Thursday, July 1, 2010

To Diablo II, With Love

Dear Diablo II,

Happy 10th birthday! I know you are probably feeling a bit depressed right now, because 10 years is actually like an entire century in video game years, and you might be fretting a little that you're not as spry as you once were. But I am here to tell you that you're still loved and respected by basement dwellers everywhere.

From the very first time that I killed one of Rakanishu's minions, I knew we had something special. For every piece of gold I liberated from monsters and demons alike, you made me feel like such a successful capitalist! I had always been so economically maladjusted before I stepped onto the Cold Plains just outside the Rogue Encampment, but you taught me that it was okay to slaughter the undead and hoard their spoils like a CEO on high-quality meth.

And hoard I did! You must have realized that you'd created a monster when you saw that I was using my Horadric Cube as an extra storage space, carrying it around on my back just so that I could pick up every last item and hoof it back to town to be sold off to Charsi in exchange for fixing my equipment. To be honest, I think she may have been gouging me a bit, but that was back in the days before I'd hit my 20s, and I was in no position to pick a fight with such a formidable Friend of Xena. In any case, you were so indulgent of my materialistic tendencies that when you rolled out your expansion, you gave me a bigger stash, so that I might save every last chipped gem, every ear of those fellow warriors who dared challenge my might in a duel.

And what of my fellow players? You brought us together, for better or for worse, in the fight against the Prime Evils. Sure, there were times of grief. I saw my boyfriend's Paladin ruined forever by a high-level Necromancer, purporting to "rush" his levels, only to take every last item spewed forth from the Hell Forge and then kill Diablo himself, forcing his level 35 Paladin to complete the "normal" difficulty setting before his rightful time. You'll find this from time to time, as well as the sorts who play as a Sorceress because of the occasion glimpse of side-boob (see fig. 2). But for every forge-snatching, tit-gazing douchenozzle, there is a benevolent soul like xHell_No_KittYx, who once gave me an entire set of Pgems in exchange for a few measly runes. Ah, that we all could have such grace as was buried within his surly, burly Barbarian exterior.

My darling Diablo II, I know you are also feeling a bit ugly in comparison to some other games out there. I know that Torchlight is stealing your thunder and your user base right from under your nose, and it would be easy to feel inferior. Please know, my love, that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Torchlight may be pretty, and I will admit to playing it. I will even admit to playing it WHILE I was writing this letter to you (hey, we never agreed to be exclusive. You know I can't get everything I need from one relationship), but I was thinking of you the whole time.

Because you are the gold standard for dungeoncrawlers in my life. There, I said it. "But what about Zelda?", you ask. Well, Zelda's cool, baby. But I can't play Zelda on a netbook during my commute. That is your special something, sugar, and it's why I'll be doing Baal runs until my fingers break off.

All in all, Diablo II, you're still the one. You may boot me from the US: West gateway right as I'm detonating my Frost Nova, you may lag so badly that I'm frozen in Upper Travincal and subsequently eviscerated by Toorc Icefist or one of the other rabid Council Members. But I just can't quit you. You are the wind beneath my Icehawk Riftwings.

Forever yours,

Champion Chernobylheart, Assassin

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