I had the chance to hop on the Diablo III open Beta this past weekend. Unlike many of the posts I've seen around the web, my entry was pretty painless with only one "server problem" error that prevented me from playing. However, an abundance of "boring problems" made up for the lack of technical ones. Be warned Blizzard fans, this article was written by a guy who never played the original Diablo games.
I was never big into the isometric RPG games (3rd worst genre name in the gaming industry) like Diablo and Fallout, mainly because my first experience with them was the horrendous "Pagan: Ultima 8". I got a free copy with my 2 cool 4 school sound blaster 16 card back in the mid 90s. Pagan looked like shit, controlled terribly, and I never had any fucking clue what I was supposed to do. I just wandered towns, attacking NPC's only to be blown up by some magical genie/sheriff that would appear right after. It soured my taste for the genre and I refused to play any that followed.
So consider this my 2nd attempt at the archaic game style. I have to say at first I was impressed by the super simplistic controls and the dark art style. Then after about the second hour, pointing at hordes of monsters and holding the mouse button down until they all died became tedious. I really can't see much of a lasting appeal unless you're so obsessed with stat raising that you completely ignore gameplay to watch numbers flash and statistics change. In that case, I must strongly recommend this really awesome game called Microsoft Excel. It gives you way more control over stat raising with custom equations and a shitload more inventory boxes. INFINITY MORE!
I didn't finish the Beta because I lost interest so excuse me if I missed the best part of the story at the end. 4 hours in, I was not captivated by what was going on. I also didn't get a chance to try any coop as I don't know anyone else that downloaded the BETA. I;m not sure what another player would've added since not once did I ever feel in danger and in need of help. I can only imagine I'd be frustrated with them stealing all the gold. And when you've played Battlefield 3 with 7 other teammates on voice chat, coordinating helicopter dust-offs and laughing at guys who forget to deploy their parachute... I don't imagine conversation between 2 guys holding down the mouse button while their monks automatically punch rats is very riveting.
This game is exciting.
If you ask me, and I don't give a flying fuck how blasphemous this sounds, Diablo 3 and probably all Blizzard games belong on Facebook. I could totally get behind launching an Onlive type streaming setup to play a game like Diablo with my Facebook friends. The graphics are not mind blowing so you don't need to worry about disappointing PC purists and the controls are simple enough for just about anyone to pick up on. You could introduce these games to a whole new market of people willing to waste money on microtransactions to boost stats.
If Zynga can justify paying $200 million for Draw Something and profit off games like Farmville, a Blizzard game on Facebook would probably birth Skynet.