So I finally realized what the problem was with Diablo 3. It's a perfectly fine game. The gameplay is fun. The graphics are alright. However, it is not a Diablo game. It does not have the same magic as Diablo 2 and 1 had.
You see, Blizzard forgot who the target fanbase of Diablo games were. Diablo fans are NOT nerds. Those are World of Warcraft fans. If you want to find a typical WoW fan, google image "South Park WoW Guy". There you go, say hello to your stereotypical throwaway nerd, usually between the ages of 13-16 or 40-50. Diablo fans were different. They were your soul patch tattoo guy, who dreams of starting his own death metal band and studying philosophy if not for his weed and Diablo 2 addiction. The guy who would name his character "fuckst1ck" and enter chat rooms trolling "Fuck Canada! My uncle beats me!" and then join a PvP game while getting into arguments on d2jsp. I know there are a lot of WoW fans out there and I personally see why people like it but, generally, Diablo fans thought WoW was fucking gay! There was a famous quote done by someone at this forums whom I can't remember his name, but it went something like "Starcraft fans are Korean, Warcraft fans are nerds, Diablo fans are freaks." I miss this.
So here is where Blizzard made their biggest mistake. They had three franchises and their main attention was World of Warcraft (and for good reason, it was making them a fuck ton of money) and many thought they left the other two in the abyss. However, they recently decided to revive them. First there was Starcraft 2, which had a lot of improvements but I thought the campaign was too cartoonish and missed the original Starcraft feel to it, which was that dark futuristic feel that had a never ending war pessimism attached to it. I miss the cut scenes where there would be marines get assraped by Zerglings instead of Raynor bitching at the screen about Kerrigan for 75% of the time.
Then came Diablo 3. Diablo fans have been waiting patiently for a long time for a game that could be an improvement on Diablo 2, bring a similar dark feeling the first two had and make it on a grand scale. Like how could you fail at this task? You have the Lords of Sin and Lies as your main villains with a hint of the return of Diablo himself (not to mention everyone's favorite boss from Diablo 1). I'll tell you how. You use your most successful game as your inspiration, not the prequels of the game you are trying to make. I don't care if the auction house is flawed, Diablo 2 sucked way more ass at its release but you played it because it had that magic to it. That dark fantasy gore feeling that no one other game had. What other game do you remember had your main character turn into the villain at the end of the game? What other game had you finish the whole game thinking you accomplished something when really the guy telling the story was tricked by a demon lord? Diablo 3 had none of this. It felt like someone took the Warcraft template and tried to make a Diablo 3 game out of it. It was cartoonish, bright, bland, and boring. After all these years of patiently waiting, the Diablo stoners were left empty.
However, I now give you the return of what made Diablo 1 and 2 amazing. The same dark fantasy feeling that made it fun to kill skeletons in dungeons. The same dark music that allowed you to space out to a feeling of taking on pure evil itself.
Meet Path of Exile:
I was chilling over winter break when my brother texted me about this game. He, like me, was a devout fan of Diablo 1 and 2 and the old dark fantasy feeling it had. He said it was nothing like he has ever played. So, hearing it was free, I gave it a go.
So before I get into a review, let me tell you the back story of this game. The developers, Grinding Gear Games, are a small company in New Zealand that were veterans to games like D1 and 2. Missing this, they decided to make a new game based on D2. Using an almost identical ideas such as town portals, towns, identifying, the tetris inventory, etc, a new game was born that is much more of a sequel than Diablo 3 ever will be. The game is completely free as the developers do not believe in a "pay to play" philosophy. If you wish to skip my review and play the game, do it. Don't waste time in reading the useless jabbering on how great PoE is and get it yourself and play. If you want continue reading on like the useless shit you are, go ahead and read my review.
This is a screen shot of PoE pretty early on in the game:
Now there shouldn't be any explanation on why I brought this picture out. Any true Diablo fans knows exactly what every other DFan is thinking and that's "I used to stare at shit like this 24/7". Ultimate sense of awesome enters your head. THIS IS WHAT DIABLO SHOULD BE!
The game takes play on the continent Wraeclast, a harsh dark continent where your character is washed up on after being exiled by his ship. You start on the shores where you eventually find a small encampment founded by other exiles. There is where you start your journey.
Now while this sounds like a typical gay ass fantasy game, the gameplay is what keeps you in it. The combat is similar to Diablo 3 that you have a potions belt and a skill belt, but the way your skills work is pretty sweet. In PoE, you socket your items with gems that give you skills, and each time you level up, you gain a passive skill within a passive skill tree that in its entirety looks like this :
You get one little button per level and the level cap is 100, so the character diversity is just massive in this game. As you level up and your skills get better, you will encounter crazy monsters that would put the D1 catacombs to shame. Light radius actually plays a role in this game as most of the game you are in a dark dungeon crawling with monsters and demons. It brought back the old magic of killing demons and not giving a fuck.
The graphics are something else. It took the claymation-esque style that Diablo 1 and 2 were based on and literally just improved the shit out of it. Night is finally night, which is something that Blizzard just had a hard time doing. Honestly, it doesn't take a genius to find out that lack of light makes things black, not a bluish herpes color that puts Blue Waffle to shame (look that up I dare you). The world is gigantic and the landscaping is beautiful, which I think they call textures in programming but I honestly don't fucking now. Like its spiritual prequels, the maps are randomized and the map no longer feels linear and small.
Now onto the monsters themselves. From strange octopus/man hybrids to classic walking zombies, PoE has them all. You can definitely tell that they used their imagination in this game when it came to the enemies as I honestly am excited when I enter a new area just so I can see the new challenges I am going to face. The spiders actually look freaky in this game and the bad ass undead knights just look like Hellish badassery. Being the freak (not nerd) that I am, I would buy a sculpture of those weird crab things you see in the beginning of the game, as they are absolutely creepy.
Now onto the multiplayer. This is honestly why most people would play the game. The game operates in a sense that you have to have internet connection to play, kind of like WoW and Diablo 3. Yet there is no chat room or anything. You have your character select screen and when you pick a character you are thrust into the game. How do they make up for the chat room? By probably the most ingenious idea of multiplayer communication of all time.
When you start the game you are in a sense playing single player. You have no connection to the outside world except for your chat window which has the option of going global (which counts as the chat room) and/or local (which is in your current party). Now how do you join parties? Well before I get into that, let me tell you about the town. Outside of town, you are by yourself against Wraeclast's monsters, however when you're in town, everyone who is town in your league (a sub level of realms), can be seen in town. You can trade with them, talk to them, or just ignore them if you want. This is how you mostly meet other players. You can imagine it being a webbed tree where outside of town everyone is by themselves but everyone meets together when they're inside. This is a very good way to meet other players and I honestly think the system is amazing. To join parties, you put up your social window where you can join other public parties (which are in a sense separate games in D2) or private parties with your friends.
There is also PvP, which I have no yet experienced, but everyone who has fought in PvP told me it's amazing, but I won't review anything I won't do.
To finish my review, I'll talk about character classes. There are six character classes all of which I am not going to name because I don't remember and I don't want to take the time to check. Yet the way they are made is actually pretty simple. The game is based on three attributes: Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence. The way the class system works is very similar to the six dot color wheel, which means you have three classes that work purely on one attribute, and three other classes that work via hybridization, meaning there is a Strength-Dex class, a Intelligence-Strength class, etc. Each class starts at a different place on the Passive Skill Tree where their passive skills match more of their class. This does not mean you are stuck to one attribute forever. It means that your class works best under one but as you level up more and more you can actually merge some passive skills of other classes, which just adds to the diversity. So the moral of the story is that it's confusing but makes sense when you start playing.
As a conclusion, the game is amazing and it's only in closed beta. The developers know what they are doing and I am glad to call myself a fan of the game. On the Irrational scale I give it ten 4chan memes of out ten. GET IT!
Now to the true Diablo fans out there, here is a link to their website for you to start a new adventure: