Diablo III "First" Impressions!

Monday May 14, 2012, was one long day for my friends and I. Why? Because it was the day before the release of Diablo III, sequel to a game we’ve been playing since we were 13! We all scheduled to be off work on the 15th, and made sure our computers, mice, and keyboards were in working order. The fridge was stocked with Monster energy drinks, we had some emergency 5 hour energy on hand, and snacks were anything but scarce. After what seemed like the longest day of work ever we took care of a few things, like saying goodbye to our loved ones, and getting dinner. The midnight release at the local game store was… lackluster at best. For whatever reason both guys behind the counter, as typical game store tools would be, were baffled about why more people would show up for a Diablo III during the Max Payne 3 release. By midnight about 20 fans arrived, 2 of which were there for Max Payne.

At Midnight, we grabbed our copies of the game, I was the first one to get mine in the store, and headed home. It was so unreal. I didn’t think I’d ever hold the game in my hands, but here we were. I was so excited that I didn’t let go of my Collectors Edition in the car, and I was the one that drove to the store!

Photo of me driving home with the Collectors Edition of Diablo III, taken by my lovely fiancee Audra.

Once we got back to my house I, along with fellow One-Quest contributors Cobb, and Shahid, activated our copies of Diablo III. No need to install, because we were able to access the early install from battle.net. We looked at our Collectors goodies, avoiding the art book because of rumored spoilers. The Diablo Skull and Soulstone are the highlight of the package, but it also includes the audio soundtrack, which I’m listening to now, and a behind the scenes DVD/Bluray. At this point it was 12:15 and we still had 2 hours and 45 minutes until the servers went live… So we decided to go to a diner, and meet up another One-Quest contributor, Drootin while we waited. Before we left we decided to watch the Diablo III opening cut scene. It’s no different then the one you can find online, but it was… different, if only for the fact that it was running off of the installed game on my computer. At that moment, everything came into perspective. “Diablo III has arrived,” I thought,” and like this opening, it is going to be EPIC.” This was such a huge moment, so much build up for this day, that I actually shed a tear. It was… surreal. After the scene ended we went to the diner to kill time, and the local 24 hour Walmart to gather some last minute provisions.

2:55 rolled around and we all stopped what we were doing. I had to quit a game of Squadron Defense on StarCraft II, which was made particularly upsetting because I was actually doing well. We opened the game, entered our log in information, and waited. 4 minutes. 3 minutes. They went by so slowly… At last 3 AM hit, and we all hit log in. Of course everyone reported this already, but we were met with Error 37, and eventually Error 3005. 37 means the server is busy, mostly due to the whole world logging on at the same time. 3005 was because we had too many login requests coming from my house. We didn’t realize that until about 5am, when we all took a 10 minute break and were at last able to log in. We made our characters, joined our 4 person party, and began our quest to save Sanctuary!

Diablo Skull and Soulstone next to Jim Raynor Dog Tag.

How is it, you ask? Well, the first 2 hours are no different the then the many times I played the Diablo III beta. The only thing that has changed was the inclusion of friends, which is very welcome. The whole world just feels more alive with other heroes running around with you. We had a full group, which is 4. This is mildly upsetting, because a full group in Diablo II was 8, but it was so maddeningly chaotic with that many players that I’m actually OK with it only being 4 players now. The only class left out of our group was the Witch Doctor, but not out of lack of love, it really was a hard decision for me to roll Wizard over Witch Doctor. Wizard just seemed more… me. We bowled through the the first few quests with no problems. No deaths, tons of shared loot, and a whole slew of level ups. It didn’t slow down at all really. Constant fights, loot, story, quests, and more loot for 5 straight hours, until we took our first and only willing, break of the day.

The story is presented with voice over text and cut scenes. There is the standard opening that explains the situation with the Fallen Star, and each hero has their own intro, that details their story and why they’re looking for the Fallen Star. Then after a few quests another cut scene kicks in to give your chosen character a chance to explain what’s going on, and what they’re after. A few quests later, you’re met with another cut scene, to keep you in the story loop. It’s really well done, and helps keep you coming back for more. Not that the game needs any help there! The combat plays flawlessly! There are so many options for each class too! For instance my wizard is decked out with a whole slew of melee, or short range attacks. I also set myself to have less defense with a trade off of having increased damage! I’m a close range/melee Wizard, with low defense, and I love it! But if things get a little to hectic for me, then I hop in my skill book, change a few skills to ranged moves and proceed to just as effectively kill demons from far away!

My level 25 Wizard, HeraDeez after 10 hours of play time.

One of the coolest features are the “events.” Random quests that pop up in the field while you’re out killing viscous beasts. I won’t spoil anything, but there have been a few throwbacks to classic Diablo and Diablo II in both the random event quests, and actual quest line. It all ties together very well, it’s just a blast to play, and it’s looking fairly long right now, with tons of added replay value. Like I said earlier, we played for 5 and a half hours straight, and in that time we had finished Act 1. We added another 5 hours to the clock thoughout the day, there were a few server dumps here and there,  but have yet to complete Act 2, although we think we’re close. That means that if Act 3 and 4 follow in suit, we have about 20 hours total to complete 1 play through, on 1 difficulty, with 1 character. Add up 5 characters, with just Normal difficulty, and you’re looking at about 100 hours. Throw in Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno difficulties, and you have 400 hours, to get through every difficulty 1 time with all five characters! The different event quests may or may not spawn to help every time through the game seem different from the previous.

First impressions on Diablo III are extremely positive. I’ll be sure to post more about the last 2 acts, without spoilers, as I reach them, with a full review to follow soon after. As it stands, however, I highly recommend this game to everyone!

is not a boss.

You can Email Eric or follow Eric on Twitter @EricSweeten or Facebook

8 responses to “Diablo III "First" Impressions!”

  1. Anthony says:

    Hey also pictured, along with the Diablo Skull and the dog tag, are two blank DVDs which I supplied to you for transfer of stuff! I forgot about those! Where is my stuff sir?!

  2. Anthony says:

    Hey also pictured, along with the Diablo Skull and the dog tag, are two blank DVDs which I supplied to you for transfer of stuff! I forgot about those! Where is my stuff sir?!

  3. JohnScott says:

    I was there too!

    • Eric says:

      Oh that’s right! John was there too, everybody! He ate spaghetti and the biggest sausage, then went home. :-p

  4. JohnScott says:

    I was there too!

    • Eric says:

      Oh that’s right! John was there too, everybody! He ate spaghetti and the biggest sausage, then went home. :-p

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