Hell is about to break loose yet again as the action RPG, Diablo 3, brings evil back when it launches May 15. Need the lowdown on this game? We’ve got veterans and newbies covered — here’s a rundown of what’s new, what’s still the same, and why the threequel is well worth the $60 price.
- Online Required. Yes, you need to be connected to the Internet to play the game, even for single- player campaigns. If you have a slow or intermittent connection, then it might be time to consider an upgrade before running Diablo 3.
- Five distinct classes. You can choose between the Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor or Wizard. To sum up their playstyles — the Barbarian and Monk are close combat specialists, the Demon Hunter is a marksman and trap expert, while the Witch Doctor and Wizard are squishy but devastating
casters. Each class uses a different resource (no longer Mana for everyone), wears three class-specific equipment, and has a distinct storyline.
- More convenient loot runs. Diablo 3 is an addictive item collection game. Hundreds of hours are spent killing demons to collect rare weapons and equipment, but this time Blizzard has made hauling back loot easier and more convenient.
- Bye Deckard Cain, hello Leah. You’ve seen the trailers. Deckard Cain is presumed dead when a falling star crashes into his home. Her niece Leah takes up his mantle as your trusty lore guide. So what will happen to our unidentified items? This function has been integrated into the inventory system, so no
need to worry on how the Last Horadrim’s exit will affect your gameplay.
- Crafting. Aside from item looting, Diablo 3 now allows full-blown item crafting. Basically, the junk items you loot can be salvaged and used to make new items via special artisan NPCs — the blacksmith for weapons, armor and accessories; and the jeweler for gem sockets and upgrades.
- Auction house. Diablo 2 players know how rampant third-party buying for gear and runes became in the game. Time-starved players simply didn’t have time to farm the best items, so they instead bought them via the shady gray market. Blizzard changes all that with a new legit auction house system
that allows players to buy and sell loot between each other. Of course, Blizzard takes a small cut in all transactions.
- Inferno difficulty. For the truly hardcore, Inferno offers a difficulty mode like no other. It’s the ultimate challenge after Normal, Nightmare and Hell modes, with mobs and bosses set at a higher level than you.
What’s Still the Same
- Hack-and-slash grind. Diablo 3 is setting up to be the same — if not more — of a time sink than its predecessors. If you’re looking for a game that can be completed in a weekend, or something that offers a variety of gameplay, then move on because Diablo 3 is anything but those.
- Dark, mature setting. No watered down kiddy themes here. Diablo 3 continues with the twisted and often blood-spattered premise of a world besieged by demons. The situation in Sanctuary grows even more dire and desperate, with your hero only one of the few standing between humanity’s survival and its annihilation.
Why It’s Worth It
- Campaign longevity and re-play value. Diablo 3 will keep you entertained for years to come. Its content is single-player campaigns are sprawling and easily take up 100 hours per class, and that’s not even scratching the higher difficulty modes, team play and PvP arena play.
- Bigger, badder bosses. Screen-wide behemoths will appear more often, making fights feel and look more epic.
- Explore the greater Sanctuary. The first two Diablo games only showed us a sliver of Sanctuary, and restricted us to a handful of locales. Diablo 3 opens up the world to the lands only hinted at before, from the wizard homeland of Xiansai to the lost city of Ureh.
- Star-studded heaven and hell cast. Call us fanboys, but the confirmation that Archangel Imperius and Diablo will both appear in-game has us pumped. Developers also said that plenty of new characters will be introduced, obviously to address criticism that only a handful of characters really stand out in the franchise (as compared to other Blizzard titles like World of Warcraft and StarCraft).
We hope this overview gives you a rough idea of what to expect in Diablo 3. Do you have anything to add? Chime in at the comments. Our Diablo 3 review will be coming out very soon, and we won’t be pulling any punches.