Diablo 3 Beta Review: Your Mouse is F*cked

The possibilities of this system are practically limitless. The days of creating a character with a particular build and gear set in mind from the get-go are well and truly dead. Characters can change skills as easily as they change gear, and they will. Players might even collect different sets of gear, swapping them in and out to match whichever skill-set is currently deployed. Passive skill slots, unlocked at levels 10, 20, and 30, add a further level of character customization through constant, passive bonuses that augment active skills.

Experimentation with different synergies promises to be both fascinating and endless. Frustrated dungeon-crawlers will even be able to respect immediately after death, when stuck on a particularly difficult encounter. It is even possible to hide in a corner in the midst of a battle to swap in a context-sensitive skill — activating Frost Nova to deal with frost-vulnerable enemies, for example.

As if the wide open possibilities of this system weren’t enough, Blizzard also promises Runestones, which did not appear in beta. Runes have been in Diablo before — you could add the to your weapons in the Diablo II expansion Lord of Destruction — but these Runes are different. They are added to skills, not weapons.

There are five different Runestones — Crimson, Indigo, Obsidian, Golden, and Alabaster — and different levels within each color. When applied to a skill, a Runestone provides a special, added effect. The Barbarian’s Whirlwind skill, infamously spammed in Diablo II, provides an example. Augmented by a indigo Runestone, it spawns smaller whirlwinds which damage enemies out of the range of the Barbarian’s weapons. With a golden Runestone equipped, it costs less Fury.

In practice, this means that each and every skill in the game has five potential variations. This means more opportunities for customization and experimentation, more ways to make a character uniquely your own.

Despite this staggering degree of variation and personalization, the satisfaction of casting Whirlwind won’t really change much. It will still trigger a spectacular animation, accompanied by an appropriate, tornado-like sound. Blizzard might have torn the skill system up by the roots, but there’s no separating Diablo from its native terrain: addictive, immensely satisfying repetition.

Regardless of when the game comes out, or how many times you rearrange your skills, one thing will remain constant: the merciless death of Diablo 3′s monsters. They will be burnt, poisoned, disemboweled, and turned into chickens. They will die over and over again. Millions of them will die, dispatched by millions of clicks. Your mouse is f*cked.

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11 Comments on Diablo 3 Beta Review: Your Mouse is F*cked

Z

On October 4, 2011 at 12:13 pm

Thank you for the great read!!

sean

On October 14, 2011 at 4:17 pm

This is by far the best review I”ve seen on a game. Feels like graduate paper! kudos!

Ronit

On October 30, 2011 at 6:02 am

Very nice review. Do you mind if I use it on my website and give this website full credits as well as full credits to the author?

Ron Whitaker

On October 31, 2011 at 5:26 am

Ronit, if you would like to link to this or post a short portion of the review with a link back here, that is fine. However, we do not allow other sites to post the full text of our articles. Thanks for the kind words!

Naylar

On November 5, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Indeed a great read. Enjoyed it a lot. Now PLEASE… release the game.

Rahul

On November 11, 2011 at 11:05 pm

A truly refreshing read. I’m looking forward to more reviews from you.

Matthew

On November 20, 2011 at 10:02 am

Yes great read, now I have something to look forward to.

Heather

On December 19, 2011 at 6:06 pm

Fantastic review! I have been anxiously awaiting the release of 3 for a few years now, and this review has me totally amped all over again! Looks like all the new changes are going to make it better than ever. Can’t wait!

Alex

On December 28, 2011 at 11:47 am

“Diablo 3 received an “M” rating for “slashing and flesh-impact sounds, screams of pain, and frequent blood-splatter effects; creatures often explode into bloody fragments as multiple enemies are dispatched at once.” In attempting to warn parents about the illicit thrills of Diablo 3, the ESRB accidentally penned an eloquent description of the things that make the game so much fun.”

Perfectly said.

Zomax

On February 7, 2012 at 6:15 am

Unfortunately the game is far from epic. The game feels simple as if it were design for xbox. Perfectly boring, no number no feeling of progression. Limited abilities, basically 3 moves, upto 7. Diablo 3 caters to 7-9 years a great game to bundle with a new xbox or ps3.
Diablo 3 like B.net 2.0 fails epicly. Thanks Booby!

Mighty

On February 7, 2012 at 8:14 am

I have to agree with Zomax on this. I’ve been playing the BETA for the last week and the least I can say is DISAPPOINTED. No leveling system no character customization. Honestly, I’m not even sure I’m gonna buy the game. Sorry but if you’re under 15 and you didn’t play the first two games. Maybe you’re gonna like this one with the old dated graphics. Would have been a good game if it was released in 2006 like it was supposed to be.

Oh and by the way… I hope Blizz will have de decency to rate it as an action game and not an RPG cause there’s not RPG elements in this game.