Gotta get down on Saturday and this blog has been severely neglected so here’s a light-hearted post to get my mind of other issues like packing and the intricate workings of the music world.
3pm – the time in Singapore when the floodgates of Hell would open, aka the opening hour of Blizzard’s Diablo 3 servers, once again after a quiescent period of 12 years. This time however, there would be no LAN, as the anti-piracy strategy of online logging-in play and the successful model of World of Warcraft (WOW) had become de facto status quo. This time, the huge pre-order made it the most pre-ordered game in history “Surpassing even Starcraft 2 and World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, Diablo 3 has become the most preordered game in history for Amazon.com.”
But this story is not (just) about 3pm. It is also about the Night of the Long
Yes, the store which I pre-ordered from (not the one pictured above), which had the brilliant tactic of charging $4 less per unit when ordered in bundles of 4, had started distribution a day before the scheduled launch (14 instead of 15 May). 15 May was also the day the servers would be up for gameplay.
After a whole afternoon of Europe trip planning and about 15mins of practicing my violin (and the obligatory dinner), I headed down with one of my “partymates” to Far East Shopping Centre. Qisahn had rented another shop space for distribution, and that was to be a lifesaver. The queue was an amazingly long mobius strip when we got there – two feeding lanes but only one queuing end (apparently someone had tried to cut the queue, eliciting a devastating rise in Chaos in the system). The next floor also had a queue but that one was slower than molasses (the one I eventually took moved at the speed of something between molasses and thicker molasses)
Apart from the concentration of testosterone in the air, (significantly higher than that at the gym, I must concede,) most of the queue-rs were patient. Some camwhored the extremely female-deficient crowd. Suspected girlfriends and sisters (and mothers) were spotted, with a scattering of
true gamer-girls for variety. After deciding our strategy of queuing on both the 4th and 5th floors, I headed to grab my book from the car. upon taking the stairwell espied a group of kids, including a girl (dressed in a sailor-collared blouse like MGS’ uniform) one would not deem out of place at a Cosplay Convention ripping the protective plastic covering off a new copy of the game.
With Lolita (in a volume including Pale Fire and Pnin) in hand I set out to last the eventual 2h (in the middle of which the A/C stopped for the night).
At this point in time this author might seem very creepy so here’s to those who like to make a complaint to the powers that be:
Diablo 3 received huge hype – even Washington Post has an article on it. It’s huge popularity proved to be the source of it’s (temporary, opening) downfall. Bugs such as Agent.exe left me in the deep end of installation, and when after two whole days I finally got around it (by trying and re-trying deleting the Battle.net cache files) and ran it for the first time, the launcher pulled a stunt (the -launch method worked for me).
Aside from 4- to 8-hour long server maintenance, there were also emergency maintenance done. Luckily, this author had other distractions that left him approximately 30 levels behind his friends (the aforementioned partymate should be maxed out by now).
Diablo 3 is not without its merits. An easy to navigate system, dumbed down quest direction arrows, an easily reversible/resettable skill allocation and jewel socketing system, and an automated player to player trading system (with 15% tax to boot and with real cash to be implemented) makes it really newbie friendly. Again though, this is a double-edged sword, putting D3 on the bad side with older Diablo fans. On one hand, it saves time and frustration with traversing large expanses (some quests still require the player to manually find the next “Checkpoint”) and irreversible socketing and near-irreversible skill point saving and allocation, which were faced in Diablo 2 (and 1 on some aspects that existed then). On the other hand, this lack of “nerdiness” and anti-technocratic bias seem to be a popularity- (and money-) spinning strategy adopted by Blizzard following its previous successes of WoW and Starcraft 2.
A certain degree of bias was held by this author due to Blizzard’s recent escapades, whereby a huge legal battle was held in S. Korea against Starcraft: Brood War broadcasting after 10+ years of it happening, and opened up the dedicated market to Starcraft II which has taken over at least half of Proleague (Korea’s Brood War team league). However, peer pressure won out eventually and now I’m spending hours on D3 and probably a nice amount of monies to get a new desktop to run (and maybe FRAP) D3.
Donations are extremely welcome and appreciated.
Despite all this, the memories of my first pre-order game purchase will be poignant, if not permanent (till death that is): Seeing someone take a deep sniff of his newly acquired copy of the game.
Seeing the little gamer/cosplay girl ripping through the plastic covering like a Witch from LFD.
Listening to 92.4 FM en route to and from the collection venue.
Spending two sleepless nights trying to fix the bugs in a game from a company which was know to patch their games extensively.
Creating characters on Asia server when the US server went down just as my installation succeeded.
Troubleshooting the launcher despite the game having launched successfully once.
Lagging on my G105M GPU (it crunches approximately 20fps on lowest settings and 1024×768 res).
Getting phat loot from my friends who went ahead and outleveled me and have since reached Inferno difficulty.
(See below for spoilers)
Note: Credit goes to all the owners of the media linked above.
Here’s a bonus for all the readers who made it through that horrifying (second to Error 37) wall of text:
Development Hell Level
An easter egg level on Nightmare Level, the dungeon is apparently randomly generated. Well the quest already needs the player(s) to find the correct dungeon out of three, but this one is the rarest =p.
My youtube video of random zombie-crew killing: