Monday, October 25, 2010

Blizzcon 2010: Diablo 3 Review

Alright folks, let's dive into the meat and potatoes of Blizzcon 2010. In 2009, we were introduced to the fourth class in the trilogy - The Monk. While everyone was getting their panties wet to play the Monk, I wasn't sold. I love ranged DPSers. My favorite play throughs of Diablo was with a rogue and in Diablo II was with a bowazon. Realizing that Diablo 3 lacked a solid ranged DPSer (magic users do not count), I already suspected that a ranged class was the only remaining class left to develop.

As you already know, the Demon Hunter is the final class in basic Diablo 3. What you may not know is that she represents a hybrid of play styles. She utilizes the Assassin's "burst of speed" ability that allows her to dash 40 yards across the screen. She also has traps in her arsenal that causes a chain slow or AoE damage. In addition, she matches the Amazon's skill set in having multi-shot and a fire arrow (which has pierce!). Overall, she fills in the missing gap of the other Diablo 3 heroes.

What you may have not figured out from Blizzcon 2010:
Diablo 3 is becoming a Dungeons and Dragons 4.0 clone.

- Skills/Traits. Skills are abilities that your characters gain. When you level up, you gain a skill point that can be used to strengthen a previously acquired skill or unlock a new one. In the D3 play through, there wasn't a skill tree that required pre-reqs from what I noticed. Traits are passive characteristics that your character gains when you level as well. Similar to feats in D&D, you have the option to modify your character (ex: gain more health/mana from globes, more gold from monsters, etc). Just like skills, you have the ability to either invest in a previously aquired trait or invest a new one. I counted about 31 traits in my play throughs, so there are a lot to pick from!

- Runestones are 100% back into the game in full force. In 2009, the devs announced that they were going to remove runestones because they were too unbalanced. In 2010, 4 out of the 5 classes started off with runestones for players to play with. Runestones allow players to modify their skills at ANYTIME without consequence by simply placing a runestone in. For instance, in my witch doctor play through I was able to summon fiery plague dogs or summon a bear zombie from runestone modification. For more details about character customization, please check out this link.

- Crafting makes character investment more worthwhile. 3 artisans are introduced - a blacksmith, jeweler, and mystic. As you level them up, they become more powerful and offer you more goods. These artisans are player-specific! As you play the game, you have several options of dealing with unwanted goods. You can return to town and sell them, you can "insta-sell" them with a scroll of worth (SUCH A GREAT IDEA), or disenchant them. There's a horadric-cube looking item each character has that allows them to disenchant items into components - very similar to Asheron's Call/Asheron's Call 2. Unfortunately, I never had a chance to see what I could make with my reagents, but it's assumed you use these things to craft new items and/or level up your artisans.

For now, that's all I have to report from Blizzcon 2010. Hopefully I'll see some of yall there in 2011. :)

2 comments:

  1. I worried when I first saw the trailers that blizzard had added to many new features to game play. Do you feel the game has lost some of the simplicity that made Diablo II so great?

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  2. Excellent question!

    Diablo 3 continues with the Diablo tradition of point and click action, but they've simplified the game play more if that's even possible based on a few new modifications:

    - Health blobs keep the action going. While health potions still exist in the game (with the addition of a cooldown), the health blobs that mobs drop allow players to continue playing without having to take pause in healing up.

    - There's now no need to "click" for actions. For instance, in Diablo 2, players had to select the spell bone wall/fire wall and then click on the screen to cast it. In Diablo 3, they removed the need to have 2 actions for spells to be cast. All you now need to do is have your mouse hover wherever you want the spell to be cast and then spell the skill button.

    - Even though the incorporation of skills/traits give players more variability in play style, I feel like this is the key to keeping the game simple because it allows players to match their play style with their characters. If you're the type that'd rather leech health/mana from afar, there are runes/enchantments that will allow that to happen. Otherwise, if you're the type that finds it easier (and enjoyable) to hack and slash all upclose - those options exist as well. Since the game doesn't enforce any repercussions in respeccing like World of Warcraft or Diablo 2, I believe this allows players to experiment to find what they enjoy the most without having to deal with extra hassle.

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