I just played Diablo 3 (the whole beta) today, as a fan of Diablo 2 I have to say that I was quite excited. I don’t really like Blizzard, but I did play D2 and WoW for a while and it wasn’t a bad experience overall.
So, what did I thought about it, I have to say that I liked it and the feeling was great, but just because it remembered me of D2 and it’s mechanics. Everything that’s good about it (except graphics) and destroying the field is from D2, so there’s nothing innovative or new here.
I think that their big mistake was that they took too long to launch it, the game as it is would have more success a couple of years ago. And this brings me to the point that, if they took this much time to develop it, it would at least bring anything new to the ‘game’. The graphics are nice, the music is carefully done, the dialogs are so good that I actually paid attention to the story. The battle system is the same though, you have to choose what spells you will have active before batteling and mind your aiming for mobs or even the environment, but it lacks ‘something’.
You don’t need to manage mana for example, as a Wizard I only wasted mana on the secondary spell and it recharges so fast that it seems like a way to limit how long you can cast it, so you end up managing only cooldowns without much thinking. Also it seemed to be a little too gear-dependant considering that I was playing a mage, which makes me remember those WoW comments like “you have the gear, no skill needed”.
They gave some things a little tweak, like introducing crafting to the game or building in Portals (without wasting scrolls) or Teleports to players. But this still don’t sound like a different game than D2, the tweaks are nice, but not enough in my opinion.
Have in mind that this opinion is only based on my gameplay (with a friend) on Beta and until level 9 (which is nothing). The game is fun and easy for beginners but if you played Diablo 2, don’t miss the chance to try it on Open Beta (specially with friends).