some d3 tidbits

For general reader knowledge and because I like feeling self-important, here’s a little bit of basic info on Diablo 3, highlighting changes from Diablo 2.

First off, here’s your inventory screen.

It’s pretty similar to the old Diablo 2 screen. One improvement, which was used in WoW, is that you can right-click on a piece of equipment in your bags and it will equip it in the correct slot. Right-clicking also sells items if you have a vendor window open. Another addition following in WoW’s footsteps is the shoulder slot, which was lumped in with the chest graphic in D2. In the middle left, above the gold ticker, you can see 3 new icons. These are brand new, derived from previous features in Diablo and WoW. The top icon is the Stone of Recall. It’s a combination of WoW’s Hearthstone and the Diablo series’s Town Portal; it has a cast time, which is interrupted if you are hit or if you move, and it immediately warps you to town, leaving a Portal to immediately return to where you left off once you’re done in town. The other highlighted icon, in the lower-right, is the Cube of Nephalem. Unfortunately, this isn’t the new Horadric Cube. It’s actually an infinitely reusable version of Guild Wars’s salvage kits. You can salvage any piece of equipment you find, which gives you generic crafting supplies used in the 3 crafting professions available in Diablo 3 (blacksmithing, jewelcrafting, enchanting). Each difficulty mode will provide different materials; you can see the Normal mode materials in the lower left of my bag; there is an item for each level of item quality (gray/white, blue [Magic], yellow [rare], red [legendary]) – since Set items aren’t obtainable yet, we don’t know what those provide (presumably red parts).

By far, the biggest and best change to the Diablo 3 Inventory from Diablos 1 and 2 is real estate. Not only is your bag 10×6 spaces now, over Diablo 2’s 4×10 bag, all items are no bigger than 1×2 now!!! No more awkward space management when you have giant 2×4 items competing with 1x3s and 2x2s and 2x1s! All gear is 1×2, except for belts, rings, and amulets, which are 1×1. Other random items are all 1×1, and item stacks seem to go up to 100. Beyond that, the Nephalem Cube is usable anywhere and is instant, so if you do fill up your bags (which, if you’re OCD like me, I pick up everything that drops ever), you can at least salvage it on the spot if you need room. Belts don’t need to provide hotbar space since all consumables stack.

Next, I’ll discuss the stash, the new skill system, and take a brief look at crafting.

The stash now holds 7×10 per tab, and (presumably) this is expandable to 7x10x5, for each additional tab. Since gold is hella piddly in Act 1 and there was a beta reset recently, I haven’t gotten enough gold (nor played much period) to see if you have to buy additional rows for new tabs or not. The stash is shared across all characters now, which probably explains the generous amount of space given. Interestingly enough, gold is also shared across characters.

The new skill system is similar to Guild Wars. You can have up to 6 active skills equipped (as you can see, the 6th skill is unlocked at lvl 24) and 3 passive skills (lvl 30) at one time. It does not cost anything to change these skills around, but you have to find an Altar of Nephalem in order to do it. In the beta, the only Altars are 1) in the town of New Tristam and 2) at the entrance to New Tristam Cathedral level 1. The tradeoff here is that every player will have access to all of a class’s skills, you just have to choose which you are going to use when you are out in the world. Compared to D2 1.08 or prior, when you had to roll a completely new character if you wanted to try new builds, I’m very OK with this :) Since you don’t need to devote space to potions anymore, you use the number row 1-5 plus your left and right mouse clicks to bind skills and consumables. Only attacks and skills can be bound to mouse buttons, whereas only skills and consumables can be bound to 1-5. By “attacks” I mean the Attack and Shoot commands.

The last thing I’ll cover is crafting. When you’ve completed up to a certain quest, you’ll have the ability to craft items at the respective master craftsman. All the items (so far) take solely the items received from salvaging, so there’s no more hunting for random world drops à la WoW (“WTB Large Fang x20, PST”). Your craftsman can only make a few items at first, but you can train them by finding world drop Pages of Training. As you can see above, the next training regiment requires 1 Book of Training (= 5 Pages of Training), 5 Common Scrap, and 250 gold. When you train the craftsmen enough, they level up (my blacksmith, as you can see in the picture, is lvl 2). I haven’t seen any real reason for the levels aside from achievements, but it’s possible some high-level recipes will require certain craftsmen levels. I should mention that as well; in the Inventory screenshot at the top of this post, there is a yellow-bordered book in the lower-right hand corner. That is a recipe that teaches a craftsman a new item. Your craftsmen will learn new items to craft from both normal training and from finding these recipes.

The blacksmith is a huge improvement over Diablo 2, since, before, you could easily get outgeared as early as halfway through Act 1 if you didn’t happen to find good gear for your character. You were relegated to browsing the vendors’ Magic item stock, often having to run to the waypoints to reset the inventory many times or waste gold gambling before you got an item worth using. It was really easy to get roadblocked if you just didn’t have good enough gear. The crafting possibilities really help out, since you get tons of salvage supplies easily enough and the items you can make are generally a step above what’s found in shops or from monsters.

I’m not sure if this is just for the beta, but all of my characters shared the blacksmith’s training and levels. It would be really convenient if that were true for release as well, since Pages of Training are needed in a high enough volume to make it unlikely that a casual player would ever be able to accumulate enough Pages for 2 characters to have well-trained craftsmen, let alone maintaining all 3 of them on a single character as you progress through the game. However, one of my friends read that Blizzard wanted this to be a point of contention between classes; would your current class benefit more from the blacksmith, or the jewelcrafter, or the enchanter?

Well, that’s all I wanted to write about tonight. If Runestones are ever implemented into the beta, I’ll definitely explore it and write about it later (not that there’s a dearth of information out there or anything), but, I can only analyze what I have access to.

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