Diablo 3 Launch Party Report and Initial Game Impressions- with Video

So unless you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, you know by now that Blizzard’s Diablo III has been released. This is a huge thing, obviously- people have been waiting over a decade for the third iteration of Blizzard’s classic “click on stuff with your mouse until it dies” franchise. The game is going to make Blizzard a pile of money, especially since they have brought the ability to buy and sell items for real money, which of course they will see a small part of.

I was in the beta for Diablo III, thanks to an inside hookup I have with a producer friend at Blizzard. I played through the beta one time with one character, and then proceeded to share my early access with every single person that asked for it :) I didn’t want to spoil anything too great past the first boss- the Skeleton King- and so even though there are lots of people out there with 100 hours in (in a 90 minute beta!), I’m not the poopsocky type. I did get a Collector’s Edition of the game for $10 through my Blizzard pal, however, and who doesn’t love a good hookup?

Monday night my friend Pat and I went to the launch party for Diablo III in Irvine. It was a pretty sweet setup, with a big stage, lots of signage, and tons of Blizzard employees. We were all the way at the back near the press area, and security kept telling us to move along, but we had a pretty decent vantage point for the show:

You had to buy the game from GameStop on site to be let into the big holding pen where everyone was lining up in front of the stage they had set up. This didn’t make a lot of sense to me- I mean, I had the game at home sitting on my hard drive already, why would people line up for 4 hours to get a physical box unless they wanted it signed? Why do people buy physical boxes anyway? And with the collectibles market being what it is- namely, finished, now that eBay is here- I was frankly surprised that people would want to wait that long. Still, it was very interesting to watch the cross-section of people who excitedly approached the harried GameStop clerk to buy the game- old, young, male, female, black, white, asian, hipster, yuppie- Diablo III really seems to have kindled something in a lot of people. I know personally people who basically quit playing video games 5 years ago that are making an exception for Diablo III! The party featured giveaways including new PCs, copies of the game, shirts, and the like, as well as live sessions with game producers and artists, including a half hour live drawing session that culminated in the artist chucking the sketch into the crowd. They showed lots of videos and cinematics from D1, D2 and D3 throughout the night- but we left after they brought the cosplayers out.

This put me home at about 10:30, plenty of time to watch Monday Night RAW (which was horrible, for the record) before diving in.

However, I wasn’t able to dive right in. The servers for the US launch, much like the servers for the Australian, Asian and English launches, didn’t work properly or they simply didn’t anticipate half a million people all trying to log in at 12 AM (though I doubt that, the hype surrounding this game has been insane). So, I ended up twiddling my thumbs until about 1:30 AM, then I finally got in but played for only 20 minutes before I had to go to bed. A lot of people are screaming about WHY DO I HAVE TO WAIT FOR SERVERS TO PLAY A ONE PLAYER GAME and to be fair, they have a point- but in 6 months no one will remember how bad the service was for the first 48 hours, so just chill out folks.

I have some friends who were able to play sporadically yesterday, I myself was kicked out after about an hour, and told that the servers would not be back up until midnight. What I did play was visceral and satisfying, classic Diablo- and it’s tough, too! I basically steamrolled all of act I only to get one shot by the first enemy in act II. All of the classic Diablo stuff is there- foreboding music, gritty visuals, the visceral punch of your character’s abilities. I’m just waiting for a period of server stability to get a couple characters going with some friends, but I have no doubt that we’ll all be playing D3 and its expansion packs for a long time to come. Check back in a few weeks for a more fleshed-out review. Thanks for reading! Bonus video coverage of the launch party:

Babby’s First Curry Recipe

In honor of Labor Day, the original “holiday cooked up by corrupt American Unions“, I’d like to phone in a post! Here’s an Indian-style curry recipe I tried and photographed recently. It came out well, I think, for a first try. Let me know what you think!

First, assemble your ingredients: (a list follows the recipe at the end of the post):

Then, prep your ingredients:

Start cooking by heating 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet:

Add one small to medium sized chopped onion:

Cook the onion until it is slightly browned, and then add your spices:

That’s 2 minced cloves of garlic, 3 tablespoons of curry powder, a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of paprika, 1 bay leaf, a half teaspoon of fresh grated ginger, a half teaspoon of white sugar and a pinch of salt to taste. Stir all of the spices with the onions as they cook- this is the part of the recipe where the house starts to smell absolutely delicious:

After you stir for a while your onions won’t look super appetizing, but they will smell deliciously fragrant and wonderful due to the cinnamon and ginger:

After cooking the browned onions with the spices for about 2 minutes, it’s time to add almost all of the rest of the ingredients. First, the chicken (2 boneless, skinless breasts cut into bite-sized pieces:

Then the tomato paste (1 tablespoon):

Then 1 cup of plain yogurt:

Then 3/4 of a cup of coconut milk:

Then, stir everything together:

Simmer this for 25 minutes on low heat. At the end of 25 minutes, the curry will look like this:

Remove the bay leaf, and stir in 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (this is for a little heat, you can leave it out if you don’t like hot or double it if you want REALLY hot) and 1/2 of a juiced lemon’s worth of lemon juice. Stir and cook for 2 minutes, then serve over rice:

YUM!

Ingredients list:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Originally spotted on AllRecipes.com. Try my chili recipe too! I’d love any feedback :)

Best…Chili…Ever!

Hi! Tonight I made some chili.  I’m going to show you how to turn this:

Into the best chili you’ve ever had. Yes, that’s coffee, beer…and cocoa in the mix!

First, use these:

to turn your raw ingredients into:

Doing all of the prep up front makes things a lot easier, and makes it easier to take pictures and also to feel like you’re a fancy celebrity chef who doesn’t have to do their own prep or wash their own dishes! Also, when I cook, I leave the dishwasher open so I can rinse and load stuff as I use it; this is my “clean-as-I-cook” method, perfected over 10 years working in restaurant kitchens :)Then, get a deep pan and start 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat:

Add 4 or so (I like a lot) cloves of minced garlic:

After that starts to smell delicious, throw in 2 chopped onions:

Cook those down for a little while, then add 1 pound of ground beef. I like an 80/20 but you can go as high quality as you want.  This will give the sirloin a little liquid to sort of braise in:

Then, add 3/4 of a pound of cubed sirloin:

Cook it all together, stirring frequently, until it’s approaching done but you don’t want to dry it out.  Then, transfer everything to a large pot:

Then, you start adding the liquid ingredients.  First 1 14.5 oz can of tomatoes:

Then a can of dark beer:

Then a cup of coffee:

Then add 2 small cans of tomato paste:

Add your beef broth (I use Better than Boullion, use about 1 cup of broth). Add your spices. These are: 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3 1/2 tablespoons of chili sauce, 1 tablespoon of cumin, 1 tablespoon of cocoa, 1 teaspoon of oregano, 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon of coriander and 1 teaspoon of salt:

Add 4 chopped peppers (I use one jalapeno and 3 yellow peppers but that’s up to you) and 2 15-ounce cans of drained (but not rinsed) kidney beans:

 

Stir it up and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 90  minutes. Add the other can(s) of drained beans and transfer all of the solids and as much of the liquid as will fit to a crock pot. Set to low for a good long stretch (I do it overnight but 2 or 3 hours will get it done), stir and serve with cornbread. DEEEEEEELICIOUS!  Here’s the ingredient list again:

  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 3/4 lb beef sirloin, cubed
  • 1 (14 1/2 ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can dark beer
  • 1 cup strong coffee
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 1 can beef broth
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 (15 ounce) cans kidney beans
  • 4 chili peppers, chopped
(originally spotted on what was at the time Recipeczaar: http://www.food.com/recipe/the-best-chili-you-will-ever-taste-73166)
Enjoy!