What It's Like Playing Diablo III With A Crappy Graphics Card

Illustration for article titled What It's Like Playing Diablo III With A Crappy Graphics Card

You will die. Frequently.

You will stare at your screen as it slows to a crawl, wondering when the whole machine will just black out and die.

You will roll your eyes and groan as if somebody just cut you in line at the grocery store and you want to get their attention in an obnoxious, passive-aggressive way.

You will eventually turn off Diablo III and find something less stressful to do, like operating a push-powered forklift or jumping up a cliff.


See, running Blizzard's latest action-RPG on an awful graphics card is like playing blackjack at a casino; it might be exciting and even euphoric for a while, but sooner or later you know you're going to lose everything.

A few years ago, I bought a Samsung Q430 laptop. It's a wonderful machine: not too heavy, fast enough, and sleek in all the right places. But it's saddled with a NVIDIA 310M graphics card, the type of entry-level hardware that can barely run Minesweeper, let alone Diablo III. (This is an exaggeration. My computer can run Minesweeper at phenomenal frame rates.)

This setup was okay for a while, mostly because I could browse the Internet and play StarCraft II. But then Diablo III came along. And with it came those old familiar cravings.


I wanted to hunt for glorious loot. I wanted to beat up Mephisto. I wanted to see what happened to Deckard Cain. I wanted to discover new bosses and dungeons and towns and all the other cool shit that Blizzard packs into its games, which are almost always awesome.

So I ignored the little voice in my head that said "your computer can't run this, dumbass" and started installing Diablo III. Roughly ten thousand hours later, I loaded up the game, ignoring the little message on my computer screen that said "I can't run this, dumbass."


I ignored the little voice in my head that said "your computer can't run this, dumbass" and started installing Diablo III.

And! It worked! The game loaded up smoothly. I entered my Battle.net information. I connected to the Internet. I created a Barbarian. I immediately skipped the opening cinematic for fear of angering the Graphics Gods. I entered the game and started moving around my character, tempted to brag on Twitter about how awesome I was. I had done it! I beat my own graphics card! It worked! I'm a champion!


Then the game froze.

See, the problem with running Diablo III on a crappy graphics card isn't that it won't work. It'll work. The problem is that whenever too many enemies appear on the screen, or some sort of dungeon animation requires a lot of processing power, your computer will suddenly start skipping like an awful dubstep producer.


Every minute or two, everything will go through a time warp. You will watch enemies surround your helpless character, who apparently lacks any sort of life-preservation instincts whatsoever. You will frantically click away from enemies. It won't work. You will frantically slam Q on your keyboard, trying to chug down a potion. It won't work. Your roommate will ask why you are clicking so much. You will ask why he hasn't done the dishes in three weeks. You're in a bad mood. You'll apologize later.

Still, you'll make it through a good chunk of the game thanks to some careful timing (and the fact that death doesn't penalize you until you reach level 10). Until you get to the game's first boss, Leoric the Skeleton King. He will immediately drive your laptop into conniptions. You will die. You will die again. You will give up, shut down the game, and watch basketball for a little while.


And you will order a new computer.

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The Father of Modern Laziness

NO! That last sentence is the reason i am done buying new PC games. I bought my laptop this year. It's a Toshiba something with decent graphics and great audio. It has quad core and everything a computer needs to work in the modern world. But that just isn't good enough, is it? Blizzard, along with nearly every developer on steam seems to believe it is necessary for gamers to purchase new hardware every few months. Even more annoyingly they seem to have something against laptop users. You see, recently companies stopped integrating GPUs into their laptops. Through lots of technical stuff i don't understand My tosh simply utilizes existing hardware to run graphics well enough to run SWTOR and WOW on ultra settings. So wasn't I surprised when i ran the specs on D3 aginst what my comp can do. Like so many games out there including the Witcher and Fallout 3 it requires i have a dedicated GPU in order to even load the game. It doesn't matter if my computer can handle the game, it simply won't. Say what you will about PC games having "superior" graphics. Is it honestly worth it? My xbox and Playstation can play every single game that comes out without so much as having to lower the graphics to "good". I purchased them years ago and I have never had a problem that existed because the hardware was out of date. If microsoft and sony saw fit to release new consoles every 6 months and games that required updated Graphics cards and other hardware the gaming industry would fail. Why do PC developers think they can get away with this? What game is worth the fifteen hundred dollars it would take to upgrade to a gaming laptop? or even the 800 it would take to downgrade to a 3 year old Gaming Desktop with a new GPU? Is 60 bucks not enough? Are you PC gamers happy with the amount you have invested in your platform only to face the inevitable hundreds you will have to pay when the next game comes out that pushes your computer past its limits? I hope so. For me, i'll have to wait five years or so to play Diablo when I have a better reason to buy a new PC.