BlizzCon 2008: Diablo III Updated Hands-On

We play through the Diablo III demo twice more, checking out the witch doctor and wizard classes in the process.

by

ANAHEIM, Calif.--Yesterday we had an opportunity to check out the BlizzCon demo of Diablo III for the first time, and we had a lot of fun with it. We weren't convinced that the time we spent playing with a low-level barbarian was as exciting as it would have been if we'd opted for a witch doctor or a wizard, though, so today we played through the entire demo twice more to check out those classes. We were right that they were more fun.

Since we weren't picking up the demo midway through today, it got under way in a woodland area outside the cathedral in which most of the demo takes place. In the woods, we were given our quest to investigate a mysterious fire that fell from the sky by a non-player character who was brilliantly voiced and said quite different things depending on which character was talking to him. When we were playing as the witch doctor, for example, he remarked on how out of place we looked before getting down to business.

The witch doctor's abilities could hardly have been more different from those of the barbarian. Even before we'd leveled and had a chance to spend points in three different skill trees, we were able to hurl flaming skull projectiles, harvest the souls of recently killed enemies to replenish our mana, release frogs that poison any enemies unlucky enough to step on them, and summon a zombie dog who proved to be extremely useful for holding the agro of enemies and soaking up damage that might otherwise have found its way to us. We didn't have to worry about handling the dog once it was summoned, because it just automatically ran toward nearby enemies and got to work.

Toward the end of the day we managed to get onto a Diablo III demo machine again, and this time we opted to play as the recently announced wizard and to pair up with a second player. The abilities in our arsenal at the start weren't nearly as impressive as those of the witch doctor. In addition to the standard melee attack, we could hurl arcane missiles, send a bolt of lightning across the floor to hit multiple enemies, and nothing more. We were able to add some more interesting skills as we leveled up, though, and by the time we reached the end of the demo we were able to generate electrical "storm armor" that did damage to anyone attacking us, and we could also create "mirror images" of the wizard, which looked like translucent clones of our character and were capable of doing damage and attracting the attention of enemies but had only a limited amount of health.

Initially we were able to create only one mirror image, but after attaching a rune to the mirror image skill, we gained the ability to create two simultaneously. The wizard is the only class that runes had been implemented for in the BlizzCon demo, and because the demo had been tuned to afford players access to a lot more loot than normal, there was no shortage of runes to experiment with. Every talent that you purchase from one of your class's skill trees can have a single rune attached to it, and while most of the runes we saw simply made the effects more powerful, we're told that others can completely change the effect of the spell. For example, a lightning bolt projectile with the right rune attached to it might become a chain-lightning spell that leaps between multiple enemies. We didn't get runes that powerful on this occasion, but we had two mirror images, two arcane missiles, and significantly more health than we started out with by the time we reached the skeleton king boss at the end of the demo.

Playing alongside a second character made the boss fight pretty easy, but we're told that the finished game will scale its difficulty on the fly, taking into account the number of players and their respective levels. You'll be able to jump in and out of multiplayer games at any time, and right now the plan is for Diablo III to support an impressive eight players simultaneously. There's already talk of that number possibly being scaled back to four or five for the retail release, not because of any technical limitations, but because eight players onscreen alongside the number of enemies a level will throw at you in a group that big is just too crazy.

We look forward to bringing you more information on Diablo III as soon as it becomes available.

Discussion

113 comments
myroncorp
myroncorp

diablo 2 had a fair nice graphics and very addictive gameplay but this one, it's more amazing. I hope they exceeds my expectation. blizzard hurry up! =D

Link_is_coolest
Link_is_coolest

i think i know why it's taking them so long, cuz they realized the graphics suck and they've run out of ideas for a good game so they're scared to come out with one after waiting so long cuz if it isn't good we'll kill them, and i'm not kidding about the last part, they will die.

Gammet25
Gammet25

I still cant believe this gonna take till 2011. Its been ages since diablo 2 come on.

Jhraxlin
Jhraxlin

@ Vasot there are no doubt going to be more classes in the final release, thse were just the demo ones.

makemydaygr
makemydaygr

(who want's to play a game where everything is the same shade of brown or grey) No one would...only a handfull of million players :S...I want to believe that diablo 3 will be an upgraded version of diablo 2 and not wow....

Arlunce
Arlunce

Vasot, the majority of monsters in Diablo 2 were bright colors, Fallen, Wraiths, the half man half ram guys, can't remember their name. The argument that the world is too dark is bs, who want's to play a game where everything is the same shade of brown or grey.

Vasot
Vasot

Why only 3 classes to choose :( And the graphics are a bit like WoW... :( . Way to much cartoony with bright colors... Diablo should be darker and with a more adult feeling about it and not some childish MMORPG sh*t for little kids... Come on Blizzard do not spoil the Diablo universe !! We do not need another WOW...

rockgirlDMC
rockgirlDMC

I've been waiting a long time for this game. Let's hope it be even better than Diablo 2, and that the two characters be good enough, I gonna miss the variety of characters in D2. I played the game 4 times with 4 different characters :) I can't wait!!!

chilintan
chilintan

Who knows what will be the minimum requirements for Diablo 3?

Hoplite32
Hoplite32

This game will turn me anti-social for sure.

Punx19
Punx19

lookin good Blizzard. I hope it lives up to the oldies...they need to put in on consoles again like they did with the first diablo on PS, that would be nice i loved the co-op on there that was some epic gaming back in its day

crowskull-666
crowskull-666

without the necromancer this isn't diablo. I don't want another world of warcraft i want diablo 3.

Lancing
Lancing

this game's definitely going to be worth the SOJs.

zagzam
zagzam

for games like diablo... please don't make previews... waiting is simply tormenting

vinibr
vinibr

Yeah, I don't tink it looks like WoW. I also disagree when ppl say Witch Docter = Druid (but I do agree that wizards = sorceress and barb=barb duh) And one final note...... NECROMANCERS, PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE!!! EDIT: I just got myself a new PC. My old one would lag when playing solitaire... I was like: "PC or PS3? Oh, wth... I'll never forgive myself for not playing D3!" And again... NECROMANCERS, PLEEEEEASE!

MetalLordDCLXVI
MetalLordDCLXVI

I cannot understand why people keep saying it looks like WoW. It really doesnt.

mrfable
mrfable

i got diablo 2 lod anyone want to play it with me i wont be checking this page back but if you have xbox live add me and we will find a day to play my gt is MR Syto o yes DIABLO 3 IS GOING TO ROCK!!!! :) i cant wait

2wert2
2wert2

yes yes but where will appear this game man because they say in march but now i think that will appear in 2010

jasmine_arie
jasmine_arie

blizzard never dies.. d3 graphic seems greatly improved from d2-lod.. hopely d 'henchmen options' is/are also improved, if they're added of course

DiabloAngel
DiabloAngel

They keep saying "witch doctor" but I assume they are dumbing it down for people who didn't play Diablo II, so we're basically going to see the Druid, Barb, and Wizard (sorceress) again? seems like it might be lacking any new content, save for a fresh coat of eye candy graphics... that doesn't even stay true to the original feel of the game.

dudukalache
dudukalache

The game looks like a type of world of warcraft...my first impression is that it's too cartoon... Diablo is not that kind of game, it needs to be darker, with more corpses all over the place, like DiabloII...this game is not for kids...the wizzard character it´s just not convincible...WHAT ABOUT THE NECRO?!?! I hope they "fix" that and change it a little bit

Alizerothree
Alizerothree

I hope they bring back the cow level. :D

elmstterror
elmstterror

four or five classes? Barb, wizard and witch doctor, are they going to reveal one more or two more?

CozmoQ
CozmoQ

I'm disappointed that they're considering scaling the MP back to 4 or 5 people. The reason that gamespot gave is bogus, too. They try to say that it's not a technical limitation, but that it would just throw too many monsters at the players. Well, that IS a technical limitation. If the game is throwing too many monsters at 8 people, then fix it so its balanced, don't just say "oh that's too many monsters, four people only in multiplayer now!"

ScottRhom
ScottRhom

DII represented a huge improvement over the original - especially with the LOD Expansion - but I'm a little skeptical about DIII. I hope it's just paranoia...

oclane
oclane

well the best things come in 3's and 2's if you include starcraft

DKR87
DKR87

Possibly a stupid question, but I read that players will be able to jump in and out of games in multiplayer. Did they say anything about how players in the game will 'share' experience points? Does the whole group share it? I hope battle.net also gets a makeover. With the hype of this game, I expect a ton of players and hopefully battle.net can handle it.

Corkscrw
Corkscrw

This is enough to make me surrender three months of my social life after the game is released. Does anyone know if it is true that Diablo II is (arguablly) the best P.C. game ever released?

the_mailman
the_mailman

ParaBellum71 only said that because the gamespot page incorrectly said it was released today, briefly (they fixed it now)

weirjf
weirjf

ParaBellum71 - lay off the drugs. This game is a long way from release. As long as they stick with the Diablo "formula" this will be another game worth 5+ years of dedicated gameplay.

reign-supreme
reign-supreme

Knowing Blizzards track record though, i don't think there is much to worry about the quality of the game.

ParaBellum71
ParaBellum71

The games out and theres no player reviews and a Blizzard advertisement is where the post spot should be. Sounds like blizzard doesnt want anyone to know what the games like until they buy it or until gamespot reviews it 4 days after peak sales :(

Matt_Night
Matt_Night

@ BrayneDrayne - no, 3 have been revealed so far - overall, as far as i recall there will be 5 classes to chose from.

BrayneDrayne
BrayneDrayne

Wait a cotton-picking minute. Are there only 3 character classes to choose from in the entire game? Back to D1 ftw..

maximaxi4eva2
maximaxi4eva2

This game better not get delayed or ill go crazy! so many games are getting put back. I watched spore for 3 YEARS, and i ended up not even buying it!

NoseWeed619
NoseWeed619

Sounds like you could speed run the game on two player if you wanted to...or if you had two good players...lol.

FordLynx
FordLynx

How many years should I wait for this game?

SpamU
SpamU

who could wait for this game to be released? we want it now! come on blizzard!!

rasik
rasik

COME ONNNN!! RELEASSSEEE

Nuclear_Kernel
Nuclear_Kernel

Too bad that they show the first levels for the classes. Anyway I envy those lucky to go Blizzcon to play the demo, I guess you know how much I want this game.

eiadrtr
eiadrtr

dude i just dont wont something to happen to the releas date like D2

MasterCS
MasterCS

I wounder if there is going to be any hidden cow words again in D3

Slaveways
Slaveways

@Lordsmash: Your criticism of my remark is invalid. Everyone in this board is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Slaveways
Slaveways

@JusticeCovert: Lol, hey there. Sorry about the ad hominem attack but i still stand by what I said about the quote. I feel that 8 players in one game (even with all the "spell effects and stuff")is no longer impressive for today's standards. There are numerous other games out there that simultaneously have more people and more advanced graphics than Diablo III. I think Blizz is just dumbing down the game engine and graphics so the game will work on more computers. I understand that this makes business sense; I'm just disappointed because I want it to be the best game possible. Subpar graphics and less players in a game than the original is definitely not the best game possible in my opinion.

Lordsmash
Lordsmash

Slaveways is right, I know it for a fact! I played 8 player Pong, it was awesome, therefore 8 player Diablo 3 HAS to work.