Season of the Malignant – Statistics

A few days ago, we’ve received an email from Blizzard with our statistics from the first season of Diablo 4, it’s a really nice touch and I hope that they’ll continue with the next seasons. We both enjoyed the Season of the Malignant but we didn’t go further than level 80 because we were busy preparing our trip to New-York. We both played a Sever Necromancer and the Malignant hearts were synergising perfectly with it, making our corpse explosions and corpse tendrils auto-casted. We’re now trying different builds for the Season of Blood and we’ve already narrowed it down to Pulverise Druid and Fury/Rapid Fire Rogue.


Diablo IV

It’s kind of strange that it took us so long to write something about Diablo 4, especially knowing that Hack’n Slash are our favourite games. This is actually the third version of my Diablo post. Since the first beta, we went through three stages:

  1. The Beta: we didn’t enjoy it;
  2. The release: we enjoyed the campaign but we ended up disappointed by the gameplay;
  3. The first season: amazing!

During the beta, we were quite disappointed by the slower gameplay. We’re used to Diablo 3, Path of Exile and Grim Dawn, where we can destroy an entire map with very little downtime. In Diablo 4, the builder/spender builds are slower and the monster density is very different from what we’re used to. It was very frustrating at the start.

At launch, we actually enjoyed the campaign which is absolutely amazing! Blizzard’s seal of quality is everywhere: the gorgeous cinematics, the huge amount of details and the soundtrack. The scale of the world is also very impressive. Unfortunately, the gameplay of the Barbarian and the Sorceress made us very nervous and, once the campaign was complete, we found it hard to continue. We played very slowly because the weather was very warm and the PCs made it even warmer in the office. So we actually completed the campaign two weeks before the release of the first season.

The launch of the season changed everything. We started with a Necromancer with the sever build from Maxroll and, with the synergies of the malignant powers, the gameplay feels amazing. Since we had completed the campaign before the season, we could skip the story and I was afraid to run out of things to do, but I was wrong. Between the renown, the malignant dungeons, the whispers, uncovering the map, the altars of Lilith and so much more, we never ran out of things to do. We’ve been playing the entire weekend with sessions of 5-6 hours and not once have we felt like we were doing twice the same thing, all that thanks to the variety of activities.

The Team behind Diablo 4 wasn’t afraid to change things and it really pays off, they delivered a superb game and I can’t wait what they’ll come up with for the next seasons.

As I write this post, I’m watching the Exilecon 2023 and the gameplay videos of Path of Exile 2 look fantastic. What a time to be an ARPG fan!


Strange Times

Some years are just perfect copies of each other, fast-forwarding you through time with a feeling that not much is happening. Then, some years are so different, you feel like you’ve just been spat out of a washing machine, and you can barely recognize the world around you. Well, 2023 feels like the latter. It’s not as if we’re powerless and the things that are happening are out of our control. I think that we both needed a change, and we created voluntary chaos around ourselves. Maybe we feel like this because this year marks our 20th wedding anniversary, or maybe we’ve spent too long sliding down the same quiet river… Maybe both. Time works in mysterious ways…

So, what’s changed? Well, not that much. However, it has only begun.

Living in Brussels

Nine years ago, we moved to Brussels to live closer to work. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to enjoy this town. We’ve really tried, but it didn’t happen. So, for several months, we’ve been searching for a house around Liège, my hometown. Despite our best efforts, we didn’t find the right place… The apartment we purchased when we moved here is gorgeous, which made it even harder to find a house – we don’t want a downgrade! Also, searching for a house made us realize how convenient living in Brussels really is. Mobility is fantastic, and there’s always a grocery store within walking distance. Not depending on a car is amazing, especially for our budget. This may sound like our brains trying to rationalize the fact that we’ll have to stay in Brussels, and perhaps it is, but having searched for a house made us realize that we’re actually pretty good.

Dragonflight

Our end-of-the-year 2022 holidays were kinda underwhelming. The launch of Dragonflight was a flop, and we didn’t find a way to replace it. So we started the year not knowing which gaming direction to take.

We’ve tried several times to get back hooked to WoW, but the direction they took with the game is horrible. It’s almost as if they took all we disliked in the game and packed it into an expansion.

I could talk for hours about all I dislike in retail WoW. Forbidden Reach feels so dead, Dragonflying being mandatory, world quests that don’t reset fast enough, the lack of quest hubs, crappy events like the community feast or the great hunts, the professions that I don’t even feel like leveling anymore… Each expansion always had a thing or two that we disliked; it’s hard to please everyone. However, this is pure garbage.

The problem is not only that we hate the expansion, we hate the general direction of WoW’s development. If this is indeed the third phase of WoW, then the game is dead to us.

We’ve been playing that game for 17 years, so it takes some effort to get out of our routines, get used to new games and change our habits. That alone kept us very busy, finding new games isn’t as simple as it sounds. Luckily, Diablo 4 got released, but that will be part of a dedicated post.

20th wedding anniversary

On the 7th of June, we were married for 20 years. Soforah is the best partner that I could ever dream to have. She’s always there when I need her, she brightens each of my days, and I only wish that I had met her sooner because it feels as if I only started to live from the day I met her. So, Hon’, if you read this: thank you for everything. I hope to be the man you deserve!

We’ve been back and forth between a few ideas for our celebrations: a short trip to the Belgian Ardennes, a trip to the US, two new huge PCs. We finally decided to do it all; we’ll be celebrating the whole year. So far, we already traveled to the Ardennes, and it was great. Rochehaut is very beautiful, even if a bit difficult to reach by public transportation.

We ate really well, and it was great to be together, far from everything for a few days.

We almost drowned in the Jacuzzi. Believe it or not, but it was our first time enjoying a bubble bath together… Jeez, that thing made us sleepy. However, we survived. Only to be drowned once more by the most overwhelming shower I’ve ever had. I’m not sure if we’re really good candidates for spas.

We’re planning our trip to New York, which will be followed by building the most badass PCs we’ve ever owned.

Voilà, this post was long, but it covers pretty much the last 6 months of our lives.

TLDR: We spent a lot of time searching for a house, but we’ll stay in Brussels. WoW sucks, and we’ll be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary for a full year.