I was one of the lucky folks who was able to get to go to last year’s BlizzCon and see the information about Diablo III beginning to seep out. Goosebumps shot across my flesh as I got to see the video on the giant screen of the new class: Demon Hunter. Now fast forward to almost a year later and I am sitting at my home computer firing up the beta test. I was surprised when word went around that there was no NDA on the game anymore but after a bit of play I got the point. Having beta tested many games I have seen what a beta looks and behaves like and this game is more of an elongated demo. Is that a bad thing? Nope! I would have been more than happy to help test environments and collision issues but this very polished game gives a good idea of what we can expect when the game comes out. It was just enough of a taste to keep a person playing it over and over to see how the experience changes, even after hitting the level cap.
The game is incredible looking with excellent animations and rich environments. Periodically I stopped and just looked at how nice thing were and how clean and crisp every single aspect of the game is. It is a polished look that even in this demo mode looks better than a lot of games out there. It was also nice seeing “the seed” system at work. Every time you play when you walk through an area or into a dungeon there are a bunch of possibilities that can happen at the location, the spot has a seed for an event or dungeon to grow from and it will randomly do that. This system with the seeds planted all over the game means the game should in theory never be the same twice, only the storyline will remain the same.
The storyline is already going along nicely to the point in the game it lets you go to. Without spoiling it, familiar names make themselves known in this game that is a real treat if, like me, you played the last game for years online while at the same time being a fun play for new entries to the series. This isn’t a surprise since a lot of the interface for the new game was borrowed from World of Warcraft to allow new players just there for the hack and slash or trying to get into the system for the first time can have some familiar controls. Just about every change that is made in the gameplay is towards the WoW format with one odd exception which I am not sure how much I like. In both WoW and Diablo II players had a bank/chest in which to store their favorite items or items they want to pass onto another character. In the case of Diablo III the chest is shared between all of your characters which means no logging in and out to pass items from one character to another but limits the amount of storage you have. More storage can be purchased with in game money but it isn’t cheap.
There are new character classes as well as a revamp of the old ones and in the current demo game they are all very over powered, my guess is so that players can experience the game without a lot of deaths getting in their way. I talked to players who took magic classes and meleed with them doing massive amounts of damage, in some cases more than the melee classes themselves. As I mentioned though it is probably so that you can experience all the classes and skills the game has to offer. One of the skills that will be more familiar to WoW players is armor crafting which, until a player is able to start finding legendary gear for themselves, is a really good way to start getting decent and more class efficient armor.
This demo is definitely too polished to feel like the beta it is presented as, but is a terrific way to get a feeling for what we can expect in the future. This game will feel a lot like Diablo II with a more WoW style interface that combined with its own innovations should make it a huge hit with a wide variety of players. I look forward to the next piece of the game!