Diablo 3 is a game that is half ARPG combat, and half defensive castle management. Using one of four heroes, you will be raiding other people’s castles that they have designed with creatures and traps to loot currencies, gear, and ingredients to make your own castle much harder to raid.
The heroes that you can choose to use include the warrior who is hard to kill but must be close to his targets to attack, the hunter with his bow and many types of arrow attacks, the mage and his magical spells, and the runaway who uses music to aid her. Each hero can unlock many types of abilities to use, but only four of them can be brought into a raid at a time. Raiding castles will earn you with a lot of equipment that will make the heroes stronger, that can also have powerful passives on them such as self healing when attacking or causing ghost skeletons to rise from the dead.
Castle defenses consist of creatures and traps of all shapes and sizes. Everyone’s castle has a limit to how much can be put inside of it, which can be increased each time the castle gains a level. Creatures can range from the simple chicken, to elite monsters like floating eyeballs that shoot lasers or even boss creatures that can only be placed in the final room. Traps must be powered by pads that are placed alongside them, so the entire floor of the castle can’t only be traps. There are many types of traps that pose different types of threats, such as offensive ones that shoot flames at you, hidden mines that slow or weaken you, and controlling traps that can stun or even silence you. Before a castle can become public, it must be validated by you or another player to make sure it is actually possible to be beaten, and the amount of time that it takes you to do this is one factor that determines the rewards a raider can earn.
All of the raiding and defending has a purpose, which is collecting and protecting crowns. Crowns give a fairly accurate measurement of how good a player is, and how strong their defense is. Other than just being a simple number saying how good you are, they also determine the rewards and penalties while winning and losing raids and defenses. This means that you can attempt raiding a very hard castle with many more crowns than you while risking losing almost none of yours in the process.
After learning how your hero works and the mechanics behind raiding castles, you shouldn’t run into much difficulty until you’re at max level. There will be easy and hard castles to raid at all levels, and the harder ones will be at a higher rank which means they have higher rewards as well, with very little risk in losing anything. Setting up your defenses can also take a while to figure out, but self experimentation and looking at how other people do theirs should quickly teach you how to defend. Each castle raid only takes a few minutes, and castle timers will actually make you want to complete them quickly. You can easily enjoy the game only logging in for a few minutes a day as everything can be completed fairly quickly.
When you become experienced with the game, the only time you will face a challenge is when you’re trying to raid the top castles. Other than the base game, there are also weekly competitions that you can enter, such as time trials for a single castle. While it is more creativity than hardcore, you can easily spend hours trying to perfect your castle’s defense with deadly trap and creature combinations.
Just playing with one hero until they are at max level, and periodically improving your castle’s defenses, can last you around 100 hours. The length of the game really depends on how fast you’re leveling your heroes, and how much time is being spent on securing your castle. No matter how you play the game, it will definitely last you a long time if you stay interested in it.
The game is now complete, but the developers have talked about what they would like to add to the game in the future. You could see things like more gear customization, adding doors and keys and switches to your castle, and many improvements to the player community part of the game.
There are a fair amount of options to change, including all the basics like graphics, volume, and resolution. The only unique option to change is choosing what qualities of items you want your pet to collect while raiding castles.
The graphics look good and kind of have a cartoony look to them. When graphics are completely maxed out, the game doesn’t run very smoothly, which gets even worse if you run into a trap or creature dense part of a castle. Turning down a few of the options does make the game run well, and the graphical downgrade isn’t even noticeable. The only time the game becomes unplayable no matter what options you choose is if you decide to get every creature in a castle to follow you at the same time, but that is expected and should never happen from normal play.
Sound is a strong point of the game, especially when it comes to voice acting. Each part of the game has its own song, and every castle theme even has a specific song unique to it. The four heroes all have unique lines that they say based on what is going on, such as starting a castle or when low on health, and you can definitely determine their personalities from listening to everything that they say.
Controlling your character and navigating through menus and the interface still has some issues. Most noticeable while using the knight, since he has to get close to kill stuff, it feels like combat is unresponsive and just does weird things. It doesn’t normally happen, but having lots of enemies on screen and low frame rate does seem to make the problem worse, so turning down settings should alleviate most of the issues. Using scroll bars in windows and general interface interactions doesn’t always work well, and you know there is a major problem when clicking a menu actually causes the click to register on something behind it instead.
The idea behind the game is great and it’s fun to play, but some design decisions and the favoring of raiders over castle defenses can really affect the enjoyment of the game. If you’re coming into the game thinking you’re going to make the perfect defense to ward off raiders, you might want to slow down and learn about all of the mechanics first before being committed. Want to make a dangerous trap filled castle and not wanting to mess with many creatures? Every hero has an ability that can disable many traps at once, meaning that every trap can be bypassed without ever posing a danger to the raider. Think that making a cool dungeon with little traps and ambushes with creatures here and there would be something fun to do? If there is too much empty space in your castle, people can just stand in safe areas while killing enemies from range and just jump over your traps. The only real way to make a good defense in your castle is to pretty much make an “unfair” defense by filling every empty spot with traps and creatures, then have the boss room completely stuffed to the brim with traps and creatures, along with whoever your strongest boss is.
Other than being able to disable traps, each hero can heal themselves a ton just by using normal attacks if their weapon has that passive on it. After playing the game for a while, most players are so skilled at the game that the strength of defenses just doesn’t hold up to how good players can become. In the end, the best player is the one who raids the most castles, instead of having the best defense.
If I were to give the game an update, there would be a bunch of things I would change. All trap disabling abilities should use much more mana, since right now you can pretty much use them 3-4 times in a row, which is enough to disable an entire hallway or room. All traps and creatures need to go through balancing some more, since only a quarter of them are even worth using, which just causes all the best dungeons to look the same since those are the only ways to defeat raiders. The biggest thing that I would change is balance the entire raiding and defending idea, since right now it is all about raiding as many castles as you can and not worrying about defense, since you’re going to lose anyways. It was actually fairly balanced at one point, since raiding has been made a whole lot easier now, and it was possible to rely on your defense to gain yourself crowns, instead of raiding constantly. Since your castle is shielded for many hours after being successfully raided, you will only be raided about 2 times a day, while you yourself can raid constantly over and over during that period.
Diablo 3 is a free to play game with various packages to buy, bundles of currency to purchase, and defense items to buy off of the Steam market from other players. Your first hero is free, but you can buy additional heroes for 10 dollars each, or 20 dollars for all of them, that also come with some cosmetics to wear with them. Multiple packages range from 13 to 80 dollars that include a ton of traps, creatures, ingredients, castle themes, and other items, increasing in quantity depending on which package tier you buy.
Bling, which is the premium currency used in the game, can be bought and acquired in different ways. The base price of it is a dollar for 100 bling, but larger packages include bonus amounts as you spend more. It is possible to obtain bling without spending money, including simply playing through the game, earning it from competitions, or if you manage to get a bling mine in your castle it will generate 25 bling daily for you. Most of everything that can be unlocked or bought with the normal gold and lifeforce currencies can also be bought with bling instead. The only stuff that can only be bought with bling are things like castle themes, cosmetics, and boosters.
Most of the premium and rare items ranging from themes, traps, and monsters can be bought and sold on the Steam market. This allows you to sell something that you acquire for money if you don’t want it, or buy that one thing you just can’t manage to get yourself.
Very few things are actually worth spending bling on. Most cosmetics, themes, and other items have a chance to be found at the end of a successful raid on a castle, as well as being very cheap on the Steam market. Many things will cost between 2-10 dollars worth of bling, but most of it can be bought for pennies from other players. Castle upgrades can also be bought with bling, but if you’re playing the game consistently you will accumulate more than enough gold and lifeforce to get the upgrades with those, instead of spending up to 10 dollars per upgrade using bling. The best things to spend bling on are other heroes, otherwise you will have to spend money on them.
A very important thing to talk about is whether or not the game is pay to win. In the most basic sense, it kind of is pay to win since it is possible to buy powerful rare creatures and traps from other players off of the Steam market and fill your castle with those. This is somewhat of an issue, but if you look at it from other angles it isn’t as big of a deal as you may first think. All of these items are obtainable by any player without spending any money, since every week one of the rare defenses becomes available to craft. Even though they cost much more in terms of material compared to normal defenses, you should be able to afford them if you play the game regularly. Another way to look at the whole situation is to actually consider it “pay to not lose” instead of pay to win. This is because the heroes themselves can’t be made stronger by spending bling, and raiding is all dependent on the skill of the player. The last thing to consider is that just because someone has paid hundreds of dollars and is at a much higher rank than you, doesn’t mean you are actually competing with them. Ranking is divided into multiple leagues based on small ranges of ranks, which means all the powerful castles are competing with each other, while someone with a poor defense and low skill is only competing against others in roughly the same situation. It may seem like pay to win when you try to raid a castle and get slaughtered by it, but because of how much higher in rank they are to you, there is almost no risk and if you do succeed, you will rewarded greatly. In other words, people who pay a lot are competing with each other, while everyone else is generally only competing with each other.
Diablo 3 is worth playing if you are interested in a game that mixes ARPG combat with castle manage and will last a lot time, but there are some definite design choices that hopefully change in the future. If there was one reason to not consider playing the game, it would be that the game is heavily focused on raiding and very little on defense, since many tools and mechanics make it very easy to raid castles, while defending almost always loses. In other words, if you wanted to make a strong defense and enjoy watching people go through it, you will be disappointed.