'Diablo 3' Release Date Nears: 'Old School' Graphics Revealed In Beta, Players' Problems 'Stress Test' Servers

 @LisaEadicicco on April 22 2012 7:00 PM

Fans of the Diablo franchise may have been excited to hear about Blizzard Entertainment's open beta weekend, prepping players for the Diablo 3 official release on May 15. Referred to as a stress test to help the developers work out the game's final kinks, it was indeed a bit stressful, according to Forbes.

Those playing during the invite-only beta period, which will end May 1, have already experienced a host of bug and issues. These only expanded as more players logged on to Battle.net to delve into the five available classes, which included barbarian, witch doctor, demon hunter, wizard, and monk.

After waiting for the large download to be completed, some players experienced issues with the launch player, and some were met with an error message when finally reaching the game. Other annoyances involved the servers malfunctioning or the player limit being maxed out.

For my part, I managed to get on once right before I had to leave and again last night right about when I should have been going to bed, wrote Erik Kain of Forbes. In any case, the stress test was aptly named.

Kain wrote that after playing the test version of the coming action-adventure game, he was left with an undecided opinion about it. Although the beta version gives only a limited glimpse into what the finished product will be, Kain called its graphics dated. Still, he wrote: I enjoyed the background graphics -- the almost papery looking trees add a two-dimensional, almost painted look to the game. This could add an interesting aesthetic to game play, as Kain pointed out, but, on the whole, the Forbes writer said he wasn't blown away.

[T]he graphics aren't remarkable, and the game play itself isn't as engaging as it could be, he wrote. Maybe I've just been spoiled by really engaging games like 'Dark Souls.' Maybe it's just been too long since I've played the original 'Diablo.'

Players have been posting their complaints in the Battle.net forums, documenting their problems and hoping for solutions.

12 years iv been waiting and I can't even log in ... this is so depressing ... 300 times iv tried, one user known as TheJam posted on April 21.

Keeps going back/forth from the 3003 error to you've been disconnected and wiping my info entirely... another player called SunGaard wrote.

Although hardcore Diablo 3 fans may be disappointed and frustrated by these errors, it is important to keep in mind that the point of this open-access weekend was to test the game's servers. A stress test is just what the name implies; seeking to discover how much traffic and activity the Diablo 3 servers can endure. The goal wasn't simply to offer a free weekend of Diablo game play, although that is a major plus to the exercise.

With that goal in mind, offering people a way to opt out of the stress test and still play for free [offline] would defeat the purpose of the testing weekend in the first place, read a Blizzard response that a player known as Deathwing posted in the forums.

However, what gamers should be focusing on is the so-called dated graphics. This is particularly interesting since Blizzard claimed to rebuild the entire game from the ground up, according to their Developer Diary video, which was recorded last year. Playing through the beta in this context can add a new perspective for longtime Diablo fans.

We completely overhauled the way that we author all of the skills, said lead software engineer Jason Regier in the video clip. That means we pretty much started over on everything and redid it all from scratch.

There have been rumors surfacing about a possible console edition of Diablo 3, but no release date or information has been revealed by Blizzard. The stress test may not be a clear indication of what the finished game will include, but fans are sure to be firing up their Battle.net accounts on May 15. 

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