What is Diablo 3?November 12, 2011 by: RPG Reviewer
Release: Now Available | Platforms: PC, Mac OS X | Overview: The third title in an RPG mega-game developed by Blizzard. Diablo 3 is a single player fantasy role playing game with optional co-op play and upcoming arena PVP. It’s the third installment of the iconic series that follows the dungeon crawl format with a strong emphasis on loot accumulation.
What is Diablo III?
Quick Facts: Single player role playing game with optional co-op play and upcoming PVP arena combat.
The Heroes of Sanctuary are called back to save the world from the hordes of demons rising out of the Burning Hells led forth by two Lesser Evils known as Azmodan and Belial, who are anything but lesser. Under the guidance of the legendary Deckard Cain and a new character, Leah, we are tasked to fight them back and end their threat once and for all. I am very excited about the upcoming release of Diablo 3, which has been a long time in the waiting.
For those new to the Diablo series, Diablo 3 is designed to be a single player role playing game with the option to allow cooperative play and player versus player arena combat. This game is really about destroying tons of monsters in a satisfying way and getting awesome gear while doing it.
Diablo 3 Game Play
Quick Facts: Four difficulty levels with optional Hardcore mode. A simple User Interface (UI) with swappable skill slots. Up to 4 active skill slots and 3 passive skills. Static and random level generators, boss encounters and enhanced quest system.
The world of Sanctuary, as the setting of this massive campaign, is filled with deep dark dungeons, lush forests, massive strongholds, sweltering deserts and a vast variety of other environments for you to battle down the demon hordes in. Within these realms, Diablo 3 introduces new destructible environments, which can be anything from boxes, barrels, weak walls and complex structures. Attack these objects and they will reveal hidden loot or crash down your enemies.
Monsters are hiding in nearly every corner of the world, some even crawling up the walls at you. Their variety is interesting and varying. Some enemies spawn from the vomit of others or are summoned from the lower depths of hell by necromancers. Their abilities and attacks scale depending on difficulty of the monster and your game difficulty level. Rare and Champion monsters will drop better loot than normal monsters. While boss monsters are key to many quest lines, the complex level randomization will change their spawn rooms to avoid “bot farming” and break up the monotony for those who like to replay quests over and over. Besides gear, enemies now have a chance to drop a health globe – a new feature to Diablo 3. These globes replace the constant need for healing potions by restoring your health so you can keep on slaying.
Diablo 3 offers four difficulty levels: Normal, Nightmare, Hell and Inferno. You must defeat the game in each difficulty level before proceeding to the next. The benefits for playing harder levels are obviously more challenge and better loot. For those who love ultimate challenges, you can opt to play any difficulty with a Hardcore Mode setting. One death for a character in hardcore mode renders him (or her) and all gear gone forever. Why play hardcore mode? You get even better gear, certain extreme achievements, more options for your banner and bragging rights.
The UI in Diablo 3 is simple, yet fluid. You have your health meter and second power source (varies by class) that you have to constantly monitor, a potion slot and your skill/items slots. You gain access to 4 active skills, which can also be assigned to your mouse keys and skill slots.
Character Creation and Classes
Quick Facts: Choice of gender and class. Classes available are Barbarian, Monk, Wizard, Witch Doctor and Demon Hunter. The Level cap is 60.
When you start a new character, you get choose what class you want to play, your gender and design your own customer banner. Banner? Yeah, in multiplayer modes it allows your friends to transport directly to you when they click on it in-game.
In Diablo 3, there are five classes you can choose from: Barbarian, Monk, Wizard, Witch Doctor or Demon Hunter. I’ll give a brief description of each with a general listing of the types of abilities they excel at.
WATCH MOVIES: Barbarian in Detail, Barbarian in Action
The barbarian is designed to take and deal out massive damages with spectacular weapon attacks and physical moves. Some of his signature attacks are spinning through enemies with Whirlwind, hacking though demons with Cleave and jumping across gaps and smashing down on enemies when landing. In addition to his health, the barbarian has to manage his Fury. Fury is a metered power source that increases when you get hurt, kill successive monsters or use certain abilities and will decrease when you use powerful abilities or just decide to rest for a bit.
WATCH MOVIE: Monk in Detail, Monk in Action
The monk specializes in fast attacks and preventing damage to himself. Most of the monks attacks are centered around speed and distractions. He also excels at deflecting projectiles, resisting damage and using mantras to enhance his effectiveness. Some of the monk attacks are just plain cool. Monks must be able to balance Spirit, a metered energy source that increases and decreases as you use your abilities.
WATCH MOVIE: Wizard in Detail, Wizard in Action
There’s nothing surprising when you see the wizard class who excel at dealing enormous damage from afar. As a wizard, you must constantly be aware of enemy proximity. You’ll need to manage your Arcane power as you cast powerful spells, such as lightning, fire and ice. To aid you in your combat, wizards can slow time and teleport away from danger or through walls.
WATCH VIDEO: Witch Doctor in Detail, Witch Doctor in Action,
A new introduction to the Diablo series, the witch doctor is a nasty combination of a necromancer and shaman. They summon monsters from frogs to demon hounds to walls of zombies. While distracted by your minions, you are free to unleash curses, explosive bombs and poisons. Should the demons get too close, you can cast a specter-like fear projection to scare them back. Good witch doctors will need to keep a close eye on their mana as abilities will deplete it quickly.
WATCH MOVIE: Demon Hunter in Detail, Demon Hunter in Action
A force to be reckoned with. The demon hunter’s focus is ranged attacks, camouflage and snares. Demon hunters are heavily armed with some nasty abilities like chains that will link to other enemies nearby effectively slowing the entire group down. To keep your distance, you can trigger abilities like smokescreen to make yourself invisible and then hit Vault to catapult yourself away from danger thereby freeing you to hurl explosives beneath your victim’s feet. BOOM! Demon hunters must be able to manage two energy meters – both Discipline and Hatred. Discipline is for defensive abilities and Hatred is for offensive abilities.
WATCH MOVIE: Followers in Action
To aid you in your battle to save Sanctuary, you have the option to enlist a follower. Followers are non-player characters that ally themselves with your character throughout the game. You can choose to enlist either a Templar, Scoundrel or Enchantress. All of which will level up their skills and equipment along with you.
Each character ability has an additional enhancement slot reserved for skill runes. These are level-based enhancements to your characters’ abilities. As you level up, you gain access to these runes to append to your skills. They add unique and beneficial effects. For example, an elemental air attack might produce lightning damage with one rune or spin off multiple tornados with a different rune. The varieties are immense and they no longer require the inventory space and management the old rune system was proposing.
Crafting in Diablo 3
Quick Facts: Crafting is performed by artisans. The two artisans are a blacksmith and a jeweler. Artisans are vendors as well as craftsmen. By leveling up your artisans, you increase their abilities and also improve the appearance of their shops.
WATCH MOVIE: Artisans in Detail
No longer do you have to spend an immense amount of time laboring over a crafting table, clicking for hours on end. Diablo 3 now allows you to discover two different artisans. Once you’ve earned an artisans trust by performing a specific quest for them, they become your personal crafter and vendor. You can then buy and sell items with them or ask them to craft special items for you.
The blacksmith can craft and repair weapons and armor as well as salvage parts from unwanted gear. The jeweler can upgrade gems (up to 14 quality levels) and add sockets or remove socketed gems from your gear allowing you to experiment with others.
Both of the artisans require crafting materials and recipes to create those coveted items. You can find these throughout the world or should you desire, you can salvage your items and break them down into basic crafting materials. While you are out in the world slaying demons, you may come across pages which can be combined to make tomes. Give enough of these tomes to your artisans, and you’ll level them up. Higher level artisans can create more powerful items for your arsenal and get better looking shops to boot.
Loot: The Backbone of Diablo 3
Quick Facts: Gear ranges from common to legendary. In additional to hundreds, if not thousands of unique items, Diablo 3 also includes a prefix and suffix generator that applies random affixes for all equipable gear. All named and champion monsters have the same chance to drop rare loot. Gold obtained will be shared on all characters in your inventory. Extremely large shared inventory is available for all your characters. Equipable slots are: Head, Shoulders, Torso, Wrists, Hands, Waist, Legs, Feet, Amulets, Rings, Primary, Offhand and Ranged . Loot quality improves with difficulty level. 70% of loot is not available until you pass Normal mode.
Everyone that’s played Diablo games in the past knows that loot is an important part to it’s success. Loot can be obtained from slaughtering monsters, destructible objects, questing and crafting. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of handcrafted items as well as millions of possible randomly generated items with the affix generator. Included with unique items, are Set Items with added bonuses for completing the set. While I’m not normally a big fan of set items as it always takes forever to complete then, I was extremely excited to find out that your blacksmith has the ability to craft missing pieces of set items you find! That’s very cool to me.
While there is a lot of dispute about the differences between loot in Diablo 2 and this game, the developers placed a high priority in creating a loot stat system that will allow loot pieces to be used by multiple classes. Apparently they’ve replace a lot of the unique effects with more generic effects that are not as class-specific. I’m not sure I like this. However, Blizzard has stated the specific stats and affixes for the loot on their site is still being tweaked and we’ll know more as the time comes closer.
Obtaining uber loot post game has always been the primary focus of dedicated Diablo players. Once you’ve defeated the game, you would turn to farming legendary loot to constantly improve your character stats. Inevitably, you would farm the same areas over and over until you got your awesome items or something you could trade others for instead. In Diablo 3, Blizzard is attempting to eliminate the easily “farmed” areas by implementing a random dungeon generator as well as a random spawning feature for rare and champion monsters. They have declared that the best way to obtain the gear you want is to take advantage of the new trading systems in Diablo 3. So, you’ll farm more areas for good loot, then you’ll trade that item in direct trade or in one of the two new auction houses (see below) to get the items you’re really looking for.
Direct Trade, Gold Auction House (GAH) and Real Money Auction House (RMAH)
Quick Facts: Player to player trade will be available. Every item that drops will be tradable or sellable on the auction houses. GAH is available to all players. RMAH is available to all players except those who use hardcore mode. RMAH is geographically restricted. PayPal is the selected payment processor for RMAH withdrawals. A listing fee and sale fee will be withdrawn from completed auctions. A cash out fee will be withdrawn when transferring money to PayPal. Players using the RMAH will have the option to keep the money in their Battle.net account to use for purchases or game time or withdraw it to PayPal.
In addition to traditional player to player trading, Blizzard has introduced an entirely new element into Diablo 3, Auction Houses. They’ve revealed two new auction houses, the Gold Auction House (GAH) and the Real Money Auction House (RMAH). The Real Money Auction House is the source of a lot of debate on the Diablo 3 forums in regards to their overall effect on the game. Blizzard has announced their main reason for sanctioning real money transactions is to help combat the unsafe use of third-party sites. You will now be able to participate in a safe and secure auction house to buy and sell your loot.
Gold Auction House (GAH)
I’ve listed out some key features of the Gold Auction House:
- Anything and everything will be available for trade (minus a handful of quest items).
- Every player will be able to list items on the Gold Auction House directly from their inventory or shared stash.
- Items that are posted on the auction house will be removed from your inventory until the auction listing is complete.
- Auctions are expected to last 2 days.
- You can set a reserve price and a buyout price.
- In order to keep a shorter life cycle for gold, Blizzard will be deducting a nominal listing fee and a sale fee. Exact amounts have yet to be announced.
- Players will also be given an unspecified amount of gold-free listings per week.
- Gold and the items will be instantly transferred once the transaction takes place.
Real Money Auction House (RMAH)
Some additional points to note about the RMAH:
- Hardcore Mode characters and their loot will be excluded from the RMAH
- PayPal is the only payment authorization method.
- Sale money can be deposited into your Blizzard.net account or set aside to withdrawal to PayPal
- A small listing fee and sale fee will be deducted. The amounts are yet to be announced.
- A cash out fee will be deducted when transferring to PayPal. The amount has yet to be announced.
- The RMAH will be geographically restricted to your physical location. (Ex. Only North America can participate in the US RMAH, etc.)
- An unspecified number of free listings will be available per account on a weekly basis.
- The purchased item(s) will be transferred instantly once the transaction is complete.
The Collector’s Edition comes fully loaded with:
- Diablo 3
- 4GB USB Soulstone Drive with a Diablo Skull base
- Diablo 2 and the expansion Lord of Destruction
- In-game set of angel wings
- Exclusive in-game character banner
- Exclusive in-game armor dyes
- Behind-the-Scenes Blue-Ray/DVD
- 208 page book of Diablo art
- Diablo 3 soundtrack
All of this comes at a price tag of $99.99.
Release Date: Now Available
Developed By: Blizzard Entertainment
Platforms: PC, Mac OS X
Additional Requirements: Internet Connection is Required
Sources: Diablo3.com, Official Diablo 3 Forums, Diablo 3 Wiki, V Force, IGN, Youtube.com