Diablo 3 Beta Hands On Report: Softshack - Diabloii.Net

Diablo 3 Beta Hands On Report: Softshack


Here’s another hands on report from a new tester in the Diablo 3 Beta. This one is from noted D3 fan artist Softshack, and his report came in two parts; a short and skeptical one written after fifteen unsatisfying minutes (the pop-up deluge of idiot-friendly DiabloWikitooltip windows was his main complaint), and then a much more positive report written after he’d gotten in dozen more hours of “testing.”

Here’s an excerpt from his report, with his remarks on the sound, and some general comments on the Wizard and Barbarian.

The DiabloWikisound design is incredible. I spent lots of time in the tombs just blasting away at things with the wizard and listening to the sounds as it echoed away into the distance, or as I broke pots and furniture and stuff. Well done!

I spent 10 hours with the wizard simply because I spent a lot of time exploring every corner of playable map. I spent time looking at all the artwork here and there -and it’s just gorgeous. Thank goodness for the zoom option to get closer to some of the details.

I competed the beta with the wizard and then ran through it again with a barbarian in about 3 hours. I know they’re still balancing things with game play, but I was unprepared to play the game again as a melee character. I was swarmed and even died! That never happened to me as a wizard. In fact, I never felt in danger as a wizard at all. My wizard is a level 10 and my barbarian is a level 9, so it can’t be a result of level/experience difference.

The funniest thing was after I found a DiabloWikiRing of DiabloWikiThorns (in both games). I could just stand in place and enemies would wreck themselves against me. I have no doubt all these things are going to be balanced out before the official release (I hope).

All beta testers are invited to write up their own experiences and opinions with the DiabloWikiDiablo 3 beta; post them in the Diablo 3 forums and we’ll try to get them quoted on the main page as well. Click through for Softshack’s full post. Original forum version here.

The opinions are those of the poster, and not necessarily those of Diablo.IncGamers.com.

My (Brand New) Beta Experience

So I was able to get into the Beta this morning and played for 15 minutes before heading off to work.

My first observation was how dark the gamma settings are for full screen! Is this normal? I had to crank things up almost 100% to see anything. My monitors are calibrated often, so this really surprised me.

Starting the game, I walked into town, killed a few zombies and found DiabloWikiLeah — pretty much what I already expected from watching all the other beta videos. There were lots of DiabloWikiNPCs to talk to. I clicked on a few and pretty much ignored the rest. I figured I could always come back to listen to the others if I really wanted to.

What really started to bug me was how claustrophobic all the popups titles, quest windows, and other little things made the game feel. I really felt like I was trying to play the game behind all of them! I was pretty turned off by that. It’s too much! Let me figure things out for myself!

I’ve been on the DiabloWikiPath of Exile beta for the last week and it’s so refreshing how clear their screen is from popup windows, etc.

In contrasting the two, Diablo III seems very over structured and restrictive in the way they hand out new skills. I really got the feeling I wasn’t in control of the experience, but was rather guided by someone else.

I need to play some more to get a better feel of the game (so yeah, this was only 15 minutes so far . . .), but I’m feeling rather let down. I had very high hopes for this game when it was announced several years ago.

Anyone else have a similar experience? -or have a comforting word or two?

…………………….

So, after 10 more hours with the DiabloWikiWizard and 3 more with a DiabloWikiBarbarian, here’s a follow up to my first impressions to the game.

. . . Alright, I’m going to have to give it a thumbs up. 🙂

There are a few things here I feel could be better, but for the most part, I think things are going to be fine with this game.

The DiabloWikisound design is incredible. I spent lots of time in the tombs just blasting away at things with the wizard and listening to the sounds as it echoed away into the distance, or as I broke pots and furniture and stuff. Well done!

I spent 10 hours with the wizard simply because I spent a lot of time exploring every corner of playable map. I spent time looking at all the artwork here and there -and it’s just gorgeous. Thank goodness for the zoom option to get closer to some of the details.

I competed the beta with the wizard and then ran through it again with a barbarian in about 3 hours. I know they’re still balancing things with game play, but I was unprepared to play the game again as a melee character. I was swarmed and even died! That never happened to me as a wizard. In fact, I never felt in danger as a wizard at all. My wizard is a level 10 and my barbarian is a level 9, so it can’t be a result of level/experience difference.

The funniest thing was after I found a DiabloWikiRing of DiabloWikiThorns (in both games). I could just stand in place and enemies would wreck themselves against me. I have no doubt all these things are going to be balanced out before the official release (I hope).

For the most part, the game runs and loads really quickly for me. The gamma issue must be somehow related to my nvidia settings. I use that to calibrate my monitors. It’s strange I’ve never had a problem with any other game other than this one. My computer is high end quality and barely 2 years old. It must be reading my display setting from my operating system or something else. -In any case, I just changed the brightness through the buttons on my monitor instead, and things were fine (although I’d rather not have to do this every time I play.)

After going through all the game settings and preferences, I was able to limit (somewhat) how many messages and things were popping up. It’s funny, that to watch a stream of someone else playing, it doesn’t seem like such a big thing, but once I personally started playing, it became very apparent how annoying things could get.

I wish there was a way to hide the minimap up in the corner or at least make it a little bit smaller.

The voice overs from the wizard and barbarian got a little old after a while. -so did the DiabloWikiTemplar‘s. I hope they include an option to disable them. Listening to the female wizard squeal “I’m healed!” like a cheerleader broke the mood of the game several times for me. I have nothing against cheerleaders, but I could do without that in Diablo III.

I was also surprised at the end when I got a DiabloWikirare, DiabloWikiunidentified piece of DiabloWikiarmor. I thought they had done away with unidentified things. To say the least, I couldn’t figure out what to do with it! From what I could see, there wasn’t any DiabloWikitooltip for it either! -quite shocking, especially after playing for hours and hours and getting tool tips and tutorials on just about everything else.

I finally right clicked on it and got… an animation (the teleporting pose) of the character holding her hands apart? Seriously? I can just DiabloWikiidentify things by myself? Whats the thrill in that? Why have unidentified things at all, if that’s all there is to it?

Honestly, I want to see identification scrolls in DIII. I want to take stuff to DiabloWikiDeckard Cain to have him identify them. That’s part of playing the Diablo games/the Diablo experience, in my opinion! -Who knows, since they’ve been coming full circle with many of the other features, maybe this will come back as well.

The DiabloWikimonsters could be a little scarier. I didn’t find any of them that gave me that “Oh, crap!” feeling I got in D1 and D2. All the skeletons are cool, but they cackle and laugh and seemed to have a more silly personality -in contrast to the cold, heartless automatons from the earlier games. You KNEW they only had one thing on their mind.

My favorite enemy still has to be the DiabloWikiGrotesque (with the eels inside). I’ll ignore all the other monsters just to make them pop. I love the gurgly growl they make just before exploding.

I’ll play through the remaining classes and follow up with one more post.

Tagged As: | Categories: Diablo 3 Beta, Hands-On Reports

Comments

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  1. Good review. From what little Ive seen of the beta (on a friends account) spot on. Hopefully the monster variety and villiany improves later on in act one and in further acts.

    I look forward to seing some inspired new enemy designs (though hopefully not inspired by WoW or Generic Elves of the Shitforest) and the return of old favorites….Goat Headed Demons FTW!!!

  2. Wow, 10 hours? My first time I explored everything, killed everything, went back to town multiple times to see if NPCs would get new dialogue, and it still only took like 2h:30m

    • Yeah, I was really shocked when I took a gander at my career screen.  -remember, this was my absolute first time playing the game EVER!  Not only do I enjoy playing games, but I also work as an artist in game development -and tend to critique games as much as I play them.  
      Fortunately(?), playing the other classes went much quicker.

  3. Good write up.  The grotesque is awesome and probably one of my favs. I must say, I am liking the death animations as well as the ones in Diablo I. D2 had a few cool ones, but I didn’t like them as much as D1’s. BEST DEATH ANIMATION EVER: The Hidden in Diablo 1… when that oversized head falls off and spills on the floor the sound is awesome.

    On the ring of thorns deal – there are videos of people taking down the SK decked out entirely in thorns gear.  Pretty funny, but I don’t think  this is a balance issue – any blue or gold thorns gear you found at lvl 13 would be replaced by a drop with better damage prefixes by lvl 20 (in practice).
     
    The lack of identification scrolls thing still rubs me wrong… I don’t like how I can pick up 30 blues and then randomly one of them needs identification.  They can keep the right-click feature but they need to up the number of blues that require identification IMO.

    • Bring back a dedicated identifing NPC and let us have scrolls! Haven’t tried the beta, but the right-click feature sounds so lame. And also, force us to identify everything. No effort = no fun. With all the convenience being put into Blizzard games of late, I suspect most of the current decision makers were spoiled brats in their early days. Didn’t they ever learn that the feel of accomplishment increases with the effort exercised?

    • There seemed to be one ring of thorns found in every game (with a different character) I played.  I think I found them in the same area, even.  I’m almost suspicious they’re put there for specific testing purposes.

      Haha!  I forgot about the hidden.  As much as I hated them, it was satisfying to kill them.

      Really?  You had to identify a blue?  I’ve yet to find any blues which needed identifying.  I second your vote.  We need to see more of them.

  4. hahaha OMG; did you die in this beta? are you Super Casuel gamers? how the hell could you die in this super easy beta?
     
     

    • I want to say sarcasm.  If not, I want to say troll and ask you if you recommended your own post.  Plenty of people have died in the beta, rather it be by taking eyes off the screen or resource burn, it is a possibility on a first run through.

    • lol I was thinking the same thing especially since he died with the barb, who has threatening shout which decreases dmg of affected monsters by 50%!. Diablo 3 beta obviously isn´t idiot proof enough :mrgreen:

    • I ran into a pack of enchanted Scavengers just north of town and my barbarian couldn’t outrun them.  They tore me to shreds.  
      I didn’t have a town portal yet (what good that would do, I was dead in less time that it would’ve taken me to open one) and potion cool down wasn’t fast enough.
      It was just a case of bad luck.

  5. All these beta reports makes me sad to not have an invite haha! Good to read various perspecives though!

  6. There isn’t a tooltip to identify a rare, there is a little mouse icon just below the item window that highlights the right mouse button and says right-click to identify the item and then you get the animation and after 2-3 secs, the item is identified.

  7. anyone interested in reading  beta impressions from the non-casual, hardcore d1/d2 player perspective?

    • I don’t think anyone would be interested in these kind of hardcore d1/d2 impressions.  It would be the same old “this is too effing easy, I can’t believe how boring this game is” stuff that we see here and there in the comments.  You are talking about a beta on Normal difficulty up to level 13 seen through the eyes of Hell mode lvl 99 ladder toons, gear-maxed – not a fun perspective to view the very beginning of the game through IMO.  Would just be a bunch of ranting without proper perspective.

    • Yeah that would be interesting to read. Be prepared to take some heat though, there seems to be many people around here who can’t stand hearing opinions differing from their own.

  8. The identification scrolls are so annoying, I hope they won’t bring them back.

    They should do a specific animation though. 

  9. You know a game has lost its creepy factor when skeletons laugh and joke with one another when you walk into eyesight.
     

  10. This guy rocked the D3 beta!!
     

  11. “I really got the feeling I wasn’t in control of the experience, but was rather guided by someone else.”
    Troubling to me, as controlling my experience is exactly what makes Skyrim (and most other games I enjoy) great.  As for the other observations; well, I guess it’s too much to hope that a dev will read them and give them some thought.

    • Personally I felt just as guided or un-guided in Beta as I did with D1 and D2.  You still have a somewhat open world where you choose to explore, but you’re still more or less ‘guided’ by what quest you’re currently on. And for skills, eventually you’ll get more of them; it’s like that in most games. I have quibbles with the UI, and while there are more tutorial popups, I think it’s definitely a general step up from D2. I haven’t played Path of Exile so I can’t comment on that.

  12. Having unidentified things makes absolutely no sense if you can just right click on them to identify them.

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