[D3] In which I warm to Diablo 3, but not to the demon hunter stilettos

I have a theory that while female models in games pretty much started out based on underwear models and haven’t moved on significantly from there (depending on whether you think Sonic is female or not), graphic artists are now tending towards two male forms for all portrayals of men in games.

1. Bald space marine

2. The guy from Assassin’s Creed

I think we should applaud this diversity, since some of us like our guys lithe and … err… assassiny. In fact, if Blizzard had only made their original male blood elf model look more like Ezio (which admittedly would have required a time machine since TBC was released first IIRC), I bet none of the beta testers would have whined about them looking gay.

This is a roundabout way to introduce the topic of Diablo 3, which I have been playing some more this weekend as and when the servers allow it. So without more ado, this is the demon hunter.



The top two characters are the level 1/ starting male and female demons hunters. The guy at the bottom hunter is the demon hunter from the end of beta, and the other chick is the Vanquisher from Torchlight. I just had two points to make here:

1. You can see that the dude is getting gradually more assassin’s creed-like over time

2. those thigh high stilettos are TERRIBLE. I really wasn’t over-reacting when I said I hated them. That character in the top right looks as though she’s going to strip, or go to a BDSM party, or pose for a pin up. I wanted a female version of the male dude. The comparison with the Vanquisher is fun because the two characters have a similar look and are wearing similar gear. But because the Vanquisher has sensible boots and a stronger pose, she strikes a better balance between sexy and badass. (NB. I think the female demon hunter is a beautiful piece of art if you wanted a pin up model, but it’s oddly over-sexualised compared to every other character in the game. I blame the boots.)

I am looking forwards to playing D3 at release, and have been making more of an effort to note any cool tweaks and updates to the genre that have impressed me particularly.

  • I like the events that you encounter in the dungeons, they make a neat change to standard boss fights and I can see there’s lots of scope for Blizzard to add more of them as time goes on.
  • The achievements work really well in Diablo also. I’m not an achievement minded person, but I was thinking about how to do some of them (like kill 20 mobs in one go) and which build would be best suited for it. There is plenty of scope for fun play there.
  • It feels quite quaint that the characters are so non-customisable, and that the loot will tend to end up looking samish also. I assume unique items and sets will have different looks to them.
  • I love how the game keeps track of your ‘high score’ for things like killing streaks on both mobs and destroyable items, and number of mobs killed in one blow even if you don’t hit the achievement. It gives a good sense for when you’re getting better.
  • I like the voiced lore items and journal entries. I did encounter at least one lore item (skeleton I think) which was not voiced, which struck me as an unusual polish fail.
  • The character voicing is not very good. Some of them are pretty terrible. Particularly the accents. I realise they may be the same actors as previous versions but they’re still not very good. But I feel less waspish about it now, because the male demon hunter sounds very cool.
  • I am not one of the people who complains about lack of talent trees, I prefer not having to think too much about which abilities to take. And the beta only covers the first few levels so it’s a bit soon to judge how well anything is balanced. But this is also Diablo and mobs come at you in packs, so the classes with the better AEs are easier to play.
  • I’ve played the beta through on the barbarian and demon hunter now, as well as the wizard. On the demon hunter I mostly did this in open groups so that I could try out the co op. The barbarian was simple but effective, it wades in and swings around with a large axe (or dagger in my case since the dagger had better dps) and bodies fly around. The demon hunter seemed to be a single target dude in an AE world, but I love that they have a channeled ability to fire the crossbow off like a machine gun. That’s very bonkers, but amusing,
  • Co-op groups mostly consist of people doing speed runs. Even if they don’t say so, that’s what they will do. Many of them will also have speed boosts on their gear so it’s easy to end up running after everyone else through corridors of dead mobs and then seeing the end of quest achievement pop up before you get there. D3 does make everyone zone into boss fights together, so you will at least get to see those. And it’s quick xp. In fact, if you want to level fast when the game goes live, just do co op runs.
  • No one, but no one, is going to enjoy having to deal with lag and server disconnects in the single player game.

37 thoughts on “[D3] In which I warm to Diablo 3, but not to the demon hunter stilettos

  1. I did the same you did, I chose the male demon hunter over the female version. His looks are a plus, although I would be happier if he got rid of that hunch, I think it’s a bit exaggerated.

    Thanks for the link to the Belf model change, I wasn’t aware of this one. God, it makes me so angry!

  2. I’d bet that even if the model was a direct take on the Assassins Creed model (assuming time travel or other very-high-energy-weird-physics) that you would still see the gay bashing from the forum trolls. The current male models are designed to appeal to homosexual males. Look at any image preference study and that is a look that most heterosexual men tend to regard much the same as a heterosexual female regards the current implant queen of the teen lust scene. And quite frankly I would wager a fair amount of coin that the people who complained about the BElf were more concerned with their own sexualized view of the model not conforming to expected norms than any hint at deviance on the part of the Blizz artists. It does have the interesting effect of permitting easy argument for the trolls: if you don’t want to look like the results of a steroid experiment gone wrong (Mr Warlock who has spent the last decade bent over ancient texts and lifting nothing heavier than a wine bottle) then you don’t want to be virile and must be gay. Horrid logic, of course, but most people are swayed by emotional arguments rather than factual.

    That said, yes, drop the boots. The intro cinematic for the DH was great and started my writer side spinning out a storyline but I don’t want to have to wonder how she’s actually running every time I play what I’d been thinking of as my grouping alt.

  3. There were also some books that were downright broken (like the history of New Tristram), but I chalk that up to the game being beta.

    I do like how even the runes change how the class plays. On the other hand the Wizard had runes that were downright uninspiring; they don’t add effects or even change the damage type, they just add damage.

  4. What sort of impact do you think the concept of needing to login to a server will have on people’s enjoyment of the game? It is at heart, as you say, a single player game, and it seems to be a bit of a risk by Blizz to require a login to play it. Kind of a throwback to the days of the old Colossal Cave when it was played only on mainframes, if you ask me.

  5. In the modern world, with so many people having always on high-speed connections, I’m not thinking that it’s really going to cost Blizz all that many potential sales. Add in the offset that the current Battle.net (really WoW) userbase enjoying effectively transparent login (same name, same game, ain’t a damn thing changed) and I see Blizz having a solid buyin.

    Add to that the incredible convenience of background content push, and I see Diablo 3 doing just fine, in spite of (or possibly BECAUSE of) the mandatory login.

    • I think the online issues were particularly obvious during stress test, because getting booted from the server, having to queue to log in, or other server related issues were going on as they tested stuff or loaded the servers up.

      While I agree that requiring an always-on connection isn’t going to be much of a deal for a lot of players, getting killed in hardcore mode because of being booted from the server with unfortunate timing really will be.

      • Getting killed in Diablo 2 Hardcore due to lag was one of the reasons why I stopped playing it. Playing methodically and defensively did help, but a full-blown disconnection will give plenty of time for that dangerous group of enemies two screens over to waddle in and get the job done. If you were a certain class, you simply would not even try to finish certain trouble spots like Baal’s miniboss rush or the Kurast council. At least they fixed the loading lag issue with Duriel.

    • Always on internet connections aren’t a given for many people – even so it’s only half the equation.

      We’ll have to see how it blows over but Blizzard isn’t foolproof when it comes to network availability – with WoW it’s not a big deal because you expect your persistent online world to have connection glitches – it remains to be seen how the majority of people who play diablo as a single player game will take to the issues when they know they are artificially put in place.

  6. The barbarian female is not a 17BMI lingerie model! I call it a brave move from Blizzard. Which is great because this way my girlfriend will play it and we can have a tank+DD combo, probably barb+demon hunter. She also found the demon hunter female an abomination.

    Really, would it hurt to create 2 models for each class/sex? Like body builder and normal for males, stripper and normal for females.

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  8. It was a stress test first, a demo second. Their goal is to go live with as few servers as possible, but to take accurate measurements on which to base that decision they need guinea pigs. What better way to lure them in than an all-welcome open beta. 😉

    They arbitrarily throttle the number of allowed concurrent sessions/connections and ramp it up at a steady rate, noting the numbers at which the system is under “heavy load”…and use that to decide how many servers to launch with.

    That alone is not an indication – at all – as to whether we’ll experience connectivity issues come launch.

    That said, I have no doubt they will under-estimate the number of servers they need active at launch and they’ll still ramp them up too slowly. It is a separate issue. 🙂

  9. Yer looking at it all wrong. If that crappy little crossbow runs out of arrows you can use the heels to stab things with or, perhaps, blind them with your dazzling fashion sense and then run…or not as the heels would hamper your escape.

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  16. Here’s a pic from (I think) one of the 2011 Blizzcon panels showing some gear progression for the female demon hunter:

    As you can see, she also moves toward the ‘Assassins Creed’ style that she has traditionally been portrayed in since the class reveal. She just doesn’t progress toward that look quite as fast as the male version.

    And yes, the boots remain stupid, but nobody will agree with every style choice. Considering my eyes will almost always be on the path ahead and the monsters on it, I am not entirely bothered.

    • Thanks for the link. I’m intrigued that she had trousers on in that picture, so they evidently decided to switch to hotpants/thigh boots after that presentation.

      • I think the first of the 3 shots is sometime in normal rather than level 1, thanks mostly in part to the ‘normal’ pants and top and the cloak. I am pretty sure my fem demon hunter at the end of beta did resemble something more like that first one than her initial appearance.

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