Diablo 3

Like many people out there, I’ve been playing Diablo 3 over the last week or so. And while I did participate in the beta, I mostly did that just to see how the game would run on my machine; I didn’t really dig into the game until now. Here are a few things I’ve been thinking lately as I’ve played:

  • The mouse clicking is intense, and while the case could be made that it’s a pure control concept or that it’s a nice throwback, sometimes it can feel a little stale. I just hope I don’t end up accidentally breaking my mouse.
  • I’m really happy Blizzard decided to get rid of town portal scrolls. Using up inventory slots for something you almost always had to have was stupid.
  • The cinematic scenes are epic. I’m honestly kind of surprised Blizzard hasn’t begun developing its own in-house game-to-movie crossovers. They obviously have the talent.
  • The graphics are good, even at the lowest settings. It also runs on my years-old laptop, which is pretty neat. I’m afraid of overheating it though, so I don’t play on that machine much.
  • It’s hard to really nail down why, but the game feels (or rather, maybe it just looks) a bit like World of Warcraft. It just seems oddly familiar, which isn’t really a bad thing I suppose.
  • The required internet connection is a little weird, especially at first. Playing a single player game with a latency indicator on the HUD is strange. I understand why they did all this, but for people with spotty internet connections / networking hardware, it’s kind of a drag.
  • It’s a bummer that Blizzard couldn’t get the launch right. After spending a few days just looking at my shiny new pre-loaded game, I finally installed and then spent the first hour of launch trying to log in, but the game’s servers were borked– no doubt totally crushed by thousands of people trying to log in at once. It’s disappointing to me that Blizzard, proprietor or the world’s most successful MMORPG, can’t nail a launch that involves heavy server load yet.
  • Co-op play is seamless and easy to do, thanks to Battle.net.

Despite a few drawbacks, I’m enjoying my time with the game. This is definitely a more accessible Diablo, at least so far, and with achievements, weapon crafting, lots of rare items, and all sorts of stat combinations, there’s no shortage of rewards for putting in time with the game.

It’ll be interesting to see if that dynamic changes when Blizzard unleashes the cash-powered item auction house in a few days; there’s already one in operation that uses the in-game “gold” currency. Since the core of the game is still a single player experience though, the player remains well insulated from all the madness that comes with the auction house. And that’s probably a good thing, lest Diablo 3 start feeling a little bit too much like World of Warcraft.

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