We've lost track of how long we've been fighting this demon. No matter how hard we try, the creature won't fall. It's relentless, unstoppable. We're exhausted, and losing faith. Will Sanctuary ever be spared from the wrath of Diablo? At this rate, it doesn't seem likely. We're close to giving up.
And the demon's name? Error 37.
For many early adopters, logging in was their first battle in Diablo 3. The launch of Blizzard's anticipated dungeon crawler has been blighted by busy servers preventing people from logging in, and even affecting the single-player experience. No, we don't know why either.
We were playing solo, and were kicked out moments after defeating a boss. The game still registered that we'd killed him, but none of the loot he dropped was saved, nor did we get our achievement. So we had to go back and do it all again, which was deeply annoying. It's utterly insane that single-player should be affected by crowded servers.
Luckily, normal service seems to have resumed. We can log in with no problems, and finally enjoy what is, when you get past the unforgivable DRM, an incredibly fun, polished, and madly addictive game. We've played for about ten hours so far, mainly as a wizard, and this is what we think.
Your time spent in Tristram, the main town hub, is spent crafting, talking to locals, and picking up quests. But it's when you venture outside the safety of its walls that the real fun begins. Dungeons are huge, and stuffed with hidden loot, alternate paths, and so-called 'events'; self-contained challenges that test your skill, like surviving endless waves of skeletons for a set period of time.
Every level is randomly generated, so if you replay a quest with a friend, it'll be a completely different experience. So far we've done the Reign of the Black King series of quests about five or six times with different groups of friends, and each time it's felt unique; save for a few key story moments, which are always the same. This gives the game genuine replay value, and enemy AI scales depending on your level, as well as how many people there are in your group.
Cutting through waves of enemies is madly satisfying. As you attack, they get sliced in half, pop like blood-filled balloons, and tumble down stairs. Unleash a volley of magic and the screen lights up like a violent fireworks display, and the world crumbles and shatters around you in real-time. When you've got four players in a group, the amount of stuff on the screen is dizzying; enemies, spell effects, beasts conjured up by the Witch Doctor, loot drops. It's mental.
Playing with other people is way more fun than going it alone. To avoid World of Warcraft-style disputes, loot is unique to each player, so you won't find yourself getting into an argument over a pair of magic pants. You can share loot, though, by dropping it on the floor, which makes it visible to all players.
What some may find strange is that your gold is shared among all your characters. This means that if you start a new alt, you'll have access to the fortune amassed by your main. We like the system, but it doesn't make much sense from a story perspective.