November 29 2011
Diablo 3 will be the third installment in Blizzard Entertainment's Diablo series of action-RPGs. It has been over a decade since the release of Diablo 2, so fans of the franchise have definitely had a long wait and gaming technology has advanced immeasurably.
Like earlier games in the series, Diablo 3 takes place in the world of Sanctuary and uses the customary isometric view. This time, however, the graphics engine is fully 3D and the physics engine is being developed in-house rather than using Havok. The game will have both static content and randomly generated levels to add to its replayability.
The game has 5 classes, although only the Barbarian remains from Diablo 2. Demon Hunter, Monk, Witch Doctor, and Wizard are all new classes, but they have quite a few similarities to Diablo 2's classes.
- Barbarian - This class can sustain heavy damage and dominates melee with large and imposing weapons like swords, hammers, and axes.
- Demon Hunter - A ranged class that uses crossbows as their primary weapon. They can also throw small exploding projectiles and use traps.
- Monk - Monks channel divine power to deliver melee attacks with or without weapons, as well as having some healing abilities.
- Witch Doctor - The Witch Doctor can summon various dead souls and monsters to help fight their battles. They also weaken their enemies with curses and hexes.
- Wizard - These spell casters manipulate the elements to freeze and burn their foes, as well as create powerful illusions and deflect incoming attacks.
In single-player mode an NPC ally can be requisitioned to fight alongside your hero. As well as being able to outfit them with items, you'll be able to customize their skills as they level up. You can only make use of one follower at a time, and 3 of them have been revealed so far: Eirena the enchantress, Lyndon the scoundrel, and Kormac the templar.
Crafting in Diablo 3 is done through NPC artisans who join the player upon completion of certain quests. They create new items out of materials salvaged from unwanted loot. Rare and magical items can be enchanced as well as basic weapons and armor. The three artisans that have been announced to date are a blacksmith, a mystic, and a jeweler.
Diablo 3 will use Blizzard's game distribution and matchmaking service, Battle.net. The game will require a constant connection to the service whether in multiplayer or single-player. Although broadband internet is widespread, this remains a concern for quite a few people who would prefer to be able to play the single-player campaign offline.
Real-Money Auction House
For the first time in the history of the series, Diablo 3 will also have a real-money action house where players can buy and sell items. This means that, if you come across a rare item in the game, you'll have the option to earn real cash from it, legitimately. Blizzard is hoping to undermine the black market in Diablo items and currency to some extent, but this approach has created some controversy, which we've written about at greater length in the past.
Although we don't yet have a firm release date for Diablo 3, but beta has been underway for a long time already, so it seems likely that the game will arrive in early 2012.