Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Top 10 MSLE moments

Note: MSLE = Multi shot, lightning enchant. Ring any bells?

The big announcement at Blizzcon was the new xpac - Mists of Pandaria. I have concerns about it that I considered making a post about, but I think I will wait on that for a little while. There is still a lot that hasn't been revealed and I honestly haven't mulled over every detail yet, and I (for once) want to reserve judgment for the time being.

The other announcement was that Diablo 3 would be available for free to anyone who renews their wow subscription for a year. So you get the full digital version of D3, as well as a little bonus in-game mount for WoW!

I signed up for it immediately, because I probably would've bought D3 when it came out anyways. I was hardcore into D2 and I played that for a good 2-3 years before moving onto WC3 and finally WoW. This way, I get D3 for free and I get to keep playing WoW - and let's face it, if the new xpac tanks, at least I get a free game out of it.

I began perusing the Diablo wiki page to get myself re-acquainted with the D3 universe. I'd forgotten just how much of a step-up in ESRB rating Diablo is. Everything is dark, sinister, gory, and the whole storyline has a much greater sense of urgency. I remember I actually used to get scared when venturing out into the world of Diablo 3, a feeling that I've yet to experience in WoW (well, maybe in PvP).

It brought me back to the days when I would only play D3 in a brightly lit room with the gamma turned up all the way because it was just too fracking scary otherwise. And there were just certain moments in the game that made you shit yourself.

So I've compiled a list. The top 10 shit-your-pants moments of Diablo 2. For nostalgia's sake.

*Please note that a lot of this stuff was nerfed in later patches - the stuff I mention is relevant to the earlier patch I played.

10. Diablo on Nightmare/Hell

Regular old Diablo. Not nearly as terrifying as Uber or Pandemonium Diablo.

We'll start out pretty tame. As it turns out, the Lord of Terror isn't all that terrible at number 10. On normal mode he's actually a pretty big pushover. As long as you have some fire/lightning resist gear, his attacks are laughable. If you have any cold attacks that can slow him, he hits you maybe like once every 5 seconds, and if you're ranged he's pretty easy to kite around.

But on Nightmare things get a bit scary. He hits for a lot more with his lightning attacks and it used to be a one-shot for low HP casters. For a melee such as myself (played a javazon and an assassin) I could handle it pretty well with some high resist gear and fast life stealing.

On Hell mode...yeah, that's pretty much why he's even on this list. In the blink of an eye you could see your HP drop to 5. It was almost essential to have max resist and bring lots of full rejuvies with you.

9. The Smith

Highly reminiscent of the infamous "Butcher" from D1.

I think that the location of the monster and the anticipation has a lot to do with the shit-your-pants factor. If you know that a superunique monster spawns at a specific location, the anticipation of fighting him/her always scares the crap out of me, almost even more so than the actual battle.

The Smith is a good example. He's actually not that hard. He's just your basic "I'm gonna hit you harder than your average monster" melee guy with no weird enchantments or curses to one-shot you with. But what makes me shit my pants over this guy is the fact that:

-You always know where he is going to spawn because you can see the Horadric Malus icon on your minimap. When you see it, you know he's going to come after you.
-He is always Extra Fast, so as you creep closer towards the Malus, BAM he comes out of nowhere, especially for a big fat dude.
-The location he spawns in is this freaky, dimly lit narrow little room with little space to kite him around. Also, the Act 1 Monastery is just a freaking scary place in general.

All this combined makes The Smith quite the intimidating foe. Now imagine doing this quest for the first time on a level 10 character! Terrifying indeed.

8. Beetleburst

Dung beetles eat poop. Then spit out lightning?

Oh his ability to make you shit your pants has nothing to do with his location as his spawn point is more or less random and it's in a wide open dessert. He is just scary because as a beetle, he emits lightning bolts when struck. Now since he is a superunique, those lightning bolts hit for a LOT more. And he brings with him several minion beetles who also emit lightning bolts. Combine this with some other scary modifier like a Conviction Curse or god forbid, an added lightning enchant, every hit you get on him will hit you for a big chunk of health. Don't even think about any type of AoE when you're surrounded by the beetles.

My tactic has always been to run away, draw out one minion at a time and kill it, then corner Beetleburst by getting a lake or structure between us and throwing darts at him.

Also, bugs are just gross.

7. The Ruined Temple entry

Oh the joys of getting your corpse trampled by a pack of scantily dressed zombies...

I HATE going into this place, but the quest rewards are 5 stat points, which you just can't pass up. Before they fixed the issue with a patch, I was guaranteed almost instant death upon zoning into this place on Nightmare or Hell.

There's usually several champions and uniques crawling about this place, and if you had bad internet connection chances are by the time the Ruined Temple has loaded, you are probably already dead. This of course brings up the question of how to recover your corpse when it's at the entrance of this place, likely being trampled on by a big group of champions?

6. Fangskin

Notice his vivid blue color makes him extra deadly.

Fangskin, a superunique found near the chest containing the head of the horadric staff, spawns with a huge pack of minions. They're all salamander types, and move with lightning quick speed. The reason Fangskin is so deadly, however, is that he is lightning enchanted. This modifier, combined with the speed and knockback/stun of Fangskin and all his minions combined meant that I always dreaded going into the Claw Viper temple level 2.

5. Tristram on Hell mode

I love getting hit with every type of magic in the face.

Tristram is a sad reminder for any of us that played D1. Our old stomping grounds, now reduced to ash, rubble, and a breeding ground for all sorts of champions, uniques, and superuniques.

You may think, oh it's only Act 1, what's there to shit your pants about? Well, on Hell mode this place is completely overrun with super buffed mobs at every turn. No sooner have you defeated a pack of Champions, you'll encounter some unique with a ludicrous set of modifiers. After you've fought through all the packs of skeletons and devilkins and goat men, you have to face Griswold, who hits you like a freaking Mack truck on Hell mode. Not to mention that he has a mega enormous health pool.

I guess ultimately the reason Tristram was always so scary for me was that I would underestimate the difficuly on Hell mode. Need to do a quick item/XP run? Well, let's go to Tristram, a bunch of champions spawn there. Then I'd zone in and promptly get smacked in the face, die, and not be able to retrieve my corpse due to the portal being overrun by mobs. Then I'd remember that Tristram is a nightmare on Hell mode, only to forget the very next week and die again. Do you know how much XP I've lost on Hell mode Tristram?

4. Bremm Sparkfist WTF

Does...does that say what I think it says???

For an Act Boss, Mephisto is a huge pushover. Even on Hell difficulty he's a piece of cake for most people. What's really dangerous, though, are the minions lurking in his Durance of Hate.

The Council members guarding the dungeon entry are pretty nasty themselves, but none is deadlier than good ol' Bremm Sparkfist. Do you know what happens when you come across a Multi Shot with Lightning Enchant? MSLE is one of the most lethal modifier combos, especially for rapid strikers like an assassin. Even with full lightning resist you'll eat a lot of damage from that stupid multi shot.

Now throw to the mix the CONVICTION AURA. It lowers your magic resist, so that now you're eating raw, unmitigated lightning damage. This is pretty much a one-shot killer right here.

I recall the days of playing cat and mouse with Bremm, kiting him to the stairs then using a portal to get back in the chamber and doing all sorts of LoS-ing and ranged attacks in my desperate attempts to down Bremm. In my opinion, the real act boss is Bremm, not Mephisto, who is totally anti-climactic after the Bremm encounter.

3. Popping Lord De Seis

This is what I call a no-win scenario: being surrounded by Oblivion Knights.

Oblivion Knights are arguably the most feared mobs in the entire game for melee classes. They put on very dangerous curses (Iron Maiden can one-shot you) and throw out massive damage in every school of magic.

Lord De Seis spawns with six of these badasses, and he brings with him my most favoritest aura of all time - Conviction. Getting stripped of my magic resistance then blasted in the face with fire, ice, lightning, and poison damage? Priceless.

Let's not forget that he used to have the uniquie modifier "Thief", which meant that every spell he threw at you would cause you to drop a potion. It gets super annoying after about your 5th run back to town to buy more pots.

Opening his seal was always the worst, too, since the seal is at the end of the passage and unless you could book it out of there, he would spawn and close in on you, effectively cornering you in the hallway. Definitely the most deadly boss in Chaos Sanctuary, even more than big bad Diablo himself.

2. Nihlathak and the OP Corpse Explosion

How bout we try fighting without any of your stupid minions, tough guy?

Some of the deadliest boss mechanics involve using the player's own skills against them, and that's what Nihlathak does best. He is located in a small room filled with minions and hellspawns. They're easy enough to kill, but that's when it gets interesting. He starts blasting you with corpse explosion that hits for insane amounts of damage and at practically unlimited range. Even high HP build barbarians couldn't survive the damage output.

Even after you somehow destroy all the corpses, he just summons more minions to blow up in your face. There was just no way to clear the room and engage him alone, and you constantly had to battle your way through a giant pack just to land some hits on him.

On Hell mode especially, the minions are immune to cold so shattering the corpses is not even a viable option for assassins. And as long as there are corpses, there will be corpse explosions. As the mob's HP scales up, so does the damage get the picture.

I absolutely hated going into Halls of Vaught just for this reason. The small space makes it impossible to cleverly kite him around or tease him out from his hordes of corpse explosion ammo. The only thing you could do was avoid the swarm as best you can while hitting Nihlathak, who also, btw, teleports around the room. Like...WTF.

1. Duriel's Chamber aka Loading Screen of Death

What's he supposed to be? Praying Mantis? Scorpion? I mean, what IS that?

Duriel is without a doubt the biggest, baddest mofo to ever make me shit my pants in D2. I say that because I can attribute about 70% of my deaths to Duriel.

I believe they fixed it at some point, but in the early patches of D2 Duriel was infamous for killing you before you even realized it. On a good internet day you'd have maybe 4-5 seconds between clicking the door and actually being ported into his chamber, and that was enough for him to slaughter your defenseless character.

So you'd click the door, wait a few seconds, and then you'd see that screen: You have died. You have lost 16 million experience and 50,000 gold.


He hits like a truck on steroids, he's extra fast (for a big fat bug he's like greased lightning), AND he has holy freeze aura, slowing down your movement speed and effectively making you a fish in a barrel. He can charge/stun you to boot, and even after getting past the initial lag spike rush he was a deadly foe.

I can't even count the number of times he's killed me before I even had a chance to scream, and most of the time the only way to get my body back was to either reset the game and rez in town or die about 12 more times in the process of retrieving the corpse.

Those dark days...they were terrible indeed.

So, now I'm thinking, what unspeakable horrors does D3 have in store for us?

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