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First things first. I played Diablo 1 & 2 both day of releases, and loved BOTH of them. Literally played for HOURS on "Mplayer" when it was around for Diablo 1 if anyone remembers, and I was apart of several Clans in Diablo 2 for years. Ended up with 6 level 99s before quitting multiple times only to return to come near that very same count of lvl 99s in Diablo 2.
So let's be clear about one thing, I'm a hardcore Diablo fan & I had high, albeit uncontrolled Fanboy, expectations for Diablo 3. Despite all of the horrible videos, dev interviews, and the new Artstyle they went with I decided to still try this weekend's "Open Beta" so I could conclude 100% whether I liked the game or not. Let's also be clear, this is OPEN BETA, meaning that what you see here is a lvl 1-10 perspective of what launch will be like. There won't be any AMAZING turn of events in terms of skills, equipment, or classes before launch (most likely anyways). So crying that I'm talking negatively about Diablo III because it's "Beta" is a false argument, and generally only strengthens my standpoint.
Let's get to it shall we?
-There is no "game search" window like Diablo 2 had in BattleNet. You cannot search for "Baal Runz001!!!" etc etc. It's a "quick join" system based on where your character "roughly" is in the storyline for multiplayer gameplay, or at least that's what this Open Beta is like. However, to be clear my Closed Beta friends claim there is no deviation between what is shown here and what they've had access to. If you want to play with anyone you actually know you HAVE to use their "Friend" invite system for private games. Want to make new friends like you did in Diablo 2 via public games that had a title to peak your interest? TOUGH LUCK!
-You can no longer choose where to put your attribute points. Blizzard "helped" us by choosing for us. (ie: you cannot allocate attribute points where you want for a specific build type)
-You can no longer choose from a MASSIVE skill-tree system for thousands of different "Builds" like in Diablo 2. You "unlock" skills based on level progression, and the ONLY deviation between characters of a similar class is 90% gear and 10% of what they've chosen to use on their SIX skill-slot bar.
-Dungeons are barely random, and barely deviate from different instances. Through 4 different playthroughs, and 9 different public games, I knew ALMOST exactly where to go, and the literally "pulsating" beacon on the minimap for a quest just made everything completely pointless. What's the point in exploring anymore?! Atleast in Diablo 1 you could get lost for hours looking for a specific door or item. Diablo 3? NOPE
-The minimap is too small a LOT of times, and when you want the map "blown up" via the TAB key it becomes an "interactable" interface. Meaning you can't click-to-move in a new direction with the map up. You can only click-to-move then hit TAB and keep moving while holding down the button. Not available in combat obviously as you need to move around a lot. (ie: The map is no longer just a "transparent" overlay, you can drag it with your mouse which is simply a poor design choice).
-As meantioned before, Pulsating Quest Markers. Need I say more? (I couldn't find a way to disable these, however someone may know, but that defeats the purpose either way?)
-The game is so ungodly easy it's rather sad. In my 4 different playthroughs from 1-10 I NEVER died once. I even NEVER had to pop an hp-pot. At LEAST in Diablo 2 even in the "normal" difficulty you died a couple times unless you were an uber-elitist who knew 100% what they were doing. HP pots were mandatory, and you never cryed foul even if you got one of those crappy ones. An HP pot generally meant life or death most of the time! Diablo 3? NOPE!
-Mana regenerates too quickly, and the horribly LONG cooldown timers on skills make the "Mana Pool" almost worthless. What's the point of a ManaPool to begin with if it generates within seconds in time for my spell to be done from its cooldown? The ONLY way I found to deplete my ManaPool was with "Hold" abilities that allowed me to physically drain it to 0, only to have it go back to 100% within SECONDS. What happened to Mana Potions & a slow regen?!?! Was that too "slow" for Blizzard's "New" combat tastes?
-Itemization is a laughable joke now. You no longer have to LEARN how the game works, or how certain combat techniques worked better with different weapons/abilities. You LITERALLY just look @ a giant "Dps" number or "Armor" number that has everything totaled up for you and you equip the larger number. A crying shame from even Diablo 1's system, let alone Diablo 2.
-The game simply isn't "Dark" enough. Diablo 1? Forget about it! In Diablo 1 you actually worried about what was in that REALLY dark room with the barred doors! Could there be archers in there with flaming arrows? Oh crap, I'm low on HP pots, better go back to town and stock up! Diablo 3? WHO CARES! Just burst right into the WELL LIT "dungeon" type room with night vision goggles and mow everything down with your mini-gun in time for martinis ! Seriously, what happened here?!
-Uninspired classes lead to dull gameplay. "WitchDoctor", "Wizard", "DemonHunter (WoW-ref much?)", and "Monk" just quite simply do NOT belong in Diablo 3. I feel like different universes have been smashed together to form Diablo 3, and it's not a good thing. The "old" classes fit MUCH more than these new additions, and Blizzard has only hurt the Diablo franchise even more because of this decision. They SHOULD have "Branched" the old classes out more and fleshed them out to something more unique & sustainable. Instead, they decided to go BACKWARDS to a time where environment means nothing for class types.
-Finally, the "Art Style" completely detracts from the immersion within the Diablo universe. Quite frankly, it fits for a top-down version of Warcraft. I can't even begin to explain this one. I put it at the bottom of the list because Diablo 1 & 2 had a relatively straight forward progression in its ArtStyle from super-gritty to reasonably demonic & gruesome. With Diablo 3 it's gone from Demonic & Gruesome (Diablo2) straight to Massive-Shoulderpads, horribly low polygon counts, and sub-par 6th grader crayon drawn playdoe looking models that I've seen better done in a Capstone Art-Class. Seriously, I keep asking this question, but WHAT HAPPENED?!
=The Good= (spoiler, there's not much :< )
+The Audio in Diablo 3 are faithful recreations that harken back to Diablo 1. It's been quite awhile since I heard that old "bow draw" that skeleton archers & the Archer Class from Diablo 1 used to sound like. All of the drops for items, equipment, gold, quests, etc also harken back to Diablo 1 rather than 2. Something I felt was appropriate.
+Constant Lore "pick-me-ups" that, again, Harken back to Diablo 1 in the beginning of the game to catch "new" people to the Diablo franchise up with what happened in Diablo 1 (since it was all the way back in 1998!). I suddenly feel REALLY old....
+Lore connection between what happened to many of the characters you met from Diablo 1. Such as that crazy witch who'd constantly sell you wierd potions that restored mana as she lived out of a weird shack :P!
+Old enemies return from Diablo 1 in Act-1 that give you a MASSIVe nostalgia trip. I'm literally reinstalling Diablo 1 on a Virtualized Windows98 right now on my win7 machine JUST so I can play Diablo 1 again !
+Barbarian returns as a strong front runner class. Albeit EXTREMELY linear and "tough" to play in the beginning first 10 levels. I'm told the class "branches" out into a full on face-smasher like in Diablo 2. However, MANY of the other classes quite simply don't live up to the Barbarian in terms of "fun" or "Fit" within the realm of Diablo. Seriously, one of the major gripes I hear about Diablo 3 is that they ONLY kept the Barbarian from Diablo 2. Hardcore fans created petition after petition for MANY of the "core" classes to return from Diablo 2 to Diablo 3 only to be completely shot down by Blizzard with a firm "NO". Granted this was supposed to be a (+), but it was worth mentioning.
Personal Score: 5.2/10
Take from this what you will. Many will still buy it because there's either nothing decent to play at the moment, or because they'll buy anything Blizzard releases regardless of quality or consistancy.
The Theory of Conservative Conservation of Ignorant Stupidity:
Having a different opinion must mean you're a troll.