Out of the weird classes I've played I've fully kitted out and leveled a:
- Nova/Dagger Necro
- Blade Fury Assassin
- Melee Sorc
- Finder Barb
- Vengeance Paladin
- Holy Shock Paladin
- Cleric Paladin
- Holy Freeze Paladin
- Rabies Druid
- Passive Amazon
Normal characters I've fully kitted out and leveled:
- Trap Assassin
- Martial Arts Assassin
- Orb Sorc
- Blizzard Sorc
- WW Barb
- Zealot Paladin
- 1pt Smiter Paladin (Basically a Zealot with different equipment and strategy)
- Lightning Javazon
- Elemental Druid
- Ribcracker Warebear Druid
- Summon Necro
- WW Assassin
Every single one was completely viable for soloing Hell Mode with the gear I had with them. Perhaps not in normal solo play but with a bit of trading online it was doable with each of these characters, although easier for some than others (Rabies druid, despite being a weird build basically makes Hell Mode a joke).
I have a few main problems with Diablo 3:First: Arcadey Aesthetic
I was sure they'd fix it after the first images of D3 came out, but they have not done so yet... I dislike the change to a more arcadey and cartoonish aesthetic. Though this is, to a large extent, a personal thing I do think that it harms the tone and ambience that Diablo 2 pulled off so well. D2 felt like a dark dank crap sack world where little was left and what was left was shambles of random people trying to survive in worn down cities. D3 feels much closer to Torchlight, which was very lighthearted and quirky, than Diablo.Second: Shallow Skill System
I wouldn't argue that having a bunch of useless skills was a good thing, but what they've changed it to removes what was really fun about Diablo 2. Having a set goal for your character build, working towards it, and having extremely meaningful skill CHOICES all the way through the skill-gaining process. If I want to play a Blizzard Sorc over a Meteor sorc then I personally go and put points into the cold spell tree... but in D3 I have essentially no choice in what skills I get, just which ones I use and even then not until much later on.Example:
I want to do an orb sorc? I start off putting heaps of points into the first cold bolt skill and use that to kill things, look I'm already icing it up! I'm already differentiated and special, it's awesome! Sure Cold bolt is useless for combat at 30 or whenever you get orb, but you know what isn't useless to me as a player? How much fun it is to have feedback in my choices and build early on in the game!
But in D3 if I want to play a trap Demon Hunter then I need to play a generic bow DH until level 21 when I get the turret so I can use Spike Trap + Sentry, or maybe I can switch it up and use chakrams for a while but I still have to spend 20 levels playing the gameplay I don't want to play. The D2 Assassin, I get bombs and traps straight away, I don't have to bother with that martial stuff at all!
What if I want to play a Melee Demon Hunter? Well I can't because even the skills that work with melee weapons on (chakram, traps, bombs, etc) don't actually ever swing the weapon and are all ranged/trap stuff anyway... I can't even really just 'focus' on passives to make autoattacking awesome (Like with the passive amazon I made, who was a sword'n'board user), because I D3 I have to get and specialise in every one of the abilities my character learns, there is no 'focusing' on a certain type of gameplay.
In fact, the one possibly playable melee DH build I've managed to come up with (a playstyle which is only unlocked after FIFTY levels of gameplay I don't want) is prevented by the item system. Namely a sharpshooter passive (doesn't mention weapon type) with a hit-and-run style attack method and a big hulking 2 handed weapon to maximize crit-and-run damage... except DHs can't use two-handed weapons.Third: Uninteresting Itemization
Admittedly we've only seen a bit of act one and so we can't exactly comment too much on this. However we had a glimpse of their philosophy towards items this time when they had the items up on the game guide. They all had only a few modifiers and always only stuff like +stats and +damage, never anything interesting and fun like +X% Chance to cast Level Y Z on Hit/Taking Damage/Level Up, no +Skills (because of the skill change) no +Other Class Skills no +X Y Per character level, no crushing, deadly or open wounds.
Okay, so, yeah, they said that those weren't finalised and took them off the game guide. But lets compare early A1 normal items from D2 to early A1 D3 items that people commonly found.D2: Griswolds Edge: http://classic.battle.net/diablo2exp/it ... ords.shtml
One-Hand Damage: (12-15) To (25-30) (18.5-22.5 Avg)
Required Level: 17
Required Strength: 48
Base Weapon Speed: 
+80-120% Enhanced Damage (varies)
Adds (10-12) to (15-25) Fire Damage (varies)
10% Increased Attack Speed
+100 to Attack Rating
+12 To Strength
(Only Spawns In Patch 1.09 or later)D3: Griswolds Edge:
(from information I found during older betas, if anyone had found gris in the open beta feel free to update the stats)
+2 Random Properties
Random properties all seem generic things related to resource generation, crit, damage or stats.D2: Act 1 Normal Rare bow example: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v341/ ... re_bow.jpgD3: Act 1 Rare Bow examples: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWX9ULk3E3s
Notice how samey and generic they all are? All fire bow, ice bow, holy bow, more damage, etc. No bow that curses the opponent, no bow that bleeds the opponent, no bow that sometimes casts a wizard spell when you shoot it, no bow that hits so hard it knocks things back.D2: Act 1 Normal Set item example, Cleglaw's Tooth: http://classic.battle.net/diablo2exp/it ... l#cleglaws
One-Hand Damage: 3 to 19 (11 Avg)
One-Hand Damage: 3 to (20-142) (11.5-72.5 Avg)
Required Level: 4
Required Strength: 55
Required Dexterity: 39
Base Weapon Speed: [-10]
50% Deadly Strike
30% Bonus to Attack rating
+ (1.25 Per Character Level) +1-123 To Maximum Damage (Based On Character Level) (2 Items)D3:
I've not seen any low level set items at all. But the possible item properties are all similar to what is going on with uniques and rares in D3.Fourth: Stupid Statistics
Everyone agrees that D2's stat/attribute system needed fixing. Min str/dex to use items then all in vitality was boring, you should be able to choose to invest in stats for more damage while foregoing stamina and just making sure to not get hit... but that really wasn't even viable in D2.
The solution to that, however is NOT to completely remove stat customisation and dumb stats down. Right now the stat system of Strength/Dexterity/Intelligence/Vitality where STR/DEX/INT is the damage stat for Barb/DH+Monk/WD+Wiz is incredibly boring and stupid. D3 might as well be changed it so that Barbarians only have 1 stat called "Barbarianism
" and Demon Hunters only have one stat called "Demonology"
and Witch Doctors only have one stat called "Voodoo Pharmacy"
and Monks only have one stat called "Enlightenment"
and Wizards only have one stat called "Wizardry"
where each stat's tooltip says "How good your character is at being X"
is the name of their class. Thats how pointless the stats are right now.
Hell if you're going to do that, just scrap attributes entirely and ONLY have weapon damage, armor, resistances, and hp.
The true solution, however, is to keep the D2 attribute system but fix up how str and dex scale and integrate with weapons and skills so going "full strength"
is as viable as going "full dex"
or "full vit"
as long as you build your items/skills around it.Fifth: Active Narrative
D2 had this great ambience about it, you were in some fucked up world full of zombies and demons and shit and everything was dark and scary. There was a story but it was in the background, you had to explore and really get into the story to find out everything. This was great because if you were interested in the story you really had to get sucked into the world and experience it from that point of view, they weren't just throwing the story at you and expecting you to love it. They hid it away in dark corners so when you found the story you are surrounded in darkness and in the perfect mood to experience it.
If you didn't care for the story you could just run through this awesome setting and let the tone and ambience flow through you.
In D3 however, I'm explicitly following a storyline. To avoid it and just experience the setting itself I have to escape or turn off all the cinematics and close all the popup windows when people tell you stuff and even then I still have to finish all the main storyline quests. It can't be that I'm just going through and killing King Leoric because I'm a bad ass, I HAVE to save Cain (when I didn't have to do anything I didn't want to do in D2) and then go back and go through more storyline to get the key or whatever it was so I can go further in the dungeon to fight Leoric.
Diablo has never had an amazing narrative or plot, though the setting and tone in D2 was amazing... yet in D3 they're arrogant enough so as to FORCE me to experience their shitty plot. Even if I skip all the words and cinematics I still have to go through story events to continue. I can't rush through Leoric's dungeon like a badass like I could ignore tristram in D2. I can't get past the cart until I do some crappy storyline quest. What the hell.
Now, you may say all of this is moot because we played a BETA and the full game could be completely different. But, come on, really? It comes out on the 15th and we just played a stress test beta (not a bug/balance/gameplay test beta), a beta which would have no point if the game we were playing was not largely similar to what is being released. Plus how much can really be done to a game from now till release? Certainly the game is already finalised and this open beta is just related to making sure the servers are ready.
It is theretically possible that the beta we played is super old and the currently finalised version is actually completely different, but then why give us a misleading preview? If it turns out the release version is completely different some of these criticisms may be invalid, but I'm talking about what we're presented with here.