I must admit something that will likely earn the ire of the greater gaming community. Before this day I had never played Diablo, ever. I wasn’t living completely under a rock, and was aware of the game; I just never got around to playing it. What I was doing was spending more time playing other great games of the day Half Life, Warcraft (that other great Blizzard game) and occasionally doing schoolwork.
And that’s just the thing as well, it has such a long time between drinks that much of the Diablo crowd would be very different people now compared to their Diablo playing selves 10 years ago. For me it might as well be a completely fresh game, and I hope that I can then provide a unique perspective.
So anyway what are the first impressions of a Diablo noob?
The game begins, as so many do, in tutorial mode, which is particularly helpful if you are not familiar with the Diablo gameplay. One thing I noticed straight away is the dominant use of left and right mouse click. When I say dominant I mean manic RSI inducing mouse clicking dominant. Movement and primary attacks are by default mapped to left and right click.
There are 5 character classes in total, Demon Hunter, Barbarian, Monk, Wizard and Witch Doctor. Each of these classes looks to be fundamentally different from one another, meaning that each group you are in is going to feel different from the next. Each class also has its unique energy system, which is in contrast to previous Diablo games where all classes share mana as the primary resource. For the demon hunter hatred and discipline are the resources to manage, enabling offensive and defensive abilities respectively. Depending on the class you play your primary energy resource is regenerated by use of abilities or simply time.
Leveling is quite fast and the quests are enjoyable to complete and not grindy at all. I really like how the difficulty is scaled between solo and group play. The frantic moments where there are seemingly impossible hordes of enemies coming down on you is some of the most fun I have had recently in any game.
New abilities are learnt at a good rate, meaning you never get bored with current abilities and always have an opportunity to try new combinations depending on your group makeup and the type of enemies you will face. All of the abilities I have earned so far have had some use and are fun to use – so it’s never a case of replacing an older spell with a new one and not going back.
The story begins in the town of New Tristram, shortly after a destructive fiery object has crashed into the building protagonists Leah and Deckard Cain were occupying as depicted by another one of Blizzards marvelous opening cinematic. You soon learn that Leah and Cain hold the key to a powerful evil that threatens to destroy the world. At time of writing I had only completed Act 1 of 5, but already I am thoroughly hooked into the story, and looking forward to seeing how it plays out.
The dialogue and voice acting is rich and engaging instantly immersing you into the Diablo 3 storyline. I find myself talking to random NPC’s throughout the towns just to get a little bit more info on the story.
The graphics themselves are artful and blend in well with the world Blizzard creates in Diablo 3, although I doubt they will blow anyone away. They get the job done though, and some of the later tier spell animations are satisfyingly tasty.
Well, it’s only less than a week in and I can tell you that I’m already looking to buy a new mouse, such is the punishment my current mouse has sustained. It has been a veritable button mashing, keyboard smashing experience thus far, and a thoroughly enjoyable gaming experience.
There are still so many features that I am yet to try out as well, like crafting armor and jewellery in addition to PvP which will be released in a later patch.
All that left to do now is figure out a way to somehow organize the rest of my life around Diablo 3 playing time.