A little more Diablo 3

When Diablo 3 launched, I wasn’t a fan. I was hoping for a real sequel to Diablo II in more than just lore and the very broadest of brush strokes, but that’s not what Blizzard delivered and I found it hard to adjust. I was anticipating a game with endless character building possibilities but Blizzard opted to deliver a more mainstream title for today’s more casual gamer. People no longer see having to re-roll a character as part of the challenge of gameplay and learning a game; they see it as an annoyance.

Anyway while Raptr was showing people racking up 18 hours in the first 3 days of launch, I put about 5 hours in total in the first week. I just didn’t find it all that interesting so I stopped playing.

Friday night, after almost a full week away, I picked it up again. I spent some time tweaking the controls (I have Move on W and Stop on E & D) so it controls a little like a direct control game (downside is I keep hitting S meaning to backup but instead pop up the Skill window in mid fight) and I have easy access to the few hotkeys the game gives you. I think these adjustments helped me let go of the dream of a sequel to Diablo II since the game now played so differently. I also turned off the stupid, stupid system that makes you bind certain skills to certain buttons and only lets you have 1 skill in every category active at a time. Now at least I have some tactical customization options.

You can probably tell by the tone of this post that I still harbor some ill-will towards the game, but at least I’m finding it fun in small doses now. Mostly I’m just soaking up the lore and the random chat going on around me. My Templar companion makes me chuckle fairly often and the things the villagers say can be amusing as well. The gameplay still seems awfully simple and there are some very odd decisions that seem to have been made as a result of yanking features. For instance they’ve gotten rid of Town Portal and Identify scrolls. Casting Town Portal takes a few seconds and I understand that…you don’t want it to be an escape mechanism from a tough fight. But Identify takes a few seconds, too. Why? Why have Unidentified items at all if you just have to right click them to identify them?

I do miss those scrolls though. I miss having a full inventory and having to decide if it’s worth the cost of a Town Portal to go back and sell, or if I should just discard some low value objects and press on. On the other hand, not requiring them keeps casual players clicking away, which is what Diablo 3 is all about. Click click and click some more! It could almost be a Zynga game.

Another thing that’s a bit disappointing was finding out that my rate of fire while holding down the left mouse button is much slower than the rate of fire I can obtain by rapidly clicking it. On the one hand, the ‘hold down’ rate of fire is sufficient to kill most enemies before they get near me. On the other hand, if the game ever does ramp up the challenge spamming that button is going to play hell with my RSI issues on my mousing hand.

I’m a bit baffled by the loot system, too. I’ve had a few Rare items drop but they’ve tended to be no better than Blue items I already had equipped, even though they both have the same level requirements. Nor do they salvage into anything interesting. I guess they’re meant to be vendored? Or maybe I’ve just been unlucky. I did find one rare Quiver that is pretty interesting..it has a bunch of stat boosts on it. Most of my Rare stuff has been dull, though.

So far gold has been kind of irrelevant. I’ve been spending all mine to level up the Blacksmith since the merchants never have anything worth buying, I’ve never had need of potions, and scrolls have been removed from the game. Essentially there seems to be a lack of gold sinks in the Normal Difficulty game. I understand this all changes a lot on higher difficulties though. I don’t want to use the AH because honestly the game is providing absolutely no challenge at this point (still in Act 1, remember) and I certainly don’t want to make it any easier.

My goal for now is to chip away at my first play-through, enjoying the story and the lore. Then when I have the higher difficulty levels unlocked I’m hoping the gameplay gets more interesting (or maybe even before then…perhaps later Acts get more exciting). Or perhaps I should re-roll as a barbarian (I’m playing a demon hunter) since I hear in general the game is much more challenging for melee characters. Or maybe Blizzard will put a $9.95 “unlock” item up for sale that lets me jump to higher difficulty levels before finishing normal.

Still, I’m at the point where I can jump in and spend an hour having fun just making monsters go “Blammo!” and listening to my Templar pal hoot and holler and ask for more fights like that one. This is way beyond where I was during launch week when I was just pissed off that I’d flushed $60 down the toilet for a game I really didn’t like.

I really wish players could just pick a difficulty level from the start. I think that would’ve changed my experience considerably.

8 thoughts on “A little more Diablo 3

  1. Im glad I am not the only one who feels this way. I enjoy the game, I do. But for $60, I feel screwed. I don’t know why, but I went out and bought it at a friend’s recommend because he said it was more like D1 than D2. I hated D2 for the same reasons you seem to love it. I played a while, and I see the appeal, but the game is too simplistic to keep me interested. I’ll get a couple playthroughs this simmer, but it won’t be longterm. I wish I had kept my money to put toward a new Galaxy Note, which I’d use much longer. Live and learn, I guess. I just wish there were a way to sell/return the game. If it were a console, I’d have gone for a refund. Honestly, same foe Gw2’s pre purchase–I’d just snag it eventually. Oh well. Sucks to be us.

  2. I have to say once I learned that I could assign as many skills in a category to my any or all of my hotbar keys at the same time I was in heaven. There are a lot of uselessness in the game. The blacksmith become pretty irrelevant after a certain level since you need pages to get him up higher and I don’t think you get any of those till your past Normal. Once you have a lot of money you can just hit the AH, when its actually working, to twink out your character so gathering up magic items become more of a “lets see what I can get for an alt”. Your constantly having to portal back to town to sell because even though you can extend your bank, you can’t extend the amount of inventory you can hold in your carry bag. This is different than D2 where the Cube would give you more space.

    All this is less annoying because the action is a lot of fun, but and again without giving anything away, the actual storyline is so full of holes that you could fly the space shuttle through them, with the booster rockets still attached. I’m not going to give any spoilers but if I play an alt or try Nightmare level, I probably will just skip over all the dialog, its really interesting at first but eventually you just have to say “how much crack did the Blizzard team smoke while writing this?”

  3. You can make a character of at least one level harder than your current difficulty level when creating the character. I have yet to complete normal and I have a hardcore character.

  4. @Oakstout The “back to town to unload your pockets” is one area where Torchlight really shines. It’s not as convenient as a pocket merchant or junk-to-gold converter, but the pet you can send back to town for you is a nice “quality of life” improvement to the genre.

  5. I’m pretty sure that just like B.J. I would enjoy playing Diablo 3 and think it’s a good game, but I probably would not think it’s a $60 game.

    Pete, what are your feelings in that respect? You stated you were not happy with D3, not initially, but that you’re starting to enjoy it now that you’ve played it more and given it a fair chance. Do you think it’s a $60 game?

  6. Not for me, no. Obviously plenty of folks are getting a ton of playtime out of it, but so far I still have to sort of force myself to play.

  7. If the TOU and EULA are the same for D3 as they are for WoW then you can sell your copy of D3, its just made a little more difficult for the buyer because its already linked to a BNet account. The buyer would probably have to call Blizzard to get the game linked to their own email address, a process which would be easier for them if you had already called to let them know you’re selling your copy. Just make sure to stress your selling your copy of the game (and not your account), including all the media which came with it, which is permitted under the TOU and EULA, again assuming they’re the same as WoW’s.

  8. Normal is very easy. Some of the bosses later on get tougher – e.g. Merrie and I took 4 tries on one particular boss the first time. Nightmare ramps up the difficulty *if* you don’t gear yourself fully by using the auction house. By the time you get to Hell, you have little choice but to use the AH unless you want to farm areas repeatedly. The epic/champion bosses get some crazy combo abilities and in order to survive those encounters you need some decent gear.

    As for loot, generally we have found we’ll either get loot far below our level or loot for different classes. I think this is in large part intentional on Blizzards part. That said I enjoy the game quite a bit, and I’m still mixing and matching skills/runes with my wizard who is 50 something now. Changing your build can dramatically change the way the class plays. It’s pretty cool and far more preferable than being stuck with a wrong decision made before I knew enough to make an informed decision.

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