you take a waypoint to a different act, does the Jeweler put his entire shop on the waypoint to meet you there? He must do it some fast! Talk about making a quick buck.

    This brings us to the real Jeweler: the player. We will have more work to do with gems and jewelry than ever before. A salvaging system produces more crafting supplies, so building our own jewelry may grow more commonplace than in Diablo 2. And extended gem progression will dampen frustration by nudging gear bonuses upward even on stretches where no better items drop. You will always have gems to tinker with and collect. Think of players as the craftsmen/women, and the Jeweler as a tool you wish you could carry around. Thus, you will cherish him despite his greedy persona and price gouging.

    Some players, however, may find this long gem grind annoying. I actually prefer to see a longer Olympic grind.

    See, there must exist something virtually unattainable. If the game eliminates the grind and gives players everything too fast, we get relegated to the grinding wheel of a real life workplace to save up for another game. With Diablo 3’s level grind gone and replaced with achievements, gems provide that epeen strokeage distant goal of more killing power.

    This heavy focus on items rather than level in Diablo 3 sure makes one question the motives and “heroics” of the characters and company they keep. The Jeweler/wretched bucket of slime who idolizes you will mirror the loot driven heroes in many ways: traveling the world, learning crafting recipes, gaining more impressive looks, and ripping off as many players as possible on the way to success. At least players can live out the real fantasy of Diablo 3—not slaying evil or role playing heroes, but having some damn money for a change!

    Perhaps, as a sign of the times with America circling the drain, we must think of our heroes as jeweler clones, pawn shop owners, scavengers and materialists all using their power to take what they can before the ship sinks. I for one mainly care about not having to buy another game for several years, squeezing every penny out of a single purchase. Thus, I like the elaborate gem system and the Jeweler who keeps inflation down. Blizzard even has American economists working on the game to ensure long term stability. What could possibly go wrong?

    ^Well, at least I didn’t use a picture of the London rioting.

    Stillman’s Slab: where all Diablo characters get dissected and examined piece by piece. Written by Nicholas Stillman, it reintroduces Diablo series topics in a new light with novel themes not 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 contact the author directly.

    Update: I wrote this article before the August 1 revelations/bombshell about the long upheld Diablo 3 mechanics getting slashed. I thought I would post it with only minor additions to reflect on the humor of the situation. The game seemed “item driven” before as I joked about the Jeweler representing a casino worker and worried about inflation by the time of the expansion release. Little did I know that deflation would emerge as the new worry and we shall become the compulsory casino workers. I will certainly try my hand at gem farming while everyone else grows preoccupied with stacking on as much magic find gear as possible (sound familiar?) because I want my epeen to sparkle.

    I sure hope some solitary problem (dupes, Chinese discipline, Auction House glitch, RMAH rearranging itself to spell HARM in a Bashiok typo, etc) does not topple bnet2 for weeks, since so much depends on it. On the bright side, we can all stand to make some real cash but only off of other high rollers, as I understand it. Good luck, and I hope to see all you greedy fiends in the inevitable Cash Profit Show Off thread.

    You may also like