Diablo III Beta

Hey guys!  We got a chance to check out the Diablo III Beta and wanted to share some of the spoils with you!  I found two classes particularly interesting, I had not seen much about them before and I wanted to showcase them here for you.  In addition, I wanted to get a video up of how a less than stellar internet connection will cripple your single-player experience.  Grab your gear and a few healing potions as we descend into the dark abyss that is Diablo III.

The Demon Hunter

Those who call themselves demon hunters are not a people or a nation. They owe allegiance to no king. They are but a remnant – an echo – of those who’ve lost their lives to hellspawn. When their homes are burnt and their families butchered by demons, most newly scarred refugees give up on living – but a few bury their dead, band together, and swear vengeance.

I love the description Blizzard gives this class!  The Demon Hunter is basically Hugh Jackman’s Van Helsing shrunk down and plunged into a dungeon crawler.  They rain death from afar with crossbows, and use traps and evade maneuvers to keep their enemies at a distance.  The Demon Hunter doesn’t have the diverse skill tree as some other character classes, but agile moves, traps, varied arrow shots and bolas insure that you will have tons of fun with this ranged class.  Sadly, I forgot to include a demo of the Bola skill in the video posted, but take a look at the ricochet shots and traps that the Demon Hunter can wield.  If you want more information on the class, check out the info page on the Diablo III site here.


The Witch Doctor

Only a select few men and women among the umbaru tribes can ascend to the hallowed role of witch doctor, for they must possess both a history of battle and a talent for communing with spirits. The latter ability belongs solely to those born with the touch of the Unformed Land – the invisible realm where the umbaru believe the spirits of the dead dwell once they have left Sanctuary behind.

The Witch Doctor is not at all a class that I expected to enjoy.  I usually favor the ranged likes of classes like the Demon Hunter, and I’m not much for the caster/summoner type.  That all changed with the Witch Doctor.  In some ways similar to the Demon Hunter, the Witch Doctor can use traps and ranged weapons, like his blow gun, but then adds summons into the mix for an amazing combination.  You can use his traps to slow and bottleneck groups of enemies, while your summons occupy a handful and you are then free to handle to scraps.  I found the skill tree to be much more diverse and attractive; there’s something for everyone and a few different strategies to be achieved with different skill combinations.  Again, the full description of the Witch Doctor and his vodoo bag of tricks can be found on the Diablo III site here.


 Dungeons With WiFi?!

Not to neglect the other character classes int he game–the Wizard, the Monk and the Barbarian–but I just wanted to pay a little extra attention to the Witch Doctor and Demon Hunter, as I particularly liked their characters and playstyles.  In the meantime, let’s talk about this constant internet required for Diablo III!  Because the characters are persistent from single-player to the PvP and PvE areas of the game, and because there will be a real money auction house for in game items, Diablo III will require a constant internet connection.  Developers will tell you that this will be no worse than what any garden variety MMO requires to run in the background, but I would argue that not all of us have that kind of access(shocking, I know).  From my home connection, the Diablo III Beta is completely crippled, meaning that I cannot enjoy a single-player experience from the comfort of my own home.  You can compare the responsiveness of my video below to that of the Witch Doctor in the video above.  For some odd reason, the lag is much more exaggerated in actual gameplay and somewhat smoother in the video capture.  Either way you cut it, there is a noticeable lag for attacking, casting and moving/equipping inventory items, as well as for transitioning to new areas.  The combat lag really takes a toll on your gameplay, as the video will show.  On top of that, there are framerate issues that will stutter and push your character back to previous points on the path they were traveling.  It’s a shame to have things go in this direction, especially since the Beta has really gotten me interested in the game, but we’ll have to see how the final product works.


Brass Tacks

All of this being said, I can say that the Beta was an overall success.  I was more on the Torchlight II side of the fence with these two upcoming releases, and I wasn’t sure Diablo III would be my cup of tea.  The Beta certainly changed that opinion, giving me two classes that I would definitely play through with, and that’s prior to me getting more hands on with the Monk class.  The Beta follows a few channels of one of the game’s main story arcs.  Within that section, you get quite a few dungeons and areas to explore and a few levels to bump your character up with.   There is also a co-op portion, that I did not get to try out.  Though, if I enjoyed the single-player portion, I can only imagine how much more satisfying it is rolling with a party of friends.  I am excited for the overall game, but hesitant on the required internet connection.  It’s a daunting thought to pay $60 for a game that I cannot play at home, even in Single-player mode.  I understand the reasonings behind that choice, but it may compromise my support of the title.  That said, if connection is not an issue for you, Beta codes are being given out all over the place, snatch one up and I have no doubts that you will be very impressed with what Blizzard has been working on!


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