This past weekend, Blizzard Entertainment performed a "stress test" on their servers in preparation for their next big release: Diablo III - and users free test has gotten the crowds excited to a whole new degree. This game is 16 years in the making, making this one of the longest periods between a game and its sequel in the history of gaming - and certainly the MMORPG world for certain. To help us prepare even more than this free Beta weekend has already, we've spoken to several wild gamers from across the United States to see what this first weekend held for them and what they're excited about for the release halfway through this month!
We've got three different levels of gamer here, each of them having played the Diablo III beta test this past weekend to help Blizzard test out their servers (and of course to get a head start on gaming prowess for the real hardcore release on the 15th of this month) First we've got Millie Wihlansen, a 20 year old student from upper Minnesota, USA. Next we've got Andy Gold, a 25 year old from Connecticut who works in the food service industry. Finally we've got Ray Carpenter, 50 years old and living in Florida. The names here have been tweaked slightly to protect each of the interviewees identities, and the locations have been made a bit more general, relegated to states so you get an alright idea of where they live without being able to stalk them in the night!
How did you your first experience this weekend with Diablo III? Was it enjoyable as you expected?
Millie: "I really expected pretty much what I got. It was like Diablo II but with better graphics and a lot more weird monsters than last time. I really liked the ability to choose male or female on each of the character classes for sure - and the gameplay was surprisingly smooth for a beta test so I think this release will actually happen by the end of the month, hopefully."
Andy: "I can't believe how similar it is to Diablo II. It's really going to grab a bunch of people who liked to play that game and push them back into the feeling they had when they were playing it back in highschool, or whenever they were playing it. I'm going to need to set limits for myself or it'll be flunking my sophomore year all over again."
Ray: "It's certainly a great progression here from Diablo I to II to III. It's the same enjoyable set of dynamics that made the game great in the beginning tied with new surprises like the fat demons that explode into worms - same with the creatures that crawl out of the environment. Great expansion with new elements that are made to surprise gamers used to the Diablo universe."
Do you expect Blizzard to have any more delays before the release of the game?
Millie: "Oh my god, if there are any more delays I'm going to flip out."
Andy: "I can't imagine they have anything else to prepare at this point."
Ray: "If you'd have asked me before this weekend, I'd have said that if there were any more delays, I'd skip the game entirely. The beta test though made me fall in love with the game again."
What character class do you expect to be using?
Millie: "I'll definitely be a sorcerer or a demon hunter - I'm all about the casting of spells and traps from far off instead of getting down and dirty with a barbarian."
Andy: "Barbarian. There's no other class. Ever."
Ray: "I'm finding myself drawn to the Monk class. I feel like the other characters are progressions of the past choices we've had but the Monk takes what the Paladin had in Diablo II and makes it much more interesting. And I'm loving the fact that each character has its own version of Mana, by the way - Barbarians should never have had Mana in the first place."
Will you be playing single player mode or cooperative?
Millie: "Both of course, Diablo is all about both. I'll probably see if my friends are going for characters that work with mine at the start and eventually I'll join up with them. We'll see."
Andy: "I like to go cooperative - I did like in Diablo II, but here I'll also want to go solo once I'm leveled up a bit so I can get the uniques and such. I need to get a SoJ too, I haven't heard if they actually exist in D3, but I gotta find one!"
Ray: "In the past I've gone solo once through the game then joined other players for second runs and so forth. I expect to do the same here."
Do you expect you'll pay real cash in the Marketplace element in the game?
Millie: "I don't know. I get pretty addicted so probably yes!"
Andy: "Again I really need to limit myself from playing too much, so I'll probably have to stave off paying real money for items. No promises though."
Ray: "I really doubt it. I can't see myself paying actual cash for digital items. I've already purchased the game, I shouldn't have to purchase items inside the game."
We'll see if we can keep in contact with these three through the release of the game as well to see how they're doing - meanwhile feel free to answer the same questions yourself below! Are you pumped up for the release of Diablo III in the middle of May? We sure are!