PC & Download
Rejoice! Diablo III is here! Ok After staying up all night in the throes of adventure
to get this write up done, I find the long development time was well
spent indeed. Unfortunately Diablo III as with any release of such
magnitude and someone’s brilliant idea to make even the single player
experience a must be signed onto the Battle.net servers to play…things
of course had a glitch and at least for a short time Blizzard had to
scramble to get things up and running. I will say they have performed
admirably under heavy stressful conditions, though I still shutter at
the must always be able to log in to play your game you spent hard
earned money on. Part of the grand strategy there one can speculate is
that Blizzard will eventually make more money this way. Perhaps they are
getting a cut from the auction house that has been implemented and
eventually will be able to use real money.
So before I get into the main review and my thoughts on the game, let me
go over into a true life horror story for our Australian readers, and
how Blizzard came in as a white knight to sets things right, even though
it was not their responsibility…they took care of their fans.
Australian customers where pretty much slapped in the face with an
unpleasant surprise, if they pre ordered the game from the sales company
GAME. GAME is a major electronic entertainment retailer in the
territory. GAME had announced that not only had they had to go into
administration (which is like bankruptcy in the United States.) but they
won’t be carrying copies of Diablo III. PLUS the real shock to the
system, if you pre ordered with GAME, they could not do a refund.
Blizzard stepped in and offered to give the consumers that had pre
ordered with GAME a free digital copy of Diablo III via the Blizzard
Store. Purchase the game through the Diablo III website, and then submit
a GAME Australia receipt by June 30, proving that they paid down their
pre-order before May 15. Blizzard will then issue a credit for the
amount paid to GAME Australia. So good on you Blizzard!
Now let’s get to the game shall we? I have played the game for several
days now, and toyed with several options in the game. Letting the
initial annoyance of down time of the servers for the time it was down
and the whole held hostage feeling of having to be signed on to
Battle.net to even play the single player experience leave me before
writing up my thoughts on this game.
Diablo III development is said to have started back in 2001, and not
announced till 2008. So it has had what some may consider some huge
development time. It shows it, with both single player and multiplayer
blurring the lines of the experience. Interaction with friends and
fellow adventurers can be shared in game and through message boards and
the auction house.
The game adventure for Diablo III takes place in a place called
Sanctuary. It’s been many years since un-known heroes quested to defeat
the dark forces and save the realms. It all seems to start with a
falling star, or at least that’s what it looked like at first. Imagine
our surprise when it turned out to be a humanoid being, which has lost
their memory and also a sword that was shattered into three parts. Can
the addle brained stranger and this sword hold the key to defeating the
dark forces that once again rise to cause havoc on the lands? Well gee;
you will have to play the game to find that out. I am only here to
review the game; I can say that the game was well worth the wait, and
the controversy that hangs over it.
Character classes this time around are a lot more even when it comes to
the sex of the character. Before in Diablo and Diablo II, you would have
been stuck with whatever sex that character class happened to be in the
games. This time around you can not only choose the character class, but
whether they are male or female. This alone is a welcome thing indeed.
Blizzard did not just port over all the classes, this time around there
is a mix of character classes, some new ones that can be considered a
consolidation or dual classed. The game does not call them dual classed,
but any old school gamer will give a knowing nod. So here is how the
character classes break down. Most of the characters that use any kind
of magic has these magical abilities powered by Mana, which is depleted
with each casting. Most spells need what’s called a cool off period
before that spell can be cast again.
One of the new ones and most interesting ones is The Witch Doctor. With
some skills that may remind some of the Necromancer class in some ways.
Dealing with magic that can cast curses, summon zombies and use poisons
and explosive magic, The Witch Doctor is no slouch in a fight. Though
there is some talk that if there are any expansions that the Necromancer
class may make an appearance.
Blizzard had reported that this next class. The Barbarian was one of the
most widely used by players. So it’s no wonder this walking tank of
fighters is present in the game. With skills in battle that can cut a
swath through most crowds of enemy, The Barbarian is a ferocious
fighter. With skills such as ground stomp, leaping and coming down to
crush enemy, cleave and rend and other powerful barbaric moves this
fighter class has it all covered. Barbarians use Fury which is generated
when enemy attack, or attacking enemy. Fury depletes over time much like
Mana for lack of better terms.
The Demon Hunter is a mix of the Assassin and Amazon classes from Diablo
II. With wicked skills with a crossbow, they supplement their attack
abilities with explosives. With a mix of hatred and discipline fueling
their abilities The Demon Hinter is an interesting character class.
Discipline is used for defensive abilities and spells and is slow to
regenerate. Hatred is used for offensive abilities and spells and is
Then there is The Monk. A fighter that uses melee attacks with her or
his special brand of martial skills to put the beat down on the enemy.
They can resist damage, have explosive concentrated blows, and deflect
incoming projectile weapons, kind of an amalgamation of the other games
Paladin and an Assassin. The Monk’s abilities are fueled by fighting
spirit, which they generate appropriately by fighting.
The Wizard is a new mix of the Sorcerer and Sorceress from the older
games from the franchise. The wizard class can do all the ultra-cool
spells that are from the tons of story books and film we all grew up
with. From electrifyingly devastating lighting attacks, to fire and ice
based attacks and the nifty teleportation abilities in the middle of a
fight make The Wizard a crafty spell smith of the arcane arts. It’s like
the magic of David Copperfield really ticked off.
Game play is once again the tried and true point and click kind of
movement of which your hero follows towards the last place you clicked
on screen. Combat can be achieved simply enough by clicking over an
enemy target. Using just the click method for attack you can soon find
your character wading forward, not good if you want to try to keep it to
ranged attacks. So just hold down the SHIFT key while attacking and you
can keep it ranged. Further in the game as you go, there are chances to
use the environment to cause damage and stun enemy. Dropping things on
them, or knock a stall of burning embers on them. The destructible and
using the environments in the attacks are a cool thing used to much
advantage on many a dungeon crawl during this review process.
Like most other dungeon crawlers of the same ilk, your character levels
up as the game progresses. Gaining skill points as you go. The leveling
and skill systems have been narrowed down considerably, some may argue
to the point of lack of full customizability. Each class unlocks only a
small number and same exact type of skills as they progress. The skills
are individualistic per that certain class, but it all comes down to
less customization. Eventually as the character levels up and has access
to all the abilities of that class, during combat you can change what
skill or spell you are using on the fly. Diablo III is less complex than
its previous incarnations of the franchise. The spells and abilities can
be enhanced by the use of Skill Runes, (Also unlocked as the character
progresses) these also can be swapped out and placed on a spell/skill to
enhance the effect or benefit in some way.
Playing the single player experience, gamers do not have to go it alone.
There are Followers that, well… follow you during your adventure.
Happily enough they seem for the most part simplistically competent. The
main strategy for the Followers is attempt to kill anything that is a
You can choose skills for them that affect their behavior in combat.
Followers that are not chosen for your quest remain in camp waiting for
you. Players can head back to town or camp and swap out one Follower for
another. As your characters grown in strength and experience, so too
does The Followers, they unlock skills every five levels. For best
results in combat do not forget to give them the benefit of good
equipment. After all it only helps you on your quest to equip them out
to best effect against whatever forces you are fighting.
Another NPC style character that your character can invest in to gain
better swag is The Artisans. By giving them gold to train up and gain
new higher levels of Artisan skills, they are able to create higher
grade weapons, armor and other items for you.
Then of course there are the multiplayer experiences in Diablo III,
Donna and I met and eventually got married thanks to gaming and in fact
in a game very much like this one 25 years ago. So multiplayer is a
blast. Single player is fun enough, but there is just something about
fighting through the dark unforgiving places with friends and family
that just makes it even more fun.
The multiplayer community is further enhanced with community message
boards and other interactive points for a community feel to the game.
Such as the auction house, at this time bidding and purchases for items
is only using in game gold. There are plans for use of real currency
eventually for purchasing, of which the company gets a cut from sales
and also cash out fee. (Pimp much?) Though how secure that is going to
be is anyone’s guess, as some of the gaming community’s confidence in
Battle.net and Blizzard has been shaken with alleged Battle.net account
hacks. Some players have been reporting that they are kicked out of the
game, sign back in and find that all of their characters items are gone.
Gold, weapons, clothing armor, everything. If these reports are true it
begs to question, how safe is your real money, when your virtual items
are taken so easily? Again, it is unknown if this is a wide spread
thing, or some have alleged that it may be protests and not as many if
any hacks as reported. Just like some sites like metacritic got a large
amount of user reviews with very low scores to protest the servers being
down and the always online, in even single player.
Blizzard does take things like this very seriously and are at this time
investigating further on how these have been happening. I know one
thing, I have never had a Battle.net account for several years, and yet
for years I would every month get some obviously fake email allegedly
from Blizzard and Battle.net about issues with my account and to click
on the link to go to my account. The point here is twofold. I know the
spoof and phishing emails happen, I did not even have an account but I
was getting the fake emails anyway. While at this time as noted Blizzard
is investigating, to see how these alleged hacks have happened… do not
make it easier for hackers by clicking blindly on email links. I know so
many gamers are more computer savvy than that, so if these reports are
true it will be interesting to see IF Blizzard reports how it happened
and also how soon they can do something about it.
Game sounds and music are thumping enough and lend well to the
atmosphere. With a surround sound system players are going to find the
sounds of battle ringing load and clear. Graphics are dark and
foreboding, with depth to the world, including multi-tiered dungeons.
As you game through this one, it is soon evident that leveling up is the
name of the game. Leveling up means more powerful character and in turn,
maybe an easier time against larger bosses. This is when Donna’s style
of play comes in handy. Exploring every possible point on a level and
area she possibly can. Picking up items, gaining experience, clearing a
dungeon out, spreads out the gaming experience and may end up finding
out a few things you would not have by just fighting from A to B without
checking out all there is to offer in a level. With the games enhanced
quest system which does random level generating and encounters along
with many of the static levels, it makes some of the game become more
interesting to explore even further.
Though very linear in most respects and repetitive in its battle
controls there are enough tweaks in this mostly the same game as Diablo
II to make the experience oddly addictive. Even with the bitter taste of
having the single player experience being a hostage to always being
online to play Diablo III, it is a fun experience. Diablo III Is a solid
sword and sorcery dungeon crawling adventure. Just click here and
attack….how simple and fun.
Have fun, play games
BUY Diablo III here!