January 7, 2014

Playing games…

Filed under: bloggery — Tags: , , — Rhiannon Lassiter @ 6:25 pm

The wizard Shattershard (Rhiannon) and her demon hunter ally in DiabloIII

When I was about 12 I always used to win games of Cluedo because of the copious notes I took about not just the cards I’d seen but the guesses I’d made about who else had shown what cards to whom. No one else did this (at least no one I played with) but it seemed to me the obvious way to play and win the game. And, more importantly perhaps, I enjoyed it.

In my adult life I’ve played a number of games: board games, card games, roleplaying games, computer and video games. I’ve played games with big rue books and games with almost no rules at all, games with a single way to play them and games with lots of different roles. I’ve even designed my own games and played them with other people. Overall, I like rulesets, and levels of advancement and different roles or ways to play so I can choose the one that suits me the best.

In 2012 I posted a list of my then current top ten favourite computer games. It’s not changed much since then but I’ve since enjoyed Endless Space and Tropico4. My copy of the Sims has so many mods and add-ons and content it’s become very crashy. But what I’ve been playing the most recently is Diablo3. And that’s what this post is really about because the people who make Diablo don’t like the way I play it.

Diablo3 is a fantasy dungeon crawl. You play one of 5 characters: a wizard, a demon hunter, a barbarian warrior, a monk or a witch doctor. As this character you progress through a storyline involving killing different kinds of monsters with the highest level of antagonists gigantic demon lords. Killing monsters gets you loot which mostly comes in the form of weapons or armour of different types and strengths and with specials.

This has been the case with Diablo since the franchise first began and one of my very favourite part of the game was getting cool looking armour and weapons that did awesome stuff. The very hieghest level of stuff is “set items” with a matching set of awesome names which give you more and more special bonuses the closet you get to a matching set. These are very very rare. In earlier DiabloI you might eventually find about half of a set and in DiabloII you could trade with other players for items. But DiabloIII – the version I’m playing – introduced an auction house where you could bid with virtual gold (acquired in game) for various items. In this way I have managed to acquire dazzling hoards of cool items and equip some of my character with awesome “legendary” set items.

But this March the people who make Diablo (Blizzard Entertainment) are turning off the auction house and although they have promised a whole new way of collecting loot which is supposed to be better than ever, I fear I will not be able to collect set items so well ever again. Which makes me sad because this is one of my favourite bits of the game and it’s being taken away.

And the other game I’m most interested in playing right now is Grand Theft Auto 5 which is also having a problem right now with the way people are paying it online not being at all what the creators (Rockstar Games) wanted – again the debate is around the collection of loot. Money is the basis of everything in GTA online and some players dislike the current payoff system for in game accomplishments so much they’re exploiting a glitch to donate virtual millions to strangers, which is throwing the game into chaos.

All this loot my Diablo armour, the GTA money, the furnishings of the Sims is virtual – although the companies would like to encourage you to spend real money on in game loot as well.Perhaps that’s really the problem. One of the things I most enjoy is the acquisition of in-game stuff and increasingly games are putting a real price on that. Perhaps I should find a communist game where stuff acquisition is not such a major part of the enjoyment.

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