Diablo is one of the biggest video game horror franchises, so if you're like me you're dying for the next installment from Blizzard Games, Diablo 3. Although Blizzard hasn't announced a release date yet for the title, it doesn't seem likely to hit shelves any time before 2011. Luckily for me, I got to check out the game at this weekend's BlizzCon in Anaheim, California, and I'm here to brag about it… er, I mean, tell you all about it.
The big announcement this year was the addition of a new playable character: the monk. Sounds pretty tame, right? Trust me, dude has some moves. My favorites are "Exploding Palms," a combo-based attack that, when performed properly, delivers a death blow that causes the victim to explode in a cloud of blood and gore – and causing damage to any monsters in the vicinity; and "Seven-Sided Strike," a ninja-style, multi-part attack. Witch doctor, barbarian, and wizard are all returning characters. A fifth character will also be included in the final release, but it has not been announced yet.
The Diablo 3 build they had for demo included one desert zone, and an accompanying dungeon. Frankly, I was not impressed by the desert zone. It was bland, and the monsters consisted mainly of swarming Sandwasps and burrowing Dune Threshers; a few Fallen were thrown in for good measure, but not nearly enough. At last year's BlizzCon, I seem to remember the Diablo 3 build having wall-to-wall zombies, demons, ghouls, and other monsters. Not insects and giant sand gators. Blizzard has come under fire from fans for toning down the gore and horror from the first to the second installment, and this demo does nothing to quell those complaints. However, the screen shots from Blizzard's press kit show a lot of other areas and monsters that are far more bad-ass.
The developers promise Diablo 3 will have a new graphics engine that "can display characters and hordes of monsters in lush, fully 3D environments;" expanded random events throughout the game, expanded co-op and PvP modes utilizing the new Battle.net system, and new quest mechanics, including new class-based quests. Those squirrely developers are mum on the details. One of the few changes we were able to get details on include runes that can be collected and socketed into items (much like in World of Warcraft), changing and enhancing skills.