Enchantless: The Painful Companionship Of Diablo 3’s Enchantress.

The Enchantress from Diablo 3 [D3] is anything but enchanting. I’d rather face down the demons of hell and Diablo himself, rather than listen to her babble. Supposedly she and her “sisters” were put in a state of stasis by their leader, the Prophet, until the world of Sanctuary needed them. I honestly think the Prophet put them in stasis for 1500+ years so he would be good and dead by the time they were released. Playing the Monk solo requires the assistance of the Enchantress because her skill set matches so well with the Monk’s, outside of that she is just as painful to be around as a Terror Demon. Actually, a Terror Demon would be welcome company next to the Enchantress.

The Enchantress has a skill called Focused Mind, oh the irony.

Eirena, the Enchantress, is met in Act II right as you set out of the city of Caldeum. From there forward you are cursed with her presence. It is true, you do have the option of venturing forth with the Scoundrel or the Templar, but Eirena’s Focused Mind skill (unlocked at level 30) truly benefits the Monk class the most. The skill provides Eirena and all her allies with an increase in attack speed of 3%. It is a shame you have to put up with hours of painful dialogue just for a 3% gain, but at least you don’t have to buy her dinner. By the way, who just eats larass bread and sweet wine? Someone with an eating disorder, that’s who.

The poor Templar. Through the sludge that is the dialogue exchange between the Enchantress and the Monk, we find out that the Templar, Kormac, is in love with her. I’ll give it to Kormac, the Enchantress does have a well rendered body. She also knows how to accent that body with very little clothing. Let me take a moment to recognize the fact that I am talking about an inanimate object. The point is less about her digital beauty and more about an opportunity missed by Blizzard to create more atmosphere in a game that, at times, suffers from cartoonish influences. The hirelings in Diablo 3 could of been a great source of quality lore, that could of been used to create a darker atmosphere to counter D3’s vibrant art design-that’s more befitting of a Care Bears episode. Instead we get a love struck, virgin, Templar; a womanizing Scoundrel, that is most likely a closeted homosexual; and an Enchantress that reminds me of a freshmen sorority girl, after having her first beer… ever.

Turn it all the way to 11 0.

It’s not as if the developers of Blizzard didn’t recognized that their final product was missing the grizzly and evil atmosphere from Diablo I and II. Hell, they put in a secret “Pony Level” called Whimsyshire as a direct mock to the negative feedback they received from the Diablo community in regards to D3’s art design.

I do understand that D3’s art design will age well, so in the long run the D3 community and myself will benefit from it. I also realize that you can adjust the voice dialogue volume to zero in the options menu, what I call the Enchantress fix. Also, I hope that ring I just sold in the Auction House for 3.825 million gold, was the Templar’s engagement ring.

Selling his engagement ring means I’ve saved Kormac’s life twice.

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InfernKO! Farming Act I In Diablo 3’s Inferno Difficulty.

Any boxer worth his bath salt knows you have to stick and move against a stronger opponent; with the martial arts based monk, the same concept applies when farming Act I in Diablo 3’s Inferno difficulty. Any elite packs you come up against will challenge you for your title of Middleweight Champion of Sanctuary, and all of them cheated during their weigh in. Act I, at the Inferno difficulty, is no sparing session, that was Act I through IV of the Nightmare difficulty. Act I Inferno is where you take your knocks, cold press them, and come back for more-this is where Diablo really starts to test your micromanagement and capitalist abilities.

Putting Dargon down is a neccesary bout to getting that title shot against the Butcher.

Every encounter with a unique or special is like a Hagler vs. Hearns bout. In some cases you may determine that you are not evenly matched like Marvin and Hearns were, and decide to restart your quest to find the Butcher. There are encounters against elites in Inferno’s Act I that are similar to Spinks vs. Tyson, you are over matched and under equipped to meet the challenge. Of course you don’t realize you are in no position to win until you’re on the canvas and your equipment is in severe need of repair.

Vortex, Arcane Enchanted, Plagued and Molten; my Spinks like Monk never stood a chance.

The reward for kiting away at a group of specials really does payoff,  unlike a Don King promoted fight. Nephalem Valor is a game mechanic that doesn’t come to the ring until your character hits level 60. After each defeat of a unique or special pack you gain Nephalem Valor (up to five), and with each increase in valor comes an increase in gold and magic find. It is a game scheme that markets directly to those who are shinie obsessed. Making a Butcher run with your Nephalem Valor at five, guarantees that unique magic items will drop when he is KOed (it doesn’t guarantee they will be good, that’s still random).

Nephalem Valor at 5, now is the time to KO the Butcher.

You will need those guaranteed magic drops while you farm Act I. Getting very far past Act I Inferno not only requires plenty of actions per minute, it also requires superior gear. You may get lucky and find some of that gear during your Butcher runs but eventually you will need to rely on the Auction House. Rather you use the Auction House to hawk gear, buy it, or both-you will need it to be able to compete in the other three acts (unless Blizzard implements some much talked about changes).

Inferno will give more punches than it takes, but if you can properly protect your glass jaw with the right equipment, you will start to reap the pay per view profits. You may throw your hands up in frustration, drop a handful of f-bombs and suffer from what I call Inferno red eye from your bouts in Inferno. Once you pick yourself up off the canvas a couple times however, you will be tested and hardened, and ready to be a contender again. Eventually you will have the right combination of  skills and equipment to put the old one two on any of Inferno’s beasts, and not lose part of your ear in the process.

Cures For What Ails Ya: Diablo 3’s Auction House And Potions

As my monk stands in front of Gorell the Quartermaster in Act III, purchasing potions for his forays against Azmodan’s army, he utters a phrase that hits close to home. As, “I lack the funds,” roles out of Dalai Camel’s mouth, I quickly pull away from the lands of Sanctuary and back to reality. I too, “Lack the funds.” Thankfully Diablo 3 [D3] is a great game for someone on a budget. After you hit 30+ hours of play and are still greedy for more. More killing of uniques and specials. More gold and loot drops. You realize that the $60 you put down on D3 was a great investment in a game that can last you years.

D3 will need to last me awhile, at least until full time employment drops like a unique item in D3-both of which would be appropriately accompanied with a, “F*ck yeah!” With current unemployment numbers from the last 3+ months hovering over my radio, and encroaching into my dreams, I know how rare a quality job opportunity is. I also know that D3 will be the game that medicates me daily, like a Mythic Health Potion during a D3 boss battle.

Gorell’s health potions are not cheap but they cure what ails me, in more ways than one.

Thankfully, D3 presents ample ways to accrue gold. Fighting minions and their bosses regularly grants you with items that might not fit the needs of your character, that’s where D3’s Auction House comes in handy. The D3 Auction House allows you to sale, up to 10 items, for a lot more gold than you could get for it in-game. Did a unique monster just drop an amazing amulet meant for a Wizard, that your barbarian wouldn’t be caught dead, or alive, wearing? No worries, it’s not a complete loss, just put a reasonable price on it and put it up for auction. Now, if only there was a similar way to make a little extra money outside the world of Sanctuary.

This ring should fetch a decent amount of gold.

At my part time job, that acts as a way to stretch my unemployment benefits, I occasionally wonder if repulsive customers, with really bad teeth, are actually just Azmodan’s cronies with lots of makeup. I also wonder if I whacked them hard enough with a stick, would they drop gold? Are the flatulent prone, obese, customers just well disguised Ghoms, that would drop unique rings and amulets? Could I sale them on Craig’s List? I guess the possibility is there but I will keep my looting to D3, and hope my next interview is the one that leads to employment.

The similarities between customers and Ghom are uncanny.

A Game That Gets Better Each Time You Beat It, Diablo 3

Goreshot The Immortal, a unique Colossal Golgor that had a mortar attack ability and shielding, was right at an entrance/exit in Act 3 during my Nightmare play through. He was not alone, he had minions, and though each of his minions had far fewer hit points than Goreshot, they shared his abilities. Together they formed an almost invincible force that slayed my enchantress companion, my summoned “Water Guy”, and my level 43 monk, Dalei Camel. Then they did it again. And again. After my third death, I had finally whittled away Goreshot’s hit points to the point that I was able to take him and his minions down, and I loved each and every failure leading up to that point.

Playing through Diablo 3 on normal difficulty is pretty uneventful. The challenge you receive from monsters that are uniques and specials, in the normal difficulty setting, is limited. It’s not until later on, in Nightmare difficulty, that you start to strain to defeat specials and uniques, and that’s when Diablo 3 really starts to be fun. I will admit, playing through Diablo 3 on normal difficulty was disappointing at times. I was never worried about what was in the next room, or around the next corner. Even when the reinvented Butcher made an appearance, I was not frightened like I was in Diablo 1. When I faced the Butcher during my Nightmare play through I was on edge. As I near him again now, in Hell difficulty, I am both looking forward to and dreading the lines, “Fresh meat!” As Diablo amps up the difficulty, it equally amps up the fun.

The level of difficulty is not the only thing that changes in Diablo 3. As you progress, and the creatures you face become more dangerous, the quality of the items dropped, improve. As you face down that fourth special monster, after already defeating three of them, you are not only anticipating his death but the items that drop because of it. In normal difficulty the items that dropped were usually not going to immediately replace the ones you had already equipped but as you progress in difficulty the items that drop become better and more rare in appearance. The reward for busting up a unique monster amps up with the difficulty of the game. It keeps you wanting more, even after dying over and over.

The true test of Diablo 3’s replay value and design quality will not be established until the last difficultly level (Inferno) is defeated. If I keep coming back for the battles versus specials, uniques and bosses, and the shinies that follow their demise, then I will know that Blizzard once again got the recipe for click and reward right. I will also, by that time, actually believe I am nephalem.

Yes. Yes I am.