Stillman’s Slab 49: Two Second Zombies


Halloween: the perfect time to read about stillman’s unorthodox and profoundly disturbing views on dead bodies and what we should do with them. Citizens of Sanctuary have only started cremating their dead in defense. But what will you do with your dead? Click through below for the two part descent into madness.

Two Second Zombies

Zombies in movies typically have either mental retardation making them shamble around uselessly, or they spread fatal contagions with a single scratch or bite. Thus, they seem either too vulnerable or overpowered. Diablo 3 zombies fall into the former category: slow, lethargic, unintelligent, unarmed and naked. This can lead to frustration inherent in the undead system. But you can vent and avenge zombie worthlessness by creating you own…and watching them die two seconds later. This month, I cover the short-lived zombies built into the Witch Doctor’s skill effects.

Last month, I discussed the female Barbarian’s face which, after some changes ordered by Bobb—uh Blizzard, now looks a little more like this.

Now, I must compensate for all that niceness by covering something truly disgusting and horrible. Prepare to suffer, you vile wretches!!

That armor makes about as much sense as the skeletons who gurgle in Act 1. Let’s cover smelly zombies instead, shall we? Unlike those Act 1 undead who dodger around looking for their pills, the Witch Doctor’s zombies stay upbeat and quite active…for about two seconds. And you thought the Necromancer’s three minute minions had it bad.

First, we will examine Zombie Charger, a clever reworking of Inferno but with poison damage and a zombie thrown in because…why not? Hey, I only care that it damn well works, unlike Diablo 2’s Inferno which didn’t synergize with Warmth as stated. I see only one problem with Zombie Charger: the visual aspect. The vague zombie commences dissolving in an obstructive cloud before he even leaves the ground! The animation doesn’t exactly fill me with a sense of power, watching my toys break as I lift them out of the box. Maybe a little more range would help us to actually discern the poor bastard before he crumbles. I suppose making the giant poison cloud less gratuitous would seem out of the question. How else would stupid blind players understand the skill?

You can turn this into Zombie Bears with the Crimson runestone, but the bears look a little reluctant to say the least. They only “charge” a few paces before falling apart. I cannot see them very well because they return to the ground in an overdramatized fashion the moment they crawl out. Again, more range would help (or maybe 1000 less man hours spent on polishing it).

Let’s move on to another cool skill: Grasp of the Dead. A great idea, but it has some visual problems. Does the Witch Doctor summon a purely spiritual graveyard complete with children’s haunted house effects, or do the zombie hands consist of true matter buried on the spot? I didn’t realize that Witch Doctor societies bury their dead with tombstone markers. Oh wait, they don’t. Hmmm. So I guess they spend hours practicing magics over the graves of other people’s cultures? Really, Blizzard just wants to pump more spookiness into the skill…because we idiot players need to get whacked over the head with visuals, I guess.

An Indigo runestone turns GotD into Rain of Corpses where, “Corpses fall form the sky dealing 55% weapon damage as Physical to nearby enemies.” Don’t you love how Blizzard still uses that Arreat Summit way of not describing things? “Nearby” as in how many yards? Identical corpses, or does size vary? How many corpses fall? How long until they land? Can one hit multiple targets? Do they ricochet? Spell duration? Area of effect? Oh well, I guess we’ll learn all that less important stuff in 2015 when they have MAXIMIZED the visual effects—even more!

Some players frown upon what they see as silly skills like The Barbarians’ Dread Shot. He throws Curly from The Three Stooges whom he pulls out of his pocket. Such feats of strength settle well with me, actually. At least the corpse doesn’t glow pink and leave a lightning trail to get our attention. Hell, this runestone effect looks mild and normal for a change! However, I always wished bodies would remain on screen as usable materials, like in Diablo 2. It would help a skill like this make more sense. I for one think we should hear some tuba music playing for this skill, since he throws a fat corpse every time. And what if you could put all the bodies into the Cauldron of Jordan and look at the loot later?

Finally, we have Wall of Zombies. Great idea, but the zombies look so contorted, I cannot fugue out which limbs do what. Why does a great idea like this even need bodily contortion added? WoZ remains one of the few purely original concepts not pulled from the most famous movies ever made from which Blizzard draws inspiration.

Too many movies, as it turns out. The mask has a 10% chance to yell, “Get to the choppa!!”

The Alabaster runestone turns WoZ into Pile On where the zombies climb atop one another to form a tower which then falls on the enemy. While I think such comedic skills suit the wacky Witch Doctor well, I wonder if these flamboyant zombies can do other agile tasks like, oh I don’t know, encircling enemies and hitting them? We can always dream.

In conclusion, I think Blizzard made a very clever and creative move by incorporating creatures such as zombies, locusts, toads, bats, etc into the otherwise simple attack skills. It gives the Witch Doctor more of a pet class feel, even if you don’t use the regular AI-type of minions. The only problem, and the theme I hope I touched on regarding the skills I covered, remains the desperate attention seeking visual nature of, well, everything in the game. If everything vies for our eyes, then nothing will stand out.

Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, seems over the top to the extreme max. The tree branches in the beta look like the most gnarled and blackened sticks ever drawn, the crows fly right up in your face, idiot lights tell you where to go, the 40 foot checkpoint archways flood the world with all-consuming golden light, poison now resembles neon green radioactive waste, armor looks like ridiculous Styrofoam, everything glows and explodes, and the Monk gets completely buried in an exploding orb, nova, giant floor rune, mist, and light flash ALL for a simple kick effect. They tried to make all things the number one visual priority. But if the whole sky looks lit up by too many fireworks, we see no black background and just nonstop visual noise. To paraphrase a line in the movie Amadeus, some modesty would do well. Each skill tries needlessly hard to get the attention of the mindless zombies in Blizzard’s eyes: the players.

Opinions expressed in columns and guest articles are those of their authors, and not necessarily those of Diablo Incgamers.net.

^Keep that in mind, people. Keep that in mind real good…as I now talk about corpses in real life!

Has anyone else felt sick and tired of dead people running our lives? Just look at the American constitution, written and signed by dead people. We should really throw that cruddy old yellow thing in the stove and make a newer, superior one using COMPUTERS. But no, people insist we let corpses run our lives from the cemeteries, FOREVER.

Oh, you guys can move on to the comments section now because the Diablo 3 stuff has ended. Things only get darker from here on.

Did anyone ever wonder why we maintain this old tradition of respecting the dead? What exactly did those corpses in their fancy old cemeteries ever do for us? They got paid for work they did when they lived, so why do we act like we owe them something? I say if they don’t start earning some of this “respect”, we should defile their graves and use the land for something useful.

And did anyone notice how people assemble to celebrate and give praise to loved ones after they died? I have some startling news: the dead can’t hear you. Why don’t you do all this while they live?

Giant tombstones obelisks: Look at me, everyone! My corpse deserves a bigger stone! My fertilizer X beats fertilizers Y and Z. Corpses. Why do they act so vane?

I think the twist ending to Soylent Green makes the whole movie less tragic.

Why do we have gates surrounding cemeteries? Do the corpses need video surveillance and life insurance too? Shouldn’t we melt those gates down and use the metal for something else? Stop trying to make dead things pretty, you guys!

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.

Tagged As: | Categories: Retired Columns, Witch Doctor

Comments

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  1. MAX OUT ALL THE EFFECTS!!!!  😮

    Max out ALL the effetcs…?   🙁

  2. im a necrophile so i would ejaculate in them

  3. Hehe that’s why you can only play with 4 characters at a time. With 5 there’s so many effects and bright lights that can’t tell what you’re doing!

  4. I don’t mind effects to the max. That’s from a guy who regularly plays very old school games (think Doom 2 and original Dungeon Keeper).
    Just because a game has eye candy doesn’t mean it is any worse.

    Regarding the death thing…
    Well, just keep in mind that maintaining the voices of the dead people is the big reason why we have language and writing, which you now use to denounce the importance of voices of the dead people.

  5. blizzard have the psychological implementation of gaming nailed down. massive amounts of visual effects and colours together with a vast amount of loot and you’ll appeal to everyone, casual and hardcore alike.
    normally i wouldn’t care but when it’s done to the diablo universe, with its own take on heaven and hell with demons and such, the juxtaposition of that against the style of the game just makes it nauseating.

  6. Some dead people deserve way more respect than some of the living. Besides if you will not respect mistakes made before you then you are doomed to repeat it. If you forgot the face of your father who fed you and teached you than expect same treatment from your son. Death is the only eternity available for men for sure. Those monuments, gates and signs are not for dead. They are for a living as a reminder of how you suppose to live your life. And you suggesting us to forget our most recent history and go do all that mistakes all over again? Respect of your dead is the backbone of understanding your past, your history your culture. It is your personal and everybody`s else fault that there was no man in generations that is smart enough to replace constitution. Your logic leading to the generation of anarchists with no aim, therefore there will be no future.  Amen.

  7. The dead did not exactly leave a great situation for us, though. They failed, and their progress was terribly slow. You (and the rest of us and our unborn children) are debt slaves who must pay for the selfish entitlements of people who died long ago. We have history books to remember history. Obeying the traditions of the long dead is holding us back. What makes you so sure anarchy would be any worse than the mess we have now? We haven’t tried all the possible systems yet because we are still shackled in the past ways of tradition. Do the dead really deserve our respect for making us pay for their entitlements before we were even born?

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