Tonight, Blizzard will release the Diablo 3 after a decade-long wait. We said some very positive things about the beta and the same will probably be true of the full version. However, it seems important to note some reasons that the game could turn you off.
You need a constant Internet connection.
Whether you're planning to play D3 by yourself or with friends, you need to be connected to Blizzard's game servers at all times. Blizzard requires you to have this persistent connection in order to prevent hacking, item duplications and other exploits. It acts as copy protection for the game too. While combating hackers and pirates is an admirable goal, this requirement is an inconvenience to many players. If you're having Internet problems or Blizzard's servers are down, you may as well not even own the game. Furthermore, any abrupt disconnections could cause you to lose your progress. Hell, you can't even pause the game if your phone rings. For some people, D3 could turn out to be more trouble than it's worth.
You can pay to get an advantage in the game.
For the first time in the series, players can buy and sell items through an auction house. These items can be purchased in two ways: with gold you earn through your adventures, or with real-world currency. This means that someone with money to burn can acquire high-quality equipment without putting much effort into playing the actual game. This could be a real headache once player-versus-player is patched into the game. The whole enterprise just feels a bit sleazy, too; Blizzard takes a 15% cut of all auction house transactions so it feels like this feature exists to help them more than it helps players.
The graphics are underwhelming.
Like its predecessors, D3 uses an isometric perspective. While this bird's eye camera gives players a good view of the battlefield, it limits how visually rich the game can be. If you're looking for a game that will make your new high-end PC sing, you should look elsewhere. The visuals, even on the highest settings, are just serviceable. The upside to the somewhat underwhelming graphics is that D3 can run on a wide range of machines. However, this selling point is undermined by the always-on requirement. While you can play on a laptop, you'd better keep it hooked up to an ethernet cable.
Diablo is nothing like Elder Scrolls or Mass Effect.
If you're completely new to the Diablo series, it's important to note what kind of role-playing game is. It's a different beast than some of the more popular RPG's on the market. For starters, it doesn't have the branching, cinematic plotline of Mass Effect or the open-world exploration of Skyrim. The game world is more restricted and while there's abundant story weaved throughout the gameplay, that's not the main focus. Diablo 3 is about you and your friends hacking and slashing your way through dungeons full of enemies and collecting awesome loot. Fishing a new sword out of the pile of demons you just killed is the high point of the experience. This will appeal to many RPG fans but not the ones who prefer more chatty or open-ended games.
Summer is the time when many of us make grand plans. We vow to lose some weight, travel, read more books, and so forth. If you play D3, you're probably going to break a few of these resolutions. D3 would not be the first game to kill someone's dieting plans. However, it seems worth noting that the Diablo's loot-and-kill rhythm can be especially engrossing. Unlike most RPG's, it starts off really quick so you'll be pulled in right away. If you're planning to play, make sure you've got the time to spare.
Not convinced? Meh, I tried. See you on Battle.net tomorrow.