925 Teambuilding.

First of all, thanks to everyone who has offered advice about keeping depression in check, and for your kindness in general. It makes me feel more connected to a larger world to actually talk frankly to people.

Secondly, Diablo 3, is it a game I need to play? I never played any of the others, I don’t know what it is, or what you do, but people sure seem to be enjoying it. I want to enjoy things too. Is this a thing I might enjoy?

That reminds me. Someone mentioned Star Wars: Empire At War when i was talking about RTS games and I forgot to say that I actually have it. Had it for years, but never finished it. I installed it, but the new system isn’t exactly in love with it. I’ll have to fiddle with it for a bit until I can get it running smoothely. I never played it enough to fully understand every part of the game.

48 Comments

I was surprised to hear about your depression. You don’t seem the type to get depressed. I’m sorry I couldn’t offer any advice, but to my knowledge I’ve never felt depressed, so I wouldn’t know. But I do believe that over the course of the years your fans have come to care for you, and will support you no matter what.

I have no clue about Diablo III. I’m not a PC gamer. But it looks like it’ll be an MMORPG in my opinion. I wouldn’t spend money on it, but like I said I’m not a pc gamer.

As a psychology major I can offer some additional advice for managing depression. Some quick temporary relief can be achieved by any number of the following: exercise for about a half hour/ forty-five minuets and you’ll get a nice endorphin rush going to pick you up, stay up for twenty-four hours straight will also remove depression symptoms if they are not also causing you insomnia, also going outside and getting sunlight can help with seasonal depression.

More long term help depends on what’s causing the depression. If you have a lot of life stressors I’d recommend talking to a professional counselor/ psychologist. If you think it might be biological (chemical imbalance) I’d also suggest seeing a psychiatrist for a perscreipition perhaps. If you don’t have the means to access those types of individuals, then close friends and family can work just as well.

Hope I’m not sounding arrogant and presumptuous. Just hoping to help and add my two cents.

The only (temporary) solution for depression is distraction.

I generally find the most cathartic kind of distraction is to observe someone ELSE’s misfortune. Schadenfreude is my modus operandi.

But in a pinch, other things work somewhat. A good game or anime for instance.
Still… only temporary.

Well first off, i havent played diablo 3 yet, but i have the first 2 and STILL love them, so i ill probably end up playing it.
And secondly, i can relate on the depression front. I was diagnosed with depression at the age of 12 or 13 (im 17 right now), and its been a constant struggle. I’m an artist, so a lot of the time, i can work my feelings out through my art, but sometimes it all feels like too much to handle. When that happens, I read your comic, all the way from the beginning.
The way that Thomas has… grown as a person is inspiring to me, in addition to the growth of the whole gang.Not to mention the endless witty remarks that make me laugh so hard people nearby think that I have some sort of Mental Illness. But its all good, they dont know what they’re missing ;)

I can talk to you about Diablo 3. First off, it is NOT a MMORPG,sort of. First, it is by Blizzard, who makes World of Warcraft, but it is free to play. Second, you can play online or solo, your choice, and can change it during gameplay. Third, it is mostly mouse driven dungeon crawling, you attack with mouse buttons, move with mouse cursor, and hold the shift key down to stand still. The dungeons, like the first two games, are randomized but contain chapters and quests that occur, and lot of loot drops. There are skills, levels, and custom created items and rare items that drop that help you. You also have health potions, town portals to return to the main city part and sell items and return back to where you left off. Very simple to play, but here is the catch: You play thru the game, and that is just Normal level. Then you replay three more times, each time better loot but stronger villans. Normal, Nightmare, Hell, Inferno levels. And those are not exaggerations. Also, there is a hardcore option: If you die in the game, you will respawn, but if you choose hardcore, death is permament, game over and restart from scratch.

You will need to create a Battle.net account, and game tag(a personal id for in the game), and you have several classes to play: Barbarian,Monk,Witch Doctor,Wizard,and Demon Hunter(archer/rogue).

By the way, love your strip. I read very few online comics, but i love yours. Thank you.

Out of curiosity (I’m not familiar with the game, so this is an honest question, not snark), what makes something an MMORPG vs not?

Most of what I’ve been hearing about Diablo III kinda makes it sound like the developers turned it into a de-facto MMORPG, but didn’t want to label or market it as such for some reason, preferring instead to encourage people to consider it more or less in the same category as the previous games.

Are there defining features of an MMORPG beyond being an RPG primarily set in a massive online multiplayer context? What makes Diablo III not an MMORPG besides the (possibly unfairly encouraged)inertia of fan expectations?

Again, I’m genuinely curious here, not snarky.

While I have not played Diablo III myself I can tell you how the multiplayer worked in Diablo II and from what I’ve heard from friends its fairly simmilar.

An MMORPG is a game where typically there is a large world where everyone is always walking around in that world. There is no option for single player play. No matter what you do, you will always have other players(if the game is popular) wondering around the game world.

In the Diablo Franchise you have the option to play solely single player and only play multi player when you make your game world public or when you invite your friends to your game world(or visa versa).

So basically the difference is that you can choose to have other people playing with you or not, as opposed to having no choice in the matter.

It’s an MORPG, like PSO: Groups are limited to a small number of players and don’t exist outside of instanced things, whereas the world in an MMO is static and involved lots of players in most areas.

In Diablo 2, the only time you’ll see more than eight players is in lobbies, whereas in WoW you can see hundreds or even thousands in question areas and cities.

Actually. The key to determine weather something is a MMO- anything is in the two M’s. Massive Multiplayer. Meaning it has to be a server that either everyone or at least a large part of the players are connected to at the same time, making a massive number of player characters active within the same game world at the same time.

Therefor. No diablo game has ever been a MMORPG, but remain dungeoncrawlers with team-cooperative actions.

The option of singleplayer only matters in certain cases. A good example is hellgate: London. it has a singeplayer campeign but is a MMORPG none the less seeing as the main concept of the game is the online version which is, indeed, all on the same server making all players currently connected present in the same game world.

Yeah, that’s what I said… people actually playing (as opposed to being in a lobby, in both D2 and PSO) are instanced, they have their own world. MORPG.

WoW has a world that exists for hundreds of people at a time.

The formal definition used to be “If 32 or more people can *play* in a single area, it’s an MMO”, but that would now include most shooters (it didn’t at the time). So it’s the same framework with the numbers tweaked, afaik. there’s no longer a formal definition, so I expanded the old one.

oh! and also, try hiking in hardcore nature! the sounds are relaxing, you can breathe, and exercise is always great!

I can vouch for this. While I don’t have depression, I do have ADHD. even with my medication, it is sometimes impossible to concentrate. But when I go and surround myself with nature, I always come back feeling calmer and more centered. One thing you could try is to find a forested path near your home, depending where you live.

And if you go hiking, make sure you are prepared. The best
thing you could ever have is a hiking partner to watch your back.

You can’t play Diablo 3. No, literally. Even single player requires you to constantly be online. Lose your connection, your game stops. I’ve seen enough of your blog to realize this is not going to happen for you. Unless you don’t mind that constant risk, I wouldn’t bother. Hopefully, they’ll patch it and create an option to play totally offline.

They will never create such an option. The reason for needing to be constantly logged in is as a combination anti-piracy measure, anti-cheat measure, and a means of attempting to make tournament style play more practical. I have Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty and Diablo III, although my laptop can’t play Diablo III. Your game save isn’t kept on your computer, but on their server, however you don’t need a ‘CD’ key to install the game (thus if you buy it technically you could install it on 1000 different computers if you were so inclined), instead the ‘CD’ key is linked with your Battle.net account, allowing you to play your save from any computer the game is installed on and has Internet access.

Now, I can’t say I completely like the plan, as not everyone has a stable Internet connection, or even access to high-speed Internet, which is forcibly restricting their potential player base.

As for whether or not you need to play it, that’s a lot like whether or not you need to play World of Warcraft. I’ve played less than an hour in WoW, and I’ll never play it again as it does one of the things I absolutely detest in an RPG (MMO or otherwise). I do have Diablo I & II (including the Lord of Destruction expansion for II), and although my laptop can’t play it I was at the Midnight Launch for Diablo III to pick-up my Collector’s Edition copy of the game and Limited Edition copy of the guide, as Diablo was the first PC RPG I ever played and liked, and really it’s only the ones that stay fairly close to the Diablo I and/or Diablo II formula that I like, the rest just don’t click with me on the PC, and even most of them I still don’t like all that much either. Now, one thing I can tell you is that storyline wise you’ll almost be better of if you haven’t played Diablo II (all of Diablo I’s relevant story is told to you again in Diablo II, so it’s questionable as to whether or not you really need to play it), do to how they conclude things at the end of Act 5 (which is only available through the expansion). Really, the best indicator of whether or not Diablo III would be a game worth fighting with trying to play for you (including trying to get a bet Internet connection) would be to play Diablo II (you can get it, including the expansion, as a digital copy directly from Blizzard) or Titan Quest (not sure where you could get it, but if you decide to do so try and get the Immortal’s Throne expansion as well since most of the extra features are available from the get-go) as it’s the most like the Diablo games of any PC RPG I’ve played.

Well, there’s that infa-post completed, now to get ready for work.

I think you’re wrong, since people are fervently working on an offline option. Blizzard might not create it, but there *will* be an offline option, same as WoW, EQ, PSO, and everything else popular enough to warrant a large enough fanbase or a dedicated enough fanbase to give it private/personal servers.

“Fear not the tyranny of the developers, for we hackers are many and we’ve nothing to lose”

Your ‘they’ specifically implied the creators of Diablo III, who is Blizzard. My ‘they’ was also specifically in reference to Blizzard. Also, I should point out that any such hacker patch would only permit offline play, as it’d have to forcibly disable the online connection sequence to by-pass it, and the characters created on such a modified install would only be playable on a similarly modified install. Now, if you are wanting to play ‘official’ characters that can participate in tourney’s and other developer sponsored events you won’t be able to use a modified install (as most developers rightly come down like the Wrath of The Divine on using hacked characters, and they extend that to most hacked installs). Also, as it is possible to get a full copy of the game without exactly buying it (as all you technically need is the ID Key for your Battle.net account) using such a hacked (and possibly pirated) install is a very strong suggestion to developers that you don’t care about them feeding their own families, causing them to consider other careers and stop creating games for you to enjoy.

I didn’t say I liked what they did, and personally I’d love it if Blizzard would create a patch so you didn’t need to be logged into Battle.net to play, but I do understand their reasonings and in this matter I side with them and not the hackers. After all, if I were to put as much time into such a project as them, such that I didn’t have another source of income to support myself, I’d want to be paid for my efforts as well.

Well I suppose your purpose is as much to say as anything: I have no reason to deal with Blizzard’s downed servers, ‘server maintenance’, time-based tomfoolery, or the lack of ability to ban people who have no business gaming in the first place…

The games I create and the servers I host are of my own money, so while I do pay for most of my games (I don’t pirate games, and haven’t in a long while, though I do still frequent abandonware and freeware turf), I do not consider what they do to be worthy of the money in most cases, because I can do it better.

Notably, private servers are fully legal so long as you’re not a competitive service: Vanilla WoW Servers, for example, do not compete with WoW because they offer legacy content which has been removed, though this does vary with country and laws etc., Blizzard has said they don’t consider it a threat.

In this case, without a subscription model, it’d be base installs and patches/hacks for the retail version to re-route the connection, in all probability, and as is the case with WoW, most people would have already put money toward the retail game, so Blizz already has their cut. I own D3, but have no intention of ever connection to Blizzard’s servers, because they do not give me the power and control I prefer to have.

Sooooooo, you consider a n00b who has no clue what they are doing, and no one is available to mentor them, unworthy of attempting to learn how to play the game(s) on the servers you host. That doesn’t sound like it is making you much better than any of the developers.

Also, I had not known that Blizzard doesn’t mind free-for-use private servers running their games, but as the only one that has a monthly subscription is WoW, and I’m not interested in playing it, I don’t mind connecting to Blizzards free-access Battle.net servers to play Diablo III, once I can get my new laptop.

From the way you wrote that you don’t understand the difference between n00b and newb. A n00b is someone who’s either acting stupid or otherwise not acting like a gamer, which would include things like begging when rich, giving false answers to newbie questions, trolling, etc. A newb is someone unfamiliar with a game. I train newbs, and have a tendency to breed champions at that. n00bs earn bans, as they should.

That is, in fact, why I can’t stand retail servers: they refuse to uphold what were once the requirements of gaming, things like technical knowledge, kindness and compassion, assistance of those new to games… these weren’t traits of just the gamers, these were requirements to avoid being banned.

Sure, it was years ago, and it wasn’t every community, but that’s the things I still expect out of everyone who calls themself a gamer, and I will assist in making the next generation as dedicated to gaming as I am.

Actually, you’re right, I don’t know the difference between n00b and newb as by the time there were two such groups I rarely played MMO’s. There are a couple of them that I’m still slightly interested in, but the reason I lost interest in MMO’s was because I got sick of dealing with guilds, and really most of them aren’t that much fun without some friends to game with.

Well, here’s to see if you look back here to see this one. And although I’m not sure I completely support your anti-developer stance, it’s not quite as bad as you initially come off. After you defined the difference between n00b and newb though I have to agree with you about banning rules on servers (although they weren’t called n00b’s back then, but you were much more apt to get banned for such behavior).

I’ve seen it used that was since arcades in the early/mid 90s (Difference was n00b and newbie, but that’s because it was spoken, in cyberspace newbie is shortened to newb because, in text, they’re easy to differentiate), which also reminds me that ‘nub’ was someone who refused to or was unable to type full words, and thus wrote u instead of you…

But yeah, n00b was a pretty serious insult~

Yeah, somewhere between Quake 2 and Halo 2 there was a huge change in who was actually gaming, since it largely wasn’t gamers. Games train players and gamers to think more critically, and to be introspective about their actions, to refine what they do to save time/energy, etc. That mentality, put through to other aspects of life, means success, and is the reason I define gamer as those who seek to play better, and thus seek to be better. Most gamers wind up being coders/hackers/etc., noble causes to make things better with their knowledge and abilities. People who are good at games but refuse to learn the internals or who seperate themselves from games for social reasons are “Players”, not gamers, and that’s a step above casuals, who do it to spend time doing something else. This terminology was suggested in a number of MUDs years back, but never really caught on, but I still use it.

But I’m rambling… gaming is a hugely different thing to me than to most people, and by “People who have no reason to game in the first place” I meant people who still say things like “IRL”, or “It’s just a game”… when one makes a living that was, both those statements are rather offensive~

but IRL is already kind of falling out of use, in some circles, which I’m happy for; I’ve been using “In The Meat” as a replacement since I was introduced to CP2020 and made me actually think about the words I was using, and their implications.

You like RTS’s? Ever play a Total War game? Those are by far my favorite real time/turn based strategies.

I’d always heard it as “‘It’s EASIER to ask for forgiveness than permission.”

Learned it from a boss who was an officer in the military reserves.

I was told that Diablo 3 is like WoW. If you’re into that. I’m not a pc gamer but one of my friend’s is and loved the first two diablo’s but can’t stand the new one.

Anyway, I noticed the shadow in the background. It looks like Carole. Also, the fact I don’t see Emo Snape is unsettling.

I wouldn’t listen to such judgemental opinions of you’ve no frame of reference. Especially since such comments can be missinterprited greatly. When I (as a game design student) compare games I’m often reffering to features. Comparing D3 and WoW could very well be a reference to the online use of the battle-net system rather than a comment on the gameplay. But it could, of course, also be a comment on the gameplay. Though that would boggle my mind as I honestly find them VASTLY diffrent.

Also yes. Always keep tabs on the creepy people. Because you don’t want them showing up at your house.

I could tell in the last couple comics, blue-hair (who’s name escapes, if it’s been said at all) seemed to have some brains in him.

Not sure what alignment I can peg him yet, but we shall see.

I’m going to second what BWM said in the previous post. Recent Blizzard games require you to be constantly connected to their server to play. Be it single-player, teaming up or anything between.

And your blog posts suggest that your connection is toward the unstable end. It is probably not worth your trouble trying to play the game when a single connection drop punts you back to the beginning of whatever quest you’re currently attempting.

“Better to ask for forgiveness than permission” with Snape’s shadow overhearing.

Poor Carol…

I changed jobs four or five years ago for various reasons — one-third the travel and $10K more had a lot to do with it. What I didn’t realize at the time — but became quite clear after I’d been in my new hob for a month or so — was that I had been suffering from Clinical Depression.

Like the anonymous correspondent above, I was a Psych major for my first two years in College (I got good grades, too; but I became disillusioned with mid-’70s therapeutic philosophies) so I should have recognized the symptoms. Unfortunately, like trimming your beard, sometimes treatment is best done from outside. I was lucky, the source of the problem was my old job, and when that went away the Depression followed.

Just my 2ยข, but perhaps a change of venue would help.

Is it just me, or does that blue haired guy always look tired yet full of energy?

Sort of does, doesn’t he? It’s like looking in a short, tanned, slightly douchy mirror. Though so far he hasn’t been that bad.

Will through in that, like the first two games, Warcraft 3, and WoW, it’s worth playing, at least a bit, for the cultural relevance that comes with it, if you’ve much an interest in gaming in general. There’s a long list of games (currently about 150 or so) that I push my friends and new gamers to play so they understand the history, culture, etc., of the gaming realm. If that’s something that matters to you, then yes, and I’ve heard it’s a solid game in it’s own right.

But I’ve heard they might be adding controller support, which would make me pick it up in a hurry (Loved the PS1 port of D1), so I’m holding out for price drop/controller addition/Network stabilisation/etc. Some combination that’ll push me into “You must play *now*”-land.

Only game I wanna play at launch, atm, is PSO2, and it’s shaping up to be awesome.

On the RTS field, I don’t play many (I prefer TBS/4X/SRPG games over RTS. RTS is only enjoyable to me with alternate inputs that let me run several commands and you can’t use such things in competition, which would be the main drive for RTS for me…), but I did rather enjoy a handful of the suggestions left by the other readers, so thanks for that~

On the topic of the comic, I see blue-hair is endearing himself to Thomas, and enjoying the atmosphere. Only a few lines and I feel he’s the most notable of the three and the one I prefer.

It lends credit to your writing, kudos on that!

Daiblo 3 is a must I am currently unequivocally in love with the Demon hunter class the wizard is pretty awesome to made even more so by the fact that the female voice actor for the wizard is the same chick that voices Azula from the avatar series also jennifer Hale the voice of femshep plays the part of Leah on of the main characters inthe game so the game is filled with awesome

I’ve heard Diablo 3 (and its predecessors) described thusly: “Kill kill kill loot loot loot kill kill kill.” If repetitive action dungeon-crawling is your thing, then give Diablo 3 a go. Though as others have mentioned, be warned: you can’t play offline. People’ve mostly said my feelings on the matter: not impressed, not a good direction for gaming to be going.

If you’re looking for a more varied experience with story and detail, try Guild Wars 2. It has a lot of options, a ton of stuff to do, and it’s superbly balanced.

You, sir, have a singular gift. You are a word-smith in that you can, with great consistency, tell a story with words that convey precisely the message and emotion that you intend. The downside to this gift is that is generally takes a lot out of you personally because you experience the emotions that you’re putting on the page. Because of this I can understand your depression and the difficulty you have in getting past it. I don’t have any great advice on how to do this, but I can say this; you are loved. You bring joy to countless people who read your strip and love it. Take solace in this fact because one of the best things you can do in life is bring joy to others and each time someone clicks on the page to see your new strip it shines on you.

Heartily seconded. I suffer from depression myself, so I can sympathize. Your art, characters, and writing are truly inspiring (as well as excellent examples of what a webcomic ought to be). Count me as one of the many folks that you bring happiness to on a regular basis.

Diablo falls under the category of Action RPG. Personally the first one was by far my favorite of the 3. Don’t get me wrong, the second was great and the third has made me lose large swaths of time without realizing it, but the first still holds a special place in my gaming memories. It is a lot of clicking, so much that I actually wore out a mouse playing it.

I don’t think that you’d consider it a need to play game. That happens for most people because they’ve played the last two and have now been waiting nearly a decade for the third. If you are offered the opportunity to try it out I’d suggest it. If you are really interested, I’ve got a couple “buddy codes” that came with my collectors edition that will let you play about the first 3 hours of the game.

I’ve played Diablo 2, and it was decent. It’s an action-rpg, with multiplayer, though not on an MMO scale. I never finished it, becauseI was playing as necromancer, and once I reached a certain point, my monsters would all die.

though i know it has nothing to do with diablo 3, and i don’t remember if it was you or someone else that asked about it, but i did some research into why they don’t make Nerf guns that are pull the trigger to fire, the reason is that a co2 cartridge would make the dart too powerful. It would hurt and getting shot in the eye could blind someone. Where any other method of “point and shoot” dart guns would be far to weak and maybe not even clear the barrel. There’s also the point of price, a co2 cartridge costs almost as much as a cheap Nerf gun (like $6) parents wouldn’t go for that. Also, kids potentially explosive “batteries” for their toy guns? Just asking for a lawsuit there.

I cant help but notice the blue haired guy has pinky pies cuteymark on his shirt. XD

I can’t help butnotice he looks either very sleep-deprived or stoned… But then again, that just may be the sort of people that hang around at the store. No judgment here.

Indeed. Forgiveness rather than permission is often a good way about going about things when you’re not sure, heh ;) As for Diablo 3? I’d say… I love the game, but if you haven’t played the others? Maybe not your cup of tea. It’s certainly got enough hand-fed backstory to get what’s going on, but there’s still things, at least in Diablo 2 that they don’t reference very well.

Overall? Fun game. Pick it up if you want a game that’s playable again and again. Just try to look past the ‘Wait, what did he say? Should I know this person?’ moments.

Two things I came on to say:
1) We’re doing this at my work. All the managers have nerf guns. I use my comic books as a shield when I go into the break room since I’m tired or being ambushed. A lot of other employees have gotten nerf guns too. There is less running, more laying in wait. Our store has been doing it for just over a week, but I haven’t been participating. The reason is 2) I have been pretty depressed myself lately. I spend all day long lying to customers, forcing myself to smile and telling them I’m doing great when really I feel anything but. I had to have my cat put down last Monday. He was my buddy :( I got him 16 years ago when I was 8. So I understand sad feelings, but I think just talking about it and coping with it and getting those feelings out really help. I dunno. That’s not really great advice, but it’s what I’ve got. I like this comic alot though, so keep up the good work.

As a friend of sorts made mention of yesterday, it isn’t that keeping the misery down is difficult to do when it is actually on your mind… but because it requires constant effort that distracts from other things, there is little motivation to bother.

Doesn’t help that both people and technology seem to have it in for me.
I’m sure they have their reasons that make sense to them, but from my perspective it just seems like a long stream of dick-moves directed at myself.
I try to keep Hanlon’s Razor and Grey’s Law in mind.

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