How the Diablo III open beta weekend killed my excitement

Background

I can't remember how long I've been looking forward to Diablo III. I've never owned either of the previous games, though I've played both of them, and I feel like I was able to beat the first one on my brother's computer. So between poor details, old memory, and nostalgia, I should disclaim that I might view the earlier entries in the series with rose-tinted glasses. Regardless, ever since I quit WoW (before the first expansion), I've been looking forward to Blizzard's signature brand of loot lust. Torchlight scratched the itch for a while, but ultimately it wasn't the deep experience I was looking for.

I was able to play a little of the beta during the open weekend, once through with a Demon Hunter and a Monk, each, and I came away from it scratching my head. Surely Blizzard knows what they're doing, and I have my own guesses for the reasoning behind the decisions they've made, but I just can't find myself getting excited for Diablo III anymore. Here are some of the things that stuck out to me.

Character Building

Talents

I remember reading the article a while back that said "Diablo III won't be forcing players to unlock skills through the talent tree. Instead, they'll be unlocked through level progression." At the time, I panicked and thought they were getting rid of the talent system altogether. Then I reread it and rationalized that they were simply not putting active abilities in the talent trees. This was corroborated when they released the "character builder" so people could toy around with different builds. I was trying to keep myself from getting too hyped, so I didn't look at it at the time. Had I done so, I would have realized my first instinct was right. In lieu of talents, levels unlock abilities and/or "runes" that can be used (one each) to slightly customize each ability.

I can understand the move away from letting players apply stat points every level; you could spend them poorly and paint yourself into a corner. Likewise, having the stat progression be set makes gear requirements easier. It was always awkward that you might need to wear a ring with +5 STR so you could equip a particular weapon. Now gear is just limited by level. I'm not entirely against streamlining like this, but the negative effects of doing away with talents entirely are twofold:

  • Earning a level no longer means you necessarily get a character-building reward. Stat increases are fixed, and if you only get an ability or a rune you don't want to use, you're playing exactly the same way until your next level, maybe longer.
  • All max-level characters are one global cooldown away from having the same exact build. There's no commitment, so there's no attachment to your character being built "your way."

I like to think of Blizzard as amongst the best at understanding the nuances of effective character building. Maybe they're leaving that style of progression to WoW, since they may feel like they've mined that audience completely there. But it seems like they've sacrificed too much customization for the sake of accessibility and/or action-oriented gameplay. Diablo is still supposed to be an RPG franchise, which leads me to my next point:

The remaining "build"

I glossed over it earlier, but Diablo III does have a fair amount of decisions that can be made to customize a character to play your way. Each character has 6 ability slots, each holding a different ability type. Each ability slot will (over the course of the game) accommodate one of several abilities, each of which can be equipped with one of several "runes" which modifies the way the ability behaves. For example, the Demon Hunter's second Primary attack is a snare that hits two enemies, and the first rune unlocked increases the number of targets to 4.

In a purely mathematical sense, there's a massive number of combinations that can be applied to your abilities, then. But the problem is in the narrow constraint of how to apply them. As a Demon Hunter, I will only ever have:

  • One primary ability, with one rune equipped
  • One secondary ability, with one rune equipped
  • One defensive ability, with one rune equipped
  • One hunting ability, with one rune equipped
  • One devices ability, with one rune equipped
  • One archery ability, with one rune equipped

Again, I can understand the motivation for this simplification. Generally speaking, you're only going to use a handful of abilities anyway, so why not just make the player choose a "loadout" and commit to it, customizing each ability with a single rune to complement the others. The issue here is that, again, because the progression is linear by level, players are probably going to be equipping their new ability or new rune every time they get it, to try it out, or just for a change of pace. This leads to a similar progression trajectory for all players, regardless of playstyle. And even if your playstyle might lead you never to use an entire category of skills, you can't just slot in a skill from another category to backfill. It would make a huge difference to even be able to hotkey a second skill to swap in when needed, and give the swap a semi-long cooldown, but make the skill usable instantly. Instead, you're left planning your abilities before you enter an encounter, customizing with runes that add flavor, but not much in the way of playstyle, and probably, ultimately, leaning on the stuff you unlocked most recently (or having near-meaningless level-ups).

Dual Wielding (WTF?)

The class selection preview for the Demon Hunter shows him/her holding two one-hand crossbows. It's a slick look and plays to the fact that the Demon Hunter is the only class that can use one-hand crossbows at all. So the entire time I was playing through the beta, I was looking forward to picking up a second one-hand crossbow so I could dual wield, sacrificing the defensive potential of my shield for much greater damage potential. Imagine my surprise when I equipped a second crossbow only to find my DPS go down. So it turns out if you have two 1H weapons, you alternate attacks, meaning you average the damage of the two weapons. So unless the stats on your second weapon are SO AMAZING that it's worth giving up a shield, a 2H weapon, and/or a powerful class-specific off-hand, there's never going to be a good reason to do it. I can't fathom what the logic was behind this decision. Even in WoW, they balanced OH weapons by reducing their damage, but it was still additive to your original weapon. As it stands now, I can't imagine an off-hand weapon that has good enough stats to overshadow the damage output of a 2H weapon or the potential stats + defense of a shield. In the case of the Demon Hunter, you can even equip a quiver (passive OH) while using a 2H weapon. Why would you ever use 2 crossbows in that case? I'm hoping I'm missing something here, but it's not like there are talents to change the way off-handing works.

The Monk class is kind of dumb

I'm risking nit-picking here, but after my first playthrough as a Demon Hunter, I decided to try a melee class. I like the idea of the Monk being a spiritual melee class with healing abilities, like a light-armor Paladin, so I gave it a try. The Demon Hunter's abilities are all ranged, so you can't use them with melee weapons equipped. Similarly, the Monk's abilities are all hand-to-hand techniques, so I expected there would be restrictions on what weapon types (fist, staff) would be supported by them. So imagine my surprise when I can equip an axe for the stats and have my Monk character run around punching people while holding an axe. I understand that they didn't want to lock an entire class out of most of the weapon loot in the game, but if you're not going to make custom animations showing how the monk uses the weapon, don't make it so compelling to equip it just for stats. It feels incredibly silly and takes me out of the game. It didn't seem like there were any bonuses being applied to use of fist weapons, which would have been a very elegant way of incenting use of the class-appropriate equipment.

A smaller issue was the first rune unlocked for the Monk's first primary skill. It allows the player to teleport to the enemy on each attack, making distance-closing a non-issue. It's a cool ability, from a practical perspective, but there's no animation for it. You just blip around, and it's very disorienting. My co-op partner thought it just looked like I was lagging. Maybe these will be things that are addressed in the final game, but as of now it's really making the Monk feel like an afterthought of a class, just a collection of abilities with no real tie to the in-game lore.

Loot (of course)

So the loot is still strong. And given that it's the best/only way to truly have a character be uniquely yours, that's a good thing. I'm a bit confused about the new item identification mechanic, though. Maybe this is another placeholder thing that will be addressed in the final game, but unidentified items can be identified by right-clicking them. That's it. One extra click to equip them. What's the point of this? So you have to clear out room in your inventory before you can decide if you want to keep something? I mean, it takes a couple of seconds to do, so there's a bit of suspense, and you can't do it in battle, but who is equipping things they just picked up in the middle of battle anyway?

Closing

Ultimately, I had a good time with the beta, but it was pretty short and I had a lot of built-up anticipation pulling me forward. I don't know how much the systems they've built into the game would keep me interested, and for how long. And even though I'm still considering purchasing the game when it comes out (or after reading a few reviews), I can't say I'm as excited as I once was. I know it's not fair to judge a game or make a purchase decision based on beta code, but the biggest issues I have are fundamental to the structure of the game they've built. It's not the game I thought it was or wanted it to be. Is it close enough? Maybe. Or maybe I'll hold out and see what Torchlight II does before I commit.

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Posted by RedRocketWestie

Background

I can't remember how long I've been looking forward to Diablo III. I've never owned either of the previous games, though I've played both of them, and I feel like I was able to beat the first one on my brother's computer. So between poor details, old memory, and nostalgia, I should disclaim that I might view the earlier entries in the series with rose-tinted glasses. Regardless, ever since I quit WoW (before the first expansion), I've been looking forward to Blizzard's signature brand of loot lust. Torchlight scratched the itch for a while, but ultimately it wasn't the deep experience I was looking for.

I was able to play a little of the beta during the open weekend, once through with a Demon Hunter and a Monk, each, and I came away from it scratching my head. Surely Blizzard knows what they're doing, and I have my own guesses for the reasoning behind the decisions they've made, but I just can't find myself getting excited for Diablo III anymore. Here are some of the things that stuck out to me.

Character Building

Talents

I remember reading the article a while back that said "Diablo III won't be forcing players to unlock skills through the talent tree. Instead, they'll be unlocked through level progression." At the time, I panicked and thought they were getting rid of the talent system altogether. Then I reread it and rationalized that they were simply not putting active abilities in the talent trees. This was corroborated when they released the "character builder" so people could toy around with different builds. I was trying to keep myself from getting too hyped, so I didn't look at it at the time. Had I done so, I would have realized my first instinct was right. In lieu of talents, levels unlock abilities and/or "runes" that can be used (one each) to slightly customize each ability.

I can understand the move away from letting players apply stat points every level; you could spend them poorly and paint yourself into a corner. Likewise, having the stat progression be set makes gear requirements easier. It was always awkward that you might need to wear a ring with +5 STR so you could equip a particular weapon. Now gear is just limited by level. I'm not entirely against streamlining like this, but the negative effects of doing away with talents entirely are twofold:

  • Earning a level no longer means you necessarily get a character-building reward. Stat increases are fixed, and if you only get an ability or a rune you don't want to use, you're playing exactly the same way until your next level, maybe longer.
  • All max-level characters are one global cooldown away from having the same exact build. There's no commitment, so there's no attachment to your character being built "your way."

I like to think of Blizzard as amongst the best at understanding the nuances of effective character building. Maybe they're leaving that style of progression to WoW, since they may feel like they've mined that audience completely there. But it seems like they've sacrificed too much customization for the sake of accessibility and/or action-oriented gameplay. Diablo is still supposed to be an RPG franchise, which leads me to my next point:

The remaining "build"

I glossed over it earlier, but Diablo III does have a fair amount of decisions that can be made to customize a character to play your way. Each character has 6 ability slots, each holding a different ability type. Each ability slot will (over the course of the game) accommodate one of several abilities, each of which can be equipped with one of several "runes" which modifies the way the ability behaves. For example, the Demon Hunter's second Primary attack is a snare that hits two enemies, and the first rune unlocked increases the number of targets to 4.

In a purely mathematical sense, there's a massive number of combinations that can be applied to your abilities, then. But the problem is in the narrow constraint of how to apply them. As a Demon Hunter, I will only ever have:

  • One primary ability, with one rune equipped
  • One secondary ability, with one rune equipped
  • One defensive ability, with one rune equipped
  • One hunting ability, with one rune equipped
  • One devices ability, with one rune equipped
  • One archery ability, with one rune equipped

Again, I can understand the motivation for this simplification. Generally speaking, you're only going to use a handful of abilities anyway, so why not just make the player choose a "loadout" and commit to it, customizing each ability with a single rune to complement the others. The issue here is that, again, because the progression is linear by level, players are probably going to be equipping their new ability or new rune every time they get it, to try it out, or just for a change of pace. This leads to a similar progression trajectory for all players, regardless of playstyle. And even if your playstyle might lead you never to use an entire category of skills, you can't just slot in a skill from another category to backfill. It would make a huge difference to even be able to hotkey a second skill to swap in when needed, and give the swap a semi-long cooldown, but make the skill usable instantly. Instead, you're left planning your abilities before you enter an encounter, customizing with runes that add flavor, but not much in the way of playstyle, and probably, ultimately, leaning on the stuff you unlocked most recently (or having near-meaningless level-ups).

Dual Wielding (WTF?)

The class selection preview for the Demon Hunter shows him/her holding two one-hand crossbows. It's a slick look and plays to the fact that the Demon Hunter is the only class that can use one-hand crossbows at all. So the entire time I was playing through the beta, I was looking forward to picking up a second one-hand crossbow so I could dual wield, sacrificing the defensive potential of my shield for much greater damage potential. Imagine my surprise when I equipped a second crossbow only to find my DPS go down. So it turns out if you have two 1H weapons, you alternate attacks, meaning you average the damage of the two weapons. So unless the stats on your second weapon are SO AMAZING that it's worth giving up a shield, a 2H weapon, and/or a powerful class-specific off-hand, there's never going to be a good reason to do it. I can't fathom what the logic was behind this decision. Even in WoW, they balanced OH weapons by reducing their damage, but it was still additive to your original weapon. As it stands now, I can't imagine an off-hand weapon that has good enough stats to overshadow the damage output of a 2H weapon or the potential stats + defense of a shield. In the case of the Demon Hunter, you can even equip a quiver (passive OH) while using a 2H weapon. Why would you ever use 2 crossbows in that case? I'm hoping I'm missing something here, but it's not like there are talents to change the way off-handing works.

The Monk class is kind of dumb

I'm risking nit-picking here, but after my first playthrough as a Demon Hunter, I decided to try a melee class. I like the idea of the Monk being a spiritual melee class with healing abilities, like a light-armor Paladin, so I gave it a try. The Demon Hunter's abilities are all ranged, so you can't use them with melee weapons equipped. Similarly, the Monk's abilities are all hand-to-hand techniques, so I expected there would be restrictions on what weapon types (fist, staff) would be supported by them. So imagine my surprise when I can equip an axe for the stats and have my Monk character run around punching people while holding an axe. I understand that they didn't want to lock an entire class out of most of the weapon loot in the game, but if you're not going to make custom animations showing how the monk uses the weapon, don't make it so compelling to equip it just for stats. It feels incredibly silly and takes me out of the game. It didn't seem like there were any bonuses being applied to use of fist weapons, which would have been a very elegant way of incenting use of the class-appropriate equipment.

A smaller issue was the first rune unlocked for the Monk's first primary skill. It allows the player to teleport to the enemy on each attack, making distance-closing a non-issue. It's a cool ability, from a practical perspective, but there's no animation for it. You just blip around, and it's very disorienting. My co-op partner thought it just looked like I was lagging. Maybe these will be things that are addressed in the final game, but as of now it's really making the Monk feel like an afterthought of a class, just a collection of abilities with no real tie to the in-game lore.

Loot (of course)

So the loot is still strong. And given that it's the best/only way to truly have a character be uniquely yours, that's a good thing. I'm a bit confused about the new item identification mechanic, though. Maybe this is another placeholder thing that will be addressed in the final game, but unidentified items can be identified by right-clicking them. That's it. One extra click to equip them. What's the point of this? So you have to clear out room in your inventory before you can decide if you want to keep something? I mean, it takes a couple of seconds to do, so there's a bit of suspense, and you can't do it in battle, but who is equipping things they just picked up in the middle of battle anyway?

Closing

Ultimately, I had a good time with the beta, but it was pretty short and I had a lot of built-up anticipation pulling me forward. I don't know how much the systems they've built into the game would keep me interested, and for how long. And even though I'm still considering purchasing the game when it comes out (or after reading a few reviews), I can't say I'm as excited as I once was. I know it's not fair to judge a game or make a purchase decision based on beta code, but the biggest issues I have are fundamental to the structure of the game they've built. It's not the game I thought it was or wanted it to be. Is it close enough? Maybe. Or maybe I'll hold out and see what Torchlight II does before I commit.

Posted by RedRavN

Nice write up. I feel similar about diablo 3. It seems like a fun game, but does not seem like an awesome or particularly inspired one. It looks positively ancient product and seems to steamlined and vanilla to be more than a diversion.

Posted by MentalDisruption

I felt the same about the monks teleporting. At first it was neat and exciting, but then it started to feel annoying and kept making me think about how it looked like I was lagging around. Not sure if they can fix that with an animation, but if not I'll just use a different rune or ability because I found the rest of the monk to be very fun.

Posted by Savage

You bring up some good thoughts, but my experience with the beta weekend left me with a much more optimistic view of Diablo 3's systems. I managed to max out all 5 characters at level 13 and I've been reading about the game a lot, so I think think I can shed some light on a few areas. Anyway, here's my take:

On talents (a.k.a. skills in Diablo 2):

Diablo 3 gives you a larger number of choices to make when you level up. In D3, each level gained from 1 - 10 gets you about one new thing (ability/rune) and then each level from 10 - 60 gets you 2 or 3 (or more) new things. The total number of abilities and runes per class in D3 is larger on average than the total number of skills per class in D2. So in terms of sheer quantity of skill choices at level up, D3 gives more.

Furthermore, the choices you make between abilities and runes has a greater effect on your play style than most skill points spent in D2 did. In D2, a new level often meant putting yet another point in a synergy skill, which would marginally increase existing skill properties (like damage).

I also see the potential for characters to not be differentiated enough, but gear should help a lot with that. Time will tell how that shapes up.

To help encourage people to not change their builds every 2 seconds, Blizzard has added an all-new system called Nephalem Valor which kicks in once you hit level 60. It means that every time you kill a rare/champion enemy pack, you get a bonus to your Magic/Gold Find. The bonus compounds for each pack killed and even grants drop bonuses when killing major bosses. However, the entire bonus is lost if you change any skill or rune (or leave you current game). It seems that the idea is for levels less than 60, you should feel free to experiment with abilities and runes as much as you wish, but once you max out at 60 and want to get into the end game content, you'll be pressured to specialize with one specific build (per game, at least).

Monk Progression, for example: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/class/monk/progression

On builds:

It sounds like you haven't heard of "elective mode" (I hadn't either until right before the beta weekend ended). Basically, you can toggle elective mode on in the Gameplay options menu and it removes the restriction of only being able to choose one ability from each category. So with elective mode enabled, you can choose, for example, two primary weapon skills and put them in any of your 6 quick slots, and then omit a skill from one category. Essentially you can mix and match any combination of abilites and slots that you've unlocked so far.

On dual-wielding:

I agree that it's weird. As far as I know, the benefits of dual weilding are that you get an intrinsic bonus of 15% to your attack speed and you benefit from 2 sets of weapon modifiers. Using a two-handed weapon might give you an intrinsic damage bonus (not sure about that), and using a one-handed weapon plus shield of course gives you the defensive benefits of the shield. Presumably these are supposed to be reasonable trade-offs, but I don't really know yet.

On the monk class and lack of class weapon restrictions/bonuses:

I don't have too much to add--although I agree it's ridiculous and dumb in concept, I guess that doesn't actually bother me much... especially if it's in service of better gameplay, as appears to be the idea. I think the Witch Doctor's abilities make some of the best examples of how ludicrous weapons determining ability damage is (e.g. equip a powerful crossbow and you can throw jars of spiders that bite for more damage!)

On loot:

Magic quality items are auto-identified, but all higher tiers of loot have to be right-clicked to identified. I guess it's supposed to preserve the suspence (like you said) and surprise of discovering the properties of a high quality item without the tedious logistics of managing an inventory of Identify scrolls or having to talk to/pay NPCs in town all the time.

Anyway, the final determination of how well D3's systems work will have to wait until the game is out and people have hammered on it for a while.

Also, Torchlight 2 stands in contrast to the new directions of D3 (e.g. keeping traditional point spending at level up, no online requirement, LAN support, mods, low price, etc.), so if D3 feels like it's abandoning too much of what made previous Diablo games great, then Torchlight 2 might better fit the bill. (I'll be buying both).

Edited by Adamsons

@RedRocketWestie said:

  • One primary ability, with one rune equipped
  • One secondary ability, with one rune equipped
  • One defensive ability, with one rune equipped
  • One hunting ability, with one rune equipped
  • One devices ability, with one rune equipped
  • One archery ability, with one rune equipped

For clarification, you don't need to stick to the skill categories. You can put any skill in any slot. You could have 4 primary abilities and 2 secondary if you wanted.

@Savage said:

On dual-wielding:

I agree that it's weird. As far as I know, the benefits of dual weilding are that you get an intrinsic bonus of 15% to your attack speed and you benefit from 2 sets of weapon modifiers. Using a two-handed weapon might give you an intrinsic damage bonus (not sure about that), and using a one-handed weapon plus shield of course gives you the defensive benefits of the shield. Presumably these are supposed to be reasonable trade-offs, but I don't really know yet.

The trade off is pretty much lower skill damage i.e. main hand damage vs 2hand damage, against faster resource generation. There are also implications for using each type - an example is a monk can go 1h + shield, but will not be able to use the passive that gives them 15% dodge whilst dual wielding.

Solid post though, nailed it.

There is a blizz quote floating around saying dual wield will probably be mathematically superior to a small degree, but finding two equally amazing 1h weapons will obviously be harder.

Posted by ShadowConqueror

I felt the exact opposite after playing the beta. I can't wait fir the final game. I agree with your point about indentification, but hopefully it'll be different in the full game. The monk seemed fine to me, and I don't really care enough about the demon hunter to be able to discuss the dual crossbows (I used a 2-handed bow the whole time in the beta). The whole thing about skills doesn't really bother me. It makes it so I don't have to remake another character of the same class to try out a different set of skills and playstyles, and allows me to change skills and runes to better suit myself to fight against whatver enemies the game throws at me or better play off the strengths and weaknesses of my team.

Posted by Cataphract1014

It has been stated about a gagillion times.   The talent system in 3 allows for more customization than anything in 2. 
 
Allocating stats in 2 came down to two things.  Get enough dex/str to equip the items you had planned out, and then put everything else into vitality, or the mana one if you were gonna do a mana shield sorc.  There was no customization.  If you did anything but that you were fucking over your character.  I played diablo 2 for like 5 years.  It was never about putting stats in shit for me.  It was never about making some weird talent build.  It was purely about the loot.  Leveling was a means to an end.  Builds were about how efficiently I could kill Meph, Baal, or Pindle.  
 
3's system is much better.  An frozen orb sorc in 2 only used frozen orb.  A hammerdin only used hammers.  A WW barb only used WW.

Posted by Gonmog

Great posts on all accounts. Somethings feel off. But something things i have read make me very exited for the game. And i cant wait to see what the final game will be like.

For good or bad we will see. Only hope for the good though!! :D

Posted by SpunkyHePanda

They brought up the "identify" stuff at some point. They said something about how having to carry around identify scrolls was an outdated mechanic, but that there was still some fun in the reveal. Like opening a present.

Posted by NickL

The beta makes me excited for this game personally, oh well... difference of opinions I guess.

@SpunkyHePanda said:

They brought up the "identify" stuff at some point. They said something about how having to carry around identify scrolls was an outdated mechanic, but that there was still some fun in the reveal. Like opening a present.

When you first hover over an item, even if it is already identified, wouldn't that be the same fun? Personally I found it very confusing and I ran around town trying to figure out who sold identify scrolls before I looked at the item a second time and saw it said just to click it.

Posted by SpunkyHePanda

@NickL said:

The beta makes me excited for this game personally, oh well... difference of opinions I guess.

@SpunkyHePanda said:

They brought up the "identify" stuff at some point. They said something about how having to carry around identify scrolls was an outdated mechanic, but that there was still some fun in the reveal. Like opening a present.

When you first hover over an item, even if it is already identified, wouldn't that be the same fun? Personally I found it very confusing and I ran around town trying to figure out who sold identify scrolls before I looked at the item a second time and saw it said just to click it.

I dunno. I bet there's something about clicking the item and having a meter fill up that pokes the pleasure center of your brain a little bit. The Blizzard guys are very clever.

Edited by xxNBxx

"the negative effects of doing away with talents entirely are twofold:

  • Earning a level no longer means you necessarily get a character-building reward. Stat increases are fixed, and if you only get an ability or a rune you don't want to use, you're playing exactly the same way until your next level, maybe longer.
  • All max-level characters are one global cooldown away from having the same exact build. There's no commitment, so there's no attachment to your character being built "your way.""

The positive of this system are:

  • You learn your class fully, not just a few skills here and there but all of them. This information can give you a far better look into your characters possibilities.
  • Commitment does not = diversity. You just have to look at Diablo 2 to see that. People were so worried that a missed point here and there would make their character useless that they went to forums and followed the step by step directions laid out by others on how to make a good build. It is skill balance that gives birth to diversity. If the skills are all balanced then it wont matter if I take skill A over skill B. Balance gives players the power to build their own character with its own identity.

"But it seems like they've sacrificed too much customization"

There is more customization in D3 there there was in D2. Like I pointed out with the skills, but there is also better gear options as well. In D3 if you want to try a Wizard with a lot of health all you have to do is get more + to health gear. If you want want to more of a crit build, just get the gear for that. The list goes on and on.

On your "remaining build", the major issue is there is no tool tip for pointing you to the "elective mode" in the options menu. When you check the box you will be able to take as many skills of one type as you want.

On your Dual Wielding point: If you equip a weapon of near equal stats your damage will go up. In fact, most players are worried for 2handed weapons, they fear that the bonus you get from two weapons will make 2handers pointless.

"The Demon Hunter's abilities are all ranged"

This is not true, the DH has about half of her skills that require a ranged weapon equip, there is the other half that don't, so you could make a melee DH if you were inclined.

The reason why they didn't animate the Monk with each weapon is because it would take to long and take up to much disk space. Think about it, each Monk primary skill has 3 different animations. Each skill has 5 rune effects that change the animation is some way. The Monk can use 6 different weapon types. For each skill they would have to make 108 different animations just to have the Monk attack with the weapon he caries. For all of the primary skills alone there would have to be 432 animations. That number jumps by a lot when you then factor in all the other skills. You can do the math there.

As for the identifying items, that is the way its going to be in the final version. You right click on a Rare (or better) item and in 2 secs you know what it is. They didn't want you to have to waste bag space on scrolls. And, you can do it in combat if you want. If you get hit you have to right click on the item again. They put the casting time on identify for just the reason you said it's to build suspense.

As for someone that has played Torchlight 1 for (about) 18 hours, and someone that played the Diablo 3 beta for 300+ hours, I can tell you that just the first hour and half of Diablo 3 is a far better game then TL 1 in every way possible. Torchlight 2 looks to be the same thing Torchlight 1 was, just more of it. For me that might not be enough for me to justify the price, even if that price is only 20 bucks. Maybe it will be a buy around the steam holiday sales. I hope I cleared up some things for you. See you at release.

Posted by SexualBubblegumX

Dude after reading what you said about the beta, and knowing some plot information and class selection beforehand. You confirmed it for me, stick with D2.

Edited by Tennmuerti

As others have pointed out D3 actually allows for a huge amount of customization.

The runes don't just modify abilities slightly, they frequently change completely how they work or in which way one uses them, as well as all having custom animations. The sheer amount of variety available due to this is kind of insane.
Your fear of everyone having the exact same build is unfounded, it's exactly the reason they moved away from WoW type talent tree system as well as away from optimizations, due to all skills doing % damage based on your weapons they are pretty much ensuring balance across the board. I have already seen videos of viable melee wizzards and demon hunters even at high difficulty levels.
The 6 skill slots you have can be mixed and matched as you want, there is an option in the menu and you can have any mix of any 6 skills you want. For example a monk can have 2 different strikes bound to left and right mouse buttons if they so desire, there is even a passive skill which makes something like this beneficial.

Dual Wielding:

You are just missing some crucial information.
The final balance is not set in stone but the way it is in the beta: you take an average of the 2 weapons and this is multiplied by 15% to get the DPS. (due to you alternating weapons but attacking 15% faster)
DW allows for faster resource generation like hate/rage/spirit and for all classes it allows for faster spell animations, meaning you accumulate your resource faster and are can spend it with more dexterity.
2h is balanced by making for stronger base damage of abilities but slower resource generation as well slightly longer animations.

Monk and weapon restrictions:

The idea is to not to remove options from players, making monk be able to use only fist/staff weapons would have been incredibly restrictive.
The animations were already explained by another poster.
Do note that early in the game (which is the beta) there are not many weapons that give class specific bonuses. But class specific weapons will actually be incentivized by having unique bonuses for their classes. Like the monk fists for example can have a bonus that will heal you for a set amount for each point of spirit used (these can even be found in the beta if you play enough). Same goes for other classes special weapons. So that's pretty much exactly what you asked for :)
Edited by StarvingGamer

I'll just say that you're 100% factually incorrect about almost all of your complaints.

Everyone else has already told you why.

EDIT: I can't sleep. I'll also tell you why.

@RedRocketWestie said:

  • Earning a level no longer means you necessarily get a character-building reward. Stat increases are fixed, and if you only get an ability or a rune you don't want to use, you're playing exactly the same way until your next level, maybe longer.

And this is worse than D2 how? In D2 when you leveled at best you would finally get to spend one of the dozens of skill points you were saving to finally unlock one of the two offensive skills you were going to use for the rest of the game. At worst you would have to actually not use the skill point you just got in order to not fuck up your build and continue the painful task of grinding up in level without any effective attacks. Stat points were a non-issue because every single build was exactly the same regardless of class. The only character building choices you had with stats were either to follow the one correct stat path that all the classes followed regardless of build or to deviate from that path in any way and completely fuck your character.

In D3 each character will get full access to over 100 different abilities and even if you don't like the ones you just got from leveling, you at least have the option to try them out secure in the knowledge that they are designed to reach a relative parity of balance with all your other skills. And you won't have to worry about having to delete your character and start over simply because you didn't go online and find a detailed FAQ telling you one viable way to allocate stat points for your class.

  • All max-level characters are one global cooldown away from having the same exact build. There's no commitment, so there's no attachment to your character being built "your way."

With the way skills are balanced now, there will be significantly higher levels of build diversity within a single class. Because of this, different players will prioritize different stats on their gear. A Birthright Barb is going to be focusing almost entirely on Crit whereas a Tough as Nails Barb is going to hoard Thorns, Armor and Vitality. One is more likely to wield a sword and board whereas the other is going to want to hang on two the two fastest weapons he can find. Looting these items and gemming them properly is going to take lots and lots of time and commitment, especially when you consider how random drops can be. If I'm putting all my effort/gold into finding the right Crit gear for my Birthright Barb, I won't be able to just flip over to a Tough as Nails build and have it work.

  • One primary ability, with one rune equipped
  • One secondary ability, with one rune equipped
  • One defensive ability, with one rune equipped
  • One hunting ability, with one rune equipped
  • One devices ability, with one rune equipped
  • One archery ability, with one rune equipped

Elective mode lets you put anything into any slot EXCEPT you can't put buffing/defensive abilities on Left Click. A Thrive on Chaos Barb might end up with 5 different Rage generators on his skill bar depending on how he's built. A Witch Doctor can even put Summon Zombie Dogs on left click which seems crazy to me.

As it stands now, I can't imagine an off-hand weapon that has good enough stats to overshadow the damage output of a 2H weapon or the potential stats + defense of a shield. In the case of the Demon Hunter, you can even equip a quiver (passive OH) while using a 2H weapon. Why would you ever use 2 crossbows in that case? I'm hoping I'm missing something here, but it's not like there are talents to change the way off-handing works.

Dual wielding increases your overall attack/cast speed by 15%. For Barbarians, Demon Hunters, and Monks with builds that use a lot of resource spenders to inflict buffs/debuffs, dual-wielding will almost always be beneficial. This is because they will be able to generate resources significantly faster and most buff/debuff abilities have the exact same effect regardless of weapon damage.

It didn't seem like there were any bonuses being applied to use of fist weapons, which would have been a very elegant way of incenting use of the class-appropriate equipment.

All classes have at least one class-specific weapon and piece of armor. These pieces of gear will have special bonuses on them based on the class, such as increased Spirit gained from attacks on Daibos, Fist Weapons, and Spirit Stones for Monks or passive Discipline generation on Cloaks, Quivers, and Hand Crossbows for Demon Hunters. This will make these items almost always more valuable than the universal items available in the same slot.

A smaller issue was the first rune unlocked for the Monk's first primary skill. It allows the player to teleport to the enemy on each attack, making distance-closing a non-issue. It's a cool ability, from a practical perspective, but there's no animation for it. You just blip around, and it's very disorienting. My co-op partner thought it just looked like I was lagging. Maybe these will be things that are addressed in the final game, but as of now it's really making the Monk feel like an afterthought of a class, just a collection of abilities with no real tie to the in-game lore.

You're complaining about ONE of the 105 skills the Monk has access to (NOT counting the 21 basic un-runed versions of each skill) because you don't like the way it animates. Personally I think it's fine as it handles the teleportation in the exact same way Sorceress teleportation occurred in D2. Don't like it? Use one of the other 104 skills instead. And what the fuck are you talking about when it comes to in-game lore? What's the fucking lore behind Whirlwind? Is there some epic story about Talic when he lost his footing on an icy battlefield and started to spin out of control, accidentally slaying all of his enemies? Some Monks punch good. Some Monks punch fast. Some Monks punch so fast that they appear to teleport around the battlefield. Do you want them to write a detailed background about every attack in the game?

I'm a bit confused about the new item identification mechanic, though. Maybe this is another placeholder thing that will be addressed in the final game, but unidentified items can be identified by right-clicking them. That's it. One extra click to equip them. What's the point of this? So you have to clear out room in your inventory before you can decide if you want to keep something? I mean, it takes a couple of seconds to do, so there's a bit of suspense, and you can't do it in battle, but who is equipping things they just picked up in the middle of battle anyway?

All the excitement of identification scrolls without any of the inventory hassle. Are you complaining because you think keeping the identification scrolls would have been better for some reason? Or are you complaining because you think these sorts of games such as D2 and Torchlight should do away with the identification mechanic entirely?

I know it's not fair to judge a game or make a purchase decision based on beta code, but the biggest issues I have are fundamental to the structure of the game they've built.

And since you either misunderstood or are being extremely fussy about a majority of these issues, you might want to reconsider your opinion.

Posted by Zero_

Man, as an outsider whose not really invested in Diablo but is curious to see how it turns out, I'm really surprised at the weird defence people are using when defending the game from people's complaints. I know it's the beta and all, but when people have put out their opinion about certain game mechanics others sure are fast to defend Blizzard. I find it kind of silly that the Monk can equip weapons that aren't really reflected visually and find it even more dumb that people think this makes sense because "that'll be too much animation" or "it'll be too restrictive". It's without question a negative point, a minor one nonetheless, but to try and spin it into a positive thing?

Edited by Tennmuerti
@Zero_ said:

Man, as an outsider whose not really invested in Diablo but is curious to see how it turns out, I'm really surprised at the weird defence people are using when defending the game from people's complaints. I know it's the beta and all, but when people have put out their opinion about certain game mechanics others sure are fast to defend Blizzard. I find it kind of silly that the Monk can equip weapons that aren't really reflected visually and find it even more dumb that people think this makes sense because "that'll be too much animation" or "it'll be too restrictive". It's without question a negative point, a minor one nonetheless, but to try and spin it into a positive thing?

The weapons are reflected visually.
They look in your hands differently.
They also all have their own normal attack animations.
The only thing that is not reflected for all weapon types separately are all of the hundreds of graphical animations of player skills/spells/abilities, these are unique depending on the skill/spell/ability. This would be resource wise too much for a game company to do at the current tech level. Also no one is spinning it into a positive, the restrictive comment was made only in regards to limiting monk characters to only 1 or 2 types of weapons, which would be bad. It's not a positive, it's a solution for a negative issue that would on the other hand be far more detrimental. There are several solutions to this, but they all involve making some other sacrifice, either making much less skill/spell/ability variations or making the monk use only fists, take your pick, to me both of these seem like worse trade offs for a dungeon crawler.
 
It is one thing for people to have opinions it is quite another when such are formed due to incorrect information, a lot of replies in this are just addressing such incorrect info and/or assumptions. (not referring to the monk issue, but to others)
Posted by StarvingGamer

@Zero_: I'd say there's a lot of question about how negative a point it is since it's simply a matter of aesthetic preference. I think it looks fine. Also most of the people in this thread that are rebutting the OP's complaints have either agreed or at least agreed to disagree on the matter of Monk weapon animations.

Posted by Shirogane

@Zero_ said:

Man, as an outsider whose not really invested in Diablo but is curious to see how it turns out, I'm really surprised at the weird defence people are using when defending the game from people's complaints. I know it's the beta and all, but when people have put out their opinion about certain game mechanics others sure are fast to defend Blizzard. I find it kind of silly that the Monk can equip weapons that aren't really reflected visually and find it even more dumb that people think this makes sense because "that'll be too much animation" or "it'll be too restrictive". It's without question a negative point, a minor one nonetheless, but to try and spin it into a positive thing?

It's all really an opinion thing really, and about a game like this there's going to be a lot of people who feel strongly, so they'll voice their own opinion contrary to the first. Though i guess there are a lot of people who also don't really explain and just defend something with no reasoning, but there's people like that on both sides, even in this thread alone.

On the monk thing though, i always thought it was cause the monk was supposed to be...well, a monk, therefore they don't use weapons, just their fists. The weapon is just there to give you stats. The whole weapon damage on skills thing is a bit weird though, even if it's kinda cool to see wizards shooting magic missiles from swords.

My major problem with the beta was, the game seemed WAY too easy. Dieing in D1/D2 was pretty easy to do if you weren't paying attention. Dieing in D3, even if you're trying to, can take some time.

Posted by Tennmuerti
@Shirogane said:

My major problem with the beta was, the game seemed WAY too easy. Dieing in D1/D2 was pretty easy to do if you weren't paying attention. Dieing in D3, even if you're trying to, can take some time.

I highly advice the following video: 
    
  
The beta is a normal difficulty of Act 1. It's essentially a tutorial.
Diablo 2 was just as mind numbingly easy in it's first stages up until maybe Bloodraven or more actually Andariel.
Edited by StarvingGamer

@Shirogane: The beta was like the first 1/4 of the first act of the first difficulty. I don't think there's any way to judge the overall difficulty of D3 based on that.

And apparently Jay Wilson, the game's director, has yet to beat it on Inferno either solo or in groups.

EDIT: Nah, D2 wasn't hard on Normal until that asshole Duriel. Fuck that guy, worst part of leveling a Sorc to Nightmare.

Posted by MachoFantastico

I enjoyed it, but I've never played a Diablo game so maybe that's something. 

Posted by Shirogane

@StarvingGamer said:

@Shirogane: The beta was like the first 1/4 of the first act of the first difficulty. I don't think there's any way to judge the overall difficulty of D3 based on that.

And apparently Jay Wilson, the game's director, has yet to beat it on Inferno either solo or in groups.

EDIT: Nah, D2 wasn't hard on Normal until that asshole Duriel. Fuck that guy, worst part of leveling a Sorc to Nightmare.

Yeah, but compared to the first 1/4 of the first act of D2, or even the first few floors of the dungeon of D1, the beta was extremely easy. I mean, Leoric is basically Blood Raven, but Blood Raven was actually able to kill you if you didn't know what you were doing, Leoric's damage output is so low that you'd only really die if you weren't paying attention to your health.

I guess it might be less to do with difficulty and more the fact that when you died in D2/D1, it's usually cause you lost all your health instantly, whereas that doesn't seem to happen here, cause they actually designed boss encounters now. Though i had no problem with the the boss fight itself, but the rest of the normal minions died way too easy and did way too little damage compared to previous games.

Oh and Duriel is an asshole, everyone hates that bastard. Everyone.

Posted by StarvingGamer

@Shirogane: I dunno, it's been a while but I can't remember having any problems until Andariel in D2 for any class other than Sorc. But anyways, it's apples to oranges. The beta was nowhere near enough time to form any sort of informed opinion on the overall difficulty of D3. We have no idea what the difficulty curve is going to be. For all we know the next area after Leoric might be full of enemies that can one-shot you and take 100 hits to kill. Obviously this is incredibly unlikely but the bottom line is we don't know and we can't know. Also, don't forget that there's a fourth tier of difficulty so if D3 follows a progression similar to D2, by the end of Inferno the game is going to be impossible.

Posted by Adamsons

@Zero_ said:

Man, as an outsider whose not really invested in Diablo but is curious to see how it turns out, I'm really surprised at the weird defence people are using when defending the game from people's complaints. I know it's the beta and all, but when people have put out their opinion about certain game mechanics others sure are fast to defend Blizzard. I find it kind of silly that the Monk can equip weapons that aren't really reflected visually and find it even more dumb that people think this makes sense because "that'll be too much animation" or "it'll be too restrictive". It's without question a negative point, a minor one nonetheless, but to try and spin it into a positive thing?

I just don't think there is an ideal solution to that issue.

The monk is a martial artist so it wouldn't really make sense if all of his punching and kicking skills were using swords etc. He could use exclusively fist weapons, but then his drops are obviously severely limited when compared to other classes, plus no 2h weapons. He could have them sheathed all of the time, but that is just an aesthetic issue, it doesn't especially make any more sense than the current implementation.

That's not to defend the current implementation -- I will be playing monk on release, but It wouldn't even occur to me to be bothered by something like that.

Posted by CaLe

Surprisingly, I had the most fun with the Barbarian. I expected it to be the most boring class and actually found the other classes less satisfying after playing Barbarian.

Posted by Rhaknar

i had no interest in the game, the beta made me want it bad. different strokes i guess

Posted by gamefreak9

The advantage in dual wielding is MORE generation of hatred and less overkilling. They match up to 2 handed dps if they are the same DPS otherwise its not worth it. Also keep in mind that THERE IS an incentive to level stats wise since loot with higher stat bonuses is restricted by level, and that's where the stat allocation has been transfered.

Posted by Krakn3Dfx

I'm probably MORE excited about the game since the open beta weekend personally. The whole experience just oozes with production value and streamlining the D2 system, while at the same time feeling just like I remember D2 feeling when I fired it up the first time.

15 days from now can't come soon enough.

Posted by RedRocketWestie

Thanks for the replies, everyone. For reference, I wasn't under the impression I had all the answers or that my brief experience over one weekend (when the servers were up and I wasn't otherwise occupied) was comprehensive, so I do appreciate the factual corrections. I mostly just wanted to get my thoughts down on paper to help myself organize them.

I still have some reservations; I don't think they needed to design the game so that the customization is all in the gear. This franchise was already 99% about loot. But it does make me feel better to know that there's more flexibility than I realized with the skill selections, and that there is a benefit to committing to a build in the late game.

I apologize to anyone who had their blood pressure rise as a result of my less-than-fully-qualified observations. I wasn't trying to troll. I've just been staying away from most of the coverage because I like to go into games as fresh as possible, and that results in some of the less obvious nuances of the design getting missed over a short weekend exposure. :)

Posted by css_switchfoot

@RedRocketWestie:

  • One primary ability, with one rune equipped
  • One secondary ability, with one rune equipped
  • One defensive ability, with one rune equipped
  • One hunting ability, with one rune equipped
  • One devices ability, with one rune equipped
  • One archery ability, with one rune equipped

I know everyone keeps telling you about elective mode...but even without that this list you made seems pretty good to me. In D2 you used maybe 3 skills, and you spent over 40 levels just making 2 of those skills marginally better.

Posted by el_tajij

@RedRocketWestie said:

Thanks for the replies, everyone. For reference, I wasn't under the impression I had all the answers or that my brief experience over one weekend (when the servers were up and I wasn't otherwise occupied) was comprehensive, so I do appreciate the factual corrections. I mostly just wanted to get my thoughts down on paper to help myself organize them.

I still have some reservations; I don't think they needed to design the game so that the customization is all in the gear. This franchise was already 99% about loot. But it does make me feel better to know that there's more flexibility than I realized with the skill selections, and that there is a benefit to committing to a build in the late game.

I apologize to anyone who had their blood pressure rise as a result of my less-than-fully-qualified observations. I wasn't trying to troll. I've just been staying away from most of the coverage because I like to go into games as fresh as possible, and that results in some of the less obvious nuances of the design getting missed over a short weekend exposure. :)

I'd be willing to bet on the fact that when you play the full game, you'll absolutely love it.

Posted by probablytuna

Yeah I agree that the teleporting rune was pretty disorienting and that the Monk wielding weapons yet not actually using them to be very weird. Though I'm willing to overlook those issues because the class is so badass.

Posted by RedRocketWestie

@el_tajij said:

@RedRocketWestie said:

Thanks for the replies, everyone. For reference, I wasn't under the impression I had all the answers or that my brief experience over one weekend (when the servers were up and I wasn't otherwise occupied) was comprehensive, so I do appreciate the factual corrections. I mostly just wanted to get my thoughts down on paper to help myself organize them.

I still have some reservations; I don't think they needed to design the game so that the customization is all in the gear. This franchise was already 99% about loot. But it does make me feel better to know that there's more flexibility than I realized with the skill selections, and that there is a benefit to committing to a build in the late game.

I apologize to anyone who had their blood pressure rise as a result of my less-than-fully-qualified observations. I wasn't trying to troll. I've just been staying away from most of the coverage because I like to go into games as fresh as possible, and that results in some of the less obvious nuances of the design getting missed over a short weekend exposure. :)

I'd be willing to bet on the fact that when you play the full game, you'll absolutely love it.

I wouldn't disagree. If I step back and think about it objectively, it'll still be a fantastic experience compared to other $60 titles. I had just built it up so much in my mind, I think, that the beta weekend was a bit of a reality check. The more time passes, the more I want to get back into it, and certainly all of the people setting me straight on the facts have definitely assuaged my concerns. It's still accurate to say the beta weekend "killed my excitement," but I had hyped myself up beyond responsible levels, so it's all good.

Posted by Draxyle

I remember playing the Beta with my brother and he asked me how to identify things. I wasn't sure, so I told him to go to Deckard Cain. I was shocked to find out that Cain was not the solution. It is a little weird; no matter the justification it does feel like a mistake. I really don't mind having to go to town or to use scrolls to identify stuff. At least you'd have to work to find out.

As far as the rest of the Beta goes, I actually feel a little better about D3 than I did before. I'm annoyed at some of the changes, including the art style, but from what I played I can tell that this is an extremely competent product.

And the fact that it's Blizzard, I know the game will be supported for a decade to come. I don't expect that most of our complaints will even be an issue by next year. Though who knows how much their partnership with Activision will reel them in. There are some red flags but it's hard to tell as of right now

I do dislike the removal of commitment and permanency though, but that's not only a fault of D3. Very few games nowadays will force you to live your decisions, and it's not surprising that Blizzard would back down from it given their "need" to be everything for everyone. Thankfully we have Demon's/Dark Souls around for that sort of thing, but it's still a shame what the "mainstream" does to a lot of these big franchises.

Posted by MasturbatingestBear

@StarvingGamer said:

I'll just say that you're 100% factually incorrect about almost all of your complaints.

Everyone else has already told you why.

EDIT: I can't sleep. I'll also tell you why.

@RedRocketWestie said:

  • Earning a level no longer means you necessarily get a character-building reward. Stat increases are fixed, and if you only get an ability or a rune you don't want to use, you're playing exactly the same way until your next level, maybe longer.

And this is worse than D2 how? In D2 when you leveled at best you would finally get to spend one of the dozens of skill points you were saving to finally unlock one of the two offensive skills you were going to use for the rest of the game. At worst you would have to actually not use the skill point you just got in order to not fuck up your build and continue the painful task of grinding up in level without any effective attacks. Stat points were a non-issue because every single build was exactly the same regardless of class. The only character building choices you had with stats were either to follow the one correct stat path that all the classes followed regardless of build or to deviate from that path in any way and completely fuck your character.

In D3 each character will get full access to over 100 different abilities and even if you don't like the ones you just got from leveling, you at least have the option to try them out secure in the knowledge that they are designed to reach a relative parity of balance with all your other skills. And you won't have to worry about having to delete your character and start over simply because you didn't go online and find a detailed FAQ telling you one viable way to allocate stat points for your class.

  • All max-level characters are one global cooldown away from having the same exact build. There's no commitment, so there's no attachment to your character being built "your way."

With the way skills are balanced now, there will be significantly higher levels of build diversity within a single class. Because of this, different players will prioritize different stats on their gear. A Birthright Barb is going to be focusing almost entirely on Crit whereas a Tough as Nails Barb is going to hoard Thorns, Armor and Vitality. One is more likely to wield a sword and board whereas the other is going to want to hang on two the two fastest weapons he can find. Looting these items and gemming them properly is going to take lots and lots of time and commitment, especially when you consider how random drops can be. If I'm putting all my effort/gold into finding the right Crit gear for my Birthright Barb, I won't be able to just flip over to a Tough as Nails build and have it work.

  • One primary ability, with one rune equipped
  • One secondary ability, with one rune equipped
  • One defensive ability, with one rune equipped
  • One hunting ability, with one rune equipped
  • One devices ability, with one rune equipped
  • One archery ability, with one rune equipped

Elective mode lets you put anything into any slot EXCEPT you can't put buffing/defensive abilities on Left Click. A Thrive on Chaos Barb might end up with 5 different Rage generators on his skill bar depending on how he's built. A Witch Doctor can even put Summon Zombie Dogs on left click which seems crazy to me.

As it stands now, I can't imagine an off-hand weapon that has good enough stats to overshadow the damage output of a 2H weapon or the potential stats + defense of a shield. In the case of the Demon Hunter, you can even equip a quiver (passive OH) while using a 2H weapon. Why would you ever use 2 crossbows in that case? I'm hoping I'm missing something here, but it's not like there are talents to change the way off-handing works.

Dual wielding increases your overall attack/cast speed by 15%. For Barbarians, Demon Hunters, and Monks with builds that use a lot of resource spenders to inflict buffs/debuffs, dual-wielding will almost always be beneficial. This is because they will be able to generate resources significantly faster and most buff/debuff abilities have the exact same effect regardless of weapon damage.

It didn't seem like there were any bonuses being applied to use of fist weapons, which would have been a very elegant way of incenting use of the class-appropriate equipment.

All classes have at least one class-specific weapon and piece of armor. These pieces of gear will have special bonuses on them based on the class, such as increased Spirit gained from attacks on Daibos, Fist Weapons, and Spirit Stones for Monks or passive Discipline generation on Cloaks, Quivers, and Hand Crossbows for Demon Hunters. This will make these items almost always more valuable than the universal items available in the same slot.

A smaller issue was the first rune unlocked for the Monk's first primary skill. It allows the player to teleport to the enemy on each attack, making distance-closing a non-issue. It's a cool ability, from a practical perspective, but there's no animation for it. You just blip around, and it's very disorienting. My co-op partner thought it just looked like I was lagging. Maybe these will be things that are addressed in the final game, but as of now it's really making the Monk feel like an afterthought of a class, just a collection of abilities with no real tie to the in-game lore.

You're complaining about ONE of the 105 skills the Monk has access to (NOT counting the 21 basic un-runed versions of each skill) because you don't like the way it animates. Personally I think it's fine as it handles the teleportation in the exact same way Sorceress teleportation occurred in D2. Don't like it? Use one of the other 104 skills instead. And what the fuck are you talking about when it comes to in-game lore? What's the fucking lore behind Whirlwind? Is there some epic story about Talic when he lost his footing on an icy battlefield and started to spin out of control, accidentally slaying all of his enemies? Some Monks punch good. Some Monks punch fast. Some Monks punch so fast that they appear to teleport around the battlefield. Do you want them to write a detailed background about every attack in the game?

I'm a bit confused about the new item identification mechanic, though. Maybe this is another placeholder thing that will be addressed in the final game, but unidentified items can be identified by right-clicking them. That's it. One extra click to equip them. What's the point of this? So you have to clear out room in your inventory before you can decide if you want to keep something? I mean, it takes a couple of seconds to do, so there's a bit of suspense, and you can't do it in battle, but who is equipping things they just picked up in the middle of battle anyway?

All the excitement of identification scrolls without any of the inventory hassle. Are you complaining because you think keeping the identification scrolls would have been better for some reason? Or are you complaining because you think these sorts of games such as D2 and Torchlight should do away with the identification mechanic entirely?

I know it's not fair to judge a game or make a purchase decision based on beta code, but the biggest issues I have are fundamental to the structure of the game they've built.

And since you either misunderstood or are being extremely fussy about a majority of these issues, you might want to reconsider your opinion.

All good points except the stat stuff. He is right on it being lame that all classes have to use the same skill tree. In D2 there were countless builds on different types of characters. A popular dueling class was a Strength stat and summon skill tree necro. Now people can't deviate their stats which is lame. Everyone has to play their class in the standard manner which is really dumb.

Posted by MasturbatingestBear

Also the real complaint here should be dropping the player count from 8-4. That is extremely dumb. Also more players only makes the enemies more difficult, it doesn't give you more exp which is ridiculous. Besides those large points its still good old Diablo.

Posted by Draxyle

@MasturbatingestBear said:

Also the real complaint here should be dropping the player count from 8-4. That is extremely dumb. Also more players only makes the enemies more difficult, it doesn't give you more exp which is ridiculous. Besides those large points its still good old Diablo.

I almost forgot about that. I haven't heard if they ever gave an explanation for it, but it's really a shame. A lot of my friends are going to have to be split up since they won't even be able to play together at the same time.

I wonder if that's something that can be changed in an update. Six players should be the bare minimum allowed.

Posted by Shookems

Diablo 3 is going to rule.

Posted by StarvingGamer

@MasturbatingestBear: I couldn't disagree with you more. Yes, there were some cute niche builds in PvP where you could get creative with stats if you didn't mind your character being worthless on Hell. But for people interested in the single-player stuff, or rather the actual GAME, there was literally only one way to spend your points regardless of class. Any failure to follow this one-true-path would result in a gimped character.

The bottom line is your stats don't define the way you play, your skills do. D2 was the worst offender when it comes to being forced to play your character in the standard manner. If you wanted to stand the slightest chance of completing any of the content on Hell, you were forced to follow one of the two or three standard builds for your class. The room for deviation in these builds was almost completely nonexistent. Any time you saw an Amazon you could look to see if she was holding a Javelin or a Bow and know EXACTLY where that player had spent every stat/skill point because they were all the same.

D3 is the exact opposite of this. Because of the way skills have been normalized and the game has been balanced for fixed stat progression, set builds are going to be a thing of the past. Instead, each class is going to likely end up with dozens of themes based around the synergy of about 3 skills and 2 passive abilities. Within each of these themes there will be dozens of variations as the other skill and passive slots are filled in drastically different ways based on gear choice and personal playstyle. There will be hundreds of ways to play a single class which, to me, sounds like the antithesis of standard.

Posted by alanm26v5

Interesting read, I think first impressions are valuable, whether they turn out to be based on incorrect information or not. It seems like Diablo 3 tries to do some different things for the sake of better gameplay, and either based on previous videogame experience, or just the game itself doing a poor job of conveying information, some stuff is confusing at first. Blizzard's new goal seems to be learning about the game within the game, and not having to rely on a website or message board to teach you the systems, yet still have depth. One example is It took me a while to figure out dual wielding damage, especially when the RPG standard we're all used to is usually offhand damage is additive but reduced by a percentage. Abilities scaling off of weapon DPS, even for casters seems odd at first, espcially when you're talking about a wizard with a bow or a monk with axes that attacks with his firsts, but I can appreciate the gameplay reasoning behind it and think it will make for a better system. Other examples, such as elective mode being hidden, I don't get that at all. If you look at the skill ui and systems in the beta quicklook though, this latest system makes a whole lot more sense to me.

Also that particular monk animation seems to be a common complaint, and I did learn that particular rune got swapped from unlocking at a much later level to something testable in beta range pretty recently, so hopefully they'll do something about the feedback and polish it up.

Posted by Adamsons

@MasturbatingestBear said:

Also the real complaint here should be dropping the player count from 8-4. That is extremely dumb. Also more players only makes the enemies more difficult, it doesn't give you more exp which is ridiculous. Besides those large points its still good old Diablo.

For each player that gets added mobs gain 75% hp, going from 1-2 players will probably boost your damage over 100% though. You will be getting more exp with more players just from clearing faster.

Posted by MasturbatingestBear

@StarvingGamer said:

@MasturbatingestBear: I couldn't disagree with you more. Yes, there were some cute niche builds in PvP where you could get creative with stats if you didn't mind your character being worthless on Hell. But for people interested in the single-player stuff, or rather the actual GAME, there was literally only one way to spend your points regardless of class. Any failure to follow this one-true-path would result in a gimped character.

The bottom line is your stats don't define the way you play, your skills do. D2 was the worst offender when it comes to being forced to play your character in the standard manner. If you wanted to stand the slightest chance of completing any of the content on Hell, you were forced to follow one of the two or three standard builds for your class. The room for deviation in these builds was almost completely nonexistent. Any time you saw an Amazon you could look to see if she was holding a Javelin or a Bow and know EXACTLY where that player had spent every stat/skill point because they were all the same.

D3 is the exact opposite of this. Because of the way skills have been normalized and the game has been balanced for fixed stat progression, set builds are going to be a thing of the past. Instead, each class is going to likely end up with dozens of themes based around the synergy of about 3 skills and 2 passive abilities. Within each of these themes there will be dozens of variations as the other skill and passive slots are filled in drastically different ways based on gear choice and personal playstyle. There will be hundreds of ways to play a single class which, to me, sounds like the antithesis of standard.

But there is only one potential theme for each class.

Also I disagree with the worthless character thing. As someone who has rolled countless characters on the highest difficulty (3rd playthrough I think) on D2 I can back up the claim that the different builds were not completely useless and added for much more creativity. There were so many types of class builds too with the skill trees.

Edited by Ping5000

@MasturbatingestBear: You can wildly alter core attributes with gems and loot. Blizzard has already shown build examples with melee wizards and petless witch doctors. A high-vitality demon hunter? Sure, whatever, find the gems and loot for it. A range barb? Okay... sure... rearrange your skills and the loot suitable for such a build. It is now, more than ever, about skills and the loot. I think that's a better focus for a game like Diablo.

Posted by StarvingGamer

@MasturbatingestBear: Off the top of my head without looking at the skill calculator, some of these skill names will be wrong.

Barb - Birthright theme, focusing around kiting and crit, WW theme should be obvious, Endless Wrath theme focusing around that one skill and a bunch of generators, Thorns theme focusing on that one passive and damage mitigation skills, Ranged theme focusing around Javelin Toss and Weapon Throw

DH - Piercing theme focused around that first skill and Impale, Grenade theme focusing around Grenade Toss and Explosive Arrow, Rocket theme focusing around all the skills that can shoot rockets, Mobility theme focusing around Tumble, Traps, Familiar, and Sentry Turret

Monk - Evasion theme focusing around various dodge boosting abilities, Healing / Debuff theme focusing around skills like Blind combined with fast weapons for Spirit generation, Mobility theme focusing around teleporting and dashing attacks

WD - Summon theme focusing on Zombie Dogs and Gargantuan, Temporary Summoning theme focusing on Frogs, Spiders, Zombies, whatever, Detonation theme focusing on exploding Zombie Dogs, Spirit theme focusing on CC/Passive DPS

Wiz - Fire theme focusing on capitalizing on the passive that inflicts burning, Frost theme focusing on the passive that boosts damage vs. chilled enemies, Meleezard focusing on Spectral Swords, Ice Armor, the one explosion skill, and probably Diamond Skin, Arcane Snare theme ocusing on various arcane spells like Arcane Orb and the passive that causes arcane damage to snare, Meteor theme focusing on clustering/immobilizing mobs for a meaty Meteor hit

These are just basic examples of multiple themes within a single class that will all play and gear extremely differently. Each of these themes will revolve around 2-3 active and 1-2 passive skills, with the remaining skill/passive slots being filled with ANYthing you want based on your personal preference. And again, this is just what I was able to come up with off the top of my head based on vague recollections of what I've looked at previously. There are likely to be dozens of viable themes for each class, not just the few I listed here which are already DRASTICALLY more customizable than the 2-3 viable builds for each class in D2.

Posted by StarvingGamer

@MasturbatingestBear said:

@StarvingGamer said:

@MasturbatingestBear: I couldn't disagree with you more. Yes, there were some cute niche builds in PvP where you could get creative with stats if you didn't mind your character being worthless on Hell. But for people interested in the single-player stuff, or rather the actual GAME, there was literally only one way to spend your points regardless of class. Any failure to follow this one-true-path would result in a gimped character.

The bottom line is your stats don't define the way you play, your skills do. D2 was the worst offender when it comes to being forced to play your character in the standard manner. If you wanted to stand the slightest chance of completing any of the content on Hell, you were forced to follow one of the two or three standard builds for your class. The room for deviation in these builds was almost completely nonexistent. Any time you saw an Amazon you could look to see if she was holding a Javelin or a Bow and know EXACTLY where that player had spent every stat/skill point because they were all the same.

D3 is the exact opposite of this. Because of the way skills have been normalized and the game has been balanced for fixed stat progression, set builds are going to be a thing of the past. Instead, each class is going to likely end up with dozens of themes based around the synergy of about 3 skills and 2 passive abilities. Within each of these themes there will be dozens of variations as the other skill and passive slots are filled in drastically different ways based on gear choice and personal playstyle. There will be hundreds of ways to play a single class which, to me, sounds like the antithesis of standard.

But there is only one potential theme for each class.

Also I disagree with the worthless character thing. As someone who has rolled countless characters on the highest difficulty (3rd playthrough I think) on D2 I can back up the claim that the different builds were not completely useless and added for much more creativity. There were so many types of class builds too with the skill trees.

Also drop quality/quantity improved significantly. When I was duoing with my buddy during the open beta, I was seeing stronger items when we were halfway through than I saw during my entire run playing solo. And I was picking up magic items at least twice as often.

Posted by cassus

I agree with most of the stuff you said, but I think you might confuse the game for something other than what it is. Back in the late 90s/early 2000s when the Action RPG's started popping up, a lot of people who played stuff like Baldurs Gate and Planescape and whatever viewed the ARPG's as "rpg's for retards." Pretty crude way of putting it, and not especially accurate, but there is some truth to it. The ARPG's aren't meant to be overly complex (like say the D&D rules with absolute flexibility in stats and perks and all that stuff) it's meant to be a loot fest for people who aren't into spending half an hour mulling over stats when leveling up. CRPG's are about quiet contemplation and planning. ARPG's are about MOAR LOOTS!!!! I'm not saying what blizzard is doing right now is the proper way to do things, though. I'm sure the younger guys will love this, but people who have played diablo for over a decade..maybe not so much? At least not if they're still critical enough of Blizzard to see if they do something they disagree with.

My guess is it's going to be a fun enough game, with depth enough for the people who bother looking for it (like D2), but it's not going to bring you a ton of options for making whatever character you want, the way you can with D&D (Monk/bard/ranger multiclass.. completely useless, but you get exactly what you want..)

Regret not getting into the free beta weekend. I ended up buying SC2 and then playing it for 3 hours "yup.. 3d remake.. wonderful.." Crappiest $60 I've ever spent on a game. I just know it's gonna happen again....

Posted by RedRocketWestie

It legitimately bums me out that you think SC2 was only a "3d remake."

Edited by John1912

You cant really judge D3 till you've played through it. I do have some minor reservations on the game being dumbed down, with less customization, but overall I think the game is going in the direction it needs to. I was never a high level D2 player, but from what i gather the meta game/customization wasnt all that great.

Largely it seems if you were dumping stats into anything other then health, you were more working with the illusion that your stat choices were important. So I dont really see a reason to cry about no stats choices in D3.

The talent trees are largely shit as well. You put minimal points in everything but the 2-3 skills you will use, leaving everything else to be wasted or tediously left at low levels, and only used because you have nothing else early and mid game.

I think D2 offered a lot more illusion on customization. Ill wait to judge D3 till Ive at least been through half of nightmare. I think overall they will come through.

Posted by yoshisaur

@Tennmuerti: Thanks for sharing that, never was able to watch it. Just reminds me of why I love Blizzard.

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