blog on fleek.

Hammer on FleekFor several months last summer and fall, Torchlight II was my go-to game, and I really loved the style of play (which, for lack of another term, seems to be generally referred to as Diablo-like). Tiny characters in a big bowl of a world, with an easy-to-see perspective from above, and no fiddling with camera arrangement. A finite number of buttons to use, and very satisfying battle effects. It was a pretty good sweet spot of physical comfort, ability and fun for me.

Until it got frustrating, for what I consider really unnecessary quality of life reasons. I had a character I loved (Engineer), with a build I loved (Fire & Spark), and I leveled her up to the cap and was so happy when I got my first really good weapon. I kept playing well past that point, but as it turned out, that weapon was my high point. There’s plenty of better gear and good sets, but the game is set up in such a way that you can only get them by very rare random (i.e. not geared to your specific class) chance and endless grinding. Given that I enjoyed my character, that might have been okay in a larger world. Torchlight II isn’t very big, though, so after I’d played through the entire game three more times without being able to complete a full set of end game gear, it was tedious in the extreme.

During this ordeal, Phil watched patiently over my shoulder as I got more and more shouty and frothy at the mouth, and finally bought me a copy of Diablo III. I downloaded it ten days before the start of Season V. Just enough time to get used to the look and feel of it with a practice barbarian, before saddling up and making a seasonal character. I am, by now, very definitely a fan of bashy melee characters, and I chose a Barbarian with an Earthquake build. Her name is Fleeke (seen here all in pink, while pursuing the Pink’d achievement, and with Phil’s crusader, also dressed like a hulking Rococo boudoir of doom).

Pinks on Fleek

Gherkins in Pinks

Season challenges are really nicely set up to walk you through learning how the game should be played. Ticking off the chapter tasks kept Fleeke leveling up nicely, with good gear and XP rewards. I level capped her in 3 glorious days, and set about perfecting her stompy destruction skills.

Level 70 on Fleek

I’d been concerned that the dark look of the game would be off-putting. Playing anything with a very dark dungeon palette tends to make me feel bad after a while. It is a fairly grim-looking game, but it’s turned out to be so fun to play that I have a pretty high tolerance for the dark palette. And then, there’s always Whimsyshire to look forward to, if you’re lucky enough to stumble into the rainbow wormhole of hilarity:

Gherkins go to WhimsydaleWhere Torchlight II was disappointing and withholding, Diablo III is positively profligate. Endless gear drops of increasingly rare and high quality, all built around my class and level. And lest you lose the fun of looking for just that right last piece, there’s always a slightly better version of your best-in-slot gear to be found and/or enchanted.

In short, I’m having a great time. My video game time is pretty limited at the moment, but I’m still finding 30 minutes several nights a week to run rifts or bounties. There’s also a last Season V challenge hanging over my head, undone, but I think I’ll save talking about that for another post.

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