Diablo 3 controversy

I have been anxiously awaiting the release of Diablo 3 for a very long time now, and am as excited as ever that there is news coming out fairly frequently, and that the beta is supposed to start sometime in the third quarter of 2011. But the last bit of news, coming from the reporters who played the closed beta, started a bunch of controversies.

The first controversy is about not supporting offline play. They were pretty clear that you can still play by yourself online, but that you can’t play the game if you aren’t online. This upset a couple of hundred people, it seems, but they are all very vocal about it. I wholly support the online only decision though, and here is why: In the days of Diablo, Diablo II, and Diablo II:Lord of Destruction nearly every hack, cheat and dupe method was made possible by somehow getting offline characters into online games. Offering Diablo III as a server-based game instead of a client-based game makes it so that the actual files that run the game will never touch your computer. It is much more difficult to reverse engineer, and that means it will be much easier to control hacking, duping, and cheating. While it will still be possible for some talented programmers to recreate the server, it should be next to impossible to force any of this hacked data into Blizzard’s servers. And it is their game, so if they want to limit it that way, that’s their own choice. But I’m sure that the hacking, cheating, duping thing played a huge role in their decision.

The second controversy is about the removal of skill points. For anyone who played Diablo II, the way it goes is each level you get a skill point. You generally ignore those skill points until you get to level 30, then start dumping them into only your most powerful skills. Ultimately, you have a character that has 80 skill points dumped -20 a piece- into 3 powerful skills, with the other ones going one point a piece into pre-requisites to use the most powerful ones. Not everyone played that way, of course, but anyone who played much beyond level 80 in multiplayer pretty much had to do it that way or else you just couldn’t kill anything or survive. In the new system, you don’t have to dump 20 points into the skills, you just get the skills, then have to choose which ones you want to use. A simplified process that will take a lot of time out of looking up builds, looking up what skills work best in what situation, and lets you play the damn game already. I’m for it, but some hate it. It does take away from some of the personalization of the characters, but I’m all for getting to playing the game and not having to dick around choosing skills and then having to redistribute them all again later once I found out that I horribly fucked them up in the first place. Again, I am for the change.

By far the biggest controversy to come out of the closed beta though is not only an auction house, but also a real money auction house. The auction house was something that was being hotly debated prior to the announcement, but no one had ever really considered that not only would there be an auction house, but also one for real money. I think it is a great thing for the game, for a lot of reasons, listed here in no particular order (except the numbers to separate them -which in no way are by way of importance):

1) Blizzard will be charging a listing fee for items listed and taking a percentage of the sale price of all items that sell through the real money auction house (they did say there will be a couple of listing free items for each account each week, so you don’t have to pay to post your first couple of items). This means that, if successful, Blizzard should be able to generate enough revenue from the auction house that they won’t need to charge any fees to play -ever. This also means that they will have a vested interest in keeping patches coming to release new end-game content, thus adding new and better items to the economy, to keep the revenue coming in. That should mean way more time and attention spent to Diablo III after release than to Diablo II. Which would be great.

2) A real money auction house will stabilize the economy. Without having to go through the black market (illegal websites) to buy items, the prices will eventually stabilize. And with the listing fees and sales fees, it will be in people’s best interest to post only items that are worth real money, and to only post those items at fair (consistent with the current economy) prices. This means that if you choose to pay real money for items, you are going to be far less likely to get screwed. And also having it as a part of the game means that you won’t send money to some korean website and never know if you are going to actually get their item or not. Blizzard will be backing it, the sales will be instant (once the auction ends) and the items are yours.

3) I have thought a lot about this, and the way the economy should work is like this: Only the most valuable items will be selling for real money. Nothing in normal or nightmare will be worth real money, and really only the very best drops in hell will really be worth anything. This means that at least 2/3 of the items in the game will likely only be traded for gold. Because of that any of the dreaded “farmers” that everyone is worried about will be far more likely to sell any item that is not a guaranteed quick sale item for gold, then sell the gold for real money. It doesn’t make sound financial sense to post the items for real money and possibly not sell them for days -if ever- when they can quickly sell them for a little bit of gold, then sell the gold quickly. And the gold will sell quickly, because there will be 2/3 of the items in the game that will only be trading for gold. I would go so far as to theorize that, given the hatred from a lot of people about the idea of a real money auction house -and their staunch position that they will never use it-, it is probably more likely that anyone interested in making real money playing the auction house in Diablo III will be more likely to buy items from the real money auction house and sell it on the gold auction house. Why? Because a lot of people won’t use the real money auction house, be it because they are morally opposed to it, or because they aren’t old enough to have a credit card linked to their account, the gold auction house will have a much higher demand for the high-end items. So it is entirely possible that an item that is selling for (making up numbers) $10 on the real money auction house could be sold for $11 worth of gold on the currency auction house; much higher demand, much lower supply.

I’m sure that there will be people who try to buy all the mediocre legendary items for gold and then sell them for cash. That works great in theory. In practice, however, it is more than buying it for gold and listing it for real money: someone has to actually pay the real money or you just screwed yourself out of $X.XX worth of gold that you payed to buy the item in the first place. And as previously mentioned, since you pay a listing fee to post the items, if the item fails to sell enough times you could actually lose money overall on the transaction.

I could be dead wrong on this point, but I really think I have a good idea of how it is going to shake down, and I needed to vent it.

I apologize for the lack of relevant links, I just wanted to get this posted before the my burrito was done.


I was absolutely addicted to The Diablo Series until probably 2005 or so. This may not have been the first fantasy video game, nor was it the first multiplayer game, but it was certainly the first game to successfully combine very dark subject matter with a very urgent plot and what I believe to this day was probably some of the best mood-setting music ever put to use in a video game. The randomization of the maps, combined with a max character level of 99, a bunch of different classes, and infinite item stats made the game playable for well .. I got about 7 good years out of the series.

It wasn’t even a lack of replayability that killed Diablo II either, what it came down to was screen resolution. The first game had a max resolution of 640×480, the second one -only several years after release and the release of the expansion- finally maxed out at 800×600. That was pretty good for the year 2000, but by 2005 very few monitors were running resolution that small, and certainly no gamers were using them. That, at least in my mind, is what killed the game. It pushed me off to try Guild Wars at any rate, and it seems the majority of the Diablo II community also sought different games to fill the void.

Then, as all Diablo II players know, while we were eagerly awaiting the release of Diablo III, there was a highly publicized resignation party at Blizzard North that basically amounted to everyone who had ever worked on the Diablo franchise was gone. Some of them went on to form Flagship Studios, which I was counting on to carry the torch of the Diablo franchise, but the group fucked up in a big way in my opinion. How did they fuck up? Hellgate:London.

I want to be clear that I don’t think the game Hellgate:London was a fuckup, instead I think everything surrounding the games publicity and release absolutely doomed it to fail. I had been following the group at Flagship since they left Blizzard and I was eager to see what new titles they were going to put out. They were talented without a doubt, and I am sure that the entire Diablo community would have been eager to see what they released. The problem with Hellgate was that no one, not even the fansite community, was quite sure what to make of it. It looked like a futuristic, sci-fi, first person shooter, but was trying to incorporate the fantasy elements from a dungeons and dragons type world. Rather than bringing together fans of the FPS and fantasy it seemed to alienate them both. That is how I perceive it at any rate. But that wasn’t even the real problem. The real problem was that they rushed the game to release by Halloween 2007 despite the fact that the interface was clunky as hell and there were tons of bugs. And with, as near as I can tell, zero advertising. Why they rushed it to release at that point probably comes down to money; not having a product for a few years can scare off your investors, but unfortunately pushing out a shoddy product will scare off your clients.

Flagship had also been working on a game called Mythos at the time which never made it to release before the company folded. This is why I think Hellgate:London was such a bad idea. These guys were legends for the characters, bestiary and lore of the Diablo series, but rather than embrace that and play into it by trying to release a game that was similar to it, they tried to play away from it. Perhaps they just wanted to show that they weren’t a one-trick pony, but, as I’m sure they discovered, fantasy nerds are fiercely loyal to the genre.

I continued to check back on the Mythos website over the next couple of years as I toiled away playing World of Warcraft, always hoping to see it nearing release. Instead the site just started throwing a not found error a couple years back and I more or less gave up on it. Gave up until yesterday when I happened to type Mythos in my address bar and was taken to a site where a Mythos game is going to be release by Red Bana -a name I remember for infecting some of my old pc’s with malware. This, I was sure, wasn’t the work of the Flagship crew, so I started looking around to see what became of them. I finally found them at Runic Games, having just released a game called Torchlight, which I immediately downloaded.

This is the game they should have released in 2007. The game is much like the first Diablo, being set in a single town with a dungeon beneath that you must quest and fight to the bottom of. The gameplay is quite similar to Diablo, and the skill and attribute point system is also quite similar. There are three playable classes to the game currently, which as I’m sure you could guess are a strong man archetype, a nimble, ranged attack archetype, and a pure casting archetype. There are four different difficulty levels -though only three are really playable since the easiest could probably be completed by a developmentally challenged two year old. There is even a Hardcore setting (death is forever) although since the game is strictly played offline it hardly matters since you could just restore a saved game from before he died and he would live on. At any rate, this game has kept my attention for the past couple of days, and with a sticker price of only $19.95 and a download size of only 411mb (10 minutes on high speed) I suggest that you Go buy it if you haven’t done so already. There is also a two hour free trial if you aren’t sold by the following screenshots (click through to see them in much higher resolution):

Achieving goals

I have been playing Guild Wars a lot since Factions was released. One of the things that the new expansion game offers is titles. There are many different titles that can be achieved; explorer titles, PvP titles, skill hunter titles, and many others. After reading about the titles, I saw one called survivor and thought that it would probably be the most difficult to achieve, therefore I decided that I simply had to do it.

All you have to do to earn the title of Survivor is make it to level 20 (the highest character level in the game) without ever dying. Having played hardcore characters back in the Diablo II days, I figured I would be able to do this without much of a problem, but(that needs to be a bigger but) BUT there are a few key differences between Guild Wars and Diablo II that I didn’t take into consideration before I began to try.

In Diablo II if you wander outside to quest without any other human players in your party the game is set to players level 1, where if you walk out with a full group it is set to players level 8; In Guild Wars there is no such option, it is exactly as difficult with one player as it is with eight. You can take henchmen with you, but the computer controlled players, while helpful, are not capable of thought. Thus they do not have the ability to anticipate or prepare for a battle in any way before you actually get into it. The henchmen also like to try to resurrect people in mid battle, which would be good if they didn’t have to actually stand right in the middle of the combat to do it. Despite their drawbacks, I knew that I was going to have to achieve the survivor title with the henchmen; that was the only way I could maintain absolute control.

Another difference between Diablo II and Guild Wars, and this is a huge one, is town portals. In Diablo II you could throw up a town portal before battle and if the battle got too intense you could step into the portal to be instantly zapped back to town. Guild Wars doesn’t have anything like that. If you are in a battle you are in it until its completion, whether that means your victory or your death. It is possible to run away from battle, but with the henchmen in tow they will continue to battle while you try to run, always keeping the foes within range to hit you with spells and projectiles, making sure that you are losing health just a bit faster than you can heal. There are times when that I have successfully defeated a group, or ran completely out of range, only to die because I was not able to remove a hex or condition. This would be another obstacle I had to overcome.

In Diablo II you could fill your inventory up with full rejuvenation potions that would instantly restore all your life and health. In Guild Wars there are no potions of any kind; all healing and energy regeneration must be done by spells or signets, and nothing casts instantly. Every character class has a couple of spells that have cast times of a quarter of a second or so, but the only one that has the capability to cast a heal spell that quickly is the Monk, and even then the Monk only has one or two spells that cast that quickly, and you don’t get them until much later in the game. The majority of the quick casting spells are for condition removal or interrupting the enemy, which are both quite useful but not as usefully as a rejuvenation potion would be.

Then there is the AI. Unlike Diablo II, Guild Wars actually has intelligence in their AI. The foes will pick one character in the group and spike him (everyone hits him/her with their most powerful skill all at the same time), and if you don’t have some sort of protection spell on you when hit, you will die. Even at level 20 the most health any character can have is 590, and that would be with a rune of superior vigor (which is extremely expensive) and with a Hale (+30 health) staff of Fortitude (+30 health). 480 is the base max health, and most have about 450 instead so that they can use runes to increase their skills’ effectiveness. Some of the monsters, although not many, can hit for 230 or so in a single hit, so without some sort of protection you are dead before you can even cast a heal.

All that being said, Guild Wars is set up so that you can learn your skills as you progress through the game. The first ten levels or so could be completed without dying even if you had never played the game and never used a healing spell. In fact the first fifteen levels are probably gimmes. But, and much like Diablo II, the levels require more experience to achieve the higher you get. I am not exactly sure on the level progression, but I think it takes more experience to get from level 14 to level 15 than it takes to get from level 1 to level 10. Level 20 is achieved at 140,600 experience and if you are killing monsters that are about the same level as you are you get about 20 experience per kill (though the majority of the experience comes in chunks of 1,000 or more from doing quests and missions).

Well, I did achieve my goal. I had a few brushes with death along the way, there was one time that I was down to 33 health and still degenerating before I was finally able to get the condition removed and start healing. That was pretty damn close. It was not nearly as difficult as I thought it was going to be, although it did require a hell of a lot of patience. I had to go at about one-quarter the pace that I would normally play to make sure that I could pull the smallest groups possible. I also upgraded my armor at every opportunity, while I would normally only do about two sets of armor for the entire game. But I made it, and that is all that matters; I achieved my goal.

Then I set my sites on the next goal: Level 2 survivor. Level 2 is achieved at something like 550,000 exp. Well, level 2 survivor didn’t go nearly as well as level 1 survivor did.

I wandered out the door and got into exactly one battle before this happened. I was on the receiving end of a spike that included a mesmer boss (mass degen). I fell like a sack of hammers. I didn’t even have time to just close the game it was so fast. So now I will just have to use my experience gained, 145,341, as my new goal when I try to make a survivor.

There is one way that the survivor character in Guild Wars is better than the Hardcore character in Diablo II though; I can still play the Guild Wars character, had this been in Diablo II I would have to start all over.

Diablo and Republicans (you never see them in the same place at the same time)

After my last post, Diablo happened. I got stuck, once again, in that neverending cycle of ‘just one more waypoint’, but then I have the area cleared so might as well do whatever act related quest is necessary, etc. That consumed most of my day on Monday. Tuesday brought about election day, and with that I found myself watching the news all night just waiting for them to say that they had grossly miscalculated the votes and that Bush was actually way behind in voting. Of course several hours of that didn’t yield any results, nor did it result in my typing anything here for you to read. Wednesday was just a late day at work, as that was the day of our bi-weekly grocery delivery. That leaves me here on Thursday wondering how it is that I have not updated this page since Sunday. Time sucks.

A question that I asked my wife last night, that I am really curious to know the answer to, is “What point is there in having a democracy if the majority of the people vote for the wrong person?” I know that the question is based on some pretty faulty logic, but in reality I think that it is a lot more true than it appears. This year’s elections have made it so that all three branches of government are being ruled by Republicans. Not just any Republicans in many cases, but the evangelical, second-coming-of-Christ type Republicans. I am sure that I am being a bit cynical here, but, isn’t that sort of like having a dictatorship? Well, I guess it does differ from a dictatorship in the fact that 51% of the people voted for it. Why this happened truly escapes me, makes me sick to my stomach, and further pisses me off since I have been paying money into Social Security since I was 16. While I have only been paying it for fourteen years, I will still be pissed when Dubya gets something through congress to do away with it completely. I also know that they (Republicans) are not actually trying to do away with Social Security, only change the way it is managed (like a forced retirement plan for people who don’t ever save money).

Here it is in all its pixelated glory. My breakdown of why I really, really, really hate the Republican agenda. Really rich people pay more taxes than poor people, which makes sense if you do it all by percentages. Really poor people pay no taxes, then get government assistance programs to send a bit more money to them, since they are so poor that they can’t afford a house, car, food and other necessities. The very wealthy people feel that they are being taxed too much for the sake of supporting the poor. The poor think that they aren’t getting enough assistance since life didn’t give them a fair roll of the dice. The solution, in the Republican’s eyes, is to decrease taxes on the very rich, and decrease government assistance programs to the very poor. That is where the problems all start. The rich (current administration included) don’t want to give any money to the poor, don’t want to take back tax cuts made for the very rich, and don’t care to hear any proposal whereby the poor can make it up to, at least, poverty level. So taxes must be raised, but on whom? Well, the middle class of course. So it pushes on, the poor staying poor, the middle class getting closer and closer to poverty, while the upper class roll around in their collective piles of money.

This might have made me sound like a freak, might even have worked itself into a full blown Manifesto, were it not for the fact that the day Dubya cut taxes on the wealthy last year, my state and federal taxes went up. I am all for a smaller government, I mean, hell, if we were to take away the wages of all of the Senators and House Representitives we might be able to work things out. How many millions of dollars did each candidate spend on the campaign trail this year? Imagine if that money was just sent to underfunded projects across the country, we might have been able to do some good.

With luck, I might be back to normal form tomorrow (be it good or bad). That is all for today.

Diablo; Electricity in my life

I had intentions of getting this thing written pretty early this morning, had and idea that I was going to go on about for however long it would take, then got sidetracked.

It was that damn Diablo again.

I realized that it had been quite a while since I logged any of my characters on, so decided I better do a quick once-in with each of the reamaining ones to make sure that they were not also lost. Of course, as it happens, I found that I had a Paladin that was on his way through the frozen part of act 5, so I figured I would give it a go for a few minutes. What happened, as it always seems to, is that I found the next zone before I found the waypoint. I then retraced my steps and explored out the zone until I did eventually find the waypoint. Thing is, I had already cleared the zone and had a map to the entrance of the next area, if I didn’t continue I would have to clear the whole zone again…

That type of logic kept me going through the ‘Frigid Highlands’, ‘Arreat Plateau’ and even into the ‘Crystalline Passage’, where I again found the next zone before I found the waypoint. Of course it would have been selfish of me to leave ANYA freezing down there when I was so close to the ‘Frozen River’, so I made the decision to free her. The ‘Frozen River’ was actually pretty easy, mind you I am on normal with this character. The thing that made me spend the better part of my day on this damn game was the first drop I got when I entered the ‘Frozen River’. It was not an amazing item, just the Tearhaunch Greaves, but I lost 18 out of 24 characters from my three accounts some time ago, as a result I don’t have anything remotely good that you can use prior to level 45 or so, and those boots were simply made for the Pally I was playing, problem was I couldn’t even pick them up.

For better or worse, I collect the gems and runes that I find along the way with all of the characters that I start. The better is that I always have the right gem/rune for whatever I am trying to do (not counting the higher level runes, as long as I have a Nef and a Lum I am happy). The worse is that I end up with all of my new characters being jammed full of the damn things. Makes me wonder how I did this in D2C, before they doubled the stash size. Anyway, I spent almost an hour clearing the inventories of my three most recent players of their gems/runes, upgrading them as necessary, and saving them to a brand new mule (who will likely get deleted in eight hours or so, making this whole point moot). Then I looked at the clock and saw that I had been playing/muling for almost four hours, at that point I simply saved, exited, and started to type this.

I hate that weird Diablo time warp.

• Fun With Electricity!

As I was laying in bed last night, unable to sleep after having a horrible day, my mind started wandering to weird events in my life that involved electricity. Well, to be fair, the events didn’t always need to involve electricity, but they always did. The results of such were usually not good, and as they streamed through my mind I thought it might make a good anecdotal thing to slap up here. Of course I don’t really know what my adoring fans want, since I never get emails to the positive or negative, so you will take it and you will like it. Or you could choose a different destination, but come on, other than my site, how many more sites are there on the internet?

I didn’t discover the mysterious power of electricity until I was seven or eight. I knew that flipping a switch was not what was making the light come out of the light overhead, but I had no idea what could be causing that to happen. I spent my youngest years, even until I was in the second or third grade, just wondering how it all worked -yet, not wondering enough to read a book on it. And, honestly, if I read a book that explained how the power was carried through little wires, even today, I would think it was a load of crap.

After my first year of school (first grade, as none of the children in my family went to pre-school or kindergarten) , the school that I attended, “Riverside Elementary”, was closed. I am not entirely sure why it was closed, the story that the children were told was that it was too close to ‘Garden Valley Boulevard’, which, through the years, had turned into more of a Freeway than a street. I still don’t know why Riverside closed down, what I do know is that half of the kids then got transferred to “Fir Grove Elementary”, while the other half was divided between “Sunny Slope” and “Rose”. I lost several of the friends that I had made in my first year of school through this change, but you must always trust that your parents’ always have your best interests at heart (even if you think that the best-interests are wrong, or, at best, misguided).

There were only two of my friends, in my grade, that also got transferred over to Fir Grove. Even with the number at 3, we were still only about 10% of that class. That makes you do weird things, things that you would not ever do if you were not being judged by a bunch of people that you didn’t know. So, finally, on to the fun with electricity.

The first, and most unbelievable, experience with electricity involved an electric fence. There was a field around “Fir Grove” that was surrounded by an average chain-link fence, yet instead of having military style razor wire at the top, it had an electric wire. Through the egging on of the other kids, five of us got brave enough to see what would happen if you actually touched the ‘live’ part of the fence. There ended up being a group of five of us, myself and a friend, as well as three guys from the new school that did it. No one actually wanted to touch the fence, so we decided that we would all hold hands as someone did, finally, a much braver kid than me, said he would do the touching. After that we filed in until I was the 3rd person in the chain. We all assumed that it was going to be an equal shock to all of us, turns out that we were wrong. For some reason, which I still don’t understand, the only one that got shocked was the kid that was at the very end of the line, furthest from the power. He looked like he was damn near dying, while none of the rest of us felt a thing. Once the lead kid let go of the wire, the kid at the end quit his spasm. Was it a staged event for our benifit? I dunno. What I do know is that the kid at the end of the line looked like he was having his bones removed through his ears, not a happy face, if that was acting, he should be up for an Oscar.

The next incident involving electricity was much more painful, for me anyway. An Aunt and Uncle of mine lived in a small trailer on the property of another Aunt. They told me that if I was going to open the door of the trailer that I needed to be standing on the milk crate that they used as a step to get inside. I did that each time I opened the door, never questioning why. Of course, being ten or eleven at the time, my memory lapsed just once when I reached for the doorknob.

The second I touched the knob the shock hit me. For some reason, not sure why, I was not able to let go of the knob. I was also not able to shout. I was just standing there jerking around like someone in the electric chair. I don’t know how long I was standing there with the electricity running through me, but it certainly felt like it was at least a good minute. Thankfully, my then Stepdad saw what was happening and reached out to pull me away, but he got shocked when he touched me. He lowered a shoulder and hit me linebacker style to knock me free of the knob, which hurt, but was nothing compared to the jolt I was getting from the trailer. To this day I don’t know how or why the outside of the trailer was electrified, and I still get a bit nervous every time I open the door on a mobile home.

There was a day in my early teens when I was riding my bicycle home from the Tenmile store (why it was called Tenmile may never be known; It was not ten miles from anything.), when I had to stop to relieve myself. This was in rural Oregon and there was hardly any traffic so it was a pretty common occurence. Even at that, I climbed down a small embankment to make sure that no one would see me. I started to water a tree (so to speak) at the bottom when I heard a car approaching from my left. As I turned to the left to make sure that I was not in the line of sight of the car my body, and thus the stream, followed. I had heard that it was not possible to be shocked by peeing on an electric fence, but I am here to tell you that it is possible, and it hurts! I didn’t even know that the tree was holding the electric wire, if you have ever seen a field surrounded by nothing but an electric wire you would understand what I mean. It is just a tiny little strand of metal, but it sure packed a punch. And much like with the trailer in the previous tale, it was not possible for me to move or stop peeing. It did only take a few seconds for my bladder to empty, but still, ouch. Electricity running through your penis is really not all that pleasant.

Now for one where no one gets hurt for a change. You have no doubt seen those Touch Lamps at one time or another. I always wondered how they work (of course as I just google up that link I found the answer, kind of disappointing really, I was hoping it really was magic). While at my then Girlfriend’s house one day, I was screwing with her touch lamp when I wondered what would happen if I touched the lamp, then she touched me. We tried it and it worked. For some reason though it will only work with two people. When we tried it with me touching the lamp, her touching me, then her dad touching her, it just didn’t work. Also, if I was touching the lamp when her little dog licked me it would also trigger the lamp. That was good for a lot of mindless fun, also I did win couple of bets where my buddies would not believe that it would work with more than one person.

In my late teens, myself and a few friends had the most ridiculous form of entertainment that you could imagine. We took an old electrical cord, -I think it came off of a toaster but that hardly matters- and stripped the ends of the wires. We would then take turns plugging it into the outlet, holding one bare end in our hand, then touching the inside of that elbow with the other wire. The electricity would cause the muscles to contract, it kind of looked like you were doing curls at high speed. Now I am sure that you are thinking, “what could possibly go wrong?” Well what went wrong is that one of the friends’, I can’t remember which one, muscles flexed so tightly that he was not able to pull the cord out of the crook of his arm. Strangely, well maybe not considering what we were doing, it took us a good thirty seconds to figure out that we could just unplug the damn thing. In that scenario all of my friends were smoking pot which kind of gave them an excuse for their stupidity. I was stone sober and did it as well, what does that say about me?

That is pretty much it for really memorable moments involving electricity. There are hundreds of other times that I have been shocked, usually while doing something that was at least a tad foolish. The rest of the times that I got shocked were all probably avoidable had I not been in a hurry, or had I thought things through a bit better. Things like getting shocked when changing a light bulb, something that would never happen if you just turn off the switch before you start, but then how do you know when the bulb is screwed in far enough? If you screw it in too tightly it is more likely to break when you try to remove it. There have been a couple of times when I have been changing the ballasts on fluorescent lights at work when someone turned the circuit back on, thus giving me a shock if I was actually touching the wire at the time. This could easily have been avoided if I had just put a piece of masking tape over the switch with something like “being repaired” written on it, but I never think of that until I am sitting on my ass with a weird buzzing going through me.

I have gotten better over the years. Hell a couple of years after I bought my house I actually bought an electrical tester to make sure that a particular circuit was off before I started fucking with it. The down side to having all the bad experiences is that now when I am working on anything electrical I practically shit my pants if someone touches me or I hear the slightest buzzing sound.

That is a bit odd also. Why is it that you can clearly hear the buzzing while you are being shocked but no one else can? Perhaps next time I am doing something foolish enough that I may get shocked I will go ahead and set up some sort of sensitive audio device to record it, just to see if it actually makes an audible sound. Then again if I were to spend that much time setting up the audio device it would seem I would be smart enough to just turn off the circuit first. In theory.

Harry Potter and Diablo

There was nothing posted yesterday. I guess you have grown used to me making a half-assed excuse why not by now that I am sort of obligated to throw one out. Here it is in a nutshell. My Parent’s-in-law have washed their hands of me since I stood up to them while we were on vacation. Neither myself or my wife have spoken to them since. My brother-in-law has had an open invitation to use our guest bedroom if he ever wanted to escape the parents, mostly due to the fact that they would not sign the necessary paperwork to allow him to take certain college courses -thus making him a grunt, despite the fact that he is very bright and could have done whatever he wanted if he had the education-. I am not sure about all of the exact details regarding why he chose yesterday to walk out on his parents, but he did, and I am not the type of person to turn my back on family.

It really is pretty poor timing for this all to happen. The in-laws have thought that I was the spawn of Satan since the day that I actually lashed out at them last week. I am sure that, in their eyes, it will seem to be a pretty convenient time for their son to go ahead and move out. My take on that is that without my wife to bitch at they focused all of their bitching on their son, who was the only one in their house that had a job at the time. I don’t mean to pretend that I know the thoughts of any of my wife’s family, that is just my best estimation of why it all went down like it did when it did. And, as I said, I am not the kind of person to turn my back on family.

The majority of last night, after I got home from work, was spent with my wife, brother-in-law, and myself discussing what had happened that actually pushed him straight over the edge. That is something that I am not going to post here since 1) I only have one side of the story, and 2) that would be airing a bit too much of the family laundry. I have no problem with talking about my life on this page, even my wife’s when I feel the urge, I do not want to try to speak for people that I don’t know all that well…Even if I have already formed an opinion that will not change unless the second coming of Christ proves that everything I believe is wrong…That seems doubtfull, but still I must have limitations to how many people I offend.

• This morning I read a bit more of the Fourth Harry Potter book. I must say that Rowling has been progressing pretty well with the whole trying to make the book a bit more readable for adults. I am not entirely sure if that was her intention but it certainly should be. The series started out talking about a little eleven year old kid, which was certainly adored by all of the little eleven year old kids of the world, but by the time the fourth book came out those little eleven year old kids would have been what, 16? 17? It is certainly seeming a lot more complex than the other novels thus far. I hope that in this one she just doesn’t fuck the whole thing up by writing a great story and kind of doing the ending in a hurry to get another check (at least that seems to be what she had done with the previous novels; the endings didn’t make sense, stuff was left out or ignored). Of course everyone in the universe has said that the books really start to get interesting in the third/fourth book so I think I will probably be pretty happy with it, maybe this will be the first time that she doesn’t fuck the ending up so badly that you wish you had never read it at all.

• I played a bit more of the DiabloII today. It was not really that I wanted to, more like the draw of an addict. I must say that I was a bit surprised with the outcome of the session. I was playing through the river of flames and into Diablo’s lair (I forget the name) and I really didn’t have any problems along the way. Hephasto the armorer went down without ever using a potion, I was able to take care of multiple blood maggots by using the Jade Tan Do on weapon switch. The only place I reall had a problem was when I cracked the first seal. The Venom-Lord looking guy (infector of souls?) killed me a couple of times before I even got in a swing, hell before I was even able to use a potion. It took a lot of artful reatreat to get my mercenary to pull them and kill them one at a time, but after a half an hour I had managed to get back my body.

I thought I was going to be in for a real rough time after that. I usually only ever have problems with “Lord de Seis” after all. When I cracked the left seals and didn’t even have to drop a potion I began to wonder. Then when I cracked the top seal to release “Lord de Seis” I was able to dispatch him and his group easily. I even killed Diablo himself without much of a problem, though I did have to go back to town once to re-belt on potions. Why was it that one of the little pit-lord/venom-lord scumbags can cause so many problems while the prime evil himself goes down faster than an intern in the White House? Was there an intentional change made to make that particular Boss harder or was it that 62 fire resistance just wasn’t enough to sustain the first blast from the guy and all his minions? Questions that will likely never be answered…

The character that I am now playing is a Paladin at level 27. Unfortunately I don’t have any gear that I can twink to him until he gets to level 45. I am not going to spend a lot of time trying to level him in act 5, I do hate doing the same board repeatedly, so I assume I will be about level 30 by the time I get to nightmare. With a bit of luck (of which I have none, unless you count the bad kind) I might find a Goldskin or Vipermagi armor along the way. That or I will still be wearing the same cracked quilted armor I have gotten by on so far…As far as you know…

Diablo; Huge hot dog; writing

I had every intention of having a new post on Monday, but then we decided to go out to dinner and I lost the interest to write anything. Yesterday I would have posted but there was a DOS attack at the server that made it so that I was not able to check my email or view my site, not to mention killing any hopes of getting an ftp connection. So I said screw it and played some DiabloII instead.

Funny thing, DiabloII, it is just so comforting to play. I think it is sort of the way that people really long for their favorite foods from childhood when they are really starving, something familiar and comforting. Just like DiabloII. What could be more comforting than beating the ass of the most powerful beings that Hell can come up with? Nothing, damn right.

Of course I have been playing on a newer character for some time now and as I lost most of my characters to inactivity some time ago I am having to go virtually untwinked. The gear that I still do have is all of the must be level 50 or more to use variety so it doesn’t really help much on a new player. I did twink the guy an amulet (can’t remember the name, +1 to skills is basically its only real attribute), and a belt (nightsmoke maybe? 10 to all resistances), of course these are just worthless crap that I would gladly give up in favor of better resistance or a bit of life leech. I also gave him a Spirit Shroud armor that he can’t use, and likely never will since I will be into nightmare by the time he can actually wear it and it has not resistances, so it will be all but useless.

So why do I like to play this damn game again? I suppose it has been challenging to play with inferior equipment, but challenging just means frustrating. I can see why people like to get turboed past all this crap. I still have a few characters that I can take in and walk all over hell Baal, yet I have another character that gets killed in one hit by your garden variety Venom Lord. I don’t know if they actually made the resistances matter more when they put out the patch, but it sure seems like it. The first time I played the game, which was pre-LOD, I beat Diablo with almost no resistances and most all of my skill points wasted in the Thorns aura. Now I can’t even get to Diablo with 30ish resistances across the board. Hell, if it weren’t for my mercenary firing cold arrow I likely would never be able to kill a group larger than two people.

• Now on to disgusting food stories. Of course Las Vegas is famous for a lot of things, gambling, hookers, the fabled UNLV basketball team…But what they really should be getting a lot more credit for is the most disgusting hot dogs on the planet. Now I now that the ingredients that go into hot dogs should be enough to keep me from ever eating them in the first place, in fact I saw a special on PBS about how they were made when I was 15 or so and didn’t eat one for at least five or six years after. Just something about it being a dull grey paste before the coloring is added, ewwww.

Anyway, the Westward Ho casino in Vegas advertises a 3/4lb. hot dog for 1.49 and I figured I would give it a go. I did go the extra 59 cents to get them to add chili thinking that I would never be able to eat that much hot dog by itself. Boy was I ever right. The hot dog is served on a paper plate, my best guess is that the plate was of the 10 3/4in. size. The bun covers the plate from edge to edge, while the hot dog sticks out of the bun and off of the plate by about 2inches on each side. When you add to that the fact that the hot dog is about the same size as a half dollar you will get an idea of how big the thing really is. The worst part is that without the chili I would likely have taken about one bite and thrown the whole thing away. It was just so salty, it didn’t taste like a grilled stadium frank or anything of that nature, it tasted like a boiled salt lick. I guess salt is about the cheapest spice you can get your hands on and likely the only one they used judging by taste.

I did manage to eat the entire bun, all of the chili, and maybe half of the hot dog. I suppose that I shouldn’t have been expecting gourmet cuisine when paying two bucks for 3/4 of a pound of food, but I will know in the future that if the price of an entree seems ridiculously low that likely means that the quality of the entree is likely also ridiculously low. This could also be just because I am really sensitive to the taste of salt, there were dozens of other people there eating these horrendous things with nothing on them but ketchup and mustard, perhaps these people had taken in a few more cocktails than I had? In short, Westward Ho hot dog, do it once for the novelty, never eat another hot dog as long as you live.

Let’s see. I have talked about video games and huge weiners, what more must I do to attract the middle aged nerd demographic?

• In other news, I have just surpassed the $1 mark on my Amazon associates account. Of course all of the purchases were made either by my wife or myself so I am not entirely sure if that is a good thing. Hell, I’m not even entirely sure if that is a legal thing. I just figured that if I am going to buy something off of Amazon and someone is going to get a bit of money for the transaction it might as well be me. Prior to having this page I always clicked through BlackChampagne for all of my Amazon purposes. It is not like I am actually trying to make money with this site though, if that was the case it would be nothing but hardcore porn, probably have a lot of scumware and that sort of thing. This is just my little soapbox from which to say whatever I want.

Funny how it has changed. I started this site with every intention of typing all of my short stories onto it, with the hopes that people would read and enjoy them. Then I actually read some of my short stories with fresh eyes…All that just went right out the window. I do still enjoy writing the Arthur Witles stories, and people do still email me to tell me how much they enjoyed them. I think this is simply because we just don’t expect nearly as much from a story that is meant to be humorous as we do from a ‘real’ story.

I really should sit down someday and start to type up a few more of the Witles stories. As I wrote more of them I expanded on the little nuances of his character, as well as the Dr. Ampere character, and found that it was probably more enjoyable for me to write than it ever could be for anyone to read. I think the thing that makes that possible is that since it is a humorous story a lot of really absurd stuff happens, not impossible, just extremely unlikely. With paramaters like that it is really easy to surprise the reader, even make them laugh in a way that I would probably never be able to do if I were trying to cause the same emotion with a more by the book approach.

Isn’t it strange how it can take someone so long to realize the actual limits of their ability? I have a file cabinet full of absolute crap that I have written which will never see the light of day. From the time I was in my early teens until the mid twenties I really believed that I was going to be a writer, I really believed that I was going to get a novel published, I really believed that I was a pretty good writer. I have now kind of sobered up to the fact that I am likely never going to see a book in print, if I do it will likely be with my paying all of the costs of publishing for the sole purpose of gifting it to friends and family. I suppose that is a sort of pessimistic view of it, but it seems to be the most realistic. All that being said, when is the last time you saw an author that really came into success before they were in their mid thirties? So maybe I should just scrap everything that I have done previously and start with a clean slate. I had a really bizarre dream a few months ago that would make a great premise for a novel, the problem is that I don’t think I would be able to make it anything better than mediocre, and mediocre doesn’t meet the mark when you are competing against established authors.

When it comes right down to it, I will never know if my writing is any good unless I try. I know that my grammar is far from perfect, but as for my ability to tell a story how will I know unless I actually complete something and test the waters? If I do try, and ultimately fail, it will at least be something to be handed down from generation to generation, that is what I have to tell myself for motivation to at least try…

Zelda; Diablo

I actually did write a post yesterday, and somehow when I saved it it just disappeared. I don’t know where it went but when I opened the index.shtml file again it was the previous day’s post. I could not find the other one anywhere on my local machine, and I know I didn’t upload it so I will assume that I have somehow mistakenly saved it as a different date in my archives folder. That assumption doesn’t make any sense for a lot of reasons, most notably that would require me to use the ‘save as’ command and also to verify overwriting an existing file, unless I just somehow invented a date for it. The real reason that this theory doesn’t hold water is that my ftp client allows me to view files by the most recently modified and I could not find anything in there with the correct date on it, I searched through all of my documents and there was nothing.

That all happened last night as I was trying to ftp the file to my server, I could have written a pretty good copy of it yesterday while it was all still pretty fresh in my mind, yet I didn’t. Today I barely recall the topics that I discussed. I know that I made mention of our puppy’s condition, then I talked a bit about diablo, after that I am blank. Probably better that way I suppose, since today I have no more to talk about than I did yesterday and the same two topics are still on my mind.

Our Zelda puppy seems to be getting better for the most part. She is able to walk in limited doses, though she does strongly favor her driver’s side leg while she is doing it. Whatever pain that she is feeling isn’t bad enough that it is causing her to shake and breathe hard like it was when the injury first occurred. I think her progress may have come along a lot more quickly had it not been for my mother and father in law stopping by the day the injury happened, which led directly to her getting up and running over to them since both of our dogs get really excited when they see new people. Then yesterday my brother in law stopped by to pick up an old dryer, which again made her get up and frolic more so than a dog in her condition really should. I can’t fault the relatives for stopping by, nor can I fault her for being a happy little puppy, I do hope that she can just get a lot of rest over the next couple of days and hopefully get better. I just took the above photo and as you can see the dog does not look particularly happy. As you can also no doubt see, we are in serious need of new carpet (though the stains are not nearly that visible to the naked eye. I think my digital camera may be just a bit too good for my purposes; especially considering that the image size is one third of the actual photo, and it has been compressed insanely to make it viable for internet viewing).

• On the up side I was able to expend a bit of my time in mindless gaming yesterday. Why that is an up side? I got no idea. I played a lot more diablo. Not that it was my intention to play a lot more diablo, more I was hoping to get through the first couple of quests in act 3. What happened after that is the strange Diablo Time Warp that I have previously discussed, only about ten-fold.

There have not been that many changes to the normal difficulty since the recent patch, at least not many that I have found, but the ones that I have found have irritated me on a lot of levels. Act 3 is the most univerally hated of all the acts in the game to begin with, so hated that few people actually waste their time doing it. Knowing this, Blizzard went ahead and made it ever harder and more mundane even for the beginner. WTF were they thinking?

I wandered out into act 3 thinking that I would do the first quest pretty quickly, that didn’t happen at all. When the first couple of super-unique monsters didn’t drop the jade figurine I assumed that this was to keep people from doing only that quest for the +20 to life and the getting turboed to the next act, which is a good idea I think. After I had been playing for about an hour and had mapped the entire zone, not to mention clearing the false spider cavern near the waypoint, I still didn’t have the figurine. When I went into the real cavern (I always get the names confused) the figurine was dropped by the super-unique spider that guards the chest holding Khalim’s eye. I grabbed the figurine and went back to town completely forgetting to get the quest item from the chest. This would have been a very minor problem had I realized it at the time, unfortunately I didn’t realize it until I had gotten the Gidbinn and cleared the Flayer Jungle as well as the Flayer Caverns, where I got Khalim’s brain.

The only reason that all of that was bad is that I had to map the entire Great Marsh before I found a way into the Flayer Jungle. I dropped many Town Portals along the way and when I finally got the part of Khalim’s Will from the Flayer Dungeon (or whatever it is called) I just ran as fast as I could into Lower Kurast, hit the waypoint, went back to town and exited the game so that I could write yesterday’s post, which is lost. When I logged back on after having written yesterday’s post I looked in my stash expecting to see two pieces of the Khalim’s Will quest, but there was only one. This meant that I had to remap the zone (from the waypoint) to get back to the real spider cavern and get the damn eye. Once I had done that I just quit for the day. As a matter of fact that was when I realized that something had gone wrong with yesterday’s post, that is when I just gave up on anything related to the computer for good.

I am likely going to play a bit more of Diablo tonight, still in the act 3 area, but if it starts to piss me off like it did yesterday I may just have to but a real sword so that I can straighten out a few programmers over there at Blizzard. –Not that a situation like that would be likely, since it was my own haste that made me miss my quest item in the first place, and it is possible that it was just a strange map that made me have to clear every zone along the way, but My Random Fluctuations of Time and Space (God, for the religious) that was irritating.

If someone happens to car-jack me tomorrow, I may have some content that is a bit more interesting. If that fails to happen, you should expect the same dribble that you are getting now.

Car; Diablo; Barber; Baby story

Well, I skipped yet another post yesterday. No real reason for it, I just didn’t write anything. Sure there were external factors that controlled it, such as wasting my time in numerous ways, but as writing anything here is not really productive in any way it is hard for me to gauge which action would have been more productive.

I actually got off of work early yesterday, (well, I got of at noon, which is when I am supposed to get off, but it rarely ever happens) and after also just picking up my pay, I decided that I may as well go get the oil changed in my car. I did not know until I got to the oil change place that it had not been done in fourteen months, but that is another story. Anyway, after an hour, and dropping $105 dollars, I walked out of the local grease ‘n go joint with fresh oil and a flushed cooling system. It kind of made me grit my teeth to have to pay for them to do it, but I just did.

There was a time, say a year ago or so, when the thought of simply letting someone else change the oil in my car was laughable. I kind of let go of that foolish notion about the time that it cost the same or more to do it myself. That really only started to happen when someone decided that you couldn’t just dump used motor oil on the ground anymore, which requires that you haul your used motor oil to a place that has the facilities to recycle it, and you have to pay them. So, if you don’t buy the oil on sale (or if you buy a really shitty brand, the type that I wouldn’t even put into my neighbor’s lawn mower) you are out ten bucks for the oil, say five for the filter, then three bucks to dispose of the oil, add on the gas to drive the oil to the nearest recycling center and you are at about twenty bucks; that is assuming that you have all of the necessary tools to do it in the first place. When you can get it done at a shop for 25, without getting your hands dirty, and with the airing the tires and vacuuming and the such, I just no longer see the reason to do it myself.

The cooling system flush, on the other hand, was something that I really hated to pay for and wish that I had done myself. I believe that the manufacturers recommend that you get it done every 50,000 miles, though I could be wrong on that. The truth is that it doesn’t really matter all that much how many miles are on the car when you do it. If you have a car with 300,000 miles on it, and the water in the radiator is still clear, well, green Kool-Aid colored, but without a lot of rust or gunk in it, then you don’t need to get it done. My car has 105,000 miles on it, and it has never been done, so I went ahead and let them do it. I don’t know how they can charge you 60 dollars to do it with a clear conscience. I figured they would drag out some big extragavent device that would send little robots with scrub brushes into the motor to clean it out, but no, they did it just like I have always done it. Only they did have a machine that took out the human effort. All you have to do is run clean water through the engine and radiator. The way I have always accomplished that is to drain the radiator completely, then hook my radiator hoses to clean pans of water and let the engine run for ten or fifteen minutes, pumping the clean water in through one hose and the dirty out through the other. No real science to it, it sucks the water in clean and pushes it out dirty, when the engine is clean the water is pushed out clean. After that I would just use a sprayer nozzle to blow all of the gunk out of the radiator. Total time, about 25 minutes, depending on how dirty the engine is. The same amount of time it took them to do it, but for only the cost of water, Not the sixty bucks they charged.

• The other thing that happened yesterday that directly contributed to my not getting around to doing an update was Diablo. I hadn’t played the game since the last time I mentioned it here. I was worried that my on-line players may be getting near the termination date, so I logged them all on to make sure it wouldn’t happen. Then I noticed that I had a Paladin that was just starting act 2 in normal, I hadn’t played in so long… What could 30 minutes hurt, or so I thought. Radament was gone in ten minutes or so, so why not go get the cube? Of course since the map doesn’t save in on-line play, I also wanted to get the waypoints for the other two staff quests. About thirty minutes into it I had the cube, so why not just run and get the staff, I never have any problem with the worm pit (or whatever they call it). I don’t remember them having those lightning beetles in there before, but anyway, I mowed right through it. Might as well go ahead and complete the staff quest, only one item left. I found the temple, got all the waypoints along the way, and got the headpiece. I then stopped, since the rest of that act can be done as a stand alone. It only took me about forty-five minutes…in my mind…In the real world it had somehow just consumed almost three hours of time. That damn Diablo time warp is a very strange thing. I bet there are physicists out there that wish they could explain how it works and harnass the power…

• As for today, well nothing happened of note. I got up in the morning and went down to the barber. I have been in desperate need of a haircut for a couple of months. The barber shop was, of course, closed, so I came back home and jumped into the shower. –That is something that I have always thought was a bit odd. If you go to a barber they prefer that you have dry hair for the cut, while if you go to a salon they prefer that your hair be wet. I don’t have any idea why that is, but it is.–When I got out of the shower and looked in the mirror, my bangs were hanging to my bottom lip. That is way longer than I have had my hair for about a decade, so I took matters into my own hands. I have never used scissors on my own hair, at least unless there was a big wad of chewing gum involved, so I was a bit apprehensive. It turns out that it is not that difficult to cut two inches off of one’s own bangs, at least if they are long enough that cutting two inches off of them still leaves the hair pretty damn long. No one at work noticed, and it kept my hair out of my eyes, so it will do until I can find the barber shop open. Though I am now developing a theory that he hides when he sees me coming. He is the only game in town, and charges a flat fee for all haircuts. It usually takes him three times as long to cut my hair as the other guys that go in, so I can see why. Fear not, I have developed a new strategy. The barber shop has windows on only two sides of it. I normally approach from the main road, where he can see me coming. If I just use some of the back streets to get behind the shop, park in the alley and crawl past the one window to reach the front door I will be in! Though that seems like a hell of a lot of work and planning to go through just to get an eight dollar haircut that looks like an eight dollar haircut…

• Now a quick story about the least intelligent mother in Florence:

Have you ever seen those wide, white stripes that are painted on the ground next to stoplights? Sure you have. Do you know what they are for? Sure you do. They are cross-walks. Those are the places that are designated for pedestrians to cross busy streets. Now I am not sure how the laws work in all states, but in the state where I took my drivers test, “Pedestrians have the right of way in all cross-walks, marked or un-marked”. I take that to mean that you can cross the street anywhere you want to, and you will have the right of way, as it should be, but use some discression for your child’s sake.

In case you are really bad at picking up on fore-shadowing, there was an incident that happened to me today that directly relates to this all. You see there are only two stoplights in this whole town. Neither of them is ever very busy. Cars will usually stop for anyone crossing the street on North Main St., which is the historic part of town, regardless of whether there is a cross walk nearby. The thing that one must consider, especially one pushing a baby carriage, is that if you are pushing your baby across the street, behind a huge SUV, and only the SUV’s length from the cross walk. The driver, that is turning left, not being able to see past the SUV, is not going to see you pushing your baby across the street only 10 or 12 feet from the cross walk.

Follow me here. I had full view of the sidewalk on the other side of the street, there was no one on it. I had full view of the cars in front of me and no one turned down the street I was going to go down. There was no indication that there would be anything but clear pavement there. I made the turn and had to lock up the brakes when I saw an obese woman pushing her kid out from behind that SUV. Honestly, in the entire time I have been driving I have never seen anything like that. That was more like the scenario that they put on the driver’s education videos. Why didn’t she walk the additional ten or twelve feet to get to the cross walk? Why didn’t she wait until there were no cars coming? Why did she give me the finger after I locked up my brakes to keep from hitting her and her child, without even honking my horn?

I was not going fast enough at the time to kill anyone, at least I don’t think I was, but had I hit her and the little stroller, I would likely be going to jail for manslaughter. Not because I was drunk, not because I wasn’t paying attention, not because I was talking on the phone, but because this little fat mom pushed her baby into traffic only a few steps away from an intersection. Though I don’t suppose she got fat by walking all the way to the intersections.

I must note that had she not flipped me off, I would not be writing about this now. I must also note that had she not been wandering into traffic behind an SUV I would have seen her before I rounded the corner. I must also note that if it had not been be (or another responsible driver) rounding that corner (someone in an SUV on the cell phone, for instance) this would likely have a vastly different outcome.

Now the question. Would you risk the life of your child to save yourself taking three steps?

Stupid Bitch.


So after speaking about my personal issues with DiabloII yesterday, I went ahead and searched the DiabloII.net forums for some info. I have never used a guide to build a character, and was a bit set back by what I saw there. The first Paladin that I ever built was totally reliant on his ‘thorns’ aura, which works right until you get to Nightmare mode. Having wasted 20 points on thorns already, I started pouring the rest of my points into ‘fanatacism’. Fanatacism is a good aura, in doses, or with a well built character…I was in neither position…

That character became the first ‘mule’ that I ever had, and he was already in nightmare so he could take items from the characters that I was trying to build at the time. I do not regret that character, though I do certainly regret that they did not tell you in the user guide that thorns is going to be useless the second you step into ‘Nightmare’ and laughable by the time you reach ‘Hell’.

The online character that I was playing yesterday had 27 skill choices remaing (after having put all points possible into fanatacism and vengeance), and I was wondering why I died all the time. It turns out that there is a very simple answer to that question. The answer is ‘Holy Shield’, that it is a skill from a tree that I did not ever use (the skill I mean) and it certainly made my ability to live in ‘hell’ increase exponentially.

The difference between 1,300 and 6,000 defense is pretty notable. That is about the defense that I got once I poured most (not all) of my remaining stat points into Holy Shield. I did have to place a half a dozen or so pre-requisite points also.

Then it was time to go back into ‘hell’ and find that damn tower, mostly for pride. It took some time to find the damn thing, and when I did, I noticed that they have done a bit of rennovating since the last time I has seen it.

This is what the Tower level one used to look like. Notice the use of nothing, to show that it really is something. Notice the use of negative space to show that it really doesn’t exist, and may have been a sham since the day they drew it up. Marvel at the way that it is just so tiny that no character would be able to move around in that area. After you are done with all of that get back with me. Ir has cleared areas for the people that hate the innovation, and it has cleared areas for those who love the innovation. I think this place is pretty solid.

Well, here is a view of the same level in the 1.10 release.

They must have knocked a wall down to get to that, eh?