I have played a lot of Diablo 2 but for unknown reasons, I can’t stop thinking about the rerelease. In an effort to convince myself not to get it I have outlined a list of arguments and then, in completely self-defeating fashion, counter arguments, aka reasons why I should just get the damn game.
Why I shouldn’t play Diablo 2: It’s old
Diablo 3 is a better game and makes its predecessor feel dated and less awesome.
Why that argument doesn’t hold up: I didn’t like 3
Pretending for a minute I don’t routinely enjoy older games, I can entertain this position specifically aimed at Diablo style click-heavy ARPGs. OK, I am done entertaining. I played Diablo 3 close to launch and did not have a great time. Some of my negative feelings stemmed from the digital key reader my friend needed in order to even play the game, some were based on tired old arguments about aesthetics, and the rest comes from a legitimate feeling that the game simply wasn’t up to snuff.
This is apparently not a rare opinion, though while acknowledging the game wasn’t great at launch (and the auction house was bullshit), people seem to think it’s great now. This is not particularly rational, but I kind of don’t care. The bad taste in my mouth remains, I hate that it’s always online, I hate that they fired the Diablo 2 team, I hate that Jay Wilson was mean and made me cry macho gamer tears, and so on and so forth.
And anyway, I play old games semi-frequently. Something newer, shinier, and more accessible doesn’t always win me over – see Chris and my (never) upcoming post on the old versus new X-Com games for more.
Why I shouldn’t play Diablo 2: It’s expensive
At 40 bucks, wouldn’t that money better be used on some new, million hour long JRPG?
Why that argument doesn’t hold up: I constantly waste money on worse things
This year I have bought multiple Jake Hunter games in a language I can’t read. I’ve purchased about a dozen enormous WRPGs on Steam. I imported some Gust RPG three-pack from the sexist GamerGaters at PlayAsia – Someone Something: Alchemist of the Somewhere, you know what I’m talking about. Then just the other day, I ordered Balan Wonderworld mostly because it sucks. The idea that I should spend my money more wisely is not new to me, nor is it capable of changing my behavior.
Why I shouldn’t play Diablo 2: It’s always online
To play this rerelease of Diablo 2, you need to be logged in to battle.net and generally speaking, fuck always online games.
Why that argument doesn’t hold up: So was the old version
If my memory serves me, I think the original release was set up the same way as this rerelease – single player is offline and doesn’t require internet, but multiplayer characters need to be logged into the dumb Blizzard network. Maybe the line between single and multiplayer was a little less defined in 2000 but I’m too old to remember. Whatever the case, offline single player and online multiplayer feels like an acceptable mid-point between actually owning what I purchase and being completely screwed over by a giant corporation who has more rights and political power than I do.
Why I shouldn’t play Diablo 2: Blizzard sucks
Activision and Blizzard have had some terrible accusations of sexism. I say accusations because I am a bad writer, not because they’re not guilty. Should we be supporting companies that are so shitty?
Why that argument doesn’t hold up: Everyone sucks
This is not to dismiss the problems of sexism, racism, exploitation, disparity, etc. It’s simply to say if we actually attempted to live to some arbitrary standard of consumption, we would consume nothing. Your clothes were sewn by slave children. People died for the stone you gave your wife. We fought a revolutionary war because rich business owners wanted direct control of the government and legal system. We suck.
That’s not to say all boycotts are worthless. Effectively they are, but if they are meaningful to you then they’re valuable. (I won’t buy the new Metal Slug game because SNK is now owned almost entirely by a murderous prince.) Maybe I am just making excuses for Bobby Kotick, but the Activision behaviors seem to mimic many corporations, including Nintendo of America. It sucks that the company is evil, but it’s hard to be surprised in a world that rewards evil.
And I am still coping with my strong affection for many Woody Allen movies.
Why I shouldn’t play Diablo 2: I’ve already played it
This is the argument that keeps me from getting it. I can’t overcome the thought that I should play other things because I value new experiences. Or I like to identify as a person who values new experiences, kind of like I identify as a person who reads. There are so many other games that require my time, like Balan Wonderworld.
Aspirations aside, I put so much time into Diablo 2 already. My freshman year of college revolved around the title, beginning with the purchase and stoic study of the strategy guide that came out before the game. My roommate and I put hundreds of hours into the grind and I still hate the third area (jungle and whatnot).
Finally, I would likely fall off quickly like the last time I tried getting back into it. Maybe it was a decade ago or so, but I convinced Chris and Pat to get the game and the three of us played together. Or maybe that was Torchlight 2. Either way, I have gone back to Diablo 2 and the obsession never lasts very long. Unless it was Torchlight I was playing; it would be hard to gauge my Diablo 2 obsession based on playing some other game.
The new age hippy kids of today would say that I should play what I want. These hedons endorse removing a game from your system within the first 13 seconds of play time if you aren’t having the time of your life and then using the disc as a surface off which to snort coke. They can’t wrap their avocado-flavored vaping minds around the idea that sometimes there are more important things than pleasure, like withholding pleasure from yourself for no discernible reason.