Of Diablo 3 (D3), many things can be said. The game is fun, especially with friends. The production value is pretty decent and the game is gorgeous to behold. The character classes all have something different to offer the player, and the hot-swappable skill-system is just as interesting and fun as it was in Guild Wars. Hardcore mode is thrilling, and nothing else feels quite like seeing your hero perma-dead due to negligence or flat-out greed. [Let's not discuss the narrative or all the pointless lines of voiced dialog, which sounded great but said nothing at all.] What D3 doesn’t do, however, is respect or trust the player.
These qualities, taken for granted it now seems, are missing thanks to core design choices that went into the final product of D3. The most egregious error is the default Normal mode, which should be an insult to anyone who even has just a basic familiarity of video games, let alone actual gamers. The instances where the player is actually trusted with real challenges to overcome can be counted on the fingers illustrated on a Left 4 Dead poster. The absolute worst part is that Normal mode cannot be skipped – the only feasible way to do so is to be run through by higher-level characters or to hit up the in-game, ever-present auction house to twink your budding character with the best gear gold (soon real money!) can buy. Keep this last point in mind.
I’ve been fortunate enough to get to play Guild Wars 2 (GW2) multiple times at trade-shows so when ArenaNet & NCsoft started a pre-purchase beta invite program not putting the money down to get in wasn’t even up for consideration. The first of an undetermined number of beta weekend events for pre-purchasers like myself is starting up on Friday, April 27th. I have some ideas of how I want to approach this period, consisting of the following activities:
Trying out races and classes that I wouldn’t normally play.
Given that anything achieved in the betas will be wiped from existence there’s no real use getting too attached to any characters created. I am particularly drawn to the ranger, mesmer, and thief professions and imagine I will be playing those at launch so I’d like to play as some of the ones I would otherwise steer clear of, notably the warrior and guardian classes. Throw some furry charr action in there and I should be getting a very different taste than what I’d prefer to invest in.