DJTyrant attended the Diablo III Beta Press Event on behalf of Blizzplanet, and now shares with fans all his experiences while playing the Diablo III beta at Blizzard Entertainment's Headquarters in Irvine, CA.
DJTyrant: "Blizzard ushered those of the press into the theather and showed us a brief two minute clip of a rough 2D animated version of the opening cinematic. There was sound and voices included, but the 3D animation either wasn’t complete, or in a form that they were ready to share with us and we also couldn’t record it. Blizzard then brought Chris Metzen up and talked about the lore of Diablo 3 and caught us up on what happened with D1 and D2. The direction of the story will be around Deckard Cain, 20 years later and he put together a journal that prophesies that the fight isn’t over against evil.
The story starts in a new Tristram which is still rebuilding 20 years after the events of Diablo 2. Fire is falling from the sky and the risen dead are rising from the grave, which brings the players into the game, asking the question of what the fire is, is this the beginning of the end?
Leah, who we’ve seen quite a bit in the trailers so far, is then brought into the story who is the adopted niece of Deckard Cain. She has spent her life searching through old ruins and burial grounds. Her role in the story is to fill in the gap between what Deckard Cain knows and the players don’t. Blizzard explained that she fulfills the need for an everyday man knowledge from Deckard Cain through someone the players can identify with.
Discussion about the combat system and gameplay systems proceeded forward from this point as a lot has changed since the last time Blizzard has publicly talked about the game. There was a lot of discussion at last BlizzCon about how the talent/spell system had gone through many iterations, now it has been completely tuned down to a much simpler system where you pick the spells you want, and you can equip 6 active skills, with two being selectable at the start with new slots being unlocked at 6, 12, 18, 24 for a total of six active skills. Also added are passive skills unlocked at levels 10, 20, and 30 for three total. Every level a new skill is unlocked and with the active skills you can swap out at any time.
The rune system was also discussed, and will be used to create different builds for each class with the lack of a talent tree system now. The example that Jay used was the battle mage, or melee wizard, (in this case the Wizard class). Items are dropped in the world that modify skills and abilities.
And then the discussion about the new Battle.net features, which can be detailed here:
Battle.net & Auction House Features
Blizzard dropped a bombshell in the press event announcing an auction house and online-only gameplay for Diablo 3. The big news of the in-game auction house is that it will be regional, and feature in some regions, the ability to buy and sell items for real world money, yes you heard that right Diablo 3 items for REAL WORLD MONEY. Blizzard will facilitate the transactions in-game.
The key to the new auction house is that Blizzard is facilitating a need for the players to buy and sell items with real world money, which was prevalent in Diablo 2. The currency auction house will be supported in as many countries as they can get it up and running in.
To get people involved with the real money auction house they are offering a set number of auction posting free per week. It will be run through the in-game client and you will be able to sell items, gold, and components through the AH, with the possibility of selling characters at some point in the future. Auction listings above and beyond that will be a flat rate per item listed whether or not the item sells, helping make sure items that players list items that would be useful or beneficial.
The players will be able to cash out in two ways, through a Blizzard eWallet, that will directly put the money into your battle.net account which can be used for any number of items on the store (even WoW time). You will also be able to cash it out to a bank account through a 3rd party service, with details being withheld at this time as to a specific service that that may be.
Other key points:
Auto bidding and instant buyout
Smart search by class
Shared Stash (between characters)
Secure Item Transfers
Facilitate player trades - not a Blizzard Store
Players will be anonymous during trades
Will also have a gold auction house and in-game trading
Hardcore characters will not be able to use the real money auction house
As far as Battle.net goes for gameplay:
Always connected to friends, persistent friends list. Always connected to the game, online only, persistent characters, and no local characters (prevent modification).
Play together, stay together.
Public Game Finder
Quick Join Friends - advertises game to friends list, drop-in to friends games
Dynamic Co-op - feel very fluid between 1p, to co-op, any point you can open game to friends, etc, dynamically adjusts difficulty.
With more details about Diablo 3 out in the open now there will be tons of discussion about these new features and gameplay decisions Blizzard has made.
Witch Doctor Preview
All classes were playable in the D3 beta build we played at Blizzard HQ, so I decided to check out the Witch Doctor. Probably one of the most versatile of the classes it can be played in a variety of ways. You can play as a very caster oriented class, or as a very heavy pet oriented class.
I tried a mix of two to see how viable it was and chose poison dart and poison toads. Poison dart is a ranged attack that poisons the target, and poison toads are released three at a time and randomly move around to explode on three targets. This allowed for a lot of ranged control and helped keep me safe in most fights without too much trouble. Both spells were extremely mana efficient, but I’m not sure if this was due to the nature of the beta, or how it is designed to be in the final product.
Other builds/styles of play that I tooled around with involved using the summon zombie dogs which are three permanent pets that fight for you, and using a grip spell that was an AoE spell that holds enemies in place (which works well in sync with poison frogs).
Overall the class was really fun to play and very dynamic. I see quite a number of different builds and ways to play the class."
Melee class, uses rage
Leap, generate rage usable ~10 seconds
Ground Stop, enemy stun
Ancient Spear, pulls enemies close into melee range
Wrath of the Berserkers, gets giant, and gets tons of bonuses;
Pet Class, voodoo, creepy crawly pets (spiders, snakes, toads, zombies, etc.) mind control (when fighting WD don’t know what’s real or not), mana
Firebats, flamethrower with bats!
Soul Harvest, for every enemy nearby, gets stacking buff that increases damage
Big Bad Voodoo, fetish shaman any pets or allies get attack speed increase
Hex, a shaman who turns monsters into chickens
Fetish Army, little fetish dudes that will fight for you last ~20 seconds
Gargantuan, big tough brawler pet, really tough
Mage archetype class, prodigy, wizards in Diablo universe used deragatory term that they shouldn’t be delving in stuff they shouldn’t be.
Arcane Power, fast regenerating resource, has cooldown abilities
Electrocute - can jump between targets, even non-enemy targets, main stay spell
Diamond Skin - Allows her to conjure diamonds and take heavy damage for a short period
Stop Time - slow enemies and projectiles within bubble, allows for control
Meteor - Takes a few seconds to impact, but massive AoE damage
Disintegrate - powerful sweeping ability
Archon - transforms and completely new abilities, enhanced version of disintigrate, etc. When you kill an enemy ups the duration of archon
Spirit, defensive focused resource, base attacks generate spirit, precious resources, attacks have three stages to feel dynamic, can mix up abilities
Deadly Reach, hit enemies right before they reach you, control position
Exploding Palm, third hit is $$ applies a DoT, and if it kills them they explode + do damage to area
Mantras, ability unique to monk, buff extends to her and allies, big dodge bonus
Tempest , can’t get surrounded, slows enemies in path
Inner Sanctuary, monsters can’t pass through and creates choke points, etc. Allows for high control.
Seven sides strike, big spirit spender, invulnerable for short period of time does massive damage to groups of enemies.
Conventional ranges class, bows, crossbows, shadow magic, gadgets and traps.
Sentry, puts up a crossbow turret
Spike Trap, slices enemies up
Smoke Screen, invisible for a few seconds, gets out of combat
Mark for Death, mark enemy to get pwned
Check out Blizzplanet's 2011 Diablo III Press Event Coverage for more.