Beta Thoughts after 5 Playthroughs Well, after playing through the game with all 5 classes, I have written up a few things. Some of this will be rehash of what I had before, and some is new. Some is "minor nitpicks" as some people would call it, but I look at it as more of a polish that I've come to expect from Blizzard games. I know that a lot of things will be altered in the final release of the game. Things like difficulty or balance I did not even discuss, as those things are not a concern right now. The game will be more difficult, we know that, simply through the harder difficulty modes, and balance between classes is impossible to ascertain in these beginning few levels. The only "balance" that is important right now is how quickly each class can start killing monsters more quickly than 1 at a time, which is generally pretty quickly for most classes. I also didn't discuss the art style as that is not going to change at this juncture. I did list a couple of little things that I would like to see changed that stand out, but other than that I'm leaving that sleeping dog lying. I may not agree with the choice, but it is here to stay. So here are my final thoughts on the Beta, improvements to be made and all that jazz: OPENING SCREEN/PROFILE Spoiler Hopefully there will be an opening cinematic before you get to the character select screen, or right after you choose your character. Change the character select screen to show all of the heroes, not a single one that switches with a button press (like the camp fire of DII). Remove the mini-video and current writeup to the side. If you have a write-up, make it more "lore-friendly". You could even have Cain speaking it to introduce the class. Please remove tooltips from the opening screen (or at least an option to remove them). I know when I overlay an item I am supposed to click it. I don't need to be told to with the tool-tip as well. If you must, have the tool-tips "show up" once you hover over an item for a few seconds, rather than automatically assuming I'm an idiot. Profile Screen - Great idea! I would like to see added stats for the individual characters, their creation date/how old they are etc. As well as monster stats, that show up the more you kill, ala Diablo 1, but with more lore and total number of each killed (including champions and elites!) The more stats the better. Someone suggested a massacre bonus record and other such things. That would be a great idea! When I click my character, it should take me to the "Heroes" tab of the profile screen. On the "Heroes" tab, swap the current colors that are on the small character icons, so that the background of all unselected characters are Red, and the background for the selected character is Blue. On the "Heroes" tab, which character am I looking at? Where is the name of the characters? I would like to see the name of the character in a small Exocet Font over the small icon of the character. As well I would like the name to take prominence over top of "Level 10 Barbarian" which should have its font size reduced. When I click a raven or a skull on the ground or some other interactive object you add to the scrren, it should take me to a "Monsters" tab of the profile screen, which would then show monsters and stats (as discussed above). When I click the banner, it should take me to a "Banner" tab of the profile screen that allows me to customize it, not a completely separate screen that is not tied to the profile. Put an "Achievements" tab in the profile screen, accessable by clicking something on screen as well, rather than a small icon in the bottom corner, and not in the game-play options menu. Put the "Auction House" accessable by some on screen clickable thing as well, not a small icon in the corner. Move the "Friends" tab onto the Profile Screen and have it accessable with a button by the chat window. The point to the Profile screen should be to "collect" all of the other screens to one easy place, so you can click one UI element and quickly be able to look through them all. Either have every page within it tie into on screen pictures that highlight (like the Barbarian and the Banner) and you can click, or get rid of all on screen elements like that, and just have the Profile page with tabs accessible by clicking your Online Profile. Instead of having a tool tip when you hover over your Profile name, put your name on a button like the Menu and make it click like one of those buttons. Show your current character under your profile name like "Ragnar - Level 10 Barbarian" There is no way to see which character you have selected currently without going into the "Switch Hero" screen, or the "Heroes" tab of the Profile screen. Make the menu on the left size smaller in size. I would like to see options to view your character better, where you can zoom in/out or rotate around. Not "important" but one of those nice touches. Is there no way to Create and name your own Public game? Maybe give it a password or something? Why is it I either join one at random or start a generic one of my own? UI Spoiler Please move the icons for "Skills", "Inventory", "Quests" and "System" off the main UI bar, or move them to a toggle-able section like Diablo II with the arrow key to minimize them. I would like to see Town Portal moved off as well, maybe to inventory? Please minimize the flashing of the inventory icon when it is up showing that you have a "new item" in the inventory. As well, reduce the tool tip for the "You have empty item slots" to only show when you pick up an item that can actually fit in an empty item slot. Personally I prefer the old icon idea of a stone "tablet" with a silhouette carved on it for skills, as I find the current icons too "flashy" Please let us remove the mini-map from the screen, toggleable with a hotkey button (like "Tab" for the mini-map and "M" for big map, or vice-versa). I would also like to see the "path" dimmed so it is less intrusive, as well as the background square removed so I don't have a faded square in my upper right corner. I actually like the new map overlay that we can't move around on. In D2 I found that I always kept it on and ended up looking at it more than the actual area I was in. This is a much better change. Please move the Quest info to the left side of the scree above or below the chat bar, and remove the word "Objectives" and replace it with an icon so that it fits with that side of the screen. Click the icon to show objectives, click again to hide them. Please let us scale the UI parts to whatever size I wish and change positions of them. (use the Guild Wars UI setup as an example). Please dim the character icons that are in the top left of the screen. Please remove all "Press left click to..." tooltips. They are unnccessary and clutter the screen. Especially remove them when I choose to "disable tips" in the options menu! Please have an option to have your current/max HP and Resource numbers on the screen, so you don't have to overlay to see them. Please remove the description of what the resource does when you hover over it, especially when "disable tips" is turned off in the menus. Please let us scroll through skills with a mouse wheel. Have an option in menu to show/disable numbers in the skill discriptions, so we don't have to hold "ctrl" to see them. This way if we want them, they are always on, if we don't they can toggle with "ctrl" Please bring back the gauntlet hand of old. Hopefully a lot of the descriptions and tips on screen are simply because it is a Beta to help people through and not representative of the final game. They are off-putting, in that they assume that I am an idiot when playing this game. JOURNAL/QUESTS Spoiler Split the monsters you find from the story lore that you find. Through the monster stats on the page (split up by each character) So when I look at the monster lore for "Treasure Goblin" with my Barbarian, it would tell me how many that he has killed. I would like to see it put into more of a "book" format, so you can skip through each page, rather than click on an item, then click "back" then click on the next item, then "back" and so forth. I would like to be able to view the completed quests, what they were and what my reward was. SHOPS/STASH Spoiler Purchasing items is awkward, as I cannot drag and drop an item to a current slot and "swap" what is in there. It drops the new item into the inventory and then I have to click it again to trade items, and then again to sell the old item. This is not at all intuitive. When Salvaging, have the salvage icon change back to a normal icon when you move off the Salvaging tab, to prevent unwanted destruction. The random scrolling of items when you craft an item is very annoying. Have it stay in a set order (like alphabetically for example) and leave it. Filters for crafting would be nice, like not showing items you can't use for the current character or showing only items of said type, etc. Hopefully the stash will be increased with the final release. Even now that they have limited it to the Beta, I'm hoping that was just a temporary thing, as I think it is still too small, even with 6 full tabs. I would like to see bags and such that the character can unlock for their inventory, and you can put full bags within the stash (stashes within stashes so to speak). CHARACTER SHEET/INVENTORY Spoiler When overlaying the "Strength", "Dexterity" etc. stats, how about only showing the pertinant info for the class you are playing. When I am playing my Barbarian, when I overlay "Intelligence" I don't need to know that it is the primary stat for Witch Doctors and Wizards, nor do I need to know that it increases damage for them. Just little details to clean up. When switching gear or buying gear, or anything involving moving gear, let me "grab" the item with a left click and move it around. If I drop it on another item with a left click, let me auto-grab that item to move it around to drop it where I want. You have an Arrow for details for the follower, but the word "Details" for the player's character sheet. Please make these the same. ITEMS Spoiler Please have less class specific items. Let me decide what is good for my character, not the game. If I want to have a Barb wielding crossbows, let me! Or wearing a wizard hat... I love stackable potions. Great idea, as well as 1 hotkey/slot for all potions. Great change. Hopefully gems and runes will be as well. Remove the "X" from the center of the item. Instead change the background color to Red to show that it is unusable. Same with the giant "lock" symbol. Put the symbols into the description of the items. You can use the "I cannot use this" voice and it will end up being more than enough. When overlaying an item, Increase the font size of the name of the item, and reduce the font size and prominence of the DPS stat to the same size as the rest of the stats. It just looks tacky otherwise. Identifying...at first I didn't like the no identify scrolls, but not I don't mind as much. It really was busywork that didn't add anything. Although, I am curious if having ID scrolls for specifically uniques and rares would be a bad thing? I know that I don't care for the cooldown timer of the current IDing of rare items. It is making me wait for no reason. Salvaging is a great idea. I hope it will be as in depth as the Guild Wars series, or even deeper, where you can get weapon parts or components and you can customize other weapons with those parts. Sort of like more customization on top of sockets. Where are quest items? I pick them up, but they don't show up anywhere? GENERAL GAMEPLAY Spoiler Please remove the "Quest Complete" popup that cannot be removed until you hit "Continue". It Interrupts the flow. Simply have the "Quest Complete" sound from D2 play or something similar with a smaller quick popup that disappears on its own. Please tone down the Levelup effects, considering that nothing really occurs with them, having such a production is a little over the top. I would like to see the "skill unlocked" popups go away, as I don't find them necessary. Please reduce or remove the red glow around monsters and the blue glow around objects. Right now it is too "thick" and "bright" and distracts you away from actually seeing the monster you are killing. The blue isn't as bad, but the red is really invasive. Please remove the ripple effect when you click for movement. It is unneceesary. When targeting monsters or things, often I will walk up to them and not hit them, or I will trot over into the middle of a pack without shooting. Or I will start using a skill (looking at you Fire Bats!) when I can't even reach the enemy or thing I'm targeting. This needs to be cleaned up. Please remove the flashing white effect when I hit a monster. It is redundant with you actually hitting the monster and reducing its hitpoints and is unnecessary. Make the areas larger. Getting "lost" trying to find the next area is a good thing. Promote exploration! Make the overworld areas more random. I know they aren't at all, but it really doesn't feel right when the overland is always the same. Make the dungeon rooms smaller, as right now it is very easy to tell what a room looks like because the random rooms are so large in shape. Remove the Giant Lock on gates. Boy does that feel like it doesn't belong. I do like the Teleport Stones, but I would like to see them "hidden" behind a swtich, whether that be a leaver, or a destructible object or something. I like the Jar of Souls event and to a lesser extent the Maiden's Bones. More events like this will be great. The gold gathering radius is nice, but it isn't as effective as a ranged character as you are generally far from the action when you kill something, thus have to run around gathering gold. Melee characters generally gather the gold quickly as the gold pops at their feet when they kill something. Hopefully they bring back trapped objects. SOUND Spoiler The music is very good. I would like a more static title screen music, but overall, everything in the music department is well done. Voices need a bit of work. The Witch Doctor does not fit his voice. He "looks" like an old man, but his voice definately does not speak like one. Please have the exclamations of characters when destroying large numbers of objects or killing large numbers of monsters happen less often and have more variety. That will get old quick. I like the banter between character and follower (even if the Templar is a bit over the top). There needs to be more item sounds when they drop out of bodies, or louder ones. Right now, the sound when rings drop or heavy items drop is very muted. MONSTERS Spoiler I like the idea of monsters jumping in windows and rising from the ground, however the scripted events are too scripted! I know that wandering past that window will cause skeletons to jump through it. I know that killing that fat thing 3 worms come out and later 3 imps. I know that touching that body will cause skeletons or zombies to show up. I would like to see less predictable scriptings, like varying the numbers of monsters that show up, maybe enabling boss monsters to show up. Maybe enabling monsters poping up in the middle of the fights (again in varying numbers) to allow you to get overwhelmed quickly if not careful. This way you never know what is going to happen plus it reinforces one of the main tenents of Diablo: randomization. Right now the groups of enemies are too small. I would often move from one group of 3-4 enemies onto the next group of 3-4 enemies...Larger "notice" areas would be good, so you can get swarmed faster, and giving more use to Horrify or Confuse, as well as things like Frost Nova and close range skills. Please remove the glaring, glowing blue shields that the skeletons wield. I like the ability, that they can block attacks, but I would like to see less of the glowing ones. Maybe introduce them later after normal shielding ones, and the magical ones can block magic attacks (like Disintegrate and the like). That can throw a wrench into someone's plans... The Chancellor ghost model does not fit (the chancellor or the event with the maiden's bones). It really looks out of place within the game. Of all the enemies I see in the Beta, this one does not look right. It does not look like a ghost, and more like a cartoon of a ghost. I love the treasure goblins! They are very nice nod to older games (Golden Axe) and they are one of those things that make you rush into a room without regards to safety just to kill them. This is a good thing. CHARACTERS/RESOURCES Spoiler Rename "Fury Spender", "Fury Generator", "Situational", "Passive Skills", "Hatred Generator", "Hatred Spender", "Spirit Generator", "Spirit Spender", "Signature", "Offensive", "Utility" All of these have very mechanical names rather than immersive names that fit with the class and the lore. Only the Witch Doctor has Skill Titles that are at least named appropriately (the "Physical Realm", "Spirit Realm", "Command" titles). Barbarian - (Bash, Hammer of the Ancients, Battle Rage), Ruthless - Felt okay. Changed to (Cleave, Battle Rage, Leap Attack) and played a bit better. Did not like the Hammer ability, especially when using a sword. Did not like that I could not wield 2 2-Handed Swords. Did not like that I couldn't specialize in a weapon style beyond a passive skill later on. Really hated cooldowns. Demon Hunter - (Caltrops, Bola Shot, Rapid Fire), Thrill of the Hunt - Started okay. Thought that the basic attack shot they started with hit multiple targets...It felt very odd. The skills seemed rather underwhelming, and the balance of the resources definately felt wrong. Discipline was essentially useless in the game. I would have liked to have my "attacks" on the scroll wheel to cycle through and my Discipline skills on my second mouse to use when needed, rather than on my number keys, whcih really don't work for any active style skills. As it was, holding shift to hold me still to fire, rather than not, and sometimes walking into mobs really got annoying fast. Monk - (Fists of Thunder, Lashing Tail Kick, Mantra of Evasion), The Guardian's Path - Felt like a better melee class than the Barbarian, being able to hit multiple enemies on a third hit and such. Changed to (Crippling Wave) in place of (Fists of Thunder) later on, and it was still good. The mantras felt like shouts, and considering they lasted longer, felt far more usable. As it was, I still felt like he was redundant. He could have been folded in with the Barbarian for a different "melee" class that allowed you to use either weapons or not and made for a stronger class overall. Witch Doctor - Tried many different skill combos as he has a very poor selection off the start. Ended with (Firebats, Corpse Spiders, Zombie Dogs), Vermin. Had a very poor beginning, with very slow skill synergy. Having a single target blow dart and then moving up to his zombies...He really felt far to ecclectic, like a character that they didn't know what to do with. Some skills were really good, like Firebats, or the Corpse Spiders, while others felt really pointless, or overly "humerous" like Jar Jar Binks in Star Wars...I felt like he was a Necromancer that Blizzard tried to make different but couldn't figure out how. I didn't like the Corpse Dogs compared with the older game's Summon Skeleton because they never changed in number. As well, when they got more powerful, they never changed, unlike the skeleons who ended up wearing more armor/using different weapons. I hated the holding of a weapon with him and it increasing the power of his attacks even though he never used the weapon, not having a basic attack. It really felt wrong. I felt he should have been done as more of a ranged character with supporting skills than the more necromantic bend he was given, closer to the Amazon's bow style with different elemental attacks with blow darts as a weapon, or he could use the ceremonial dagger along with his magic based stuff. Wizard - (Spectral Blade, Disintegrate, Diamond Skin), Power Hungry - I felt the multi-hitting Demon Hunter basic attack should have been the wizard's. Boy, was his start a very slow, crappy beginning with his Magic Missile and then the Energy Orb, and the cooldown on frost Nova. Really hated the cooldowns on the wizard, and really disliked the idea of Signature Spells. I would have rather seen a free spell tied to a wand he was holding (While holding this wand X spell costs no mana to cast, or some such thing). Again, not having the scroll wheel made me limit myself to an armor spell, a signature spell and a blammo spell. It really felt like I didn't have the freedom to choose what I wished, as using the number buttons for skills that are used repeatedly is very clumsy. Resources - I felt the way resources were handled that they were a pointless addition to the game. There is no real reason for having a different resource for every character class. It would have made more sense to have Mana, Stamina, and if you want a new ability that would have worked, Adrenaline (using the basic idea of Fury) that increases with physical attacks and goes away after non-use, and have all of these resources available for every class. Then you can limit how they use each of them with their skills. It would have made more sense to tie everything together, and mechanically it would have been smoother. Right now resources are very arbitrary. There is no real difference between Hatred, Fury and Spirit, nor in Discipline, Arcane Power and Mana. They are change that is introduced into the game that isn't necessary, and adds complexity without depth. SKILLS/STATS Spoiler I like the flavour text that is on skills. It made them have a life of their own. I would like more customization within skills. Yes I know that Runes will add some, but I would like to see other things do something to. What if you could add a rune and 3 gems? The gems could modify the skills damage or add elemental abilities, or other effects to a smaller degree than runes. How about adding something to Passive skills? They are very plain otherwise. I would like to see more skills available to classes, and limits to what you can unlock, so there is some difference in characters. How about you can unlock 15 or 20 skills out of 30 or 40 for each class, and that pool of skills is what you can swap between? How about adding a quest to each difficulty that will allow you 1 free "respec" that can let you swap those skills? I hate the auto-choosing of stats. I would like more freedom in determining my character build. If I want to create a melee wizard, I want to be able to pump his strength and health to help that. If I want a bottomless pit of mana with which to use my Firebats, let me pump my mana voluntarily. I dislike that items are my only form of stat altering, so now I have to choose between changing my stats around to make my build viable, or adding extra effects like magic find or run speed. Not having a need or room for basic attack isn't right, especially for those off the wall builds, like melee witch doctors or wizards. I dislike that there are no skills that support a variety of different builds, like a bow using barbarian, or a club wielding witch doctor, or a sword using demon hunter. All of them seem to only support the one class idea that they push forward. I dislike the way the weapon determines your skill damage. It leads to wonky things like that Witch Doctor holding a glowing sword to up his Zombie attack damage... I dislike not being able to use a mouse wheel to scroll through abilities. I like how the follower gets locked skills. Hopefully we can rune them as well... I would like to see more "chaining" of skills. Make synergies within the using of skills together. For example, if you use a Frost Nova and then say Arcan Orb right after, it will make the enemies shatter and explode. Tie skills together not with synergy "numbers" bonuses, but with effects that play off each other. Give me a reason to try different skill combos together! OTHER Spoiler Offline - Well, Blizzard's statement of never wanting to play offline because online would be that much better...? Can't see it happening, especially when lag hits, or I get disconnected from the game and can't reconnect. There is nothing that Blizzard can add that would make online only be better than allowing LAN. I know why it was implemented, I just do not agree with it in any way, shape or form. Player Limit of 4 - This doesn't bother me too much, although I think it should be 5 so that you can have one of each class in your party. Of course that would change given an expansion and new classes, but for now it would make more sense, thematically. I imagine it is largely due to the consolizing of the game, since 4 seems to be an "optimum number" in terms of these styles of games and multiplayer. Yes, I understand it's a wall of text. At least this way it's all down in one place.