During my visit to Anaheim last weekend for the 6th annual Blizzcon, I got the chance to try out the new Diablo III.
As you can imagine, the lines were ridiculously long during the entire convention. I only got to try it out for one session of PvP which is five minutes of practice and five minutes of actual versus battle. I’ve never played with the older Diablos before so I can’t make references from them but the gameplay reminded me a lot of Ragnarok Online.
The 3D planes are very similar with Ragnarok Online, making the controls almost native to me. The class I chose was Demon Hunter, a ranged class that focuses on shadow magic with hatred and discipline points. Each skill uses or earns hatred and discipline so you can’t keep spamming the same moves over and over again. I’ve always loved to play ranged classes, so I was extremely excited to see how different Blizzard will make this class different from other games.
I was paired with three other friends in this PvP, they were Barbarian, Monk, and Witch Doctor. The opposing team was comprised of two Barbarians, Witch Doctor, and I think a Monk. It’s a pretty interesting team since I felt I had a lot of control even as a ranged character as long as we worked together with the tanks up front. I didn’t die in two hits and dealt a lot of damage in general.
Blizzard was kind and bestowed my Demon Hunter with the following active skills:
- Caltrops |Discipline
Cost: 8 Discipline
Lay a trap of caltrops on the ground that activates when an enemy approaches. Once sprung, the caltrops slow the movement of enemies within 12 yards by 65%. This trap lasts 12 seconds.
Cost: 10 Discipline
Tumble acrobatically 35 yards.
- Shadow Power|Discipline
Cost: 20 Discipline
Draw in the power of the shadows, increasing attack speed by 50% for 10 seconds.
- Smoke Screen|Discipline
Cost: 15 Discipline
Vanish behind a wall of smoke, becoming momentarily invisible for 2 seconds.
These are the active attacks I had (though I could be completely wrong on this one. I was having too much fun and forgot to read what they actually were), left and right click respectively:
Hungering Arrow|Hatred Generator
Generate: 5 Hatred
Fire a magically imbued arrow that seeks out targets for 115% weapon damage and has a 60% chance to pierce through targets.
Rapid Fire|Hatred Spender
Cost: 40 Hatred initially, and an additional 15 Hatred per second while firing.
Rapidly fire at 6 times your normal attack speed dealing 35% weapon damage with every shot.
As you can see, I have two defense skills, one trap, and one offense. Especially useful to have Vault as Barbarians has a skill that can grab you close to them. With just a click, you can escape from them easily. Lay a few traps, drop a smoke bomb, and they’ll be convinced to follow another target that won’t slip away. One trick I used to bring down enemies quickly is to activate Shadow Power and executing Rapid Fire at the same time to cut their HP, fast.
Like any other ranged class, it’s smart to focus your attacks on a target that is already being tanked by a fellow team member. Never draw attention. I’ve tried to go solo a couple times and it always ended up in tragedy. I always seemed to be the last one left on the field because the enemy team had to kill the tanks to get to me. While waiting for the other three members to respawn, I ran around like a headless chicken with two Barbarians taking turns to pull me in… it was living hell.
All in all, you can be the best Demon Hunter in this demo but I still believe teamwork as a lot to do with it. We often focus fired on the weakest enemies and avoided damage taken on our ranged teammates. Coming out victorious, I know this is because of our amazing telepathic communication skills.
Lastly, aside from the gameplay, the graphics were very visually appealing. Damage looked like it actually hurt and the animations were just right, not too quick or too slow. The special effects were very creative and colorful, completely up to par with Blizzard’s reputation.
I’m anxious for this game to come out for release, the PvP gameplay is one that is definitely to-die-for. Hopefully the PvE will be just as good, if not better. Note that they’ve also recently announced a collector’s edition of the game yet with price tag revealed… It includes the game, a “Soulstone” USB, exclusive in-game content, “Behind the Scenes” Blu-ray/DVD, “The Art of Diablo III”, and the soundtrack. Depending on how much they’re willing to sell this for, I would be tempted to get it just for the art book and Blu-ray. You can also get Diablo III for free with the new Annual Pass for World of Warcraft.