With the open beta now finished the release date could not come sooner. For those of you that managed to get a taste of the beta you probably feel the same way, but for those that didn’t get around to playing it I’m here to help. My opinion should be taken with a pinch of salt as I haven’t actually played either of the previous games. With this is mind I won’t be able to make any comparisons to the previous games. Without further delay I bring to you my impressions of Diablo III.
I took the blind approach to the open beta since I had only ever heard of Diablo from friends. I had never seen what the game looked like or even had any knowledge of what type of game I had coming my way. What I was expecting was gameplay similar to World of Warcraft, by this I mean the 3rd person view with the same numbered attack system and the WASD keys to move. Oh, how wrong was I? What I in fact got was a top down-ish (It’s not a totally top down view) click to move and attack game, in all honesty I was happy to see something fresh… What? It was fresh for me at least…
There really is nothing to the character creation, once you choose what character to play you’re given that character and, really, you can’t change a thing about their appearance. The choice of character classes have your basic Warrior and Mage (although it’s called wizard… it’s the same thing) but you also have Witch Doctor, Demon Hunter and Monk. I instantly went for the Witch Doctor upon the discovery that he can summon zombie dogs to aid you in combat. I mean, what isn’t appealing about having some trusty hounds of the dead by your side? So I go ahead and click confirm on the choice to play as a Witch Doctor. At this point I’m thinking “Damn, this guy has some pretty bad-ass armour”, then all of a sudden this pale naked old man is shaking around on my screen more than Michael J. Fox at a rave. What the hell?
At the beginning of the beta you’re plopped down outside of the town of Tristram, What I gathered from my naked old man’s mumbling was that I was in search of the ‘fallen star’ and this was the place to start. I’m put on a narrow path leading to the town, upon reaching the front gate and clearing off a few of the undead, I chat to a nice young fellow who seems a tad too casual about talking to a naked old man… I’m worried about him… Overexposed to his naked grandfather or not, he kindly informed me that I should talk to Leah who is currently at the Inn. After I aid him and the other soldiers in clearing the last wave of the dead, the gates are opened and I rush into the town and towards the Inn. Nobody in the town seems at all bothered that I’m running around naked… I’m getting creeped out by this place now. I find Leah and have a little chat before being attacked by a team of sickly looking dudes that had just exploded into their previously hidden zombie forms, once they had been cleared I managed to gain my first level up!
Diablo really doesn’t want you to miss your level ups, upon each level gained you explode in a magnificent explosion of gold explosiony glitter… explosion. At this level up I am granted a new skill that I can use with the right-click of my mouse, Grasp of the dead! This particular skill lets me sprout hands from the ground that wave around and slow my enemies advance towards me, even the sight of this fails to make the patrons of the inn blink twice and shrug it off as if they witnessed a baby vomit. Y’know that way you saw it but you wish you didn’t? Yeah, I’m guessing that’s how they reacted. After reaching level 6 you unlock skill runes, these runes allow for your attacks to have all sorts of additional effects or just give that attack a basic damage boost.
Deciding to trot on with the quest I’m instructed to seek out the Wretched Queen in the Old Ruins. Now these Wretched creatures are a bit of a pain to kill because they vomit on the ground, just like a baby does, and the undead crawl out from the sick covered ground to defend their master, thankfully nothing like a baby.
Once the Wretched Queen is dead you eventually head off to Adria’s Hut with Leah and have to fight for your life against Captain Dalton who, after being turned into a zombie, gained the ability to create exploding spheres of ice randomly around the room that freeze you in place if you’re damaged by them. Very frustrating if you manage to get caught by one. Up to now I had been playing myself so before continuing any further I decided to wait and play with MMGaming’s very own Seb.
I wasn’t entirely sure how the multiplayer worked since it wasn’t an open world game. As it turns out you create a lobby of up to four people and begin at any point in the game that has previously been completed or up to the latest point that’s been played. I couldn’t tell if having two people in the game increased the number of enemies around the map or if they maybe just got stronger. Something that always causes a bit of conflict when playing a game like this with friends is who should get the loot? Diablo tackles this in a way in which I think is the most simple and effective method in a game like this. Each player has different loot drop from every fallen enemy and chest meaning there is no loot roll and no ninja looting. With a full 4 man team going all out on a dungeon boss everyone will have a fair chance at getting some loot that they actually want.
A massive aspect of the entire multiplayer experience is going to be the auction house. Diablo 3 will be introducing the ability to buy or sell in game items for actual real world currency. Personally I’m split either way on this. It could mean people making a living from playing the game and maybe even for myself to make a little bit of cash back from the game or it could mean if a player is rich out of the game world then they could just buy anything they want. I think I’m mainly leaning towards it being a positive thing that Blizzard are bringing to the game, the prospect of making some cash money from a game is quite exciting.
I’d like to wrap it up here by saying that I will most definitely be buying this game. I had plenty of fun playing it myself and even more fun playing along with Seb. I can’t wait to get a full squad together and run through the more difficult parts of the game and watch the chaos unfold. The characters seem so diverse from each other that I could be playing one character, decide to switch to another and have it feel like a totally different game… Ok, not totally different but each class looks like it has its own playstyle and selling points. The point I’m trying to make here is that if you have the opportunity to buy the game then buy it without a second of hesitation!
The full game comes out on May 15th so get saving money and be prepared to say farewell to your social life as you’re immersed into the world of Diablo!
You can check out Seb and I playing together in the video below. We sort of talk over the various aspects and selling points of the game but mostly I get confused and shout at things.