As I mentioned nearly a week ago in my last post, I spent most of this week in a Diablo III gaming frenzy. I spent the first few hours of release experiencing server issues, like a number of people also did. And After that was done and through I had a twelve hour marathon, where I ended up finishing the the entire campaign in normal mode. I’m currently a level 53 Wizard in Hell mode Act II named Kulea and I’ll try my best to detail some of my experience while keeping this post generally spoiler free.

I decided on the Wizard class rather early on. This was mainly due to having a sorceress as my main during Diablo II. I don’t particularly enjoy playing ranged magic users otherwise, as my characters in World of Warcraft and most other RPGs are more with the Melee and more specific Knight classes. I am tempted to make a Barbarian, though my main roadblock has to do with their character models.

The storyline in Diablo III has me rather torn. I’m not particularly fond of the direction they went and part me feels that D3 suffers from the “Hollywood Trailer” syndrome. “Hollywood Trailer” syndrome being defined as: “most of the best parts of the storyline are in the trailers.” I’m not going to spoil anything, but the ending of ACT I and the whole of ACT IV vastly disappointed me. ACT II and ACT III storyline wise was fine and what I expected. I recall Blizzard mentioning that they plan to release annual expansions, my question for those who beat the game is: what direction would they take it? Seems like it would get repetitively real quick. Oh and a big gripe I have with the four acts, they seem to go by REALLY fast. (So fast that there are achievements to beat each one with an hour)

The mechanics and gameplay in Diablo III are vastly improved over Diablo II. My two favorite implementations are that your character picks up gold by running over it and the second being that every character has their own loot (i.e. you can’t steal someone else’s loot). The whole loot theft was a huge issue in Diablo II and I’m really glad that they managed to remedy that. The biggest feature that has probably caught most people’s interest will be the real money auction house. As of this writing it isn’t available, but I expect it to be quite lucrative for the serious players. I have been playing around in the gold auction house and if the RMAH will be using the same interface, then I hope it will go through some tweaks before launch.

I find the Wizard class to be pretty weak about mid-way through nightmare mode and in hell mode, it is basically a kite fest. I expect most ranged classes to have this issue, but I notice that it takes away from most of the fun of playing. This has been remedied somewhat by grouping up with other people but from what I have heard, that is in need of tweaking too. If I had to recommend a class to new players, I think that the Barbarian may be the most newbie friendly and possibly witch hunter if you are into ranged classes. I like the wizard, but after playing it and knowing that it was the first class developed I have to say that, it feels like the first class developed. There’s not enough polish and some of the class’ abilities seem useless or afterthoughts. I’m hoping the patches sure to come within the next few months will fix some of that, but for now I don’t really like to solo with her anymore.

Diablo III has a lot going on. You have the game itself, your characters, your friends, the wonderful music (didn’t really touch up on this, but ALL Blizzard soundtracks tend to be great), great cg cutscenes, awesome voice work, the auction house… I don’t want to spoil this and say that Blizzard, perhaps, bit off more than it could chew on this one – on an 11-year development cycle, no less.

Criticisms aside, Diablo III remains a fun adventure through all things evil. You’ll enjoy your (rushed) time throughout the four acts… the real question is whether Blizzard’s built enough to keep players jamming on new characters and new difficulties over the long-term. Early server issues and tons of minor problems plagued the first day, but all in all a….


*Note not a final "review" just my first impression score.