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.

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single-player wow

Yesterday evening, I received an invitation to the Diablo 3 Beta. Hint: for all you afraid to open sketchy e-mails, the invitation is now directly on your Battle.net account, so if you’re wary of clicking on links, just log into Battle.net and there should be a new option under Game Management to download the Diablo 3 beta client.

As I observed through the various articles on the Diablo 3 Community Site, my impression of D3 was that it’s taking tons of the elements of WoW and making it into a single-player click-hell game. After playing for a few hours, I feel justified in my conclusion, and what a glorious conclusion it is. There’s no more skill tree/skill stacking like in Diablo 2 or Torchlight, all the skills are learned at a certain level and scale with your weapon damage (which is a bit strange for the Wizard, but I guess it evens out every class’s desire for weapons with high damage output).

You can only “equip” a small number of spells when out in the world, similar to Guild Wars, assigning 2 abilities to your left- and right-click mouse buttons, then having the rest (with an option for consumables) accessible with the 1-5 number keys. Being Diablo, there’s no targeting mechanism necessary, so pressing the number key will launch your spell in the direction of your mouse cursor, as though you had clicked a mouse button to cast the spell. This is pretty slick compared to the extensive shortcut mapping I used in Diablo 2 to manage the 6-7+ abilities needed on my Trapsin :) or having Bartender4 manage 5 bars worth of hotkeys for my warlock in WoW. Sure, there’s less flexibility this way, but balancing the game around each class only using 6-ish abilities at a time should be much easier for Blizzard, and it’s less confusing for players who otherwise get overwhelmed with a multitude of abilities that can be used at one time.

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