Sunday, May 27, 2012


We interrupt this Diablo 3 weekend to bring you some Salem beta.

Salem is a Java based MMO that concentrates on crafting as the main method of progression.  There's another game called Haven & Hearth.  If you're familiar with that, then you'll be familiar with Salem.

So far, it's been all about discovery. Tricky discovery, but discovery nonetheless.  For example, you know you have to craft things, and discover things and before that can happen, you need to gather things.  Except you'll wander around Boston for 30 minutes, discovering that there is nothing there to discover, or craft, or gather.

If you're lucky, there will be some wood chips in some barrels to study.  But don't study too much, or you'll run low on Black Phlegm. The health system in Salem runs on the four humours of old.  Each one is responsible for various jobs you can do in the game.. study, crafting, stamina, etc.  If you run too low, then you may get stuck. Eating certain foods will allow you to regenerate any one of those humours over time.

I joined with one friendly chap, and he suggested I swap my game client for Enders Salem Client.  This client builds on the existing client, and makes certain things easier and more fun.  Particularly, it adds a radar, which is handy for locating things you can gather in your vicinity.

It's still early days for me.  I haven't yet made myself a homestead, or earned any money, so I'll see how far I go.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday Night Maintenance

When I stopped playing World of Warcraft, I thought I might be done with Tuesday night maintenance.

But my reward for buying back into the Activision-Blizzard franchise of games, via Diablo 3 is to be gifted with none other than Tuesday night maintenance!

Except this time, it's a Follow Your Own Path Adventure!

That's right. When you attempt to log in, you get an Error 3003 or an Error 75.  The former is supposed to be if the servers are temporarily down, and the later is if the servers are under load.

So, you try to log into your account via the browser.  Apparently, they'll be back soon, and I should check @BlizzardCSEU_EN for updates.  That Twitter account has had one update in 18 hours, and that helpful tidbit is a link to the EU Support page.  For shits and giggles, there also the Australian version and the US version.

Next, let's try the Diablo 3 Server Status page. It shows the apparent status of the Diablo 3 servers for all three regions, plus individual statuses for the different currency auction houses, and hardcore servers.  With the exception of the real money auction houses, they're all up.  But they're not, or I'd be able to log in.

Next stop, the Service Status forum.  This is where scheduled, emergency, and my favourite, the scheduled emergency maintenance notices are posted.  Except the last maintenance notice is for three days ago.

All that's left after that is is the General Forum. Apparently there has been a notice on the Login screen for Diablo 3 all day.  Except it's not there now, when I can't log in, so that's not exactly helpful.

For all the communication channels that Blizzard have put in place, none of the go to places actually have any useful information when it matters most.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Please Sir, Can I Have Some More?

Much to the dismay of my wife, I spent far too much time playing Diablo 3 this weekend.  It took me a total of 22 hours, but I managed to get through normal mode, finishing at level 32 on my Monk with 1.4K HP, and about 300 DPS.

I was really surprised at how quickly Act IV went by.  Then again, it was really quite fun, and I think I missed two areas that weren't a part of the quest, and didn't get a chance to go back and do them.

I think I did a similar thing in Act I.  I saw, and neglected to enter the Khazra Moon Clan Den and the Watchtower.  When I was done with the main quest for the zone, I tried to go back and locate them, but I couldn't find them.  Either I misremembered their location, or they just closed up.  Never mind.  When I go through  the zone in Nightmare mode, I'll be making sure to enter any and all doors that I haven't been in previously.  Even the rooms of Leah and Cain got a visit in Nightmare, earning an achieve that could have been completed on Normal.

Last night I did some fun teaming up with a friend.  He was level 36, I was still 32 or 33.  I died quite a few times, but then he chipped in that his higher level was making the elites tougher.  Perhaps.  I was thinking it was more because of my low HP (he was 2K at the end of normal on his Monk, compared to my 1.4K), and shoddy game play.  Either way, I'll be looking for more Dex/Vitality equipment on the AH.

Certain icons have significance.  So when I jumped on an alt to transfer my stash full of rare items, the glowing white/blue padlocks were interpreted as being items that could not be moved, not just items that could not be equipped.  I'm such a sign follower, that it didn't even occur to me to try and move the iconed items.  43K gold and 100K needed for a new tab, I was willing to do the grind.  With the short coop play, I managed to get up to 64K.  Shortly before the end of the evening, I worked out that I could move the items, so I ended up blowing a bunch of gold on blacksmith and jewel crafting upgrades, and a couple of bids.

Back down to 28K again, but it should only take a couple of nights to get all that back.  Especially now that I know with Subtle Essence pricing being about the 14g to 20g mark, you're much better of selling magic items worth more than 20g, than salvaging them.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Haven't I Seen You Before?

I was creating my Diablo 3 alts this evening, and my wife came into the study, and looked at the character selection screen.

"That doesn't look like Diablo 3, it looks like WoW", she observed, with a tinge of apprehension.

I don't think I'll end up spending 6000 hours playing Diablo 3 like I did with WoW, but the concern in her voice was warranted.

I'm not past level 15 yet, or out of Act I, but I've gone ahead and have created alts anyway.  Predictably, I've selected names from my WoW characters for the various classes.

Pathak, previously a Night Elf Warrior, ending as a Dwarven Warrior is now a Babarian.

Dubh, once a female Night Elf Druid who had to be renamed an Anion, is now a Demon Hunter.

Chivers was my male Human Frost Mage, appears as Chivas a female Wizard.

Znakharka was my name of choice for female Shaman toons, and now appears as a female Witch Doctor.

Not sure if any of these alts will get much of a look in, but they're there for hand me downs and aesthetics.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Diablo 3: Initial impressions

Just because, my impressions of Diablo 3.

Firstly, I should point out that I haven't played WoW since the beginning of last year, or was it the year before. I don't know, I don't remember, I don't care to look it up.  It's been a few months since I've played anything resembling an MMO, other than Minecraft.  I've been riding the single player wave.  I also put my pre order in for Torchlight II the moment it was announced.  However, Diablo 3 was only ordered a couple of weeks ago, when someone asked me if I would be playing.

In short, I've gone cold on Blizzard and I wasn't all that enthused about getting Diablo 3.  Until yesterday.

Installation had a couple of hiccups.  I had already downloaded the 7MB installer, which then downloaded the 7GB installer.  So I was just expecting to fire up that baby, and install.  But no, it would show the install screen, and the dialog with the activate or not choice, but then through a error message.  After a bit of digging around in the help, I saw that I needed to download the 7MB installer again, point it to the location of the 7GB installer, and it would download the remaining 50MB and complete the install.  35 minutes later, I was ready to rock.

Then there was the sign in.  Even though there were warnings of loaded login servers, I managed to authenticate, but it declared I didn't have Diablo 3 associated with my account.  This turned out to be because Global Play had not been released yet.  Because my installation was UK English, it defaulted by region to Europe.  From the login screen, I changed my region to the Americas, and was able to log in.

And now to game plat.  So far, I've noted two things.

One, the game isn't the "wet my pants" experience I was expecting. That is, I don't like scary games too much these days due to my imagination (lots of dreams about hacking up hordes of undead things last night) and the emersion. D1 was a little scary, and I didn't get far in D2. I didn't get far in the last Doom game, because of the lighting, and even Bioshock could only be handled in small amounts. So, I was expecting to be jumping out of my skin, but it hasn't happened. So I'm guessing they've toned down the creep factor to cater for the kiddies. I'm not ungrateful for that.

The second is that gold in not scarce. So much so, that I've trained my blacksmith to a point where I can't actually wear the stuff he's crafting. I figure I've already dropped about 10,000 (or perhaps 8,000) into levelling him up. So buying stuff on the AH, real money or otherwise, would either be for vanity, or so I can pick up cheap magical items to scavange and craft something that I really want. (Crafting is a bit of a lottery, with random enchantments on crafted items).

The UI reminds me of WoW in many ways, though it's probably because of the statistics system that is in place.  The nice thing is that I don't feel like rearranging the UI.  Details for stats is there if you need it, but it's only for a cursory glance.  I guess if I get to a point where I get low on health often, or just keep dying a lot, then I'll look at my detailed stats to see how my mitigation vs avoidance is going.

I've started on a Monk, and his name is Colerejuste.  Long time readers might remember my WoW Draenei paladin was also named Colerejuste.  The name still fits the character, and even the accent of the Monk suites the name as well.  No doubt, I'll be recycling names from my other WoW characters as I try out the other classes in D3.

So far, I'm not offended by the game, it is kinda fun and I'll be looking forward to compare with Torchlight II.