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The CD insert for Diablo
The CD insert for Diablo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Diablo 3 is … Diablo 2++. No revolutions in gameplay, no “wow” moments, really. I mean, the previous game *was* great, and this is just as click-addictive as the last one. The fighting is satisfying and explodey, the bosses are tough but beatable. The loot is shiny and sparkling, and the story hackneyed and overwrought.

There is stuff that’s new. The upgrade trees are cleaner, and the interface is nicer, but these are tweaks. Evolutions. You are occasionally joined by followers, and they’re okay. You are rewarded by achievements for doing cool stuff (like crushing enemies by dropping a chandelier on them). But the game, the mechanics, the progress, the fundamental game below the newer graphics and shiny world is still Diablo.

Cover art from Diablo II, a game designed by S...
Cover art from Diablo II, a game designed by Stieg Hedlund (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since Diablo 2 ARPGs have happened. Dungeon Siege has gone though a game and two sequels, bringing with it party combat, pack horses, using percentages of health kits, buttons to highlight and collect all nearby loot. Torchlight came with it’s visceral combat and “sell my useless crap without taking me away from the fun bit” button, and the pets.

It’s odd. It’s a great game, and once I started working it didn’t even occur for me to leave my seat for the three hours or so I spent going though the beta. Addictive and a gameplay that’s so smooth as to be entirely frictionless. For a sequel to a game that’s so very loved, it’s possibly close to perfect. More of the same, but better.

Which is why I’m not sure if my… disappointment in it not being revolutionary is a sensible reaction.


Diablo III (Photo credit: Kimli)
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  1. That’s pretty much exactly my reaction. Really I think it will depend how the economy pans out and whether trading (whether gold or real money) becomes a significant part of the game. Pack horses and “sell all the useless shit” buttons are a significant factor in other games, but I suspect aren’t a factor in D3 – the sale values mean it’s not worth picking up the grey and white items at all. If you don’t pick them up, you don’t need a mule to carry them, or a button to sell them. I just think of them as flavor text: the equivalent of shattered furniture and broken light fittings.

    I guess you could give your companion an extra inventory pane, and send him off to sell stuff as required. Is that really *that* useful when you can portal to town and back at any point?.

    1. Yeah, you could portal back, but it breaks the flow of the game to simply wander back to town, sell stuff, then go back into fight-for-your-life mode. It’s a natural break point, too, which is better for users than for Blizzard 🙂

  2. I’ve been approaching it from the perspective of somebody who never played any of the old Diablo games, wondering what all the fuss is about, and treating this as a demo. My response was “Torchlight, but better”. It strikes me as very well-polished, with a lot of attention to detail – which is something that Blizzard has always done well.
    I don’t like it enough t as to buy it, but I don’t generally like games of this genre enough to pay full price. I can still respect that it’s a very well-made example, and appreciate why others will enjoy 🙂

  3. I had a fun time playing it co-op with beaneater yesterday, finished the beta with a wizard and started with a monk, then we were joined by two guys from our WoW guild and steamrolled through it a couple more times. Multiplayer was great fun, it felt like there were more monsters and because there are 4 players, each with their own loot tables, more chances of an upgrade dropping.

    I agree that it’s a nice evolution from Diablo II, but I think it’s the little quality-of-life changes that make it more enjoyable. No more counting scrolls of identification or town portal, no more mana potions.

    However, since I got the WoW annual pass, I don’t need to decide whether to buy D3, it’s ‘free’ to me anyway.

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