So I’m sure by now everyone has heard of, to some degree or another, the somewhat more controversial changes to Diablo 3. I’ll leave a link to more thorough coverage at the bottom of the post, but for now the details aren’t really what I’m here to talk about. Rather, what moved me to write today was the realization that winter is, in fact cold.
I’ve wanted to make games for roughly as long as I can remember. Essentially from my first encounter with the computer game Xargon I couldn’t help my fascination with the magical pixels moving before my eyes. Though it was a long time until I truly began to understand what machinations of programming were causing those pixels to move around. Along the way I played every game I could get my hands on, spending extra time with anything that had any sort of editor mode attempting to bend the rules of the game to my whim. Usually I’d fail spectacularly, but nonetheless I couldn’t help but try.
I do distinctly remember that it was around sixth grade that I got my hooks into StarCraft. My parents were both working at the time and there was a period after school when I’d have the house to myself on most days. For me, that was my time to partake in the forbidden fruit of “online play”. Of course I wasn’t very good, laughably bad in fact, so I was drawn to the special rule changes of Use Map Settings mode. Often times the rules would allow cooperation, or would be so different that I was rarely the only one figuring it out as I went. And of course seeing the options it wasn’t long before I found myself immersed in the Map editor, trying desperately to create something interesting… and so often failing.
It wasn’t too long after that when my family switched to macs. For a long time Starcraft was my only option for gaming beyond some simple solitaire apps. Even after discovering Ambrosia Software and a small passel of other shareware distributors making games for the mac, Starcraft was still hands down the best game available to me. For years as I got older and had more disposable income I made certain I always had a copy of the game. Lost disc, buy a new one, lost code buy a new one. Even though I didn’t own copies of the Warcraft series or the Diablo series, I had so come to identify Blizzard with my love of gaming that I know that somewhere in my room right now is the copy of PC gamer that announced Warcraft 3, even though I never actually bought the game.
Somewhere along the way, my dream of making games had changed. It had become my dream to make games at Blizzard.
Somewhere during those first couple years after WoW’s release that began to change. The entire history of how and why things changed is again unimportant to my point. I can say though that Starcraft 2 certainly did excite me, to the point where I probably would have bought it opening day if I’d been able to fit it in the budget at the time. And yet… as I went on without it, my desire to have it grew less. My anger towards some of Blizzards decisions grew, and my hatred for Activision deepened. Until lately, I’ve been of the opinion that I’m the better for not having it. (Fair cop though, I did get some time to play it on my brother’s laptop so it’s not like I was completely bereft of playing it.)
What this news about Diablo 3 invoked in me is not anger or revulsion. I’m not pressed to the battlements with righteous fury. Instead, I find I don’t really care about the changes. It’s more like that moment came, after a long falling out where you suffer another, honestly rather minor betrayal… and realize that the other person no longer cares, and even worse, you don’t care that they don’t care. If anything the real disappointment in all this is that an industry and a company that I loved for making me feel so incredibly big, now makes me feel oh so incredibly small.
But I was always small, and winter wasn’t warm, but what a marvelous illusion it used to be.