You guys must have seen that Blizzard were kind enough to test their servers on us, right? Of course you have! It’s fucking Blizzard! Well, a couple of days ago, I saw on IGN an article saying that the Diablo III open beta will begin on Thursday (the couple of days ago) and end on Sunday, and I was so excited about it that I stuck a soul stone to my forehead and called upon the dark lord of terror in celebration. (read: ordered a pizza).
Now that we’ve established the amount of excitement I had for this beta, let’s venture on to the review!
First of all, I should mention that I was running it on my 2009 Macbook Pro (2.6GHz core 2 duo CPU, 4GB DDR3 1333MHz, 9400M + 9600M GT Nvidia GPUs) and based on these specs most of you can already tell that it wasn’t running as Blizzard have intended, but it was playable. I had all the visuals on low, no anti-aliasing, the only thing I had set to high was the resolution (1440×900) but there were frequent frame drops, sometimes even complete freezes, but I think the freezing was from the servers, not a fault of my hardware.
Anyway, I’ll start with the bad stuff about the beta since they’re very few. You have to be always connected to the internet, I don’t know if that’s only for the beta, or if it will carry over to the actual game come the 15th of May, but if it did, it would suck. I personally love to game when I’m in the bus going to college, or if I’m in a plane, or hell when I don’t have my laptop charger and don’t want to open the WiFi. What you see is a login screen, very similar to that of World of Warcraft’s, you sign in with your battle.net ID and password, and you’re in
after a couple hundred tries
Another thing is the new leveling system, while I’m okay with the new skill system, I used to love assigning stat points after each level, it made leveling up all that much sweeter, now all you get is some unlockable skills/runes. It’s not a big issue, certainly not experience breaking, but it used to be nicer.
The last bad thing is the potion delay, gone are the days were you put a belt full of potions and just spam those numbers like there’s no tomorrow, they added a delay to the use of each consecutive potion, and a big delay at that.
Now for the good stuff, the beta gave us access to 5 classes, the Barbarian, the Witch Doctor, the Demon Hunter, the Monk, and the Wizard, out of those five I played the Monk, the Demon Hunter, and the Witch Doctor, I’ll start with the Monk since that was my initial solo play through. The Monk class, while I hadn’t unlocked any “auras” at level 9, is supposedly very much like the Paladin class from Diablo II, he’s more of a melee type of guy, attacking with his fists and feet, not so Paladin-like, if you ask me, but it’s not the same character after all! His skills were neat, the couple of ones I unlocked were lightning shooting out of punches, a piercing type of punch, a flame kick, a healing skill and a blinding skill, his healing skill was actually the most beneficial because of the potion delay, it basically gives you an extra potion to use without the delay, and that came in handy a LOT during the last part of my solo run. The Monk’s reserve of move power is called Spirit, unlike Diablo I and Diablo II, not all characters have mana, spirit regenerates slowly by itself, or faster when hitting monsters with non spirit consuming attacks.
The Demon Hunter is a crossbow/bow wielder who can place traps, with some other neat skills, a piercing arrow shot, throwing knives, a machine gun like stance where the demon hunter holds his/her ground and just go nuts on the bow, the demon hunter had two different power reserves for the skills, one was called Hatred, that was for the offensive skills, the other I can’t really remember the name of, was for the tactical skills, such as the traps and what not.
The last character I tried was the Witch Doctor who was a lot like the Necromancer from Diablo II minus the skeletons and the ravens, instead, his first skill was a poison dart, the one unlocked after that was called Jar of spiders, it looked pretty cool for those with no arachnophobia, the Witch Doctor throws a jar, and out comes three spiders to attack your target, he also summons three hounds to fight for him, and he can summon some hands from under the ground to slow and damage your enemies.
That’s about it for the characters I tried, I used the Monk for my solo run, the other two characters, co-op, and the co-op was really fun in the game, no body rushes over loot since every person has his/her own set of visible loot that no one else but you can take, which was a very nice move, also the co-op has some of its own achievements to unlock along with the campaign achievements.
Onto some of the details I forgot to mention up there, skills are modifiable, instead of having a big skill tree, you get some skills, for each skill you get 6 or 7 runes I think, and these runes change the effect of said skills, for example, the lightning punch of the Monk’s, with the first unlockable rune becomes a teleporting punch, the piercing shot of the Demon Hunter can slow two enemies, and the hands from the ground of the Witch Doctor becomes some cracks in the ground and it slows enemies even more.
Also, in the beta there was a smithing skill that you upgrade, not for yourself though, but for the smith himself, each upgrade gives you more weapons/armors to create, and everything comes with some magical attributes attached to them. You can also destroy some of the magical equipment you found along your travels that you have no use for, you destroy those for materials used in creating new gear.
There is no identification scrolls now as well, all items are identified except for rares and the other higher value items, you simply identify those by right clicking on them. And speaking of scrolls, there are no scrolls of Town Portal, it’s a skill to all classes now.
For those of you wanting to know what the beta actually had, story-wise, you basically started your characters along the gates of New Tristram, which is being attacked by zombies, and you (being so heroic), decide to fend them off, the captain guarding the gates lets you in, you wander around a bit and meet Leah, Deckard Cain’s niece, and surprisingly enough, Leah’s mother, is Adria the witch from the first Diablo! Well, you go to tristram, find Adria’s hut, and you find a trap door that you open, kill some dude, go back up, kill some more dudes, and go get Cain, once you get Cain he tells you about the Skeleton King (yep, from Diablo I as well) and how you must kill him and how he was awakened by “the falling star”, so you go back to the cathedral in which you fought in the first Diablo, after a couple of quests, you find the Skeleton King, kill him, and you’re done with the beta.
Last but definitely not least, the music, New Tristram has some nice guitar music to it, you’ll feel right at home listening to the music, the rest of the beta had some nice audio as well, which is really not surprising since Blizzard make great soundtracks.
Anyway, that’s it for my blabbing for one day, if you tried the beta, let me know what you thought of it down there.