Diablo 3: 3rd Day Impressions

So! Have you had a chance to play any Diablo 3 yet or have the servers got you down? (bad pun)

I originally thought that I would play the Wizard b/c it fits my playstyle best (high risk, high reward), but i've found that I prefer the Witch Doctor the best right now. It has a nice slew of summon spells to keep the buffer between you and monsters and is great when it gets laggy and need something to distract enemies (ill touch on that later). They nailed the creepy shamanistic feel of the class.. nothing says scary than bats, zombies, frogs and spiders. One of my favorite spells was the Grasp of Hands which looks like a scene of your favorite horror movie where zombie hands jut from the ground trying to grab you; it not only slows down the enemies that walk through but also damages them as well.

The Wizard class seems a bit underpowered at early levels and heavily concentrates on arcane and ice spells. I kinda expected more fire spells. What is interesting is that if you freeze an enemy and use a cold spell on it while frozen, it will do less damage. I like small touches like that. The greatest thing about the spellcasters in D3 compared to D2 or other similar kind of games is the mana system. Your Wizard has two kinds of spells Signature and non-signature; signature spells may be slightly on the weaker side, but doesn't cost 'mana', while non-signature spells have cooldowns and costs mana. I truly enjoy this system as I will always have a reliable spell and not have to worry about mana conservation or even potions (can't find mana potions yet; doubt there are any). In all other games, the spell caster can usually provide the highest amount of spike damage, but be limited especially at early levels, but their mana. In D3, you have a steady stream of mana/spells, at the cost of less dps. I say: Bravo. I like this new system.

After only playing 2 days of D3, I see both the benefits and downsides of needing to be connected constantly to the internet to play the game. The biggest downside is the inability to play when the servers are down. This was originally created to be played offline and I understand that and hacking and all that kind of bad stuff that has lead us to DRM. I don't like that, but my main problem is if you have poor internet connection (my house has 3 different people doing massive downloads at peak time), your latency will be poor, EVEN if you're playing solo. THAT, I don't like.

I do enjoy the fact that in being connected, there is 'greater security' and all that jazz. It enables us to play with others more easily if say we started only soloing and find friends that want to join you; instead of creating a whole new character, you just keep using your character and join their game (or vice versa). Though there are breaking drawbacks to this DRM, Blizzard has done a good job in making online play much more convenient and fluff-filled.

Below are some of the best implementations of D3: 

Health pots
- there is a separate key for them (Q), with a cooldown
- health pots will not take up a huge part of your inventory anymore; only one or two slots if you're good with health management

Mini map
- the mini map is great as well as the major map; being in the top right corner
- its very detailed and helps you find where to go for quests, where your companions are, and various points of interest

Shared stash
- I can't remember in D2, but there is a shared stash for all your characters
- its now a billion times easier to trade gear between your alts; just login with that alt and go to the stash and its in there. Easy
- the sharded stash also is used for the auction house; so there isn't anywhere in particular you need to go to sell items; it opens up in a separate screen with your stash screen open from there

Lore bits
- I love lore bits; normally when you defeat a new monster, there will be a lore button you can click on which gives you an audio log tidbit about it

- who doesn't like achievements?
- and since you're online now you will also see your friends gaining achievements
- achivements grants ingame rewards; so far I see stuff to customize your banner

Buddy system 
- in the bottom right of your screen there is a social button which shows at a quick glance how many of your friends are online
- when maximized, you can easily add friends either by their email or their battlenet tag#
- you will be able to see where they are, what character they're playing, and be able to invite them to your party
- one of the greatest innovations of this buddy system is right when you login, on the right it shows you friends that are playing and it gives you the option of quick joining them, instead of the traditional invite system we're used to

Banner system 
- each account has a banner for your characters that you're able to customize and call your own
- with over 5 different categories and 30+ options in each, there are literally hundreds of thousands of customizable options and looks to one's banner
- while in game, you can go to town and it will show each player's banner which will allow you to quickly jump to where they are
- no longer do you have to wait for them to drop a town portal; just jump to their banner and you'll jump to them

If you've read all this and you're still not convinced.. don't bother ;) Although we had to wait nearly a decade for D3, and the server/DRM issue is a big one, I think all the improvements makes it worth the wait. 

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