No real need for a clever title, dudes. Diablo 2 celebrating its 20th anniversary today is fucking wild. Like, I distinctly remember that summer as though it was yesterday. Pouring a flat out insane amount of hours into that title with friends. Grinding for hours. Gambling like a motherfucker. Punctuating play sessions with Wendy’s fast good and heavy metal. Good, good fucking times.
Friends, I think we’ve all assumed a Diablo 2 remaster was coming. However, did we expect it to come out this year? Not me! But, it is! Apparently.
…And another thing about zombies. Does Jesus Christ coming back from the dead and raising EVERYONE from their graves count as the zombie apocalypse? Cause it sure sounds like it to me. Some creepy long-hair duded drudging up skeletons.
Furthermore, is Jesus Christ the progenitor of the necromancer from Diablo 2? Let’s see. Raises the dead. Has sweet flowing hair.
It’s Saturday night and the gang of villains, molesters, and deviants that I call best friends are hanging out in my basement. Per usual our attention is divided between sparkly movements on the slab of plastic my consoles are hooked up to, and my computer. This is simply the way things have been, are, will be, as long as my friends and I hang out. One could only hope. Maybe someday there will be children and recitals and stoic boredom, but for now, our rituals are complete and typical.
It makes sense then, that I was showing my friend Bags the latest Diablo 3 videos that evening. For like my room, like our vulgarity and flatulence, Blizzard itself has become rote in our lives. It’s funny that I can say our lives, meaning my friends — all of them. You see, Bags doesn’t play Warcraft. Neither does my friend Jesse. Neither does Pepsibones.
But after listening to what has to be hundreds of hours of talk about raids, and dungeons, and Molten Core, and various bullshit going on in Vent while they were over, all my friends have a working knowledge of the Blizzard universe. It has become ingrained, ritual, a part of our lives.
My girlfriend turns to me during the weeknight:
“Do you have to raid tonight?”
I remember explaining World of Warcraft and my uh…addiction to it when I first began dating Sam. I wasn’t aware of the extent of her nerdiness at the time. You see a beautiful blonde girl obsessed with fashion and you think one thing:
“I’m burying this lifestyle as deep as possible.”
I was living in the Warcraft closet. I mean, she knew that I played videogames. That was common hat. But as anyone who plays WoW seriously knows, WoW eschews being a video game and becomes a lifestyle. Telling your new girlfriend you play videogames is one thing. Telling this to your girlfriend is another:
“Yeah, you see…On Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday…I sort of have to…like…every night I have to be online at 10 o’clock. Yeah. Like, I just have to be. I need to raid.”
“You see that’s a good question…”
And the conversation spirals from there. Luckily my girlfriend likes to get human amounts of sleep. You know, eight hours or some shit. I’ve heard about that. Sounds neat. I prefer going to bed at 1:30 am and waking up in time for class, whenever that may be. So it works out. She sleeps, and I continue the caffeine and sleep deprivation cycle that is ultimately going to kill me.
But now she gets it, now she knows. And now she asks me if I’m raiding on evenings.
As I said, it’s ingrained, it’s never ending. If you know me, it’ll infect you eventually.
Saturday evening again and we’re still peering over the videos. One of my best friends, Dave, walks over from the plastic slab where Madden is being played to the computer. We’ve moved on from the Diablo 3 videos. Now we’re watching the trailer for WoW: Cataclysm. The next expansion. The newest drug to snare us. It’s never ending.
Every couple of years Blizzard dangles new content in front of the junkies to get us excited, to keep us playing. New characters, continents, abilities, experiences. They know their clients well, they know how to keep us engaged. We’re watching the trailer and of course I’m losing my mind. It’s new WoW! Holy fucking shit!
Dave and I have been the comrades in Blizzard arms since 2000. Nine years now. We have spent a third of our lives plowing through hordes of demons. Dave’s the pusher, really. He got me into Diablo 2 back in the day, and the rest is history. I often tell the story of how my senior year of highschool was all Diablo 2 and Wendy’s.
For hundreds of hours during my senior year, Dave and I, parked across the city from one another, would play Diablo 2 until the wee hours of the morning. I remember with a nostalgic grin the only thing that could bring a stop to our gaming. One of us would inevitably say:
“Fuck, I’m hungry. Want to go to Wendy’s?”
But of course the trip to Wendy’s, the conversation at Wendy’s, the conversation from Wendy’s was all and only raving Diablo 2 madness. Holy shit mana leech ring blah blah Cow World blah blah Mephisto run.
And of course, the only logical conclusion is that we went back to our grinding on our computers immediately upon our return.
Dave, staring at the monitor, staring at Blizzard’s newest drug, rubs a palm against his eyes and says with a laugh:
“Fuck, I’m never going to be able to quit this game.”
But what would we do, if we quit the game? Or specifically, if we quit Blizzard? It sounds so pathetic when I type it, I’ll admit that. But to our defense we have full lives filled with nights with friends, madness at diners in the early mornings, I have tricked a girl into dating me. But there is this other side of us, punctuated by Blizzard. Always Blizzard.
You know you’ve been involved with Blizzard for too long when you can identify parts of your life by the product of theirs you were playing. It’s like asking your Dad what he was doing by asking him to talk about various seasons of his favorite sports team.”
“The 1982 Bruins? Oh yeah, I was…”
I can do the same thing with Blizzard. It freaks me out.
Diablo 2? Senior year.
Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction? Freshmen year of college, DT’s new album, Lord of the Rings.
WoW? We decided to play it during New Year’s Eve, 2004. I got it for my birthday.
WoW: The Burning Crusade? I spent the better part of it addicted to sleeping pills.
WoW: Wrath of the Lich King? The midnight release at Gamestop. Playing it until 3 am. Going to class the next day.
And so on, and so forth. It’s comforting and it’s ritualistic. I look forward to being able to associate future events with points in my life. Who knows what I’ll be doing when Diablo III hits? Finishing my Master’s Degree? What will I be playing when I have my first kid? Will I have to rearrange my honeymoon to fit the release of Galaxy of Starcraft or whatever they drop on us next?
Just kidding. I wouldn’t do that.