The freshly-announced Wizard class.
Diablo III is going to be awesome!

Playing through the BlizzCon demo for Diablo III was an unforgettable experience. Honestly.

I do not consider myself a big Blizzard nut. The most enthusiasm you’ll get out of me regarding the Starcraft and Warcraft is, “eh,” and I do not consider myself to be someone who follows the lore and announcements on a regular basis. I am, however, a bit of a softy for the Diablo franchise, and watching the story unfold around Diablo III has left me, admittedly, in a bit of a fanboi haze.

See? Look what it made me do. It almost sounds like they paid me off!

Such is the power of Diablo III’s ability to enthrall.

I rolled a female Wizard (Wizardess? Witch?) and proceeded to dungeon stomp through the first couple levels of the “Catacombs”. There were only a few powers available to me, namely “Magic Missile” and a cone-effect lightning attack that proves incredibly useful for keeping hordes of enemies at bay. One thing I noticed: she’s surprisingly skilled at melee attacks. Spamming spells burns through mana quickly, and sooner or later you will find yourself facing foes at melee distance. Luckily, my witch – the uncreatively named “evilincarnate,” – shredded through these hordes so efficiently that it I could have forgotten spells completely.

Speaking of mana, I must say that the game seems to have a distinct shortage of it. At least, in the early levels – it could be a “early build” thing, or an “I’m not far enough in the game” thing, but I didn’t see a single mana potion.

It’s worth noting that your avatar regenerates health and mana quickly – ducking out of a fight for ten seconds or so is good enough to recharge half your mana and, seemingly, a significant amount of health. Health potions were in short supply – but to make up for that, enemies drop little health orbs that give you an instant 10-20% refill to your HP.

Another missing feature? No town portal scrolls!

“Say what?” you ask. How is it a Diablo game without our beloved town portal scrolls?

Speaking with a gentleman from, I am told the Blizzard team is either not going to include them in the game at all, or that they are not implemented yet. At the Diablo III panel this morning, Blizzard said they wanted to make the game harder, and taking away players’ ability to town-portal  out of the way is an option they are considering.

To make up for this loss, foes may drop bags when killed – granting the player additional inventory space. Gone is the tile-based inventory slot system in Diablo II, replaced instead with a World-of-Warcraft style “bag” system where everything takes up one slot.

As expected, Diablo III seems to retain a “when it’s finished” attitude about release dates – so its anyone’s guess as to when the game will drop. From what I played, however, the game could have been retail. Remember, it’s a preview demo – so it’s more likely that what I saw was simply the result of a little extra elbow grease.

So thanks, Blizzard, for taking me back to those fond high school memories of Diablo II.

In any case, I am officially counting down the days. Dungeon Runners is a suitable – and funny – substitute to hold me over til D3-Day (heh), but it’s not the same. I’ve tasted blood, so to speak, and now I am hungry for more.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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