“It’s just clicking,” they harp, they being the collective mind called The Internet. It’s not true, of course, at least not strictly speaking, as there is plenty of tapping the 1, 2, 3, and 4 keys, and sometimes even Q. If we’re not speaking strictly, then yes, it’s very true. Diablo III, like the Diablo games before it, is really just a lot of clicking. Click. Click. Click.
In Sonic games, players just hold right and press the jump button from time to time. Call of Duty games are no more than a rhythmic cycle of firing triggers, tapping duck buttons, and pushing analog sticks forward. Even more highbrow works like Flower sound tiresome when distilled to their inputs: tilting the Sixaxis, sometimes pressing a button. So why forgive these games yet chastise Diablo for its simplicity?
Is it because The Internet feels shunned by Diablo? That may seem strange to ask about a game that’s been in hype mode for the last forever, but
strictly speaking it may be so. Now is the time when people make a game, and then The Internet sits down, plays the game, and carps about how much it hates it. So the game-making people make another game like the last one, but with all the things The Internet asked for. Then The Internet sits down, plays the game, and carps about how much it hates it.
But Diablo isn’t from this time. Diablo is from a time when people bought the kinds of games they liked and didn’t buy the kinds of games they disliked. Nay, it’s not just Diablo, but the game-making people behind it, Blizzard. The absurdly flush oligarch of the MMO prides itself on refinement over revolution. Before punching out, members of the World of Warcraft team sit at their agarwood desks and pat their backs over all the miniscule tweaks they’ve made to their game that day. Every single tweak can be traced all the way back to roots laid down nearly 18 years ago when Warcraft: Orcs & Humans was released.