While Diablo III's error codes are being raved over by the gaming press, they've also managed to add an exciting element of chance to the review process.
Since Diablo III's servers weren't ready for play until 3AM Pacific (ready being a relative term) yesterday morning, a launch day review was pretty much out of the question. Esteemed members of the gaming press weren't able to play the full game early; needless to say I wasn't either.
So I'm right there with the rest of the world, desperately hoping that the next time the game launches won't be the last time before hours of system maintenance.
Here's where I'm at right now.
Who I Play
For my initial play through I selected the Demon Hunter, as I've always been a big fan of crossbows and capes. I selected a female character, because if I am going to be looking at an isometric view of an ass completely obscured by armor and only visible while the avatar is fighting things on the top half of the screen, it might as well be a pretty one.
Okay, that old MMORPG trope doesn't hold up. I just like playing female characters. It's a thing with me, and this thing just happens to click massive amounts of ass, so it works out in the end.
What I've Played
I've managed to reach the third chapter of Act Two of Diablo III so far, with my time played sitting at nearly nine hours. My Demon Hunter, Kotaku, has reached level 19. I've collected 35,773 gold pieces, killed 112 elite creatures, amassed 3,040 kills and earned 180 achievement points over the course of my career.
I began playing solo Tuesday morning at around 8AM Eastern, playing on and off throughout the day until the servers went down that afternoon.
Once servers came back up I joined a friend for some co-op action. You may have heard of him.
Our adventures lasted for several hours, until the game locked up and I couldn't log back in.
This morning, following a brief nap, I managed to squeeze in another hour before duty called.
I've invested heavily in crafting, training my blacksmith up to Adept level. He can now craft items three levels above my character's ability to equip them, so I'd say I am keeping up nicely.
How I Play
With my fingers planted on the shift key, keeping my feet firmly planted and sniping from afar.
The Demon Hunter is a ranged character. During the early stages of the game going toe-to-toe with hordes of beasties is a viable tactic, but as the challenge increases so does the amount of distance the Demon Hunter needs between herself and the eager claws of the enemy.
I seem to have developed a favorite skill configuration early on. For my primary attack I prefer Entangling Shot, an arrow that slows enemies' approach, giving me time to unleash my preferred secondary skill, Rapid Fire. Rapid Fire is Diablo III's answer to the machine gun. It lays waste to everything in its path.
Entangling Shot is modified with a Shock Collar rune, which manifests the skills slowing effect as electrified chains. Rapid Fire gets the Web Shot rune, further slowing enemy advances. With my trusty Templar NPC charging headlong into the fray, this is a winning combination. I've made a point to try out every new skill and rune that's been unlocked, but this is the one that works for me.
Rounding out my current skill lineup are Shadow Power (temporary life gain per kill), Spike Trap (basically a mine), Companion (a crow that bites enemies on the face), and Strafe (evasive move plus scattered arrows).
What's Left to Play
My plan is to finish the story on normal difficulty with my current character, continue briefly at a higher one, and then give each of the other classes a good hour or two of play.
How long will that take? Well that all depends on Blizzard. This is a developer that doesn't release its exciting new errors until they're done, so I never know what to expect. Give me a day or two; we'll see how it goes.