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Pre-E3 2008 Diablo III

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If you thought you vanquished evil last time, Blizzard is reminding gamers that the Devil is back and this time he means business. Although long rumored and hoped for by fans, Diablo III has finally been unveiled by Blizzard to continue the Action RPG series and usher in all-new 3D graphics, new characters, more enemies, and more surprises.

Blizzard first showed off Diablo III as a typically dungeon crawler. The environment was very detailed and the color palette was very dark. This made the game feel like a true successor to the original Diablo and less of the open-world elements that Diablo II ushered in. However, as the demo continued and the player went deeper and deeper into the depths of the dungeon, you encounter some NPC's and two of them join your party. These characters are fairly weak and will need some help fending off all the different type of enemies that are encountered.

Speaking of enemies, there are a ton of different creatures shown off in Diablo III. There is a larger emphasis placed on being ambushed and having to fight off an entire screen full of monsters trying to rip you to pieces. Fortunately for the player, Blizzard has modified the potion system so that enemies will randomly leave behind a red glowing orb. When you walk over it, your health will regenerate. Not only does that give the game much less downtime--but any ally near you--including friends in a co-op game--will receive a health bonus from these glowing orbs too! This should help ensure you never are looking for potions or keeping a ton of them piled up in your inventory. The first sign of potions going away is the lack of a potion bar. In its place is an all-new skill bar. Blizzard is boasting that Diablo III will be able to be played exclusively with the mouse. This will make the game much more attractive to casual players or those who just want a quick and easy experience. However, the combat can get much deeper by using the the keyboard for shortcuts.

And like in past Diablo titles, part 3 will not leave the random dungeons behind. Almost all aspects of the game will have a random element to it. This includes random loot, random monsters, and random scripted events. If you think about games that use scripted events, it can quickly become boring to go back and play the same exact scene over and over again. Diablo III will ensure that the game never becomes boring or predictable because you will never know what might come around the corner. And with different scripted events comes different stories that follow the events. Don't be fooled into thinking you will experience the same stories each time you play through the game. Diablo III is changing all the rules to how random events should be given to the players.

It would seem to make sense that Blizzard would take all previously used classes, from the past two Diablo titles, but Blizzard has remained fairly quiet about specific details. It has been confirmed that the Barbarian will return--along with a new character called The Witch Doctor. Besides these two characters, we have been told that not all classes will return and there may be no more than five playable classes. You will, however, be able to play as both male and female versions of characters to choose from.

What we have seen of The Barbarian, he will be a pure power player. Blizzard has said that their belief is that no character can wield too much power and The Barbarian will be able to use new and old skills to cause complete and utter destruction to anything in its path. During the demo shown by Blizzard, The Barbarian has so much power, he can even destroy the environment! While it is certain all characters will be able to wreak havoc on the environment, Blizzard has only shown it being done with The Barbarian. The Barbarian will be a pure melee character and will provide the most direct damage from all playable characters that will be available to choose from.

The Witch Doctor is an interesting character type that uses diseases, controls the minds of enemies, and can even summon pets. Even more powerful things can be done with your pets. For added power, The Witch Doctor can even throw diseases on to their pets to make them even more powerful. Besides these skills, The Witch Doctor will also be able to unleash swarms of locusts, throw fireballs to far off enemies, and even cast a spell to confuse enemies. While the Witch Doctor may not be able to go toe to toe with The Barbarian in terms of raw power, they can hold their own in the heat of a battle.

In terms of the number of players that will be allowed to play in a single game over the Battle.net service, Blizzard is currently remaining silent on the subject. At this moment, it appears that eight players is the current cap for an online party. It does not appear that Blizzard will exceed this number of players. Depending on how development progresses, we could see this number fall to less than eight. However, we won't learn until later in the development process on what the final number of players in a single game will be.

One thing is for certain, Diablo III is coming and even at this early stage, it is shaping up to be an incredible game. As with all Blizzard titles that they show to the press and public--this is yet another very polished game that should further establish the series as the premier "hack 'n slash" games on the market. We will have more on this title as Blizzard reveals more details.

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