How Diablo cured my fear of spiders - Dexerto
Opinion

How Diablo cured my fear of spiders

Published: 15/Sep/2021 11:25

by Lauren Bergin

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In every single MMO or RPG, you’re likely to encounter eight-legged monsters. If you’re this writer, you’re absolutely terrified of them, but here’s how Blizzard’s devilishly delightful Diablo helped cure my fear of spiders.

Yes, you read that title right, I excuse you for rolling your eyes. My name is Lauren, and I have a severe phobia of, you guessed it, spiders.

Ever since I hit my late teens those eight-legged demons have tormented my every waking moment. Fear manifested itself in the form of panic attacks, not being able to breath, or being unable enter a room where one of the animals had previously resided.

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This year, however, I managed to adopt a tiny spider that lived in my room, and I have Blizzard’s Diablo franchise to thank for it. So, here’s the story of how Diablo cured my arachnophobia.

Diablo 3 Witch Doctor
Blizzard Entertainment
As a Witch Doctor main in Diablo 3, spiders feature pretty prominently.

Fear itself

On March 4, 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) became the 32nd President of the United States. In his inaugural address, he famously stated “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Clearly President Roosevelt didn’t have arachnophobia.

When people ask me where the fear originated, I can’t give you a decent answer. This adventurous child held tarantulas, helped spiders back outside, but as a terrified teenager it was difficult being in a room with them. What changed? No idea. But something changed.

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This translated across into the virtual sphere as well, though. As soon as there were spiders the teammates were called in to deal with them. Whether it was in World of Warcraft, Final Fantasy, or even pixel spiders, phone a friend became a reality.

But Diablo changed all of that.

Diablo 2 Resurrected Andariel's lair
Blizzard Entertainment
“Kill it with fire.”

How Diablo cured my fear of spiders

As my Hero of Sanctuary traversed the hallowed grounds of Diablo 2’s Spider Forest, or took on Cydaea in Diablo 3, there was always a subliminal sense of fear.

Blizzard’s arachnids are beautifully animated, and even have the erratic leg movements that make us all so uncomfortable. As my mouse slowly grew forever more humid because of constant sweating, my character delved deep into the bowels of my absolute nightmare – head first.

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Through the constant shakes and the self-reminders to breathe, I realized: I can kill them. These ferocious beasts with their snapping jaws were no match for the Amazon or Witch Doctor. If fending off these towering terrors was that easy, why were tiny jumping spiders the bane of my existence?

While the hairs on my arms were still standing up, and that creeping sensation still crawled along my spine, I could handle it. In fact, it was quite exhilarating.

A brave new world

While sharing the house with eight-legged beasties isn’t exactly a thrilling concept, the hours of time spend slaying them in Diablo proved that it’s doable. Whether it’s simply building up a resistance after seeing them so often, or just a straight-up placebo; Diablo helped cure my arachnophobia.

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Do the jitters still kick in when virtual spiders crawl across the screen? Yes. The difference is that it doesn’t spell the end of the journey anymore (as well as a trip to accident and emergency because my windpipe decided to close) – they symbolize the fear that I conquered.

Diablo gave me the perfect platform to tackle my terrors head-on. It proved I had the inner strength to deal with them, and helped me channel my inner Amazon into my everyday life.

A wise man once said that “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Guess he was right.

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