Diablo III PVP Hands-On Preview - Level 60 Wizard in PVP

We dive into Diablo III's head-to-head arena battles with a level 60 wizard at BlizzCon 2011.

Lines to play Diablo III at BlizzCon 2011 are long. Very long. So we were glad to flash our press badge and cut right to the front to play Diablo III in competitive player-versus-player for the first time. The PVP setup at BlizzCon pit two teams of four players, each with a level 60 character, against each other in Team Deathmatch mode on a small, tight level with absolutely, positively nowhere to hide.

We jumped into our match with a wizard, whose skills were laid out as follows: left-mouse button triggered a powered-up arcane missile (a single-shot ranged attack); right-mouse button triggered a powered-up arcane torrent (a ranged attack that launches a flurry of slow but damaging projectiles); and our first number keys. These were hotkeyed to the following: frost nova (the frost effect that scatters frost shards in your vicinity that might freeze nearby foes solid); teleport (which teleports you a short distance away); archon (which changes the wizard into an archon character with powerful defenses but limited attack power); and diamond skin, a defensive spell that temporarily provides the wizard a thick layer of armor. With not one, not two, but potentially three skills with defensive, survival-based uses, the high-level wizard seems to have a strong resistance to getting killed outright, but you can rest assured we didn't let that stop us.

The PVP matches at BlizzCon start with a brief practice round that lets you run around and get used to your skills and figure out how to play as a team. Even though the practice round was barely a few minutes long, we and our teammates quickly figured out that the absolute best way to stomp the competition was for all four of us to stick together and focus our fire on one enemy. Unfortunately, we had no healers in our group, and we found that we couldn't stick together forever because once you're the one who lands in the enemy team's crosshairs, you won't survive for long unless you can either be healed or peel off in another direction and grab one of the regularly respawning health vials that appears in the level.

We were able to sneak in a few gimmick kills by using our frost nova skill offensively, charging directly toward some enemies, freezing them solid, and pounding mercilessly on them. This worked just fine until the enemy team decided to pound on us mercilessly, at which point, we found ourselves playing the wizard as something closer to what Blizzard presumably intended it to be: a hit-and-run character who can deal decent ranged damage but has enough defensive tools to beat a hasty retreat. By using teleport, diamond skin, and archon judiciously, we actually managed to avoid death many times and earned a survival bonus of points. But these defensive skills aren't always a get-out-of-jail free card; even in archon form or diamond skin, you can still be attacked, and tenacious foes can and will follow you after you teleport, especially if you're already severely wounded and they're coming in for the kill.

The PVP otherwise seemed fast and frantic, and even though we died several times, the respawn times at BlizzCon were mere seconds long. We found the respawn delay to be just long enough to seem like a real punishment but nowhere near long enough to feel frustrating. Diablo III's PVP will launch along with the game itself…when it's done.

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Discussion

30 comments
guitarist1980
guitarist1980

I think a lot of gamers will love Diablo 3.. People who play a lot of video games will be able to see all the hard work Blizzard has put into this game. This is the one game I have been waiting for. And its finally just about here.

danish-death
danish-death

@vadagar1 The combat in Skyrim is trash. I don't know about D3, but holding down 2 mouse buttons as a spell caster until the mana bar is empty is not my kind of fun,.

RGSTRDSXOFNDR
RGSTRDSXOFNDR

Definitely trying this one out. It's worth $50 to me. :)

iknowthepiecesf
iknowthepiecesf

@vadagar1 one word for you; BUGS! bethesda is making good games but every bethesda game is crawling with bugs, with this, they are famous around the world. but blizzard tests it's software before releasing and becaouse of that every blizzard game is rock solid. you may not like their games but you can not say that blizzard is making buggy games. that's the answer of the long wait. beta testing. also, skyrim is not a isometric hack and slash game, you can not compare d3 with skyrim.

xophaser
xophaser

I am not sure I will pick this one up. It has been so long seen D2, most of the people who played D1 and D2 like me are getting older and can't play long games anymore. Got job and bills to pay. Plus game like Baulder gate became Dragon Age. Diablo looks dated, anything new. This was an easy money franchise/ cash cow and they sat on it for almost 8-10 years. Warcraft and starcraft most be more interesting to Blizzard.

JMcN76
JMcN76

I just don't understand why it is taking this long to get this game out. Unreal.

vadagar1
vadagar1

one word SKYRIM go suck old underwear Blizzard, but if I were I you I would have avoided releasing the game along side Skyrim, ty for making us wait 4 years for a goddamn hack and slash that probably has 10 quests in total. I'm sure diablo 3 will be a great game but making us wait for all this time is just mean and black hearted, and honestly I just lost all interest in this game.

insanitycheck10
insanitycheck10

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

trueepower44
trueepower44

@Vuurk, exactly very disappointing to find no video of the actual game.

Vuurk
Vuurk

Please don't embed a video that has nothing to do with Diablo 3 gameplay or pvp....pretty disappointing...

Laharl5
Laharl5

WE WANT FREE 2 PLAY!!!

DeViLzzz
DeViLzzz

Blizzard = more MP experiences. Aren't people tired of dealing with complete jerks in games ? I think one day people will grow tired of online gaming and welcome the 1p games again and hopefully Skyrim will start the movement in that direction.

ymarkman
ymarkman

Man. Sounds like the PVP is gonna be interesting. I never got into the multiplayer aspect of Diablo 2, but with this new system and how's its looking, I'm gonna have to sink my fangs into it. Can't wait for one of 2012's best RPGs!

Soilworker1234
Soilworker1234

@atiz1 I am guessing around late January - early February.

zoeyleft
zoeyleft

why does this make me drool?

arcangelic
arcangelic

Diablo 1 and 2 were a great -inovation- on that decade, this is why it was so famous. But now, the 3 will be famous because of the classical play style and it's propaganda. It'll be like the StarCraft II. A starcraft I plus new graphics and a few new units.

aamir69
aamir69

Awesome game by Blizzard. Plus i want to thank Blizzard for not running after consoles just for money sake like other developers. Ruining the fun of gaming by releasing FPS in consoles where you keep rotating the analog stick for 5secs and get a foot shot :D

baltim123
baltim123

@atiz1 I'm guessing somewhere around februari-march 2012

lqcevox
lqcevox

@atiz1 One word---- "Soon"

Kinpong
Kinpong

looking forward to this!!

atiz1
atiz1

One word -------- WHEN ?? ! :)

brian_13un
brian_13un

That will be a great challenge :)

SaurabhAV
SaurabhAV

thanks for the free game blizzard

blankfirewon
blankfirewon

I'm very interested in seeing how the Wizard plays out in PVP; Wizard classes are ordinarily what I gravitate towards, but in D3 they seem sort of unspectacular. I think that the main reason for this is the laser beam spell, which just seems so uninspired. I hope the rune options make for fun and eccentric play-style choices.

Neosword
Neosword

Can't wait to test out the PVP for myself. And the rest of the game, for that matter.