A couple of semi-journalistic takes on the Diablo III beta today. The first comes from site reader YOUR and has been posted on his blog. It’s a practical write up of the beta experience, with a balanced take on the pros and cons, and lots of screenshots. Informative and practical.
Naturally, in this post I’m going to focus more on this rabble-rousing and somewhat-misleading piece from The Daily Beacon, a student newspaper from the University of Tennessee. Some choice quotes:
…The first time I launched the game I was actually shocked at how outdated the game looks. The character models in the class selection screen look like they belong in a PS2 game.
…The opening level is a foggy cemetery which is easily the ugliest environment in the game. The fog effects wash out the screen and look more like your monitor’s brightness is set too high than fog.
My first hours playing the game didn’t do anything to improve my opinion of it. They consisted of clicking on people with exclamation marks over their head, then trudging through dungeons filled with slow-moving monsters that provided absolutely no challenge. All that was required to defeat the waves of oncoming attackers was to hold the mouse in their general direction for a couple of seconds. …I started to wonder how “Diablo II” had possibly achieved such a revered status, because I was extraordinarily bored.
I say misleading because while the article starts off by crucifying Diablo III on numerous levels, it loops back halfway through and winds up actually recommending the title. It was probably a clever approach though; the hate hook landed some coverage here, at least.
The author states that he’s never played any Diablo games before, and that he has very little ARPG experience. He is therefore right in Blizzard’s “casual-friendly” target audience. Unfortunately, since he’s an experienced video gamer, as I’d guess 98% of possible Diablo II buyers are, he found the early going boring, even on his first play through.