Diablo 3 Beta Review: Your Mouse is F*cked
Blizzard makes quick work of other inefficiencies. Instead of having to carry around Scrolls of Town Portal, largely a formality by the end of Diablo II, players get a Stone of Recall, which enables you to open a portal back to the nearest town at any time, provided you can survive the fairly lengthy channeling without taking damage.
Health and Mana potions have also gone by the board. Quaffed in great supply by Diablo players past, they represented the worst kind of un-fun repetition, whose only appeal lies in necessity. Even the goofy sound effect was a rare misstep by the developers.
Instead, health is now replenished by “health globes,” which drop from defeated enemies and take effect as soon as you walk over them. Health potions still exist, but they’re confined to long cooldowns and used only in emergencies.
Only one class, the Witch Doctor, still uses Mana, which refills automatically and very quickly. The Wizard spends “Arcane Power” to cast spells, which is practically the same thing. The Demon Hunter draws on two resources, Hatred and Discipline, to cast spells. The first recovers speedily, the other more sedately. The Barbarian and the Monk employ a sort of tension and release system. For them, hitting things builds up “Fury” and “Spirit,” respectively, which can then be spent to trigger powerful skills.
Skills in Diablo 3 have been radically redesigned. In the previous two games, a misspent stat or skill point could “gimp,” a character forever, invalidating hours of play. Now, there is no such risk.
To begin with, stat upgrades in Diablo 3 are entirely automatic. The game simply assigns them based on class. This means that two characters of the same class and the same level, stripped of their gear, are exactly the same.
Variation is introduced through the new skill system. As GameFront’s guide to the Diablo 3′s top five biggest changes explained, skills unlock automatically at their given level, and they either lock or unlock — you can’t continue to invest multiple points into a skill, level after level.
Even if you have a wealth of skills unlocked, you’re limited by the availability of Active Skill slots. Each character begins the game with two, then gets one more every six levels, stopping at level 24 with a total of 6. You can only use as many skills as you have active skill slots.
This may seem like a rigid system, but it’s decidedly not. You are free to change your active skills as much as you want. This makes character customization in Diablo 3 entirely about creating synergy. If you’re fond of one spell that snares all enemies in a certain area, you’ll want to complement it with another that deals out area-of-effect damage to all those temporarily sluggish monsters.