Diablo 3 is an action combat role-playing game released in 2012 from Blizzard Entertainment, makers of the World of Warcraft and StarCraft franchises. Diablo 3 is the long-awaited third installment to the dark fantasy series, which is set in the besieged world of Sanctuary. Hellish hordes, led by the demon lord Diablo and his two Prime Evil siblings, seek to win their war against the High Heavens through the corruption of mankind. Caught between this all-out war between the righteous angels and corrupting demons, Sanctuary clings to its only hope: The human heroes. You can choose to play as one of five hero classes – Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor or Wizard. You can even create characters for each class, and spend hundreds of hours punching, slashing, shooting and spell slinging your way through endless waves of hell spawn.
Unlike the past two Diablo games, Diablo 3 requires a constant Internet connection. There is no offline option, so you will probably need a fast cable connection to play Diablo 3 smoothly. Why the new Internet requirement? Diablo 3 has new features that demand constant online access, like its Auction House and on-demand team play options. Friends can group up and take on the toughest bosses, or they can form PvP teams and compete in arenas. Still, it’s the solo content where Diablo 3 really shines. It offers sprawling content spread over four chapter Acts, and three higher difficulty levels after you complete the default Normal mode. The ultimate challenge, Inferno mode, will frustrate even the most hardcore hack-and-slashers as they face mobs with higher damage, resistances and killing ability.
Diablo 3 has elements of an MMO, but there is no persistent world where everyone roams around at the same time. Each Diablo 3 player has a separate adventure from another, although others can join you from time to time. This means you will have to rely on your own skills and character power to go far in Diablo 3. Players can improve their toons in two main ways – by collecting gear and by customizing their skill set-up. Gear can either be picked up as loot from defeated monsters, or be bought from vendors or the player auction house with Gold, the Diablo 3 currency. Meanwhile, your character skills will expand as you gain additional levels. You get to unlock new skills and augmenting runes, which when set up and used properly, will help you survive through the hardest trials in Diablo 3.
The long wait is over! Blizzard Entertainment’s Diablo 3 is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated games of 2012 - and rightly so! Diablo 3 represents the culmination of a long legacy of the "dark fantasy" action role-playing genre which began with the original Diablo in 1996. And the first two editions of the game sold millions of copies worldwide, and are still played by avid fans to this day.
However, this new addition to the Diablo series launches with many more features than its predecessors. New classes, enhanced powers and skills, improved controls, in-game achievements, and a new storyline are just a few examples of what Diablo 3 has to offer. But this game also launches amid controversy over some of those very same features the publisher claims as “new”.
Diablo 3 by Blizzard Entertainment
Platforms: PC & MAC
Requirements: Internet Connection
Developer: Blizzard Entertainment
Publisher: Blizzard Entertainment
ESRB: M (Mature)
Story & Lore
Like the other games in this epic series, Diablo 3 takes place in a world locked in a struggle between Heaven and Hell – literally! The forces of Hell are once again clamoring to take over the world, the hosts of Heaven debate the fate of mankind, and the heroes must rise to meet the challenge to prevent Armageddon!
The world of Diablo 3 is even more immersive and rich than in the previous games. Various cultures based upon “real-world” templates such as medieval Europe, Persia, and China add depth to the setting. NPCs and monsters from previous games, such as the Horadric Mage Deckard Cain, goatmen and various undead entities, add continuity to the world and to gameplay.
While the quest system is linear with one quest leading into the next, the storyline is so epic and engaging it’s hardly noticeable. Foul horrors (ie. bosses) from previous games have returned as allies of evil fiends never before seen, and offer a completely unique quest series with a familiar feel.
New players unfamiliar to the Diablo series are offered glimpses into past events as they experience the current storyline. Many NPCs interact with the heroes through audio voice-overs, imparting lore and legends even in the midst of a combat. While the story is not the main focus of an action game like Diablo 3, it still provides real entertainment and meaning to the combat.
Graphics & Sound
One thing that Blizzard has demonstrated year after year is its ability to create graphical eye-candy! Hands down, the graphics in Diablo 3 are simply mind-blowing! Whether fighting through wooded countryside or desert sands, or battling in an underground crypt or a water-filled sewer, the vistas are simply gorgeous! There is a real 3D feeling to everything as the heroes storm through the world.
Monsters too have been enhanced in this latest edition of the Diablo series, and show finer detail, movement behavior, and power effects than ever before. Old favorite monsters have been given updates, and previous bosses have been re-rendered with fantastic details. And there are many new monsters with downright creepy looks to them, and even more bizarre movements and behaviors.
Even the heroes’ benefit from the advanced graphics, with greater visuals on their appearance as they gain new pieces of armor, weapons, shields, and other gear. In fact, one of the new features in the game is the addition of gear dyes, which change the appearance of the armor palate to a range of color schemes. And each hero has strange and humorous idiosyncrasies, like the palsy-like quiver to the old Witch Doctor’s body or the Barbarian’s habit of spitting derisively when bored.
And the world is not merely a backdrop for the combat. Many items of the world are intractable, and are smashed apart during combats! Chairs and tables explode into shards, pillars crumble, and even weak walls are blown down as monsters and heroes clash in mortal combat. There are even places where “tactical terrain” has been added. Unhook a chain and a massive iron chandelier crashes down to crush your enemies. Cut through supports and watch a pile of logs roll over your foes. All these effects damage monsters, and offer an even greater range of combat options that just powers.
Combats are now brutal and bloody affairs, with monsters torn literally limb from limb by heroic attacks and scattered across the battlefield. It’s one of the main reasons, beyond a storyline filled with demons and undead, that Diablo 3 garners an M for Mature ESRB. Rag-doll graphics are in full effect here, and limbs and heads of sundered monsters bounce and roll, sometimes with hilarious results, all over the place.
Spells and special attacks for both heroes and monsters have great graphical appearance as well. For instance, some special attacks have specific ground effects, momentarily altering the environment in small areas with poison gases, or flames, or strange runes. Arrows and spears, balls of fire, bolts of lightning, and other effects leap around chaotically in the midst of a combat. The overall effect makes battle in Diablo 3 both visually exciting and full of tension.
Blizzard designers have not left out sound effects and music either. Players who have experienced previous Diablo games will recognize some of the music, particularly when ambling around Tristram, now called New Tristram. The music score was definitely written to enhance the creepier aspects of some areas, and to speed the pulse during boss fights. In fact, the soundtrack of Diablo 3 is being sold on the iTunes Store.
Sound effects are a must for an action combat game, and there are plenty here in Diablo 3. The game has everything from ambient background sounds of strange creaks and groans in underground labyrinths, to the crunching of bone as monsters are smashed, and the various explosions and crackles of discharged spells. It’s a complete audio package that truly enhances the amazing visuals found in this game.
Characters & Combat
As with the previous games in the series, Diablo 3 offers several different character class options to suit a variety of play styles. There are five character classes, two melee combat specialists, two ranged combat specialists, and a pet controller class. The melee classes are the Barbarian and Monk, which get right into the midst of combat and use a wide array of weapons to deal damage. The ranged classes are the bow wielding Demon Hunter, while the Wizard utilizes an array of damaging spells. The Witch Doctor is a unique class, with ranged spell attacks, but also capable of summoning monsters like spiders and zombie dogs to fight for him.
It should be noted that in this new version of Diablo, the gender of the character is not tied to the class, such as the Sorceress and Amazon from previous versions. When creating your character, you can select both class and gender, however, there are no further options to characters appearance other than gear selection.
All characters utilize a different power resource for activating their special attacks and ranging from Rage for the Barbarian to Mana for the Wizard and Witch Doctor. Managing the character power resource is an important part of play, as it generally activates the most potent powers for that class. And all of the classes offer a unique set of abilities which they develop as they level up, which are activated in combat using the two mouse buttons, and buttons 1-4.
Players have the option of choosing which abilities they wish to use as they level up, and their choices typically dictate the style of play they want to enjoy. For instance, a Barbarian could choose Cleave and Whirlwind to be the master of area of effect combat, or choose Bash and Rend to pummel single foes and make them bleed out over time. Or they can mix and match powers so they have both powerful single target strikes and some area strikes as well.
Additionally, players can choose from a selection of runes to empower their abilities, which offer subtle new enhancements like knockback, extended area of effect, and other attributes. In this way, every player can develop their class to match their preferred style of play. Powers and spells can be changed on the fly to overcome a particular boss fight that might need certain tactics.
Of the character classes, the Barbarian is probably the easiest to play, being a straightforward melee brute with large weapons or dual wielding weapons. It is probably one of the best for players new to Diablo 3 to try, as the Barbarian has several abilities as it levels to heal itself automatically. The Monk is also fairly straightforward, but requires a little more subtlety to play, having a different sort of fighting style focused on speed and threat assessment. Monks have self-healing but it is based upon an activated power, which also heals allies.
Demon Hunter and Wizard are solid ranged classes, and work best as far from melee as possible. They have abilities to get them out of harm’s way and away from melee monsters, and can kill at great distances. Both classes also have snares and roots to allow them to flee packs of monsters to a good firing range, then take them out.
The Witch Doctor is a bit of an oddball of the classes, and feels frankly the weakest. It relies on summoned pets (monsters) to deal damage and allow the hero to stay at range to use spells. Regretfully, the Witch Doctor has no control of the pets, making them sometimes useless in a combat when they attack several targets, instead of a boss, or when they remain in a damage causing effect and die quickly. Overall, the Witch Doctor feels the least well thought out by designers of the game, and seems tacked on to offer something different than typical melee and ranged characters.
Players can also gain adventuring companions to assist them. These are controlled by the game AI and fight alongside the heroes, offering assistance. There are three companions in the game currently – a Templar (melee/healer), a Scoundrel (ranged/bows), and a Sorceress (ranged/spells). The companions add a very amusing element to gameplay, as they come complete with backstories and dispositions. The companions will even engage the hero in conversation between combats, and they have excellent voice-acting on their tracks.
There are four levels of difficulty in the game, each of which is unlocked in succession. The game starts on Normal Difficulty, but completing the game will unlock the next higher level of play called Nightmare. Completing the game on Nightmare opens up Hell, and then finally Inferno. With each level of difficulty, the monsters become more difficult and damaging, but the treasure and item drops increases substantially as well. This also increases the desirability of replay, even though the quest like and story remains exactly the same, regardless of difficutly.
The combats are spectacular affairs, often involving large groups of monsters. And there are dozens of different monster types in the game, each with their own abilities and tactics. In addition, there are also elite and rare monsters which have special abilities and enhanced loot drops, and these are usually much harder to kill. And of course there are the “boss” monsters, all of which have complex tactics and are very difficult to defeat. The AI of the monsters in Diablo 3 is very impressive, and should not be underestimated. Players will find simple hack and slash or “zerg” tactics will often simply result in their demise when facing the more advanced monsters in the game.
Diablo 3 has a tradeskill system to allow the creating of armor and weapons, as well as enhancements through gems. The tradeskill is very simple, with heroes destroying unwanted magic items for reagents to make new ones. A blacksmith NPC takes the reagents to create armor and weapons from the raw materials, although the attributes of the items created are random. Regretfully, the recipes are sparse, and take considerable amounts of gold to unlock, although once unlocked, all characters benefit from the training of the blacksmith. Rare recipes are VERY rare, but do drop from monsters and treasure chests in Nightmare difficulty and higher. Some items have sockets which can be filled with gems to increase certain attributes. A jewelcrafter can take small gem fragments found from loot and make larger more powerful gems over time.
Blizzard has also added an Achievement system to Diablo 3, awarding an in-game adulation for completing certain activities such as quests, location discoveries, talking to NPCs, and gaining gear. Completing Achievements also unlocks patterns and colors for use on a banner, which can be stylized for every account. Overall, the Achievement system is not very important to the game, and is really only an amusing measurement of the player’s activities in-game.
There are two Auction Houses in the game, for selling items and magic items for in-game gold or for real-life cash. At the time of this review, the RL Cash AH is not available yet, and is still being tested. The gold in-game AH is essentially worthless, as magic items are plentiful enough in one’s own game. The Auction Houses were viewed as fairly controversial inclusions, as many players play the game solo, and have no need to borrow item drops from other players.
Player Co-op & PvP
While players have the option of playing Diablo 3 solo, they can also team up with friends or random other players in co-operative play. They can either join a game already in progress or host a game of their own through Blizzard’s BattleNet. If a player has friends with BattleNet accounts playing Diablo 3, they will instantly be notified when they are online, and are one click away from enjoying co-operative play.
Diablo 3 also offers PvP, allowing a player to take their heroes into an arena for team or solo matches. Again, this is offered through the BattleNet network, and is automatically provided with the game.
Problems & Issues
From a game play point of view, there are few problems with Diablo 3. The game is fun and exciting, has awesome characters, and aside from a rather dull tradeskill system, is probably the best edition of the series to be released. It demonstrates a high degree of polish, and looks, sounds, and feels like a winner of a game.
Despite all this, the game suffers from a major flaw: Blizzard Entertainment’s Battlenet servers.
For whatever reason, Blizzard is forcing all players to play online, all the time, even if they just want to play a solo game. This means that a solo player, not wanting to co-op, PvP, or use the auction houses, are still subject to internet issues, lag, and random disconnects which can cause loss of playtime. In addition, Blizzard’s servers require maintenance, and at the time of this review, have been down on separate occasions since launch, between a half hour and up to four hours at a time!
Blizzard claims that having all players on their servers increases security, allows them to offer new content, and to host auction houses, co-op play and PvP. However, previous editions of the game allowed co-op play through LAN or player-to-player connection, and new content can typically be handled through downloads, as other games have done. And a solo player at home enjoying the game has really no need for a Battlenet account, nor security for it.
This decision to make online play appears to be motivated exclusively by greed on Blizzard’s part, in order to offer premiums and to skim real dollars off the Cash Auction House when it finally goes live. Their decision has certainly maimed what otherwise would have been a perfect action adventure RPG, and a fitting climax to a well-loved trilogy of games.
Overall Score: 3.5 out of 5
- Immersive storyline told through beautifully rendered cut-scenes and great voice narration.
- Non-stop action and huge bloody combats requiring skill and quick wits to emerge victorious.
- Exciting character development, with a range of player-chosen powers and skills.
- Internet access required to play at all times - even a solo game!
- Compulsory use of Blizzard’s Battlenet servers – server lag, hours of downtime, and disconnects now affect play experience.
- Auction Houses uninspiring – the gold currency AH is dull and the real currency AH is not available at launch.
Diablo 3 Beginner’s Set-Up Guide2012-07-23 15:08:17 - By Michael Jamias
Want a no-brainer guide on how to install and begin playing Diablo 3, the online action RPG sequel that has ensnared the world with its addicting gameplay? Follow this quick and easy guide from MMO Play to join the millions playing this hack-and-slash gem right now.
What is Diablo 3?
Diablo 3 is the third installment to the world-famous Diablo videogame series. Ten years in the making, Diablo 3 is a visually gorgeous game set in the dark fantasy world of Sanctuary, where angels and demons are waging an eternal war with humans caught in the deadly crossfire. You play as one of the few heroes who can save humankind from annihilation and corruption. Your character will be able to equip magical gear, perform amazing combat feats and skills, and explore vast dungeons to root out evil.
PC Only with Internet Connection
Diablo 3 can only be played on a personal computer with a working, preferably fast, internet connection. There are no videogame console versions or an offline-only option for the game.
Recommended System Requirements
Before you run out and buy Diablo 3, check first if your personal computer can handle running the game. Blizzard has released its official system requirements. Rather than aiming for the bare minimum, try meeting or even exceeding the recommended system requirements. Ask your local PC expert for upgrades. Doing this will reduce performance glitches and lags. You should also think about installing a fast broadband internet connection; it’s relatively cheap these days, and is one of the single best ways to ensure optimal play.
Purchasing Diablo 3
Now that you have the computer rig and internet connection to support Diablo 3, it’s time to purchase the game itself via online or in retail stores. If you want the game for cheap with no added frills, go for the basic Digital Edition set. But if you’re craving for collectibles, then the Collector’s Edition set is a keeper.
Creating a Battle.net Account
Blizzard also requires you to sign up for a Battle.net account before you can play Diablo 3, or any of their online games for that matter. Think of it as your official account for all Blizzard games. Sign up here if you do not have one. For your safety, use a different password from your e-mail account, preferably one that’s unique for Battle.net. Countless players have learned the hard way that using the same password will make it that much easier to steal your account.
Updating the Game
Diablo 3 receives continuous updates post-launch, which add new features and content. This will require you to update the game client, which can take several hours to days, depending on your internet speed. After this massive initial update, future patches should take significantly shorter to finish.
Starting Up the Game
Once you have updated the game to an acceptable level, you can enter the game. Click the Play button and you will arrive at the main login screen. Use your Battle.net username and password to log on. Click the remember Account Name option if you are the only one playing on your PC, but uncheck it if you share the PC or are using someone else’s computer to avoid possible intrusion.
Choosing a Class
There are so far five playable classes in Diablo 3 – the ferocious arms Barbarian, the sharpshooting Demon Hunter, the martial arts Monk, the spirit-summoning Witch Doctor and the spellcasting Wizard. Take time to read through the descriptions. The official Diablo 3 class pages offer a more comprehensive overview of each hero, including their skills, runes and passive abilities. As a general rule of thumb, choose the Barbarian or Monk if you prefer to fight in melee range; or select the Demon Hunter, Witch Doctor or Wizard if you prefer to blow up things at a ranged distance.
Creating and Customizing a Character
Diablo 3 does not offer much in character customization, unlike other online RPG Games. You will not be able to tweak your Barbarian’s height or your Wizard’s skin color. But you do get to decide on two things – the gender and name of your hero. Appearance customization can be made mainly through equipment choices, since most weapons and armor you wear will be shown on your hero.
After you finish creating your character, click Start Game to begin the first chapter of your epic Diablo 3 adventure. Brace yourself for a pretty sweet cut scene.
Explaining the UI
The Diablo 3 user interface or UI lets you control your character, activate skills, open menu options and navigate your way around the world of Tristam. Below is a functional explanation of each UI element.
- 1. Public chat channels – Need advice on how to effectively play your Witch Doctor? Looking for a hard-to-find weapon or armor? The public chat connects you with other human players and keeps track of conversations in class-specific, trade, and other special purpose channels. You can also use this feature to start a chat with your Diablo 3 friends who are online.
- 2. Life points – This blood-red diminishes the more damage you take. If it drops to zero, you will die and face consequences, ranging from a simple resurrection delay to a complete wipe of your character (for hard mode characters only). You can use health potions to get your life back up, or wait a while since life points regenerate over time.
- 3. Action Bar Skills - As you kill monsters and gain levels, your hero will be able to unlock offensive, defensive and unique class skills. You can program these skills on four keyboard shortcut buttons for easy access. For example, pressing the keyboard button “1” will trigger the skill assigned to it, etc.
- 4. Mouse Skills – You can also program primary and secondary skills on your mouse button. Pressing the left button activates primary skills, or basic attack skills which generate resources. Pressing the right button activates secondary skills, or generally more powerful skills which expend resources and thus can be used only for a limited number of times.
- 5. Item Bar – You can program an item stack here to quickly recover health or your class resource.
- 6. Skills (Shortcut “S”), Inventory (“I”), Quests and Journal (“J”) and Game Menu (“ESC”)– Each of these four buttons can be clicked to enter into particular menus for setting up skills, equipping and managing inventor, browsing through quests and choosing through the game menu options.
- 7. Latency – Shows the speed of connection for your game. A higher number means a slower speed of connection, which could translate to play lags and spikes.
- 8. Class Resource – Each hero class in Diablo 3 uses a different resource, which is used up when performing special secondary skills. This regenerates over time, like health, or is gained with each use of a primary skill.
- 9. Social Friends (“O”) – Shows you how many in your online friends list is playing Diablo 3 right now. It even shows you when they last logged in, among other social friends data.
- 10. Game Map – Diablo 3 dungeons are known for their sprawling size. The map shows the immediate area and points of interests, including enemies, NPCs and portals.
Moving Around the Game
Point where you want your hero to go then click the left mouse button to initiate the movement. If your hero is too far away to pick up an item or engage in conversation, you can also click the left mouse button to trigger movement.
Your First Mission
Ready for your first fight? When you enter the game world, you should move eastward until you find Captain Rumford who has a yellow exclamation point floating above him. NPCs bearing this mark will often offer a new quest. Completing a quest will let you proceed with the storyline and also earn you handsome experience points and rewards.
You approach Captain Rumford seeking the fallen star shown in the opening cut scene. But while talking to the soldier, a wave of zombie abominations tries to attack the town of Tristam. Help him kill the abominations to complete your first quest. He will then ask you to visit Leah who will know more about the fallen star.
There are tons of other missions in Diablo 3. Click the chalice icon on the main UI or press the default shortcut “J” to open the Quests and Journal tab.
We hope that this beginner’s set-up guide proved useful. If you have any suggestions or corrections, send your comments at MMO Play, home of the largest collection of free-to-play online RPG Games.
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