BlizzCon 2010: Hands-On Diablo III PvP

BlizzCon 2010: Hands-On Diablo III PvP

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It's bloody, it's frantic, and it's incredibly fun.

Blizzard has not been shy about the fact that Diablo III will not be an e-sport like World of Warcraft's arenas and StarCraft II's competitive ladder. The game is first and foremost about venturing into the depths of hell and curb-stomping demons.

That hasn't stopped them from throwing an optional PvP Arena mode into the game as a fun side-option. It also doesn't stop it from being crazy fun.

At BlizzCon 2010, only three classes were enabled for the PvP Arena - the Witch Doctor, Wizard and Barbarian. Blizzard has admitted that it would be all but impossible to balance every potential character build (let alone all 97 billion of them), but apparently the Monk and Demon hunter just weren't ready for prime time yet. We were able to take on comers in matches that ranged from 1v1 duels to 3v3 melees - no word on if larger battles are planned.

The PvP Arena couldn't be simpler: It was a medium-sized square pit with pillars and ditches to obstruct line of sight and movement, where healing items would spawn near the center (grabbing one would heal you and any nearby teammates over time). Both teams started on opposite sides of the ring. The team that died first lost. That's it; go murder some people.

Blizzard has said that they don't want Diablo III's PvP devolving into the crowd-control-fest that dominates WoW's arenas, so you'll rarely lose control of your character (though the Barbarian and Wizard both have stuns, and the Witch Doctor has a limited "fear" ability). Instead, it seemed to me that the fighting was much more about placement and clever use of abilities than anything else.

The Wizard was fragile but easily dominated in the right hands. The new Meteor ability clearly indicated to enemies and allies alike (via a glowing ring on the ground) that death from above was imminent, so that everybody knew to vacate the area - or to try to lure the opposition in to certain death. Controlling lanes and movement was very important, as the Wizard's de facto nuke was a Disintegration ray that got stronger the longer they held it - but while holding it, they couldn't do anything else.

The Barbarian lacked ranged abilities but was a monster in close range, and the addition of the Ancient Spear skill gave him (or her) the ability to do just that. The Barbarian takes a page from Scorpion's book and yanks the opponent over to them with a spear - it needs to be aimed and can be dodged with the right timing, but it was incredibly satisfying to use. If you pull someone in and still have your movement cooldowns available like Heroic Leap, they're almost certainly doomed unless others come to their aid.

I never really got a chance to play much as the Witch Doctor, but I got slaughtered by one who sent flaming/explosive demon dogs howling toward me while cursing the ground beneath me to impair my movement speed, so I can only assume that they're powerful in their own right. Best of all, if you die you can still move around the area as a ghost - and while you can't impact the fight anymore, at least you can move around and see what's going on.

For a silly side game, Diablo III's PvP is shaping up very well. It's brutal (if you're unprepared, you can die in seconds from a good tag-team), it requires excellent teamwork and the skillful use of one's abilities, and it's incredibly entertaining to watch a warrior leap through the air in slow motion through your Time Slow bubble, only to land right in the middle of your Meteor circle.

It's also very pretty. Whatever you may think about Diablo III's rainbows and unicorns, those vibrant spell effects look nice

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Man oh man, the more information I get about this game, the more I am absolutely convinced it is next on my "must have titles" list. Seems that list gets quite a bit longer every year, but this one is getting bumped up towards the top.

I never played much of the original Diablo or Diablo II, but I remember bits and pieces of them, and they were addictive. If this one is anything at all like what I remember (and all signs point to it's 97,000,000,000+ character iterations and scream that it is), I fear for my productivity.

Cool, I'd love to see some more gameplay videos for the wizard.

I've just added this to my list of "must-haves", though not for PvP, but the recent BlizzCon info regarding the customization and Demon Hunter class.

My only reservation left is the Co-Op (PvP might be fun on lark, but being able to hook up with a few old friends from Diab/D2 days is the real gem)... My biggest gripe about D2 was the total randomness of the drops, and how only people who knew how to exploit the system (or just consistently screwed over their group members by "ninja'ing" every scrap that landed on the ground) could put together a decent Set (capitalized on purpose) of gear.

RELEASE DATE PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD

SangRahl:

My only reservation left is the Co-Op (PvP might be fun on lark, but being able to hook up with a few old friends from Diab/D2 days is the real gem)... My biggest gripe about D2 was the total randomness of the drops, and how only people who knew how to exploit the system (or just consistently screwed over their group members by "ninja'ing" every scrap that landed on the ground) could put together a decent Set (capitalized on purpose) of gear.

In Co-op each person can only see their own loot, therefore the item on the gound is meant for you and you only. If you drop a item, then the others can pick it up.

ark123:
RELEASE DATE PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD

Yes, and a demo. I would like to play this, even if its a small demo, before the full game comes out.
Ill just have to add this to my list of games to get, Which is around 40-50 games. Man I need to get a job.

ark123:
RELEASE DATE PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD

Soon[1]

[1] This, in no way, denotes an actual release date. It will be done when it's done

That is definitely a new twist for a Diablo game. Might be worth looking into.

So its like Bloodline Champions?

lambsheep:

Yes, and a demo. I would like to play this, even if its a small demo, before the full game comes out.

There very likely won't be a demo for DIII. It would mean having to bring up the game's servers before launch day as you'll probably have to sign into your battle.net account.

But they could have some sort of guest-play-enabled demo, I suppose, which I hope they will.

Taawus:
So its like Bloodline Champions?

Yes, but without the different game modes.

I hate the fact Bloodline is only released in EU. It was my Diablo 3 filler along with Torchlight2.

maybe one day in the far future i will devote some cash to building a new computer...
for now I guess I'll stick with the free laptop that runs horribly but can still play many of the fun old games.... I have no job so eventually perhaps I'll be able to afford a healthier rig...

 

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