Diablo III Beta – Part 1: First Impression

I am grateful, to say the least, when I received a beta key from Asiasoft, the new distributor of Blizzard Entertainment games in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.  Thank you Asiasoft!  I tried to ask when the Collector’s Edition of Diablo III will arrive in Singapore and they said Soon™.  It’s OK.  I am a patience man.  I have been anticipating this game since 2008 when Blizzard first put up a site for Diablo III.  Apparently, I was too optimistic back then to think that the wait was over.  The wait is still going on.

For this beta testing (patch 5), we are free to choose any of the five available classes and play through one satisfying mission.  I picked a female monk because she is likely to be the hottest character in Diablo.  Besides, in the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion, a new monk class will be introduced.  I am all hyped up for the year of the monks.

“Picture speaks a 1,000 words”

I have played Diablo II.  That was back in 2000.  If you love Diablo II, it is without a doubt that you would love this sequel.  The familiarity is overwhelming.  But yet, there are enough improvements to impress.  It  is like Starcraft II.  The game still plays like the original version, despite the fact that so much have changed in a positive way.

Diablo III is a third person role play game.  Interaction with in-game characters (or non-player classes) are fully voice animated.  There is no need to read the quest texts.  You can engage a two-way conversation with humans you see (in the Universe of Diablo, non-humans are bad).  Or as you get closer to people, you may overhear a conversation.  Now that we are on the topic of music and sound, the soundtrack matches with the mood of the game too.  You can always make out if there is danger ahead, or an upcoming plot to be revealed as the music transits to a new theme.  If you pay attention, you can always hear something luring in the background you even them.  Fortunately, at a low level, these monsters are quite a push over.  These ‘warning’ messages build up my anticipation rather than fear.

“It is often peace in town”

For the first 10 levels, I can practically play it through using only two mouse buttons.  I enjoy the simplicity.  Left click anywhere on the ground moves the character.  At a low level, I can map two abilities to the two mouse buttons.  At the highest level, the number of abilities I can bring to the battlefield is six out of a total of twenty.  Hence, all we really need is two mouse buttons and a keypad of one to four.

You may say: This really seems too easy!  Quite rightly so.  It appears to me that deep within the core of Diablo is still pretty much a hack-and-slash type of game.  However, because the different combinations of abilities we have, the play style can be different.  For example, I can pick a main ability (as a monk), to hit the enemies from afar.  More like a combo style as in each subsequent hit increases the distance required of the next attack.  And as for the ability that consumes my monk’s resource – spirit – I could pick an area of effect by knocking back the enemies, keeping them close but not that close.  Or even a decoy that has an area of effect explosion after a few good seconds of taunting the enemies onto it.  For the third ability, I could pick a buff or mantras that increases the chance of dodge for my party and I.  And if balanced type of combat is not your cup of tea, you could mix the combinations and go for a more offensive approach.

Since Diablo III is a co-op type of game capable of putting four players into a single party, it will come a time whereby you would want to pick abilities or classes that compliment each other.  That is when the complexity kicks in, I suppose.

“Choose wisely!”

I will not be able to cover all aspects of Diablo III Beta in one post.  I intend to share with you more as I dive deeper into the beta testing.  One last topic I would like to cover is crafting.  Looting and crafting is a main feature of the Diablo franchise.  I can’t exactly recall the inventory management system of Diablo II.  But I suspect it is somewhat like you loot and loot and eventually your inventory is full.  You then have to open a portal, return to your home town, clear some space in your inventory, and then return to where you were via a portal.  Diablo III has that facility too.  But it also allows you to savage your unwanted loots on the fly into components that stack.  And then you can use these components to craft items.  Simply put, if the god of RNG (random number generator) hates you, you still have a good chance to get what you want.

I have put up a small photo album in Google+.  You can view the screenshot here.  Patch 6 is out this morning.  Stay tuned for more sharing!

 “So I crafted a pair of fist items for my monk (who is now vanished as the new patch arrives)”

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