First Impressions: Diablo 3

Games like Diablo 3 aren’t really good for me.  Dungeon-crawling games can be difficult for someone with a compulsion to explore every nook & cranny, or pick up every piece of loot they find.  When I played Titan Quest a while back, I eventually found the experience slow, grinding & tedious, though that admittedly was mostly my own fault.  My compulsion to pick up every bit of crappy, broken loot meant I’d be making several trips back to town through the portal before clearing a single dungeon.

Thankfully so far, Diablo 3 seems to have avoided most of these issues.  For one, the inventory system is much better.  Instead of having a grid system where each item takes up a certain number of slots, it just counts the number of pieces.  So staffs take up as much space as a gem.  Secondly, there’s less useless loot dropped.  Thirdly, items in the shop aren’t so ridiculously priced that you have to rob a bank.  Lastly, & most importantly, each section in the game, at least so far, had a warp pad back to the local town.  This means I can methodically clear a section then sell off my excess swag & quickly move on.  It just makes for a smoother experience.

I was surprised to find the game so addictive.  I bought the game on a whim because it was on sale.  Originally I just intended to check out the tutorial section & put it down.  Three hours later I was putting it down just long enough to eat lunch.  The next break was at supper time.

I think the part that makes Diablo 3 most enjoyable for me is the combat.  Specifically it’s the customization of your avatar & their skills.  Rather than unlocking so many skills your screen is cluttered with icons, all of the skills are grouped into categories, & each category has a specific button (I have the PS4 version) or key.  So you have to decide what you want your active skill in that group to be.  On top of that, as you level up you unlock different runes for each skill, which alter the effects.  As you can only have one rune active at a time, this further varies the combinations & styles of play.  So two people playing the same class can have two very different styles.  For example, whereas my Demon Hunter uses Evasion Shot, Caltrops & Vault to stay one step ahead of enemies, another Demon Hunter might prefer Grenades, Spike Traps & Marked for Death to deal heavier damage.  Skills can also be changed to fit the situation, though it’s kind of sucky that you can’t change skills during a boss fight.

Another aspect that I really enjoy, despite being essentially useless & superficial, is that you can change the appearance of your items.  Clearly I’m not the only one who hates finding a piece of equipment with really good stats but it just looks awful.  In Diablo 3, if you’re willing to fork out the money, you can alter your equipment through dyes & paying the mystic to transmogrify it.  Completely superficial, I know.  But if I’m going to spend hours on end staring at my avatar, at least they can look cool.

That’s not to say it’s been a perfect experience.  Some of the problems or complaints I’ve had is that:

  1. I wish I could control the camera, at least to zoom in or out.
  2. Lock-on is a bit iffy.  My agile Demon Hunter has a habit of firing in the completely opposite direction of where the enemy is, particularly after vaulting or evasive fire.  There is a lock-on button which will turn you to fire at the enemy regardless of your direction when you attack, but I don’t like using it because I feel like it makes it harder for me to run around while holding the trigger (because I have “mouse hands” as my friend is fond of saying).  I also haven’t found a way to switch targets.  They only way I can pick a specific enemy, like one that keeps summoning minions, is to run up to it until it autolocks, then manually lock-on & run away.

While it’s entirely possible some of these problems may be due to my own ineptitude, it’s also probably related to playing on a console.  Nothing beats point-&-click for smiting evil.

In the future I may try out the co-op or verses stuff, but for now I’m enjoying my solo journey.

– GamerDame


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