Friday, 25 May 2012
Diablo 3 offers more freedom than I expected
I have just finished the second act in diablo 3, and i felt compelled to write a blog about the game. For me Diablo 3 stands out not because it is an attractive satisfying action game, which it is, but because of the way it levels up your character. This is unique amongst pretty much all rpg's I have played in, well the last 10 years (including almost all mmo's). Diablo 3 ditches the talent tree, and has made me realise just how much of a crutch it is.
In D3 you can have a maximum of 6 skills equipped at any time. Every time you level you gain either a new skill, or a rune for an existing skill. Runes basically tweak a skill so it works in a different, not better, way. As you can only have 6 skills at any time, you are constantly thinking about how the skills work together. Each and every time you level, you re-evaluate your existing skill, perhaps even using ones that you had previously discounted as useless.
This can even go as far as what or where you are fighting. I am playing a witch doctor and I have a plague of toads skill. Essentially he generates waves of frogs that explode on contact. However the frogs move in very frog like ways, meaning that at best you can just point them in the right direction. This means that they aren't that great in the open areas, however in tight corridors they are great. There is no penalty for changing skills and it can be done at any time.
This actually gets you thinking about your character and the enemies you are facing on a minute by minute basis. Compare that to the average rpg, where you level up and if you are lucky you get a new skill. More often than not you will not get a new skill, and just a point to spend on a talent tree. Take a look at any RPG talent tree, and at best it will have 2 or 3 new abilities. The rest are all about percentage increase in damage, or reducing cooldowns or adding a movement debuff. Now these things all undeniably contribute to making your character more powerful. However none of them are very exciting at all, and none of them allow you to play the character in a significantly different way to anybody else going down that talent tree.
Diablo 3 is pretty unique role playing game as it is more about how you play a role than how the story is played out. If that isn't a reason to buy it, what is.