Hey everybody, welcome back to the Game Club! We're about to start our second discussion about Diablo III. It's been over a week now, so I imagine that many of you have gone to hell and back and lived to tell the tale. If you've been waiting for a place to tell your tale, you've come to the right place...
On the other hand, it hasn't been that long: If you haven't finished the game yet and you're worried about spoilers you might want to come back after you're done. Then again, based on last week's discussion it doesn't seem like most of you are especially concerned with the game's plot.
Joining the Game Club for the first time? Check out the Game Club's original mission statement. Don't have the time? Here's the quickie version: The Kotaku Game Club exists because no one wants to experience a game alone. Even when we're playing individually, games are always more interesting when we share our thoughts and hear other people's perspectives. The Game Club picks a different game every month or so to play as a group so we can meet to discuss its narrative and mechanical themes and reactions to them.
The Game Club meets on Kotaku every Thursday at 4pm Eastern, and our discussions take place in the comments section of designated Game Club posts like this one.
We're here to hear all kind of ideas, but if you're looking for an idea to get your creative juices flowing, here's a jump-off question for you to answer:
Does designing an RPG to be played multiple times take away from the moment-to-moment experience?
As I mentioned earlier, last week's discussion was peppered with remarks about how the plot of Diablo III isn't a particularly important part of the Diablo experience. That's understandable: Diablo III is a game about loot, customization and, in a weird way, the never-ending pursuit to create the perfect version of ourselves.
But, from what I understand, it's impossible to get about 70 percent of the game's loot on the first playthrough. Again, it's an idea that makes absolute sense when you consider how many players keep beating the game over and over and over again. However, I can't help but feel that there's a backlash to designing the game this way. Beating Diablo III a single time isn't nearly as much of an accomplishment as beating other games because it's not actually the end. In fact, the game never ends: It's an cycle that we can descend deeper and deeper into until either finding loot derives absolutely no satisfaction or until our characters are absolutely the most powerful they can be.
In that way, Diablo III straddles the line between two generations of gaming experiences: The older "high score" mentality where we play games repeatedly for the chance to do better than we did before, and the newer way of "playing through" games, where the goal is to experience a game from start to finish. Diablo, as a series, is a "high score" game trapped in a "playthrough" game's body. If our character's stats are the "score", the way we actually gauge our progress, wouldn't Diablo III be more gratifying if the game was shorter? Short enough that fervent players could complete the cycle, and consequently reassess their their skills, more often?
And that's it, everyone! We're moving on! Thanks for contributing to the Diablo III chapter of the Game Club. We'll let you know the details for our next chapter in a few weeks.