Seriously, I'm Still Playing This Game

Diablo III

I've written a couple of times in the past about my love for Diablo III. While it was a pretty fun game when it initially came out, the Reaper of Souls expansion and further patches and improvements have made it into a fantastic time-sink. Here we are, four years after the last time I wrote about it and I'm still playing the game. Why?

The reason I keep coming back at this point, aside from how fun the game is to play in general, is the Seasons. Introduced a long while back for the PC version and then, around Season 11, for consoles, Seasons are, essentially, a series of challenges you can completely with a new character. Finish out enough of the challenges and you unlock bonus gear and other prizes. The prizes themselves aren't necessarily that interesting -- different portrait frames to show around the face of your character, pennants for them to carry on their backs, and pets -- but the act of unlocking them feeds that obsessive need I, like most geeks, feel. There's something new I can unlock that I don't have? I must get it!

The pets, actually, are pretty useful. They're little characters that follow you around and while they don't engage in battle, they will run off and collect gold for you. Since gold can drop randomly from enemies and appear outside the normal path you want to explore, having something that will run out, grab the money, and come back speeds up the game immensely (without penalizing you for ignoring the money for faster play). Plus, some of the pets are pretty cool, like Overseer Lady Josephine (a red teddy bear with a "bitch please" face -- she's my favorite).

The armor sets are the most useful part of the season grind, though. Each season each of the classes in the game will have access to one set of armor they can unlock. These are sets you could, in theory, earn in the main game by grinding away at drops (and purchases from the rare item shop run by creepy shopkeep Kadala) but it's much easier, and faster, to get them through the Season. These armor sets can be super over-powered, which is great since the game now has super-unfair (voluntarily) difficulty levels. If you want to bring your A-game to the top-tier end game areas at the hardest difficulty, you'll need these armor sets.

I will admit that for the first few seasons I had access to I played as a Sorceress (I always play female characters when I can). She's an absolute bad-ass in my hands -- they're supposed to be pretty squishy characters since they have powerful, long-range attacks, but with the right build, and the right armor, I can throw my girl into the fray with reckless abandon. It's fantastic watching her mow down packs of enemies with her explosions and disintegrate beams, all without breaking a sweat. The great thing about Seasons, though, is that it gives you a chance to try new things and unlock new armor sets you wouldn't have gotten otherwise. That's why in the last season I played as a Witch Doctor (who raises armies of the dead to fight at her side), and now I'm going back through with a new Crusader character, trying out various melee builds for this outrageously tanky character.

I am a retro gamer so going back and playing games from time to time is normal for me. But usually with contemporary games I'll play them once or twice and then move on to the new flavor-of-the-day. The fact that Diablo III keeps sucking me back in, though, and wasting all my time is a testament to how good the game is and how fun its Seasonal grind can really be. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a Crusader that seriously wants to bash in the heads of her foes with her hilariously oversized mace.