Diablo 3 beta

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IskatuMesk
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Diablo 3 beta

Postby IskatuMesk » Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:04 am

Please let me know what you'd like to see and I'll try to find/include it in my videos. Since no doubt everyone who is otherwise interested in the game has been watching streams and other vods, I do intend to take my time to check every detail possible and make an accurate review. I will be playing as all characters eventually.

I intend to cover as many dialogues and such and give a bit of history on me as a Diablo player first of all, then I'll jump into playing in the following videos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ROX14HD1b_g


(Videos I post may not be immediately available due to utub processing).

Barbarian playthrough

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mb_DNK9lbPk


My Extended Review - Text - Post-Barbarian play

Spoiler: show
I'll be honest with you. I'm anti-Blizzard. I'm a fanboy's worst trollbait. I see Blizzard, and I vomit. The reason I hate Blizzard is for three-fold.

1 - They destroyed Diablo 2.
2 - They destroyed WoW.
3 - They made a mockery of Starcraft.

You know my reasons and why I don't like the above games - I've gone through them a million times.

So you know that when I approach d3, I approach d3 from the perspective of a supreme cynic. Most of my modding time has been with Blizzard, and I've learned how they work internally. I try to approach games from a neutral standpoint when I start them, because I want to make unbiased decisions in regards to reviewing them. I believe I am fair in my reviews - I am willing to say a bad company did something right if I like it, and I am more than willing to point out as much laziness as possible. I believe that making games is an art, not a business practice. Companies think otherwise, of course. They have to cut corners to make a profit, they have to account for every possible stupid casual player that will rip his dick off when he sees a drop of blood, and they don't give a shit about people who criticize their work.

I am a critic. From modding to gaming to writing and audio engineering, I am commonly called upon for my no bullshit opinion in many fields. I am not afraid to tell people they fucked up.

So when it comes to d3, I am more than willing to point out as much of the blatantly half-assed or broken shit I could find. When I began d3, though, I found many decisions that did make sense.

Graphics

I play Dwarf Fortress, Brood War, and other ancient games. It probably sounds hypocritical when I say D3's graphics aren't up to modern standards. Plainly said, they aren't. There's no normal mapping to speak of, and upon detailed inspection, I doubt there ever will be. I tried to formulate an internal reasoning as to why the decision to not include normal mapping was made. I concluded the following reasons at least attributed to such a decision,

- Bluzzlard felt the success of WoW without modern graphics was enough to build D3 on.
- Bluzzlard felt that their new art style could stand without normal mapping.
- Bluzzlard felt they couldn't make the engine efficient enough to handle the additional texture loading without causing even more severe hitches than what I experienced.
- Bluzzlard was against the clock and had no time to make so many textures correctly without turning them into glossy vomit e.g. Starcraft 2.

On top of this is the lack or subdued amount of bloom, another part of their decision-making in regards to the rendering. I think this factors into the decision to have no normals - Bloom wouldn't look as good, as Blizzard knows they can't do lighting or normal mapping very well, and it would turn their terrain into vomit.

I don't agree with the decision to dumb down the graphics, but I understand the reasoning behind it. I think that, standing on its own, Diablo 3 looks very outdated. But I play outdated games, so that doesn't bother me as much as it should. I find that they at least made an effort to model a lot of detail into places like the Cathedral, so they don't look like total shit like comparable areas in Mythos. Again, I don't like the decisions they made in regards to the detail. I don't think the game looks like Warcraft. The palette is fine. It's the lighting (lack thereof) and terrain textures that bother me the most.

Perhaps my biggest complaint with the graphics is not necessarily the graphics themselves, but the fullbright lighting only your character is effected by. It looks out of place and is very distracting.

I played Diablo 1/2 because of their immersion and appeal. But virtually no game of any genre can give me that kind of feeling these days. I am desensitized to Western art styles of all types.

Gameplay

Gameplay I felt is an improvement over diablo 2 in many respects.

The new combat mechanics play more like I would want them to. No missing, no annoying attack rating or defense rating. My major quibbles about d2 are gone. I play God of War and other third person action RPG's. D3 plays more like these now. I feel this is a positive change.

D3 has one very severe weakness in the gameplay, however. It's way too easy. This is almost solely because the AI is fucking terrible. I can only hope it is fixed when the game comes out. I literally have to try to get myself killed to simply be in danger.

It is clear that Blizzard struggled on two major fronts as far as Gameplay is concerned - Speed vs accessibility. They wanted to retain the depth of D2 but wanted to avoid stopping the player too long. The presence of health orbs (referred to as Orabs or Arabs in my playthroughs, beating a dead horse murdered by my God of War LP's) are just one thing they've copied from other games in an effort to mimic their playstyle. The gold auto-looting, taken from Mythos, is another such thing introduced to avoid stopping the player. In a way, this is also something that is attributed to by the graphics department - simplicity. Playing as a Barbarian, the gameplay has not changed overall since Diablo 1/2. You stand and smash enemies. That's it. But that's all there ever has been.

The real question of advanced mechanics will come into play in end-game, something I really can't make any opinions of or even foresee much about. Blizzard intentionally disabled some environmental shit in the beta, so we aren't even seeing the full product of what we have currently.

Gameplay is the most limited part of the beta. I'd rather not got too in-depth into the gameplay review until I play the full game. But, so far, at the very least it's d2 but a bit more refined. Whether they fuck up the itemization as much as d2 remains to be seen. I hope not.

Audio

Audio and writing are my worlds. My realms of play. This is where my entire life has gone into. When people fuck up here, I am sure to bite into them. I was pleasantly surprised by the audio quality ingame, after being offended by the internal files I was going through during my extraction process.

I don't like Cain. I've never liked Cain. I feel he overacts. His diction always sounds off because it sounds like he's forcing his voice. This is true in D3 as well.

The other voice actors vary, but I feel the overall quality of acting is higher than sc2. I played a female barbarian and I actually think they managed to pull off her voice quite well. That is not small feat. Leah's voice actor is decent, though many others seem to be just reading a script with little to no context.

King Leoric, though, is the first decently edited voice Blizzard has done since diablo 2. Some of WoW's were passable, notably the ones they hired actual actors to do (minor bosses you never saw, lol), but Leoric's was good. Actually good. I was genuinely caught off guard by the quality of his voice. Is is true, D3's team has actual audio engineers still alive in their basement? Only time will tell if the rest of the game holds up to the bar set by King Leoric.

The music, I like it. I like it more than most of d2. I don't know why some people are bitching about the music of all things. I really like the town theme, and one of the outdoor themes reminded me of the cathedral place in Banjo Kazooie. If you don't see that as a complement I'll kill you.

The audio volume of the sounds needs tweaking for sure. Barbarian impacts are a bit too loud compared to everything else, and I had to formulate some volume cockadooky to get the voice actors audible over everything else. There's still a lot of d2 placeholders (I hope are placeholders at least), and some stuff just sounds awful. But I need to play the casters to formulate my final opinion on the audio work.

Writing

Blizzard uses Dark and Evil every fucking chance they get WHY

Well, Diablo never had truly strong writing. It was the actors that made it. Nothing stands out to me in either direction currently, but I have a feeling Blizzard will simplify the writing a la sc2 to cater to dumb casuals. Sad, but true.

Overall

The Blizzard I knew died a long time ago, with their ashes scattered amongst Arena.net, Red 5, and others. The new Blizzard has become a lardy monolith hellbent on sucking the industry's rotting corpse as dry as it can before the Ropargnarok happens, when the sea becomes as lard as the sky rains interns. But d3's team, I think they have the potential to make something worth playing before then. In its current state, D3 is clearly very unfinished and lacking a lot of environmental and scripting work. If they patch this up, it may just be worth a purchase.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qofKoDS0hbU - Monk + Witch Doctor Duo with Lavarinth

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uv3nSM9BAio - Wizard A
Last edited by IskatuMesk on Tue Oct 04, 2011 11:10 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Diablo 3 beta

Postby Falchion » Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:38 am

Expecting on hearing the bad news first-hand. Diablo after all, is (or WAS) the last barrier between good old Blizzard and this new, fucked-up Bluzzard. Oh, well, the last stand is due to fall someday...
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Re: Diablo 3 beta

Postby IskatuMesk » Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:25 am

This game has ragdolls like Titan Quest. A big + in its favor.
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Re: Diablo 3 beta

Postby Lavarinth » Tue Sep 27, 2011 10:15 am

d00d, let's play 2getder :D
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Re: Diablo 3 beta

Postby Taeradun » Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:02 am

as with the StarCraft II beta, I shall be doing my own Diablo III coverage as well.
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Re: Diablo 3 beta

Postby Falchion » Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:42 am

Taeradun wrote:as with the StarCraft II beta, I shall be doing my own Diablo III coverage as well.


I trust Mesk's coverage more than anyone else's. As trolling and bitter as they are, they're sadly true. See Space Marine, for an instance and how awfully low-texture, low-poly it was.
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Re: Diablo 3 beta

Postby Lavarinth » Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:44 am

Falchion wrote:
Taeradun wrote:as with the StarCraft II beta, I shall be doing my own Diablo III coverage as well.


I trust Mesk's coverage more than anyone else's. As trolling and bitter as they are, they're sadly true. See Space Marine, for an instance and how awfully low-texture, low-poly it was.


I regard Taeradun's coverage to be of supreme quality.
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Re: Diablo 3 beta

Postby IskatuMesk » Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:11 pm

So, some first first-hand impressions after finishing the beta content with Barbarian.

Graphics - The game doesn't have normal mapping and is rather low res. I don't consider d3 to compete with anything semi-recent (2006+) as a result. They're passable, but don't expect to be impressed. Color palette was never the issue, more or less the porportions. These seem to be a lot better now and I didn't mind them. Your character is permanently, brightly lit from some unknown light source, set against a very dark environment. This gave me considerable eyestrain and I soon had a severe headache.

Sounds - The music is decent, sounds are here and there (bow sounds are horrible). Voice acting for the most part is passable, but I always thought (in both d1 and d2) that Cain's voice is way overdone and sounds very out of place. A lot of dialogue lacks diction or emotion.

The sound effects need a lot of volume rebalancing. As a barbarian all of my ability impacts were incredibly loud but dialogue, music, and monster sfx were all very quiet. This also contributed to my headache, especially with headphones on. This seems like a no-brainer to fix during the initial implementation of SFX.

Gameplay - Nothing new since d2 (some of the stuff seems to not exist in beta, and little content to test by). Game is extremely easy. Extremely rarely was I in danger, and once I died completely unexpectedly to an Arcane-type monster that summons adds that deal shittons of damage. Attack rating and Defense rating are gone, which is a big + in my books since those were just an annoying, weird system in d2.

The problem with the difficulty lays in the extremely poor monster AI. Extremely rarely do they actually try to attack you. They usually just stand around. Melee monsters commonly run away for no reason, or stand around idle. I believe the AI engine itself may be bugged, like d2's was.

Performance - On my system with an i7, 12gb pc8500, and my new 6970, I repeatedly suffered unusual lockups and something I can only assume to be related to decompression... on a Samsung F3. I don't experience these particular issues in sc2, so it may be related to their new formats. The performance was remarkably poor for how small the textures are. I suspect this is related to Blizzard's difficulty in dealing with the i7 processor, something that is still present in sc2. It just so happens d3 performs even worse than sc2 for me.

Pros -

+ Physics system is amazing. Send shit into orbit with the slightest touch.
+ Changes to the attribute system have improved since d2.
+ Environmental design is decent.

Cons -

- Nothing new gameplay-wise since diablo 1 in currently available content.
- No challenge in the gameplay. Click click loot.
- Graphics have regressed in detail since Diablo 2.
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Re: Diablo 3 beta

Postby Lavarinth » Tue Sep 27, 2011 12:15 pm

Keep in mind there's a lot of detail options missing, to my knowledge, for graphics. I know there's no AA at the moment, but there's only so much that can do.
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Re: Diablo 3 beta

Postby IskatuMesk » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:14 pm

There's an AA option but it doesn't do anything.

While one could try to attribute the lack of normal maps to beta status, consider that normal mapping and the related lighting and such are huge parts of the game's graphics and have yet to be seen from any blizzard videos or screenshots. To add them in last minute, especially with the performance acting weirdly as it is, would be a really weird decision.
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Re: Diablo 3 beta

Postby HelpMe » Tue Sep 27, 2011 1:57 pm

Nice video Mesk, very in-depth. Any chance there'll be more of this today?

Taeradun wrote:as with the StarCraft II beta, I shall be doing my own Diablo III coverage as well.


Make sure to post the links here. Or in another thread. ;D

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Re: Diablo 3 beta

Postby Theia_Loki » Tue Sep 27, 2011 2:47 pm

Looking forward to your coverage, mesk, as well as the presumably slow-as-sloshed-up-snails invite of my own.

Anyone think they should release this in 2013 instead of 2012 when it finally gets close to done?

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Re: Diablo 3 beta

Postby IskatuMesk » Tue Sep 27, 2011 3:00 pm

HelpMe wrote:Nice video Mesk, very in-depth. Any chance there'll be more of this today?


I finished my entire playthrough of the Barbarian a little while ago and have been encoding. I need to edit one part for sure but the whole thing should be up by tonight I think.
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Re: Diablo 3 beta

Postby Falchion » Tue Sep 27, 2011 4:25 pm

It is as I feared. The Blizzard we once knew is now long dead...
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Re: Diablo 3 beta

Postby DrumsofWar » Tue Sep 27, 2011 7:27 pm

How are attack and miss chances handled in D3? Is it closer to D & D rules or an adaption of WoW mechanics?


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