Return to Sanctuary

KOKOStern @ 31st December 2012 09:21 (Read 2,887 times).
Thanks to Andrei "elessarz" Filote for helping me edit this post.

With PvP coming up, I wanted to revisit Diablo 3 and check how the game has changed since I left it. Have the updates made the game more enjoyable? Is it worth my time?

I was mad at Diablo 3 when I stopped playing. The game was repetitive but without reward, did not encourage multiplayer, and end game content was problematic to put it lightly. I wanted to see how far I could get into Inferno difficulty by just pushing forward without any grinding, and after 20 hours with my Demon Hunter, I reached Act 2.

I hit a point where it would take me 15-20 minutes to kill an elite pack with multiple deaths; it simply wasn’t practical. I didn’t have a lot of money (less than a million) but my gear was ok-ish. What was common then was this - you’d reach a point where you couldn’t go further, farm for gold and equipment (very slowly), use the auction house to find better gear, and only then could you progress further into the game. I wasn’t going to grind, so I stopped playing. That was months ago.

I loved PvP in Diablo 2 and really wanted to get into it in Diablo 3. That feature was suppose to come out with the game, then was delayed to a bit later, and now after 7 months we have an estimated date of parts of it coming out (dueling but not team deathmatch). Not Blizzard’s best work, but to give them some credit, they have been trying to improve the game as much as they can, and the Diablo you play today is very different (and much better) than the game you eagerly unwrapped on May 15th. The mention of PvP on the horizon was enough for me to revisit butchering countless monsters by frivolous right clicking.

Diving back into Sanctuary was underwhelming. It’s still the same product that made me think twice before ever again making a day one purchase. The first thing I did was check my friends list to see how long other people have lasted. Needless to say I saw big numbers and even some who hadn’t logged in for over three months. I guess a lot of people abandoned the game, probably for the same reasons.

Starting up a game immediately threw me back to where I left off - Alcarnus, the last short city area before the fight with that annoying fairy thing - Maghda. The entrance to the area is always guarded by an elite pack, so I was eager to see how well I’d fare against them. Getting used to my skills again took only a second. Ditto for killing the pack.

Huh.

I did follow the updates here and there, and I knew that the game had become easier, but I didn’t know it was by that much. My 36k DPS was holding up quite nicely and I cleared out this previously impossible area in a few minutes. Killing Maghda took little effort and I could easily keep going. The game was considerably more forgiving as well. I was difficult to kill, where 4 months ago I’d crumble to one hit from any stray monster. I also noticed I was getting experience for Paragon levels - grind more the game said.

With that settled, it was time to revisit another part of the game - the auction house. I had about 650K gold and no problem spending it. Part of my gear wasn’t even level 60, some of it was blue, and I wasn’t even close to anything green or golden. Opening up the auction house was a breath of fresh air. I could choose up to seven attributes and not just three, and there were all kinds of other small improvements, such as more stats to filter by and the ability to set max buyout amount. I started searching for a bow. Wanting to see the best the market had to offer, I hadn’t set any parameters. Windforce (legendary bow) were abundant, and the strongest clocked in at 1400+ DPS and cost gazillions (for lack of a better word).

My gold wasn’t much and I didn’t mind spending all of it. I wrote down 650,000 as the maximum buy-out limit, and to my surprise, the list was still full of Windforce bows though the DPS had gone as low as 1280. Not bad at all. But I had other things to buy, what could I get for 200k? I ended up spending exactly 200k for a 1270 DPS Windforce - much better than my crappy ~1100 DPS yellow bow. A legendary has a ton of other stats and those weren’t great but the damage alone was worth it. About 10 minutes later and poorer by about 250,000 I had gotten myself a quiver, shoulder and chest armor. My DPS jumped from 37k to 48k, but how would it hold up in battle?

I guess this last part is pretty obvious, I obliterated everything in my path, including champions and even the toughest rares. I can probably finish the whole of Act 2 in two or three hours maybe less. I wonder how far this gear can take me before I’ll have to find more bargains on the AH. I also wonder how hard it’ll be to finish the entire game, but most intriguing for me is to see if this game will survive longer. Will PvP be executed well and be exciting? Will anybody be playing it after a year, after two?

Guess we’ll have to find out. I think I’ll go kill Belial now.

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