Diablo 3, the long awaited game of many PC gamers as well as Diablo fans has become the most pre-ordered PC game of all time on Amazon.com. As we are nearing the end of week two, there has been mixed feelings within the Diablo community leaving onlookers confused and indecisive. The all important question is still, “Should I buy this game?”. After getting to level 60 (maximum) on a wizard, I must say that D3 has been an emotional roller coaster leaving you full of confusion and doubt. Caution, spoilers and a long read ahead.

Having pre-ordered the game directly from Blizzard, I promptly installed it and started playing since release. The combat, graphics, and skills were all new and enticing to me and I wasted no to time to see just exactly what D3 had to offer. One thing I noticed straight off the bat was how dumbed down the quests had become. There is a quest tracker on the right side of your screen reminding you what you are supposed to be doing. Now this isn’t bad in my opinion, but what’s next is just plain “un Diablo like”. As you get closer to your quest objective, an arrow appears on your minimap telling you “Oh hey, its this way!” When you get there, you are greeted by a yellow dot on your minimap confirming the location of your task. This arrow and yellow dot has completely changed questing into a mechanical task of “Go here, do this, talk to this person, etc”. Back in Diablo 2, there were no markers and you would have to spend time exploring the map until you found what you were looking for. However in D3 I find myself running through the map until that fateful arrow guides me to where I need to go so I could get on with my life.

Questing aside, I found combat to be very fun and smooth. I easily tore through monsters with my spells and had no objection for this topic. But to fight, you need spells and now we approach the second bane of my Diablo career. Instead of the typical spell or talent “tree” we’re used to seeing, it has now been replaced by something more simplistic. You are now offered a set number of spells and by affixing different “runes” to them; you basically have modifications of said spells or otherwise “new spells”. It’s fun to experiment as you progress through the game but in the end I found myself using certain spells while the others sat there feeling neglected in the dark. To be honest, the “other spells” just weren’t as useful or effective as what I had already. I found myself using the same skills as I did at lower levels because they worked leading into a very boring repetition of using the same spells all day long. If that wasn’t bad enough, to survive at higher difficulties some skills were required and should never be taken off your skill bar. This in turn creates “cookie cutter” skill builds of boredom and widespread uniformity. It may be a far stretch but joining a game with 3 other wizards all with the same build makes me want to uninstall this game. Where is the diversity and why are we being forced to be clones/Stormtroopers? There has been some clever use of certain skills and abilities (wizards) which enabled them to complete the game on Inferno difficulty (hardest one) with ease. It incorporated fast attack speed, chance of critical hit, Critical Mass (Critical Hits have a chance to reduce the cool down of your spells by 1 second.), as well as Frost Nova. By hitting often, and critting often, wizards were able to spam Frost Nova allowing them to freeze nearby monsters infinitely. After this strategy become more widespread, Inferno monsters as well as bosses have become a joke. Question is, why didn’t the game developers know about this? I mean they made the game, the skills, how did they not foresee this happening? Isn’t it their job to make sure things like this didn’t exist in the first place? At this rate it looks like I paid $60 for Diablo 3 BETA.

Many Diablo players would agree the “fun” is finding rare and interesting items and sadly D3 doesn’t deliver. Back in Diablo 2, rare and legendary items were indeed “rare” to find, but in Diablo 3 you might as well start using an electron microscope. Sure you can stack magic find to boost your chances at finding items but here comes another backhand of reality. Items in D3 suck. I mean it, they suck. Instead of all the fun affixes we had in D2 such as “Chance to cast Frost Nova when struck” or even giving you spells of another class, the items in D3 are all mundane mixes of + strength/intelligence/dexterity/vitality and silly things such as “Increase gold and health globe pick up radius”. While the increased radius of picking up gold/health may make life easier, it takes up an important slot in an item which could have been something more beneficial such as a socket, resists, etc. After having 5 stacks of Nephalem Valor (Increase gold and magic find) at level 60, rare items are easier to find. Thing is, the majority of the items you find have crummy affixes which means they are worth nothing. Might as well sell it to the merchants to foot your repair bill. Set and legendary items are in the same boat. Sure you found the legendary sword “Azurewrath”, but guess what? This random blue (one step up from common) sword I found has 300 more damage. Why in the world would I use “Azurewrath” other than looking awesome in town? I mean, I’m going to switch to a higher damage item when I’m fighting monsters anyway and why exactly is a “blue” drop better than a legendary item? Heck, legendary items are supposed to be legendary aren’t they? As far as items go, D3 has seriously dropped the ball.

Pictures from Diablo 3 Markets.

Next in line for the chopping block is the auction house. While the auction house isn’t completely a bad idea, I can’t even believe they want to incorporate real money for gold/items. At the rate gold fluctuates as well as items, I don’t see why you should be putting your hard earned money into a game which you already paid for, screws you over. Please for the love of all things holy and unholy, think before you act. Another issue with the auction house is that it has become the Holy Grail. Can’t do enough damage or survive in game? Well hop on over to the auction house and just buy some upgrades. Done and done. There’s no need for you to find items when other people are doing it for you right? All you need to do is farm gold. The more gold you have, the better items you can buy, the stronger your character is. Oh look, a concept that mirrors society. What fun.

Diablo 3 also introduces the Blacksmith as well as the Jeweler. This, just like the other new additions of D3 is a complete let down. At first crafting is fun and an interesting way to get new items but once you realize how much gold you have to spend it makes you want to puke. It is much simpler looking on the auction house for items rather than wasting time and effort to craft a piece of gear with decent affixes on it. Also, why in the world can we not repair out items at the Blacksmith? I mean how can you even leave that out? Instead of repairing at the Blacksmith, I need to walk over to a merchant to repair my equipment. Really Blizzard? Really? The Jeweler offers his services of crafting gems and removing gems. That’s cool and all but once again, it costs an arm and a leg to craft gems. Simply playing the game is enough for gems to drop. Gems now can be taken off your equipment for a price. That means you can reuse the same gem(s) as many times as you want which makes the gem market a joke.

Diablo 3 summed up simply is a $60 emotional roller coaster ride. Its new, its fun, it disappoints. The only reason I find myself playing this game is because my friends are playing it. I expected it to be good, no, I wanted it to be good but so far it hasn’t delivered. If you’re in the market for a new game, please steer clear of Diablo 3 until things have been fixed.

Update: Blizzard has announced a “Game Design Update”. More information to changes and fixes can be found here:

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