Diablo 3: what in gods name is the witchdoctor doing in the game?

I’m in the D3 beta.  It’s great.  My fears about how the game plays have been completely allayed.  The monster hit lag is unfortunate, but not a ruiner.  The real money auction house is delaying the game’s release, but that’s OK too.  It should have no effect on players that choose not to use it and you can probably play through the game without even noticing the crafting parts and just pick up any items dropped on the ground FTW, let alone actually using the auction house.  The character models aren’t that great, but the monsters look awesome (monsters don’t have a billion combinations of armor and weapons so it follows that there’s a lot more leeway with their design).  However, the Witch doctor’s inclusion has me befuddled.

I liked the other black characters in Diablo 1 and 2.  The magic user in the first game fit really well when he could have been just some generic pointy-hatted gandalf clone with a stupid beard, or some naked woman that said stupid stuff all the time.  The paladin in D2 was another non-northern european character that was believable and fit in well.  That said, I just don’t know where Blizzard is coming from with the Witch doctor.  Essentially, the Witch doctor replaces the Necromancer from D2– he has many of the same powers and is the core choice for a person that wants to use a summoning character–so system wise, he’s important, but as fluff and the character model itself  he is WAY out of place. Here are my issues in order of magnitude:

3) Aesthetically, the witchdoctor is a hunched over, quivering creature with some sort of strange shaking fit that happens to one of his arms. He himself looks like one of the creatures you will be fighting more than any of the other characters.

2) The setting for the Beta is in a very northern european looking region (Tristram); all the voices are some odd mix of  welsh, scottish, irish and english thrown together in some sort of midlands pond scum. Given that you are in a remote village that had been plagued by demons and undead before, it’s difficult to imagine some creature looking as odd as the witchdoctor (almost naked as he is starting out) would be killed outright– let alone being let INSIDE the village

1) Given that said village is under attack at the outset of the game by waves of zombies and the witchdoctor himself raises zombies as one of his first powers in the  game, it’s equally strange that a person like him, wearing a demon mask and raising zombies, would be allowed anywhere near the INSIDE of the village and almost certainly would simply be killed outright.  Of course, since the dialog options are all the same for each character, the NPC’s accept the witchdoctor the same as if he were the barbarian or demon hunter, which makes the doctor’s instant acceptance after killing just a handful of zombies feel like a giant shoehorn sticking out of Diablo’s bright red arse.

I originally thought the Monk would stick out like a sore thumb in the game, just like he did in the (non-Blizzard) expansion to Diablo 1 back in the day, but the witchdoctor is a big carbuncle right on the face in comparison.  I realize not all of D3 will happen in fantasy Northern Europe land and the witch doctor won’t look quite as ridiculous but as it stands, it’s a very strange choice for a character.

Diablo 3 beta ruminations, and big update to Torchlight 2’s site

Someday, Torchlight 2 will come out and there will be the big dust up between Diablo 3 and Torchlight 2, during which we will all likely find that the mod-friendly, played-on-your-actual-computer Torchlight 2 will be a better experience long term, despite some of Diablo 3’s absolute awesomeness sprinkled around, but for now all we got is a new TL2 website.   However, there is new art all over the place for the classes on the TL2 site, so check it out.

Now, I’ve spanned two nights in the Diablo 3 beta finishing the hour and a half of gameplay twice, once with the Monk and once with the Demon Hunter (both Co-op with baurice!mastard).  While there is the hit lag still noted by maurice!bastard a month or so ago on youtube, and the lag is absolutely awful at times–lagging when you NEED IT NOT TO LAG MOST, much of the game itself is just great and a few set pieces in the beta areas are flat out awesome.  The swarming undead at a couple points is the game I most want to play, that and have some decent item management fun with crafting.  Aesthetically: D3 is top notch.

Here is an hour and thirty minutes of play from my first night into the fray with the mastard:

SKYRIMMED!

The Dark elves look far better in Skyrim than oblivion, though that hat doesn't match too good.

It’s finally out!  Only a few hours in and it’s showing it’s quality in the combat, systems and graphics.  The metacritic score speaks for itself at ninety SIX.   While I liked Oblivion a lot, especially the Shivering Isles expansion (that just had excellent writing throughout) I felt Morrowind was the stronger game– though certainly not technically nor graphically– heck modders were able to make far better PC/NPC heads than Bethesda did back then, and by far better I really mean it,  so my hope with Skyrim is that it tops Morrowind by far.

Here is a tweak guide for PC users:  http://www.shacknews.com/chatty?id=27073178#item_27073178.  Big thing is to increase the Field of View if you are running in the FPS view (which is good for finding the small stuff).

My main love so far is that you can SWIM IN THE FUCKING CREEKS!  And I don’t mean just on the surface! Like Morrowind, you can go under the water and look around and, of course, find stuff.  Otherwise, like Fallout, for as big as the Skyrim world is, there is a shocking amount of detail to the environments– not RAGE level, which is wonderment incarnate, but close.

You still can’t make a pretty girlface via the custom creator.  In that this is no different than oblivion or fallout.  All the girls you can make for each race are fug ugs.

breathing out the mouth

Chumpo:
ya this guy does a complete playthrough, good quality, http://www.youtube.com/user/Nastydude1989#p/u/21/enVA_WZkZcw
Me:
of the whole beta? that doesn’t go too far right?
Chumpo:
ya it’s like 1/2 or 1/3 or 1/4 of act1. the guy playing isn’t using any skills, just normal attack… failure
Me:
ZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz….
Chumpo:
WHY IS HE IN BETA!
Me:
family man family with someone there or a press person…
Chumpo:
they are dumbasses, you and i need to be in talking CRANKSMACK.
Chumpo:
shit you can hear him MOUTH BREATHING!!!!!!!!! fucking terrible.
Brian:
file
Me:
i’m just not going to watch. i don’t want to make the association. During the game MONTHS from now I will remember some part that I get to and remember THAT GUY MOUTH BREATHING into the mic like a fat fuck that he is and it will ruin that small part of the game. I can’t take a chance that that will happen.

King of Dragon Pass for iOS tomorrow

Tomorrow is the big day for King of Dragon Pass.   It’s pricey for an iOS app at 10$ but it’s definitely not in newly-risen genre of megaswarm of crap iOS games.  If you have an i device and like strategy games at all, this is an absolute gem.  I don’t have a device that will run it yet, but soon…

However, it’s not an easy game to be successful at so here are some tips.  Granted, I played this game only twice (about 70 hours of play) and didn’t win the first time through.

  • Pick a balanced clan.  I went all war the first time through and yes you can clear out other clans, but then they hate you forever.  One thing to note is that you can crush other clans into the ground, but they never disappear completely (at least when I played).  They just move far far away.  You will get plenty of chances to fight.
  • Clan circle selection is key.  Make sure you have a circle that hits gods that will help you with everything a little bit rather than over focusing.  Humakt is probably the one I would leave off at first (though having someone on the circle devoted to him is good when you are out to kick some ass).
  • Don’t try to get too big.  Your Tula can only hold so many people and there is a balance between cramming every single building filled with people (which leads to problems) and not having enough people (which leads to problems).  This is a tough balance to hit.
  • Be patient with the rituals.  Rituals are a key element of the game, but they can be confusing and sometimes frustrating to complete.  There are a lot of factors that go into a successful ritual and if the clan member going in isn’t too good at what he needs to be or follows the wrong gods, he’s not the right choice.  This can be tough to suss out.

Torchlight 2 : 20 bones!

Runic announced the price for Torchlight 2 and clearly they are trying to make people to believe they are not making an A-class title (it’s an A-class title).  They also additionally mentioned that this is ALL you will have to spend.    That’s 5$ more than one month of WOW for probably 50 hours of play even before you delve into mods (and there will be mega mods).   And the last class was announced which looks like a more standard mage-esque type chick.   Looking forward to uhhh… October?

Torchlight 2 Hardcore Newb run (someday)

I’d love to say Torchlight 2 is right around the corner, but it probably isn’t.  That said, most of us will not get into the diablo 3 beta, so when Torchlight 2 comes out, we are planning on running Torchlight 2 the first time multiplayer hardcore WITHOUT having played the game before.

The Rules! (this is really on the honor system)

1) No one can have played the game before.

2) If you play, you cannot play at any other time until your hardcore character bites it (i.e.: no peeking ahead).

3) If your character dies, you are free to join again with a hardcore character. (rules 1 and 2 still apply) or quit this absolutely absurd waste of time once and for all.

4) We’ll make up many more rules as we go along if things don’t seem in the spirit of playing newb hardcore!

Of course, as much of this will be documented and posted to the tubes of you as emotionally possible.

Oh and they announced the newest TL2 class; The BERZERKER.

King of Dragon Pass for iOS!

King of Dragon Pass is one of those amazing and unique indy titles that only a small studio could have made.  At it’s core it’s a strategy title where you manage a germanic-like clan through it’s trials and tribulations, try to lump some other clans into a tribe and drive that tribe into a kingdom.  While it is a strategy game with resource management and area control,  it’s main goodness is a story component where random events play out over the course of years based on choices made at each point that the story is presented.  If you take in some refugees for instance, it could trigger certain (random) stories where some of the new women are stealing the men from your original clan group, pissing off the incumbent women and this will have to be resolved somehow, if you didn’t take the refugees, it could path out to a different set of random stories.  Given there are a mess of these stories going on at once and they all path, that’s a huge tree of story goodness to experience.   It’s a given that it’s never the same game twice, but what A-sharp did was create a game with that most elusive of all elements: soul.   From the way battles are managed to the aging of your clan elders to the myriad of paintings and images that go along with the stories, the game just oozes out soul from every pore.

So why bring this up now as it came out in ’99 and this game has been lost in the sands of time for awhile, at least in purchasable for?  It’s coming to iOS in September!  While not available on the iPad (which would be ideal), it’s going to be out on the iTouch and iPhone for what looks like OS4/5.

Confrontation lives! (on the computer…)

Shacknews posted a bit that the developers of GW’s Blood Bowl will be doing a computer version of Rackham’s Confrontation– and absolutely excellent miniature skirmish game (at least the 3.0/3.5 rules era).  Now I have another excuse to NEVER PAINT MY DRUNE.

Link for more info. This is one I will be following as closely as allowed by the interweb tubes.