Spoiler Alert: Critical plots points of Diablo III will be discussed in this articles.
On May 15th at 12:01 A.M PST the battle for Sanctuary began. Unfortunately, only about 5 people showed up.
Yes, as expected by many the Diablo III launch did not go quite as smoothly as initially planned, at least not here in the Americas. The myriad of obscenities and threats that were hurled in the direction of Blizzard employees by anxious fans who yearned to powerlevel through the vanilla difficulty levels was simply overwheming, and the phrase “Error 37″ became more formidable a foe than The Lord of Terror himself. But when most of us finally did manage to get on we were treated to an awesome, yes mostly familiar, rollicking good time. Over 24 hours has now passed since the launch, if not 24 hours of server up time, and this gamer feels the need to sit back and reflect upon one of the most notable days in recent PC gaming history.
After standing on line at my local GameStop for approximately one hour, I finally received my standard issue copy of Diablo III. The time was shortly after midnight, yet I was more exhilarated than exhausted. In retrospect there was absolutely no reason to not order a digital copy, save you wanted the Collector’s Edition, which admittedly looked pretty damn cool. My reasoning for pre-ordering a copy from a brick-and-mortar store was simple – I didn’t realize that players would be able to download the client a day early. Call it old-school stubbornness, but I honestly didn’t even consider the possibility. Fair enough.
Prior to leaving for the store, I had learned something that still puzzles me a bit today. All US servers went live at the same time. Isn’t that asking for trouble, and why should the East Coast (where I reside, hence my bitterness) gain access to the game at 3 A.M when the West gets it at 12? Wouldn’t it be easier to take a more staggered approach, where 25% of the nation was allowed in each hour? No matter – against my better judgement I decided to stay up. Anticipating the worse but hoping for the best, I was delighted to be able to log-in at 3:01 A.M without any visible problems. At 3:02 A.M I was horrified to learn that I was disconnected. The next hour was a whirlwind of scouring twitter feeds, checking websites and googling the now ominous words “Error 37.”
People were angry – infuriated in fact. More reserved gamers cursed Blizzard for their inability to procure the necessary server space to handle the initial rush, with many crying for an offline mode. Others were more than a bit threatening – the nature of their comments enough to make the mighty Belial shed a tear. My thoughts were that no one was going to care about the offline mode once the servers got rolling. And sure enough within mere hours they were running just fine. This gamer was thankful that he decided to go to sleep instead of spamming the log-in screen.
After steamrolling through familiar content for an hour-and-a-half, horror struck again. It was almost ironic that just as I felled the Skeleton King for the umpteenth time the servers went down for an emergency maintenance. Whereas my initial log-in troubles were mildly disjointing, this failure was nothing short of heart-wrenching. Unfortunately, this trend would continue throughout the day. Diablo III would be enjoyed for a few hours, followed by an extended disconnect and an obligatory blue post.
With cautious optimism, I will say that most of the initial troubles have finally passed. Act II has been completed, Belial felled and loot…well looted. Join me tomorrow as I write about my first impressions of the actual game.