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  1. #1

    D3 Beta -- Thoughts

    Got invited via the latest beta wave yesterday. Spent a few hours playing D3 last night.

    Here's my initial thoughts:

    The good:
    • Despite what you might have heard, the graphics are good. Atmosphere is good; feels dark and menacing, the mobs are much more grimdark than WoW (e.g. i wouldn't let my kids watch me play).
    • Environment effects are good; you touch things and they fall apart, chandeliers drop from ceilings, you find hidden caches in non-obvious places, and stuff explodes/breaks when you're in combat
    • Spell animations are fantastic.
    • character models are standard blizzard quality -- very good
    • point/click/move is intuitive, you easily jump into combat right away.
    • Your inventory will declare when you found a better item (or an item for an unequipped slot).
    • Brief cutscenes like Warcraft 3 in game are impressive and one of the few story telling technique improvements that work well.
    • Game is very stable.
    • Finding books or lore elements unlock voice over descriptions (similar to Bioshock).
    • Lots of little hidden nods to retired elements from Diablo 2 -- knocking over bookshelves that drop red and blue scrolls onto the ground; cracked mana wells in the cathedral.
    • Achievements are a nice addition, including things like chain kills and combat oriented events.


    The bad:
    • Forced perspective means you should always explore moving north; huge difference in LoS and visibility of mobs. this will have huge implications for pvp down the road..
    • Skill system seems disjointed. You unlock abilities while you level, but the customisation is what you equip-to-use -- you don't pick abilities to unlock until runes. There's primary and secondary skills, then defensive/passive abilties, then runes. The only real choice until runes is what ability to equip. There's a lengthy cooldown if you change your primary and secondary attack. Not sure what this will look like at the level cap (or in subsequent difficulties), but having a hard time appreciating this system instead of talents.
    • Skills make no sense. My default attack as a demon hunter does more damage than my rage-enabled rapid fireattack. There are numerous complaints at incgamers around these sorts of things.. don't expect logical/balanced builds out the door. Balance is a mess, everyone in trade and instances I joined were pointing to Barbarians are DPS machines, Demon Hunters were weak.
    • Far too easy. Perhaps this is tuned for beta? (e.g. perhaps maps are smaller to get you through the questing faster; mob difficult reduced?). I haven't died, or come close yet. I was up to the 6th quest and waypoint within 2 hours and I was moving slowly to read every quest.
    • I think they made a mistake with too much voice dialogue -- including for you as the protagonist. Diablo 2 had a better flow...the NPCs talked to you, but your own voice was mute. Dialogue was quick, just enough to get you back questing. They've tried to add a ton of banter while picking up quests and it a) just slows you down, and b) has pretty shitty voice acting at parts. The questing feels forced and soulless. Even Deckard Cain seems like an idiot. Torchlight town quests work and feel much better than the storyline in Diablo 3.
    • In Diablo 2 -- you join the multiplayer game, start in the chat room and see open games. In Diablo 3, chat is buried several menus deep and is separated from the quest select menu. You also find instances based on which quest level you want to choose...so Act 1 for example has ~ 12 different Quests. By the level cap you'll be faced with chosing 1 'quest' instance out of 50 or 60 per difficulty level.
    • The auction house was throwing tons of errors. "NULL VALUE" in sort columns, zero results found then 20 screens worth for the exact same querry.
    • Tons of tooptip errors regularly popping up. Keeps telling me to equip an item in an empty slot when i had infact I had equipped an item.
    • No AOE looting? Really?
    • Health orbs feel gimicky. I understand they're trying to avoid the potion-chugging dynamic of Diablo 2, but now you just kill large packs of mobs hoping for an orb to spawn, then run into them. They also unfairly favor melee DPS vs ranged -- if in a group, the barb will suck up all the health orbs (intentionally or not!) and ranged have to peel off and find their own mobs to kill separately. (EDIT: Corrected based on comments. Thanks for clarifying!) I don't like this mechanic.

    I haven't tried:
    • Haven't really played with the rune system yet; maybe there's more depth here than at first glance
    • Have not done any crafting yet.
    • Have not finished the first act.
    • I haven't played anything other than a Demon Hunter.


    Final Initial Impressions:

    So i'm finally in a beta, played for 2-3 hours and stopped playing as I got bored. I haven't finished act 1 yet, but the game isn't grabbing me the way Diablo 2 did back in the day, or WoW after an expansion. I'm hoping the game gets more interesting, more challenging, and the complexity is more apparent at higher levels. I'll finish Act 1 today and then start again with another class (probably Barbarian, which I played heavily in Diablo 2).

    I miss the tricks of town portal, identify scrolls, and potion chugging from Diablo 2. The more nuanced questing (with voice overs) feels forced; the dialgoue is horrible. I miss 8 player maps, and the battle.net chat room. The subdivided quests are intended to make the game more casual-friendly and easier to jump in and out, but it also breaks the game down too finely... you could literally jump in, play for 10 minutes to finish the quest, then leave. There is no sense of community. I almost suspect that the group play elements have been watered down to de-emphasize Diablo 3 as an alternative to WoW.

    My current take is that I prefer Torchlight gameplay to Diablo 3, but I want to play Diablo 3 more (and get involved in more multiplayer) before I make a final judgement. First impression is not disappointment, but it definitely feels mediocre.

    45 days left to launch. Wondering how much will change between now and then?
    Last edited by probert; 2012-03-31 at 03:07 PM.

  2. #2
    High Overlord hsm's Avatar
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    About difficulty:
    It has been said many-many times that Normal difficulty is easy. Things change though when you get into Inferno. *evil laugh*

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by hsm View Post
    About difficulty:
    It has been said many-many times that Normal difficulty is easy. Things change though when you get into Inferno. *evil laugh*
    I've heard the same thing.

    Just conveying my impressions. What I'm seeing is that Normal Diablo 3 is easier than Normal Diablo 2. You could die to Blood Raven in Diablo 2 if you weren't careful.

  4. #4
    The Patient
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    Quote Originally Posted by probert View Post
    I've heard the same thing.

    Just conveying my impressions. What I'm seeing is that Normal Diablo 3 is easier than Normal Diablo 2. You could die to Blood Raven in Diablo 2 if you weren't careful.
    But Diablo 3 will have a extra difficulty setting, which Diablo 2 didnt have.
    Diablo 2: Normal -> Nightmare -> Hell
    Diablo 3: Normal -> Nightmare -> Hell -> Inferno

    It will be easy in Normal, it is intended, but i dont see it as a problem!
    Good players will zerg through it faster than worse players, while the worse players actually gets the time to learn the game.
    If its easy, you will get through it fast so you wont even bother thinking about it anymore.
    If its too hard, you will get bored and quit the game.

    Some people will find it to be different later on, when starting to lvl alts, but thats nothing you can do about, since it happens in every game.

  5. #5
    Health orbs feel gimicky. I understand they're trying to avoid the potion-chugging dynamic of Diablo 2, but now you just kill large packs of mobs hoping for an orb to spawn, then run into them. They also unfairly favor melee DPS vs ranged -- if in a group, the barb will suck up all the health orbs (intentionally or not!) and ranged have to peel off and find their own mobs to kill separately. I don't like this mechanic.
    Health globes count for the whole team .

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Caniroth View Post
    Health globes count for the whole team .
    ok now THAT was good to know.

    Is their total health boosted in groups? or is it the same relative health, divided by 4 players?

  7. #7
    Thanks for your impressions; got my beta invite yesterday as well, but will have no chance to play until tomorrow. I'll keep in mind what you wrote as I play.

  8. #8
    Thank you for sharing both good and bad, OP. I do agree with you on many points. However, the tool-tip options will most definitely be hot-fixed by Blizzard before the game is shipped ...
    Last edited by Bodraw; 2012-03-31 at 03:22 PM. Reason: Typo.
    "Is it possible to live without comparison of any kind, never translating yourself in terms of comparison with another or with some idea or with some hero or with some example? Because when you are comparing, when you are measuring yourself with what should be or what has been, you are not seeing what is ..." by Jiddu K., Philosopher

  9. #9
    I noticed that Rapid Fire doesn't do decent damage unless you are dual wielding hand crossbows.
    Bugpoochie

  10. #10
    Scarab Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by probert View Post
    Forced perspective means you should always explore moving north; huge difference in LoS and visibility of mobs. this will have huge implications for pvp down the road.
    It wouldn't be Diablo if the view wasn't locked. Diablo was isometric, Diablo 2 was isometric, and while Diablo 3 uses a 3D engine, obviously it needs to be locked. It won't have any more implications than there were in the earlier games.

    Quote Originally Posted by probert View Post
    Skill system seems disjointed. You unlock abilities while you level, but the customisation is what you equip-to-use -- you don't pick abilities to unlock until runes. There's primary and secondary skills, then defensive/passive abilties, then runes. The only real choice until runes is what ability to equip. There's a lengthy cooldown if you change your primary and secondary attack. Not sure what this will look like at the level cap (or in subsequent difficulties), but having a hard time appreciating this system instead of talents.

    Skills make no sense. My default attack as a demon hunter does more damage than my rage-enabled rapid fireattack. There are numerous complaints at incgamers around these sorts of things.. don't expect logical/balanced builds out the door. Balance is a mess, everyone in trade and instances I joined were pointing to Barbarians are DPS machines, Demon Hunters were weak.
    As far as I know, you can choose and use whichever six abilities you want. You don't need to use "left mouse abilities" with your left mouse, or "right mouse abilities" with your right mouse. You can customize it all, and the "dumb" system is just the default. As far as ability balance, the damage you do and so on goes, it's still beta, and things will change in patches in live as well. Also, you've only seen things up to level 13 at the most, which means absolutely nothing. Abilities have to be balanced for level 60 play, which is where people will spend most of their time.

    While in an MMO leveling might be the fun part, and you might spend most of your time leveling, and stop when you reach max level, that's not the case with Diablo. Diablo is all about farming items. You level to max, then you farm items for years. That's what the game is about. Not everyone might play it like that, but that's just what it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by probert View Post
    Far too easy. Perhaps this is tuned for beta? (e.g. perhaps maps are smaller to get you through the questing faster; mob difficult reduced?). I haven't died, or come close yet. I was up to the 6th quest and waypoint within 2 hours and I was moving slowly to read every quest.
    Well... Wouldn't it be just a little bit stupid if levels 1-13 were hard? In Diablo 2 you could level to like 60-70 with your eyes shut. Let's just see how easy it is once we start hitting 30-40. 13 means absolutely nothing.

    Quote Originally Posted by probert View Post
    I think they made a mistake with too much voice dialogue -- including for you as the protagonist. Diablo 2 had a better flow...the NPCs talked to you, but your own voice was mute. Dialogue was quick, just enough to get you back questing. They've tried to add a ton of banter while picking up quests and it a) just slows you down, and b) has pretty shitty voice acting at parts. The questing feels forced and soulless. Even Deckard Cain seems like an idiot. Torchlight town quests work and feel much better than the storyline in Diablo 3.
    I don't know about the quality of voice acting, but mute protagonists are an asinine fad that we are thankfully getting rid of. It's a blessing that games today have started to give the protagonist a voice. Also, comparing for example WoW to SW:TOR, SW:TOR is like heaven when you don't have to READ A DAMN BOOK every time you take a quest. You can just sit back and listen to what you need to do. Sure, it might be a good idea to have an option to have either dialogue or text, but having everything as text just hurts the brain too much nowadays.

    It's like comparing watching a movie and reading a book. I used to read books like crazy in my youth, but nowadays I just don't see a reason to. I'd much rather get all the information via ears and eyes than via my own imagination. Perhaps I'm getting too old for that shit.

    Quote Originally Posted by probert View Post
    In Diablo 2 -- you join the multiplayer game, start in the chat room and see open games. In Diablo 3, chat is buried several menus deep and is separated from the quest select menu. You also find instances based on which quest level you want to choose...so Act 1 for example has ~ 12 different Quests. By the level cap you'll be faced with chosing 1 'quest' instance out of 50 or 60 per difficulty level.

    The auction house was throwing tons of errors. "NULL VALUE" in sort columns, zero results found then 20 screens worth for the exact same querry.

    Tons of tooptip errors regularly popping up. Keeps telling me to equip an item in an empty slot when i had infact I had equipped an item.
    I'm hoping you reported all these things as you should, being that you're in the beta to test it out and fix these things.

    Quote Originally Posted by probert View Post
    No AOE looting? Really?
    I'll just go out on a limb here and say that you never played Diablo. The original.

    Back in Diablo you had to try and mouseover them to find the item. You couldn't just push a key and get all the labels. You'd just see the flippie and a glimmer and you actually had to search for the item, in a really REALLY dark dungeon. AoE looting? Hohoho. Wouldn't that be something indeed.
    Quote Originally Posted by probert View Post
    it definitely feels mediocre.
    I think you were expecting it to be Diablo 2. It's not. It's different. Not necessarily "mediocre" at all, but your expectations just weren't met.

    But anyway, let's just see how it feels at the end of May. Diablo 2 changed like crazy via all the patches, so I'm guessing D3 will change as well.
    've is short for have. C/Sh/Would've or c/sh/would have. Not c/sh/would of.

  11. #11
    I can't figure out why people seem to say Demon Hunter feels weak. I've played through it with all 5 classes a a couple times and for me in terms of wtfpwnage it goes;
    Barbarian
    Demon Hunter
    Wizard
    Monk
    Witch Doctor

    and then for surv it went:

    Demon Hunter
    Barbarian
    Wizard
    Monk
    Witch Doctor

    My lists sadden me a little because I wanted to love monk and make it the first one I played with,but it is so weak compared to Barbarian.

  12. #12
    High Overlord hsm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clessalvein17 View Post
    I can't figure out why people seem to say Demon Hunter feels weak. I've played through it with all 5 classes a a couple times and for me in terms of wtfpwnage it goes;
    Barbarian
    Demon Hunter
    Wizard
    Monk
    Witch Doctor

    and then for surv it went:

    Demon Hunter
    Barbarian
    Wizard
    Monk
    Witch Doctor

    My lists sadden me a little because I wanted to love monk and make it the first one I played with,but it is so weak compared to Barbarian.
    That's what beta is for. I'm sure things will change if monk and witch doctor really are that weak. My favourite two classes by the way.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by hsm View Post
    That's what beta is for. I'm sure things will change if monk and witch doctor really are that weak. My favourite two classes by the way.
    im still testing them out but for me the monk is super strong surv and rather high damage with major control. Every 3 hits unless runed out of it will stun in a small or large aoe. have some high hitting damage attacks for aoe(whirlwind kick deal+fire rune) which also gives a knockback. you get a heal+an aoe blind/miss effect and a charge into a big pack and charge out of the big pack to a lonely archer or something

    Barb so far seems to do really high damage though XD ill be playing monk almost for sure at release. the playstyle even if they're a bit weak is just so damn fun

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Clessalvein17 View Post
    I can't figure out why people seem to say Demon Hunter feels weak. I've played through it with all 5 classes a a couple times and for me in terms of wtfpwnage it goes;
    Barbarian
    Demon Hunter
    Wizard
    Monk
    Witch Doctor

    and then for surv it went:

    Demon Hunter
    Barbarian
    Wizard
    Monk
    Witch Doctor

    My lists sadden me a little because I wanted to love monk and make it the first one I played with,but it is so weak compared to Barbarian.

    Witch Doctor is that bad? I thought it would be as good as necro. Guess I was wrong

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gratlim View Post
    Witch Doctor is that bad? I thought it would be as good as necro. Guess I was wrong

    WD is actually very fun to play with, and can do some ridiculous dps. The animations and spells are quite awesome as well. I've leveled all of the classes to 13, and in order of fun I found the DH least interesting, but I do not prefer the bow classes anyway, so it might be a bit subjective. The monk also quite much surprised me, and is now my second choice, after barbarian. All in all, I found the beta to be well tuned and a sign of a great game that is to come in a month and a half.

    Still waters run deep.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Carefacecannon View Post
    I noticed that Rapid Fire doesn't do decent damage unless you are dual wielding hand crossbows.
    Thanks for the tip. I completed the beta and never found another single-handed x-bow, let alone two -- this includes drops or merchants or crafting options.

    There's certainly nothing in the tooltip to indicate a boost in dps if i dual wield vs use a 2 handed bow. its like WoW Vanilla enhancement shaman all over again!


    Quote Originally Posted by Sydänyö View Post
    Well... Wouldn't it be just a little bit stupid if levels 1-13 were hard? In Diablo 2 you could level to like 60-70 with your eyes shut. Let's just see how easy it is once we start hitting 30-40. 13 means absolutely nothing.
    Well, i just checked my character stats. First time through, all quests and act completed -- 1 hr, 36mins. No way Diablo 2 is anywhere close to this easy. You can die to Blood Raven if you're not careful. I killed the Skeleton King @ level 8.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sydänyö View Post
    I don't know about the quality of voice acting, but mute protagonists are an asinine fad that we are thankfully getting rid of. It's a blessing that games today have started to give the protagonist a voice. Also, comparing for example WoW to SW:TOR, SW:TOR is like heaven when you don't have to READ A DAMN BOOK every time you take a quest. You can just sit back and listen to what you need to do. Sure, it might be a good idea to have an option to have either dialogue or text, but having everything as text just hurts the brain too much nowadays.

    It's like comparing watching a movie and reading a book. I used to read books like crazy in my youth, but nowadays I just don't see a reason to. I'd much rather get all the information via ears and eyes than via my own imagination. Perhaps I'm getting too old for that shit.
    Its not that the voice dialogues are bad... its that they're poorly used. It should be that you complete a quest, go back to town, turn it in and pick up the next -- fast, quick, get you back to the action. Its not Shakespeare.

    Diablo 3 has you go back to town, talk to an NPC (banter back and forth 5-10 times...all you do is click, no choice) then goto another npc...then back for more dialogue, then you get the quest. This happens several times in a 6 quest, 3 stage Act 1. Its 30-40 clicks and running around just to figure out you need to kill 10 quillrats. This game has poor quest pacing, right from the very start.

    Subsequent playthroughs will be worse -- it will be spam-click to get the nPCs to shut up non-stop. Its awful. This isn't a Bioware RPG -- its a monster grinder click fest; Diablo 2 and Torchlight understand this better.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sydänyö View Post
    I'm hoping you reported all these things as you should, being that you're in the beta to test it out and fix these things.
    I'm appreciative for getting the opportunity in the beta, and provided several pieces of feedback already. I'm guessing I'm playing on gold-canddiate code, since there's no beta feedback prompts or commentary.



    So the first complete playthrough has me very indifferent for the title. I will try another class later this week, but i have no urge to go back and 'do it again!' right away. I'll try a witchdoctor next i guess....i had a l93 hardcore necromancer circa 2003, who died to a lag spike. Won't be hardcore-ing again though. Monks looked interesting from a combat perspective.

    I'll reserve final judgment for Diablo 3 until after it launches and I can play the full game. Act 1 Beta though is unimpressive from a gameplay, challenge, and social/grouping perspective.

    Some other tidbits:
    • The auction house defaults to real money auctions, not gold. I usually remembers you prefer gold as your preference, but it occasionally switches back to RMAH.
    • You pick your quests for the starting point of your public game, then it automatically queues you. Unlike diablo 2, you can't pick your game and can't browse open games. I really hate this approach.
    • Crafting is very basic. Disenchant, whoops i mean salvage, your magic items at the blacksmith, then use the remants to make new magic items with random enchants.
    • At level 8 i had unlocked a single rune; can't really evaluate the system based on the beta.

  17. #17
    From what I have tried it's much better than lv1-Blood Raven in D2.

  18. #18
    Questing and voice acting might be just personal preference. I didnt find it bad for me. I liked voice acting from lore info (info about mobs, parts of journals etc), as you can listen to it and just go forward. Voices are like voices. Some will like, some not, if you dont want read/hear it you can click X to skip that part of dialog and go to next.
    It giving you nice background story to what you are doing without making you stop and read text (you can do that too).

    Later in beta you unlock Town Portal ability and no need run so much anymore to and from town.

    About skills. Beta have rly limited ammount of skills avaible because of low level restriction. More skills you have and more runes will be unlocked, then whole system will have more depth. In beta it might feel shallow ebcause there was not much choice to choose from, later it should be better. Even at end of beta when you have 13 level and unlocked all beta avaible skills/runes you can get hints of future customisation.
    Mentioned Demon Hunter. I found Rapid fire quite usefull. I was using bola ability for aoe purpouse and Rapid fire if I wanted single target, but I was dualwielding 2 crossbows so maybe thats why it didnt felt bad.

    Overall I didnt have any "wow its so great stuff" feeling, but at same time Diablo3 even with limited ammount of stuff in beta could hook me up for several hours so thats rly nice. For me its same Diablo gameplay with improved graphics. Its nto revolution, more like improvments over gameplay which worked in past. If some1 didnt like previous Diablos, D3 rather wotn change his mind. If some1 liked previous games, D3 seems to have more of that

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by probert View Post
    [*] I think they made a mistake with too much voice dialogue -- including for you as the protagonist. Diablo 2 had a better flow...the NPCs talked to you, but your own voice was mute. Dialogue was quick, just enough to get you back questing. They've tried to add a ton of banter while picking up quests and it a) just slows you down, and b) has pretty shitty voice acting at parts. The questing feels forced and soulless. Even Deckard Cain seems like an idiot. Torchlight town quests work and feel much better than the storyline in Diablo 3.
    This part made me facepalm. The bolded parts made me facepalm with both of my hands.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Sydänyö View Post
    I don't know about the quality of voice acting, but mute protagonists are an asinine fad that we are thankfully getting rid of. It's a blessing that games today have started to give the protagonist a voice. Also, comparing for example WoW to SW:TOR, SW:TOR is like heaven when you don't have to READ A DAMN BOOK every time you take a quest. You can just sit back and listen to what you need to do. Sure, it might be a good idea to have an option to have either dialogue or text, but having everything as text just hurts the brain too much nowadays.

    It's like comparing watching a movie and reading a book. I used to read books like crazy in my youth, but nowadays I just don't see a reason to. I'd much rather get all the information via ears and eyes than via my own imagination. Perhaps I'm getting too old for that shit.
    Problem with TOR is that it gets tedious after awhile for a guy to explain a different way to kill X amount of things in a 5 minute conversation. Especially a second go around leveling an alt.

    I like how Diablo 3 has it however, from the beta videos I've seen, it seems to have enough pacing in dialog to make me happy.

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