Huge JudgeHype Beta Preview

We posted a bunch of hands-on reports yesterday, but by far the best beta/demo discussion can be found on French site Judge Hype. Not ideal if you don’t real French, but Google translation does a tolerable job, and the info is so complete that it’s well worth tolerating the occasional maladroit computer translation.

The juiciest piece is the loooooong beta build write up, in which nearly every step of a Wizard’s journey through the small demo/beta is detailed. Character selection and creation screens, the game starting battle, NPC descriptions, early quests, the first sighting of DiabloWikiLeah and DiabloWikiDeckard Cain, a kind-spoilery thing about finding some of DiabloWikiAdria‘s possessions, more on quests, sub-quest descriptions, DiabloWikiTemplar quest and skill info, DiabloWikiquests leading up to DiabloWikiKing Leoric, and more.

Here are just a couple of quotes, taken from the Google translation, that don’t even begin to scratch the surface of the huge report. Obviously, I recommend that you read the whole thing.

I enter the tavern called DiabloWikiThe Slaughtered Calf Inn (no load times) and it found DiabloWikiLeah, niece of DiabloWikiDeckard Cain who is the daughter of Adria. While we chewed the fat, I noticed several villagers who seemed a bit disturbed. That’s when they went into a trance and turned into zombies, which began to attack.. Leah pulled out her bow and did not hesitate to give me a helping hand dealing with them. Once the fight is over, I take my discussion with Leah who invites me to take a look at her room. I come in, in all honor (wicked band ^ ^), and finds the Leah’s Journal, Part 1 Lost in a library. When you get this kind of object, you can get additional information on the history, which of course will please the fans of Diablo Lore.

…In small dungeons that I mentioned below, I noted that there is a nice little event. I am indeed fallen (without hurting me I assure you) on an object named “Jar of Souls.” Clicking the play began a quest asking me to survive for 60 seconds to attack monsters. Countless skeletons began to appear little by little and if you manage to survive, you will get some experience points bonus (in addition to the bonus XP that fall when you kill more monsters in a short time). If not, well too bad for you. Indeed, I think that dying in a case like this does not revive the event. But rest assured, there will be lots of little events like in Diablo III. I had also spoken in the BlizzCon 2009 when I tried the monk and I had to find the exit of a dungeon in three minutes … without success. ^ ^

Elsewhere in the twenty-page report JudgeHype gives general descriptions of all the classes, plus some interesting side info about dungeons and skills. This page ends with an intriguing quote, where someone from Blizzard is quoted as saying the beta will start, “very, very soon.”

Another must-read page focuses on Interviews, where numerous bullet point facts are cited from DiabloWikiJay Wilson, DiabloWikiChristian Lichtner, and DiabloWikiLeonard Boyarsky. Bonus fun with the developer photos on this page; it’s great to see a smiling, happy-looking Jay Wilson (for a change). The Leonard Boyarsky picture is also interesting, because the angle of the photo + Leonard’s weight-lifting habits make his forearms look literally twice the size of his head. Now that is a big elbow.

I’ve saved the best for last, though. (To vex the TLDR people who gave up already.) The Judge Hype guy deserves our thanks for spending most of his 4.5 hours with the demo not playing it, but taking a meticulous record all of the skills, traits, and even the game option menus. There aren’t many new/different skills from previous builds, but Traits (now boringly called passive skills) are much changed around. Each class still has a ton of them, but instead of a trait point every other or every third level, now you just get 3 in the entire game, which you use to enable one Trait at Clvl 10, 20, and 30. And that’s it. No more. Ever.

There are five pages listing all the skills and traits, and sure, the Google translation makes them decipherable. But wouldn’t you prefer a human’s efforts? I would, and happily, we’ve got one. Zediono has already translated all of the skill names, plus all of the traits and their functions, in a thread in our Diablo 3 community forum. Dig in and learn stuffs in the forum thread for now, though updates with all this new info are already well-underway.

A few of the interesting new ones, in no particular order.

  • DiabloWikiFrenzied Attack (level 31): When wielding two weapons, the Barbarian has 20% increased critical strike chance and 30% increased critical strike damage.
  • DiabloWikiYears of Training (level 18): When a Discipline-type skill is used, damage dealt by the Demon Hunter is increased by 10% for 10 seconds. Can stack up to three times.
  • DiabloWikiKilling Spree (level 24): When an enemy is killed by the Demon Hunter, the next attack dealt within the next 5 seconds has 30% increased critical strike chance.
  • DiabloWikiUntouchable (level 19): After dealing a critical strike, the Monk’s dodge chance increases by 10% for 10 seconds.
  • DiabloWikiFlawless Technique (level 28): Skills that generate Spirit do 20% more damage.
  • DiabloWikiUnstable Energy (level 28): When under 20% HP, the next skill knocks back all targets it hits. Can happen once every 90 seconds.

See the forum post for the full list. See a mirror for the despairing expression of a Diablo III aficionado who is not at all sure about the benefit of removing skill and trait points.

Related to this article
  • John Yang Joins World of Warcraft Team
  • Leonard Boyarsky Leaves Blizzard and Joins Obsidian
  • Watch all the Diablo 3 Dev Lightning Talks

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    20 thoughts on “Huge JudgeHype Beta Preview

    1. Yeah, Judge always makes really good reports. He doesn’t run the only good French Blizzard fansite by accident after all. ^^
      PS: “maladroit”, nice xD (it’s French, for those who didn’t get it)

    2. Flux Said:
      The Leonard Boyarsky picture is also interesting, because the angle of the photo + Leonard’s weight-lifting habits make his forearms look literally twice the size of his head. Now that is a big elbow.

      That’s HILARIOUS!!  Poor Leonard…


    3. nice write up.  His conclusion I think is most welcome.  Despite all the melodrama of changes, he can’t wait to play more.  And that is what its all about.

    4. Jay Wilson is smiling because he finally eradicated PvP completely from his game.  I’m surprised they don’t have kittens riding down rainbows into their newly constructed “everyone gets a trophy” competitive scheme. 

      • Would you like to elaborate on how exactly you think Jay “finally eradicated PvP completely from his game”?

    5. Excellent coverage, as always.

      Flux: I would be really interested in hearing your personal opinions on the new features/changes: traits -> passives, no skill points, RMAH and especially “random” effect runestones. I would love to read through an insightful article about “is Diablo 3 going to have enough customization?” You could make it a column to underline that you are expressing your personal opinions.

      I feel the RMAH discussion is overshadowing maybe even bigger issues, and that is the large cut in all customization features (auto-stats, no talisman, no charms, auto-skills, very little passives.. it just leaves random runestones and gear, basically). Can there be a fulfilling gaming experience with so few choices to be made?

      • From this French dudes write up, you will be able to select 3 active passive skills out of many passive skill choices.   You will be able to select 6 active skills out of 24.   You will be able to Rune each active skill.  (are passive skills runeable?)  And with there being 5 different rune types each with 7 ranks, the customization is going to be huge.  Runes are really the main customization avenue.  Of course, they will have to be found in order to use.  Rank 1 runes are apparently very easy to come by.   (think low level gems)  The higher ranks are reportedly going to be far more rare.  The only thing we are losing is the ability to hit + next to a skill.  The skill still levels up and becomes more powerful compared to your level.  An unruned fireball at lvl 30 is going to do more damage than a unruned fireball at lvl 10.  A runed version will do even more.
        It sounds to me like they simply stopped calling passive skills Traits.  I’m wondering if that means the interface has been simplified as a result..since you can just include those skills on the skill setup window instead of a separate traits window.  dunno..can’t seem to find any new screen shots of the interface.
        The talisman replaced charms…but of course has been taken out.  It sounded to me like it wasn’t achieving what they wanted and had no time left to really fix it.  They hope to resurrect the talisman in a patch or expansion.  (probably the latter)
        I think people are blowing the loss of clicking a + icon out of proportion in terms of customization.  I do agree with the point that we lose that “gratification” of when we level up we get to go click something.  But the end result will still be there.  When you level up, you WILL become more powerful.
        Everyone is still going to have to choose which skills they want to activate.   They will still have to collect gear that strengthens those skills.  If they make the proposed rune change idea to where a rune is basically a blank rune of a certain type and rank until you attach it to a skill, at which point it becomes locked to that skill, (and play testing reveals that that path is a good one) then you will have to make choices on which skill to rune.  (and the idea that the rune is “identified” randomly generating its modifiers to the skill, we will likely always be intrigued to see if the rune we just found is better than one we already have…but which skill do we want to gamble on?)
        People will be level 60 and always seeing if that rune they just found rolls better than one they have.  You can’t say that about D2 skills. once you got to 20 you were done forever.  (aside from items modifying the skill)  This new system could give us 2 ways to continually improve our character.. LONG after we have lost the + icon to lvl up a skill)   And if they release patches with new items, rune ranks…they could provide us with a end game that will be quite significant. me an optimist.  I like what I’m seeing.

    6. They should give players 5 passive skills: the three as they exist now, and an additional passive at the completion of nightmare and hell.  This will combat the “dead zone”, and increase player motivation.

    7. JudgeHype has been around almost as long as this site. But not quite.
      They’ve always produced really good stuff, too. Similar to the editorial content on here, but more “lite”. But it’s in French, making it useless to many of us.

    8. Wait, Adria and Cain are related now?
      CAPCHA: Love-Hate how did it know about my feelings on the new info?

    9. Reading the translated site right now.  Not too bad going from French to English.  Thanks for sharing, loving the narrative!

    10. I will personally cease all my complaining about Skills being freely switched around if Runes can NOT be un-attached from a skill.  Runes would be the new way of ‘locking’ yourself into a set of skills if that is the case.  However, if Runes can be easily un-attached for like 10 gold or something at a blacksmith, then yeah, I’m back on the bitching brigade.

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