I fired up my computer first thing Saturday morning in the same tradition that I had been doing every Saturday for the last ten years, except this time it felt a little different. I didn't have an MMO to play. Saturday mornings are my only chance to get some quality gaming time in, and I had nothing to play... I checked my Steam friends list and Melf still hadn't come online, so that meant a single player game was in order. I checked The Steam sales, and to my luck 'Plants vs Zombies' was on sale 50% off. Easy sale.
What an awesome little game! I won't do a review as there are already hundreds, but I can tell you that I was impressed for the price I payed. About an hour into PvZ, a Steam message popped up in the bottom right of my monitor:
"Melf is now playing Diablo 2"
WTF? I love that game! I hadn't played it in ages. I got Melf on Vent and jumped in myself. Melf asked if I wanted to join him in creating a 'harcore' character on Battle.net. The catch was that we needed to first complete the game online in 'normal' mode to unlock 'hardcore' mode. The goal was set! I rolled an Amazon, Melf a Sorceress. The character choice was irrelevant because they would be thrown away after hardcore mode was unlocked. We rushed through normal mode in a little under 5 hours. It would have taken longer if not for Melf's ancient D2 knowledge and the help of a few higher level good samaritans.
It was hardcore time! I chose the Sorceress, entered a name and clicked to continue. The usual message appeared warning me that if I died, it was 100% game over. If Blizzard wanted to deter me, they were going about it the wrong way. Melf created a game, and both our characters appeared in the Rogue Encampment. Melf had rolled a Paladin.
The one thing about D2 that's strangely never bored me, is progressing through the first 5 or so levels. Its fun to find a useful weapon and get enough money to buy those essential items. I think the 7th or so Zombie to fall to my firebolt dropped some hard leather armour with +6 to life. Awesome! I scored a pair of boots with 10% faster hit recovery off a shaman. Leet! I love it!
Level progression in hardcore mode is a little slower than normal. You can't take as many risks, and you need to fight with one finger on the 'drink rejuvenation potion' button. Memories of my old school gaming days were flooding back to me and I was having a ball. The thrill, the risk, the challenge! This was the real hardcore and it felt good to be back!
We finished up Sunday night at level 12 and both still alive in Act 2. We have the Horadric scroll, but need the cube... Will we make it to the end? Hell knows, but we intend to try ;)