Diablo III Catch-All

Yeah, seems a bit easy but as I recall, so was Act I. I really love the flow of the talents so far though. Never been much of a melee'er, but damn I'm loving how the barb is rocking. Forgot how much I miss this game.

We're tag-teaming the beta account right now... good fun

Some of the difficulty in early Diabo 2 levels also came from how you made your characters. Typically one would save their skill points for later levels as the first tier of skills weren't very useful, neither were second tier for that matter. So you played around low lvl skills often.
I even remember on my sorcerers that it was better just to use melee the first 10 levels or so, as the spells were too weak and cost too much mana - since it was bad to put attribute points into +mana as well.

The most difficult thing so far has been avoiding using channeled abilities, like Disintegrate. With V-sync on (on by default) you lose connection to the server. Have to CAD and use Task Manager to shut down.

Nice use of some of the sounds from D2, and Cain's voice is spot on. Other than that... not feeling it.

LtWarhound wrote:

The most difficult thing so far has been avoiding using channeled abilities, like Disintegrate. With V-sync on (on by default) you lose connection to the server. Have to CAD and use Task Manager to shut down.

Nice use of some of the sounds from D2, and Cain's voice is spot on. Other than that... not feeling it.

Maybe you don't yet know what "it" is

Cheeto1016 #1324

add me

Okay, for those of you not fortunate enough to have received an invite to the Diablo III closed beta, I'm posting a few impressions of the single-player experience. I'll link some images (for size).

My overall impression is that it's classic Blizzard: they're not bringing anything particularly new to the table, but what they are bringing is lovingly crafted, and unbelievably polished.

I chose to play the Monk for my playthrough, as it combined melee with with magical elements. Essentially, the monk builds spiritual energy through strikes (of various kinds) that can then be spent on healing or very powerful moves that cause huge damage to multiple enemies. The experience was fun overall, although I felt that what game I saw was very easy. I assume that there will be higher difficulty levels, and it appears that a hardcore mode is available once the main campaign has been completed.

In terms of the colour (a subject of much teeth-gnashing), I'm happy to report that it's very well done. There has clearly been a great attention paid to atmosphere, and the use of colour reflects this. In the screenshot linked, you can see that the crypt is dim and ominous. In contrast, magical effects are bright and colourful, which I find was a visual relief from some of the tombs. Other places are somewhat brighter, with purple hues (for example) but there was never a place that I felt was really too cartoony.

Effects during a fight.

The environments themselves are pseudo-randomly generated. There is an exquisite amount of detail in many places, with logically arrayed chairs, tables, bookshelves, and altars. Accordingly, Blizzard has created a number of beautiful set-piece areas, and then randomly linked them either directly or with corridors. The effect is a seamless area that seems hand-designed, but is in danger of becoming repetitive. On a single play-through, I don't think it's an issue, but I can see becoming a bit bored with immediately knowing the layout of a particular block after multiple playthroughs.

The loot is what you would expect, with huge amounts of stuff dropping. Initially, I was concerned that I'd always be running out of inventory space, and wistfully pined for my Torchlight companion. Happily, there are numerous fast-travel shrines, both overland and at the end of dungeons, that allow for a quick return to town. Blizzard has also included a hearth-stone function that will be familiar to any WoW player that allows the player to return instantly to town, with a portal that allows a return trip back into the dungeon. Loot overload doesn't appear to be an issue.

Portal into town

Magical loot is reasonably plentiful, and can be broken down at the smithy for basic components to craft new (and powerful) items. The interface is streamlined and useful for comparing items, with a button that gives the option of really breaking down percentages for the min-maxers.

Basic Blacksmithy
Crafting interface
Details for the min-maxers.

Companions are available, and can be equipped (to a lesser extent) with weapons and armour to make them more effective. They also have unlockable skills as they level to make them more powerful. Pathfinding for them is good, with the companion sticking very close most of the time. Should they get stuck for any reason, the failure is dealt with very gracefully by them re-spawning next to you almost immediately.

Companion interface

Character skills are unlocked via levelling, with the limitation that characters can only have a finite number of skills available at any moment. The mechanism is that there are a certain number of active slots (initially two, increasing with levels) and passive slots (initally none) that can hold one of the available skills. It's a simple but effective way of forcing the player to make tactical considerations such as choosing between a powerful offensive ability and a strong defensive buff. I suspect that opinions on this particular way of dealing with skills will be strong.

To conclude, the beta is very encouraging. Those who were hoping for a ground-breaking game will be disappointed. However, those who were hoping for just a modern Diablo game will be very pleased. This was a day-one purchase for me, and remains so. To be honest, I don't think it's going to hit the gaming community the way that a game such as Skyrim did, but it will be well-received.

Coldstream wrote:

The environments themselves are pseudo-randomly generated. There is an exquisite amount of detail in many places, with logically arrayed chairs, tables, bookshelves, and altars. Accordingly, Blizzard has created a number of beautiful set-piece areas, and then randomly linked them either directly or with corridors. The effect is a seamless area that seems hand-designed, but is in danger of becoming repetitive. On a single play-through, I don't think it's an issue, but I can see becoming a bit bored with immediately knowing the layout of a particular block after multiple playthroughs.

This isn't really any different then Diablo and Diablo II. The improvment they did with Diablo III is that many of these rooms are more designed then its predecessors. In Diablo, you would be wondering around rooms and passages that looked almost identical, but then they threw in one or two unique looking rooms in each level (like the butcher).

Other games like Titans Quest and Torchlight make completely custom maps, but then on the second playthrough they are the same in every way. Diablo has the advantage in that every play through has a unique dungeon to crawl. The only mistake Blizzard really makes is not randomizing what you can encounter. If they were to make it so one in 20 playthroughs I end up in a unique tileset for a part of the map and have 20+ of these unique areas per level, it would make the game a lot more replayable.

kazar wrote:

Other games like Titans Quest and Torchlight make completely custom maps, but then on the second playthrough they are the same in every way.

I am surprised Torchlight's dungeons were hand-made. They were very repetitive to me.

ZaneRockfist wrote:
kazar wrote:

Other games like Titans Quest and Torchlight make completely custom maps, but then on the second playthrough they are the same in every way.

I am surprised Torchlight's dungeons were hand-made. They were very repetitive to me.

Cut and paste most likely. But from what I saw in the time I played, if you quit and load again the dungeon doesn't change its layout.

Torchlight's dungeons were random. They did persist through save/load, but if you played a few characters you'd see the differences.

kazar wrote:
ZaneRockfist wrote:
kazar wrote:

Other games like Titans Quest and Torchlight make completely custom maps, but then on the second playthrough they are the same in every way.

I am surprised Torchlight's dungeons were hand-made. They were very repetitive to me.

Cut and paste most likely. But from what I saw in the time I played, if you quit and load again the dungeon doesn't change its layout.

That's just because it autosaves when you quit. The levels in Torchlight were randomly generated but the building blocks were relatively large set pieces so you'd have repetitive sections.

Latrine wrote:
kazar wrote:
ZaneRockfist wrote:
kazar wrote:

Other games like Titans Quest and Torchlight make completely custom maps, but then on the second playthrough they are the same in every way.

I am surprised Torchlight's dungeons were hand-made. They were very repetitive to me.

Cut and paste most likely. But from what I saw in the time I played, if you quit and load again the dungeon doesn't change its layout.

That's just because it autosaves when you quit. The levels in Torchlight were randomly generated but the building blocks were relatively large set pieces so you'd have repetitive sections.

The one thing I liked with Diablo though is every time you loaded, it was like you were playing a new game. Only your character has state. Not saying other ways are better or worse, just something I liked about Diablo.

Titan quest was 100% hand made I believe, and TL makes random dungeons from fitting together hand made chunks.

kazar wrote:

The one thing I liked with Diablo though is every time you loaded, it was like you were playing a new game. Only your character has state. Not saying other ways are better or worse, just something I liked about Diablo.

I loved this about D2 as well. Randomly generated dungeons was one of the characteristic features that kept me playing so long and is definitely an essential ingredient in the Diablo formula for me, so I hope the system for generating them in D3 keeps things sufficiently varied.

Is anyone else having issues with the game locking up for 20 secondsish when you get a new skill or try to open a chest for the first time, or the first time a building collapses? After it locks up the first time, then it is okay. It is very strange.

Cheeto1016 wrote:

Is anyone else having issues with the game locking up for 20 secondsish when you get a new skill or try to open a chest for the first time, or the first time a building collapses? After it locks up the first time, then it is okay. It is very strange.

I've never run into that. Check the Beta forums, and if you don't find anything, definitely post a bug report.

Cheeto1016 wrote:

Is anyone else having issues with the game locking up for 20 secondsish when you get a new skill or try to open a chest for the first time, or the first time a building collapses? After it locks up the first time, then it is okay. It is very strange.

No. I don't have that problem.

Latrine wrote:

That's just because it autosaves when you quit.

Diablo II does this in offline single-player as well.

Well, I got in but the download has been so dog-ass slow I haven't had a chance to play yet. =(

Tonight maybe?

On the subject of weird lagginess some people have been seeing at times: I've noticed that even when the game is done patching, it doesn't seem to be done downloading. It likes to stream stuff at you, even when you wait for the "I've downloaded absolutely everything!" light to turn on. Since I have a slow net connection, this is way obvious for me. If I leave it sitting running for a while, it seems to download stuff slowly over time until it's done. I'm hoping that the final release's patcher will actually download everything before saying it's downloaded everything.

I am just going to write a few impressions that I feel counter some of the negativity from the web.

Earlier betas chakram may have been too unwieldy and sucked but, I love it in its current state. It shines even more IMHO in groups because you can more easily pile up monsters together. It hits a lot of monsters, pierces and can swing back to hit single monsters more than once. It is probably my biggest surprise of the beta.

Combine that with how lackluster disintegrate is. Rumor was it was supposed to be the wizard's "I win" button but you can't use it for more than 3 seconds before mana runs out. I am sure with mana steal or mana cost reduction properties on items, it will become a staple. By comparison, I like the feel of the demon hunter's rapid fire a hair better. It will be a trade off because disintegrate pierces but is more resource costly. Regardless, it typifies abilities that need to be cultured with gear and passives. For all the talk of lack of progression or choice, this really flies in the face of that.

Now mind you, this is all low level impressions. And to be honest, at least you can use these skills at low levels which is a big improvement over diablo 2. I think people forget how you could cast something like 3-4 times at low levels and then had to wait a minute for regen or constantly quaff potions. So most players loaded up a bow with gems for the first 20-30 levels.

As far as difficulty, I've found that soloing while in a 2 player game feels a lot better. Just a simple change of 50% more monsters with 50% more hp makes a world of difference and feels more like Diablo 2. Of course they are not going to do a "/players 8" switch but that would give a lot of freedom to the players. Perhaps I am so used to "/players 8(3,5)" that my perspective is skewed.

Coop is so easy to facilitate and such a blast in Diablo 3. It is hard to believe people will not be playing this for a long time. So those knee jerk fears can be put aside.

Classes:
demon hunter - loved chakram and hungering arrow (guided arrow from d2), liked impale and rapid fire, rapid fire is good, entagling shot works but there is no need to kite except maybe elites or bosses, bolo shot works but is not my style
wizard - love arcane orb, shrug on magic missile, love spectral blades, meh on disintegrate
barbarian - rend does a crap ton of damage = great boss killer, i use and love cleave and leap attack, weapon throw and ancient hammer are ok (lots of damage though)
witch doctor - love haunt, love zombie charger, love corpse spider, like plague toads
monk is only level 4 but seems fun enough - I just got extended reach and haven't had a chance to play with it.

Crafting is great and is going to be a big part of the loot pinata mechanics. The companion is overkill. It would have been better to introduce them much later in the story or in higher difficulties and make them viable there.

Returned from Jamaica to find a beta invite waiting. Nice!

Sent requests to everyone from the last couple pages. If I missed you, go ahead and friend me up. Serengeti#1737

Update Blizzard SC2 and Diablo3 Names.

I've updated the list with all the names I've seen in the last several pages. I can't promise that I didn't accidentally miss someone.

Tkyl wrote:

Update Blizzard SC2 and Diablo3 Names.

I've updated the list with all the names I've seen in the last several pages. I can't promise that I didn't accidentally miss someone.

Awesome, thanks so much for updating this. Internet Hi5!

BTW, is there a GWJ Steam group for Diablo III yet? If not, I can make one and extend invites.

MyBrainHz wrote:
Tkyl wrote:

Update Blizzard SC2 and Diablo3 Names.

I've updated the list with all the names I've seen in the last several pages. I can't promise that I didn't accidentally miss someone.

Awesome, thanks so much for updating this. Internet Hi5!

BTW, is there a GWJ Steam group for Diablo III yet? If not, I can make one and extend invites.

I was in the process of making one. Anyone care to make a custom GWJ icon for the group? Otherwise I'm just going to use a Diablo 3 image.

How does one get into the beta? What horrible sacrificed do I have to make, and where?

Gorilla.800.lbs wrote:

How does one get into the beta? What horrible sacrificed do I have to make, and where?

I will give away my account with the Diablo 3 beta to the person that terminates Justin Bieber.

Invites to Steam group sent out to everyone who has their steam link on the google doc. Anyone who is a member can also invite people. So if you don't have an invite yet, add you name and steam link to the doc and post here that you need an invite.

Added my steam link to the doc

Ditto. Can I get an invite? (Not that I have time to play, what with packing and all, but I like to think that I'll play...)