Everything Ever: The Diablo III Skill-Splurge

By Alec Meer on September 14th, 2011 at 11:51 am.

That's me! *And in the game*

With the Diablo III beta looming at last, Blizzard have flung open their heavily-defended wrought iron gates of informational doom -allowing an unfettered browse of the various skills and modifiers on offer in their forthcoming hacky-slashy opus. This comes by way of a extensive Skill Calculator, with which you can both try to devise the ideal character build for you, or simply explore the full delights of the game’s various abilities. And delights they are – if you’re expecting D3 to offer subtle, incremental ramping up of skills, as per WoW, you’re in for a treat. This, clearly, is a game that entirely embraces over-the-top, giganto-slaying.

THE NUMBERS. THE NUMBERS ARE SO BIG.

The really ludicrous boosts come from Rune socketing, which enables you to reshape an already-attained Skill in fairly dramatic ways. Some of this is simply statistical, such as the Barbarian gaining an absurd 700% armour increase for a few seconds after peforming his Leap Attack, while others change the whole light and sound show entirely. F’rinstance, instead of summoning his standard Plague of Toads, the Witch Doctor can instead summon one ma-ha-ha-ha-hassive toad that’ll cheerily swallow enemies whole.

The uniting ethos behind them all is that the Rune boosts go further than you’d likely expect. Go have a play. I’m liking the sound of the Wizard, I think – whole lot of summonable fun on that one.

Oh, and there’s also a big ol’ guide to the various classes and skills here.

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107 Comments »

  1. Vexing Vision says:

    But it becomes so pointless when you realize that you can reset all skills anytime you want. :(

    Sad. I want my Diablo 2 skilltrees back.

    • Premium User Badge

      Biscuitry says:

      At the risk of sounding obvious… maybe you should go and play Diablo 2, then? I assure you it’s still fun, despite news of a sequel

    • Premium User Badge

      Bluerps says:

      Pointless? Why?

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      bglamb says:

      Yes, but you’re severely limited in the skills that you can run concurrently.

      For the first part of the game, and for a long time, you only get to have one or two active. So you’re still only able to fight with 2 skills, but every now and again you can swap them over.

      This seems like way more fun, IMO.

    • deadly.by.design says:

      It’s not pointless. It’s how it worked in Guild Wars, which worked brilliantly. (especially for PvP)

    • Stormbane says:

      I thinks it’s the best new feature they have introduced. It allows you to experience the whole class using one character. It introduces distinct build strategies for certain zones, bosses and pvp. Best of all it creates diversity in the combat.

      Now online only on the other hand. :(
      I have already seen beta participants complaining about latency in single player on the forums.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      So, in essence, the skill system is just the one from Sacred 2, but with respeccing?

    • Consumatopia says:

      I wish I could reset my real world skills.

    • Alceste007 says:

      Agreed on the lack of character design caused by skill tree removal. I really will miss my skill trees. The new diablo 3 is about as complex as a DOTA clone. This is fine if you are into those type of games, but I actually enjoyed designing a character. Oh well, Torchlight 2 will be the game for me atm.

  2. torchedEARTH says:

    Are we allowed to like this game now? Sorry, I forgot.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      No.

    • Ian says:

      @torchedEARTH: Only if you’re the sort of person who stabs babies, which is just below “Liking Diablo 3″ on the latest “Things Only A Fucking Bastard Would Do” list.

    • Antsy says:

      I’m looking forward to it. Then again I am a Fucking Bastard.

      Now…where’s that baby?

    • xenist says:

      @Ian: Bring on the baby stabbing then.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Just as soon as they allow offline singleplayer. That’s my one un-negotiable issue.

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      Durkonkell says:

      I’m not even looking at the website or properly reading these articles, just in case they make me want to play the game.

      Because I can’t buy it. No offline singleplayer + unreliable internet = more frustration than it’s worth. Also, rewarding developers or publishers for putting unnecessary always-on DRM in games by giving them money seems counterproductive.

      Also also: Not being able to play with friends from other parts of the world. Friends who I met online in the Olde Days of gaming where you could join a server or clan and it would contain people from across the world because games weren’t designed to prevent you all playing together.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      You’re allowed to like it as far as I’m concerned. For myself, though, between Grim Dawn, Torchlight 2, and Path of Exile, I have a hard time remembering why I was ever interested in Diablo 3 in the first place.

    • ZillaRacing says:

      yes. Unless you’re unable to think for yourself and be like all the cool kids.

    • Arkaniani says:

      Sure, Grim Dawn, Torchlight 2, and Path of Exile might be fun for a while, but they lack the substance of a Diablo game, and that is why Diablo 3 is gonna be the better ARPG. There you go. Besides, why are people complaining about the constant online thingy? It’s 2011 for christ’s sake. Starcraft 2 is no different.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      But what if you like it, are looking forward to it, but still have negative opinions on some of the design choices they made…. what if the world’s not just black and white but has shades of grey and all the colours of the rainbow too…..

    • Urthman says:

      “Online only” might as well be “PS3 exclusive” as far as my inability to play the game is concerned. I’m more likely to buy a PS3 than I am to move to the mythical Land of Reliable Internet Access.

    • Arkaniani says:

      @Sheng-ji Well yeah, those are valid opinions, but I don’t see how it is so different from the original Diablo’s art style, other than being more updated. Keep in mind that Diablo 2 had its technical limitations and therefore it looked rather drab. I don’t think that kind of art style would succeed today.

    • Abundant_Suede says:

      It’s 2011 for Christ’s sake. Why do people still expect consumer-friendly decisions from developers and publishers? That’s so 1990′s. Get with the times, people!

    • Wulf says:

      @Arkaniani

      So grind equals substance, now? Don’t forget that you’re talking about Nu Blizzard, here.

      It wasn’t Blizzard that developed Diablo and Diablo II, it was Blizzard North. The good Blizzard. The ex-Blizzard. That’s right, Blizzard North now no longer exists. The people behind Blizzard North, well… can you guess where they went? To Runic Games and ArenaNet!

      Can you guess which game Runic Games created? So, tell me again about how games created by group A have less substance than games created by group A, because I’m fascinated by your theories!

      And frankly, the likes of Titan Quest is going to have more content than anything developed by Nu Blizzard (post WoW Blizzard, that is). Most of the ‘content’ of Diablo III is undoubtedly going to be 90% grind, 9% padding, and about 1% of everything else. If you strip it down to that 1% then it’ll likely have less actual content than the admittedly shallow Torchlight. Frankly, I’d feel safer putting my bets on the more fleshed out, more involved Torchlight II.

      Torchlight was like Diablo I (and Diablo I was incredibly shallow as well), and Runic Games seem to be following the route of development with Diablo, with Torchlight II having outdoor areas and a whole lot of other things going for it.

    • SwiftRanger says:

      Yes, well, several Runic folks were responsible for Hellgate London as well, just saying.

      Plenty of devs have left Blizzard North over the years, and started up new companies. It’s the way how things go at Blizzard. The new team is more than capable imo. You can’t disregard what the new developers have said about the game (they have pinpointed DII’s many failings very accurately) and what they’re planning to do about it.

      The Runestone concept (with the right tuning/worth attached to it) seems like ace and a flat-out better system than the old skill trees which weren’t about choice but about strictly following a few builds per character if you wanted to get past Nightmare.

      So yes, I’ve been liking DIII ever since the announcement, still a few fears (story, level design itself) but I am hopeful.

  3. hav says:

    I’m probably rolling wizard or monk as my first toon. Monk looks like it plays great.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      It really, extremely annoys me when people say ‘toon’ for their character. Just felt like saying it because I got annoyed. Carry on.

    • yougotnick says:

      @Dawngreeter I was going to say the exact same thing until I read your comment. Good to know there’s a few people with some sense left.

    • ankh says:

      This comment annoyed me immensely. I’m over it now though. Everything’s cool.

    • Wulf says:

      I’m not fond of the misappropriated use of ‘toon’ either. Whatever was wrong with ‘character’? Or is that too long for lazy folk to type? :p

    • FalseMyrmidon says:

      This comment ruined my whole day. I’ll probably be brooding for the rest of this week, thanks.

    • mda says:

      People should say ‘char’ like I always have ^_^

    • RandomGameR says:

      I prefer const char *. It prevents respecs.

    • BoZo says:

      “Toon” doesn’t even make sense.

  4. Jazz42 says:

    I take it you have to be online at all times to use the skill calculator?

    edit: oooo Kenshiro build for the monk.
    atatatatatatatataatatataatatatatatataatatataat waataa

    • ASBO says:

      Interestingly enough, this does actually work offline. Load the page up and then disconnect from the internet, it seems to work fine.

    • Jazz42 says:

      well that’s just funny.

    • psyk says:

      Could just rip the requried parts and you would have an offline version ;)

      comments wooooooo
      (don’t want to penalize accidental mis-clicks).

    • MadTinkerer says:

      @Jazz42 & ASBO: I chuckled. :)

  5. Taidan says:

    Blah blah blah Torchlight 2 blah blah blah.

    • neoghoul says:

      I totally agree. Furthermore: Blah blah Torchlight 2 – offline playable blah blah

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      bglamb says:

      Personally I am rather offended that I require a computer to play.

      Why can’t they release it for pen and paper like the good old RPGs?

      Maybe I don’t have a computer, or want to keep it on all the time when I have a perfectly good pile of dice right here.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      I still have the Diablo tabletop RPG books from the special edition of D2.

    • Voicefromthefuture says:

      Your description intrigues me, and I shall presently investigate this curious game you talk about.

    • yougotnick says:

      Haha, the Diablo Pen and Paper RPG is just awful. A few friends and I tried playing it a few years back and the rules just aren’t there. They only had stats for a handful of monsters and Diablo wasn’t even one of them! I can only imagine they meant to release supplemental books, but I guess that never happened.

    • Wulf says:

      @bglamb

      I agree! Because people in less developed countries which don’t have fully reliable Internet connections aren’t real people at all! They’re ‘unpeople’ and below our mighty and superior notice. And who wants to play with filthy foreigners anyway? We should all be xenophobic bastards and just stick to gaming with persons of our own peoples. That’s how it should be! That’s the gamer way, isn’t it?

      Yep. Some days the Internet just makes me sick to my stomach. There’s this little bean counter in my mind that checks my opinions of humanity frequently, they’re fairly low in general, and every day he’s able to stamp ‘VALIDATED!’ on them in a bright red colour that he finds personally pleasing. He’s very smug about this as he knows that this tradition will never change. Thanks for that.

    • RandomGameR says:

      You should have a doctor look into that internet stomach sickness you’ve got there.

      On the other hand, you aren’t entitled to any video games. You’re even less entitled to having video games done the way that you want them to. The sooner you give up your entitled consumerism, the sooner you can find a zen state in life where you realize that none of this matters and you can avoid future stomach aches.

      During that time I’ll be playing Diablo 3.

  6. Tech says:

    Witch Doctor. I want to play a Witch Doctor. Summoning is awesome in ARPGs, and adding some nice acidic poison damage clouds on top of that.. Awesomesauce.

  7. Metonymy says:

    So many skills and variables, but unfortunately a good ~20% are derived directly from WoW, and the rest from other games. Like Starcraft 2, we’re seeing a massive amount of rehash, so we’d better hope these skills are well designed.

    On the positive side, fury is handled a little better, there seem to be a good mix of resource types, characters can obviously be specialized a lot, with the monk being an impressive healer, and lots of defensive skills for hell difficulty. The first playthrough for each character will definitely be very fun.

    I’ve hesitated to sign up for beta, Blizzard’s handling of account security is so painfully bad that I’m tempted to just pay for it, and then play only the pirate version.

    • Giaddon says:

      I’m shocked, shocked, I tell you, to find rehash in a Blizzard game.

    • Antsy says:

      It’s almost as if skills in World of Warcraft were in no way similar to skills in Diablo 2.

    • Bosscelot says:

      Those WoW skills were probably taken from Diablo 2 anyway.

    • Koozer says:

      I was quite frankly shocked to see so many skills in Diablo 2 that are in WoW, the first of the two I played. Right down to the same bloody names.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      “Blizzard’s handling of account security is so painfully bad that I’m tempted to just pay for it, and then play only the pirate version.”

      Huh?

  8. Serge says:

    [ Badly masked troll comment about Real Life Auction House and ability to buy extra talent points for $ ]

  9. meeper says:

    WoW, those warrior skills look familiar.

    • DiamondDog says:

      I know, right? Wheres the skill that lets my Barbarian charm my enemies into submission by making a lovely daisy chain necklace.

    • Wulf says:

      I would buy a game edgy enough to have a skill like that, which would certainly unnerve the target audience to the point of ranting about it on forums, for weeks on end, resulting in the most amazing 100 page threads we’ve ever seen.

      Is anyone developing a game with such a thing in it? Anyone got a KickStarter going? I’d really throw money at that.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Skeletor68 says:

    I actually love the idea that you can swap things around. Would allow you to customise all the way through rather than going ‘shite I put everything into sword mastery and I just found this axe of ultimate sodomy’.

  11. pakoito says:

    Invincible AoE Monk build. It needs tweaking but still: http://us.battle.net/d3/en/calculator/monk#UhdjbW!VgU!aYcaZa

  12. zergrush says:

    Such a shame this is region locked, it looks so freaking awesome =/

    • Wulf says:

      Yep, can’t touch a game that’s region-locked, seeing as I have friends from all over the globe.

      Still, though it’s been said, Torchlight II won’t be region-locked!

    • Jimmeh says:

      I have a group of US friends and a group of EU friends. I’ve tried to convince everyone to buy the same version but they weren’t having any of it. So now I’m forced to either buy two copies and maintain separate characters, completely ignore a group of friends who I would otherwise have played with, or skip it altogether.

      All of these options make me a sad panda :-(

  13. Premium User Badge

    Colthor says:

    Hey, if they also added the ability to let you compare the effects of all the game’s weapons and armour on your character, you’d not have to bother with all the clicking on baddies! That’d save a lot of trouble.

  14. Rai-Lord says:

    1. Only if you’re the sort of person who stabs babies, which is just below “Liking Diablo 3″ on the latest “Things Only A Fucking Bastard Would Do” list.

    2. I actually love the idea that you can swap things around. Would allow you to customise all the way through rather than going ‘shite I put everything into sword mastery and I just found this axe of ultimate sodomy’.

    two reasons why i am glad i followed the link here… f’ing priceless people!

  15. BlackHao says:

    What? No graphics rants? Does it have the right
    atmosphere now?

    I’m really surprised that people have given up their “screw this cartoonish color palette…we want satanic virgin blood red”.

    On-Topic: I love the skill swapping idea.

    • Wulf says:

      Hey, I love colour. I’m a big fan of Torchlight and Champions Online, both of which have plenty of colour, and I’m not even adverse to a bit of Free Realms or Puzzle Pirates.

      What always struck me as distasteful about Diablo III is that the art direction is slapdash and all over the place, it’s like they’re improvising the art assets, sort of like if they have 10 different art departments working completely independently of each other, and they’re all tossing their stuff into the same game, so there are visual elements that completely stand out.

      Take screenshots from two different games, cut them up, merge them, and you’ll see why I dislike their art direction. It’s shoddy. Torchlight’s is miles better if I’m being honest. I absolutely loved Torchlight’s.

      Someone a bit back said it was like they couldn’t decide what art direction they wanted, so they just weent with a bunch of them crammed into the same game, and as I said above, that’s really what it looks like. It lacks a cohesive overarching visual theme, it lacks a sense of visual internal consistency, some parts of it look like a crayon moustache scribbled atop an oil painting. It’s… all over the place. Messy.

    • Zyrusticae says:

      Well, I was thinking it’d be a good idea to stay on-topic, but since you brought it up:

      The graphics are still ass.

      The game might be fun! Maybe. Possibly. I don’t know. But the graphics suck.

      That could break it for me. Or maybe it won’t! Won’t know ’til I try it.

  16. ankh says:

    Does anybody know if I’m going to be able to play this from South Africa? Am i going to be allowed to play on EU battlenet like with d2? I wasnt going to get this game anymore but those skills plus the rune system looks/sounds fucking awesome

  17. Rai-Lord says:

    just had a look at grim dawn on youtube thanks to absolute suede above. he may have something there…

    anyone know of a tentative release date?

  18. DeathCarrot says:

    Sad to see how limited summoning is. 3 dogs at level 1, a zombie tank at level 18 and one additional dog at level 19, no skelemancer equivalent :(

  19. Premium User Badge

    lasikbear says:

    Anyone else confused by the numbers? It seems like damage skills are generally in the 20′s-300′s range while heals are generally in the 3000-6000 range.

    • promenad says:

      I think damage skills are enhanced by the characters “Attack” values, which at clvl 60 I assume will be enough to add the extra zeroes to the damage spells.

      That said I find the atmosphere lacking, hate the idea of every-build-in-one-character, can’t see how they will make it play like an arpg with 10+ seconds cool-downs, and would like them to remove the non-RM auction house from hardcore so I don’t have to see it at all.

    • Jeremy says:

      Could just be different numbering systems for damage taken and damage given? I saw the same thing, but just figured it was a reverse Final Fantasy system, where enemies have less health than you instead of 90,000 health.

  20. Hoaxfish says:

    I don’t know… D3 and Torchlight 2 seem to have thrown out any semblance of “olde medival” classes just at the time I’d like to play a nice normal sword&board european soldier in armour.

    D3 doesn’t even seem particularly cohesive, with classes that seem to be a bit of a world tour of everything but. Even the wizard doesn’t have any robes or a hat.

    • Rhin says:

      After years of games forcing you to the armor/leather/robes archetypes, why not try something different?

      Something tells me that you can build a barbarian to pretty close to your gameplay style anyways.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I don’t wanna play like one, I wanna look like one!

      It’s completely different. And as it is, I’ve played “something different” enough.

      Sometimes people just wanna be normal mundane stable family killing machines.

      Feels kinda weird that they’re almost completely excluding the option.

      Even Skyrim is all “hurgh vikings”.

    • Wulf says:

      I’m glad about the way that Torchlight is tossing these things out of the window, too. Have you seen the Engineer class they have? It’s wonderfully absurd. There are so many serious games out there – try Mortal Online, or Mount & Blade, and there are so many games which are just ‘epic’ too for the sake of it. But Torchlight II seems to just rest on that special edge of being reasonable but very silly and absurd. It’s not trying to be ‘epic’ (the original Torchlight wasn’t either), it’s just having a laugh.

      I want more games like Torchlight really, not less.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      Yea, I’m more comfortable with Torchlight 2′s direction. The classes are a different set from the generic placeholders… but they speak of the setting as an integrated family of classes.

      D3′s are all over the place. The Barbarian is the typical “arctic nudist”, the wizard looks “oriental” while strangely the monk doesn’t, the witchdoctor is all voodoo africa, and the deamonhunter is completely nonsensical. It’s like you’ve got a team where one is a power ranger, one is a pokemon, one is Batman, and then you have Buzz Lightyear.

      Anyway, it’s only a phase. No doubt I’ll get right back into zombie warriors from beyond space or something. Hell, the Assassin was my favourite class in D2.

    • Plivesey says:

      @ Wulf

      If anything, I want more games to be like Diablo 2. Torchlight was okay, got a bit boring after a while, and lack of any multiplayer/co-op meant it had hardly any replayability.

      I’m hoping Diablo 3 fills the aRPG void that has been left since… well, since I stopped playing D2:LoD I guess.

      @ Hoaxfish

      If a company made a game where I could play as Batman, alongside a Pokemon and Buzz Lightyear… I think I’d buy it instantly. Here’s hoping Blizzard read your suggestion!

  21. MrTrent says:

    I would get excited about this game, but there’s not a lot of point as the damn having to stay on-line all the bloody time thing leaves me unable to play it. I’m still fuming about that.

    It’s alright for people with permanent addresses and decent isp’s but for people like myself who have no choice but to stick with an unreliable mobile internet dongle with restrictive transfer limits it was devastating news.

  22. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    At least it’s fun toying around with the builder. Too bad about the game’s restrictions, though. Ah well, better games will come along.

  23. Adjudicator says:

    Eh, Torchlight bored the pants off of me and apparently the second one still won’t have secure online.
    I might actually get my money’s worth out of this game on the other hand. I have no interest in playing an ARPG offline.

  24. Melf_Himself says:

    I thought the calculator would be lame, but…. wow. The skills sound like so much fun. I can’t stop playing with it.

    For me the min-maxing and theorycrafting of different builds is a part of the game and just as fun as the game itself. This is basically like half of Diablo 3 being released for me right now. And it’s awesome.

    I still think the lack of LAN, region locking, fluffy carebear rainbows, etc is all crap. But. Man this is gonna be great.

  25. Plivesey says:

    I was quite excited about Diablo 3 prior to this, but now I’m stupidly excited. So many possibilities! Some people are commenting on the fact you don’t have your set-in-stone skills, which ultimately meant every class ended up at one or two viable builds. But I’m looking forward to seeing nobody quite like me in the game, and being able to switch things to adapt to a situation.

    Being able to play a battle-mage style wizard when solo’ing, but also being able to play a straight up glass cannon caster when I have other players as a meat shield seems fantastic to me.

  26. RandomGameR says:

    The skills got me all excited but then I watched a few videos and became worried again. Apparently the outdoors areas are not as random as Diablo 2. I do not like this.

  27. subkamran says:

    I gotta be a Demon Hunter. I gotta.

  28. Mutak says:

    If i wanted to obsess over skill trees and detailed loot lists i’d just re-up my WoW sub.