Yesterday's festivities at BlizzCon ended with the various contests. The costume contest was great, some of those costumes absolutely rocked. I have pics that we'll get uploaded soon. The dance contest was interesting, though a little painful at times. Not to make fun of anyone, hell, I know I can't dance, so I don't enter a contest where I'll have to dance in front of 15000+ live people, not to mention all the folks watching on DirectTV.
This morning I started my day by hopping on Diablo 3 before the lines got too insane. Which they have been, from doors open to doors close, pure insanity, hours long wait to play the game. So I played for an hour or so, and my overall impression? This is Diablo. I've played so many Diablo clones over the years trying to get that same feeling I got from D1 and D2, but never quite getting there. This is it. I know a lot of the core people behind D1 and D2 are no longer with Blizzard, but honestly I couldn't tell. And of course this is just my opinion and others are likely to differ, but it felt like the Diablo of old to me, I loved every minute of it.
To address the stat issue brought up in the comments of my last entry, from what I could tell yes, the stats you gain as you level do seem automatic. BUT! That being said it really doesn't seem to affect a whole lot. With all the loot you can find in the game, you can still VERY easily customize your character in those regards as much as you want really. Hell, I found gear for my Wizard with bonuses to strength, so it isn't like you'll only ever find gear that your class can wear that only affects their core stats, you'll find it all. And the runes to change your skills seem to drop very often and there appear to be quite a few of them. In the one short area we're allowed to play through, I easily filled my rune inventory and had prolly 6-7 different ones.
The inventory works a lot like it always has, it isn't grid based this time, you have X number of slots for items, regardless of their size. You also have 4 bag slots where you can add bags of varying sizes to increase the number of slots in your main inventory. I guess I'm spoiled by MMOs of late, was really hoping to see a seperate Quest inventory but there wasn't one, even though there WAS a seperate run inventory, odd. But it's still very early in development so there's a chance that could change.
Monster deaths are very cool in D3. You have your 'basic' deaths, then your 'epic' deaths, usually for the bosses and mini-bosses. Certain mobs also have their own special ways to die, like the 'Grotesque' that explodes and sends worms/lampreys all over to attack you. Then on top of that there are critical kills, for when you manage to kill a mob with a critical hit AND finally there are skill kills, certain skills kill the mobs differently. Quite logically though, for example an acid attack will melt the mob down to the floor leaving only a puddle, or cold based skills freeze and shatter them.
Ok, heading back to the show now, more to come later. :)
Ok, so I took another hour long spin on D3 (I know, it seems to be all I'm talking about, but it is definitely the focal point of the show. There's little to nothing to report on the WoW front and the only real SC2 news was the 3 product split.) Naturally I played through the same area, which I realized I didn't really go into detail about last time. You start off in Tristram naturally, though it's been quite torn asunder by some "fire falling from the sky." This story takes place about 20 years after we last visited the world of Diablo. You first run into some folks burning dead bodies just outside of town who warn you not to go in else you'll die. Interesting side note, their reactions to you differ based on the class you're playing. The big burly Barbarian gets FAR more respect from the Captain than the other 2 playable classes. The witch doctor basically gets treated like a freak and the Wizard like some upstart overconfident punk.
Anyway, you wander into town, not much to do here at this point in the game, just a handful of zombies to kill, one quest to get a little girl's spirit out of the town well and then a wounded soldier who sends you on your main mission, into the Cathedral. In the limited demo section we've been allowed to play here you go through 3-4 levels of the Cathedral and the catacombs below, fighting a couple mini-bosses along the way before finally getting to the Skeleton King, who is the boss of the area.
One very interesting thing I noticed going through it this time around was not only do the layout of the levels change up, but the side quests available in the levels change as well. The first time through I ran into a wounded adventurer who had bought an antique box off of someone in town and was told to place it on an altar to get lots of loot, err treasure. But he's too much of a wuss to continue on so gives you the box and flees. The 2nd time through that guy was nowhere to be seen, but I did run into a Captain looking for the rest of his soldiers. So you escort him to where his guys are cornered by a buncha skeletons and rescue them. The side quests award you with experience and 1 magic item, from my experience so far.
Another feature of the game that I'm absolutely loving is environmental kills. There are a lot of chances throughout the levels to drop chandeliers, bookcases, stacks of wood, scaffolding, all kinds of things on groups of enemies. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately depending on your playstyle or the people you're playing with, they seem to damage other players when in multi-player.
Couple other interesting things to note: When you level, they've taken the whole 'ding' effect to the next level. Now when you ding, a radial blast emits from your character killing anything around you. They come in very handy if you keep an eye on your XP bar and plan it well, moving into a large group of mobs right before you ding. This also plays heavily into the next tidbit: Kill chains, killing mobs rapidly in succession or together in large groups racks up a multiplier, the higher it goes, the more bonus XP you get when your killing streak finally ends. It also keeps track of your highest number, and if you break your record that also affects your bonus.
So yeah, back to the show now. More updates when I'm able! :)