The announcement of the Retro Video Game System, a cartridge-based console, is the latest case study in the debate of whether gaming should continue evolving beyond its roots.
Secrets and Future of Diablo III
By now I imagine that many of us are saturated with Diablo III. Personally, I can longer differentiate between reality and killing skeleton hordes with fire and brimstone, which makes for an interesting grocery shop wondering where my slavering zombie dogs are and asking cashiers where the best loot can be found. Anyway, fans who have followed the development process of Diablo III are aware of a secret level that the Blizzard Dev team has put into the game. This secret level took all of about three days to be uncovered by the players, and is a jokey ribbing relating to the reaction of the fans to the first art style for the game was first announced, which was said by many to be too colourful and cheerful. Therefore, the secret level, Whimsyshire, would not be out of place as an add-on for Viva Piñata or in a neon rave in the world of My Little Pony. Complete with rainbows, clouds, every bright colour known to modern physics and hilariously cute enemies, Whimsyshire is truly a treat to access.
Gaining access to this magically happy and fruitful land is not exactly easy, and does require a certain amount of ingredient collection and location-finding, accessed in Act I. Whilst the art style and enemies are cute and cuddly, do not be lulled into a false sense of security – Whimsyshire is on a par with Act IV-level enemies, and will destroy any dream-riddled hero in a shower of rainbow blood with as much thought given to swatting a slightly annoying fly. Below is a video that shows how to gain access to this mythical land of eye-stinging colour and beauty; but be warned, it will contain spoilers attributed to the story, so watch at your own risk heroes!
I’m sure that as time goes on, other easter eggs will be uncovered along with a quirky set of either funny glitches or incredibly strange NPC conversations. For now though, let’s talk briefly about the purported longevity of Diablo III. The storyline, as shown by many gamers, can be burnt through on Normal difficulty in around 6-7 hours – just to get a feel for the story. After that, the only thing Diablo III offers nothing but replayability by repetition, but this is not a bad thing. Blizzard has shown many times before that can make content that players will not mind spending countless hours repeating over and over again in order to gain slightly more sparkly and dangerous loot; just look at any of the WoW expansions, I can’t count the amount of times I ran HC WotLK farming points for gear, and rarely did I get that bored. A wonderful aspect of Diablo III is that you don’t stop getting new skills until pretty much max level, meaning that your combat style is always evolving, and the enemies (particularly the bosses and elites) usually mean a major switch in combat style dependent upon their abilities. Additionally, Diablo III is primarily about loot, and getting better loot as you progress through the levels and difficulty setting. This game mechanic of gaining better loot is a major foundation point of the entire genre of RPGs and is further supported by the inclusion of an in-game Auction House. Diablo III is fresh and new and shiny, so the AH hasn’t settled quite just yet, which I believe is the reason for the delayed release of the real money AH, and as such items are hard to put a price on regarding their worth. However, as Diablo III ages, the AH will become a solid and dependable feature, one that will keep players playing simply to get more golden discs and better loot for bragging rights.
Another way that Blizzard will be increasing the longevity of Diablo III is PvP content in the form of arena-based combat. It’s been stated that this PvP inclusion will be there solely for fun purposes and won’t enable players to garner PvP-based loot, nor will balancing patches be made in order to create an even playing field. PvP was a main reason for the incredible length of Diablo II, players want to show their prowess and dominance over others by killing them, this fact is why multiplayer games do so well for so long. Not adding balancing does not bother me so much as the PvP option to be added in Diablo III is only there for entertainment, not gain. PvP will, however, provide many hours of extra gameplay, fun and moments of hilarity I’m sure. Overall, Diablo III appears to be here for the long haul, and we will no doubt see additional patches containing more content, and as sure as the sun rises, there will be expansion packs forming on the horizon.