Diablo 3 PvP Arena Hands-on Preview

By Brian Leahy, Oct 23, 2010 10:00am PDT At BlizzCon 2010, Blizzard announced that at least part of the player-versus-player experience in Diablo III will take place in a team arena. I got a chance to play a three versus three match for about forty-five minutes.

Only three of the five classes were playable in PvP, but they were sufficiently powered-up with numerous skills. I tried all three and while I think I had the most success with the Wizard, the Barbarian and Witch Doctor both had effective abilities and combat roles.

If Blizzard can balance this PvP, I could see it easily becoming an eSport. The matches are extremely intense and require tight coordination to succeed. It quickly led to taunting and cheering as we all figured out the game. The arena was square-shaped and full of pillars and barriers for cover. In the middle of the round, four health orbs will spawn in the center providing the only healing available to players.

There is some crowd control, but each class has an ability--with a long cooldown--that will break any roots, snares, and other effects. Additionally, each class has an ability that helps them move quickly around the map be it teleporting or sprinting. The spells at my team's dispel worked well together and we could easily kill opponents if we caught them unaware in a stun.

That isn't to say that a single player cannot defeat multiple opponents with careful skill use. Faced with a one-versus-three situation—I was the one—I used the Wizard's spells to defeat all three opponents. I would teleport around the map, breaking crowd control with my damage shield, and whittling down my opponents by placing magic-shooting hydras and landing lucky meteors. I also used my slowing field to slow down advancing enemies to give my meteors time to fall. Finally, the Wizard gets a focused beam attack that gets stronger over time. We immediately started calling it the "Void Ray" attack.

It sort of felt like World of Warcraft mixed with something like Guild Wars, albeit played in the classic Diablo isomeric perspective. I'm not sure how gear will factor into the arena as it makes balancing extremely difficult, but we were not able to customize our gear at the show.

Though there was no limit to the amount of rounds we played, it is likely that matches will be conducted in standard best X out of Y formats. Blizzard will offer matchmaking, rankings, and ladders for Arena PvP.

If you have any additional questions about Arena PvP or the spells of the Barbarian and Witch Doctor, please let me know in the comments.

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12 Threads | 40 Comments
  • Cool write up from Demon Hunter and the PVP \m/

    Few questions:

    - How many rune slots are there for the spells and how exactly does the rune spell augments work?
    - Did you find any rune for the spell augments how where they which did you find.
    - How is the loot drops are they plentiful?
    - Is the loot grade system right out of wow? green, blue, purple, orange, red? How many grades of loot are there?
    - are there class specific gear like D2?
    - what is the deal on armor sets and weapon sets?
    - What is the max pets a Witch doctor can have zombie dogs and frogs? Can you have a equal army as the Necro D2(you mentioned not as much) more detail would be cool.
    - What are the wands like are they wow style and shoot projectiles like a bow basically but magic damage?
    - what are the world chest like, what type of loot did they have whats the deal?
    - what are the potion power ups like now that you use for man and health that you just run into, was it whack or cool?
    - where the environment massive like D2 or bigger or smaller?
    - are there any loading times for zones or dungeons what that like or is it seamless.

    That will probably do for now I won't bug you guys :) especially since this will probably be out in a million years :(

    Thanks \m/