Sneak Peek: Diablo 3
The Diablo franchise started with the release of Diablo on Dec. 31, 1996. The dungeon-crawling action RPG met with immediate success in mainstream gaming. However, after the release of Diablo 2’s expansion on June 29, 2001 absolutely no knowledge as to the future of Diablo had been hinted. Rumors of a new game grew rampant, but official word never confirmed anything. Just when hope for a new game started to die, Blizzard announced a sequel to Diablo 2 on June 28, 2008. The internet has since been full of information about the new game and its game play.The beta testing for Diablo 3 began its distribution through invites and contests on Sept. 20, 2011. The beta features access to a portion of the first act and all of the different character classes and genders of the game.
The beta of Diablo 3 begins with the player’s character entering outside of New Tristram searching for a falling star. As the character walks toward the entrance of the town corpses litter the ground nearby. Areas immediately around the town face a plague of risen dead. Captain Rumford of the town guard waits by the entrance and beckons the player in. He tells the player of Leah, the only person to have escaped the cathedral when the star fell on it, and suggests the player speak to her. Deckard Cain, her uncle, became lost in the cathedral and the hero must rescue him. The beta continues until the player reaches and defeats the Skeleton King, at which point it ends.
In terms of gameplay, Diablo 3 has not lost its touch. The combat motion proves dynamic and fluid, with all kinds of monsters shooting, swinging and charging at the player. Some explode and create new monsters. The difficulty puts pressure on the player to keep them interested but does not go too far and make someone frustrated. The environments vary with each playthrough, with whole new dungeons existing in one game but not necessarily the next. Gorgeous 3D designs give the world of Sanctuary a new life. Exploring rewards the player with different loot in each game. If the player collects loot they cannot use, the blacksmith in town offers a salvaging and crafting service to help acquire better gear. Without the proper weapons and armor the game can get difficult pretty fast, so gaining better equipment proves to be an important part of the game.
The five character classes in Diablo 3 function very well and differently. The knowledgeable wizard uses arcane spells, which have a variety of powers including ice, fire and electricity. He can summon arcane minions, armor and weapons to strengthen himself. The disciplined monk has a flurry of quick combo attacks, which builds his spirit and weakens the enemy. Then he releases his spirit to support himself and his allies, as well as to unleash powerful attacks. The ferocious barbarian returns as the only class from a previous Diablo game and uses brute strength to overcome his foes. He builds up fury by hacking away at enemies and unleashes it in the form of brutal slashes, buffs and smashes. The manipulative witch doctor utilizes spirits, corpses and poisons to cripple foes. Using his mana resource, the witch doctor casts cheap spells and powerful summons to assist him. The last class is the demon hunter, a ranged based class which lays traps, fires missiles and fights with bows and crossbows. The only class with two resources, the demon hunter uses hatred to use quicker and weaker spells and uses Discipline for powerful, lasting effects. Each class has unique features, and finding a class for a particular playstyle proves very simple.
Overall the beta for Diablo 3 has helped to show the remarkable potential behind the game. The gameplay has solidity and variety which can capture the attention of the player with ease. The story has consistency, and stylistically the series’ dark feel remains prevalent. Things look hopeful, and people will soon find out whether the game will live up to the hype.