The Beauty of a Patch
This past Tuesday we finally got the ever amazing patch 2.0.1 in Diablo 3 bringing us a slew of promised Reaper of Souls changes. The first of these was something that I had yearned for since release… a decent social system with the ability to form guilds. While they call them clans, we have the basic structure now to build House Stalwart inside of Diablo 3 as well. This was one of the first things we did Tuesday after the servers came back up, and now many of us proudly sport the <HS> beside our names. It is funny how much more enjoyable the game is for me to see happy green spam from my guildies as they get cool stuff out in the world. That second it takes to say the obligatory gratz changes the feeling of the game entirely for me.
Additionally there is now a functionality called Communities, which are in a sense a big chat channel. It functions in many of the same ways as a guild, in that you can see who is online that is a member of the community for easier grouping. My only real complaint here is that you have to manually join the community chat each time you log in. I am really hoping they fix this so that you can toggle certain communities on. Tuesday night we also created the Alliance of Awesome community, and it is now out there open for the public to join. We have a few people in it, and last night I noticed that Scopique created a Combat Wombat guild, since he was sporting the <CWBT> clan tag. So the functionality seems to be working well, sub clans but one big community.
Where Does He Get Those Wonderful Toys
One of the biggest changes we have seen so far is that the loot is much better. Not only do we get more usable loot, with far more interesting statistics, but since the patch went live we are seeing more “legendaries”. Last night I found what has to be the coolest one yet. The Puzzle Ring, when equipped summons a treasure goblin pet that follows you around. As you kill things he runs over and “eats” any white quality items that happen to drop. Upon eating the thirteenth item in this fashion he drops something good on the ground. I only had this actually happen twice during the play, but each time it was simply a yellow item. However as the item says there is a chance of this being a legendary. At this point I cannot see a reason why I would ever get rid of this ring. I mean even if I got something significantly better stat wise, the effect and the coolness of having my own personal treasure goblin makes up for it. The only problem is when we fight an ACTUAL treasure goblin, I maybe… sometimes… get confused and try and attack the pet instead of the real thing.
So the puzzle ring was amazing, but the cavalcade of awesome didn’t stop there. A little bit later after downing the butcher, I managed to get a legendary one-hander to drop. Now just stats alone, it was better than anything I had… but once again it is the special effect that makes it truly great. While using this weapon there is a chance to summon a ghostly Fallen Champion, and while I don’t have any stats on this… it happens a lot. It took us a bit to realize exactly what was happening, but my ghostly buddy seemed to help speed up our kills significantly. At this point I have managed to pick up better damage weapons, but I am rocking this is my offhand just for the procs… which seem to make up the gap. At some point I will pass this off to my Barbarian or Crusader, because it really is rather good.
Everything You Loved, Just Better
So last night I spent most of the night running around in either a three man or a four man group. I don’t even know what difficulty we were playing on, but I know we ratcheted up a few times from normal. Around 7 pm I was sitting at 37, and at 10:30 when we stopped playing I had just dinged 50. The experience gain for grouping has significantly improved, and if we do another night of this I have no doubt that I will get my first Diablo 3 character to the present level cap. A few months ago… I was deeply uncertain if this would happen before the expansion actually landed. Everything about Diablo 3 just feels “fresher”, like the world has a shiny coat of paint… and in part this is the magic of finally getting meaningful drops. Also there is the side benefit that the crafting system finally makes a marginal amount of sense. So many things have been tweaked to make far more sense… like condensing all the flavors of heal pot into one… and making them stack to 100.
I still dislike click to move as a control scheme, but it feels as though the hours I have spent playing League of Legends has improved my dexterity at doing so. While I still die a lot to standing in the stupid…. and man we got some seriously bad combinations of stupid at the same time… there seems to be a far greater chance that I will come through it all successfully. There were a few times last night where I ended up kiting mobs around when I was by myself, and were not for the little bit of experience I have laning in LoL… I never would have survived. Granted I am still pretty freaking horrible at laning, but it has made me a much better Diablo player just in the bit I have done. Hopefully tonight we can push our little team of characters to 60 and start gaining some Paragon levels.
Belghast the Altar Boy
I was raised Catholic in a very protestant area of the world, and this was an area for confusion during most of my childhood. I still remember one day in elementary school one of the southern Baptist children coming up to me and asking me “why I don’t believe in god”. Idiocy like that aside, I have never been very “religious” and at this point I am not a practicing anything. I can’t even attest to having something that you could quantify as a formal doctrine of beliefs… I mostly just spend my time trying to be a good person… and winging it. However as any good catholic should be… I was an Altar Boy. No this is not the beginning of a priest sex abuse tale, because really my priest was one of the coolest people I have ever known. He would probably be classified as a heretic, but he was the first person that told me it was okay to question my beliefs.
The funny thing about being an Altar Boy is that forever will it color the way you feel about the heart of the Catholic church… the Mass. Before they started with the incense crap recently, forcing to simply not attend Christmas Eve Mass… I did so every year to appease my mother… who refuses to believe that I am not a “good little catholic boy”. Even to this day, I can hear certain phrases in the Mass, and immediately feel the instinct to do something… like walk over to pick up this thing, or move to this area of the altar. As an Altar Boy you learn this oddly choreographed dance to prove the priest whatever he needs before he actually needs it. I use the term “Altar Boy” but in truth our parish was pretty progressive and had plenty of “Altar Girls” as well. The priest claimed that we simply didn’t have enough people, but in truth I think he just enjoyed shaking things up a bit.
I really don’t miss much about being a practicing Catholic. We were a satellite parish attached to a significantly larger one, and as such we shared the same priest. So each Sunday morning at 7 am he would come to our church, perform mass and then return to do the several masses there as well throughout the day. Seven in the morning seemed like the ass crack of dawn to me as a kid, and while I write each morning at 6 am… it doesn’t mean I am actually fully verbal until about 9. I do however miss the priest, he has long since retired but he really was a deeply interesting man. Once upon a time in another life he was a fairly successful commercial artist, working for an advertising agency. For reasons I never asked him, he decided to give that life up and enter the priesthood. I always got the impression there was quite a bit of sex, drugs and rock and roll… and he just tired of the life and wanted something more meaningful. So much of my outlook on life comes from this man being the first person who told me that religion was a deeply personal thing, and it was natural and in fact encouraged for me to question things and figure out my own path.