As with any good dungeon crawler, it's the random loot drops that make the game so compelling. What we've noticed about playing with other people is that, despite there being only four classes to choose from, everyone looks different. There's such a wealth of weapons and armour, that you can make your character stand out.
The best gear is dropped by elite enemies and bosses, and there's a colour coding system to help you sort the worthless crap from the valuables. Grey and white trash items can be sold to vendors, while unwanted rare items (blue, orange, and so on) can be broken down by a blacksmith into materials, and used to craft new stuff. The more gold you invest in blacksmith's shop, the better the weapons and armour you can create.
Each run through a dungeon will see your inventory overflowing with items, but you can use a portal to return to town at any time and dump them. There's a stash chest in Tristram that you can store items in, and that can be greatly expanded for gold. Handily, just like currency, anything you store in here is shared among all of your heroes.
Since we've spent the most time with him, let's talk a bit about the wizard. He's an incredibly fun class to play, and has a variety of both ranged, and close-up, spells. To begin with you get a basic Magic Missile projectile that actually becomes quite formidable when you equip Runes: special buffs unlocked at certain levels that beef up existing abilities. You also have Ray of Frost, which sends out a long-range beam of chilling ice that can slow enemies down. Together, they're just as good at taking down foes as a sword; if not more so.
Signature spells (like the Magic Missiles) don't cost anything to cast, but secondary spells drain your arcane meter. This recharges, but there are ways to speed up its recovery. We're fond of the Power Hungry passive skill, which fills up your arcane meter whenever you pick up health dropped by an enemy, which happens frequently. Other passive skills include Evocation, which reduces your ability cooldown time, and Unstable, which releases a shockwave when you're low on health. There are 15 of these for each class.
It's when the wizard levels up that he becomes really fun to use. Shock Pulse sends out a medium-range splash of lightning that dances across the ground, shocking enemies. Spectral Blade unleashes a flurry of magical sword slashes. Arcane Torrent releases swarms of glowing missiles from your hands that devour enemies' health. By combining passive skills, runes, and spells, you can create some really interesting character builds, and you're able to change them up at any time, even in the middle of a battle.
We've only just dipped our toes into Diablo 3 as we write this, and there's still lots to discover. Some claim to have finished the story in six hours, but where's the fun in that? Diablo's rich mythology, quality voice acting, and immersive world make it an experience to be savoured.
Even if you don't have co-op buddies to play with, it's still a great single-player RPG, and can easily be finished solo. We'll be back soon with a full review - and that all-important score - but for now, we've got some demons to slaughter. If we can log on, that is.