I got on around 4am, finally...after Blizzard essentially blew the first game in the World Series, and I have been playing up to now.
Just finished Act 1. Wow, the beta was just a taste of first Act. It's actually quite a bit longer than I expected. Taking a much needed break, so I am jotting down my first reactions, without spoilers. Besides, i need to eat and my partner needs to use the PC for something other than a game.
Well, I want to play more. That's always a good thing, right? It's a lot darker in tone than most have suspected it to be. Some later areas in Act 1 are actually pretty disturbing (and clearly designed by disturbed people). No spoilers here, considering many are probably not as far along as I am, and I don't want to spol any first Act plot points.
The difficulty does ramp up some as well, so for those who were concerned it was going to be way too easy, you are wrong. I am not saying its really challenging - but different classes are gonna be able to cope with certain monster types better than others. In later difficulties, I think it will get stupidly hard.
The final Act one boss? No spoilers, but it is a clever design for big boss battle. I can see it getting almost impossible in later difficulties as well, based on the design alone.
Art style is definitely contemporary Blizzard, not old school Diablo. There are several nice touches that are in homage to the previous games that help ground it in Sanctuary, but the gameplay is fluid and works well. No glitches to report, other than some occasional lag issues -I think this is more about my Internet connection than Blizzard's servers.
A lot of stink has been made about the skill system. Well, throughout the first act, choices in your skills didn't matter much for the first 10-15 levels, but toward the end of Act 1 the types of skill/rune combinations noticeably start to get more flexible. I can see the potential for nearly limitless build possibilities when you get even half way to 60.
Leveling slows way down...so I can see why getting to 60 will be a lengthy endeavor, including getting some of those higher level runes and passive skills to become available. to me, this is the best thing about the game. I was afraid it was going to be too short, and getting to 60 will be a breeze. Consider that fear rendered moot.
Got some new and fun events and side quests to experience, so who knows how deep that Event system gets down the road.
Overall, in spite of the initial "Blizzard, you suck in your hardware department" opinion, I am enjoying the game a ton.
While not "exactly" like The Diablo games before it, it does WHAT it does pretty much flawlessly, which is is exactly what I DID expect from Blizzard. No question, it is polished.
Items. Fun, fun, fun, fun! I don't really miss scrolls in this game. I thought I would, but I don't. This is really where Diablo 3 is gonna get the most traction. Finding something really cool and useful still feels like a sense of accomplishment, even if it is a common rare item. In later difficulties, and with the Jeweler being added into the mix (not saying when or where, or if I even know!) the itemization system design is top-notch, and will truly help players distinguish themselves from others in group-play. Maybe not initially...Act 1 is no question designed to be the tutorial Act, and characters are going to look and play almost identical at first. By Act 2, your armor and weapons become your character. No other way to put it.
You left me standing in the aftermath of World War 8, Staring straight ahead at imposing gates, With a sign that read “Unsafe To Play”.