Once upon a time I had in my possession an advanced technological device called a computer. The year was 1996 and I joined an exclusive gaming service called Mplayer. One of the games featured on the service, was Diablo. It was created by Blizzard. At the time they were a fairly unknown developer. My experience taught me one very important survival skill, a human being can live on pizza and pepsi with very little sleep, for several years.
Blizzard has its place in history for popularizing a genre to be imitated countless times across many different platforms, but there is only one true Diablo.
It is the definitive top down action heavy RPG, with 4 player online coop. With over a decade of hype and false release dates, Diablo 3 is finally here. The question on everyone’s mind is: Does it deliver the goods?
My short answer is yes. But a quick look across the net shows a lot of hate for the game. Truthfully, some of it has merit. Perhaps the expectations were set too high, or Blizzard just took too darn long. Either way, it’s up to you to decide.
If your expectations of Diablo 3 are:
- Action heavy RPG
- Highly addictive mouse clicking
- American Pickers style loot collecting
- Explosive damage dealing abilities
- Easy drop in/out multiplayer
You are in for a treat, this game is for you. If you played any Diablo game for an extended period of time, it won’t take long to be re-addicted to this game. If you’re new to the series, say goodbye to real life. All the addictive elements are there, and the game is much more forgiving than the last two. Gone are the days of getting ninja looted or losing all your stuff when you die. Now when loot drops, only you can acquire it. The only penalty for death, is a minor repair cost.
With the addition of health drops that instantly heal your party, you don’t need to annoyingly spam that health button. You’ll be glad for this feature, trust me. And certain abilities build mana (or stamina) for use in your secondary skills, which means you don’t need to worry about micromanaging additional pots.
The 5 classes are distinct and unique, while each class can be further customized through a set of categorized skills. All classes can survive well on their own, but it’s good to party up with a well rounded team. Some of these skills unlock after reaching a certain level. Hardcore RPGers are accustomed to more granular customization and call this system too simple, but I disagree. I believe the system is more refined.
It’s a highly debatable system that brought on a lot of hate from the hardcore Diablo fans.
Once you are dozens of hours in, you’ll begin to realize it’s more strategic than you think.
Since they opted out of skill trees that are normal on most RPG games, you can customize your abilities on the fly. If something doesn't work for you, you don’t need to respec your character, just select new abilities. These abilities are further enhanced by Runes, which means it’s unlikely that you’ll run into someone with the same skills as you. For example, two barbarians can be setup completely different, one focused on vitality, and the other focused on damage.
What is a Diablo game without obsessive loot collecting? Loot is easily one of the biggest draws of the game, next to the addictive combat. In addition to selling your loot, you can salvage magic items to craft new magic items, or store it for another character. Better yet, why not make some money (real or in game) and sell it on the auction house.
It’s interesting to experience a real money auction house. I know of people who made a few bucks selling high level items, and used that money to buy new high level items. In addition to adding in a “pay to win” scenario, the interface is a little wonky. But since the game is getting continued supported by Blizzard, i’m sure it will improve in time. It’s surprising that the same company that already has a game with a decent auction house (World of Warcraft) that the AH in Diablo 3 would be this bad.
A brunt of the Diablo 3 hate comes from the always on DRM. In order to combat piracy (and a couple of “other” reasons) Blizzard employed an always on DRM for Diablo 3.
You MUST be online to play the game, even on single player.
There are people who don’t have a broadband connection, a good broadband connection, and people who use their laptops offline. Sorry, you can’t play Diablo 3.
Blizzard put a lot polish their into beloved Diablo franchise. Diablo 3 is certainly more accessible than the first two, but the difficulty ramps up. In your first playthrough, the game might feel a little easy, that is, until you move up to the Nightmare and Hell modes. And if you're feeling insane, you can play the Hardcore mode in which you only have one life. If you die, it’s game over, no continues.
Diablo 3 is an awesome game, and I recommend it to anyone with a MAC or PC that can handle it. Although it’s not a true MMORPG, it sure feels like one, minus a subscription fee. This is not a game that comes out every year, or every 5 years for that matter, and Blizzard is providing continued support for it. This is one of those games that you always keep installed on your computer, and you fall back to it in spurts. I’m still waiting for the PVP because it didn't make it at release. Once once it comes out, I’m positive I will be all over it.
What I’m Playing is my version of the traditional video game review. Game reviews are subjective so it would best to read many reviews. My purpose is to aid you towards a purchase of the game, or dissuade you if it sucks.