NOTE: If you click on the thumbnails of the screenshots to view the full version, you may need to refresh it a few times before it displays correctly. They’re linked directly to their positions on Blizzard’s screenshot gallery, which it seems is a bit buggy.

Diablo IIISo, a couple days ago (June 26 – Thursday), Blizzard Entertainment released the Diablo III website. Yes, this is a couple days late – deal with it. On the site is a couple teasers – one cinematic trailer and one gameplay demo. The cinematic trailer was pretty cool – gave a little preview of the new storyline, which looks like it’ll keep up with Blizzard’s high standards. But the gameplay demo – holy shit. That was awesome. Oh yeah, and there was an artwork trailer, but I haven’t watched it. Anyway, about that gameplay demo ;)

First off, he’s playing a Barbarian – and the dungeon he’s in is a standard Diablo-series dungeon; running on platforms above deep pits. And as soon as he enters the dungeon and starts walking in a bit, he starts getting mobbed by ghouls.Diablo III screenshot Only, rather than just spawning out of nowhere and running on from off-screen, these ghouls actually climb up the walls of the seemingly-bottomless pit below him. And, when killed, some of them will actually fall off rather than being blocked by some invisible wall around the hole.

So he goes further in, demonstrating more abilities (including good old Whirlwind) and mechanics, such as the newer and more interesting trapped chests – with this one, he tried to open the chest, and it and the platform it was on just sank into the ground, revealing four monsters. When he kills them, however, the chest rises back up and reveals its phat lewtz.

Diablo III screenshotAt one point, he gets to a platform crawling with zombies, and says “man, there has to be a better way then killing them all individually” – then he knocks down a wall. All over the zombies. And they die. It was fucking awesome.

Then he runs into some “prisoners” in the dungeon – Deckard Cain and his two guards. Cain cracks a humorous reference when he starts talking about all the books in the library he’s trapped in, following it with “Stay a while and –” when the player interrupts, saying how there’s no time and they need to hurry. Cain retorts with “Nobody ever listens”. Then the developer demonstrates another new mechanic – he makes Cain’s two guards into allies, basically pets or mercenaries, that follow the player around, fighting for him.

Diablo III screenshotHe gets further in, and demonstrates a new “shield” mechanic. Shields are tough to break through – basically they have health of their own that you just can’t see, and you need to break them before you can damage the mob; however, there are abilities that can cause the mob to drop its shield. Then he kills a really cool boss (which was summoned by some cultist ritual or something), demonstrating a bit more in the way of new abilities and equipment, and that’s the end of the dungeon. He leaves the dungeon with Cain in tow.

Diablo III screenshotNow he switches to a new class – the Witch Doctor. The Witch Doctor is like a shaman – it can summon pets, disease its foes, control fire, etc. The first thing demonstrated is a “Locust Swarm” – sort of like a viral chain attack, like chain lightning only cooler. Then he summons “mongrels” – which basically look like demonic dogs – and (here’s the cool part) he uses that same Locust Swarm ability to buff the mongrels. He also demonstrates that he can turn the mongrels into bombs, which basically looks like the Necromancer’s Corpse Explosion from Diablo II.

He also demonstrates fear and confusion abilities – fear obviously makes your enemies run away, and confusion turns them against one another.Diablo III screenshot Then he summons a wall of zombies. Completely awesome.

Next, he falls into a “trap” and is joined by the female versions of the Barbarian and Witch Doctor classes – he mentions that groups like this will be easy to form over Battle.net, but it’s hard to say what actually went on. It honestly looked like a Dungeon Siege-esque setup where you can control any one member of a single-player party at a time. But that’s just my observation – definitely don’t take it as truth (or fiction for that matter).

And finally, he says “let’s see what a real battle looks like” – and does the good old Blizzard-style epic battle finale to end the gameplay demo, just like in the Starcraft II trailers.Diablo III screenshot He kills a small squadron of treants, then brings down a huge demonic boss – the “Siegebreaker Assault Beast”, a “Living Siege Engine of Hell”. Upon being killed, it has a sweet death animation – it turns to stone, which then catches fire and spews out a bunch of fireballs, which turn into swarms of skeletons when they hit the ground.

So all in all, if you like the Diablo series, definitely check out these trailers at the very least. If you enjoyed D2, you’ll enjoy these. Here are the links again for good measure – movies and screenshots.