D3 Beta: What I've learned from it Hi there, I've seen a number of these "beta experience" threads and thought I would throw my hat in the ring. I'll probably repeat a lot of what's been said, so I'll take no offense if this gets little response. Just bored and wanted to pass along my insights (ha!) for anyone who's also bored enough to read them. After watching several videos and reading lots of things about the beta, I pretty much knew most of the nuts and bolts before I began. So my playthroughs focused mostly on the less tangible aspects that you can't get just by watching a video. With that said, here are my thoughts: 1) The gameplay is VERY smooth. I had a few lag problems early on, but it turns out they were related to my rig, not the game. Since then, I've been very happy with how responsive the controls are, and how little delay there is between a eapon swing and the resulting monster hit (there really isn't any 99.9% of the time). I think even those with consistent connections were a little nervous with the "online only" announcement because we all remember the difference between playing D2 offline and on battle.net. Even when it wasn't too laggy, there was a slight delay in most actions which was a little aggravating. That doesn't seem to exist in D3, at least not to the same extent. 2) The game itself is fun and satisfying! I'm not smart enough to say exactly why this is... I've played a number of action RPGs and even the well made modern ones (Titan Quest, Torchlight, etc) just don't have... IT. D3 does. 3) To max all five characters to level 13 while taking a little time to explore and read the dialogues (at least in my first play), took about 20 total hours. Take out the power leveling between 9 and 13, and to beat the SK with all five classes probably took about 10-12 hours. That's just the first half of act one, Normal. This indicates good value for your $60 in my opinion, especially since the higher difficulties should add more depth and challenge. 4) Many people say SK is the equivalent of Blood Raven, and I couldn't disagree more. As far as progress through the act, he feels more like Rescuing Cain in D2 to me. I would usually finish that quest around level 8-9, and it involved traveling to one area to find an item (Tree of Inifus vs. Crown of Leoric) in order to reach him. 5) I'm reserving judgment on things like difficulty curve, skill progression, itemization, etc until release. There are too many systems, too many wrinkles, and far too many unknowns to base any opinions on this limited section. 6) I like the storytelling overall. Though I miss the "gossip" option itself for nostalgic reasons, it's purpose is served with the random dialogue options given to you by major characters. I enjoy the downtime between combat by learning background information on the townsfolk through these dialogues, and I'm glad to see that continues in D3. Now some nitpicky criticisms that aren't too important, but are on my mind anyway: - The Templar invades my personal bubble. Give me some space, man! He literally stands within two feet of you at all times and it makes me feel claustrophobic. I know there's no collision with him, but it's more about how it feels on the screen than any gameplay implication. - While we're on the Templar, am I the hero or is he? I understand he needs to have personality and I don't take issue with most of his random dialogue. But when Leoric taunts me, and the Templar is the one that yells back at him, it feels wrong. I should be challenging these fiends, not this random dude that I CHOOSE to let follow me. - Tiny OCD thing that bothers me... if your going to have set events at the beginning that lead up to the player hitting level 2, at least calibrate it so you hit 2 after killing the last enemy in the Slaughtered Cafe Inn. As it is, I ding with one zombie left and it bothers me - Malachi should just heal you when you talk to him. Why do I need to select a dialogue option THEN cancel his little speech just to heal up in town. D1 made you do that with Pepin, then D2 improved on that by having it be automatic with certain NPCs... why did D3 go backwards? Anyway, those are just off the top of my head after my experience in the beta. Comments are welcome!