Interest in the Diablo series[edit | edit source]
Diablo[edit | edit source]
Back in early 1997, I had just gotten a new computer for Christmas and was looking for PC games to spend my allowance on. As I was browsing the titles on the shelf, an older kid (15 or 16, I think) who was doing the same decided to strike up a conversation and asked me what kind of games I was interested in.
"Action games and RPGs," I had responded, mostly drawing from my experience with console games.
"You should try out Diablo," he offered. "Do you play online games?"
"No, I don't."
"Well, if you've got a decent modem, you should try it out."
I picked up the Diablo box (back then, they were the size of a textbook - impractical, but great for looking at the screenshots/artwork) and opened the cover flap. I looked over the system requirements. Pentium 60 MHz - check. 16 MB ram - check. 14.4k BPS modem - check. "FREE access to Blizzard's Battle.net gaming service," was printed as a prominent bullet point. I looked at the screenshots and remember being particularly drawn to the example multi-player screenshot (the one where the characters are in the caves, the rogue is standing by a town portal, and one of the warriors is bringing down a two-handed axe onto an illusion weaver).
I turned to my new acquaintance, "Yeah, I think I'll try it out."
"Well, if you decide to play on Battle.net, let me know," he reached into his pocket, took out a piece of paper, and started to write down his number. "My name's Brad." (Note: I can't clearly recall if that was his actual name and I've long since lost the information.)
I remember being a bit surprised, but took the piece of paper and went on my way. Being 11 at the time, I went to ask my mom if I could give her the money to buy the M-rated game for me.
A couple weeks after playing the single player, I decided to try out the multi-player. I fished up Brad's number and gave him a call. A girl answered (his sister, I assumed).
"Hi, can I talk to Brad?"
"Who's calling?" she asked.
"John. We met at the base exchange."
As I was waiting, I heard her say, "Brad, there's some little kid calling for you." I winced, still of the mind to feel insulted by being called a "little kid".
When he got on the phone, I reminded him of where we had met and that he said to call him if I was up for some Diablo multi-player. He told me he couldn't find his Diablo CD, so we wouldn't be able to play (whether this was true or not, I don't know - seemed like bologna to me at the time).
Regardless, I have to thank him for suggesting Diablo to me. I might not have otherwise gotten interested in the series that I've grown to like so much.
Diablo 2[edit | edit source]
As I became more interested in PC games and less so with console games, I switched from predominantly reading EGM (Electronic Gaming Monthly) and Gamepro magazine to PC Gamer and CGW (Computer Gaming World) instead. In 2000, I recall picking up an issue (PC Gamer or CGW - I may actually still have the magazine stored away) that featured a preview for Diablo II. I was extremely excited that a sequel was being made. If I remember correctly, the article itself had some nice images showcasing Lut Gholein, discussed some of the new monsters featured in the game (the Tainted and Dark Rangers), and touched on improvements to monster AI.
When Diablo II finally came out June of that year, I spent countless hours playing the game. I wasn't so much interested in multi-player (since my connection experienced a lot latency), but grew to love the single player experience. When Lord of Destruction was released a year later, I scooped up the expansion and dumped more hours into the game.
Diablo 3[edit | edit source]
I had become interested in MMORPGs while I was still in high school and spent a lot of time playing classic Everquest (EQ). I continued playing during my college years, eventually moving on to Everquest 2 (EQ2). After being disappointed by EQ2, I decided to try out the other big MMORPG out at the time - World of Warcraft (WoW). I started playing WoW in 2005 and by the time 2008 rolled around I was beginning to feel burned out. My play time reduced significantly, but I was still interested in WoW related news/developments. Plus, since I was going to be continuing on with my graduate studies in the fall, I thought it best to distance myself from WoW. Nevertheless, when I heard that the 2008 World Wide Invitational (WWI) in Paris was going to be streamed live for free, I stayed up late on June 28th to watch the event.
When Mike Morhaime revealed Blizzard's newest game during the WWI opening ceremony, I had no idea the emotional ride that was in store for me. Once the reveal cinematic showed the Tristram Cathedral and Tyrael at the Worldstone, I jumped out of my seat and screamed, "YES!" My neighbors must have thought I was insane (since this was at about 3 am). I hopped around, gleefully exclaiming, "Oh my god, Diablo 3!!" The subsequent panels with Diablo 3 information were a complete joy - I was glued to the event, eagerly awaiting the next bit of Diablo 3 news. In addition, I must've watched the 20 minute gameplay trailer they released over a dozen times in the following days. It looked so polished. I thought that it must've been at most a year away from release. Little did I know that I would be questioning whether or not my graduate degree would be complete before (which is becoming more and more likely) or after Diablo 3 would be released. Before Diablo 3, the announcement of a game had never triggered so much of a raw, emotional joy. I like the Elder Scrolls quite a bit, and even the announcement of TESV: Skyrim didn't elicit an intense response like that of Diablo 3.
Since June 2008, I've been following the development of Diablo 3 very closely. I even broke down and decided I would try for a ticket to Blizzcon 2009. Luckily, I snagged a ticket and got the chance to play the Blizzcon demo. I went through the line for the Diablo 3 demo time and time again - I couldn't get enough. Here's to hoping the wait isn't too much longer and it's released before 2012.
Over a decade with the Diablo series. I don't think there are too many other game companies outside of Blizzard that have a fan base spanning that long of a time frame.