Diablo 3 - PC

Diablo 3
Game Description:Diablo III picks up the story twenty years after the events of Diablo II. Mephisto, Diablo, and Baal have been defeated, but the Worldstone, which once shielded the inhabitants of the world of Sanctuary from the forces of both Heaven and Hell, has been destroyed, and evil once again stirs in Tristram. Playing as a hero from one of five distinct character classes, players will acquire powerful items, spells, and abilities as they explore new and familiar areas of Sanctuary and battle hordes of demons to safeguard the world from the horrors that have arisen.
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Diablo III BlizzCon 2009 Hands-On Preview

Diablo III BlizzCon 2009 Hands-On Preview

By Brian Leahy - Posted Aug 24, 2009

The doors to BlizzCon 2009 opened up at 10am and I had an hour and a half before the opening ceremony, which I decided to fill with some hands-on time with Diablo III. The game was playable at BlizzCon 2008, but this would be my first time playing Blizzard’s follow-up to one of my favorite games of all time.

I started out with a Barbarian, who now uses a rage system similar to World of Warcraft’s warrior class. I was dropped into a desert zone with some of my skill tree pre-filled and a new UI to learn. There is a permanent minimap on the screen and Tab will now swap the skills mapped to the right mouse button. It’s probably the most jarring change: years of instinctively hitting Tab to check my map in Diablo II led to a lot of accidental skill swapping during my demo.

I quickly got a quest to eliminate a cult that had taken over a city and moved deeper into the desert through from the cliffs. Enemies swarmed from offscreen and on top of the cliffs and were quickly dispatched with my dual-wielded maces, one doing fire and the other doing cold damage. The first items dropped and I was hooked all over again.  It was at this point that I looked up to find that the opening ceremony had started, not realizing that I had already spent an hour and a half playing. I was driven by my desire for loot and hadn’t noticed the time. Luckily, the Monk class was revealed and enabled for BlizzCon 2009 so I got to put more time into Diablo III later.


My initial reaction to Diablo III was similar to my first time with StarCraft II two years ago at BlizzCon. It has an overwhelming ability to remind you of the classic experience. At the same time, it feels completely new and innovative, even though the core gameplay is fundamentally the same.

There are some changes to the gameplay, however, that should go a long way in differentiating Diablo III from its predecessor. Loot drops, for example, are instanced and are created on a per-player basis. No longer will you fight for drops in multiplayer games. Gold is picked up by walking over the piles, though you can click each one if you’re feeling nostalgic.

Character progression comes down to the skill trees. Attributes now grow along a set path and are handled by the game. No longer will players risk ruining characters by putting too many points in the wrong stat. I’m told there will eventually be a system to customize characters beyond simple skill points, but it was not in the current build.

Blue items, which traditionally needed to be identified, now drop as identified, usable gear. Rares will have to be identified, just like before. The inventory system has been streamlined, with only two item sizes to manage: a single box and two vertical boxes. Quest items get their own inventory and will no longer take up valuable space in your main inventory.

In addition to potions, some enemies will drop health orbs that heal some HP over time, much like in God of War. It helps reduce the reliance on potions, but isn’t a full replacement for them. Health potions now heal instantly, like the rejuvenation potions in Diablo II. Besides health and mana potions, elixirs will drop that increase certain statistics for a set amount of time. Belts are no longer used for organizing potions and there is currently a dedicated health potion slot on the new quick bar that will automatically use your best potion when activated.

Diablo III looks gorgeous, plays smoothly (on high-end BlizzCon machines), and makes good use of a new physics system to add a good deal of satisfaction to your kills. This year’s demo featured a large outdoor area as well as a few dark dungeons to explore. The mix works well and the art style lives up to Blizzard’s high standards. The increase in resolution is the most welcome change, since PC hardware has improved considerably since Diablo II: Lord of Destruction unlocked 800x600.

The spell effects are incredible and definitely led to some jaw-dropping moments. Just check out the Monk’s Exploding Palm ability, which puts a damage over time debuff on enemies. If they die while the debuff is active, they explode in a gory sphere of blood and guts, hurting nearby enemies. It’s awesome.


The Monk plays a lot like Diablo II’s Assassin, but is a bit more fluid and relies not on combo points, but on chaining attacks together in a free-flowing order. His abilities have different effects based on whether or not they are the first, second, or third hit in a chain. The third hits tend to be pretty devastating, taking the place of the Assassin’s finishing moves. The Monk also gets magical abilities that use mana, which can deflect projectiles back an enemies or blind nearby foes.

It’s an extremely rewarding class to play that requires a lot of ability management to get the most out of his damage output. He is much weaker than the Barbarian, however, and will need to be played with a bit more of a hit & run style. His attacks are fast and many hit multiple enemies.

Diablo III’s level of polish, even while still in development, is scary. There’s no solid release window and there’s still one more class left to be revealed, but the development team is hard at work on creating content for the game. I just hope it isn’t too long before Blizzard releases new media and information on Diablo III. I’m not sure I can wait for another BlizzCon to play it.

Comments are Closed

  • bigbossmcg

    the monk is just a refined assassin but it looks so good i can over look that

    Posted: August 28, 2009 11:10 AM
  • Raverenz51

    Thanks Leahy for the information. I cannot wait for Diablo III. Blizzard makes some very good games.

    Posted: August 27, 2009 7:40 PM
  • Curare

    DIABLO III ARENA. (because the logo is a rip-off of Quake III) ha ha.

    Posted: August 27, 2009 6:40 PM
  • NortheastMonk

    Freaking Sweet. Screw hellfire though!

    Posted: August 27, 2009 4:21 PM
  • mehnick

    who wants to start a clan with me when it comes out XD

    Posted: August 27, 2009 12:22 PM
  • Prizm

    Cant wait for this one to hit the selves!

    Posted: August 27, 2009 11:01 AM
  • lllsalazarlll

    Diablo III...
    I've waited a long time for this...

    Posted: August 27, 2009 10:52 AM
  • nikki2178

    I have to say, I've never played a Diablo game in my life. I was weaned on console games, doing the PC thing every now and again with games like WoW and the odd shooter. But I've heard so many good things about Diablo that I may have to pick this up. I consider myself a hardcore RPG fan, but maybe I'm really not until I've experienced Diablo for myself...

    Posted: August 27, 2009 10:17 AM
  • Seriouslygaming

    i see it too man but maybe there just trying to make it more accessible to people that don't have extreme gaming PCs. i always wanted to play wow since it came out but never was able to till i got my new computer

    Posted: August 27, 2009 9:32 AM
  • teabags

    im eagerly awaiting this game, im just sad about this and other cinematics ive seen, pretty weak..am i the only one who sees how bad the graphics are in this?? almost no definitions or curves mostly straight lines even on the bodies themselves and the clothing shows just flat surfaces..hurry up with the game but after several years of working on this game you'd think they'd release good graphics in their cinematics, this reminds me of WOW graphics and not WOW cinematics, the cinematics for WOW are brilliant..am i going to get flamed for this or are there some out there who see what i see??

    Posted: August 26, 2009 6:52 PM
  • Orellon

    Simply Amazing. I may have to forsake my Hammerdin for a Monk.

    Posted: August 25, 2009 2:19 PM
  • Jinnified


    Posted: August 25, 2009 12:26 PM
  • Ewoc

    The Monk was my favorite class to play with at Blizzcon. He seemed overpowered and extremely fun to play. I actually think he feels alittle stronger and tougher then the Barbarian. At times, I almost died with the Barb, but with the Monk, I didn't even go past half health with him. I also agree with you, it does feel really rewarding when you chain up all your attacks up to where the guy explodes and kills everything around him. I like how they remade the action toolbar and the Barbarian rage system. At first I was against it, but once I got my hands on the actual game, it's super orgasmic. OH yeah Blizzard.. Please reduce the cool down for the Barb's Stun, make the Witch Doctor stronger (When I played with him, I couldn't really kill anything in a pleasurable time. It's probably because of the pre-set skills, but it's ok.) The Wizard is fast and pretty fun, and Last.... The Monks Perfect. Thanks for creating such an awesome class.

    Posted: August 24, 2009 9:14 PM
  • Langealot

    Yeah the monk is actually in the hellfire expansion for diablo I but this guy is waaaaaay cooler.

    I am kinda on the fence about this game however, until i see more actual game play footage.

    Posted: August 24, 2009 8:35 PM
  • BahamutKaiser

    That was awsome. I was really hoping they would do something different because the Assassin was really disappointing in D2, going with monk was an awsome choice, and the techniques were amazing.

    I just hope they add enough combat depth so every class has an equal PvP value and gameplay technique will allow victory no matter what the match up is.

    Posted: August 24, 2009 5:59 PM
  • Newportninja

    i loved diablo 1 2 and hellfire, but for some reason im just not excited about d3

    Posted: August 24, 2009 5:05 PM
  • Ghosth4xor

    For the love of cheese whiz just put out the game!!!!! I want it NOW!!!!!!!!!.....PLZ

    Posted: August 24, 2009 4:48 PM
  • Masquerade

    I love the Diablo franchise; can't wait for this game.

    Posted: August 24, 2009 4:41 PM