The new paradigm for loot in multiplayer action RPGs has been altered somewhat. Skeletons still explode with cash and prizes, that portion has been rigorously maintained. But the merchandise they drop essentially drops separately for each player, so you never have to worry if you picked up the wrong thing or got somebody’s money or any of these other bookkeeping things (like Inventory Tetris) that used to be considered gameplay.
I don’t mean that in a dismissive way, either. I liked Inventory Tetris! But this Diablo is smooth, smooth edges, smooth, from Health On Contact Globes to its infinitely twiddle-able skills.
Loot is smooth. The old “pinata” model wasn’t truly workable in a public multiplayer environment; it got the job done for me in the past, because I play games of this kind either in absolute monastic solitude or with people I can trust, so if a nice crossbow drops we can make certain such things are properly apportioned. That’s not how it works for the vast swath of humanity. Nobody gets screwed in the new paradigm, which is a top-tier concern. In terms of raw philosophy, we’re no longer playing the same game. Client prediction already muddies those waters, but now we’re talking about something a bit more explicit. Downing a boss and divvying up its hoard in WoW, with its rolls and attendant nail biting, is something I’d love to see performed in special cases here. I fully recognize that I am the only one who gives a shit.
Something that would help the distributions of each dimension’s winnings would be a multi-person trade window, though even thinking about how you would implement that gives me a headache; they have an Auction House to manage the problem of item trading writ large, but something like a draft window which allowed “group trading” would be nice. Actually, no, I can see how that would work, and it’s not so bad. You’ll be happy to know that you can shift-click items into the chat, World of Warcraft style, and expose a subset of your inventory to a wider audience. That’s probably how these situations will get handled most of the time.
Speaking of new shows on Penny Arcade Television, Shut Up & Sit Down just had its debut. I told Robert about it months ago, only to learn this week that they would be delivering their inimitable boardgame reviews here of all places! If you like it, you may be surprised to learn that they’ve been doing it for awhile.
So, there. That’s your Friday spent.