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  1. #1
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    Diablo 3: let's talk about the actual game bit

    OK, so I understand I'm taking a bit of a risk here.

    Just to get it out of the way, I acknowledge the seriousness of the concerns that have been expressed on this site about the nature of such things as the always-online DRM. I have read the posts of John and Nathan and agree with much of what they have to say. As gamers and consumers we should be making sure our voices are heard.

    But still, I'd kind of like to talk about the bit where you actually get to play, because there's lots really interesting stuff going on there that's getting a little buried under the game's baggage. I'm really looking forward to John's Wot I Think, and I think we can start some good discussion while we're waiting.

    Initially, a few things really stand out for me as big positives.

    1. The game is pretty verging on gorgeous. It uses a combination of careful use of colour and lighting to evoke a different mood from its environments. This is helped along substantially by some truly lovely art assets; an early highlight for me is the twisted, grasping trees, with a nice skewed perspective to make them really eerie. The degree of interactivity helps this along, with lots of things to shatter, collapse and otherwise destroy. And yet things never get cluttered to the point where things are obscured.

    2. It's a very generous game. If you want to play with a skill, you can. If you have an idea for a build you can set it up in seconds- hey, why not? Furthermore, you get to feel really powerful, with lots of visual cues, flashy effects and screen shakes, along with thumpy sound effects. Some very effective and powerful attacks actually grant resources rather than drain them, so you can continue to thrash through monsters while building up your big hits. The game is very keen on you having a good time.

    3. I remember one of the big things that the original Half-Life did that hadn't been well done before was that you wouldn't always just walk round a corner to meet a bunch of enemies standing in a room for no good reason- zombies would burst through doors, marines would abseil from the ceiling. D3 frequently does the same thing. Monsters have a variety of different ways of ambushing you. Add to this the event mini-quests that pop up now and again and the game feels much more lively and active. The player is not just a big broom sweeping the map clean of unmotivated monsters.

    So, those of you who have been playing: what have you liked? What have you not liked? If you haven't played, what would you like to know?

    A final plea- I can't tell you what to do. But could we keep the DRM/RMAH discussion to the other threads devoted it? Thanks, most excellent RPSers.

  2. #2
    Lesser Hivemind Node DWZippy's Avatar
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    I've played through till.. I'd say I was at the end of Act 2 with my witchdoctor, I've got a monk and a barbarian slowly trawling across act 1.

    I'd agree it was very pretty, and while some people may complain about the alleged "casualness" of the game, I like the fact you can fiddle around with skills as and when you get them with no consequence. I hear the Nephilim valour system will put an end to that around level 60 - or realistically, about the point you stop earning new skills. This seems great. I've got a ton of stuff I want to post about this, but i'm burning time before a big essay hand in, but I will return to this thread in about 15 hours, with a bit of luck.
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  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Bankrotas's Avatar
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    Am I allowed to state my opinion even if it's from beta impressions and overall look of the game? If not ignore 1-2 senteces. I felt not enough connection to my hero while playing the game, it felt as if some sort of arcade, where anyone could pick your hero, made couple of tweaks and went playing their own style.
    Furthermore, after seeing so many games done practicly same way, I feel this is fucking slow evolving game, that honestly I think Dungeon Siege 3 has made better steps in evolving and making combat more fun. I would really have liked a bigger change to ARPG style from anyone, but don't see that happening in near future all because of Diablo 3.
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  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    I actually welcome the new skill system. I don't know about everyone else, but I tend to stop playing a game once I've reached the endgame and found out that my build is actually a dead end and I've made the endgame unreasonably difficult. It reminds me of Guild Wars and the flexibility you had with the classes. I can understand the hardest of the hardcore were looking forward to grinding the numbers and building the stats to make the ubermen build, but most people probably didn't play that way. Then again most people aren't as vocal as the hardcore sector.

  5. #5
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    I've sunk about 15 hours into the game so far. I've completed Act I and have a lvl 16 Wizard and a lvl 9 monk.

    My thoughts:
    - The game is intended to be multiplayer. Even when not playing with friends, public games provide a far higher level of enjoyment than soloing with a henchman. It's more challenging, requires a degree of teamwork, there's more stuff to blow up, and the loot seems better (although this last observation may just be my perception).

    - I love the ability to seamlessly switch between singleplayer and multiplayer at a press of a button. I usually group up first and go with the group flow. After clearing an area, I would switch to singleplayer and re-do the stage to sweep all the areas that I missed when grouping. Having separate single- and multiplayer characters now feels quite outdated to me.

    - I like the auction house function. Of course, the Real Money thing hasn't happened yet so we haven't see the full implications, but the ability to flesh out your characters item set in a pain-free and legitimate manner is a good thing.

    - The game is beautiful, fast and furious. So far the environments have been top-notch and every new stage brings surprising new monsters. The controls are solid, and there are times (when you're in a group of 4) where there must be 20 mobs on screen suffused in a blaze of particle effects and everything runs smoothly.

    - You are a badass. This is probably the single greatest thing about the game. It manages to make your character feel like a badass from lvl 1 while presenting you with a challenge. The feel of having your build play out perfectly to eliminate a group of mobs is mighty satisfying. For example, take my Wizard. I have numerous setups depending on party configuration (solo open world, solo dungeon, solo boss, group open world, group dungeon, group boss), but one of my favorites tactics at the moment is to soften up approaching mobs with ray of frost (rune: snow blast +280% weapon dmg after 1.5 sec). As they get closer i get them bunched up close then frost nova them in place (rune: shatter 50% to activate another frost nova on death). I switch to Shock Pulse (rune: explosive bolts, slain enemies explode dealing AOE dmg). When it works I set off a chain reaction where mobs freeze and as they die, they explode and freeze other mobs) When you lock down and kill 6 mobs in a chain reaction of explosive, ice-encased death, it's fucking cool.

    - The skill UI is shit, the skill switching is genius. The ability to switch up your skill and customize your character on the fly for any given situation is a big reason why your character feels like such a badass. Compared to the last 3 ARPG games I played (Torchlight, Titan Quest, Sacred 2) there skill-up system of assigning points to set skill after every lvl just seems so restrictive now.

    - Lag isn't an issue for me. I have a SEA copy of the game which means I'm assigned to the Americas server. My latency is 300ms. It hasn't become an issue yet, nor have disconnects or server queues (both of which haven't happened once). It was originally a concern for me because I live so far away from the server, but it's worked out fine thankfully.

    Yes, I'm having a blast with this game.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    I have 2 questions, can I play it with a controller and does it have anykind of "attack move" I tire of clicking on small things that move fast.
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  7. #7
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus b0rsuk's Avatar
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    It must suck playing hardcore, because many skill runes have very high requirements. Each time you die you are down to the same 2 viable skills.

    Why is it a good thing that your character is a badass from level one ?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by b0rsuk View Post
    Why is it a good thing that your character is a badass from level one ?
    Because it's simply more fun and acts as an incentive to keep playing. The badassery is comparative to the enemies you're facing. As you lvl up there's more ways to express your character's badassery.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    I have 2 questions, can I play it with a controller and does it have anykind of "attack move" I tire of clicking on small things that move fast.
    You can just hold down the mouse button :| and your char will attack away

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Attack near where he is or attack/move towards the cursor depending on where you point?

    I dislike movement and attack both being the same button, misclick an enemy and you run next to them, a critical fail with a ranged hero.
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  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mrpier's Avatar
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    ¨Shift+Click is stand still and cast/throw/fire things at the mobs.

  12. #12
    Network Hub grasskit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heliocentric View Post
    misclick an enemy and you run next to them, a critical fail with a ranged hero.
    thats what shift+click is for

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus groovychainsaw's Avatar
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    Thought I'd chip in here with a long, rambling post, with some more positive comments than in other threads (which are pretty painful to read, in some cases - where do these people come from?). I felt a bit nervous about the always online thing, but as i was going to play co-op anyway, I worried about it less and it hasn't affected me yet (takes about 30s to log in and there is very occasional lag, usually when checkpointing, which is annoying, but I can live with it). I'm sure it's really bad for those who have experienced disconnects/failures to log in and that's what I was most worried about. It hasn't happened to me so naturally I have a more positive view of the game. (I still think its fairly stupid to not have an offline-only mode).

    So, the game - It's really really good. It does, as people have said, make you feel like a badass all the time, so far every skill is viable, every skill has a use and you have fun experimenting and mixing up your different strategies. The ability to rebuild on the fly is a great feature, keeping the number of skills manageable (6 active skills ultimately, which is still probably more than I've ever used simultaneously in an ARPG before!) but giving you enough interesting combinations to enjoy yourself. It is supremely satisfying to hit stuff, with great effects and sounds combining to make every hit feel 'epic' (especially as my female barbarian - she tears about 50% of creatures she hits in half, sending legs and torsos flying off screen!). It throws good numbers of mobs at you too, many weak enough to be taken down in 2 hits, but enough of a swarm to do a small amount of damage to you if you stop paying attention (normal, as many have said, is the new easy, so they never really threaten you). Occasionally a boss monster will come along and it will actually be a bit of a surprise how much tougher he is and what new skills they are bringing in (teleporting/fear I've encountered so far), as you're so used to cutting through swathes of skeletons and you have to shift your strategy a bit. Which is when you start developing that 1-hit build to do more damage to a single person, rather than crowd control. These tactical changes are fun, and are getting more and more interesting as more elements unlock.

    As an example, I've just hit level 10 with my barbarian (fairly low level, I know). I have 2 options for each of my main 2 skills, one each with a rune modifier. I've got one defensive power (a stun) and one offensive (a 'get over here' Mortal Kombat style chain for giving me a new person to hit), neither with rune modifiers yet. I've unlocked my first passive slot, along with 2 passive skills, one to increase health orbs drop rate and healing, or improved criticals, increasing rate by 5% and damage by 50% on crit. This is at level 10, and I've already got significantly different things I can do with my character. I don't think any other ARPG has ever given me this many choices this early in the game, usually I'll have just piled all the points into 1 or 2 skillls, so I'm really seeing the benefit of Blizzard's decision here. And I have a follower now! The templar is similar to having another 50% of a character, with a switchable skill selection (1 of 2) every 5 levels and the ability to equip them with weapons and accessories. It's a fun addition, without being so powerful the AI plays the game without you. So yet more interesting choices. The game is really starting to open out, and I'm only just starting to get going really, barely past the first main boss so far.

    So, TL:DR, the game's good, the skill system really works, it looks good and the online stuff (for me) has been pretty seamless and has made co-op very easy. Its so slick, there are very few things preventing you enjoying the game (online issues for some aside). If you don't like ARPGs, well, why are you here? But if you do, its one of the best I've ever played, and I suspect it still has a lot more to show me.
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  14. #14
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    Main thing about new skill system is, in my opinion, is elimination of rpg-feeling from it.
    Yes, it's very fancy that you can swap anything on the fly, you can't fuck up with your stats, cuz they autolevel, that's good too.
    But there is no permanent or semi-permanent role (respec thingy like in titan quest), aside from character selection, that you can choose. That was the main thing, imho, this illusion and feeling of role that was expressed through (semi)permanence of your stat/skill distribution.
    Silly thing, i know.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shezo View Post
    That was the main thing, imho, this illusion and feeling of role that was expressed through (semi)permanence of your stat/skill distribution.
    Semi-permanence is still there, it's just in your inventory. Well, until you get every item for every possible build you could ever want, I suppose. Which should take a while.

  16. #16
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    Other than the stuff that's already said, I love how you can easily switch character. Tired of wrecking everything on screen with a Barbarian? Hit Escape > Leave game > Switch hero > Select > Public games > Resume game. Its mainly because of this that I havent even gotten to Act 2 yet since release.

    And yet, to keep playing the same hero is also rewarding, they keep throwing little things at you to get to that next level. A rune here, and new slot there and oh hey, a new ability, cripes.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Jockie's Avatar
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    Had the bad fortune of having this week off work, booked in advance so I could work on a very important assignment. Come monday night, and my itchy clicker finger has somehow purchased and installed Diablo 3 just in time for launch.

    So yeah, it's a compulsively playable game, sublimely crafted to make you keep playing, i've found it very difficult to stop at times. Whether it's fannying around in character select, checking out achievements, seeing how my friends are progressing or browsing the auction house for bargains. And those are just the ancilliary features surrounding the core experience.

    I far prefer the new skill system to the old, my Level 44 Monk's build has changed dozens of times throughout the course of the game, depending on items, on group composition or enemies faced. It's adaptable and helps to prevent the tedium that inevitably arrives in ARPGS.

    The loot system seems kind of flawed so far, you always seem to get items well below your level, I think it must be cynically designed in some ways, to force you to make use of the auction house. Crafting isn't really crafting, it's just a loot system where you decide what kind of item you get.

    When my monk enters a screen that is literally full of enemies on Hell, it's exciting. He's a walking fucking apocalypse, there's enough challenge on Hell to make it relatively tough in places too (the Giant purple lasers and arcane mortar elites hurt).

    Out of curiosity, is anyone playing Hardcore? I like the idea (no shared loots across characters, no auction house, permadeath) enough that I gave it a go and completely carelessly died at around level 10 with a Demon Hunter (I know, given how easy the game is on normal, It's pretty shameful). I wonder if the games future might lie there for me.

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    Last edited by Jockie; 18-05-2012 at 01:51 PM.
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  18. #18
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    I was playing with the wife last night. Let me rephrase that - I was playing Diablo 3 with the wife last night. We were in some crypt (in-game crypt...) and had just activated an experience shrine. But there weren't many monsters around, and what experience shrines do better than anything else is cause you to cast off your cautions and start charging about trying to find mobs to kill. So we charged about (in-game) and set off a trap.

    I know that, because the game said 'you have set off a trap'.

    Then some skeletons spawned in. "Is that it?" We both thought as we cut them down easily.

    Then some more skeletons spawned in. And some more. And even more - the numbers seemingly increasing exponentially.

    "Well you did ask for more monsters" The better-half observed, between breaths, as the study filled with the sound of frantic mouse clicking. I giggled, as looking at the screen I couldn't really see anything other than bits of skeletons flying through the air.

    And just as we thought we were overrun.. we won.

    And that sums up Diablo 3 for me so far - all the prettiness, new skill systems etc. don't mean anything other than to draw you into that fine Blizzard challenge that makes you giggle with the ludicrousness of it, before feeling elated that you came through.

  19. #19
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus duff's Avatar
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    OP - do not feel cajoled into having a bad opinion of the game. The lack of an offline mode is ridiculous, think hard if you only want this for singleplayer. If you want a co-op arpg polished so hard it's skin is bleeding, then here it is.

    So far I've played the first two acts and I'm really enjoying it. Love the new skill/rune system, the physics are amazing and it feels incredibly polished. I like the removal of the tetris inventory and pissing about with scrolls of town portal and identify, those just got tedious for me. I'm the opposite to Mr Walker in that I love the companion dialogue. I burst out laughing when the Templar asked why zombies could walk under the Sun, going on to argue that "light is the symbolic and literal enemy of evil".
    Last edited by duff; 18-05-2012 at 01:59 PM.

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus groovychainsaw's Avatar
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    My matter of fact barbarian lady (one of the best character models I've ever seen in this sorta game, BTW) responded to that templar comment by saying light is just light, there is no good and evil. Which was brilliantly true neutral ;-). Most of the dialog is pretty cliched, but occasionally something like that will come out. I quite enjoy having a chatty companion, even if most of the stuff he says is rubbish, he hasn't started repeating himself too much yet.
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