There are details you may not have known about Diablo III unless you were following it as religiously as I have.
More than a mere sequel, Diablo III is set to reinvent the action role-playing game formula with a host of new features never before seen in Diablo II or any other action RPG. Blizzard's crack team of designers, lead by Jay Wilson, is attempting to break new ground with an overhaul of every feature, from class skills and crafting to online player interaction.
You might've heard that the game features ponies and a colorful new color scheme, all of which is untrue. I'm here to correct your misconceptions and to give you some insight into the game.
1. Diablo III is as dark and gothic looking as the first game.
Despite rumors and complaints to the contrary, Diablo III is every bit as foreboding as its predecessors, and arguably even more so than Diablo II. That's not to say the complaints weren't warranted when the game was first announced. Early screenshots of the game contained fancy rainbows and colorful scenes, prompting players to judge the game 'cartoony' and draw comparisons of the art style to World of Warcraft.
Even though Blizzard made light of the situation by wearing My Little Pony-esque t-shirts at BlizzCon and other events, Blizzard took serious note of these complaints into the game's development and made the game every bit as dark as players could've hoped. See? It's not all rainbows and ponies.
Not only is the game dark, it's also slated to become one of the most violent games ever released, as players can tear monsters—humanoid, animal and demonic—limb from limb, and also flay them with critical attacks, leaving these creatures as messy piles of skin, muscle and bone.
I enjoyed writing that last sentence more than I care to admit.
2. There will be PVP, but only after launch—and it's nothing at all like it was in Diablo and Diablo II.
Diablo III was slated to launch with a PVP arena during its launch, but the developers weren't satisfied with what they came up with. Instead of delaying the release of the game even further—which is more or less done and ready to go at this point, they opted to patch in the PVP modes sometime after the game's release.
Different from the previous games, there won't be "player killing", and players won't be allowed to run free, making victims of random players. PVP will be a strictly specialized affair, conducted in a more civilized environment: the Arena. It's yet to be implemented, but it's preferable to the open free for all of previous games.
3. You don't need real money to use the auction house.
That said, you can if you want to. As we wrote in this article, the game's auction house isn't without its share of problems.
The good news is that you won't need to use real money if you don't want to, as trading in the auction house can be done entirely through the game's in-game currency—gold.
Should you choose to make a little side income by playing the game, you can even put your items on the auction house to earn real cash, although doing so requires a small fee.
As items purchased from the auction house aren't usable in PVP, there should be no risk of getting ganked by a heavily twinked player in the arena who used real money to purchase his or her items.
4. You can play the game with one hand if you want to.
There are two context sensitive action buttons, allowing you to play Diablo III with one hand should you so choose. You can map your two most used skills onto your left and right mouse buttons. These context-sensitive actions will change depending on what you're clicking on.
This time around, you won't have to worry about slamming your number buttons to drink potions, mainly because the way potions work have been revamped. They now come with added timers, so you can only use them every so often. Most of your health and mana replenishments will come from orbs dropped in the field by monsters, so you can kill as you go without ever having to stop.
Think about it: you can finally eat with one hand and play the game with the other and not worry about dying.
5. There's a Hardcore mode with permanent death.
Playing the game through to a certain point will unlock Hardcore mode in Diablo III, which offers you the ability to play the game with the added risk of permanently losing your character to death.
Also known as Ironman mode to some players, Hardcore characters cannot be resurrected from death, and lead designer Jay Wilson called the idea of paying real money to resurrect these characters a "horrible idea." It's something you'll have to commit to, and it will bring players who succeed at reaching a high level much prestige, if not personal satisfaction.
At the present, you'll have to beat the Skeleton King to unlock the feature. This may be changed in the game's final release.
6. You can retrain your characters, but there's a bonus for not doing so.
One of the biggest worries about being able to retrain, or 'respec' your character in games like Diablo III is how it has the potential to limit what some would refer to as 'replayability' or replay value. However, as games like World of Warcraft and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning have shown, being able to respec your characters allows you to continue playing the game at your own pace without having to redo everything you've already done whenever you wish to tweak your character's skills.
You can still choose to roll a new character and create a completely different build, but the option to use your existing character in a different way is available to you with the option to retrain your specializations.
And if you're truly dedicated to your current build, Diablo III even gives you a bonus for sticking to your skillset. Killing an Elite pack of enemies in the game increases your bonuses to Magic Find and Gold Find—an effect that ends if you change your skills. Neat, huh?