While most of my friends seem to be entrenched in Diablo III, I made a conscious decision not to follow them. Following my stint as a World of Warcraft player, I kind of became a little annoyed with Blizzard/Activision due to their constant toeing of the “money grubbing” line. It started with vanity pets and soon expanded to mounts, and I feared that it would one day cross over to gear.
Then the Starcraft II split was announced, and Diablo III soon followed it. Both had features that I didn’t really agree with (always-online DRM), and the latter’s inclusion of a real-money auction house sealed the deal for me. Introducing a real-money component, especially in a virtual economy, always seems to spell bad news.
My friends asked “If it bugs you, why not avoid it?”, which wasn’t really the point: I don’t trust Blizzard to do this right, nor do I trust the community to find some way to exploit it. Like how gold farmers messed up Diablo I and II, I don’t expect III to be any different, except Blizzard takes a cut at every step of the transaction.
This, coupled with a level 60 cap that begs for (likely full-price) expansions, I don’t feel like I’d be getting my money’s worth at a $60 retail price. Considering I’d just be playing with friends a handful of times a month, this doesn’t seem worth it.
So when I got the chance to try out the beta for Runic Games’ sequel to the popular Diablo-a-like Torchlight, I was optimistic. This was a team that successfully replicated the experience of the original games, and could only build from there.
I tried it. This is what I found.