03 February 2007

I am going to tell you now about the single most satisfying piece of interaction I have ever experienced in a game in my long history of playing games. And it wasn't even programmed into it.

Yes. I am talking about the original Diablo's duping cheat. And it goes a little something like this: say you want to buy an awesome piece of equipment, that lovely coat of mail or a fine axe, but you lack the currency. Hey there, fine lad, mayhap you are inclined to resort to duplicating that coinage? All you need to do is put a stack of money on the ground -or whatever other object you wish to duplicate- and prepare something of lesser value in the inventory. Might I suggest, a single piece of gold?

Now the idea here is that you step some distance away from the stack of cash on the floor so as to give you some time to react. Give your character the command to pick up the stack and watch him walk towards it. Now comes the intruiging part. At the exact moment where he picks up the gold, you must also pick up the single coin (or anything else you might have prepared) from the inventory. The game is now confused, and if your timing was flawless, you will now have in your knapsack not one, but two delicious stacks of lucre.

And it is precisely this aspect of the duping cheat that makes it so magnificent! It is very hard to accomplish! It is a skill in timing and control you must acquire! Not any poor sod can pull this thing off. And what beautiful rewards await he who succeeds in duping! The little rush of success works as a drug to the mind. The effort/reward balance is fantastic. It's cheating, yes, and not meant to be part of the game by the developers, but it became the game for me. It became just another aspect of it, just as intrinsic to Diablo as the descent into dungeons, caves and hellish realms. Oh, how many blissful hours have I spent duping! Absolutely delicious.

To this day I have not encountered another interaction in any game that gave the same rush, the same reward and required the same high amount of skill needed. And to think that it was all just an overlooked error in the programming.