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Published on August 1st, 2011 | by Dan

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>Diablo III Overview

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Kotaku posted this article after they got their hands, along with other media, on a “fully playable alpha” of Diablo III at Blizzard’s Irvine headquarters. If this doesn’t get you excited nothing will.


There seem to be many more changes coming in Diablo III than previously expected. Most of these changes are welcome. I am a Diablo veteran and I feel like Blizzard really felt what the community wanted for this game and followed through. Some of what I will write here is old news, but still important. Hopefully we give you a sort of overview, along with the Kotaku article, into what you can expect in Diablo III. Keep in mind this is all from the perspective of someone who put hours and hours of Diablo II play time in. I should be able to give you a general idea of how things compare.
The Talent System:

This has been completely overhauled for the better. Nothing was more frustrating than having to min/max so hard in D2 and then being screwed by a misclick, a wrong talent choice, whatever. You had to recreate your character (until the last patch) just to change talents. This system was rigid and too unforgiving. It also didn’t allow you take awesome leveling talents, facilitating the need for rushes. Rushing gave rise to bots, and one thing lead to another. No one ever truly played through the game in multiplayer after a while.
All that is gone now. The new system allows you to take any 6 active skills at one time, with 3 passive skills as well. As you level you get more of these up to this maximum. At first you start with just your basic attack. These skills can be swapped or changed at any time. To augment this system, runes are no longer in weapons, but now on skills. To quote the Kotaku article:

Blizzard illustrated this by designing a “Melee Wizard,” changing the fragile Wizard class—which typically keeps enemies at arm’s length—into a deadly close-range build. Into the Wizard’s Spectral Blade skill was socketed a rune that added a healing attribute to each hand-to-hand attack.

So gone are the EBOTD mauls, and now we have runed skills. A welcome change. I’m sure though, that runes will be drops that will range in rarity.


The Classes:

The Barbarian is the only hold-over from the old game. It is still the melee battering ram it always was, but this time with none of that silly mana. Replacing mana is the Frenzy (see: Rage, WoW players). This is a good change as barbarians never put points into intelligence anyway in Diablo II. You just spammed mana potions. One of the first things they announced for D3 was that potion spamming is gone. Now this all makes sense.

Next up we have the Witch Doctor. This is the necromancer of this game. You have many minions to manage from fetishes to giants to chickens to bats. The Witch Doctor is the only class that actually uses mana. Thankfully everyone has great internet now, so this won’t be the lag machine that it was in Diablo II.

The Wizard really is basically the Sorceress redux. However, according to the article, the wizard isn’t mana based. I’m not sure how that will work and it isn’t gone into with detail. There are some definite new skills that add to the class. A time stopping bubble will be very cool for PVP, and it seems as though all classes are getting a form transformation spell. The Wizard can go into Archon form.

The Monk was a highly anticipated class and a class that literally everyone wanted to see. It was in the non-Blizzard sanctioned Diablo expansion Hellfire. It is a completely melee based class ala a claw assassin from Diablo II. The Monk uses a system of Spirit, which refills as he attacks to use abilities. He also seems to have gained a buff system similar to the Barbarian shouts of Diablo II. These are called mantras.

Last, but definitely not least we have the Demon Hunter. They may have pilfered the name from World of Warcraft, but this is nothing like Illidan and the Demon-hunter WoW counterparts. This is a combination of a traps assassin and Amazon of Diablo II. The Demon Hunter can use ranged weapons as well as grenades and sentry turrets. Hopefully there are no spies to sap them in this game. They even gave this class the smoke bomb from the Assassin in D2.

So that’s a sort of overview of how the game compares to what we know, which is Diablo II. You will see the return of craftable items with a new cube as well as the ability to melt items into gold while out of town. No need to port to sell every ten minutes. The beta review article we have linked has even more information. The most encouraging part is that the core of what makes this franchise tick is still here:

At its core, the Diablo III beta feels like the click and kill experience that made the previous games so immediately gratifying more than a decade ago.

No dates have been confirmed for beta, closed or open. A leaked shareholder meeting transcript says Blizzard want to get this game out around Christmas. However, as always with Blizzard, it’ll be ready when it’s ready. We, the gamers, will be better off because of this perfectionist strategy.


Get ready folks, Diablo III is coming.


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nipnops

DanDan

I put the OO in Swagoo. One of the founders of KBMOD. I stream on Twitch as well as writing and editing for the website.


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