Published on September 27th, 2011 | by Rob Kwong0
Diablo 3 Beta Preview
It’s been quite some time since I’ve played Diablo, and jumping straight back into the Diablo world it felt like like I was playing Diablo 2 with a lot of upgrades. The graphics of the game have been upgraded to today’s standards and the music seems as though they took it right out of Diablo 2, polished it so it’s nice and shiny and stuck it directly into Diablo 3. Blizzard has done great job at first glance at capturing the feel and sounds of the Diablo franchise, but how does it play?
There’s many different characters to use in Diablo 3, ranging from Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Witch Doctor, Wizard, and Monk. For my first run through of the demo I decided to go with a ranged character with a bit of a darkness. The Demon Hunter seemed like a good start, relying more on weapons than mana, and seeming to have a strong offensive skill set to play around with. Character customization comes in the forms of armor and accessories you pick up within the game. Besides picking a female or male character in the game, and which class you want to play as, the character creation is really limited. Of course it can go without being said that with so much game play and story to be told in the game I really don’t mind it.
Character skills are a little different as well. Characters will have six active and three passive skills. These slots open up with new levels but start out with two actives, and gains one additional skill at 6, 12, 18, and 24. The passive skills are available at levels 10, 20, and 30. Unfortunately the demo only enabled players to go up to level 13, capping us a little under half way of the characters full potential.
Within the demo we had the experience of using the Auction House, utilize artisans, and hire companions to align against the powers of evil. The auction house runs very similar to the World of Warcraft auction house where players are able to sort through class types, weapon types, armor types, and items. Currently the auction house is gold items only, but it works for what it’s worth. The artisan that was available for testing was the blacksmith Haedrig Eamon, although he had many things to craft, unfortunately there really wasn’t much other than armor for my Demon Hunter. Within the dungeons of New Tristam I found a tome for a new dagger, and loose pages where you combine up to five to form a tomb to increase the level of your artisan. I have a feeling that the development of your different artisans will play a huge role in this game considering how much work they’ve put into Haedrig just for the demo itself. Lastly in the demo which played a pretty neat role was the companion. The companion they introduced was a templar, a holy knight that specialized in spears/polearms and shields. The templar introduced gave some increasing depth into the story. Allowing the templar to play as the tank role in the party and the Demon Hunter to assist from the outside made the game play much faster and it felt like the game was almost on autopilot. The companion also has random interactions with your character, asking different questions like how life is like as a templar, what happens to people who steal from their town, etc.
Besides all of the great things with the game there was one small problem that I encountered in the game which was lag, that only really appeared during some downtime of when Battle.net was doing some work on their servers. I’m not surprised that there was lag since it’s still a beta and the game’s servers may still be a little unstable. Besides just that the demo was fun and refreshing at the same time. Diablo 3 has been and still will be on my radar for games to pick up for PC. There have been rumors going around that it’ll hit consoles eventually, but still a classic game like Diablo 3 is definitely meant to be played on PC. If anyone is looking to pick up a PC game with tons of action and challenges Diablo 3 will be right up your ally.