Recently, our fearless leader Jaetch wrote a lovely article concerning the root of The Vizjerei in Diablo Lore. In response to that article, I felt it might be nice to tell the story of the Vizjerei clan, or more specifically, the events that led up to its formation. For those who are unaware, it is one of my greatest hobbies to research and track Wizard History on the official US Wizard Forum on the Diablo 3 website, where much (but not all) of our History resides, frozen in the "Event Horizon" that is Battle.net's digital archives. I do hope you enjoy this week's Quick Touch. Oh, and before I forget, this is all being done from memory. Memories can be slightly inaccurate. I doubt you will find any glaring errors, here. But in case you do, keep them to yourself. Kidding. Comment!
Beta Diablo 3 Forums were comprised of individuals who primarily came from other Blizzard games, with a heavy emphasis on World of Warcraft players. In these ancient posts, they criticized much of Diablo 3's mechanics from the perspective of those who had years of WoW under their belts. Another large percentage of these primordial "Forumers" were D2 veterans, and they vocalized their love and disdain for the third installment openly. I refer to the posters of this time period as, The Ancients, or The Originals, because they truly were the first to "blot and dot" the official Forums with words. They brought light to the darkness that was at the time, a non-existent community.
I can't give you dates and I don't remember The Ancient's names, but they're not hard to find...because they're still there, in the deeps and the depths of the 1000+ pages that make up the Wizard Forum''s Page History. It's a bit creepy I admit, seeing some of their discussion, watching them bounce ideas off each other, watching them argue. They almost didn't know what they were arguing about. Most of their discussions are philosophical in nature, or mechanical in nature. There were no friendships. Many of them didn't realize they were speaking to the same person from another thread. They would repeat information to one another from one thread that they had already shared a mere day prior. It was a glue-less mess.
It's also incredibly difficult to source Originality. But we'll get to that problem later in my blog.
After May 15th, 2012, the Ancients were immediately drowned out by The Surgers. Surgers still exist to this day, and represent a massive rising tide, or tidal wave, of excited new gamers who purchased Diablo 3 and were looking to unleash their passion in written form. Among these individuals, the first of The OG's, or Original Gangsters were no doubt mixed in. There are several members of our Clan who posted on or close to Day 1. There are more members still who began reading the Offical US Wizard Forums as early as Day 1.
As the waters of the first Surge subsided, names began to emerge on the Forum. They acknowledged one another, they were kind to one another, and they helped one another. The Wizard Forum was not free of Trolls, nor is it today (I'm looking at you, Yodatoy!), but there was a force that was greater than that of the trolls. And that force was the OG's.
The late philosopher, Schopenhauer, once said that a person will execute a behavior when the desire to execute that behavior is greater than the desire to not execute that behavior. His wording and subtleties are more involved than that, but using this formula, I believe we can begin to understand how the Wizard Community came together. Simply put?
THERE WERE A LOT OF OG's. Some of their names are listed here. I have definitely left a few out, but that's not intentional or meant as insulting. Like I said, this is all being written from memory. It's a Blog, not a research project at a university, ya understand?
That's 70 OG's right there, and that's not all of them. There's more on my friend's list, and even more rattling around in my brain.
What's interesting about every name on that list, is that every single one of them helped other Wizards and each other, actively. This created a culture, an identity, within the Wizard Forum that separated us from the other Forums by a significant social margin.
Nasty folks were run out of town. This Forum, for me, was at its best when the OG's pervaded every facet of it. It wasn't a control, power-hungry group. All of us loved being acknowledged, sure - but we also loved the pursuit of knowledge, friendship, and community.
This "age" was marked by the arrival, rise, and sustainability of a specific Passive Skill. Does that sound crazy? Of course it does. I actually deleted that sentence and re-wrote it three times. But do not be deluded. We came to the Wizard Class for our own reasons, but we were glued to it because of:
Critical Mass - Critical Hits have a chance to lower your cooldowns by 1 second.
That's it, folks. That passive skill? We leveraged that motha fucka within an inch of our lives. The emergence of ShocknadoShards was the most magnificent build the Wizard has ever known. Six active skills, all synergizing, complementing, enhancing one another. Your enemy? Immobilized. Frozen. How long? Forever. Damage? Yup. Mobility? Yup. Downsides? None. As I've said in the past, SNS was as broken as it was beautiful. Energy Twisters gave you back more Arcane Power than you put in. It was the Fusion of Diablo 3.
It also happened to be incredibly, fucking, expensive. And that brings me to the second, arguably more controversial factor that served as the marker of the "Age of the OG" - The Auction House.
The Auction House was a part of Diablo 3 that was not, in my humble opinion, optional. Trust me when I tell you, if you didn't use the Auction House in Vanilla Diablo 3, you may never have escaped Act 2. You simply couldn't assemble or craft a gear set that was usable for end-game by just playing the game. You had to trade. You had to flip. You had to spend.
If you lacked the skill set to manipulate an economy, you simply couldn't play end-game Diablo. The only other way you could accomplish this was by having deep pockets. The term BiS (Best in Slot) also continued to evolve over time, as builds and skills changed with each passing patch. There was no way to simply "buy and be done". You needed to continue to evolve.
The most expensive variants of SNS were no doubt the Life Steal variants, and those with the strongest gear sets used some pretty wacky weapons - weapons that had massive damage ranges, native critical hit damage, Increased Attack Speed, Life Steal, and of course, a socket. These weapons cost hundreds and hundreds of US dollars, with the anomaly pieces selling for prices into the thousands.
When the Auction House was taken out of Diablo 3, and when Critical Mass was taken out of Diablo 3, the OG's ceased to accumulate. The launching of ROS just felt like a chapter-ender to me. That is NOT to imply that there aren't amazing new folks who are active in the US WIzard Community. Where would the community be without Kanjihack's Legendary Mechanics thread, or Pallis' Gear Check threads? Who can argue that TealDawn hasn't sparked vibrant discussion and debate on the Forums? There are wonderful individuals working towards maintaining a thriving, helpful community who emerged post-Vanilla.
The emergence of Clans brought about a discussion between Jaetch and myself where Jaetch expressed a desire to bring together our dearest and oldest friends, and I expressed a desire to offer a haven for the remaining OG's following the next Surge. Our clan name is incredibly apropos. The Vizjerei Clan is comprised of some of the most awesome Wizards around, old and new. There are many inactive OG's that occasionally return to say hello or start playing again. They will always have a home in The Vizjerei. We are all of us indebted to each other for the years of laugher, happiness, and fun that we brought and continue to bring to one another. It's one helluva family to be part of, and I'm grateful for being a part of it.
Thanks for reading.
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