Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Random Ability "Challenge"

I like Diablo 3 and I liked it when it was released.  In a lot of ways I think it is a real disappointment, but that doesn't mean it isn't a fun game, especially since I'm always disappointed with everything.  It wasn't long, though, before I got bored with it and set it aside.  The story didn't interest me, I found the characters kind of annoying, and with no character customization aside from infinitely tradeable items there just wasn't much replay value.

Sky at Bright Cape Gamer suggested an alternative way of playing that makes levelling up new characters more fun.  Instead of choosing your abilities, you use assign whatever abilities you get each level, overwriting the previous ability in that spot.  So as a wizard when you hit level three, you replace Magic Missile with Shock Pulse, when you hit level five you replace Ray of Frost with Arcane Orb.  Carrying this forward, when you hit level 55 you replace Ray of Frost (Black Ice) with Arcane Orb (Celestial Orb) and Energy Armor (Force Armor) with Magic Weapon (Blood Magic) - keeping Shock Pulse (Living Lightning), Slow Time (Stretch Time), Blizzard (Stark Winter) and Archon (Slow Time) equipped.  You just choose your passives each level because otherwise you often end up with passives that have no effect with your current active skills.

I tried this and it didn't really hold my interest.  It was fun for a while but which abilities you had didn't matter that much for levelling - the monsters just dissolved when you looked at them funny.  When they came out with Monster Power it was time to try it again.

Since I started playing again a few months ago I've played almost exclusively this way.  Start a new character on Monster Power 10 and play with whatever abilities you get at each level.  Sometimes in the 30's and 40's I re-randomize my abilities halfway through levels because the levels get very slow.  I usually only use the gear I find on the ground but I did craft a weapon early on for my Demon Hunter because there was only so long I could wait for a bow to drop.  The point is to have fun and learn about different abilities, not to be bored.

That's why I put the caution quotation marks around "Challenge" in the title of the post.  If you are the sort of person who likes to look online to find ways that people are challenging themselves playing video games you are not likely to find this much of a challenge.  More like the Random Ability Diversion, or Random Ability Time Killer.

Despite this, I think playing the game this way has taught me a lot about the game.  I don't pay attention to the abilities that define the most powerful builds, I pay attention to every ability and whether the game feels hard or easy when you have it equipped, long before the degenerate build stage.

The only class I've actually hit level 60 with using this scheme so far is the wizard.  As I finish with various characters I am going to put together a list of abilities and how it feels to play when you are randomly dealt them as you battle through the levelling game.

If you try this and like playing this way, I'd enjoy hearing about it.  I'd also like to hear feedback on what you learned about classes while doing it.  Of course, as usual, since literally no one will ever read this, none of this is terribly likely.

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