by HG Staff
reviewed on PC
From a Monk’s perspective (Derk)
Playing the Monk in multiplayer has been an amazing experience for me. The class goes toe to toe with the Wizard when it comes to dealing damage and gives no quarter when it comes to soaking up damage. As a Monk, I can enhance my party members’ damage dealing abilities and make them more resilient. More importantly, I can throw the occasional healing spell their way, making it a fantastic character to have along in any team game.
As much as I have enjoyed playing this jack of all trades, I can’t help thinking the Monk might be a little too overpowered for the normal game mode. I felt invincible to the point that I started to step into even the most dangerous situations without any hesitation at all. My buffs were so strong that even if I did get scratched, my health would be up to maximum in just the blink of an eye. That does make it a great candidate for a hardcore play-through though, much more than any of the other classes that I have sampled.
In my mind, the Monk may be the culmination of Blizzard’s ongoing efforts to streamline everything they create to the point that it pleases the masses but bores the hell out of the old-school hardcore crowd. The only decision of notable consequence in Diablo III is the choice of your player class. You can change your core abilities on the fly even when you are right in the middle of an epic fight. And sticking a gem into a piece of armor is no longer final: both gem and item can be recovered without losing either. Your choices are never final which is convenient when you are trying to optimize your character to suit your party of adventurers. At the same time, it is disappointing because the choices you make have no meaning at all.
From a Barbarian’s perspective (Caitlin)
The Barbarian class is, in essence, the ubiquitous warrior class and holds few surprises for those familiar with Role-Playing games such as Diablo. Not too smart, not too fast, and with few native magic abilities to speak of, the Barbarian relies on brute force to smash, hack and repel enemies. That being said, or perhaps because of that, the Barbarian is as close to a mandatory party member as you can get in a multiplayer session of Diablo III. Nor do the pros and cons of this class shift much between single and multiplayer mode; they do however seem to increase in intensity. The slightest advantage or weakness becomes exaggerated. The massacres are more massive, but your own deaths will come with frustrating regularity as well, unless you have truly cooperative team members who aren’t looking for the excuse to steal the glory.
It is not rocket science; Barbarians require close combat, with the exception of a few of the extra defensive skills. In multiplayer mode, the magnitude of combatants hurling themselves at your party rarely leaves you with time to worry about which buttons do what; the chaos of battle – demands – you let loose with a manic, adrenaline-induced pounding of mouse buttons and action keys, frantically switching between those that you think will generate or cost fury as you fight for your party’s life. In the advanced levels, it is not unusual to lose all sight of your own character or of other close-combat party members, due to the pile up of enemies surrounding you. It’s a whole lot of frenzied fun, but even with supportive team members, be prepared to do more than your fair share of dying.
Diablo III really comes into its own when played with one or more friends. With the right mix of classes, the accomplishments of the group as a whole will soar. The game actively encourages working together while players still retain control over their own character. Difficulty levels scale up automatically when someone joins and scale down when someone leaves so the ramifications of a changing group lie mostly in the combination of classes. All things considered, Diablo III is one of the best multiplayer games to date and we can easily see it being a staple on LAN-parties for years to come.
No quarrels about loot, incredibly easy to get going.
There's no extra or special content specific to multiplayer.