Thinking about Diablo 3 for WoW players

So, one of the neat benefits of WoW’s annual pass is that we get a copy of Diablo III for free whenever it goes live. Approximately a million or so people signed up for the annual pass, according to what we heard before. In addition, I know that a lot of WoW players are looking forward to that game coming out – regardless of whether or not they played  the earlier Diablo games.

I have been playing around with the D3 beta over the last few months. With having another week to wait until they release more information about MoP, I figured today would be a good day to talk a little about some differences I had to adjust to when I first started playing the beta for D3, since WoW is really the only Blizzard game I’ve spent any significant amount of time playing. So, lets look at a couple of differences between WoW & Diablo III that a WoW player should keep in mind if you aren’t familiar with the Diablo franchise.

Diablo III is darker than WoW (both in artistic style and content).

The goal in Diablo III is to kill lots and lots of undead or rather vile opponents. However, unlike WoW, those dead things tend to explode in the most grotesque sorts of ways. The gore-level isn’t too bad overall. However, I don’t like playing the Witch Doctor just because the spell effects include things like summoning a bunch of worm-like creatures that do damage or root opponents. Instead, I prefer the wizard that uses more familiar arcane/frost damage to make things… gruesomely explode. While WoW has a cute cartoonish feel and low amounts of gore overall, Diablo is just a much darker game and isn’t really kid-appropriate at all.

However, that darkness is part of what makes the game good. It really feels like danger is lurking in the corners of the world, and things can pop out from anywhere to try and kill you. It makes the whole world feel much different than Azeroth.

Diablo III has a different User Interface and mechanics.

One of the things to get used to is that, as of now, there isn’t any auto-run button. You have to use the mouse to move. You also use the mouse to shoot at things. You also don’t have control over what your camera angle is. There also isn’t a global cooldown on spells, so sometimes I’ve mapped my main attack to my keyboard buttons (once I’d unlocked those ability slots) so that I could give my clicker-finger a break. Note from comments: in one of the last patches, they allowed you to map a button to “move” on your keyboard, which you can hold and it will run you in a straight line. At this point, you still have to use your mouse to actually turn and have any real control over where you are going. We’ll talk more about the UI features once they’ve finalized them a little better. :)

Overall, the first handful of levels do a really good job of introducing the game, so that you don’t feel too overwhelmed at the start as you adjust to the new system.

You also don’t get to customize the look of your character when you first create it. That’s totally intentional. You get to choose: class, gender, and name. Everything else is the same across characters when you first create it. That is just part of the style of the game and is done intentionally by Blizzard.

Some modes aren’t designed for everyone.

We just got our first crack at Hardcore mode in beta in the last few days. I made it to about level 4 in HC mode before the threat of death and having to start over again if I died overwhelmed me. I much prefer normal-mode where things like going AFK to play on the forums won’t lead to my character suffering permanent death. If the thought of losing your character is too much for you – then don’t play hardcore mode. However, the game provides options,  so you can just play on regular mode and be able to come back to life after you die. I think I’ll just stay in normal-mode and save myself from the stress associated with accidentally running into huge packs of mobs. :)

Blasting zombies with lasers is super fun.

Overall, I wasn’t sure what to think when I first started playing Beta. However, I really fell for the game almost instantly. I’ve played that first starting area many, many times just because I enjoy the game overall. Some days, I’ll sit down at the computer and just decide that blasting the undead monsters in the face with my wizard spells is way more fun than anything else, even if I run out of story content around level 10.

I’ll probably write more specifics about the game as D3′s release gets closer and more of the systems are finalized. You should also expect a flurry of posting related to MoP once the press event info is released by the bigger fan sites. I figured that posting about MoP this week would be pointless since everything will likely change in a few days anyway.

6 Comments

  1. Bindura
    Posted March 13, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    Hey Lissanna

    I have heard that in patch 13 Blizz introduced an option to move under key binds. By default it is off but you can bind it to what ever key you like. You should try it out! It may help your clicky finger. Also something you may have not discovered yet that was a boon to D2 gameplay; if you hold down shift your character will not move and will spam the ability you have bound to your left click. Hopefully this functionality is still in D3; as it prevented from misclicking next to a mob on your “Wizard/Sorceress” and running into melee range and being munched by demons.

    • Posted March 14, 2012 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Confirmed

    • Lissanna
      Posted March 14, 2012 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Okay, so “move” is one button that makes you go forward. You still need your mouse to point you in the right direction. It’s not the same as being able to actually control where you are running, but I guess it’s a start. :)

      Shift does hold you in place. I was trying to hold off on explaining changeable mechanic parts as much as possible until it gets a little closer.

  2. Posted March 15, 2012 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    Hey Lissanna!

    Thanks for the post on Diablo III; I’ve been entertaining the idea of getting into the game but nothing has quite convinced me yet to buy it or even try it .
    Is it worth it to start playing the game? Do you get to play with other players like a regular MMO?
    …..the last question is really dumb…is it reaaally scary?

    • Lissanna
      Posted March 15, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      I think it will end up being a really fun game, based on what I’ve seen in beta.

      It’s not an MMO. It seems more like a single-player game that also has an ability to be multi-player. You can have between 1 and 4 people in a group at a time (so you can play with your friends if you want to). You can sell stuff in the auction house website (for gold or real money).

      The game isn’t designed to scare you. There isn’t any real suspense like that, so I don’t find it any scarier than WOW. It’s just creepier than WoW in terms of the graphics and gore.

  3. gorrie
    Posted March 16, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    It’ll be worth the money. Diablo got me my start on blizzard games. It will be the game that will let me take a break from wow. D2 was ok and many hours of play but Diablo was better in my mind even with how bad it looks graphicly now. Even d2 looks horrible but still fun. I liked the randomness of skill scrolls dropping in Diablo vs getting skill points to spend in trees in d2. Which is what wow talent trees are ATM. I even have the cds and cases for the games still. Can say that about my music cds and other games.
    Diablo had all kinds of little programs you use and dubing good items with pots.