Diablo 3 will release on May 15th. Most of the usual retailers are taking pre-orders and you can also purchase a digital copy online through battle.net.
Personally, I prefer the digital option. I have bought a number of games in the past, only to have the boxes/manuals/CDs/DVDs clutter my shelves. With high-speed internet and ease of access, buying it digitally seemed like a better idea. Well, unless you want the collectors edition with all the swag (exclusive dyes, figurine, art book, etc.)
I got the beta recently and spent time playing each class. My personal thoughts and opinions on each class:
Barbarian – Simple, yet effective. Gets in enemy’s faces and hits hard, but can get surrounded and overwhelmed if you aren’t careful. Otherwise, he plays very well. I still have reservations about the Barbarian’s survivability in harder difficulties like Inferno, but it is probably safe to assume the Blizzard dev team have taken that into account. The Barbarian would be a largely armor/effective health tank, soaking up lots of damage and regaining it through many life-gain skills. A mobile melee class.
Demon Hunter – Ranged class, but very kiting oriented. The main survivability cooldowns the class has like vault and smoke screen are designed for escape and kiting, not so much absorbing/mitigating damage. Lots of effective long range and single target damage skills. Multishot got nerfed from 15 hatred cost to 40 hatred cost, for a 50% weapon damage boost, making it a rather weak AOE answer to mob swarms. You can rune it down to 20 hatred but it just makes it feel like it should have been 20 hatred in the first place. I think Demon Hunter will be a viable class but be prepared to kite a lot. The DH is fairly mobile.
Wizard – Strong all around. Good long range, mid range, and close range attacks. Lots of AOE spells. The key to success will be resource management as it seems to expend itself very quickly. While the Barbarian, Demon Hunter, and Monk have similar energy pool mechanics, they all have inherent resource generating skills. The Wizard can rune spells to generate arcane power, but it seems like such a waste of a rune to do so. Easily the most mobile class with Teleport runed with Wormhole.
Monk – A fairly balanced character, mostly close and mid ranged abilities. I can see the Monk being a more viable mitigation tank in Inferno, as a lot of the skills seems to focus on dodging and blinding.
Witch Doctor – Fun to play, but seems to favor pet builds. Has a strong snare in Grasp of the Dead, as well as single target and AOE spells. Haunt had its duration reduced and Locust Swarm had its mana cost cut in half, so I think it is now possible to make a powerful pet-less build focusing on spirit spells. I believe the class will play similar to Wizard, but will be less mobile.
What are your thoughts on the classes? What builds do you think will be viable in group/solo play?