It’s not easy enjoying all these game launch parties being thrown by all and sundry these days. I’d even go as far as to say it’s damn hard work. Free food. Free drinks. Free swag. And the battles that rage to acquire such bounty. Some, like previous events hosted by Mweb, bring with them the offer of a free cavity search when passing through security. Apparently zombies put them all on edge around there, but as evidenced, these events are fraught with danger.
Deftly tip-toeing through security this time, the press were taken in early to see and photograph the decorated Mcave for the Diablo 3 launch. It was a trap. A new danger emerged. At first, it appeared to be an evil mist – the harbinger of the evil that had been promised. But as the first hapless (and now helpless) hacks fell, we realised that it was not a supernatural phenomenon but rather an overactive smoke machine in an enclosed space. As most dropped to the floor to escape suffocation, we soon realised that the choking was now a secondary problem. The noise from the mechanical ventilation was making people’s ears bleed and the smoke detector had decided it was going to do its job and warn all that, yes, the room was dangerously filling up with smoke. Maybe evil had actually shown up for this event.
Once (relative) sanity was restored, we were greeted with the familiar faces of the cosplay crew who were dressed to kill. It might be a little sad to state that they were slightly overshadowed by the equally stunning looking Alienware X51s running the game for all to enjoy. However, Desmond Kurz from Mweb Gamezone was not about to let anyone enjoy the game (and neither – it would appear – were the volatile servers) before he had formally welcomed us all and given the sponsors an opportunity to say their piece.
What followed was a whirlwind (which helped with the smoke dispersal) of sponsors and their impressive loot. First up was Ian from Musica who announced that as a limited trial run with Mweb the Musica Canal Walk branch would offer new sign-ups to an Mweb 1mb or 4mb uncapped account Diablo 3 for R199.95. The deal will run until 30 June, so we’d suggest you jump to it sharpishly.
Next was Gerald – the theoretical proud owner of those aforementioned stunning Alienware PCs. My attempts to convince him that Zombiegamer should review one of these beasts (for good, naturally) appeared to have not been heard at all. We were fortunate enough to witness them for the first time in SA and the machines had only been launched 45 days ago in the US. Some lucky techno-geeks are going to be reviewing them soon around the country, but let me be first to say: “Sexy. Buy one. Now.”
Samsung were thanked in their absence for the 46” and 55” displays they had supplied. Again, efforts to procure a review model were completely ignored. After all the suffering we had been through, surely we were entitled to at least a grunt of “no”. The silent treatment spoke volumes. And hurt me deep inside. But it was up to Barend from Corex to distract me from the vengeful thoughts building inside. Corex are the South African distributors of TTesports and Thermaltake products and peripherals. These include – in the TTesports range(designed for and by gamers) – quality headsets, keyboards and gaming mice. Or mouse. Or the thing that isn’t an Xbox 360 controller.
Like the Alienware X51s another first for pretty much everyone invited to the event was the opportunity to sample Ozone Energy Drink. Bypassing my personal smugness of having already sampled it, it was pleasing to hear from the other attendees that the drink tasted “great”, “awesome” and “can I have more”. Wickus from Ozone South Africa again pointed out their desire to see the SA gaming community grow and promised that if they have anything to do with it, the future will be very “bright” indeed. The retail product is still a few weeks away, but that’s not stopping them from getting involved already.
By now, the finger nibbles from earlier had worn off and the rumbling previously associated with the ventilation was now emanating from my stomach. Want food. Want drink. Want to watch 16 machines struggle to connect to the Battlenet servers… while eating pizza. Wish granted. Luckily there was Chocs (real name – while known – irrelevant because calling him Chocs is much more fun) to sort all the machines out. Reports of a hammer meeting plastic casing in an effort to get things working are unfounded. I believe he used his head.
Of course no evening of this nature could ever be complete without someone (else) winning something. There was Steel Series Diablo 3 headsets, mousepads and a mouse up for grabs, and the lucky winners included Richard Scott (who won too much) and first time (ever. In her life) winner Tarryn van der Byl. Unfortunately, I was not quick enough to write down names and take pictures while drinking an Ozone to catch all the names of the other winners, but my begrudging congratulations goes out to you all.
But in all that fun and games, what is the game like you ask? I haven’t a clue. Between laughing at people choking, my ears bleeding and enjoying the spectacle of Chocs tirelessly running between the stations to work his magic, I just couldn’t drag myself to be greeted by an error code. It’s much better sticking to the devil(s) you know – which in this case are people, and talking, and the inevitability that I would find myself the last to leave again. Thanks Mweb Gamezone (and Diablo 3 local distributor Megarom). I’ll bring the 55” Samsung back when I see you at the next event.
For more pictures from the Mweb Diablo 3 launch, check out our Facebook Album.