"All you do is click!" "It's a total click-fest!" "Don't make me click your ass!" Yes, we've heard the criticism over the Diablo franchise for its simple mouse-driven mechanics, but is it really a million mouse-clicks to victory? Why don't we ask wise old Mr. Owl?
Oh yeah, because wise old Mr. Owl has proven over the span of countless Tootsie Roll Pop commercials that he's just a giant winged asshole in a stupid hat. He'd click twice and then eat the rest of the beta, the jerk.
Instead, I decided to count the mouse clicks it took to get to the end of the beta test myself, because I'm slightly less of an asshole and my hats are much more impressive.
So without further ado...
...more ado. I can't just throw the number out there without giving you folks a little background on the process I used. That would be completely irresponsible and put several paragraphs of well-intentioned words out of work, so here's what I did.
First off I picked a class, settling on the Barbarian for several reasons. The ideal beginner class, the Barbarian can lay waste to entire hordes of undead creatures with a single attack, making for what I hoped would be more kills per click (KPC's). A simpler skill set also meant I wouldn't have to rely on special abilities mapped to the keyboard, keeping the action centered on the mouse.
Also, the female Barbarian is a hottie. That's a scientific observation.
I committed myself to certain rules before my play through. Every barrel I came across had to die, as did any urns, logs, or bookcases. Every explorable inch of the demo had to be uncovered, every optional cave or tomb raided. Every floor in the dungeons had to be completely clear of creatures before moving on to the next. To navigate the game I used the single-click lead method for the most part, in which you hold down the mouse button and lead your character around by the cursor.
I set up the game, hit start, and from there I counted every mouse click by carving a mark into the top of my desk. By the end of the play through I had carved a tiny unicorn figurine. Then I stopped lying.
Instead of carving up my desk, I opted to use WhatPulse, a keyboard and mouse tracking program that works on both Mac and PC. While it does track keyboard clicks, no one ever complains about Diablo's massive amount of keyboard clicking, so I stuck with mouse buttons.
The entire run through took the better part of two hours, so if you'd like to try to estimate the result using some sort of imaginary clicks-per-second number, feel free. Just do it quickly, because we're coming up on the big reveal.
And now that all of that ado is adone with, here's the grand total:
Surprised? Truth be told, this was a much smaller number than I imagined it would be, but then I also imagined getting carpal tunnel and a few days off work. Unfortunately the Barbarian's massive area-of-effect attacks cut down the number of mouse clicks considerably, even when figuring in all of clicking I did emptying out my inventory every five minutes to make room for more loot (oh yes, I had to loot everything).
The number in my head (the mouse click number, not the other ones wandering about up there) actually totaled in the tens of thousands, but I attribute that to the poor exercise regime of my clicking fingers.
I mean hell, writing up this article (image editing included) only took 47 mouse clicks. That's just lazy.