There’s no specific theme to this installment of Upon Closer Inspection. I’ve just been cropping cool bits out of the recent screenshots to add to the leading Diablo Wiki, and thought a number of them deserved a closer look. These pics are large to show off the details, but I haven’t enlarged any of them; they’re just cropped out of the huge screenshots which I thought were awesome. I am apparently in the minority in that view, given how many commenters were like, “D3 y u no have anti-aliasing!!!1!” but since I get to post news where everyone in the Diablo community reads it and those guys don’t… nyah nyah nyah.

    Here are a couple of the pics; click through for a bunch more, with captions for bonus info. All of the images are linked to the wiki pages where they (and new info) were just added, and these represent just a tiny fraction of the recent Diablo Wiki updats, (more than 500 edits in the last 3 days) where numerous volunteers are busily incorporating all the new info on DiabloWikiskills, non-DiabloWikitraits, the DiabloWikiAuction House, DiabloWikiRunestones, and much more.

    Eye Candy Close-Ups

    The question of whether Diablo III is gory and scary and creepy has come up time and again, ever since the DiabloWikiArt Controversy first crawled out from the primordial depths. Initially, I was one of those skeptical of the D3 Team’s claims that they were harkening back to Diablo I in style, and that they were eagerly-embracing a gruesome, moody, creepy, DiabloWikihorror vibe. My fears were largely allayed by New Tristram as presented in the 2008 Blizzcon demo, and I included a large and approving segment on the horror issue in one of my write-ups after the show.

    There wasn’t much for the horror vibe in the Blizzcon 2009 demo, set in the Act Two desert, but last year’s Blizzcon presented a bloody, torture-themed dungeon, plus a green-tinted jail level that was effectively dreary and emotionally impactful. As a result I’m willing to grant the D3 developers full credit when they say the rest of the game continues that horror vibe, and improves upon it. Just like a Diablo game should.

    Here you see a couple of views from the new screens, with a gruesomely-impaled body from New Tristram, and some lovely wall art. It costs an arm and a leg to get into that dungeon, I guess?

    A number of the new shots showed off the dynamic lighting effects from spells, with cool colored light illuminating large monsters from below. Here’s an DiabloWikiUnburied bathed in light (albeit the wrong color of light) from a glowing Monk attack skill aimed for its midsection/face. Another one of the same monster, lit by an incoming DiabloWikiArcane Orb, is seen at the top right of this post.

    Diablo III’s glowing chests are called DiabloWikiTranscendent chests, and like the glowing chests of Diablo II, they are bursting full of loot. Much more loot, even; these sorts of chests routinely pop several items and have a dozen stacks of gold, and remember, that’s per player, since you all get your own drops.

    It took me a moment to notice the amusingly massive clipping error in this one, with the lid of the chest entirely skewed by those pillars. Or maybe it’s not clipping; maybe the chest just burst open so powerfully that it impaled itself?

    One new monster was revealed in the screenshots. It’s called a DiabloWikiCrypt Child and looks to have something of a D2 Rat Man vibe going. No cleaver, but it’s small and goblin-like and creepy, and you can bet these ankle biters will swarm out in Zerg-like numbers. And who knows, maybe higher level versions of them will add tools sufficient to carve the still-quivering flesh from your bones?

    We’ve seen a LOT of images of the DiabloWikiWizard using DiabloWikiDisintegrate, but I enjoyed this one for the angle and the lighting. That’s the DiabloWikiSkeleton King there at the bottom, apparently raising one hand as part of his skeleton summoning animation. The DiabloWikiTemplar is tanking away, oblivious, while his mistress Wizard enjoys the free shot at a stationary skeleton target.

    Can we start feeling sorry for Leoric, yet? He was driven insane by DiabloWikiDiablo, his son was kidnapped and then possessed, DiabloWikiLazarus manipulated him into executing his loyal wife, and then after he was dead… he got resurrected to serve as a low level quest boss in Diablo I. And now he’s back to get rekilled again. He’s got to be hoping for some time off come Diablo 4.

    A fair number of DiabloWikiMonk skills have been renamed since Blizzcon 2010, most likely to give wiki updaters like MrFrye an extra headache as he renovates all of the skills pages. This picture shows one, a low level DiabloWikicombo skill that was formerly called Lightning Hands. Or Lightning Fists. Or Fists of Lightning. Something forgettable and generic like that, anyway. It’s now called DiabloWikiHands of Thunder, which is a little more memorable, though dangerously close to the punchline of a fart joke.

    This picture shows the third and final hit of the combo, during which the DiabloWikiMonk poses… rather like a boss.

    Finally, we’ve got a pair of DiabloWikimonster close-ups. Their beastly graphics have been much improved during the game’s development, and the high quality screenshots, plus the return of the zoom feature, gives us a very clear look at the details of this DiabloWikizombie, and well-armored DiabloWikiskeleton.

    I’ve got a ton more cool cropped images from the new screens, plus lots more from the gameplay movie, plus a bunch from ninja photos of the interfaces (taken at the Bliz event last week), so expect several more updates like this one in the immediate future.

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