After ironing out login issues, I played a Wizard through the Diablo III beta up to the Skeleton King. I will play other characters.
I liked the whole experience and pace. It truly felt like Diablo II except for the lack of stripes.
Health bars drop like candy in the game, removing the need for stacking up your inventory with mana and health potions. In fact, there is armor with stats to increase the amount or frequency of health globes released by mobs.
My Wizard started at the Overlook Road, near New Tristram. He's in search of the fallen star.
You can enter the Slaughtered Calf Inn and Deckard Cain's house. Leah's room is located within the Inn, next to the Barkeep.
I recommend entering in both locations every time you complete a quest. Sometimes there are updates: new lore books or journals.
The stash initially has only 14 slots available. You can buy another 14 slots for 2500 gold, and another 14 slots for the same price and more space later on. There is a pulldown to access other character stashes.
The map can be accessed by pressing "M". It looks much better than in Diablo II. The minimap can be toggled on and off at the top-right corner. You can see icons of special locations such as the Stash, the Inn, and the Waypoint.
Quest NPCs are highlighted in the map the same way it's done in World of Warcraft: a yellow exclamation sign. The mini-map also shows with a red dot the NPCs that are required for a quest. At times, locations which are the aim of your quest will become a constant ping animation on your mini-map to alert you where to go.
Each mob has its own unique attack, and behavior. Every time you kill a new type of mob, a new lore book icon appears at the bottom-right of the screen and a voice over of Deckard Cain tells some background story of the creature.
You can access all of these bestiary descriptions in your Quests and Journals log (the cup icon at the bottom-right menu)
Gold is easy to come by by killing monsters. However, exploration is a great source for gold and other items that can be sold for gold too.
It's a good idea to explore the entire map. There are several Dead Tristram Militia, chests, piles of bones, barrels, ashes (water vase), stumps, rotten logs, coffins, stone coffins, bookcases, loose stones (on the ground at dungeons) and more.
Gold has a lot of value in Diablo III. You need it to buy armor, Blacksmith training to level up, new Stash slots, and in the Auction House I have seen items as high as 15,000 - 25,000 gold.
I very much love how Jay Wilson and his team came up with modifications to the flaws found in Diablo II. You no longer need to stack up Scrolls of Town Portal. You don't need to constantly teleport to the town to sell stuff because your bags are full. You don't need to teleport back and forth during boss encounters to escape death (shivers with the memory of dreadful Duriel).
By completing three quests you can get access to the
Cauldron of Jordan: Allows you to sell items anywhere. Left-click the Cauldron and then Left-click the item you wish to sell, or use Shift-Left-click to sell several items at once. You can buyback the last several items you've sold from any merchant.
Nephalem Cube: Allows you to break items down into materials that can be used in crafting. Left-click the cube and then left-click the item you wish to salvage, or use Shift-Left-click to salvage several items at once. Warning: this will permanently destroy the item!
Stone of Recall: Allows yu to return to town. Left-click to use.
I'll be writing about other areas of Diablo III over the next days. I welcome questions and petitions of what you would like to see or specific features. I will respond with either screenshots or videos.