I figure it's time that I post my experience with the Diablo game series. The year is 1996, I was eleven. among the first PC games I ever played, there were quite a few that stood out to me. Duke Nukem 3D, C&C Red Alert, Fallout, Quake, Final Doom and Diablo.
Diablo was different from the rest of those games though, because it was an RPG. The only role playing games I had experience with up to that point were on the Super Nintendo. JRPG's (Japanese RPG) like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy II (IV), Final Fantasy III (VI), Secret of Evermore, Secret of Mana, and Earthbound (Mother 2).
I was entirely unprepared for an action RPG like Diablo, but I took to it like wildfire to a dried up grass field. I didn't own the game, but I had friends who did. We played it for hours on end, heck we didn't even know about battle.net until my friend got the internet. When I was at school some kids my age put the game on the wood shop computers (unbeknownst to the teacher) and played over LAN.
Eventually I got my own copy, and tried beating the game on my own. It was hard! I couldn't get past the catacombs. Then I found out about trainers. A trainer is a rudimentary program that alters the game codes to give the player an advantage. It was still early days for Diablo, and Blizzard hadn't figured out a way to ban players who cheated, or make those cheats inoperable. So I was able to give myself a boost (not too high, because having no challenge was boring) in order to beat the game.
I may have cheated myself out of a real challenge, but back then it was still a lot of fun. I tried playing Diablo recently on a Windows 7 computer, and it was mostly incompatible, but I got the sense of doom it once emanated during my youth. It was scary, still is a little. You never knew what you'd get in that game, because it was all randomized. Also, it was really, really dark, and I loved that.
When Diablo II came along, I was sort of out of the loop. I had my own playstation (PSone) by then as well as other PC games, and played a lot of Final Fantasy and other RPGs. My friend, however, owned the game and we traded off playing it occasionally. But, I didn't like it as much. He even played online. Once I owned the game, I played it a lot more, but that was short lived, because Icewind Dale had come out, and then Baldur's Gate II, which were much more absorbing games. Still, Diablo II has a certain charm to it. In later years I went back and played it, but to my dismay the graphics didn't hold up as good as the Forgotten Realms AD&D RPGs do to this day. Bioware knew what they were doing then.
Now it's 2012, and Diablo III is here. I participated in the Beta; which was good because it got me hyped up for the final release. I'm sad that some things didn't make it into the game, stuff like runes replacing the colored spheres. That's narrow thinking though. As a whole Diablo III has not disappointed me in the slightest. It evokes a sense of the original Diablo, while maintaining modern game-play mechanics. Blizzard has handcrafted this game, and it shows.
I've already sunk over 30 hours into the game, which basically tells me it's a keeper, and that I probably won't stop playing it for quite some time. Everything, from the miniscule character details, and various skills to the auction house and multiplayer features makes me happy to own Diablo III. I don't mind that it's always online, in fact I understand why. It makes jumping into a game with friends so easy.
There were some hiccups at first, but all of that is behind me now. Blizzard has done a bang up job, bravo, encore! Basically, great job and give us more! Oh, and there will be more. This is probably the second most commercially successful game developed by Blizzard, the first being Starcraft II. I say that because both games were anticipated for a long time. Now that they've finally delivered, fans are being sated for the first time in over a decade! That is phenomenal.