For years, Diablo fans have been asking for a third instalment of Blizzard’s popular franchise. With Diablo I and II being major hits for the then small gaming company, fans have held their breath for twelve years in hopes that Blizzard would deliver another stellar gaming performance.
Many argued that with the tremendous financial backing of World of Warcraft, Blizzard would have a sure thing in Diablo III. With experienced developers able to tap into a near limitless source of funds to create the newest Diablo instalment, how could things go wrong?
Unfortunately, Diablo III may go down in history as proof that money really isn’t everything when it comes to game design.
Classes and Game Setting
Diablo III takes place twenty years after the ending of Diablo II and many of the known and loved factions, classes and settings have been destroyed by the legions of Hell in their struggle to decimate the world of Sanctuary. Players will once again be facing legions of demons, monsters and corrupted undead as they fight through four acts and several different difficulty modes.
Gone are the necromancers, paladins and amazons; it seems only the stalwart barbarians have survived the ravages as Diablo III’s only returning class. Replacing the bygone classes are the Monk, Witch Doctor, Wizard and Demon Hunter.
Some of the mechanics of these “new” classes may feel familiar to old-school Diablo fans; the Witch Doctor can summon undead to their aid, much like the necromancer in Diablo III, albeit with a few differences. The Wizard is a typical magic user with bolts of fire and ice while the Monk uses rapid hand to hand combat not unlike some of the skills the Assassin employed in Diablo II.
The skill trees are gone; they have been replaced by an all but automated skill system, in which each class is assigned a certain ability set. While it’s true a player can pick and choose which skills to use, the fun of creating a unique or extremely efficient skill tree build was one of the things that kept Diablo II veterans playing for years.
Sound and Graphics
The sound and graphics are a highlight of the game. While the graphic styling may be a bit reminiscent of World of Warcraft rather than Diablo II, they are crisp and well done. The spell and ability affects are visually pleasing.
The soundtrack of the game is also very good, with some of the moodier pieces being more reminiscent of Diablo I than Diablo II. The first act especially has a nice soundtrack. Player character and NPC voices are fairly well done, with monster groans and growls fitting well into the overall atmosphere of the game.
Hacking, hacking, hacking
This is where things get really messy; with mediocre game-play and a nice backdrop, Diablo III could have been a solid, if not exactly stellar, game. However, there have been multiple and repeated problems with account hacking. Thousands of players have reported their accounts hacked. The game was actually shut down several times for an extended period so Blizzard could try to work out the mess with no end in sight.
Many Diablo fans were upset to hear that Diablo III would require an Internet connection to play; perhaps their fears were well founded. Server stability has been up and down since the release of the game but, hacking problems aside, this may be this game’s only downfall.
This article was written by Karl Stockton for the team at www.rolo.org. Visit them in the future to see their tech tips, such as their tips on what to do if you forget your Linksys router password; for more information on this topic, click here.