Diablo 3 Retail First Impressions

So, how are you guys liking the full release of Diablo III? Aside from some initial realm stability tech problems, it seemed like the launch went pretty well. Do you feel differently about the game now that you’ve put in 4 or 6 or 10 or 12 hours, beyond the limited Beta content?

This article contains no spoilers. There aren’t any spoilers in terms of plot details or the like in the screenshots, but most of them show things that haven’t been seen thus far in Blizzard released media, so if you want to see every area for the first time with your own eyes, don’t click to view them bigger.

Treasure Goblin trail.

As I type this it’s been 22 hours since the Asian realm went online, 15 hours since the European one, and 6 hours since the US server. I started playing with Elly shortly after the EU server went up, and so far I’ve put in about 10 hours, all with a Wizard who is now level 22.

I started playing in a two-person game with Elly on our live stream about 90 minutes after the EU servers went up, played about 5 hours straight then, put in another hour after Elly crashed, and then just did about 3 more after a break for dinner and decompressing. In total I’ve put in about 9 hours of non-rushing play time, and my Wizard is level 23 and most of the way through Act Two.

This article contains a variety of quick observations and general pro/con comments (mostly pro), without going into any specifics that might be spoilery. You can read assured of not ruining your first play through.

General Impressions

I’m very impressed, on the whole. The game is much deeper and larger and more varied (there’s an amazing amount and variety of dungeon tile sets) and more difficult than I’d expected, and certainly more than the training wheels Beta content led me to believe. If Diablo 3 hadn’t been so long and widely-anticipated, I’d say that Blizzard choose poorly by only including early Act One in the beta (and the Guest Pass/demo), since that content is by far the least interesting material in the game.

Elly and I went long enough in our first session that we were both getting a little worn down and exhausted from hunger, so it felt tiring and grindy at the end. But after I logged out and cleared my head, and starting making some dinner while sipping some champagne (if not on D3’s launch night, then when?), I found myself thinking about the game, about what I’d done, about the areas I’d seen, about how awesome the end of Act One and the start of Act Two looked, and I found found myself laughing — and not entirely from three quickly-sipped glasses of bubbly!

Once I had some time to reflect, and wasn’t pressing grimly onwards at the end of a too-long play session, I could remember and evaluate the depth and variety of the play experience, and think about what it promised for the rest of the game. (Which I’d hardly scratched the surface of.) And that made me happy. (Only for a moment, though, I swear. I got right over it.)

The happy was mixed with relief; relief that this game I’ve spent so many years working to support, and building a community for, and writing about… doesn’t suck. Not only that, but it looks like it’ll be really good. Obviously it’s too soon to speak of the end game balance, item slot machine function, build variety, etc, but the actual quality of the content and presentation and structure is excellent.

The attention to detail everywhere is great, the amount of lore and tomes and little side quests and events is awesome, the writing and variety of character types and dialogues is good (for a video game), the monster types and varieties and assortments and abilities, and level designs change constantly and are nicely-varied and interspersed. The world feels fairly real as well, and big — you don’t (entirely) get that sense that’s common to games and bad movies that your character is the only *real* person in the whole world, and that everyone else exists solely to provide you with an obstacle or a tool on your mission.

The difficulty and speed of action is really well done. Even in the early going Elly and I noticed that things were a lot hairier than in the beta; we had about 33% more monsters than we expected in the early areas, especially the Weeping Hollow and the Crypts, and while it wasn’t exactly “hard” up to that point, it certainly got real once we reached the Field of Misery just past the Skeleton King, and the next levels after that were challenging. We even managed to die, largely through carelessness, on the last surface area of Act One to a boss pack of Beasts. Their charge attacks hit for a good 40% of a character’s health at that point in the game, and when four of them charge at once… well let’s just say you need to not offer a stationary target for more than a second when such enemies have you in visual range.

The difficulty increased considerably at the start of Act Two; the monsters dealt a lot more damage, they had new types of attacks, sneakier movement styles, and they had a lot more hit points so they weren’t dying as easily.

Click through for more on items and the economy, monsters, and a few other quick hits, and it remains spoiler free. (Everyone hurry up and get through the game so we can talk about all the monsters and skills and strategy and stuff w/o spoiling things!)

Items and Economy

The leveling curve and the economy are well-balanced for your first character. I was constantly on the edge of broke as I tried to upgrade gear, train up the blacksmith, craft some goodies, buy rings (and amulets, not long after), etc. Admittedly, this will only ever matter for your first character, since every game after that you’ll inherit a leveled up smith, items in the shared stash, and shared gold. But for the first character, it’s a nice challenge, which you can at least get again by starting Hardcore, and/or starting out on the other realms.

By level 16 or so, fairly early into Act Two, Elly and me both started selling almost all the blue items we found, since we needed gold more than we needed materials for crafting. That ratio started to change once my Wizard got into the 20s, and I trained the Smith up to better crafting recipes with 3 and 4 random mods. By that level the affixes are powerful and varied enough to make rerolling an item worth the trouble, and the material costs are fairly high. The first rare item you can craft, the Journeyman Arming Cap, has nice potential mods but costs 19/4 (blue/yellow) materials to create. That’s compared to all the previous items costing more like 3 blues in total.)

Rare Amulet drop

As for item drops, rares remain very rare all through Act One, just as they were during the Beta. I only got 5 rares in all of Act One, and they all came from the three special event bosses (Leoric, a second special Elite, and then the Act Boss). Rares became more common in Act Two, and by level 22 I’d found maybe 8 or 10 rares from random monsters and chests, plus several more from the special event bosses. (I’m not to the Act Boss yet. I’ve never yet seen a Set or Legendary item drop, though my Magic Find is doing nothing to help, as it’s around 15% at best.)

Skills and Strategy

Obviously I can only speak to the Wizard thus far, and I have to do it in very general terms to avoid being spoilery. But really, the skill variety is enormous. Obviously we knew that from looking at the rune effects lists, but when you’re actually playing and experimenting with the different builds, it’s just crazy how many styles you can play with, and how quickly more options appear as you level into the teens and twenties and another 2 or 3 skills and runes come online every level.

Which skills you use varies greatly by the area, by your play style, by the party you’re in, by how much attention you want to pay to the action, etc. I also noticed a huge difference between going solo and with another person. In no way is Diablo 3 easier with two people, unless you stay so close together that you’re both hitting the same monsters most of the time. If you’re fighting separately, even just a half screen apart or so, it’s much more difficult, especially for a Wizard.

This is largely due to the Arcane Power resource. AP regenerates very quickly, and skills tend to cost a big chunk, a heavy drain per second, or nothing at all. There aren’t really any regular use skills that have a low, steady cost. They’re free, or they’re expensive, with little in between. (Medium cost skills tend to have long cooldowns and are not the spammy combat attacks.)

As a result of this the general way to play a Wizard is to mix no-cost Signature Skills with bigger nuke type skills that devour your Arcane Power, and to aim to kill off each bunch of monsters with approximately zero AP left. It will all regenerate in just a few seconds, so it’s almost always back to full by the time you pick up some gold and an item, and run to the next group.

That strategy gets very tweaked when there’s another player in the game, since the monsters have 175% of their usual hit points, and thus your timing is off. You do the same sort of attack you’ve been doing, and instead of dying neatly, the monsters all still have 1/3 of their hit points left when you’re dry and gasping like a fish on the dock. The Wizard therefore has to pace herself, use more Signature Skills, use more slowing and debuff skills, retreat during battles, etc, much more than when playing alone.

Slow Time vs. a Waller

Also, by late Act One when the difficulty starts to become real, defensive skills become important, and they are mandatory by Act Two. Even aside from running into large groups or bosses, numerous dungeons and in-game cinematic scenes past the middle of Act One set your characters right into a small area with a bunch of enemies, which requires you to very quickly deal with a lot of bad guys at close range. And that definitely takes a mixture of slowing skills, defensive skills, debuffs, and fast killing AoE.

Even when you learn to use defensive skills, you have to do it right. A real danger is when you use your defensive skills in a semi-emergency, and then find yourself in a real emergency with them on cooldown, or with no resource. I nearly died several times in Act Two when I used some combination of Frost Nova / Wave of Force / Slow Time, and then the Vortex or Teleporter boss/champions weren’t dead, and pulled me in or teleported right on top of me in their enraged state with my defense on cooldown. I learned to always keep a defensive or escape skill in reserve, and tried not to cast two of them right at the same time, putting them both on cooldown at once. (It’s awesomely fun to use Slow Time and then Wave of Force, but you’d better not get into trouble for about 10 seconds afterwards.)

I don’t want to get too much into strategy since it won’t make much sense if you haven’t played a Wizard yet, and I’m sure we’ll all have better builds than this experiment in a few weeks, but by mid-Act Two I found myself generally using two Signature Skills on the LMB/RMB, with 2 or 3 defensive skills and just one nuke damage type AP-spender that I mixed into combat for bigger damage to a single/few targets.

This was not the best damage output, but runes in the Signature Skills give them pretty good killing power, and I found that nasty boss packs, especially in two-player games, necessitated that I keep enough resource in reserve to instantly use two or even three skills in rapid succession for defense and escape. The beta play style, where a Wizard can use one or none of the Signature Skills (which are all free to cast) since you can one-shot everything with spendy skills, is not even close to feasible once the monsters start to hit back.

This is very good thing, IMHO. The fact that I had to think about my skill choices, arrange ones that supplemented each other, use them strategically, hold some in reserve for escape and defense, etc, made the play experience much more fun.

Ironically, the difficulty actually makes experimenting more difficult than most of us thought. With the rune effects coming in so regularly, many players (me included0 figured we’d try each new skill and rune effect as soon as they were available. I always did that in the beta, since there was no reason not to, and it was fun. It wasn’t like you needed to play smart to survive or thrive in the Beta, after all. In the full game though, that’s not going to work. You can not just toss any old skills together and blast away; not if you want to succeed and stay alive, at least.


I’d love to go into details on some specific enemies and their AI and other tricks, but I guess that would be spoilery. So I’ll just say that there’s a nice variety of attacks and AI types, and that returning ones that you might expect to be easy meat, like Fallen, probably are not. (Beware the Fallen Shaman; they should really be thought of as Fallen Summoners, or even “Fallen Semi-Bosses who Cast Really Damaging Fireballs and Stay on the Edge of the Screen out of Range while Creating new Enemies Non-Stop in Annoying Fashion.”) *cough*

Oasis scenery

The overall monster pacing and attack speed is nicely balanced as well. You get clusters at times, with enough open space between them that you have time to breathe. There do seem to be fewer swarm type events than I remember from playing late Act One and Act Two areas in Blizzcon demos in 2009 and 2010, and I miss those. Maybe it’s just the luck of the draw that I haven’t had any of those yet, but I love the big swarms of enemies you get in early Act One, from the Matriarch’s Bones, Leoric’s Skeleton Pillar room, and especially the Jar of Souls. I haven’t gotten any quests or levels or events that felt like that anywhere in the game, since I passed the Skeleton King.

One cool thing that Leoric is the first example of, is the cage match style boss fights. In those the heroes enter a special level from which there is no escape. It’s just you in a small area with a special boss, you can not leave (not even by Town Portal) and if anyone dies they can not rejoin the fight until it’s over, or until all the other players die as well when the whole even respawns.

There are three of those in Act One; Leoric, a later big boss, and then the Act Boss, and more of the same battle format in Act Two.

Incidentally, I forsee new players getting almost as annoyed by those as anyone who doesn’t know about Elective Mode gets when they use the new Skill UI. Elly and me had done the Skeleton King a million times in the beta, but neither of us had ever died against him in an MP game. So she was surprised when she died against the Act One boss, and then had to just sit and wait, unable to rejoin the battle as long as I was alive and still at it. I won, after several very close calls, and even then she didn’t feel that she deserved her rares and blues for the battle when the game let her back in afterwards, as she’d not been there for the kill. (She was able to overcome that feeling in time to snatch up her drops, mind you.)


Glancing back over this somewhat disjointed essay, I’m surprised by how positive I am about most things. It’s my honest assessment though, and it’s colored by happiness, but also a lot of relief. I had high hopes for D3, but a lot of doubts as well, due to the overly casual-friendly nature of a lot of the features, and the very easy Beta test difficulty.

Most of those worries have been alleviated by playing through most of Act Two, and while the jury is still out on the later Acts and the end game skill and item balance (lots of fans are disappointed by the fairly bland Unique/ Set Items), I’m feeling pretty good about the overall game quality, skills, polish, difficulty curve, economy, etc. At least in the early going, all is well, and better than well.

I’m curious to hear what you guys think though, especially after you get well past the Beta content and can get more of a sense of what the full game offers. I’m even more curious to see the rest of the game myself!

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98 thoughts on “Diablo 3 Retail First Impressions

  1. Flux, let me know, do you consider this game as a real DIABLO game? Talking about overall mood or how you call it in english. At the moment im a bit dissapointed.

    • It’s a new DIABLO game, so your definition of “a real DIABLO game” will probably have to adapt to the new reality. Unless you rephrase your question, “is it just like Diablo 2, which was still pretty different from Diablo 1?”

    • Are you disappointed at D3 being D3? or disappointed that it is not like the previous installments?  I think a lot of us get caught up too much of what it was before (D1/D2), and not looking forward to what it can be. 

      The “feel” of being a Diablo game can only be judged 6-12 months launch when most people have reached the end game.

      • The “feel” of being a Diablo game can only be judged 6-12 months launch when most people have reached the end game.

        Just like Final Fantasy XIII gets really good 30 hours in? Shouldn’t D3 feel like a Diablo game from the start?

        Stop setting some arbitrary requirements to determine “diablo” feel.

        • Oh you mean that arbitrary, completely subjective “diablo” feel? Got it…  😆

          • Arbitrary i mean, you can expirience “diablo feel” 6-12 months after launch or by end-game only.
            If you had noticed, i didn’t say anything about getting “diablo feel” not being a subjective thing. Sure, some will get that feeling after 6-12 months of game being available, some will expirience it right away, the thing is, you can’t put requirements on what person should do, to get the “diablo feel”. It’s like saying, “you can’t enjoy drinking cola, unless you have drank 50 cans of it”. It’s nonsense and you know it.

          • No more nonsensical than an arbitrary assertion as to what “diablo” feels like. My take is that it feels very much like a diablo game. YMMV. The 6-12 months thing seems absurd. But really, after a 12 year wait, it’s going to be a new take on “diablo feel”. People need to look at their own expectations and ask themselves why they aren’t being met. My guess is that deep down, people want this game to make them feel the same way they did when they played D2 at a much younger age. It’s like Proust or Bergman in “Wild Strawberries” – intangible, arbitrary and fleeting. Live for the present moment. Life is short. 

        • It is never about how a game starts, it is always about how it finishes.  FF games never get good until you are at least a few hours into it.  Beginning parts are mostly tutorial and cinematics. 

          The OP mentioned “overall mood”.  It can’t be overall if it is just ACT1-ACT2 right?  Shouldn’t you reach the end game before judging on the “OVERALL” feel? 

          6-12 month period is not an arbitrary number.  It took around this time for D2’s economy and end game to develop, before SOJ dupes. 

  2. Loving it so far, it was even worth the 1 hour wait to login.  I rolled a monk to start and I was quite surprised at the difficulty increase as you progressed.  I’m level 15 right now and just got to Act 2, where I died twice in the very first part already despite not dying at all in Act One.  

    Now I’m taking a bit of a break before soldiering on.   

    • I only died once so far, when I was kinda stupid. There was this big tree, and I kinda screamed when I saw him awaken, because I wasnt prepared for that, although I knew these walking trees. (my friend, who was on Skype laughed at me because of that)I never had such a shocking moment in L4d or L4d2…^^

      Well, he beat me down very fast, and when I finally killed him, I saw this health globe. I didnt want to waste a potion, so I ran to it immediately… well… the poison of the tree killed me before I could reach the globe…^^

      So far I’m level 19 in act 2, and now I’m taking a little break, after I played from 10 am to 6 pm non stop ^^

      • Ha yeah the tree surprised me the first time too, wasn’t expecting it to uproot and attack me.  

  3. Heheh.  It’s great.  No doubt about it.  Now at level 10 and taking a break to do some work. 

  4. I’m glad you ended up liking it.  I logged on this morning after 45 minutes of error 300008 last night and giving up in frustration.

    Upon logging in this morning before heading to work I discovered 10 level 1 demon hunters created…

    haha, anyway I’ll be playing after work today but I’m glad that you were able to enjoy yourself.  I hope the servers don’t suck ass when I’m able to get home. 

  5. great review flux.  One of the best articles I’ve read of yours in a long time.  

    So glad to hear things are going well.   I unfortunately won’t be playing until later today.  Been on vacation.  Flying back home this afternoon.  Can…not….wait….i think I’m twitching a little bit too. 

      • I’ve never flown but I assume they don’t have Internet connections available.  You need an Internet connection with D3 to play single player I believe.  Can anyone correct me if I’m wrong?

  6. been playing the wizard by myself for about 7 hours straight lol
    really fun, just got teleport and its great im runnin around with teleport disintegrate familiar magic weapon electrocute and hydra! heaps of fun 😀 and the scoundrel’s voice work is fantastic!
    ive just got to an area called “the fowl lair” im not sure if its a secret area or if its just an easter egg, but its from act two and u go in and there are just hundreds of chickens on the ground lol…
    here it is: http://www.freeimagehosting.net/newuploads/opmzc.png
    sorry for the dud link, tinypic is down so im forced to use bad sites D: 

  7. Well i didnt read to avoid spoilers (dunno if there are any) because i started playing like 4 hours ago and i left beta content like 1hour ago. Loving it so far. The difficulty is really nice even as for normal and tutorial zone. The beta was really easy and i almost died to those trees later on combined with some champion.
    Yeah there are areas where there is not much of monsters to kill – kinda feel empty. Dunno what will be later on.
    Also the item discussion – yes, there is very poor itemization (stats). Just bigger numbers :/
    Overally so far its mostly a great gameplay !

    • That’s odd, 420 is usually synonmous with soft grass.

      …sorry, I couldn’t help myself.  

  8. Its a good game but the loot sucks. That’s my honest opinion. So far, I’m not seeing anything that allows players to aim toward anything. You just have to take what drops. Maybe this will change whenever gems start appearing but they’re still not much to look forward to imo. Without an interesting looting system, which there isn’t, I don’t see myself playing it 6 months from now cause these items are poor poor poor. 😕 The game does have nice crowd control moments though, that impressed me the most but they’re still far and few between. I really find Left 4 Dead 2 more exciting so far. A poor rehash of an old classic is the best way to describe it.

    • keep in mind that the higher difficulties have over 70%~ of the items, so normal difficulty will be boring in terms of items and thus will not really have greatly different builds that we are likely to see in inferno

      • Right, and considering that till level 60 we get skills as we level, we are getting something new as we progress. Very likely we’ll aim itemization at level 60 itens that just drop in inferno, in a way that we can split the game into leveling and then itemization

    • Isn’t it a little too early to judge loot?  I mean, unless you’re in inferno, it seems like there’s not really enough information to judge a meta issue like loot.
      If you play Diablo 2 even, and start untwinked you basically get the same experience of just using whatever drops for the most part (with the exception of runewords, I guess, which generally broke the game). 
      I mean, the whole loot metagame / aspect revolves around the Nephalem Valor buff, which isn’t even present until Inferno…

    • What sort of loot was there in the early game of D1 or D2 that gave you something to look forward to? A set item for a set you’d never complete before it became obsolete?

    • I don’t see any problems with loot. You equip stuff that is better than what you have, and sometimes it’s WAY better than what you have and you get super excited. Sounds like Diablo to me.

  9. Yeah you need be careful about blowing your defensive skills (note by t his i mean using it before you should)/running out of resources in long fights. Though for a Barbarian, it not that much of a worry if you get low on resources due to the spammable generators being good looking at cleave here.

  10. I logged in around 5am PT this morning and played for about an hour before stopping to get the kids up and then go to work.  Absolutely no errors, server crashes, disconnects or anything.  Felt like I was playing offline to be honest.  Very pleasantly surprised.

  11. Ugh, the next 6 hours at work are going to pass so slowly! It’s like waking up on Christmas morning and being told you can’t open your presents until after dinner.

  12. Gameplay gets better when you pass beta phase, but… I’m disappointed.
    Feels narrow, boring and slow. Soulless music. Amount of visual content (diversity of colors) and FX tires you in an hour. And that’s with solo game. When you play with 4 people, it’s a freaking nightmare. I wanted to disable all graphics to minimum, just to be able to recognize what’s going on on the screen. Terrible art direction.
    Definitely not lives up to it’s hype.

    • This was the most inaccurate opinion I have ever read.
      The only possible explanation here is you have some ulterior motive for intentionally bashing what is virtually a perfect game.
      Maybe you should go play outside, because there is clearly no pleasing you. Chronic depression cannot be cured by any game, no matter how great it is.

      • This is “the most inaccurate opinion” because you don’t like it. First thing you have to realize – this is MY opinion, MY impressions. Second – if you love this game to death, enjoy, I don’t care. I’m not going to tell you that you made a mistake. Then this game was made for you.

      • Go away yourself.
        “I’m curious to hear what you guys think though, especially after you get well past the Beta content and can get more of a sense of what the full game offers.”
        So shut up.

    • For what its worth, I dont have the greatest eyesight, so I find some games that have too much visually going on hard to focus on .. i still really enjoy Diablo3 visually, but sometimes during high action moments I struggle to concentrate.  I get this issue in FPS games also

      I found turning on monster health plates (press V ingame) helped me to distinguish visually what I need to target, as well as the strategic assistance it provides by allowing you to dictate which monster needs to be targeted first, or go down next.  

  13. I also have not played yet. Unfortunately I am going on vacation early tomorrow and the girlfriend won’t like it much if I bring the game along. Terrible timing for vacation to interrupt my need for Diablo 3. Unfortunately this trip was planned well before the release date was announced. Can’t wait!!

  14. Amazon have failed to deliver my copy, despite paying extra for first class postage to get it today.  Very annoyed.  Won’t be buying thru Amazon again.

  15. Great Review so far and you hit mostly my opinion. Have played sololy Since the Server goes on, will enjoy the story. And its right, nice flow and the story is good so far. Now at 28, the exp curve get little down, i think, nearly late act 3…
    Iam exited what happen next, but i cant realy imagine atm , how inferno will e playable. Challenging 🙂

  16. Great article. I’m absolutely loving it thus far after just completing it on Normal. It definitely feels like a Diablo game and I was relieved that blizzard went ahead and upped the difficulty from beta. The level it was on Normal was perfect. I do have some concerns for the later difficulties regarding incentives to keep playing tho, but hopefully blizzard wont disappoint here either.

  17. Great review, Flux!

    Just a little side note! Upon getting to that infamous timer-activated cave In act 2, I got an immediate Flashback
    To your blizzcon experiences, and was rushing throw that thing like a madman In order not to die when that roof colaplses, only to find out it doesn’t 😛 

  18. I haven’t played the game except for the open beta but I can tell you the game hasn’t lived up to its hype. The best way to describe it is, “an old turd polished with golden rat poison”. The content is dry. I killed the skeleton king in like 35 minutes and never used a potion. I remember in Diablo 2, all my frends would die to this horse fucker named Rakanishu with lightning. The hardest party of the game was finding which way was the right way to the skeleton kings lair. I did like the skills on the character i played which was a wizard and was basically like the diablo 1 or 2 character but with sillier skills masked with runes to make them seem fresh as you progressed. I only got 1 freakin rare all game from the act boss who is just a remake from the first game named ‘Leoric skeleton king’ not much of a king because he barely touched my level 9 sorc since i have a high apm and was always moving away from his attackas. overall I give the game two thumbs down and think it will probably not sell much but who knwos people play WoW still and that game is just warcraft 3 upclose with more skills… i never played it except a trial and ill post that review on my blog. Anyhow i wont be purchasing the game since i know its overhyped like angry birds was. Anyway I waited 12 years for nothing I guess.

    • No one wants you in the game, so I’m glad to hear you’ll stay away 😉

      Love the game myself so far btw, act 2 and lvl 21 monk! 

      • Glad to hear your liking it. If I hadn’t played diablo 2 I might have enjoyed it more. It’s pretty much just the same game with new graphics. I could have made that myself with enough money and 12 years. But yeah I’ll stick to mass effect and cod which come out with new material all the time instead of waiting my life to play remakes of same game whcich bores me in like an hour. Can’t even PK people in d3, so boooooring!

        • If an anonymous commenter calls himself  “edward mchater” I don’t think you’re obligated to pretend he’s making a legit comment.

        • uhmm… why don’t you actually play the full game? For one the retail ver is actually much harder than the beta ver…

    • Yes, because Open Betas are the be all end all of games.  What a tool.  But with a name like “McHater”, what do you expect I guess…

      Like Flux said in his review, once you get past Leoric, the difficulty ramps up quite a bit.  I got my ass handed to me right after LSK, and I was entirely surprised.  I only got in 2 hours before work, but it was enough to get to level 10 or 11 and find out that difficulty ramps up pretty quick after LSK.  Looking forward to the rest of the game, that’s for sure.

      But, you go ahead and post your shittly little review based on nothing but an open beta stress test, and see how many people actually pay attention to a word you say. 

      • I don’t know what game you playing but you sir are a liar. You sit on a throne of lies to tell me the skeleton king was hard and harder after. I bet once you get past level 13 you kill everything 1 shot. In diablo 3 you had to be skilled to kill andariel on the first couple goes without a good teams he would poision you to death. skelton king can barely hit you if you keep moving. Too easy. maybe ill try the game when they release a demo of the full game to give you a better scope of my pallet on the game as a whole.. until then ill keep my $60 for real games that challenge you.

        • ok, well I’ve never even played any of the diablo’s, not even the beta. But I do know enough from just reading your comments to assess that you’re being really petty and infantile. Let’s take the fact that you only played the Beta and therefore based your ‘oh so justified’ review on an unfinished product. Next let’s also look at the many different sources saying that Blizzard have upped the difficulty from that of the Beta so your judgments are insignificant compared to the people that have played the game. Finally the thing that pissed me off most about this was the ‘I bet once you get past level 13 you kill everything [with] 1 shot’ if people are stating that its hard at level 19 – 23. You are criticizing the game based on an unfinished product and your own assumptions, its great. Also using cod as a benchmark for new material is pretty funny, I found the game got stagnant after cod 4. I’m not saying it got bad, i still enjoy playing it, I’m just saying it feels the same game, but with new skins – my point being if one of your biggest gripes with this is that it feels like you’re playing an old game then how can you rate cod. It is playing to the strength of its predecessors (games that developed a huge fan base) and therefore does not need to change dramatically. All this or you’re a troll… I dont know which would be worse, being dumb enough to base an opinion on an unfinished product and so being extremely limited as a person. OR being such a nerd that you find enjoyment spending your days drooling over your keyboard (or playing cod), mouth full of cheetos, face full of zits, body full of fat and head full of jealousy/ a subconscious regret that you never learnt how to be socially aware.  
          I dont really know why i decided to get so involved (apart from to criticize you and in doing so hopefully change you as a person for the better) I probably wont even buy the game, was just wondering what all the fuss is about. Seems like its achieved what it set out to achieve and that’s appeal to a very patient and hyped fan base – something that is very difficult to do after 12 years. I enjoy fifa or actually playing football (maybe you call it soccer because you are backward) every year fifa plays the same and everyday football plays the same, but its because it plays the same that i enjoy it. Every match will be slightly different but the inherent traits that i find enjoyable remain consistent. What more can you ask for?

        • Well if you wouldn’t believe anyone saying that the game actually got harder. I guess there’s nothing anyone on Earth can do for you…. 

          btw if you’re basing it on beta content. Of course you got to one-shot everything on level 13. You must be that idiot that don’t realise that beta content is level 8 at max… You’re 5 level above the content, it’s no small wonder that you’ll 1-shot most thrash mobs.

  19. This is the post Flux has been waiting 6 years to write. 🙂

    What’s impressed me most is the skill system. Even with only 5/6 skill slots and a few runes unlocked, the amount of choices is daunting — in a good way.

  20. The overall feel is good, but there are a couple if things that I really dont like:
    1. People were right during the early beta that this game is extremely colorful and that kind of ruins the gothic diablo feeling. There are so many effects at a given moment in the game that I cannot really imagine how the game would look like with 4 people in it.
    2. The second act is a sophisticated “copy/paste” from Diablo II (Act 2). The desert, the camp, even the city is 80% similar to the palace in LutGholein. Not to mention the same mobs (the insect flocks, the flying birds landing to attack you etc).

    D3 will be a huge success, but these 2 things are really ruining it for me. 

  21. Level 34 Wizard, Act 1 nm almost at the end. I have to say that the game is well made and I’ve been enjoying playing it. However, the bosses felt a bit “watered down” on normal difficulty, which was a bit of a turn off. The hardest thing was the packs of champions and elite mobs. I know that normal is not supposed to be hard, but I kinda felt it should be the other way around, the bosses should be harder than random monsters you encounter. I died a few times, most of deaths came in Act 3. I am a bit disappointed that the auction house UI was not reworked at all after the beta, I was hoping they would include smart searching for items you have in you bag, to see what’s the competition like when people sell the same items. Also, I have not found _ANY_ set or legendary items so far, after 12 hours and playing through normal acts 1-4 and most of nm act 1. It doesn’t feel very rewarding, the rares have kind of lost their value already, it’s just “oh rares again, yippee.”. Going to play a bit more to see if it gets a bit more interesting loot wise, I sure hope set and legendaries are not 1/10000000 chance drops much longer.

  22. Oh and also, I too find playing with many players extremely confusing when characters are on lvl 30+. When I pop archon and start laZering through a horde of mobs, you can’t see what’s happening. Add 2 barbarians whirlwinding and you can imagine how chaotic it is. I like the visuals in the game, they are pretty. But a little less flashy would’ve been better imho.

  23.   Blizzard nerds aside, it sounds like Flux has mixed feelings. Perhaps coming from a veteran Diablo player, I’d like to get a clear cut statement from him on exactly how he feels in the end? Was this indeed worthy of being a Diablo sequel, or just another ARPG churned out not truely worthy of the Diablo distrinction?? I’d like to hear it from him because half of you that say how great of a sequel this is to Diablo 2… probably never even played Diablo 1 or 2 (until recently).

    • Not sure if my opinion is sufficient for you. I played Diablo 1 when it came out, also D2 quite a lot. To me D3 didn’t feel “quite right” but I can’t really point out what was the thing that bothered me. I think it might have been the overly talkative demon lords during questing, or maybe it was the colours and mood in the game. I just wanted Diablo to shut up before I was done with him, ;). This might have been partly due to the fact that I played like crazy person as soon as the servers opened and maybe I was a bit tired from the “marathon”. I’ll give the game a bit more time to see if  it feels better later on.

  24. I’ve only played a few hours now. I’m really enjoying it so far. As a semi-casual gamer, I’m excited that D3 will offer me a few hundred hours of content just to level all the heroes to 60.
    As someone who mostly avoided learning much about the skills and making builds, etc, I found that I liked having my skills chosen for me on leveling up. I didn’t have to go in and look and analyze all the available skills to try and make a decision. Definitely a plus. However, once I played through a class, if I ever wanted to play it again, I can see wishing I could change up the order, especially on the runes. It’d be nice if Blizzard gave that option later on.
    Great write-up, Flux.

  25. ffs, what a frustrating experience the start of this game is. Spent an hour trying to log in last night to no success. Rushed home from work and am in the same state again. Haven’t played one second yet. The extra cash for the overprized digital version should have stayed in my pocket.

  26. The lack of tits in the sequel to diablo 2 is really pissing me off. When I play a game like diablo I expect demon tits. Without demon tits were all pretty much just clicking our mouse on same old crap we seen before with better resolution core emo graphics which dont scare a 2 year old from eatin them for breakfast. I gotta say I like the pace of diablo 3.. just kidding.. it’s like diablos balls curled up inside of him and he grew tits but u have to mindlessly wander through a bunch of forests to find his ass because he would rather wait for you kill all his minions unlike in diablo 1 where he was surrounded by all these crazy scary monsters. plus playing diablo 1 in the playstation with a friend was always fun. I remember getting bow of the bear which had rich mechanics that would knock most mosnters back and my friend would get bow of lightning which would shock people. Plus they got rid of firewall I think so that sucks too. Anwyay just my 2 cents. Buy the demo before u waste $100 on the collectors edition if you need more content for your next garage sale. See my blog for more deep thought reviews on games and other major entertainment ❗

      • Awesome write up flux also epic ban hammer comment also do you give out your real I’d if not its cool I won’t be on till tomorrow night anyway just looking for some good ppl to play with every once in awhile 

    • Tits? Thanks you just make it clear that you’re indeed a troll… I should have realized it earlier, my bad…

  27. Eu edition had US server settings as default… So after trying to get in for 1 hour … I checked this and I no longer had problems. Relaxed gaming in multiple 2 hour sessions. Just hit 12 and before the first act end. Died twice unexpectedly. That promises for later modes like hell and inferno …. ‘) A perfect game to play alongside WoW  

  28. Love the post, it mirrors my experience exactly! I’m wizard too in my 20’s so that is also why it was spot on.
    I’m really enjoying it and really enjoying one cutscene in particular. Very dramatic! I’m mainly amazed at what you wrote, which I agree 100% with that I thought I’d “play around” with the runes. You cannot do it, or you’re going to be toast. I found some very nice smoked spheres though and that damage increase bumped me up so much I could finally mix and match and not have it care as much. Also I have a four button mouse and I’m loathe to hit the keyboard numbers too often so I’m gravitating toward one armor and magic weapon as 5th and 6th slot.
    One thing that irritates me is that there is NO TIMER for Magic weapon. Tooltip says five minutes, I haven’t actually counted, but the damage increase is nothing to sneeze at so I want to keep using it. Who knows if I’ll keep it as I progress, but no timer is a bummer as you have to remember to hit it again. There is a glow to your weapon of course but with all that’s going on color wise on screen it hardly yells out at you. That’s my only negative, really loving it so far.
    Had to take a break for lunch and my wife thought I was mentally ill for waking up at 3am….trying to log in for an hour and a half constantly and then playing for 9 hours straight!

    • yeah i agree, there really needs to be a timer for both magic weapon and familiar.

  29. Yes, this write up mirrors my first game impressions and play through. I’m just too lazy to do a lengthy write up.

    I too started off with a Wizard which normally wouldn’t have been by first class choice but it was a 2AM decision and I wanted to get out of my class comfort zone. Pretty fun class. I can’t wait to try the other four.


  30. The game may be good. Unfortunately most europeans can’t say, as we haven’t been able to play a single minute yet. Happy you got the chance to try it Flux though.
    Feel like if I were a kid and somebody broke my new christmas toy before even being able to use it. After all those years of waiting it is a bit frustrating. Also would be nice to see updates on the EU server issues on the frontpage, cheers!

  31. I wouldn’t really consider being unable to log in until ~2 hrs after servers opened a good launch.  The 3+ hour downtime for the emergency maintenance doesn’t make many people happy either…
    But honestly, i totally expected this to happen, so I wasn’t terribly angry or disappointed.  It should be expected of such a popular and anticipated game.  And lets be honest, this happens all the time with the WoW launches, as well, so i don’t understand why people are so shocked and angry.

  32. Correct: you must have an internet connection to play, single player or multiplayer.  Also, WiFi  is becoming more common on flights in the US.  Certainly not a pervasive feature but in 10 years I would be surprised if every (non-local) flight did not offer some form of internet connection while in the air.

  33. I am with Flux, I am happy with the game. I am also playing a sorceress, (ya I am not calling a chick a wizard, it just feels wrong). I was watching his live stream with Elly and remembering being like “dude, you forgot to hotkey your new healing pots”.
    Overall, I think Diamond Skin will be a HC fans best friend. It has save my life soooo many times.

    • That’s really an annoying “feature” in the game. I nearly died to it again in act 2 later on, once I went up to the next level of health potions.

      For people who weren’t watching the stream, as you play you find higher quality health potions. Eventually you’ve got a stack of them and you sell off the lower quality ones… but the potion drink hotkey doesn’t automatically update to the new stack. So if you don’t do that manually, you’ll be out battling and suddenly there’s danger and you hit the potion button… and nothing happens.  As I joked on the live stream, torchlight 2 fixes that; and the potion button automatically drinks any red pots you’ve got, going up or down a quality level if you exhaust a stack.

  34. After over an hour of trying to log on, unleashing many words which I am glad my children did not hear, a friend and myself chilled with an hour playing Path of Exile. When we returned, Battle.net had stopped sulking and we then spent about two and a half hours teamed up in game. Basically covered everything that the beta had offered. Having only played solo prior to this, the team experience was more enjoyable than I had expected. Thumbs up so far – I look forward to my next session (knew I should have taken a day off 🙂

  35. I am a bad player. My wizard died 4-5 times in act 1 already, due to the charging beasts champion pack that flux mentioned with jailer affix and some other monsters with vortex and jailer affix.
    For soloing, the difficulty are really quite decent. 

  36. Its surely different have to let the game play out some more before i make any final decisions. Just played for 4 hours got my monk to lvl 11. Only Con so far is the abillity to chose a game that you enter. absolutly no choice at all and have a very hard time finding a game with more then one other person and thats if im lucky.

  37. by the way, i am seriously impressed with the rest of act one past leoric, its on par with act two/slightly my favourite area so far 😀 i loved all the demon summoning it was awesome – and the goatmen! those plains are going to be lots of fun in inferno! 😀
    gonna finish normal tonight and hopefully start nightmare 

  38. The game is really epic.  I am so gald it worth the time I have spent waiting for it.  

  39. First off, very nice write up. I wasn’t lucky enough to participate in the beta (only acquired a machine capable of running D3 a couple of weeks ago) so my playtime experience is very limited. That being said, I’m definitely enjoying it very much. I too started with a Wizard (determined to focus on cold/ice damage attacks since that is my favorite form of magic/elemental attack) and managed to get her up to level 9 and almost at the point of killing the skeleton king (got booted when the servers went down for maintenance). I like the skills thus far and the strategy of using certain skills with appropriate timing – small groups of weak monsters are no problem, but I found myself paying attention to the gameplay closely. I haven’t yet advanced beyond the beta content, so I’m sure this will only become more important (especially balancing signature vs. non signature skills and resource management).

    I definitely see how the beta content was very linear, though I think there’s enough extra space to explore and I found myself doing the familiar backtracking/map inspection to make sure I cleared out each level fully before proceeding to the next. Feels just like a Diablo game in that respect. Items are just starting to get a little interesting too and finally got to the point where I can upgrade my stash…if I shell out almost all of my gold.

    All in all, I have to give it a thumbs up so far. It still follows the simple “kill, reward” formula, but all the extra elements (lore journals, random events, new skill/rune system) help to further enhance the experience.

    Also, I must say I like the angel wings (from the collectors edition)! 😀 

  40. Game is great. Though I do have a few issues with how much they use in-game cutscenes to tell some of the story. Especially a very pivotal moment that I feel could of used a full blown CGI movie. But thats my only real dissapointment so far. 

    Gameplay delivers in all the areas I’ve been wanting here. 🙂 Just wish the servers were more reliable. Heh. ^_^; 

  41. Just looking at your chosen skills, we only had 2 in common. I ended up going for a sort of “kamikaze” build. I had nova, force push, (that exploding one I forget the name of), and diamond skin so I could diamond up, run into a group, freeze them, explode, and then force push the rest. If any survive all that, they’re all pushed away so I can run off again and zap them with my main damage skills.
    Very satisfying way of playing, blowing up entire groups in a couple shots, though I wouldn’t dare play that way in hardcore, it has gotten me killed a few times (though I play a lot more recklessly knowing I can’t really die). The only one potion thing will be really interesting though in HC. Once I was really low on health and running around away from a large pack in a dungeon, there were no health globes and I already used my pot and I eventually got taken down because I just couldn’t get away. Fun stuff.

  42. Man, I died the same way. I was doing very well with my witch doctor. The tree did not suprise me but then I thought I’ll run to get some health globe and the poison, bam. I died. I didn’t even have time to find my potion key, lol. I didn’t drink a single potion up to that point and then I died to the poison. That poison is very veru nasty.

  43. Hi Flux and Elly,
    Great coverage on the launch day.  I watched your live stream for about 5 minutes, it was really cool to see you guys get to enjoy the game for a real play session with the full version after all these years of waiting!  Champaign well deserved.  I had to stop watching it after 5 minutes though as I am in the EST time zone and wasn’t able to play yet at the time so it was a bit spoilery!  Cheers!

  44. Great review Flux… All basic points covered: gameplay, skills, economy, monsters, etc… And thanks for the tips re. the skills.. it was very helpful… I died because I kind of  neglected the defensive skills from my wizard! Reserve a defense skill is a must and the game is getting harder throughout Act I already (what it is even better!)

  45. …played for 3 hours in between outages as a wizard…it played much better to me then the beta (only played open beta – 2 runs)…and i am a ‘completer’ as i like to clear the whole map of baddies before i progress…i will say if you can get a weapon that has damage return to life as a wizard, it is worth a significant drop in DPS…i had a dagger that returned health and ArcOrb and ExpBolts became insta-heals in the throws of mobs…i didn’t have to move much against the SK or the pillars…but i digress…i love it so far, my mac is a little laggy (don’t know why yet) is my only real complaint as the servers were stretched and i felt happy just to play as much as i did…will be playing DH with my friends as i keep my female wizard to myself…

  46. Thank you so much for unspoilery entry. Im still on vacation for another 2 weeks and can’t think of not reading about D3. I know I will need to stop at some point to avoid all the spoilers.
    Any chance to introduce some SPOILER tag for post entries so that ppl like me know straight away not to read ?

    Thx for all the work so far … and I mean all 15 years (although I started reading when d2 came out) 

  47. Just FYI team members are perfectly able to rejoin most bossfights.

    All you have to do is kite the boss a bit and ress them by clicking their flag/corpse;-) 

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