Diablo III Review: Is it Worth the Hype?
Blizzard is at it again (could be bad, could be good), releasing one of the most anticipated PC games of all time, Diablo 3. For those unfamiliar with the Diablo franchise, the release of the third installment was riddled with rumors and setbacks for the space of 12 years, when the second game was released. The long wait makes this game one of wonder and excitement, but also opens itself up to a heap of criticism.
Though I am no one of particular stature (except to my three year old son), as someone who has played through the series, as well as the open beta and now experiencing the game in full force, I thought I would share with you my humble opinion of how Blizzard fairs with continuing the dynasty that is Diablo.
(The following is just my opinion, take it how you will and please leave your opinions of the game below in the comments!)
Diablo Game Comparisons
Single Player (Offline)
Rare Items and Set Items
Socketed Upgrade Weapons & Armor
Item Degradation and Death
Acts with Cutscenes
Male/Female per class
# of Character Classes
7 (counting expansion)
Town Portals and Identifying Scrolls
X (in a way)
Health and Mana Potions
Health (with a twist)
Health and Mana
The rating system below is on a scale of 0 - 5, with 5 being the best.
Multi/Single Player Rating
Diablo III Multiplayer and Single Player
- Easy chat features allow you to chat with friends in different games, provides a whisper feature, as well as be able to do party and world class, as well as chat with other players of the same class to get advice on your character
- Easily jump into a game with people who are on the same quest as you
- Easily jump into a game with friends
- Play with up to 4 people
- There is no offline single player mode, you have to be connected to the net to play
- You can't have your mercenary if you party up
- Jump ahead to play with friends in further acts producing a ton of spoilers and a disjointed story line.
Auction House Rating
Diablo III Auction House
One of the new features brought into Diablo III is the auction house, allowing players to sell and buy items. The auction house can be addicting, but I also see the result is a overpowered character and less of a need to work hard for awesome drops.
Pros or Cons (depending on your outlook of Auction Houses):
- Purchase items you need/want
- Sell items for more gold
- Sell and buy items using real money
- Search feature allows you to specify up to three attributes you are looking for in an item (e.g. +55 to strength)
- Search for legendary and set items easily with an auto fill search
- Sell up to 10 items at a time
- Cancel item sell within a five second window
- Search within specified levels, and by class
- Item suggestions based on your character
- Sometimes will get error and timeouts on purchasing
- People have lost gold in cyberspace with a few errors, never receiving money or an item
- Overall the system is buggy at times, and has been shut down on a few occasions within the first few weeks to allow fixes.
- Easily overpower characters
- Produces a buy it to win it mentality instead of game hard to earn and find it.
Diablo III Items
The items are there, ready to drop at the drop of a body part or purchased from your local merchant or fence.
- Normal items
- Socketed items
- Magical items
- Rare items
- Legendary items
- Set items
- Crafting items
- Dyes (that allow you to color certain armor types)
I enjoy the hover feature that allows you to easily compare the item you are hovering over to the equipped item.
Transmute and Crafting Rating
Diablo III Transmutations and Crafting
Technically there is no real transmuting done in the game, instead the transmuting is replaced with a system of artisans who allow you to craft items, which includes 'transmuting' gems to gain larger and better gems.
- Crafting system allows you to craft items
- Upgrade crafting systems (gem station included)
- Recipes to improve crafting abilities
- Can craft rare items
- Can only be done in town centers (Diablo 2's Horadric cube could do it anywhere!)
- Costs money
- Crafting costs more than item is worth to a merchant, in most if not all cases, forcing you to turn a profit by using the auction house.
Diablo III Upgrade Items
- Insert upgrades in socketed items
- Can remove upgrades from item for a cost, separating them without loss of gem or item
- Only four gem classes (there is no sapphire or diamond)
- No jewels like in Diablo II
- No skulls like in Diablo II
Diablo III Mercenaries
Following suit of Diablo II, the third allows you to have mercs fight by your side in battle.
- Embedded in story line (you pick up different mercenaries as you meet them in the story)
- Interaction - they speak to you and speak of each other in game
- Level up as they progress
- Powers - you have the ability to choose powers for your merc as they unlock new powers as they level
- They cost nothing
- Mercenaries can revive if you survive a battle long enough for them to revive
- Are all available in each act's town center for easy switching
- Sometimes their repetitive and limited random speech can be annoying
- Unable to use mercs when partying with other players
Item Degradation and Death Rating
Diablo III Item Degradation and Death
Following suit of the series, armor and weapons can become damaged when battling Diablo's minions. Since there is no real pro or con to this, here is how the degradation process works.
- Slight damage from normal use
- 10% damage to equipped items when you die
- Cost to repair them from a merchant
- Ability to repair all items, including in storage, or just equipped items
- When you die you revive at the last checkpoint and have all your gear. No picking up your body having to dodge hits.
Cut Scenes and Acts Rating
Diablo III Acts and Cutscenes
- 4 Acts
- Cut scenes are incredible and really embellishes the story line compared to Diablo II.
- Mini-cut scenes specific to character class
- Act 4 is over too quickly
- The entire game is over too quickly
My guess is that an expansion will be released in the near future.
Diablo III Classes
- Demon Knight
- Witch Doctor
Diablo III Create Characters
The game introduces some new classes, as well as has a couple of familiar ones. Supposedly the familiar ones are created to look aged as if they had previously been a part of the campaign against Diablo in the other games.
- Can now choose male or female per class
- Characters randomly talk throughout game to mercs, followers, and to self
- Characters look more weathered and battle hardened (thanks 12 years worth of graphics improvements!)
- Dyes that allow you to color some armor types (besides legendary and set items)
- Less classes than when the expansion was introduced in the second game. However, I predict an expansion that will provide 2-3 new characters. (I'm holding out for a Paladin/Templar)
- Can't dye legendary or set items
Portals and Identifying Rating
Diablo III Town Portals and Identifying
There are still these abilities available, but with a different way of using them.
- Town Portal is given a little into the intro of the game
- Portal and identifying requires no scrolls
- The cost of using them is not money but it requires you to cast a spell to do either, meaning if you are hit during this time you are interrupted.
- The town portal is available via hotkey -t, or it is on your hotbar.
- Identifying is done by clicking the unidentified item in your inventory, casts a spell, and voila, it is identified.
- I miss throwing town portal scrolls in case an enemy was too fierce. With the lack of needing to recover your dead body, the need to do this is non-existent.
Health and Mana Rating
Diablo III Health and Mana Potions
This system got a revamp as well, and overall, I do not like it.
- No mana potions, but each character has their own reservoir of 'mana' that is built up by normal attacks. This reservoir can then be used to access different abilities via the numbered hotkeys
- Health potions require a cooldown
- Health potions are instant instead of fill up like in Diablo II
- Health globes drop from monsters and can be picked up and instantly used, creating a supplement for the cooldown time.
Attributes and Skill Rating
Diablo III Attributes and Skills
This is one I am still unsure of how I feel. One thing I for sure do not like is the auto attributes. I would rather have the ability to stack points as I see fit, reminiscent of Diablo II's style.
- Auto attributes
- Revamped skill tree - six skill sets with four choices in each, and then even more choices for each of those (skill runes), plus there are passive skills separate from the skill tree system
- Skill runes replaces stacking points into a skill
Diablo III Storage
This is something I like about Diablo III, the storage system. It has improved in a number of ways.
- Items condensed, making them take up less space
- Larger personal inventory
- Storage chest is still available like in Diablo II
- Ability to purchase extra storage space for your storage chest
- The auction house has 10 slots where you can sell/store items. If you want it stored, put a ridiculously high price on the item so it won't sell and will stay in auction limbo. If it does sell, you are now rich! Win-win.
It is worth most of the hype.
I jumped onto the open beta while in the midst of playing Diablo II, choosing to be a barbarian. My initial thought within the first several minutes was one of being not that impressed. I felt that I was guided too much, like Dragon Age, lacking an expansive world to explore with no drops. However, once you wander beyond Tristram, the open world and drops appear, giving you that old familiar feeling. The longer I played, the more I was hooked.
Some of the highlights of the game for me:
- The atmosphere is much more grim and fitting
- More mini-bosses and bosses
- Randomization of maps
- Awesome cinematic cut scenes
- Familiar characters to continue the story-line
- Some say the graphics for the time were lacking. I differ. I think they did a great job updating but still maintaining the look and feel, if not improving upon it for this installment.
- Sweet character special moves (speaking from the Barbarian perspective). It is mesmerizing to watch the characters dismember hell's minions.
- Increased storage
- Same hack and slash feel
- The story-line. Some have complained, but I thought it was enjoyable and opens it up for another installment or expansion.
- Interaction with the world (able to smash even more world items than in Diablo 2!)
- Monsters - I felt Blizzard created variations of existing monsters, and did a cool job with it.
Some of the drawbacks of the game for me:
- Auto attributes (I like to be able to choose my own, and create varying characters within a class)
- The bugs - login errors, auction house errors, easily compromised accounts, loss of items and money
- Length was too short
- Intro didn't hook me, had to play longer to enjoy the game
- Dying doesn't make you have to run back through a mob of monsters to fetch your body and gold
- Mercenaries leave when in a party
- Weird skill tree, or lack thereof
- Belt with potion holders is not there!
- Is it just me, or does the Demon Knight run slow and wonky? As if he has a limp?
- No offline single player
- Auction house turns the game into a pay to advance system rather than earn it with skill (unless you count managing auctions a skill)
- Can't sell it as it links to your battlenet account
Not quite sure how I feel about these things yet:
- Health globes and potion wait time
- Modes beyond normal (just because I have yet to try them)
- Camera angles - it would have been nice to have a zoom feature or a rotate feature, but D3 stays true to the fixed cameras of D2. One would think with the way games are being made and the tech today, that this feature would be a given. Though it would be nice, it doesn't bother me enough.
- Auction house is a blessing and a curse for me. Blessing because I can continually improve my character and earn gold, curse in that at least in normal mode, my character became ultra strong, making normal seem easy.
- A few lag issues, but very minor. If it gets worse or continues more often, then this will be bumped up to the dislike section.