I’ve never played any of the previous Diablo games, and I’ve heard plenty of horror stories about Diablo 3’s state at launch. However, my prior addiction to World of Warcraft had caused me to take a look at Blizzard’s other games, and Diablo 3 had caught my eye many moons before when I tried out the demo on PS3. After a swift recommendation from a friend, I plunged in wallet first and entered the world of Sanctuary.
The story caught me off-guard. I remember that I’d been intrigued by the gameplay, but when I actually bought it around two years ago (shortly after the release of the expansion, Reaper of Souls), I became quickly invested in the actual events unfolding around me. I had also been enticed by the cinematic at the begging of Act IV (spoilers, watch at your own discretion), but I’d mostly attributed its awesomeness to Blizzard’s ever-spectacular cinematic team; seeing it in context with the narrative was a whole other layer of enjoyment.
But that was a few years ago. I completed the game ages ago and have gotten a second character to level 70 alongside my original Wizard. So what am I still doing playing the game?
Well, Diablo 3 really comes to fruition as a game after its completion. When you finish the story, you’re launched into adventure mode, and that’s where the game really opens up. You can gain infinite amounts of paragon levels which allow you to attribute small enhancements to stats (I’m currently at level 103), and the game becomes a search for gear which will enhance your skills and complement your character’s abilities. I’m currently attempting to gather the set pieces needed to pull off an Archon build for my Wizard… and in all honesty, this is the first time in a hundred paragon levels and countless hours of gameplay that I’ve actually decided to look up a guide on how to build my character, and it’s really given me new motivation to continue playing. There’s countless ways to improve, such as switching up which abilities you use so that they work together to create a unified effect (I currently work with a lot of lightning) or enchanting your gear to have some extra defenses if your character becomes squishy. It’s a never-ending balance of doing enough damage and having enough toughness and recovery, and choosing when to finally move up to the next level of difficulty for faster experience and more rewards.
It’s rare that I become so invested in an RPG that I continue to return to it. Nowadays Blizzard allow you to create seasonal characters, meaning that you start completely fresh (with no shared bank or money with your previous characters) and complete quotas (such as hitting max level) to unlock rewards such as gear and cosmetics. When Season 6 began a few weeks ago I began levelling a Demon Hunter with a friend, but soon decided to continue working on my main character outside of the seasonal game and truly get to grips with the way the metagame works. And I’ve been having a blast.
Diablo excels at giving you a sense of progression and achievement far into the depths of the adventure mode. From treasure goblins to cursed chests, to random legendary item drops and even the sound that it makes when it clinks to the ground and the beam of light the shines upwards from it, everything is designed to make you feel accomplished as you romp through the ever demon-infested lands and kill bosses you’ve put down many a time before. And it doesn’t feel monotonous, because you’re always working towards a new, greater goal. The layout of areas is randomised, and if you’re doing rifts then the very lands you’re running through are randomised too. I hope Blizzard will put out another Diablo 3 expansion sometime, but honestly, the updates and continuous re-iteration of game systems is enough to keep me going, so long as they stick with it. Diablo 3 is one of my favourite games of all time, and I’ve only got more gameplay ahead of me.