Last weekend, Blizzard had it's Open Beta test for its highly anticipated game, Diablo III. I actually did a blog about choosing between Guild Wars 2 and Diablo III and since then I have been leaning more on the GW2 side (already pre-purchased). However the D3 beta may have just changed my mind.
Let me first say that I haven't played either Diablo 1 or 2 to any extent. So Diablo III was pretty much my first foray into the isometric dungeon crawler. The experience was much better than I expected. Getting into the game was the hardest task - the servers were full at all times. But once I was able to get into Battle.net, it was actually quite enjoyable.
The first thing I noticed is that the game loaded very quickly and had a very beautiful art style. It certainly isn't the best graphics in a game but it definitely had a unique atmosphere and visual appeal. Anyway, I got to play as all the classes and I did a quick breakdown of my opinions on them below. Note that these opinions are based on level 1-10 play.
Barbarian: The basic melee brute class was definitely the easiest to play as. The hardest part of playing as a Barbarian was clicking on the enemy. I suppose it would be a good starter class for most since he can tank damage very well.
Witch Doctor: One of my favorite classes and the first one I tried in the beta. His skills were very visually appealing, ranging from frogs, fire bats to blow darts and undead summons. I had a lot of fun with this class, and I made a quick video on him (see link above).
Monk: Another one of my favorite classes who is a melee fighter like the Barbarian but with more supportive abilities. I just like the visual effects of his skills and the fact that he had a healing skill.
Wizard: I expected to like the Wizard more, but she wasn't as interesting as the others to me. I guess it's because her best skills are obtained at higher levels.
Demon Hunter: Personally, I didn't like the Demon Hunter at all. For some reason she felt pretty weak compared to the other classes. I had to kite enemies a lot (too much) and my damage was very low.
By the time the beta ended I felt completely different from when I had started. I just wanted to demo the game but it turned out to be a totally captivating experience. Now I am seriously considering pre-ordering Diablo III so that I can play it on May 15th.
Just a final note - a lot of people were complaining that the beta was too short. I spend about 6-7 hours playing this small segment of the game with all the classes. A full run at a normal pace can take around 2 hours which is pretty long for what is essentially a demo. I estimate that the final game should take anywhere between 10 and 20 hours to complete with one class. That's a lot of replay for each of the 5 classes in addition to the multiplayer.
If there is demand, I could probably make more Diablo III videos when the game is released.