On Saturday, gem and I started playing Diablo III. She was going to create a witch doctor but ended up rolling a monk. I played a demon hunter in the beta, planned on playing a demon hunter, and, well, did play a demon hunter. So far we’re really enjoying the game. The story is much more intricate, and the skill system is different than both Diablo 2 and World of Warcraft. Currently we’re maybe halfway (or so?) through Act I. For those of you playing, we’ve fought the spider queen boss. The screenshot above was taken right after killing King Leoric.
I think the most important thing to consider is whether or not the game is fun, and it has been. I enjoy the visual style, which has a hand-painted look to it. Although different, it reminds me of the background of Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood. Giving Town Portal as a spell that can be cast as often as needed is very cool change. Being able to identify items at will without using a scroll of identification (or something similar) is a cool change, but it makes me wonder why some items need to be identified at all. Is it because unidentified items can be sold (providing a sort of gamble)? I have no idea.
The skill system is odd. As you level, you unlock new skills and runes, which modify skills. Basically, talents and glyphs from World of Warcraft. However, you don’t really make permanent choices. You can make changes at any time with a short cooldown to prevent, I’m guessing, changing choices during combat. You have a maximum of six skills in use at a time once all slots are unlocked. I have some mixed feelings on the skill system, which I’ll talk about in another post.
There were some big improvements to the general social system. Achievements are a cool addition to the Diablo series. While a lot of them are boring, there are some fun ones. I haven’t actually counted or anything, but I hope there are a decent number of ones that are actually achievements. I like achievements that task you with performing a task a certain way as opposed to ones like “Reach Level 10.” Having achievements be account-based rather than character-based seems to work well. I’m sure it’ll be similar in Mists of Pandaria, so I’m glad to find that I’m happy with them. I do kind of wish that we’ll eventually be able to see achievements across games though. I’ve been meaning to post about achievements in general, which, who knows, maybe I’ll get around to doing. Battle Tags are an improvement over the Real ID system but are still fundamentally flawed. I actually have a post on this already written, and it’ll get posted soon. I like that in addition to large toasts acknowledging earned achievements for a player, there are now smaller toasts above the chat window for achievements earned by party members. Achievements are also broadcast to your friends now I believe, which is a cool addition.
While we’ve only played a rather small chunk of the game, I’ve enjoyed it so far. It’s interesting to see Blizzard’s knowledge from World of Warcraft added to the mix and bits and pieces of things to expect in Mists of Pandaria. I’m anxious to try hardcore mode, and I can’t wait to try PVP when they release it!