At this year’s Blizzcon, Blizzard showed off an upgraded version of the Diablo III beta. I played with RPGamer’s current’s columnnist, Emanuel Merino, who chose to be a Witch Doctor. I chose to play as a Demon Hunter, which worked well with Emanuel’s character since he summoned zombie dogs to fight up close with enemies. This allowed me to hang out in back and shoot from afar.
Compared to last year, the Demon Hunter has been upgraded a lot. Her skills are more colorful and flashy than last year, and her voice acting is very well done. It is also very easy to upgrade and change to a new skill set during gameplay. My skills consisted of a normal attack, a backwards flip to evade attacks, a rapid fire attack, and an attack where I would launch a bolo at enemies that slowed them down and then blew them up after a few seconds. Rapid fire is great against a group of enemies as it shoots out a very fast stream of arrows. However, rapid fire uses mana very quickly, so during the game, I had to vary my attacks.
I thoroughly enjoyed the changes to the Demon Hunter class and wish that I had more time to play Diablo III during the show.
Like Nancy mentioned above, the demo we played at BlizzCon was a tweaked version of last year’s beta. Since I’m not in the Diablo III beta, I can’t speak to what has changed, but I can comment on my experience. I played a Witch Doctor during my brief time with the game and had a blast. I choose to play the Witch Doctor because it let me be a good mid-ranged fighter. I relied on my three zombie dogs to run ahead and keep enemies busy for me. This allowed me to have two basic combat options at any given time. With the enemies distracted by my dogs, I could either stand back and kill enemies from afar with my blow gun ability, or I could move behind the distracted enemies and stab them in the back. You would think that the Witch Doctor wouldn’t excel at close range combat, but I got two lucky drops: a powerful dagger and a sturdy shield. Those two drops, combined with my three zombie dogs and my blow gun ability, allowed me to jump in and out of battle where I was needed.
I had a lot of fun playing as the Witch Doctor on the show floor, and it was even more fun having Nancy’s Demon Hunter backing me up. Unfortunately, we didn't get the chance to try the new 4v4 team death match PvP arena. However, what we did get to play was fun and highly polished.