That made for a great afternoon, but the bigger treat came for me that night. You see, friends and neighbors, WoWSonya's husband Sean had recently received a beta key for Diablo III! Oh, man! The envy, it must have been streaming off of me when I first heard the news.
Luckily for me, Sean is of the generous sort, and once we returned from dinner, he logged me onto his Battle.net account and let me have at it! I'm pretty sure that you could see my grin from orbit, as I slid into his computer chair and started my quest. So, as you might expect, here are my observations on a single playthrough of the Diablo III beta!
I wanted to be able to jump into the action as soon as possible, without having to worry about fragility or spells, so I knew the Barbarian would be a great fit. I typically played a Paladin in Diablo II, and tend to favor melee classes in most computer games, and I wasn't about to change here.
First up, the gameplay feels like I'm sliding back onto a comfortable couch. The feel of the game immediately brings back memories of Diablo II, with primary skills attached to left and right mouse buttons, and other skills linked to hotkeys. But, while the gameplay felt familiar, it simultaneously felt more...advanced? That's not the right word, but it's close. It was incredibly easy for me to pick up, though I did move around my hotkeys, setting my non-mouse skills and potions onto the home keys, for easy motion.
|The mighty Barbarians of Mount Arreat|
Since none of these skills were reliant on skill points or the like, they always worked at their full capacity. Really, there's very little number-crunching necessary in Diablo III. Even the four primary stats are simply representatives of how much damage, critical chance, health and the like your character has. While some have decried this as a lack of customization, it really serves to get you back into the action faster--there's no need to stop the zombie-smashing! And, really--by the time I finished the beta, I was level 10 and had about 12 skills to choose from, which made for plenty of choices already. And with the rune system still on deck? Yeah, choice won't be a commodity here.
|Hammer of the Ancients smashes a Cultist|
in the Diablo III Beta!
The visceral nature of combat, though, may be the best part. Watching zombies ragdall as I Cleaved through them, hacking my way through barrels and watching the rings scatter across the floor, stomping the ground and seeing baddies stagger backwards...this is the visceral, full-bodied feel of a game that's never going to be tiresome.
Whenever it manages to come out, Diablo III is going to be a massive blast. Can't wait!