If you’re a gamer, you might’ve heard about this game that just launched a couple days ago called Diablo 3.
It’s no big deal. But you can find out what I think of this little game if you’d like. Warning, spoilers.
That’s the bottom line. The combat mechanics have changed up such that it is much more involving now, you feel more engaged with the action. It is as a result of having more buttons to press and kick butt with, using all of your abilities to good effect against enemies that’ll do more than poke you to death.
Everything explodes with utter shininess and violence so the combat is definitely sticky.
For veterans of D2, you’ll see a lot of minor and major changes to the system – some are welcome like teleports found at the end of deep caves that you’ve just plundered so you don’t have to waste time running all the way back out. The town portal and identify scrolls have been replaced by just activating the abilities straight up. Of course you can’t spam TPs now as they have a timed activation. Collecting loot is a faster affair now that gold is picked up by just running over it, and everyone gets their own lewt so you won’t fight over it with your teammates. There are now health orbs to heal yourself with instead of always spamming pots.
All of this is done in favor of streamlining the action so you’re always constantly wading through fights without purposely having to take lengthy breathers to regen your life and mana.
Although I was at first apprehensive about the changes made to the skills system, I’m actually growing to enjoy it a lot more. I’m a shitty RPG gamer, especially the traditional kind that requires you to spec out your character and distribute points as best as you can. I don’t ever get it right, and whenever I played D2, I always felt like I was just struggling against the harder enemies with this constant thought in the back of my mind that I fucked up my build.
In D3, you never have to feel that way. Skills are now unlocked and you can change ’em up on the fly as and what you need. You’re not punished for experimenting, there isn’t necessarily a “best” nor most “effective” build,although that might change when the more hardcore gamers come to understand the nuances of each class. But at least this way, everyone has a fighting chance at building a “good” character as they like and whether they win or lose depends on how well you control that character, and figuring out what skills you’d need to get through the fight. Now I think about how I can change up my skillset accordingly, rather than curse and swear that I’d just probably fucked up the build and might have to start from scratch.
As for challenge, Normal mode isn’t much of it. I’m actually quite sick of my friends telling me “Wait for Nightmare mode”. I actually want to be butt-raped by the game more often right now. Thankfully, you do feel the difficulty ramping up ever so gradually. I’ve just finished Act 2 and there are definitely moments when if you’re not paying attention, you’ll get your ass handed to you. But the end boss fights seem too damn easy in comparison to D2’s first two acts boss fights. Andariel and Duriel were just both badasses. But I get that Blizzard might just want to make the Normal mode accessible even for non-RPG types, so they don’t just end up hating the game they put down 80 bucks for. So the rest of us “hardcore” D3 players will just have to wait till Nightmare mode and beyond to get the challenges we are after.
The Auction House is pretty cool. If you’re a loot-head, this is the dream. Of course, it’s not a new thing as it has been implemented in MMOs before, but since I don’t play those, this is quite the sight for me. I know in D2, people met up and traded in towns, but legitimizing and making it easier to just acquire what other people didn’t want, and window-shopping in your own time is good fun. I am looking forward to seeing what the exchange rate for real money to Diablo 3 gold will be.
Finally, my biggest beef with the game is that the storytelling still remains the weakest thing ever. Everyone just uses deus ex machina to move the plot forward. Characters are suddenly remembering where we’re supposed to go and what we’re supposed to kill, and it all falls too neatly in place. Also fuck retrieval quests. Diablo 3 is one long ass retrieval quest.
And is it just me or does the first two acts of D3 seem very much like D2? You start in green pastures in both games, then gradually move through a Church-like structure with a huge underbelly and gothic torture chambers. In both games’ Act 1 you have to save Deckard Cain before you can do anything else because the guy is the wizened old but knowledgeable one. In Act 2 you start in Caldeum which is just basically a larger, reskinned Lut Gholein as they are both fucking desert-type environments. In both D2 and D3’s Act 2, you explore the far reaches of the desert only to fight a mad wizard type guy and travel through teleportation type things. Sound familiar?
I mean come on, after 12 fucking years you’d think that Blizzard had plenty of time to come up with a more than slightly different plot?!?! In fact, Diablo 3 feels very much like a next-gen reboot of Diablo 2. Which wouldn’t be a bad thing either I guess. It’s just I’d like to see how they explain Diablo’s return for the third time after being pwned twice real hard.
Regardless, the game overall is still a fun time. The cooperative mechanics are definitely a lot more seamless, making joining up and inviting others an easier affair. It is just such an amazing thing to see how far we’ve come in creating a seamless cooperative experience, when I remember having to connect up computers via LAN and using services like Hamachi back in the day (actually it wasn’t that long ago when I had to use Hamachi again lol).
There are still the occasional server-side issues, and the Americas server is probably the most botched right now but it should stabilize in due time. Having to be connected constantly to the Interwebz to play is an annoying thing, but all MMOs do that nowadays anyway. It’s just we’ll not be able to solo Diablo from a cabin in the woods without Internet if we wanted.
There are still two more acts to go, so I’m holding out that the game is going to pull an amazing never-before-seen trick that’ll take Diablo 3 from great to godlike. So far so good though.
Just one last thing. Can someone bloody tell me why we have to pay 10k to unlock more space in our own stash box?!?