Diablo 3's Story is Lazy, Passive, and Careless

Written by  Wednesday, 16 May 2012 14:45
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"I have to kill the injured -- how could I kill my own wife?" pleaded Haedrig, the town's stereotypical blacksmith whom I'd just met -- his voice was melancholic and filled with fear; his wife, having been injured by one of the interloping zombies, was now condemned to death to prevent spread of the disease. My character interjected: "She'd want you to do it. Here, I'll help you." Well, that's probably not what I'd say to someone I'd just met -- especially when I don't know Haedrig's wife in the slightest. I feared the response I would receive, wondering how my character could be so pompous and socially inept. Luckily, Haedrig was just as bad: "OK! Follow me!"

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He sounded excited and adventurous -- as if preparing to plunge into the Mines of Moria in search of mithral artifacts, or, perhaps more parallel, as if he'd been "holding it" all day and finally stumbled across a bathroom.

Either this man is a sociopath or he's poorly written. I'll cling to my desire to keep the game bearable and opt for the former, for now.

Haedrig vigorously led me to the town's containment cellar, sprinting forward and preparing to bring his weapons to bear. I selected my freezing spells, hoping that the story may take a turn for the better and allow for saving these rejected members of society; perhaps, I had hoped, I could freeze them and then use some sort of antidote.

We entered the tomb.

The first wave of zombies posed no threat -- I knew they were nameless and non-questable, so I blasted them with a quick force push-equivalent. I saw that Haedrig's wife, standing in the next room, had a gleam of light shining upon her and that she had not 'turned' yet. I attempted to talk to Haedrig, and unable to do so, I stepped into the next room and waited for the obviously-scripted trigger to happen.

And so it did.

"RAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!" A mad man, whom I noted as Haedrig only when I saw his classic, large weapon brandished overhead, charged past me and toward the woman in the room. He sliced mellifluously, exclaiming with each successive blow; stupified, I stood in the corner idly and waited for what I had hoped would be another trigger event, ideally one that would allow me to kill the psychotic axe murderer / town smith in front of me.

No. She died, Haedrig thanked me for my help, and then jogged swiftly back to his spot in the town as a delightfully pleasant smith.

The simple fact is that this was one occurrence -- these overhyped AAA games, as we've discussed before, are allowed a few slip-ups. Venturing on did not bode well for the game's writing, though, as I later encountered this string of dialogue from the town's storyteller, Deckard Cain:

THAT'S IT! His sword -- just as likely a mundane piece of scrap as a magical artifact -- clearly is the root of all these problems! Quickly, locate the sword that FELL FROM THE SKY, then SHATTERED INTO PIECES, and retrieve it from goatmen who have obviously been driven mad by the sword.

It's PERFECT.

There's absolutely no reason not to believe the delusional man who thinks he fell to earth from the heavens, crashed through several levels of a stone cathedral infested with hundreds of zombies, slammed into the earth and then sat there awaiting our triggered event; the fact that nothing else was in the crater only proves that he is Thor, God of Thunder! This game is starting to get good, now.

Or, maybe -- just maybe -- it's really bad writing.

I'm not sure which. I'll keep making stories up in my head, if only to pretend that Diablo's original epic moments are still somewhere buried within Diablo 3.

Blech.

-Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke.

Last modified on Wednesday, 16 May 2012 14:58

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