Diablo III – Initial Impressions

TDLR Version – If you liked Diablo II’s click-kill-n-loot model, you should like Diablo III.  If you don’t like that kind of game, you’re not going to like Diablo III.

Diablo III got off to a rough start yesterday, with the servers being down most of the day.  However, today I’ve had no problems playing.

The game plays more-or-less like Diablo II.  Click on a monster to kill it, then click on the loot to collect it.  It also keeps the same grim, dark atmosphere as the previous two games (definitely not for young kids).

There are, however, some changes to other mechanics.  Principle among them is the way you skill up a character.  The skill tree of Diablo II is gone.  Instead, you have six skill slots which unlock as you level your character.  As you level you also gradually unlock a number of skills for each slot, for a total of about 25-30 skills.  In addition, each skill has 5 or so different runes, which further modify that skill, allowing for a great deal of character customization.  You can re-spec your skills and runes at any time, without cost.

Another significant change is an emphasis on crafting.  As you play you can level up the Blacksmith and a Jeweler.  The blacksmith lets you craft weapons and armor, and salvage magic items, while the Jeweler cuts gem sockets into items, combines smaller gems into bigger ones, etc.  Leveling a crafter requires a fair amount of gold, though to get them to the final level you need tomes, which drop in the game (reportedly at the hardest level, Inferno).  You’ll also be able to loot plans to craft rare items.

The art style is slightly cartoony (though not as exaggerated as WoW or Torchlight); however, given the scale of the characters and the dark lighting it’s only really noticeable during cut scenes or if you look closely at the details.

Another minor change:  the game does away with the Town Portal and Identify scrolls.  Once you unlock Town Portal (fairly early in the game) you can teleport to town whenever you want.  And to identify a rare item, just left click on it…voila!

A more significant change is the inclusion of an online Auction House.  Currently only the Gold Auction House (GAH) is active, but sometime next week the Real Money Auction House (RMAH) will come online (which I posted on last week).  Lest you think you’ll become a millionaire playing Diablo III, Blizzard takes a hefty cut of your profits and imposes significant restrictions on auctions.  Plus, there are about 1.3 billion Chinese happy to undercut you anyways.  Still, the auction house is a nice feature, adding convenience and increased security (for real money transactions).  The auction houses are also completely optional…you can just ignore them if you don’t like them.

All-in-all, if you like Diablo style action RPG loot-fests, you’ll like Diablo III.  If you hate those kinds of games, you’ll probably hate D3, too.

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3 Responses to “Diablo III – Initial Impressions”

  1. David Jenks Says:

    Thanks!

    I can justify buying this to my wife, now. (She liked the first two Diablo games.)

    😀

  2. David Jenks Says:

    …..Aaaaans you’re right, it’s like coming back home.

    😀

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