With the official Diablo 3 release date May 15 fast approaching, is Blizzard’s life drain spell still active after all these years? Here’s 10 reasons for when Diablo III finally sees the light of day, you probably won’t.
1. It’s the same Diablo you know and love (or hate to love)
You will quickly find that Diablo 3 gameplay is a lot like like Diablo 2, except on steroids. Everything from the quests, to NPCs, to art style is familiar, only better. If you can last through the 20-minute video (after the break) you’ll see for yourself just how much has improved, yet stayed the same. And who wouldn’t want to play as a female barbarian?
2. Hell Difficulty? Try Inferno Mode.
If you thought the baddies in hell were bad enough, Blizzard has a place where only those with godly equipment, skills and quick mouse fingers will survive. If Nightmare difficulty is where the fun begins, I’m not exactly sure how much fun Inferno difficulty will be. But with the best loot only available in the hardest mode, I don’t think there’s any doubt where you’ll want to be.
3. Shiny loot lets others know you’ve been playing too much
While it was hard to tell what equipment others were packing in the last game, Diablo III’s graphical bump lets your valuables really show through. Armor sets will be brilliantly detailed, and it will be instantly clear to others whether you’re a longtime veteran or a wannabe noob with a set of cracked boots. In total, there are 16 tiers of armor for each of the classes, so should offer more than enough wardrobe eye-candy.
4. Sell your items for real money in the auction house
Oh boy, this is a big one. Instead of getting your item fix by heading to eBay and then having your purchased items clumsily strewn on the ground, Blizzard has created a Diablo III auction house to buy and sell your items for gold or cold, hard cash. They’ll take a cut of the profits, of course; but it’s a legal (and safe) way to empty your stash and refill your wallet. This feature is apparently so addictive that South Korea banned the auction house entirely. Let the gold / item hunting begin.
5. New, exciting story
Let’s be honest, the story in Diablo II was little more than a token one to send you on fetch and kills quests. While the quests are still nothing to write home about, every good game needs a story to carry you along; and this one should not disappoint. Watch the Diablo III trailer (intro cinematic) below to see how our friend, Deckard Cain, fares in this latest installment. Once again it takes place in Sanctuary, the physical realm of man in the Diablo universe.
6. All-new classes
Blizzard has created a diverse set of Diablo III classes, including the tried-and-true Barbarian, along with the Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor, and Wizard. Different classes now have a different way of utilizing their skills. Wizards use Arcane Power, similar to magic, but Barbarians will build up their fury exponentially as they kill baddies, releasing skills in a flurry of rage. With unique sets of equipment, skills and backstories, this will make multiple playthroughs a must.
7. New lackeys to join in the fight
The mercenaries of the last game may have been nice, but they were basically expensive cannon fodder. Diablo III has a set of enhanced followers including the Templar, Scoundrel and Enchantress that join on par with your level. Each has a wide range of skills that should do more than just distract your foes. There are also numerous skills that give you additional allies to fight by your side, albeit temporarily.
8. New skills pack a punch and are a feast for the eyes
Gameplay in the series has always been about choosing skills and skill trees wisely, and the skills in Diablo III are no exception. Some of the high-level skills are most impressive, as shown in the video below. As always, maxing out certain skills will remain an important strategy and encourage multiple character builds to see what works best.
9. The Gold Standard
Diablo has always been about the items (gold was almost worthless in the first 2 games), but Diablo III puts more emphasis on gold, making it even more useful than in WoW. For example, you now can buy auction items with gold, vendors sell equipment closely matching your level, and your weapons lose durability when you die in Inferno mode (you’ll die a lot, and good equipment costs a lot to repair). You can even expand your stash and craft new weapons with gold. Overall, this will be the most important currency in Diablo III, and will have you picking up every last gold piece and equipping gold-find armor to feed your addiction.
10. No Monthly Fees
In today’s world of pay-to-play online RPGs, Diablo III will involve simply buying the game (and expansions) and you’re all set to go. This is largely due to the fact that it’s an “instanced” game with only a few party members in a world at once (like Guild Wars), rather than MMORPG where thousands are populating a world, and server at once. This should be an easier pill to swallow for many gamers, and see a whole new generation get involved (see: addicted). The auction house does add a new element however, meaning those with thick wallets can more easily buy their way to the top.
It’s been twelve years since the last time we saved Deckard Cain in Act I of Diablo II, and although our friend may be a bit worse for wear this time around, Diablo III seems to have all the elements to suck us back into the world once again. From the improved gameplay, characters, skills and visuals, Inferno mode and real-money auction house; it’s going to be a long month (and year) for a lot of people when Diablo III hits the shelves this May. Do you plan to pick up a copy on release date, and what features are you looking forward to the most?