To any of you who played Diablo 2. (I know there's quite a few of you)
Stress test this upcoming weekend.
Will give you a chance to try it out. (It will be free to play on launch. Now is just a good time to see if you even like it)
Gameplay is VERY similar to Diablo 2. Almost all the controls are the same too.
The biggest differences you'll notice is the leveling system and the way you obtain spells/skills. The classes also work a bit different, but that's because of the leveling system.
Spells/Skills: Rather than getting points every time you level to select a spell or increase its power, you find gems with abilities on them and socket them into your equipment. These can be taken out and put in again whenever you choose and I've never seen an item that didn't have atleast 1 socket so you usually wont have to worry too much about finding a home for your favourite spell, although if you have alot you may find yourself digging around for gear with lots of slots of that type.
Interestingly, to make an ability more powerful, you just need to have it equipped, these gems will gain experience as you do and level up on their own.
I like this system because it means no spell or ability gets stuck in the "useless" catagory, maybe one is only good for low levels or certain areas? Just swap it out when you don't need it, you don't have to worry about accidently dumping points into a spell you thought was awesome, but ended up getting very little use out of.
You can also get "modifier" gems to effect how your spells function.
Maybe you get a multi-shot modifier and combine it with a fireball spell? Now you shoot 3 fireballs at a time.
Modifier gems level up aswell, and this can give your abilities alot of variety.
Leveling: Now this is the odd part. When you level, you don't get points to directly add to your stats or skills. Instead you get a point to be used on a VERY large grid/web that is filled with permanent bonuses. (Anyone who has played FFX will feel right at home here)
The web branches out in many directions and your starting location on this web is chosen simply by what character you picked at the start of the game.
(The spellcaster type will start closer to all of the magic stats and passives that effect spells. The warrior class will start next to all the strength bonuses and weapon bonuses)
It's a very odd system, but interesting to play with once you get the hang of it.
The permanent passive bonuses go beyond just stat increases. You may find bonuses to permanently increase the amount of zombies a spellcaster can create, or for someone looking to be more of a berserker type class you can get a bonus that removes your mana and lets you use your health pool to use abilities instead. (Huge bonus to characters with high health and health regen as their mana pool will most likely be tiny, hindering how many combat abilities they can fire off)
There's a couple really interesting passives you can grab from this grid, you'll have to look it up for yourself though, too huge for me to dig through it and list them all right now.
For those more competative players who enjoyed the thrill of Hardcore mode in Diablo 2, they have something similar. Cutthroat mode.
Now, there is TECHNICALLY no permadeath, but it may aswell be. If your character dies he gets removed permanently from the hardcore/cutthroat league and put in the non hardcore area.
I actually like this. For those who are playing hardcore only, it's the same as permadeath for them, for those who develope an attachment to their character and would like to continue playing them even after death, they can, but only the casual leagues. (If they want to continue playing after they've died, then that's where their character should have been in the first place)
To make it more interesting, in cutthroat, PVP is always on unless you're in a party with someone, so you must always be wary of other players
Now, normally the game is instanced. Pretty much the same way Diablo 2 had 8 player rooms and a lobby, towns act as the lobby and outside of them act as the rooms. So outside of town you will only see people in your party. (This actually depends on the league rules. Cutthroat league allows players to enter eachothers instances and murder the crap out of eachother.)
There was also something about clans being able to create and host their own league servers with custom rules. These leagues are private but don't actually have a limit to how many people they can have in them, so anyone who knows the leagues address/password can play on it.
A custom league will allow the creator to make their own rules.
Hardcore, non-hardcore, PVP always on, open instances, (Open instances would mean any player can leave town and enter someone elses instance of the game, allowing you to play with or fight other people, without actually needing to enter their party or something first)
I believe you can also choose the drop rates and experience gains and such aswell.
(All characters are bound permanently to the leagues they are created in to keep people from farming/leveling in an easy-league and then bringing their character/stuff over to a hardcore league or something)
If you're interested, go check it out.
No harm in doing so, it's a free to play game.
(Also, for those worried about the inevitable cash shop in every free game, it's mostly just cosmetic stuff. I think you can increase the size of your item stash or something too, but it's not anywhere close to a pay to win situation thankfully.)
I know I was asked by someone to make a thread about this game ages ago. But I figured I'd wait till people can actually have a chance to play it first. (Even if it is only for the 2 day stress test)
No sense in getting someone excited about it only to make them wait several months to even be able to play it.