Diablo 3's mechanics are great... the loot system is a little drawn out.. and the difficulty curve.... is fucking nuts. Flat as a board until you hit a small mountain at nightmare... then a straight cliff at hell... then some how you are on the fucking ceiling in inferno.
As for the story... its... mediocre. They need to get some real writers at blizzard. Who ever wrote Diablo 1 and 2 knew what they were doing with the "less is more" mentality. But for D3 they decided to fill it full of terrible writing, horrible characterization, and even worse plot.
The fourth time Asmodeus taunted me after i'd just whipped his arse.... made me just facepalm hard enough to crack my skull. After I got back from the hospital I mentioned to my friend "Everything is predictable, everything... and I know there has to be a twist because you fight diablo later..." And then proceeded to mention what the best twist would be.... and then an hour later I find out that my mocking prediction was true.
If we had spoiler tags i'd share it, but I'm not going to be a dick. Lets just say, mother of the new Diablo :P
As for the rest of the writing.. some of it isn't bad, but mostly the good comes from the history, what was already written. The new stuff, the dialog, the plot twists, the plot itself makes me cry a little.
The feeling from the world wasn't terrible, but the acts themselves annoyed me a little... it felt like they completely reused stuff they had done before. Act 1 felt like darkshire from Wow followed by the hinterlands... act 2 felt like act 2 of diablo 2, act 3 felt like act 5 of diablo 2 LOD, act 4 felt like StarCraft 2.
The companions also made me facepalm. Their entire existence, is there to give you a feeling of not being alone. They do almost no damage, their DPS reduced by a factor of 10. Their abilities are mostly useless. And worse, their dialog is solely there to compliment the player. And I mean that in the sickly sweet way, the next time I hear "You Inspire me!" I'm going to take the templar out back and shoot him. (he at least has a heal that can help in a pinch.)
Seriously, Their sole purpose is to stroke the player's ego. A bit ago, I died 4 times against an elite monster in nightmare... and on the 4th run back my moronic templar said that line, "You Inspire me!" and I'm thinking "I've just lost, horribly, utterly gutted by this little monster, repeatedly.... and I inspire you? Really?" Perhaps it was the frustration talking, but I was just sick of it. I can't even remember the rest of the sicky sweet compliments the morons spew all over you. And the wizard is bad enough, insufferable ego as if he had never failed in his life.... I kept waiting for him to say "oh? murder all the prime evils? yawn walk in the park! I'll take care of it after my nap." Use some fucking gravitas guys! Make me feel as if the world is at least in a bit of peril.
Next complaint, loot, oh god the loot... I found one unique.. er sorry I mean legendary... it was okay, slightly better than a high end rare i'd found. But out of all the hours i've pumped in, a single legendary. And i've got atleast 50% magic find on my highest level character now... The white drops are just clutter mostly, why even have them in the game past act 1 normal? They are uselss, you can't even sell them for more than 10g while even at lvl 1, everything costs at least 1000g. The economy scale is ridiculous, I sell a rare, and get 5% of the price it would cost me to buy it! diablo 2 it was some where between 20% and 50%, canno't remember exactly. But no, they are trying to scale the game for real money trading... You want to buy phat loot? well get 1,000,000g at a minimum.
Class balance... is non existent. Demon hunters have terrible abilities mostly, they are not the amazon from D2, nor rogue from d1... they have alot of useless abilities and are clunky to play compared to say the polished class that is the Monk... Playing that is smooth, every action flows from one to the next, every ability has a usecase and makes sense. The wizard is somewhere in the middle, almost all abilities have a use and their actions flow fairly well. I havn't played a barbarian yet, so I won't speak to that... and Witchdoctor I only played in the beta. It felt like a bolt on to me.. lots of silly ideas thrown together.
But all that aside, I am having fun... I am enjoying the challenge past normal. And I am getting that little joygasm every time I get an awesome item. Also the UI isn't bad, everything fits where it should be... and the loot display makes it fairly easy to determine which piece of gear is truly an upgrade. Though I wish you could have just 2 or 3 more abilities on your bar. (if you havn't turned on elective mode, do it... )
As for the service attached to Diablo 3? Its an MMO service without an MMO. Its strange, its new, and I don't really care for it much. Especially so with the downtime. They should have left singleplayer, yes cheating has always been a big problem for blizzard games, but it was never a real problem until they brought in the real money auction house. And now they have crippled their game.
(Right now, its down for 8 hours so they can run scheduled maintenance. Fuck you blizzard, this is my time off, I want to play. Was bad enough when I played WoW.)
Starcraft 2 had the same damn problem, it took them 9 months to fix their service UI. I only really played custom games and their custom system was terrible... seriously terrible. No searching, no sorting, except by popularity. By default that meant new games NEVER show up, because they are not popular... because no one has played them, so they never show up, so no one can play them because they cannot find them. They are 5000 clicks back through pages and pages of maps no one plays because they arn't popular.
But this isn't about starcraft 2 :p so i'll leave it to one paragraph.