Having put 60 hours into Diablo III this past week, I must say it's highly addicting. I've made my way to the hardest difficulty, Inferno, and now I'm sitting back reflecting on my experience. While basic combat is satisfying and engaging, the rest of the game actually has quite a lot of problems.
First of all, there are balance issues abound. Characters have already received "nerfs", which is insane to me because the game as been in development for so long. You would think play testers could figure out what works and what works a little too well in the game. Many of the skills become wasted, because they are not nearly has effective or even viable to use on later difficulties. Even item drops are very unbalanced at the moment. While unique drops are infrequent, they are many times worse than that of the rare and magic items. Their stats are simply not impressive enough to be considered "legendary". Because the stats are randomized, finding one doesn't necessarily mean it'll be good. Hunting for a good item on the auction house is far more viable. The auction house however, breaks a lot of general concepts and mechanics that were established in the Diablo franchise. There is less incentive to stock pile magic find builds thanks to the auction house. You can just as easily save up gold and find what you need. There is also less incentive to trade and farm in general, which was a major feature in Diablo 2. Even the gem crafting and blacksmithing is near useless in Diablo III, simply because it costs more to do it yourself than to hit up the auction house for a quick item. It drastically changes the game.
There are odd design choices in Diablo III that truly make me wonder how this game could've took so long to develop. There is a global exp gain for quest completion that allows for lower level characters to be boosted. Many have already begun exploiting the game and leveling to the max in short amounts of time. This is easily done because the checkpoint system is horribly implemented. The checkpoints not only make way points a near useless feature, but they are so easily exploitable that Blizzard had already hot fixed certain points of the game where players could hop in and out to continuously farm chest points on the maps. Speaking of maps, their random generation is far more restricted than that of other randomly generated games. There are many permanent sections giving the player the feeling of redoing the same area over and over again.
The last of the terrible problems I feel should be brought to attention are the DRM(digital rights management) issues. Due to Diablo III constantly needing an online connection, there can at times be lag. Lag even while playing single player is heart breaking. There are server dropouts, maintenance times preventing play, and weird delay issues in both the game play and even the aforementioned auction house. Diablo III was not released without a hitch. There have been many problems in it's first week. This isn't to say it won't be fixed, but because of the constant changes that may occur Diablo III is a difficult game to judge or review properly. Aside from all of these griefs, it is still fun to play. With 6 million + players there certainly isn't anyone denying that fans wanted Diablo III. Unfortunately it's a far from perfect experience. Either way, it's time for me to sink more time into this wonderful mess.