Monday, April 13, 2009
The Quest to Finally Kill Diablo
Being a child of the nineties, I can't help but have fond memories of Starcraft, Everquest, the original Rainbow Six and, of course, Diablo. My older brother and I used to play the original Diablo a ton, we'd each gone through the main single-player and had figured out how to get online in BattleNet's infancy when you had to make sure no one was on the phone when you tried to connect.
This was before the days of server administrators, so griefing and hacking were commonplace and my brother and I were no exceptions. We had our hack programs and could dupe with the best of them. In my Godly Plate of the Whale I had killed Diablo plenty of times, even if I was running a sorcerer.
But by the time Diablo II came out, I had moved on from the franchise. My brother bought it and it was around our family computer room so I decided to take it for a whirl. I got my necromancer through act one and had enjoyed the fan service I found in saving Deckard Cain from Tristram, but I quickly grew bored with the game about hour ten when I was still running through the desert trying to find another arcane bauble for the horadric staff. I think that was about the same time I invested a few skill points into Iron Golem as well, which would be enough to turn anyone off of that game forever.
A few years and a PC upgrade later, I decided to give the game another shot. I dusted off my brother's old discs and set about installing the game. Given its massive hard drive requirement, for the time, it took me a while to finally free up enough space and then even longer to finally get it all installed. But after finally completing that herculean test of patience, I booted up the game to find my family PC's graphics card was incompatible.
Years later, when I moved off to college and finally got my own PC, I took the discs with me and gave it another go. This time I was successful in playing for a few minutes at a time before the color calibration would freak out, leaving me staring at a screen of yellow and purple dots that vaguely resembled my character.
Frustrated with Diablo II, I basically decided that no game could possibly be worth this amount of hassle. I still remembered the horrified glee I felt when I watched the closing cinematic of the first game, being shocked and dumbfounded as Diablo's glowing soulstone embedded itself into my hero's head as he reeled back in terror.
It almost felt a shame to let that story end there, with my hero deep beneath Tristram waring with the devil himself, even when I knew full well it continued. I also kicked myself for giving up on the game back when it was right in front of me so many years ago.
Damn you Interstate '76 for being so damn irresistible to my pre-teen mind!
I'm sorry Interstate '76, you know I love you.
Anyway, about a month ago my buddy Kato decided to show me some trailers for Diablo III, which I had been staunchly avoiding as the idea of playing Diablo III without having completed Diablo II seemed like watching Return of the Jedi without ever finishing Empire Strikes Back, and that's just wrong.
The moment I started watching though, I knew I had to right my canonical sins. A few days, and a shameful trip to Wal-Mart later, I loaded up Diablo II. This time forgoing my brothers old crappy discs for a new set off the shelf, complete with the expansion Lord of Destruction, which I had never previously owned.
I've been playing online with my buddies since and I've got to say it feels damn good.
After a few short weeks of clicking my way through dungeons, arid deserts and jungles I finally confronted the grand unresolved conclusion that had haunted me for so many years. As I double-swung wildly into the beast's pixelated body I knew I was correcting a grand injustice. Lightning and fire spewed forth from his hate filled maw and threatened to melt us where we stood, but my hero stood firm.
As the mighty beast howled its last, I knew victory was finally mine. After so many years, this painful, neglected memory was finally laid to rest.