The Diablo Podcast #71: Garwulf’s Conversation


If you enjoyed the podcast but wish there was just less of Flux talking, this is the show for you. Long-time, old-time Diabloii.net columnist Garwulf, AKA Robert Marks, is the guest and my goodness does he have a lot to say. Fortunately he’s pretty good at saying it, so hear him discourse on his new book project, his place in the origins of video game journalism, the evolution of ebook publishing, and his interactions with Blizzard back in 2000, when he published the first official Blizzard ebook and the first official Diablo fiction, Demonsbane.

Garwulf’s new book is called The Traveller on the Road of Legends. The official blurb:

“We’ve all read fantasies about quests, and dragons, and annoying wizards. In which the fate of the world hangs in the balance. And here’s another one. But this one is intriguingly different. THE TRAVELER ON THE ROAD OF LEGENDS introduces a setting of infinite possibilities, characters we care about, and danger that must be fought right now. A great adventure.”

You can also check the original Garwulf’s Corner columns from 2000-2002, an interview Flux conducted with him upon the publication of Demonsbane, and Flux’s 2002 review of that novella. Garwulf’s blog can be seen at garwulf.livejournal.com.

The whole chat is a good one, but if you’re really only interested in the “writing a book for Blizzard and getting a preview of Diablo 3’s plot” content, you can skip to about 37 minutes.

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  1. Unfortunately, the link to Traveller on the Road of Legends is broken (hopefully it will be fixed soon) – the working link is: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008EKYNKQ

    Best regards to all,

    Robert “Garwulf” Marks

  2. hey guys love the pod casts been listing to them at work for .. a long time. i listen to you guys during the build up of d3 release at my old job and now at my new one. I just wanted to rag on u for the sound quality of this podcast. wtf flux- u guys don’t sound manly without and bass, well flux never did sound manly.. hah. Anyway keep up the good work with diablo news see u in sanctuary.

    side not where the hell’s elly been? she should have been cast for the female monk voice.

    I was really hoping for more in this new 1.0.3b patch TT i think 1.0.4 is gonna be a game changer

    • Knightwolf: Part of the sound issue may very well have been my fault. It was my very first podcast, and I had to borrow my fiancee’s mic (and neither she nor I tend to use computer mics a lot).

      So, for anybody who had trouble listening in, many apologies for my share of the sound problems.

      Robert “Garwulf” Marks

      • i just finished listing to the pod cast. i was only trying to b an ass bout the sound. i could here u guys fine. Its defiantly awesome to here from a writer that both played and wrote Diablo. Did you feel that you did justice heading the launch of diablo books? (then? now?)

        I’d like to thank both of you for giving me insight into a industry that i never have seen before. Where it arose and how it has changed.

        As for your new book “The Traveller on The Road of Legends” i read the prolog and it seems promising. I may have to get myself a kindle if you have more books sitting on ur desk.

        – grats on the marriage & i hope that one day a game will strike ur interests as much as writing for diablo once has.

        Speaking of a Diablo bible, i think that would be a sweet book tieing all the plots thru the 3 games together. Im still confused in where leah was born in the story line. If marius was her father and there was 20 years between games.. persay she was concieved in diablo 1 we would have seen her in d2 hangin out with Uncle Deckard. If we assume she is born in D2 then id have to speculate that diablo hosted in marius fktd the sht out of Adria only to pass his seed, thus explaining her powers but after the events of diablo 2 + lod + 20 years between d2 and d3. she would be much older in diablo 3.. she sees to be around 20 +/- a few years.

        Are we suppose to believe that diablo had this all planned out? – sry for the typos.

        • Well, I suppose I should specify there a bit – I also have no idea of where Leah came from either. The plot of Diablo III was outlined in about one or two paragraphs in the broadest possible terms. I imagine the details changed considerably through the development cycle.

          Robert “Garwulf” Marks

        • Are you a bit confused with who Marius is? Marius was with the dark wanderer, not actually him.

      • I had to edit and render this show on my laptop, which might have contributed to making the voices sound a little different. Not sure why that would be, but I noticed there was kind of a lack of bass when I sound checked the final. It’s not a concert or musical performance though, and since the sound was loud and clear and understandable, I thought it was fine.

        • Well, that could explain a bit too – after all, in reality I sound like a combination of James Earl Jones and Vin Diesel…

          Robert “Garwulf” Marks, tongue firmly in cheek

  3. Do you guys still discuss Diablo 3 or has the disappointment really gotten that bad.

    • We did briefly, but this podcast wasn’t about the gameplay of any of the Diablo titles, so that wasn’t a focus. Many future podcasts are planned with intensive discussion of D3, so that’ll come soon enough. And I’m disappointed that so many fans don’t feel they’re getting what they want from D3, but personally I’m still really enjoying the game.

      As with all things, it’s mostly about your own expectations going in, and people who had no memory of D2’s growing pains and slow evolution into a finished product, who bought D3 expecting perfection right out of the box… generally didn’t get it. Especially when they elected to spend 10+ hours a day, every day, looking for it.

      • It would have been nice if Blizzard “grew” the series from Diablo 2, you know, maybe show a little bit of evolution and maybe that they learned from the faults of D2, rather than regressing the series and the genre in general with their release of the game. Their whole mantra of “when it’s done”…yeah kinda threw it out the window.

        You can’t release a game that drops features from the past games and not include anything of value to replace it. I was “expecting” a game that was a sequel, not a game that took the name and nothing else from the previous games. I wasn’t expecting perfection, but I was expecting them to not make so many of the silly mistakes that they already fixed in D2X!

        I spent 10 hours a day playing D2 when it first launched. Hell, I played 34 hours straight at the beginning, and I enjoyed every moment of it. Then I played it for the next 10 years! Playing D3 has been a chore. I had to “force” myself to play through it just to see if it got better (it didn’t).

        You can’t say that “because D2 didn’t launch perfect, D3 is allowed to be less than the previous game, because it will get better” It doesn’t work like that. You need to learn and grow from the previous games, and that includes everything that they learned with D2X and the patches that they threw out for the game. We were expecting that sort of growth, and didn’t get it, in any way, shape or form.

        • But how much of that was you being younger and more easily impressive by a video game? Or the lower expectations we had for games in 2000? Or knowing far less about D2 pre-release? Etc?

          D3 obviously has a lot of room for improvement, and I join most fans in holding it to a higher standard than D2; devs know more about making a good arpg at this point, it was under development longer, had a larger budget, it should have learned lessons from what D2 did right and wrong, etc.

          All that said, I think a lot of players are being way too critical and impatient in their judgments of the game, so soon after release, and I think D3 will be a much better game in 3 or 4 months than it is today. It had better be…

  4. Wow, reading Garwulfs corner, sure does bring back memories.

  5. Man… Garwulf you made me nostalgia for my days when I was in the Adrian Empire. Great cast, very enjoyable topics.

  6. I stopped listening at 29:55 because Garwulf incorrectly stated that making D3 online is an effective method for stopping “piracy”.

    EDIT – Link to pirate version is a no no. Thanks ~ Elly

    I’m fairly sick of such propaganda. Having games online only doesn’t prevent copyright violations. There are many WoW private servers and I suspect there will be many D3 private servers too.

    • Prevent does not equal minimize. I don’t think anyone could argue with a straight face that D3 wouldn’t have been wildly more pirated at this point had it launched with single player mode. Many fans (not just those who want to steal the game) would be willing to accept that trade off in exchange for an offline mode, but it’s silly to act like online only doesn’t do a great deal to limit piracy. (I include Blizzard in the “silly” designation, as they’ve often acted as though the online only DRM wasn’t motivated by anti-piracy efforts.)

      That said, it’s arguable if stopping piracy = increasing sales. In my observation, most piracy is done out of curiosity or boredom by people who didn’t care enough to buy the product in the first place.

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