For Me, Diablo IV Is About Simple Demon-Smashing

While the nitty-gritty details of an action RPG seem fun to some, there's a more straightforward path to enjoyment for an average player like me.

For Me, Diablo IV Is About Simple Demon-Smashing
Diablo IV’s Erys, from Season of the Blood. Source: Blizzard

ARPGs are not quite my home “genre”, at least when it comes to RPGs. The real-time pace of working with things screws with the JRPG turn-based brain that I’ve achieved over my video gaming years. There’s also, of course, the fact that I’m getting older, and the days of me being able to snap off quick reactions to things that are happening in games are starting to be distant memories.

But when it comes to the Diablo series, which I’ve played on and off over the course of my long gaming years, I’ve found a certain degree of comfort in what it advertises itself to be, which is, at least for the casual player, a big demon-killing romp through multiple zones that is combined with the satisfaction of watching your character gain cool new ways of doing said demon-killing.

That said, as perhaps one of the OGs of the ARPG genre, I’ve noticed over the years that Diablo’s gotten its fair share of disappointment, hatred, and anger, in varying degrees, from its playerbase.

The most recent major example (other than the above video which, to me, was an overreaction to a simple few hours delay) was the introduction of the game’s Season 1 back during the summer, when a few admittedly under-communicated changes led to a big mea culpa by the Diablo development team.

Diablo 4 Bleed Barbarian build: Best Bleed Barbarian skills | Rock Paper  Shotgun
Diablo IV’s Barbarian. Source: Rock Paper Shotgun

One of these changes was an apparent nerf to a build for the Barbarian class, which essentially fixed a bug that was making an ability which smashed the ground and killed things do more damage than was intended. If you read some of the accounts about this change from Diablo IV players, you’d think the world was ending and that you’d never see giant muscled men and women in the world of Sanctuary ever again. It was deemed useless, ruined, unfun, and a number of other spicy adjectives that I won’t bother repeating here. In other words, using a Hammer of the Ancients build now sucked.

Curious, and bored at using what was supposed to be the other “good” Barbarian build (one that essentially let’s you spin around, somehow not get dizzy, and kill everything), I tried the Hammer build, despite its nerfs, then went out into the world and gave it a try.

It was awesome!

Maybe not “67 million damage” awesome like in the above video, but awesome nonetheless. Instead of just spinning around with my Whirlwind and awkwardly running out of the resource that allowed me to do it, I was Hulk-smashing things into gooey demon pulps. I was able to do the Big Smash (tm) more often than I could the Big Spin (tm), and it looked slightly less ridiculous, too (how does Whirlwind not make the Barbarian dizzy? The world may never know). In short, I was having a grand old time.

Now, I get it - Diablo in many ways is a min-maxing game to a lot of its veteran players, and if something completely screws with that, it’s not a fun experience to them. And if you watch a famous or high-followed streamer or content creator, like Asmongold, and they quit or find the experience crappy, it might bleed over into your own opinion of the game, too.

But I just think that for the average gamer, or one like me who plays Diablo stuff casually, getting caught up in these big-name opinions or in the numbers game just isn’t important. Instead, the most important thing is to answer the question for yourself of whether or not playing the game is fun - regardless of what you require that fun to be (gearing a character, or running around doing dungeons, or playing through the story, etc.). Is it fun to you? Keep playing, it’s bound to keep being fun no matter what the “majority” of the playerbase is saying or thinking. Is it not fun? Then - well - maybe do something novel and don’t play something that isn’t fun to you to do. Sometimes I see a lot of “gaming masochism”, where people keep playing something that they aren’t really enjoying in the small hope that it might get fun again - and it just doesn’t seem productive to me.

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Diablo IV’s Barbarian, Rogue, and Necromancer. Source: Screenrant

When I try to answer the question about whether or not Diablo IV is fun to me, I couldn’t care less what someone like Asmongold or Raxxanterax or any other content creator with a quirky gamer name says about the game. Though those are certainly valid opinions and ones people listen to, I just try to answer the question for me. And to me, Diablo IV has always just been about sitting down and spending a couple hours smashing demons into bloody bits - especially with others. In that vein, my other source of fun has been playing with my wife, who is a casual gamer but who has found a marked enjoyment being a Necromancer who runs around raising corpses using a “jack of all trades” build that she loves. Spending time together doing the aforementioned smashing of demons into bloody bits has been enjoyable and satisfying.

Screenshot of diablo IV facing large demon boss and about to die.
5 seconds before disaster in our first day in Diablo Season IV Season 2.

Our first day in DIablo IV’s newest season was spent not trying to see if Blizzard “did enough to win players back for Season 2” or finding out the “best level build to get to level 90+ in less than a week”, but instead trying to figure out what the heck getting Vampire Powers meant, laughing as we and tons of other players tried to take out a world boss 30 levels above us and getting stomped, and romping through the first bits of the season’s story tracking down a missing magistrate - during which my wife carried me through some big fights that I accidentally unga-bunga Barbarian’d into with her army of undead minions and superior magic. We’re looking forward to more.

When it’s that simple, it’s not that hard to have fun - and to me, that’s the most important thing - as it should be for anyone who plays games.