Diablo 3 diary: The 'unlucky 13 hours in' edition

The Skeleton King is dead. Those of you that played the Diablo III beta knew this battle intimately, I, on the other hand, had abstained for the sake of keeping my game experience pure for launch day. So the battle against the undead Leoric was my first major challenge. Yeah, I had died once foolishly earlier, but this time, I kept death at bay with a combination of Crippling Wave strikes and a few well-timed Exploding Palms coupled with a Lashing Tail Kick to move to range so I could watch him bleed.(although seriously, how do skeleton's bleed?) The battle went well and I was rewarded a couple usable pieces of gear. I thought that killing Leoric would end Act I, but it didn't. I got a nice little cut-scene but the Act continued with my pursuit of the demon witch Maghda, who does some not nice things to some of the primary story characters. The fun part of the game so far has been the exploration and recovering every bit of gold and crap armor and weapons I can carry. Yes, people have completed the game in 8-10 hours already, but those are the ones robbing themselves of the experience that really is Diablo III. And that experience includes picking up tomes and journals for the back story, talking to the villagers and main characters to get their experiences and drinking in the evil setting that Blizzard has so meticulously created. So at this writing, I am at level 19, 13 hours into the game and about an hour in to Act II. I have helped a mysterious stranger regain his memory and killed the huge boss at the end of Act I. I won't offer a spoiler, but that boss is a tribute to one from Diablo II, and trust me when I say that this version will have you running more than a turkey around Thanksgiving. Finishing Act I left me pretty confident. I was getting comfortable with my skill rotations and my hot keys. I was dispatching elite non-boss mobs with relative ease. Blizzard's random monster encounters will occasionally throw in a yellow rare mob that is tougher than the minions that come with it. There are also elite mobs that rush you in groups of three. Since a monk relies on kills to replenish health, the latter group can be a bit formidable without proper tactics or quick use of a healing potion hotkey. So entering Act II, I thought I was prepared. I'm sure hitting hour 13 in my play time was just a coincidence with my bad luck (OK, poor play). One particular mob hit me so hard that any normal man would be a red streak in the sand. Luckily, Darkartiste is no normal man. It was the second hit that killed me. Then I'll be damned if that mob didn't camp my spawn point. The bastard. Three deaths later, I finally got the stun, hit and run tactics down enough to kill it, but I was no longer cocky and I realized I seriously had to adjust my style of play. While keeping the game easy in the beginning seems logical to keep players from getting frustrated, it can also lull said players into a sense of invulnerability. The game tried me and convicted me of arrogance and I swear it won't happen again. The sad part is that all of this happened on a non-boss fight. Some of the game mobs and the crush of mass monsters are, at times, more formidable than the key enemies I am supposed to kill. The demon witch Maghda? I dispatched her with barely a scratch. Maybe it was the beating I took earlier that prepared me, but needless to say I must be learning.

Getting familiar with the Auction House

I decided to stop playing for a short while to give the new auction house a try. Bad move. I tried putting up several of the rare items I had gotten from the boss fights, but every time I created the auction, the process timed out and the attempt failed. I must have tried five or six times. There are already hundreds of items on the auction house, so Blizzard's server issues were cropping up again. Turns out three of my auctions were created despite the time out. A player can only have 10 auctions up at any one time, which keeps players from flooding the market with particular items. Things seem incredibly overpriced at the moment, but the market is still getting established. I like how the system is set up, with the gold items sold from your auctions able to se sent directly to your character's stash. Act II is on the agenda for today. Hopefully I can finish it before my next installment tomorrow.