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Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview

As promised, here's my Diablo III Beta Preview, based on some hands-on time with the closed beta of Blizzard's upcoming action/RPG sequel. I had fun playing the beta and writing the piece, and again marvel at how people can write comprehensive reviews of full games when it took me so long to get this out based on a beta that can be completed in three hours. Thanks to my friends MrKawfy and Overthecledge for playing with me and to MrsBlue for her invaluable proofreading. Here's a sample:

There is less fear of making mistakes that will go on your permanent record and follow you around for the rest of your life, as my elementary school principal used to say. There are no choices for characteristics—this is all automatic. As you level up, you earn active and passive skills but you can change them any time you want. Skills are no longer tree-based, so you don't have to pick a crappy one to get the better one that follows. The death penalty is now almost non-existent: You respawn at the last checkpoint with a ten-percent loss of durability to your equipment, which seems fairly trivial and removes the fear of venturing too far past your current abilities. I find this regrettable: One of the most memorable experiences of my gaming life was a late night when my party got killed in the depths of a Diablo dungeon: We literally spent hours working out how to retrieve our items from where they dropped. I prefer it much more where you dread dying, but I don't know how realistic it is to expect this to be changed.

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61. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 5, 2011, 12:46 Creston
 
Bhruic wrote on Oct 5, 2011, 01:02:

Calling it "dumbing down" just seems silly, as there was nothing "smart" about it before.

That's a good point. I'll call it "streamlining" instead. It got streamlined right out of the game.

Creston
 
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60. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 5, 2011, 12:20 PHJF
 
Yes, another option would have been to try and make the other attributes more useful to pick, but I don't see how they'd accomplish that easily.

a) Since people only picked attributes to wear gear, remove attribute restrictions on gear

b) Go the D&D route. Give the player a much smaller number of far more significant attribute points, points rarely increased after character creation.
 
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Steam + PSN: PHJF
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59. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 5, 2011, 10:40 Optional nickname
 
I hate at what Blizzard has become, to the point that I am disenchanted from wanting to buy and play DIII. I wish those of you good fun while it lasts, I'm done with their (3? lol) games. I am greateful at having been alive and kicking during D1 & D2, but D3 will represent Every Thing that I would ever hate about the worst sequel in history; that will be Diablo III. Good riddance.  
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58. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 5, 2011, 10:37 El Pit
 
Dapperdanman wrote on Oct 5, 2011, 07:50:
Excellent preview article. I would love to see more like this. I think it is time to dust off Diablo2 and see if I can stand the graphics for another run through.

This game was ugly even back when it was released, but I am playing it again. Killed diablo 2 days ago, and now I am going after Baal!

I am not using any mods, just the original patched to 1.13. It looks really, REALLY bad, but it's till fun to play.
 
Consoles? I owned two: a Pong clone and an Atari 2600. And that's it.
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57. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 5, 2011, 07:50 Dapperdanman
 
Excellent preview article. I would love to see more like this. I think it is time to dust off Diablo2 and see if I can stand the graphics for another run through.  
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56. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 5, 2011, 05:13 InBlack
 
Theo wrote on Oct 5, 2011, 03:03:
Blue wrote on Oct 4, 2011, 17:54:
Theo wrote on Oct 4, 2011, 17:51:
dont agree on a bunch of points...

Particularly since I don't do this kind of thing regularly, I'd be very interested in hearing your areas of disagreement if you care to elaborate.

will do tonight blue(when i get home from work), thats not to say i want to troll said points mate, nothing wrong with folks having opinions of there own.

Very solid review, Blue. One little thing thats nagging me is that it suddenly ends without you stating whether you actually definitely liked it or not. You know we'd like to hear some account of that subjective feeling that you got while playing it a bit more.
 
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55. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 5, 2011, 03:03 Theo
 
Blue wrote on Oct 4, 2011, 17:54:
Theo wrote on Oct 4, 2011, 17:51:
dont agree on a bunch of points...

Particularly since I don't do this kind of thing regularly, I'd be very interested in hearing your areas of disagreement if you care to elaborate.

will do tonight blue(when i get home from work), thats not to say i want to troll said points mate, nothing wrong with folks having opinions of there own.
 
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Everyone on Bluesnews is synical, get over it.
edit: i cant spell, this is my disclaimer.
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54. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 5, 2011, 02:01 eunichron
 
Bhruic wrote on Oct 4, 2011, 19:52:

The removal of Town Portals and lack of any real consequence for death is disconcerting

Wait, what? They still have Town Portals, they just aren't called "Town Portal" anymore, and they are activated by a stone, rather than scrolls. Functionally, they are pretty much identical (barring a cast timer).

It's more the cast time that I was referring to. "Stone of Recall" just sounds so "Hearthstone." In Diablo 1 and Diablo 2 at least part of the strategy was making sure you had enough portals to be able to get out when things got hairy. I understand this is exactly why the developers opted instead for a Hearthstone... sorry, I mean "Stone of Recall" ... but I'm sure there was another way they could work around it being a "combat exploit" without such a major change.
 
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53. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 5, 2011, 01:55 Dev
 
Blue,
Thanks for the preview! I liked how it was laid out.
AnointedSword wrote on Oct 5, 2011, 00:31:
I also would like to add to judge on this beta release is foolish to say the least. The beta has very little content(period)
And its not going to be released until next year so blizzard has some time to tweak and fix things.
However there ARE things you CAN judge based on the D3 beta and I think blue covered them well. For instance the auto attributes isn't going to change. The always online stuff isn't going to change.

Different situation from BF3, where the beta is the state of the game 3 weeks away from shipping, and they've had to have started duplication of final retail already.
 
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52. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 5, 2011, 01:38 Sepharo
 
Bhruic wrote on Oct 5, 2011, 01:02:
Just because something seemed like a bad call on an RPG doesn't mean it's going to be a bad call on an action game.

Wait which is the RPG and which is the action game?
 
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51. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 5, 2011, 01:02 Bhruic
 
Yeah, to me that's called "Dumbing stuff down."
Because if they cared so much about everyone picking the same attribute, they could have also made the other attributes more interesting to pick, and keep the old system.

In general, I'm all for more choice in games, but only if the choices are meaningful. Diablo II had a system that didn't really have meaningful choices, so they removed it. Yes, another option would have been to try and make the other attributes more useful to pick, but I don't see how they'd accomplish that easily. I suspect they thought they'd done that for II. Barring that, removing what was effectively pointless choices seems like a smart call - as long as they continue to have other meaningful choices in the game.

Calling it "dumbing down" just seems silly, as there was nothing "smart" about it before.

I like how when this happened in Mass Effect 2, everyone and their mom called it "Dumbing down", but when it happens in Diablo it "just makes sense!"

Well, I never commented about any "dumbing down" in Mass Effect 2, so that doesn't seem to apply to me. But even if I had, I'm not sure of the relevance. Just because something seemed like a bad call on an RPG doesn't mean it's going to be a bad call on an action game. And that's even assuming that the cases were identical, which they aren't.

If the variety and choices of character building aren't there for DIII, then I'll be among the first to knock Blizzard for it, but just because they've switched the way they go about their variety doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
 
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50. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 5, 2011, 00:37 Acleacius
 
Thanks for the great preview Blue! Allthumbsup

I'll still be passing on this title, afaik. Unless there are drastic changes on things like the AOdrm, added LAN and Game Saves. Defiantly looking forward to Torchlight 2.
 
The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders.That is easy.All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.It works the same way in any country.
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49. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 5, 2011, 00:31 AnointedSword
 
I also would like to add to judge on this beta release is foolish to say the least. The beta has very little content(period)

This comment was edited on Oct 5, 2011, 00:38.
 
If you were right, I would be agreeing with you.
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48. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 5, 2011, 00:29 AnointedSword
 
Yifes wrote on Oct 4, 2011, 22:30:
eunichron wrote on Oct 4, 2011, 19:32:
The removal of Town Portals and lack of any real consequence for death is disconcerting. Those were two staples of Diablo that really should be in any of the games.

The penalty for death will likely change as you go up in difficulty. It looks like they're making Normal really, really newbie friendly, and adding Infernal difficulty for even more end game challenge. Plus, there's always hardcore mode.

Yup.
 
If you were right, I would be agreeing with you.
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47. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 5, 2011, 00:27 Creston
 
Bhruic wrote on Oct 4, 2011, 19:56:
such as that blizzard can't trust people to pick their own attributes. They've literally said so in interviews.

No they haven't. They said that attributes fell into one of two categories 99% of the time (enough str to wear gear, max vit, or enough str to wear gear, enough dex for max block, max vit). If 99% of the time everyone was going to do the same thing, there's no point in having variety, because no one is taking advantage of the variety.

Yeah, to me that's called "Dumbing stuff down."
Because if they cared so much about everyone picking the same attribute, they could have also made the other attributes more interesting to pick, and keep the old system.

I like how when this happened in Mass Effect 2, everyone and their mom called it "Dumbing down", but when it happens in Diablo it "just makes sense!"

Creston
 
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46. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 4, 2011, 23:38 Grokk
 
Excellent write up Blue.  
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45. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 4, 2011, 22:30 Yifes
 
eunichron wrote on Oct 4, 2011, 19:32:
The removal of Town Portals and lack of any real consequence for death is disconcerting. Those were two staples of Diablo that really should be in any of the games.

The penalty for death will likely change as you go up in difficulty. It looks like they're making Normal really, really newbie friendly, and adding Infernal difficulty for even more end game challenge. Plus, there's always hardcore mode.
 
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44. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 4, 2011, 21:46 Slashman
 
Sepharo wrote on Oct 4, 2011, 21:00:
Cram wrote on Oct 4, 2011, 20:11:
Attributes were fun for the first couple run throughs of the game when you were experiencing the content for the first time and no one had done the math on the best builds yet. They quickly became pointless, and something most people held on too. However, perhaps not so much in single player, a mode I have little/no experience with where you couldn't just go and find a game to get yourself rushed through difficult areas of the game in any mode while holding onto hundreds of attribute points. I have a feeling those who only played single player often didn't have the luxury of holding onto points to make the best mathematically built build. But single player is, unfortunately for some, gone and I believe it was a good idea taking attributes with it.

I only played single player, except for a few games with friends every now and then. The aspect of the game you just described is one I would NEVER want to experience.

If Diablo 3 isn't better than Titan Quest then I don't feel so bad skipping it.

Oh look...I think you just found yourself $60 dollars to spend elsewhere!
 
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43. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 4, 2011, 21:00 Sepharo
 
Cram wrote on Oct 4, 2011, 20:11:
Attributes were fun for the first couple run throughs of the game when you were experiencing the content for the first time and no one had done the math on the best builds yet. They quickly became pointless, and something most people held on too. However, perhaps not so much in single player, a mode I have little/no experience with where you couldn't just go and find a game to get yourself rushed through difficult areas of the game in any mode while holding onto hundreds of attribute points. I have a feeling those who only played single player often didn't have the luxury of holding onto points to make the best mathematically built build. But single player is, unfortunately for some, gone and I believe it was a good idea taking attributes with it.

I only played single player, except for a few games with friends every now and then. The aspect of the game you just described is one I would NEVER want to experience.

If Diablo 3 isn't better than Titan Quest then I don't feel so bad skipping it.
 
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42. Re: Blue's Diablo III Beta Preview Oct 4, 2011, 20:50 jdreyer
 
RogNog wrote on Oct 4, 2011, 18:16:
We are all talking about the lack of features for continued replayability. We seem to be missing the elephant in the room here namely activision. Their model life cycle for games now is 1 maybe 2 years top. They want you to get bored of it so you buy DLC throughout the year. Their recent form has been to sell a game for £49 quid and then release DLC through the year taking the price for the game to around £100, add to that the new market place and Ill bet you will get a lot of people spending £120 on this in a year. Maybe in 2 years along come D4 a slightly tweaked version of D3 adn it all starts again.

COD is the proof that this model works, and lets face it a fanboy and their money are soon parted.

The facts are that the bean counters would real in horror at the thought of longevity in a game. In fact I ahve a funny feeling that monthly subscription for Diablo 3 is not far away

I agree. Since I just reloaded DII again, I expect that if I get DIII, I'll want to play it again sometime in five years. Until I hear the plan on how this will be accomplished, I find myself unwilling to lay out cash for this game.
 
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