How I've Been Playing Diablo III, You Know, Aside From Sporadically

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 or 8pm AEST (ready being a relative term), 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 arse completely obscured by armour and only visible while the avatar is fighting things on the top half of the screen, it might as well be a pretty one.

OK, 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 arse, 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 3040 kills and earned 180 achievement points over the course of my career.

I began playing solo Tuesday morning at around 8am Eastern (10pm AEST), 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 favourite 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.


    convinced me to go buy it and play demon hunter

    Just keep in mind the lag. I couldn't play the single player last night thanks to a ping of up to 1,000ms that meant there was a 3-4 second delay from when I tried to do something and when it happened in game.

    The 100% connectivity isn't just for authentication, you're actually playing online, from an overseas server... :(

      Ummm a ping of 1000 = 1 second, just FYI for the next time you exaggerate

        That wasn't an exaggeration. That's what the game was reporting and the delay is what I was getting

        I always found that 400 ping in TF2 equated to about 1 second between doing something and seeing the effect.

      Lol, where are you playing from some mine in western Australia? I had 180ms in Sydney.

        Heh, Melbourne VIC :( My connection is unstable at the moment though. When paired with the US ping, the 2 problems just make things unplayable

          Southside Brisbane here, I get 570ms most of the time, much higher than WoW which surprises me. But it is entirely playable and, really, I don't notice it.

        180ms is still unacceptable. that kind of level normally gets you kicked from servers. the game is a joke atm. I have lost faith in blizzards ability to delivery what we want or what is best for us. Sure the game play has been reasonable while a bit simple still fun. its just always on connections are terrible.

    Not to start a flame war, but is there any truth to the claims you can knock the entire game over in six hours without too much effort?

      I dunno about much effort but a friend of mine clocked the game in a little over that time. Your playtime depends on how much you explore. The friend that finished basically didn't explore and wouldn't even pick up whites, only blue items and higher. Diablo has an amazing amount of random hidden areas and side quests which you only get by THOROUGHLY exploring. For me, the explorer, I'm like 4-5 hours in and I'm only just in the final dungeon of Act 1!! Apparently Act 2 is even longer.

      If your goal is to complete the game (on normal difficulty) then you probably could, but not likely if you're playing normally (Exploring, having fun, killing things).

    I haven't had any problems so far today.... lvl 36 Barb and still going strong :) Nightmare is fun!

    Maybe its cause I'm on cable but I generally don't feel the lag. The exception being last night where semi-frequently, my character would jump back to where he was like 2seconds ago. This was quite annoying during boss fights. Even got me killed once but it was at the start of an area outside of town so I didn't rage much. Still annoying though.

    My Demon Hunter is better than your Demon Hunter

    queue someone else's screenshot who isn't limited to after work gameplay, who looks far cooler :P

    Finished the game on normal, With a 4 player team of friends. Roughly 19 hours to blast through it. Story line is EPiC. Nightmare is awesome too.

    I am looking forward to nightmare. Although Normal is fun, really want more of a challenge. My Lvl 12 Wizard just decimates shit.

      wizard gets much harder in second act. Well i found it harder. often get swamped with diamond armour and health regen not being enough. Excessive micro is defs required for act 2

      Stop posting under my name :P

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