Review of RuneScape 3's Newest Skill: Necromancy

11 months ago 3 minute read Review
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RuneScape 3's highly anticipated skill, Necromancy, made its debut just about a week ago. As someone who's diligently working towards reaching the coveted level 120 (currently hovering at level 83), I wanted to offer an intimate perspective on the journey, especially as an average PvM'er.

Initial Impressions

Embarking on the Necromancy adventure was, to put it mildly, somewhat tumultuous. The initial stages were not only challenging but also a bit devoid of enjoyment. If I'm honest, my habit of rapidly pressing the spacebar through in-game dialogues, including the Necromancy tutorial, didn't aid my comprehension. Jagex's game lore, often peppered with humor that doesn't quite hit the mark for me, meant I found myself navigating the new skill with limited guidance. But perseverance prevailed. I meandered through the basics, primarily using bones to gather souls, until reaching level 40. It was then that I chose to pivot from rituals to combat.

Journey through Mid-Level Training

What awaited me in combat was a stark contrast to rituals - it was engaging, exhilarating even. My primary guide through this phase was Maikeru's tutorial, which proved invaluable. Combat didn't just score on the fun factor; it was also remarkably faster. It wasn't long before I hit level 60, albeit with a minor hiccup. In my enthusiasm, I'd overlooked the need to upgrade my Necromancy gear, thus reaching level 60 in my tier 20 equipment. A rather amusing oversight, if I may say so!

Deeper Understanding of Necromancy

Today, standing at level 83 in Necromancy, I might not boast of a max level or extensive PvM proficiency, but I can confidently claim a comprehensive understanding of the skill as a seasoned RS player. Its allure is undeniable. Necromancy, with its captivating combat style, has won my favor. The fluidity of animations, coupled with the gratification of 100% accuracy, has made it my combat method of choice. I eagerly await my journey to the Kiln for my cape and subsequently, my face-off with TzKal-Zuk for the upgraded version. However, a looming vacation means my aspirations for the capes will be momentarily deferred.

RS3 City of Um

Reflections on the City of Um

As splendid as the Necromancy update has been, the City of Um felt like a missed opportunity. There's an echoing sentiment among many in the RuneScape community: Why has the magic of crafting memorable cities been lost on Jagex recently? Their recent attempts seem tethered by a reluctance to truly innovate. A well-designed city isn't just about aesthetics but providing reasons for players to gather and linger. Sadly, the absence of features like the Grand Exchange in the City of Um leaves it desolate, save for Necromancy trainers. Yet, credit where it's due: its visual design is commendable.

Final Thoughts

To sum it up, Necromancy has exceeded my expectations, presenting a balanced mix of challenges and excitement. While the skill could benefit from integrating more minion-based combat, I remain optimistic about its future expansions. The ultimate goal? Achieving level 120 and confronting "The First Necromancer, Rasial". Perhaps, once that milestone is achieved, I'll share another detailed RuneScape Necromancy review. Until then, thank you for accompanying me on this narrative journey.

Diablo IV: Season of the Mismanagement

11 months ago 3 minute read Review
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What on earth is happening over at Blizzard? The latest Diablo IV patch, 1.1.0, released just yesterday, is a true exercise in mismanagement. The lack of understanding and responsiveness to player concerns and criticisms is quite frankly alarming. With Season 1 just around the corner, many are wondering if it's even worth participating given the current state of the game.

Since the majority of players have completed Diablo IV's campaign, they're left facing the end-game - a grind that is slow, tedious, and scarcely rewarding. In a baffling turn of events, Blizzard has managed to make this experience even more of a slog, turning the dial down on fun and up on monotony. The reasoning behind this move is anyone's guess - even the developers might struggle to provide a coherent explanation.

Yesterday's patch inexplicably nerfed every single class in the game, even those that were previously underperforming, such as the Necromancer and Sorcerer. Balancing skills, enhancing and reducing abilities where necessary, is an integral part of maintaining a video game, but Blizzard's blanket nerfing strategy, without any balancing buffs, is perplexing. The reaction from the player base is predictable – disillusionment. It's as though the developers aren't playing the game they're creating, or at least, not at a level where they'd experience the real end-game struggles (like surviving a T70 Nightmare Dungeon).

Furthermore, the path to leveling up has become significantly more arduous. World Tier difficulties now come with minimum level requirements. Previously, you could unlock any difficulty your character could handle. Now, players are locked out of certain difficulties until they reach a designated level (50 for WT3, 70 for WT4). So, if you managed to unlock WT4 in your 50s or 60s, you'll now have to wait until level 70 in the new Season. Prepare to invest countless hours to level up, all the while dealing with sub-par loot rewards. It's a tough pill to swallow.

Helltides were supposed to provide a means to earn great loot and a fair amount of experience. However, Mysterious Chests now cost 250 Aberrant Cinders, a steep increase from 175, without any corresponding increase in loot or Cinders dropped by enemies. Solo players, already finding it tough to gather 175 Cinders, are left high and dry. Couple that with the risk of losing half your Cinders upon death, and it's easy to see why many are frustrated.

And looking at the new mechanics for Season 1, the prospects don't seem too exciting. There's a new boss that you'll probably only fight once, and gems with effects that will likely just add more complexity to the RNG system. While other games are rolling out innovative seasonal updates that revolutionize gameplay, Diablo IV seems to be stagnating.

In short, the future of Diablo IV seems murky at best. Blizzard, we implore you, listen to your community and breathe life back into this once thrilling game series.

Surviving Sanctuary: A Review of Diablo IV

1 year ago 8 minute read Review
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(This is a spoiler-free review of the game)

As an avid gamer with a deep appreciation for the Diablo series, I eagerly awaited the release of Diablo IV, the next chapter in this beloved franchise. With the weight of recent controversies surrounding Blizzard Entertainment, I approached this highly anticipated game with a mix of excitement and trepidation. As someone who has spent countless hours streaming Diablo III and running an official fansite for the game, I had high hopes for Diablo IV. Would it live up to its predecessors or fall short of expectations? In this comprehensive review, we will delve into the various aspects of Diablo IV, providing an in-depth analysis of the game's mechanics, storytelling, visuals, audio design, and the promise of its end-game content.

The Beginning: A Patient Journey

Unlike many players who opted for the upgraded packs, I chose to wait until the official release of Diablo IV, not only due to budgetary constraints but also because I wanted to experience the game at its fullest. Waiting for the release date meant avoiding spoilers and carefully navigating the online realm to maintain the surprise factor. While the strategy of "charge to play early" may seem exclusionary, I remained hopeful that Diablo IV would deliver a remarkable gaming experience. I hearkened back to the days of Error 37, a notorious issue during Diablo III's launch, grateful that such hurdles were absent this time around (for the most part).

Diablo IV Character Creation Screen

Choosing a Class: Unleashing the Power of Sorcery

Selecting a class in Diablo games has always been a crucial decision, and Diablo IV offers a diverse range of enticing options. After much contemplation, I found myself drawn to the Sorcerer class, enticed by the allure of mastering the elemental arts. Magic users have historically held significant power in the Diablo universe, and Diablo IV upholds this tradition. Upon entering the character creation screen, I was immediately captivated by the customization options and the opportunity to shape a character who could wield devastating spells against the forces of darkness. While the Necromancer had piqued my interest during the first beta test, the allure of the Sorcerer's formidable magical prowess ultimately won me over.

The Controls: A Seamless and Intuitive Experience

One of the defining features that set Diablo III apart from its competitors was its smooth combat, fluid animations, and responsive controls. I am pleased to report that Diablo IV maintains these impressive standards, delivering an intuitive and satisfying gameplay experience. Whether engaging in frenetic battles or navigating treacherous environments, the controls feel incredibly responsive, ensuring that every action flows seamlessly. This factor alone has contributed to Diablo III's enduring popularity, even in the face of competition from titles like Path of Exile. The latter initially struggled with clunky combat mechanics, harkening back to the days of Diablo II. Diablo IV's combat, in contrast, sets a new standard for the franchise, combining the familiar with the improved, resulting in an unparalleled action RPG experience. However, it is worth noting that some fine-tuning is required for the horse controls, as occasional frustrations arise from getting stuck on the environment.

The Story: A Captivating Journey into Darkness

In Diablo IV, I made a conscious effort to immerse myself fully in the game's lore, refusing to skip any main storyline quest text or cut-scenes. Liberated from the pressures of streaming and rushing towards end-game content, I allowed myself the luxury of savoring every narrative detail. Diablo IV delivers a captivating story that expertly transports players into a dark and foreboding world. With promises of returning to the franchise's roots, the game fulfills its pledge with resounding success. The narrative unfolds through brilliantly crafted cut-scenes and quests, leaving players hungry for more. In a gaming landscape saturated with predictable storylines, Diablo IV stands out, surprising players with unexpected twists and turns that keep them on the edge of their seats. It's been years since I've felt this invested in a video game's narrative, evoking memories of the enchantment I experienced as an 11-year-old playing Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Diablo IV's storytelling prowess is a testament to the dedication and creativity of its developers, leaving players eagerly anticipating encounters with the prime evils that lurk just beyond the horizon.

Diablo IV Sorcerer

The Sound: A Symphony of Immersive Audio

Immersive audio design is often an overlooked aspect of video game development, but Diablo IV proves that attention to detail in sound design can elevate a game to new heights. Every auditory element in Diablo IV is meticulously crafted to create a rich and atmospheric soundscape. From the resonant clinks of items to the evocative voice-overs during quests and the thunderous clash of battle, each sound complements the gameplay, adding depth and immersion. The sound department deserves commendation for their exceptional work, as the audio elements harmonize seamlessly to create a truly immersive experience. Diablo IV stands as a sonic masterpiece, reinforcing the immersive nature of the game and heightening the emotional impact of every encounter.

The Visuals: Embracing the Essence of Darkness

One of the most gratifying aspects of Diablo IV is its return to a darker and more atmospheric visual aesthetic, evoking the essence of the franchise's early installments. In contrast to the somewhat cartoonish visuals of Diablo III, which left me yearning for a more visceral experience, Diablo IV delivers a visual feast that captures the dark and gruesome nature of the Diablo universe. The stunning graphics and meticulous attention to detail immerse players in a nightmarish realm filled with macabre horrors. From the grotesque creatures that roam the landscape to the environments teeming with foreboding shadows, Diablo IV is a visual tour de force that reignites the primal fear that made the franchise so iconic.

End-Game: A Thrilling Adventure Awaits

While my journey in Diablo IV has yet to reach its zenith, I have had the opportunity to explore a significant portion of the game's content. Engaging in numerous encounters, both solo and with my son, has solidified my belief that Diablo IV offers a wealth of thrilling end-game experiences. Although I have yet to achieve level 100 or tackle the formidable Tier 4 difficulty, the time I have spent in Diablo IV has been an absolute blast. While the leveling pace has slowed considerably, I find myself relishing the adventure rather than fixating on the destination. Diablo IV presents a captivating world that transcends the need for expedited progress. As real-life responsibilities beckon, I understand that my journey to level 100 may take time, but the anticipation of the remaining content fills me with excitement.

Diablo IV Pause Menu

Conclusion: Diablo IV, a Triumph Reborn

In conclusion, I wholeheartedly rate Diablo IV as a remarkable game, deserving of a solid 8 out of 10. The game arrives with a level of polish and quality that requires minimal improvements out of the box. Diablo IV stands as a testament to the dedication of the developers, who have meticulously listened to fan feedback throughout the years. It strikes a perfect balance between nostalgia and innovation, reigniting the flame that initially drew us to this iconic franchise. The game's exceptional mechanics, engrossing storytelling, captivating visuals, and immersive audio combine to create an unforgettable gaming experience. With future updates on the horizon, including the introduction of new playable classes, Diablo IV promises to continue captivating players and pushing the boundaries of the action RPG genre. My initial skepticism has transformed into unadulterated satisfaction, and I eagerly await the dark depths that Diablo IV will continue to explore. Bravo to all the developers involved in crafting this masterpiece. Sanctuary has never been more enticing, and the adventure has only just begun.