Interesting thread in the D3 community forum that discusses the newly-released Xbox 360 game Too Human. It’s a Diablo clone, and since it incorporates a number of the features Blizzard’s going to be implementing in Diablo III, it’s illustrative to see how they work in another title.:
Health Orb: WORST thing ever. In Too Human, you have NO potion. You have to rely 100% on health orb dropped by slain monsters (which don’t drop very often either). You can also smash stuff around you and discover some hidden orbs sometime. I know the creators of D3 we’re talking about replacing the Diablo potion system with something similar to this. I don’t mind having health orb but please keep potion in there. After playing Too Human for about 20 hours, I can assure you the Health Orb idea is more frustrating than anything. You run low on health after a big battle and no one dropped an orb, you’re screwed. You know you’re running straight to death during your next encouter. And if you teleport back to town to heal, you have to start your current mission from scratch.
Conclusion: the Health Orb system could work but it would have to be heavily tweaked. If the D3 system is like this one, players will find it frustrating.
The D3 team has talked about health orbs dropping during boss fights, as necessary, and there will be potions in the game; they’ll just be less common and less effective than they were in D3, so it sounds like Blizzard’s already figured out some of these Too Human problems. If you want to learn more about the game, you can read a ton of reviews (66% average score) on Metacritic, or see it in action on GameTrailers.com.