For the last two weeks I have been tinkering around in the Diablo 3 beta. For anyone reading this right now that has not experienced Diablo 1 and 2, you missed out on two epic games. With the first games being huge, there is a lot at stake by releasing a third chapter in the franchise. Perhaps that may be why 10 years has passed by since Diablo 2 launched. The Diablo franchise is the epitome of a hack and slash adventure game in my eyes. For full disclosure, I was very skeptical upon firing up the beta.
It’s not earth shattering news that there are new classes to choose from, which were Wizard (which I picked), Witch Doctor, Monk, Barbarian and Demon Hunter. The beta begins outside of the gates of New Tristram. My initial reaction was one of disappointment, after being in development for so many years I expected more. As I progressed through the beta and made it into some dungeons I realized while the exterior locations were a tad drab, the dungeons actually looked pretty good. The entire skill/spell system has been revamped, no more carefully picking stats as you level, or finding spell books. The new system works, although a huge change from the first two games. The best part of the new system is the ability to be able to go back and make changes, whereas in the first two games once you used a stat point, that was it. In the case of the wizard, I had a handful of spells to pick through for each skill level. You can select one and then put them in your toolbar. This allows for some interesting spell combos, for instance I used an ice blast spell to freeze enemies, then a force push to shatter them. It was actually pretty cool.
The online multiplayer seemed interesting; you have the ability to make your personal game public or join someone else’s with your character. I’m not sure what the full functionality will be in the future with this. That brings us to the part everyone has been raving about. The auction house that will let players sell items for in game currency or real world currency. It is yet to be determined if I will be quitting my work at Vagary.TV to sell fancy swords to twelve year old Diablo III addicts in Korea, the concept is interesting. Only time will tell how successful it will be. To me, it doesn’t play like an MMO (where I see this system being a huge money maker) — but as we roll into a full build of the game, this opinion may be swayed. Aside from the previously mentioned points, Diablo III not surprisingly plays very similarly to it’s predecessors. The quest system feels like a polished version of the old.
Diablo III feels like a hit, the beta is fun and it leaves me hungry for more.