Two New Diablo III Previews

Diablo III features in a couple of new online previews that you may find worth a look. Both are just reports on the game from the beta, without any new info or Blue quotes. has a Diablo III preview that gets interesting on pages 3-5, when the author (an old school Diablo 2 modder) moves past the basic game details and goes into detail about game elements he thinks are handled better in D3 than they were in D2. These include the skills/runes system, the experience curve (though he states incorrectly that players get an exp bonus for playing in D3 parties), the removal of health potions, and more.

In Diablo 3, all of these are jettisoned, save for health pots — and the latter are on a significant cooldown timer. The gap is somewhat filled by the existence of “Health Globes;” potion-like orbs that are dropped by dying mobs and automatically heal you when you pass near. Town portals aren’t instant-cast any more, there’s now a casting time attached.

These three changes have a huge impact on gameplay. Instant rejuvenation pots and immediate TPs made it genuinely hard to create a consistent atmosphere of challenge in Diablo 2, without resorting to cheap one-shot kill tactics (something we absolutely loathed and sought to avoid). The game now offers boosts to health/mana regeneration via gear attributes and through LAEK (Life After Each Kill) modifiers.

Unfortunately, life leech is still present and readily available, at least in the beta. This is something we very much hope Blizzard changes. The central problem with life leech is that it’s a percentage modifier that can be stacked on gear and is dependent on weapon damage — not base HP. It becomes an overwhelming heal that forces developers to assume everyone has tons of it, and to build the game accordingly. D3 was supposed to avoid this problem — as of this late date, life leech is still hanging around.

Elsewhere, there’s a decent preview from GearBurn:

The first noticeable aspect of Diablo 3 (D3) as it stands is its simplicity. Blizzard has refined everything from the skills system to the menus, to such an extent that the result is uncluttered and unadulterated fun.

The graphics won’t blow you away at first, but the gloomy watercolours presented show off an art design that is both dark (as the fans wanted) and cartoonish. The end product is enhanced by really impressive physics, with a mostly destructible environment, and thoroughly entertaining ragdoll effects — the world of D3 comes alive. There is nothing more satisfying than your final blow throwing a creature’s body across the screen while wood and stone fly up around you.

The interface is bold, clean and efficient. With most RPGs these days cluttering your screen with information crammed into little text boxes; it’s refreshing to see the king of hack and slash do just the opposite.

Tagged As: | Categories: Diablo 2, Media Coverage, Previews


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  1. Blizzard does a lot of things really well.  For me, UI isn’t one of them.

  2. “both dark (as the fans wanted) and cartoonish” 
    Only if they had opted with a “darker fell” to the game .. Too cartoonish in my opinion , too late now 😛

    • I also reacted to that line. If it’s too cartoonish, it doesn’t matter what they do. The dark atmosphere simply isn’t there. You can notice that they have struggled to meet fans expectations of a darker game, when they only know how to make non-realistic games. So, end result is what D3 is today. Likely a great game, but old Diablo feeling is gone.

  3. I am in love with the guy who wrote the comment on life leech. It should be removed, since it only forces players to max it and developers to balance the game around it. Read his comments Blizzard!

  4. Agreed regarding life leech. I’m very concerned about that degenerating into the same nonsense we had to deal with in D2. They should modify it to be a fixed quantity of life on hit, and balance accordingly.

  5. wtf are you guys talking about? life leech NEEDS to stay.. i could not see an arguement of taking it out.. you people make no arguement.. if its too buff then just put a cap on it or reduce life leech base stats..

  6. I think his point about life leech is missing out on the fact that the classes can all heal themselves in some manner now or sustain themselves longer. So basically, now you have to manage your resource, manage your health, manage your DPS, etc. all in your build. It’s all built in, but you also have many options in how you choose to do it. If you don’t want any healing passives or skills you may choose to use life leech. 

  7. D3 is a big design mess. expect tons of patchs post release, not to fix bugs, but design changes. Life leech is just one of many problems.

    • It’s funny how we all forget that D2 was exactly the same. I’m not saying this is an excuse, quite the opposite.

      But the fact is that even with Blizzard’s game testing, nothing can prepare them for what millions of players will uncover – case in point being the beta secret zones, even with the limited pool of beta players.

      • I doubt balance will be as horrible as in D2 where 2 corpse explosions could basically clear any level on any difficulty within seconds.

  8. Life leech is one of the countless design decisions Blizzard flip flopped on.
    First it was the bane of all balance and health globes were going to “fix” it.
    Then they realised a system of random health globes obviously doesn’t really work that well as a health system at all, let alone in multiplayer where tanks can’t even avoid random health globes.
    Instead of fixing one of the two or both they did neither. Now we have health globes which will randomly heal entire parties, life leech which is still going to be as broken as ever and to top it off health pots on cooldowns and healing skills. No clear design direction, no consistency, no creativity, no real solutions, just a mess of generic everything.

  9. There are two types of life leech in the game. One is percentage based, and it scales up from 1% in increments of .2%. It never gets very high. It’s useless and it’s pretty much there so that people don’t say that they removed it.
    The real life leech is +hp on hit, and that can appear with values up to +600 or +1000 hp per hit. So yes, they [b]did[/b] fix life leech exactly way the way they should have.

  10.  It’s image is long gone. Diablo 1 is what it should have looked like HORROR or better, with enhanced graphics. But along with the DRM and Auction Houses, its looks just lika a Pocket Pc WOW.

  11. Flawed but fun. Sounds like a Diablo game to me.

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