of lag and right-clicking
Posted on May 31, 2012
[The internet at my day job has been pretty much broken all week; this is the first time since Tuesday that I've been able to load up the "Add New Post" page without everything crashing. If this post feels a little rushed, just know that I was trying to cram in everything I wanted to say within the short window I've been given.]
In keeping with this post’s preface, here’s the short version:
1. I beat Diablo 3 on Normal earlier this week; my level 32 Monk got through the end in a little over 18 hours.
2. I went on a little bit of an iOS binge/bender last week, as lots of companies were offering Memorial Day sales that were too good to pass up. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much I picked up, considering how broke I’ve been. (The TouchArcade app is a marvelous tool, by the way – it does a great job of letting you know if stuff you want is on sale.)
[Internet still seems to be working, so let me try and expand a little bit.]
re: Diablo 3: Yeah, so, hmm. Everyone seems to agree that the game doesn’t really start to get good until you start on Nightmare mode, which is (a) true, perhaps, and (b) a ridiculous supposition on Blizzard’s part that you’re going to invest 16-20 hours before you even get to the good stuff. Especially since the single-player experience – well, my experience, at least – has been totally screwed up by lag and latency and random server disconnects.
Like I said above, I finished the single-player campaign on Normal in around 18 hours, and in that time I probably only died 3 or 4 times, but at least 2 of those deaths came at the expense of sudden server latency/lag issues, where the game would freeze for 10 seconds and then dozens of enemies would be standing over my dead body. I never lost all that much progress, but since every dungeon is randomly generated, I’d have to re-play the entire map again once I regained a connection, and this started to get a bit annoying.
After beating the final boss – an experience so underwhelming that I initially thought I’d done something wrong – I immediately started up again on Nightmare, and even though I only played for 20 minutes or so, there was a noticeable difference in both enemy toughness and the quality of dropped loot. Again – everyone keeps saying that Nightmare is where Diablo 3 really becomes an experience instead of just mindless left- and right-clicking – you have to think about strategy and tactics a little more, and your build becomes something to seriously consider, rather than something to experiment with. I suppose that’s true, although I still found myself clicking furiously; perhaps there was a slight uptick in clicks-per-second.
The lag is goddamned intolerable, that’s all there is to it. Or maybe it’s my computer, although I refuse to believe it’s my computer. I’ve tried the game on both my super-PC and my regular-strength MacBook Pro. The PC can run at insanely high specs, and it has a wired connection with the router, but it’s laggy and stuttery (as it was in the beta). The MacBook has to run things at lower resolutions and with bells & whistles turned down, and it’s wi-fi only, and yet while it’s true that it’s not as stuttery , the whole game feels like it’s running through water, or maybe it’s just capped at 20fps or something. The point is, I have not yet had the silky-smooth experience that I really ought to be having – the experience that I had with, let’s say, Torchlight.
More than the lag, though – I really do wish the story and the characters were more interesting. Not that they have to be, because honestly who cares, but it would’ve been nice to see the same level of care on the story that there clearly is in (mostly) everything else. It’d enhance the experience just enough to actually keep you invested in why you’re right-clicking 1000x per minute, and not simply just because that pleasure loop of clicking/equipping is so addicting.
Anyway. As we’re still in the release calender doldrums, I expect I’ll be playing Nightmare quite a bit, and I might experiment with other classes. As it is, the Monk was a bit of a surprise for me; in every RPG I’ve ever played, I’ve pretty much always gravitated towards the Barbarian/Warrior/Tank class, but the Monk was quite enjoyable. I might give the Witch Doctor a try; a friend brought his Witch Doctor into a co-op game with me and it was pretty far out. (Speaking of which, should you care to look me up, my battle tag is JervoNYC#1540.)