Diablo 3 Beta Blurb (PC)
With the Diablo 3 beta servers officially offline (as of May 1st) and the full release scheduled for May 15th, it seemed like an ideal time for me to write a little post beta blurb.
I was lucky enough to have gotten my invite in late September 2011. This allowed me to play quite a lot of the beta and experience many of the changes that the game underwent, but it also meant a lot of deleted characters
I didn’t miss my deleted characters, much. With it taking a mere hour and a half of playtime to make it through the beta story line, starting over felt very manageable. It also encouraged me to try out the five different character classes.
This ended up begin quite worth the effort, since the characters underwent by far the largest change in the game. The entire skill system was overhauled, which I am eternally grateful for, as I really disliked the original design.
The old skill system was riddled with redundancy and strange level blocks. Skills were unlocked at specific levels, but the ability to access more then one skill at a time also had to be unlocked and at one point active skills could only be swapped in town. It was a mess.
Thankfully this is all gone. Replaced with an entirely new system that feels like a streamlined and much more flexible version of the original. There were of course other changes, which the D3 blog lists quite nicely.
While I enjoyed playing the beta and I think the changes benefited the game, it still left me feeling a bit dissatisfied. I wasn’t expecting to play a different version of World of Warcraft, but in the end that’s what it felt like, Diablo 2 made to look and play more like World of Warcraft.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, its just not terribly innovative. To help me illustrate my point: a video. This is the official G-Star video of Lineage Eternal.
The opening sequence (first 4 minutes) with the dynamic quests and interactive world seem to me like the next step for action RPGs. It’s incredibly action packed, with the character in the thick of battle, yet still single handedly turning the tide. Those four minutes felt more heroic then the entire hour and half of Diablo 3 beta.
To be fair, this video was intended to show off Lineage at its best and I think it succeeded, but my goal was to highlight the action, pace and heroism that can be achieved in this medium. The Diablo 3 beta in comparison seemed like a leisurly stroll through Tristram. Here is a Diablo 3 beta game play video for comparison.
What Lineage Eternal will be, I honestly don’t know, but if it is like most other MMORPGs out there, it too will be filled with grinding and plenty of down time.
If only I could meld the intensity of those first four minutes with the playability of Diablo 2….ah to dream.
Anyway the Diablo 3 beta was just that, a beta. There is much more game left to explore and I will refrain from casting final judgment until such time that I have actually played the full game.
I’m certainly looking forward to seeing Diablo again and will be playing my copy on May 15th!