Diablo 3 – beta free weekend – my hour of fame and impressions

This morning, for me it was morning at least, I finally got connection to Diablo 3. Joy. I got to play an hour as a barbarian and got to level 7 until I had to break for break-first – and then the servers once more told me they were busy. Apart then from the not able to connect, how was the game? Well it made some fears I had come to live and stilled some others.

Before we delve to deep – I have kept myself out of the most intense discussions and have had a general grasp of changes. I’m not in for the PvP but in for the story, a fun game that I can play when I want and to see if this is a game that me and my wife can play.

Dumbed down game – true or not?
It is IMO unfortunately true. There are several game mechanics that I miss a lot. The ability to select attributes and choosing skills. The new mechanics with the runes for your skills makes even the first skills more usable – but in the end –  it is not so much about configuring as to bash things and get loot.  Another feature that is gone is the double weapon setup. I was really disappointed to see that my Barbarian hadn’t the option to  switch between some throwing axes and his dual weapon setup. Felt a bit “cheap” actually.
What this did, was that you just mashed your way forward and kept killing things. Once you got a new skill you added another key to your repertoire of killing. Binding them to my mouse made it play pretty smooth. The no mana option and having rage like yellow bar makes it essential to kill or hit something before you can unleash fury on your boss opponents. Well at least I guess  that is what it will be. Right now I haven’t slurped a potion yet.

Graphics are to bright
Well, sure it is bright, not like WoW and that is nothing that makes it any less fun or such. What it does however is that it looks fuzzy. It feels like there is a blur effect on it and the graphics feel like it is moss, fuzzy and that I’m in need of cleaning my glasses. (I have by the way). This is a bit annoying but I think I can live with it. I was going to say that the easy graphics and low demands would make it a perfect game for my Alienware M11x – but since I mostly use that on my summer-house or on the go – well Diablo 3 ain’t that kind of game for me. Internet isn’t something I can take for granted – nor is my gaming time.

Auction house and always online etc.
Well, since I can’t try it yet I can’t say that much about it. I hope that the features for playing with friends are good and genuine. Until now I’m actually fortunate to have been able to connect at all and getting some playing done.

The LOOT man the loot?
The loot is the key essential to this game and one have to make up your mind about it. I think that loot is fun – to a certain degree. I haven’t tried to crafting yet but hopefully that means that you can make good items carry on for a while without having to realise that your unique axe a few levels back is now crap compared to “janitor Olssen’s toe nail clipper”…

Is it still an RPG?
Well, wait up a bit – I am an OLD gamer right now. I have to say that. I am not ancient but old. I started out around my 9th birthday to really get into the world of RPG games and slowly after the computer gaming on Commodore 20’s and Commodore’s 64. That is almost 30 years ago. My RPG introduction was via Traveller, Runequest, Mutant, Dragkar & Demoner and of course Dungeons & Dragons. Diablo never felt like an RPG to me and to hear about it now mentioned as an RPG makes me as sad as when Deus EX HR was considered an RPG- Deus Ex is an action/adventure game to me and Diablo is a hack ‘n slash action RPG at the most. Well, now it is even less. It’s an action game – IMO.

Fears, paranoia and the future
My fears are that the game won’t be what Diablo 2 was – a game that you could play for several years, and that was not including MP. At least not much as far as I am concerned. Blizzard however have a way of supporting their games and if Diablo 3 will have the same support and follow-up – the Diablo 3 game in the future won’t be anything like the Diablo 3 we try now. Problem and paranoia is that Blizzard isn’t alone now. Under Tristam lies the ancient shadow of Activision. And as we have seen with BioWare – certain unholy unions aren’t for the oldies but for the new generations of fire and forgets.  Another fear is that much of the Diablo 3 game-play looks like it is made to work with a controller. No switchable weapons, less menus and fewer choices and fine point distribution makes it a title that would appeal to the console huggers. Will I get the game. I think I will. Mostly because in its dumbed down setup it could be a game that my wife would enjoy since she doesn’t like the points, management and RPG setup of games.

It sounds a bit bleak, is it truly so?
Not that bleak, but more like a meh. I think that Diablo 3 will be a fun game and that it will give me some fun hours and couple of play throughs. However, it feels a bit like Dungeon Siege 3 in setup – but in execution it is much better. It feels better and more satisfactory to bash a skeleton in Diablo 3 than in Dungeon Siege 3. Another thing is that the Diablo 3 story, background and mythos is still strong. And that is the most important factor this time around. The feel – and to have that as the main focal point for playing feels a bit sad. But honestly – most games have lately taken that path. Dumbed down, quicker and easier to access and going mainstream. It is the prize for becoming generally accepted but the grognards, the nerds and hardcore gamers (however they want to define themselves) will not like this and for them (us) – the new kick-starting and becoming financiers for new games without distributors and going STEAM and Gamers Gate looks more like the last hope for gaming not dumbed down. If the road of making everything Facebook and mainstream and more like services rather than a product – I sure wish I will meet more people interested in plugin out and rolling the dice than adding the 250th unknown person to grow your farm on Facebook…

Now I will try to see how to best get away as cheap as possibly with Diablo 3, listening to the rumours of console version – cause if it is a game for me AND my wife – the console will most likely be the best option for us – meaning I will still have 2 copies…
Right now – I want to find the book of Caine and get some Diablo 3 mythos read up!

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About sketchywolf

sketchywolf(aka Foolwolf) is a blog where I will try different hobbies and document them on. Certain ramblings and may even start some story writing etc. I will also try to have a collection of my reviews of all things that I try and wants to share...
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