Same Planet, Different World
Last night I was Helga the Indomitable. And I was doing my usual thing of slaughtering various animals and collecting nice, shiny trinkets. But all was not well in the land of Sanctuary (moreso than usual), as I soon discovered:
[INDENT]HelgaTheIndomit: Ah, what a fine haul! Lady Fara will no doubt pay handsomely for these. It?s definitely a good day to be Helga the Indomitable, the feisty, courageous warrior with a heart of gold who nonetheless shows her opponents no mercy.
Kjlhcci(illliil) joined our world. Baal?s minions grow stronger.
HelgaTheIndomit: I?m sorry?
HelgaTheIndomit: Are you insinuating something?
Kjlhcci: can u plz give me rush?
HelgaTheIndomit: Rush? Sounds vaguely suspicious. You?re not a red are you?
Kjlhcci: omg wtf?
HelgaTheIndomit: Nothing, nothing. Forget I said anything.
You whisper to CommunistKiller: I think we?ve got a live one on our hands. Be prepared.
HelgaTheIndomit: Now, you wanted something I believe?
Kjlhcci: got ne good stuff u dont need/
HelgaTheIndomit: That?s kind of a contradiction in terms?
Kjlhcci: show me ur stuff
HelgaTheIndomit: What? How dare you!
CommunistKiller (*ihatereds) whispers: I thought I told you to stop messaging me.
HelgaTheIndomit: These pants only come off at night, you know.
CommunistKiller (*ihatereds) whispers: You?re not going through that ?cleverer-than-thou? routine again are you? Nobody thinks it?s funny.
You whisper to CommunistKiller: Aha! So you?re one of them now.
Kjlhcci: omg noob
Kjlhcci(illliil) left our world. Baal?s minions weaken.
CommunistKiller (*ihatereds) whispers: You?re an idiot.[/INDENT]
The above transcript is of an actual conversation that actually happened, because I?m certainly not making this up. And other than being a prime display of my chauvinistic tendencies, it also proves what a handful of us suspected and what everyone else probably already knew.
We?re not playing the same game.
Now this is a great success for Blizzard. There are people who play Diablo II for the questing, and there are people who play for the super-elite items and godly character levels. There are even a few that play because they feel it brings them closer to Satan (or so he tells me). And they all paid for this privilege. From an economic point of view, this is just fabulous.
But from a gameplay point of view?it?s not so grand. The two factions (the Adventurers and the Builders, as I?ve so creatively dubbed them) simply can?t get along. And it?s not for want of trying. Oh no. Why, just last week I extended the hand of friendship towards our less-cultured brethren, in the vain hope that we might be able to reach some kind of truce. But my attempts at communicating with the Builders in their native tongue didn?t go down so well, and the flood of insults that followed left three dead and countless others baffled. Dark days indeed.
Diablo II has been out for years, and has seen much in the way of renovation. The ultimate makeover came by way of the 1.10 patch, which spared nothing in its quest to make Sanctuary the perfect place to spend one?s leisure hours. The only thing the patch didn?t bring was unity. And that?s somewhat undertandable; supposedly you can?t please all of the people all of the time (I think Kenny Rogers said that).
So does that mean Blizzard shouldn?t aim to please everyone? Hell no! A nation under one flag may be an impossible dream in Diablo II, but what of the future of Sanctuary? The popularity of the Diablo series ensures that we?re going to see at least another five sequels and/or spin-offs. So let?s look to the future?
Diablo IIIA and IIIB ? Unity Through Division
Being the creative visionary that I am, I foresee the next installment in the war between Heaven and Hell taking place in two different realms. That?s right. It?s already been proven that the two factions will never unite; clearly it?s time for a change in tactics on Blizzard?s part. By making two separate games they can more-or-less guarantee that critics of one will find something to entice within the other. Plus there?ll always be a few diehards who?ll buy both. It?s win/win!
In order to present a clearer picture of the way in which this division will handle the future of Sanctuary, let?s look at some of the aspects of the next two parallel chapters of the Diablo saga:The World
A complete, sprawling environment awaits the purchasers of IIIA: the entire land of Sanctuary presented in all its magnificence. This time it will be the storyline ? rather than the world ? that is divided into chapters. Of course there?ll be plenty of oh-so-convenient avalanches, blocked trade routes, and leprechauns out there to halt the too-eager adventurer. Guess that?s the price of progress.
Two acts. That?s really all you need. The layout of the first is naturally inconsequential, as nobody will bother to play it. The second will be set in the Amazon Isles, and will boast three wondrous areas:
[*]The paddock, home to a flock of rather innocuous sheep (as opposed to the mean buggers you get in the real world, the ones that?d sooner disembowel you than look at you). It?s kind of like the Blood Moor, only slightly less pathetic.
[*]The hut, home to a small, friendly golem whose body just happens to be made entirely of Windforces.
[*]The lair, home of the final boss. This guy is sure to make Blood Raven look like a worthy adversary.
Sounds too easy? Perhaps. But we can?t allow anything to stand in the path of progress.Storyline
It turns out that the lone wolf hero of Diablo II, who single-handedly slew the Lord of Destruction, was foolish enough to allow himself to become possessed by the very creature he had intended to destroy. Prepare to ineffectively pursue him across the face of Sanctuary as you slay everything that stands in your path! And then some.
The evil lord Mephisto has stolen all of Sanctuary?s beloved green and gold items! And it?s up to you to retrieve them! Do you need any more incentive?
Twenty different character classes, complete with options for selecting height, hair colour, and gender. Well, for all classes except the obligatory archer, who in accordance with current Blizzard policy must always be female. Breast Implants + No Pants = Elite Longbow Skills, apparently.
Barely-clothed Sorceresses and dark, brooding Barbarians. I think that accounts for all tastes these days.
He?s back, bigger and better than ever! By which I mean he?s both more long-winded and less in touch with reality. You?ll thrill as you bear witness to a ten-minute monologue about how in this day and age it?s so difficult for one to remember where one left one?s robes. I?m sure of it.
Also Cain speaks purely in Latin now, in order to further build upon his air of ancient wisdom. Heck, it?s not like anyone listens to him anyway.
Cain may have since passed on, but his illegitimate younger brother is more than ready to step into his shoes! M.C. Nugget is phat, dope, fresh, and many other exciting, new-age terms! He is, according to an interview with a Blizzard employee who begged to remain anonymous, ?down with the youth of today in a way old Deckard could never be?. The MC even speaks exclusively in three-word sentences, so as not to be a strain on one?s thought-processes.
All in all, I think that?s a pretty damn impressive preview. I especially love how I backed up my speculation with the cold, hard facts, unlike the majority of pseudo-visionaries. And I for one can?t wait for this next installment of the Diablo series. To quote Max (my personal God), “I?d be peeing my pants if I wore any.”
Disclaimer: The Lion’s Toes was written by Leon (Robert McGrath-Kerr) and hosted by Diabloii.net. The opinions expressed in these columns are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Diii.net.