I got my hands on Diablo 3 earlier today, around 3pm GMT, and unlike many, I installed and got into the game without any problems at all. I was quite surprised at the lack of problems considering the many issues that people were having in the early hours of launch, and are still having tonight according to what I am seeing on Twitter. So, in the peaceful British May afternoon, I got to spend about an hour with Diablo 3, and you can find some brief first impressions after the jump.
As I said, I was able to install, activate and get into the game without a hitch, probably due to a dip in server load. I found the process very simple and straightforward, and quickly created a Demon Hunter. The menu interface is slick, and I quickly added a few friends using the social tool. I can’t have any complaints based on my limited experience so far, but I must say that I find it very strange to think that I will be kicked out of my singleplayer game if my internet connection drops, or the Blizzard servers buckle under the weight of expectation.
People rightly complain when Ubisoft pull similar tricks, and Blizzard should really consider the impact their decision will have on players without stable internet connections and those who might want to play the game on the move without any internet access at all. Their reasoning about the always-on requirement is to prevent cheats and exploits entering the co-operative mode, but surely it would’ve been better to ensure players create online characters when playing with strangers online. If you wanted to play just with friends, I wouldn’t see any problem with using an offline character.
It should be a similar situation with the Auction house, something I haven’t looked at beyond a cursory glance over, but again, if Blizzard were concerned about cheats and exploits, they should make it that only loot earned through online characters can be traded.
Just to clarify, when I talk about online characters, I mean ones which you can play on your own, with friends and with strangers, but you have to be connected to the Blizzard servers at all times. On the other side, you should be able to create an offline character with which you can still play with friends online, but don’t need to be connected to Blizzard to play the game on your own. I think that would have been an all around simpler system, satisfying the needs of the majority of people, rather than the current situation which is causing so much anger and frustration.
Anyway, my first hour? I really quite enjoyed it, I spent half my time playing on my own, and the other half playing with a friend and I can see the attraction in both approaches to play. When I played on my own, I took my time to explore everywhere I could in the early dungeons to gather as much loot and lore as possible. When I was playing co-operatively, I was more inclined to charge ahead with my friend and focus on having fun bashing monsters.
I hadn’t really read up on the different classes available, and I hadn’t played the Beta, so my choice of Demon Hunter was purely out of a desire to avoid my usual choice of a melee focused Barbarian class. I am really quite pleased with my choice so far, I quite like picking off the loot-bags from a distance with my crossbow, or by settings off various traps in the dungeons. It feels like a fun class to play with, but I look forward to seeing what the other classes play like, especially the Witch Doctor which seems quite interesting.
Playing around with skills so far seems fairly straightforward, though I am only around level 6 or 7 and therefore haven’t unlocked all the different options open to me. I can imagine that further down the line things can become more complicated with a vast array of skills on offer, but it does feel a bit strange not adding specific points to traditional traits such as strength and dexterity.
I’m not sure presently whether I will spend more time playing on my own, or with friends. I will probably try to complete the game on my own first so I can take things in at my own pace, but being able to quickly drop in and out of my friends games is appealing.
I may have only played an hour so far, but I can’t wait to get playing it again later this week. I just hope that Blizzard have sorted the servers out by then.
Note, I am away from my PC, so you will have to wait to see my character in action.