I am lost most of the time when I am playing Diablo 2: Risen, On the other hand, most of the time I am lost driving to the grocery store. I just never thought that a remastered version of a classic game would finally help me make peace with my own brain.
I can’t make mental maps no matter how hard I try. As a kid, I got lost in my school at least once a day. I didn’t start driving until I could afford an early GPS. I know how to get to the bathroom in my house, but I can’t imagine the walk. It’s a series of twists and turns in my head. When I’m in a one-on-one situation and the other person asks me directions, I need to hide my panic attack.
I live a relatively normal life, but that’s because there are too many little coping mechanisms to count. I honestly thought this was something unique to my brain for years until I read the book Unthinkable
My competitive shooting skills will always get stuck at some point because while I can think through the tactical options of each shootout using the cover sheet and parts of the map, I can see if there’s a door I can go through, but never I know what’s on the other side no matter how many times I’ve been through it.
But my condition also makes it easier to see if a game’s map or waypoint system is effective. After all, I’m totally dependent on getting somewhere in the game. And Diablo 2: Risen has almost no such systems.
So the devil is … right?
Modern games are overflowing with maps, arrows, POIs, quick travel options, and other ways to make sure the player is never lost. I thought this was a positive move for gaming, and I still think it is overall, but Diablo 2: Risen goes so hard the other way with so much confidence and effectiveness that I may have to change my mind.
Diablo 2: Risen gives you an idea of where to go next and some attractions are shown on the map, but you are mostly on your own. There is a minimap that fills out as you explore, but there are very few clear directions telling you where to go. You are stuck in a vast and hostile landscape while trying to find your next destination, and the dungeons themselves are even procedurally generated.
In a way Diablo 2 gives everyone a little taste of what it’s like to have my brain when it comes to directions. You can shop around and make an educated guess where to go, and fill in a map as you explore so you know where you’ve been but figure out where to go next? That’s up to you.
Blizzard even considered changing that aspect of Diablo 2 to the Risen So it felt more like a modern game, but the team realized early on how dramatically this would change the experience.
“Most players play with the map while playing the game,” said Rob Gallerani, lead designer at Blizzard’s support studio, Vicarious Visions, in a previous interview with Polygon. “And a request that we received in the game test – a lot from people who have never played before [Diablo 2
Keeping players lost was the right decision. in the Diablo 2It’s not just okay to be lost – it’s set free. You have to go on adventures, not knowing exactly where to go but have a vague idea of which direction to go. It’s a novel experience for modern gamers, but it’s also how I make it to the gas station two blocks away from my house.
I am excited about it Diablo 2: Risen ‘The lack of clear instructions for two reasons. For me personally, it’s a fictional world where my strange state doesn’t matter at all. It also gives me an effective metaphor that I can use to explain how my brain works to other people who play video games. It took me so long to realize how different my brain is, and I’ve just opened myself seriously to people this year.
Finally understand why Diablo 2 is so calming feels like a blessing. We are not lost – we wander!