After beating Normal mode with my Wizard, I decided to write up a review. Spoilers are not an issue as I’ve limited this to game play/functionality only.
First up: the good!
Well… just about everything. There are some annoying things (which I will mention later in this post), but for the most part, I am quite pleased.
Some of the major highlights: No more “item-tetris” (to quote Ben) – Jewelry, Potions, and Pages are all 1 tile, everything else is 2 tiles.
There is now an Auction House: rather than cruising games on battle.net to find someone selling their items (swap meet style), you can search via the Auction House; additionally, you can put your stuff (up to 10 items at a time) in the Auction House. Auctions last 36 Hours and they (Blizzard/Battle.net) takes 15% as a transaction fee. At launch it was just a Gold Based Auction House, but now you can actually use real money.
There are no more Scrolls/Tomes of Identify or Town Portal. For the former: only rares are unidentified now, and you just right-click them to identify. For the latter, you just press the Town Portal key/button; in both cases there is a small interruptable delay while you cast.
Every piece of armor (other than Legendary or Set pieces and Wrist armor) looks different depending on your class. This means that the helm you picked up as a Wizard, will look different on your Barbarian.
Every class can be either Male or Female. This means that if you want to play a Female character you have access to all the classes, rather than just 1 (in Diablo 1) or 2 (Diablo 2; 3 with the expansion).
There are a few less than stellar things about Diablo 3 though. The biggest pain in the ass is there is no offline mode anymore. You must always be connected to battle.net. This means no more LAN games with your friends, though they have made it very easy to get connected with friends (just like they did for Starcraft 2). It is definitely annoying when I die because the game suddenly lagged and my potion key didn’t connect with the server before I died. To me, this means that playing on Hardcore mode (for anyone unfamiliar with the game: in this mode, once you die, your character is permanently dead) is almost entirely out of the question. The amount of nerd rage that would cause… There is an upside to this alway-on requirement: you can access your characters from any computer with Diablo 3 installed.
Even with the aforementioned annoyances, it really feels like Blizzard took on all the major things fans complained about in the first 2 games and resolved them. This game is a blast to play and I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of the genre.