I’ve been playing Diablo 3: Season 6 since the day it came out. I’m a big fan of D3, and I’ve played the seasons very regularly since their conception. I’ve also been trying to figure out a way to write about Diablo that makes sense. This is because of the nature of the game. In Diablo (1, 2, 3), you play as a hero who struggles against the forces of hell to kill the devil. Simple enough! And therein lies the problem. Diablo is simple. This is why I like it. You see, in MMORPGs (of which I am definitely a fan, don’t get me wrong), they put layer upon layer of goodies and shine and polish to remove you from the core of your toil: find loot to kill bad guys to get loot to kill bigger bad guys to get better loot to kill BIGGER- and this continues ad nauseam.
I enjoy this cycle. But I also know when I’m being fooled. And this is why Diablo 3 (and truly, all Diablo games) is so appealing. They boil down the polish, the sheen, the glitter, and show you the Plato’s Cave version of THE GRIND. You will slay demons from hell. You will slay monstrosities unspeakable. They will drop loot. The loot is random. Random swings from terrible to amazing. Odds are flat. Hope is lost. Good luck. The cycle is brutal, but it pleases me. The same way that old punk rock songs that only have 3, max 4 chords per song please me. It is simple, it is unforgiving, and there is beauty in that simplicity. But this is also what makes it so difficult to write about.
I talked to one of my friends who plays with me. I asked him “How the heck do I write about Diablo, a game I enjoy, when there is not much to write about?” I mean honestly, even Hearthstone has play by plays that has at least a little value (I believe). Maybe I could post great loot drops? When I got an achievement? We joked until we came to the conclusion: “Dear blog, today I killed thousands of demons to try and get the loot I need to kill more demons. I didn’t get the loot. Life is meaningless. I will try again tomorrow.” But then it struck me: these weird little haikus are EXACTLY how to write about Diablo. Simple poetry, elegant themes, boiling the immeasurable down to three beautiful lines. That’s what Diablo is. Except instead of beautiful it’s pretty horrific and Sisyphean in nature. But everything else checks out.
So I think that’s what I’m going to do from now on. When I write about Diablo 3 I’m not going to try and make a great statement, that’s an exercise in futility. It’s about the essence of the gesture; great strokes of a paint brush trying to capture a moment, like a mandala before the monks say “Well that was fun!” and wreck it. Diablo 3 is grim poetry and that’s the best way to write about it. Here we go:
The tides of Hell surge.
Waves crashing, an endless sea.
I will break the waves.
Or something like that. See you in Sanctuary.