Diablo III – April Open Beta Impressions

By now you know about Diablo III’s Open Beta this weekend. I want to talk about my impressions.

This morning, being a Saturday morning, I was not surprised at all when the Diablo 3 servers were at full capacity for a few hours – this is a stress test after all. I was able finally able to login this afternoon, and I was playing the game within 5 minutes of logging into Battle.net.

There are some limitations – you can only level up to Level 13, and you’re limited on character customization, but it’s free, so I’m not complaining. I have not teamed up with anybody else so I can’t speak about the co-operative aspect. What I do know is that it’s Saturday night and you’ve still got time to download and play it (although it is a nearly 4GB download).

First Impressions:
Gorgeous and easy to find yourself immersed within the game world. I’m playing on a Core i7 27-inch iMac, running in 2560×1440, with detail maxed out, shadows set at medium, and most other options maxed. I’ve had no slow downs, and I’ve had a lot of fun with it. Some have complained of lag, I have not experienced it. I’m still not sure how I feel about the requirement of an always-on internet connection, since you can’t really play without being logged in.

There was no introduction in the open beta, but then again the open beta is probably going to attract people who don’t need an introduction.

New Tristram and Old Tristram are well rendered and a good start for the game. This part of the Diablo III gameworld is very dark, literally and physically.

The interface and your interaction with the world has been streamlined in a few ways versus Diablo II – gold is easier to pick up (just walk over), there is more interaction with the world itself. Health orbs drop and are used right then.

I’ve been playing the Demon Hunter, and it’s been very smooth – the ranged attacks work great. I will try to get through the other four classes this weekend – Monk, Witch Doctor, Barbarian, and Wizard.

I’ll be posting more tomorrow or Monday, along with a gallery of screenshots.

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