Diablo III: Beta Impressions

Diablo III - Beta Impressions

Hey Questers! We know you’re all excited to play Diablo III, if it ever comes out, and are just itching to get any information on the game you can possibly get. Well, what better way to deliver that then a semi-weekly review of the Diablo III Beta? One-Quest, in particular yours truly, gained access to the Closed Beta of Diablo III about 2 weeks ago, and since then the game has undergone some incredible changes, which can be read about at the official Diablo Blog. I’m going to start off with a general overview of the Beta as a whole, and in the coming weeks you can expect detailed reviews of the classes, crafting, beta updates, and any other changes Blizzard decides to throw at me. Hopefully these updates will help satiate your Magic Finding needs until the official release of Diablo III! BE FORWARNED: THERE WILL BE MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD! I will do my best to avoid as much story detail as possible!

The Diablo III Beta throws players into the beginning of the main quest of the game. In fact, it’s really like the beginning of the beginning. On average I can start a new character and complete the Beta within 1.5-2 hours. That bodes well for game length, considering that I can start a new character and defeat all of Act 1 in Diablo II in that same time period. Blizzard has stated that the Beta ends less then halfway thru the first act. So we’re looking at about 4 hours for act 1, which is pretty solid in my opinion. If you’ve heard anything about the Beta from anyone else, then you’ve most likely heard that it’s EASY, and they are not wrong at all. On every character I completed the Beta without using a single health potion, and in most cases my characters never fell below half of their maximum health. Don’t let this dissuade you! When you compare this to Diablo II then there really is no difference… it’s not until I reach those god forsaken electric beetles in Act II that I start having trouble! Since we’re only getting halfway through act 1, then it’s safe to assume that difficult times are ahead!

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve made a few comparisons to Diablo II. I’d like to make this very clear: Diablo III is not just a prettier Diablo II, and it’s certainly NOT WOW LITE! Diablo III has a very unique feel to it, and this helps it stand out against other Blizzard games. Every character plays incredibly different from the rest, thanks to the differing resources for each class. The only class that falters from this schematic is the Witch Doctor. The Witch Doctor plays very much like a Diablo II character, in that it relies heavily on it’s resource, Mana. The problem is that the Witch Doctor has no way to generate Mana other then not doing anything, similar to Mana Regen in Diablo II only without Mana Potions. It’s… boring. All of the other characters in Diablo III utilize a “Generate/Use” mechanic, that is significantly more fun then the “Use and Wait” method of Diablo II. Everything is entirely based on the skills you use, and the new skill system is really cool.

Diablo III - Character Classes

Diablo III Classes.

The Skill Trees from Diablo II have been removed entirely. Instead of spending points on a skill, and hoping you didn’t pick the wrong one, Blizzard has opted to allow all characters to learn all of their class skills. This allows the players to build their characters around the way they want to play, and experiment with builds they wouldn’t normally try. Blizzard was originally going to implement a Rune Stone system that would allow players to find and attach Runes to Combat Skills. The Runes would alter the combat skills by adding elemental damage, or increasing resource generation. However, Blizzard has since changed this feature from a Find and Attach paradigm, and incorporated it into the standard level up system. Now as you level up you’ll could learn a new skill entirely, gain a skill rune for a previously learned skill, or sometimes both! Rather then plateauing at level 30, and having no new skills to learn, the player will acquire a skill or skill rune every level all the way up to the current max of level 60! This really adds to the sense of growth for high level characters.

Combat and Skills aren’t the only aspects of the game that are being overhauled from the previous release. Diablo III encourages exploration much more then before by offering random events throughout the lands of Sanctuary. I have run through the beta about 15 times at this point and I can recall certain dungeons and villains that I have encountered only 1 or 2 times! There is an incredible amount of variety here. Blizzard has also made the characters more mobile then before by removing the Stamina/Run bar, and opting to allow the characters to move at an even pace without rest. There are also 6 different Way Points scattered throughout the 2 hour game time, allowing you to get to and from your destination as quickly as possible. There is also the addition of a blacksmith, who basically acts as a Horadric cube, allowing you to create powerful new equipment out of dismantled items. Lastly, the follower adds a lot more charm then the Diablo II counterparts, and is fairly customizable, with interchangeable equipment and skills.

Overall I’d say the Beta is super fun! And the recent changes to the skill system are showing a lot of promise. Check back next week for a more indepth look at some of the other aspects of the Diablo III Beta. Sound off in the comments with any questions you’d like addressed in next weeks installment!

is not a boss.

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The Story So Far. . .
  • One-Quest was founded many millennia ago in a galaxy know as "n00b," by a foundation of Nerds. n00b was a small galaxy ruled by an evil empire, known as the "Hipstars." One-Quest formed with the sole purpose of removing the Hipstar empire from power, and restoring balance to all Nerds...
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