Diving into Diablo III

After finishing Act II in Diablo III, I finally feel like I have experience enough of the game to write about it. I'm having a blast, but there are definitely some pros and cons to this long-awaited game.

First off, if you aren't playing in elective mode, you are playing with training wheels on. Elective mode lets you place any skill you want on whichever hotkeys you prefer to use. This gives experienced gamers a lot more flexibility, but also runs the risk of new players making unbalanced builds that could limit their effectiveness. I highly recommend that you turn it on as soon as possible!

- It's the familiar Diablo we all loved, but sexier. Like running into an old friend from middle school on your first day of college and finding out that he's an underwear model now...ahem... not that I'd know what that's like. Anyway, the game looks amazing.

- The classes are really great and well thought out. I'm playing a Monk and am having a great time. I frequently party with a demon hunter and a barbarian, and each loves playing their class just as much as I love mine. Each character's skills are very useful, but still fit with the theme of their class.

- Tiered difficulty is a great aspect of the game. The game becomes more challenging based on the number of people in the party, and this keeps it interesting.

- Friends! The battle.net friend system first appeared in World of Warcraft, but it's a wonderful addition to Diablo III. I can easily contact my gaming buddies and party up, and the transition from single player to multiplayer is almost seamless. It has all the perks of an MMO, but none of the spammers, monthly fees, or guild drama.

- Linear gameplay. Like... insanely linear. You can't even walk off the edges of cliffs because it would mess up the story. I expected this, but after Skyrim it took a while for me to get used to it again. It might be nice to have some extra side quests to help village people for some extra XP.

-  Incredibly predictable quests. You know exactly how things are going to play out within the first few moments of each quest. I'd like to have seen a bit more thought put into surprising us. "No way... the creepy mage with the menacing laugh ends up betraying us? Shocking... not."

- Overpowered PCs are a bit of a problem. I felt WAY overpowered in the beta, but that was expected. I still feel that I am rather overpowered as a PC currently, and have yet to really be worried in a fight. This makes the game lose some of it's excitement and challenge. The only thing that seems dangerous in the game is the poisons, and those seem too deadly for what they are! I'm still in "normal" difficulty, so this may just be softening players up for the horrors of the Nightmare, Hell, and Inferno modes. Hardcore mode is an option, but I don't feel like having a video game character's death be permanent.

- RP options... or complete lack thereof. I'd have loved for there to be a little customization to the RP part of the story. Sometimes my character spouts out things that seem really dumb. I would never have had her say anything remotely like that. It would be nice to have some options in the quest conversations, even if they ended up leading to the same quest events.

- Friends. I love my battle.net friends. Really, I do. Most of them are my very dear friends from my tabletop groups, but I would sometimes like to be able to play alone without people chatting me up or trying to form a party. Why on earth isn't there an "offline" or "hidden" feature on the friends list? Not that I'd ever use it... *cough* *cough*

Despite these few flaws, I am loving Diablo III and have sunk a huge portion of my recent life into it. I do hope that they continue to improve on the battle.net system and the servers, but I have been lucky enough to have very few problems with either.

PRO TIP: DON'T ADD YOUR BOSS OR COWORKERS TO YOUR BATTLE.NET ACCOUNT! It really puts a damper on those "sick" days when you get back to work and your boss knows you were online for 19 hours straight.