It's been a little over two days since Diablo III launched. I've played the game a 'little' bit since then, stopping pretty much only for sleep and server crashes. I've played almost exclusively in a two player game with Tom and his witch doctor. I'm playing a wizard and we're up to level 51 and are partway through Act I of Hell difficulty. Here are some of my initial thoughts with the game...
I've already bought an item off the auction house. Not because I've been screwed on loot or because things got too hard but because I didn't understand how caster damage worked at all and had been consistently vendoring my upgrades without knowing it. Once I realized my mistake I bought a cheap item to bootstrap myself back up to usefulness. I thought the only stat that mattered for a wizard was int since it was the only thing that seemed to do anything on my character sheet. It turns out when you cast a spell you actually 'attack' with your equipped weapon so the damage stats on your weapon (and gear) matter for casters. This is a big change from Diablo II. I'd found a good rare weapon at low level which had a lot of int on it and had just kept it for a long time. I'd felt like I wasn't doing as much damage as Tom but didn't really know why. My brother hinted in the right direction when he was comparing two of his spells. A little digging on the internet (and turning on enhanced tooltips so I could see what my spells did) showed the error of my ways. I was also using a shield instead of an orb with damage stats which was hurting my damage as well.
There's something wrong with the incoming damage indicators. I'm used to 'get out of the fire' as a Blizzard game mechanic and it's back in full force in Diablo III. Unfortunately the indicators on the ground don't seem to be big enough. Both Tom and I have exploded to an instant death attack when we were clearly outside the blast zone. They either need to make the indicators bigger or the damage zone smaller since it's really frustrating to be outside a death zone but still die.
Legendary items have fixed names but random stats it seems. I found a pretty amazing legendary ring (Unity) which ended up with some pretty good stats for me. Bonus damage and movement speed being the key ones.
Nightmare Diablo didn't drop a single rare item. I have a hypothesis that drops are impacted by how often you rez in combat. Certainly in Diablo II it would be unheard of for a first kill of an act boss on Nightmare difficulty to drop nothing useful.
They removed scrolls of town portal and identify. Sweet.
In game chat is barely functional. I can send private messages or talk to the people in my game but there doesn't seem to be any way to talk to a specific group of people at once.
The Real ID system is even less functional in D3 than it is in SC2. In SC2 you can see who your friend is friends with (which would let you then add mutual friends). This doesn't seem to exist in D3 which is really annoying. Snuggles was asking me how to add some people and I just don't know how. I don't know Sky's battletag or anything because he's been on my Real ID friends list for a couple years. It sucks that someone new to a current generation Blizzard game can't quickly add all their friends by finding one of them.