So today, children, Story Time with Monkipaw will read you The Tale of Diablo 3, or "Why the Fuck Am I Playing Diablo Again?"
Let's start by waxing a little philosophical.
Many walks of life acknowledge the cyclical nature of existence. The two halves of yin and yang form a complete circle, spinning in harmony. Sisyphus endlessly rolled a boulder up a hill, only to have it roll back down (he was cursed or just a prat, I can't remember which). The ouroboros of antiquity is a snake eating its own tail, symbolic of past events forever repeating. And just one more so I can stop sounding like such a preening pseudo-intellectual: Karma is often pictured as a giant wheel, balancing the past with the future in the present.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="350" caption="Pictured: Karma."][/caption]
Point being, people come back over and over to familiar things. It's how it works. It isn't wrong. There's comfort in familiarity. It's why we have chain restaurants and movie sequels, The Simpsons Season 35, and old white men in most positions of power. Learning entirely new things is exhausting, so we just change a few things about what we already know and call it new. Put a bird on it, so to speak.
Minimal novelty is all humanity really needs to convince itself it's happy.
Veterans of Blizzard gaming will understand the point I'm trying to make, but in case Diablo III is the first time you're dipping your toes into gaming's seldom-cleaned hot tub, let me explain:
It's the same game we've been playing for fifteen years. It's the same game.
On December 31st, 1996, Blizzard Entertainment (already making waves with WarCraft) sent a Warrior, a Wizard, and a Rogue out to do Battle with the Lord of Terror, and battle they did, my friends. With neverending dungeons that reset and reconfigured themselves every time you stopped playing, you were never short of things to murder. The loot rates from the foul-but-predictable dungeon fodder (goblins, skeletons, zombies, demons, etc) were unbelievable, to the point that the term "loot piñata" came into play. Showered in gold and magic gear, your mighty hero soldiered through a murky green forest-ish palette and many poorly-lit dungeons, capped with a jaunt through Hell, to confront his/her final adversary.
[caption id="attachment_135" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Pictured: Lord of Terror."][/caption]
Fifteen years is a pretty safe statute of limitations on spoilers, so I'm gonna go ahead and say it: Diablo got his devil ass whupped, then stuck in a crystal, which was then sold on a platinum chain to Tupac Shakur, which he wore on the cover of his album "all eyez on me." Pac promised to keep it safe for all time.
I'm pretty sure that's how it went. Cocaine is a helluva drug.
Anyway, you win. Roll credits. Fade out. Superimpose text "FOUR(ISH) YEARS LATER..."
BAM. We forgot all those other guys left over in Hell after Diablo bit it. There were more Prime Evils, a bunch of Lesser Evils, about a trillion demons, a dark wanderer, a rabbit, Steve Irwin, and a left-handed circus clown still roaming Hell and Earth looking to cause trouble, and they absolutely refuse to pop up anywhere but in yo grill.
Our previous heroes are off enjoying the insane fortunes they amassed looting dead guys and exploding barrels, but fortunately, more classes are eager to face the entire fury of Hell for a chance to wear magic shit and go 'pewpew!'
To be fair, the class selection is a little more diverse this time. Where before there was only the Warrior, the Rogue, or the Wizard, you can now be the Warrior, the Rogue/Warrior, the Wizard/Warrior, the Wizard/Wizard, or the Other Wizard/Wizard (the Lord of Destruction expansion added the Other Rogue/Warrior and the Other Wizard/Warrior). They chase the Dark Wanderer through typical-though-admittedly-pretty adventure palettes: Forest (green), Desert (tan), Jungle (green with more ruins), and parts of Hell the last guys didn't clean out entirely, it seems.
Ultimately, having braved the worst piñatas the world of Sanctuary could throw at you, you fight...Diablo.
Yup. Thanks for playing Diablo II: This Time it's Personal. Roll credits.
ROLL THOSE FUCKING CREDITS.
The remainder of this article has spoilers (I guess). Stop reading if that kind of thing is a problem, but seriously stop and wonder aloud: "It's Diablo. Diablo. What precisely do I expect to happen?"
Ohai 2012! So nice to see you. What's that you say? Diablo III: The Diabling? Now with more Diablo? Yay! I'm sure this time will be different. After all, we killed him twice, right? And we've never heard of basic horror-villain tropes, so we have to assume some degree of permanence to our actions.
[caption id="attachment_136" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Pictured: Dudes who accept death's permanence "][/caption]
Yup. Pull up those fucking bootstraps, kids. This time your Warrior (Barbarian), Rogue (Demon Hunter), Other Warrior, Except Fuck Weapons (Monk), Wizard (Wizard), or What the Fuck? (Witch Doctor) is hopefully gonna finish the job against Ol' Devilpants. Ignoring, of course, that even should you triumph, the game just wants you to restart and do it again with MORE brutal grinding.
So be human. Roll that ball up the hill. Enjoy the golden rewards spilling forth from a mound of slain monster's intestines. Ignore that screaming in your mind about how familiar it all is.
That's your Groundhog Day gland. It'll tire itself out eventually.