The first Diablo 4 beta is over and the second is about to start in this weekend. This is ahead of a June release that does not appear to be getting pushed back, despite problems and Blizzard and the general tradition of AAA games getting delayed a million times.
I am kind of dreading its arrival.
Why? Because based on what I’ve seen, and now what I’ve played, I’m feeling an old itch. The looter itch that caused me to sink thousands upon thousands of hours into Diablo 2 and 3, often neglecting my real life to do so. And now here, two decades after Diablo 2 and one decade after Diablo 3, I’m in a different phase of life with more at stake. I can’t let myself get fully consumed by this series again.
Video game addiction is real, and it ain’t good. Playing games for a living like I do, it can be hard to differentiate between simply playing a lot of games and playing specific games obsessively. I can say with certainty I played Diablo 2 and 3 obsessively across parts of high school, college and post-grad life, usually associated with some pretty severe depressive episodes. Was I depressed because I was playing too much Diablo at the expense of everything else? Or was I playing too much Diablo because I was depressed?
Fast-forward to now, where I’m married and am now a father, two things that were not true ten years ago when Diablo 3 launched, and yes, I very much do hope I am mature enough to manage my time and not become some legendary-hunting loot goblin with other aspects of my life falling apart. My priority will always be my family, of course.
But I am worried about balance, certainly, as now my gaming time is more limited than it’s ever been, and you may know that I have another, loot-based, live service game to cover at all times, Destiny 2. And I legitimately don’t know if I can manage both. Destiny 2 alone is at least 2src% of the writing and 95% of the YouTube video content I make at all times. I’ve been doing this for years now because there is always something to talk about in the Destiny scene, though keeping up on the game enough to do that is extremely time-consuming. Even now, I don’t play the game as much as I “should,” rarely raiding, almost never grinding the PvP half of the game.
Now, enter Diablo 4, a game that may have some things I can nitpick here and there from the beta, but it’s Diablo. It’s very much Diablo and very much seems like it’s going to be the same level of addicting as the past games. I had to actively restrain myself from grinding out more than one character to max level and full legendary gear because I know that all progress will be wiped from the beta to release. But once that’s not true? Am I on my way to another 2,srcsrcsrc hours on my Barbarian alone? I can’t be. Not this time.
I will try to balance this. I’ve already been playing Destiny a bit less obsessively now that it’s based around day care and nap times and such. I think I can do it, and I don’t think I’m the introverted kid I was in 2srcsrc1 or the lost post-grad in 2srcsrc9. I hope I’ve changed for the better.
But man. That legendary drop. That beam of light. That sound. The best-in-slot affix rolls. Chills, man. It’s concerning.
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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.