Diablo III launched last night, and with it breaking pre-order records, it’s not a stretch to assume many people have been playing it. Here’s the AAGH First Opinion of D3’s opening hours.

When I first logged on at 3:01 EST, I quickly created a barbarian and named him Clunk, for his vaunted stealth skills. I didn’t try the barbarian during the beta, so this was my first go with him. Overall, I wasn’t blown away by anything with him so I may go back to the wizard I liked so much.

Diablo 3Visit the AAGH Diablo III Gallery

One thing was immediately apparent: Blizzard’s online-only policy has it drawbacks. Lag, for one was a surprising issue. A couple times I would be walking along and get warped backwards a few steps as if I were playing a busy MMO. I also got ‘server timed out’ errors more then once and even got kicked out of the game by one. This is more understandable if you view D3 strictly as an online game, but I was playing solo and not using the online features (actively, at least) so I don’t appreciate those kinds of miscues. Logging in is also rather slow but that’s to be expected with the launch-day rush.

I’ll update this article with new information as I have it.

Continuing our First Opinion, I’m now playing a witch doctor (a class I panned in my beta coverage), and my doctor, Spook, is now level 11 after about two hours or play. I have long since slain the Skeleton King with him and now I have taken a ferry ride to a nice little town… on fire.

Diablo 3

Visit the AAGH Diablo III Gallery

The story is hokey to the utmost and the acting – especially whoever voiced Deckerd Cain – is nigh painful to listen to. The attempts so far to be dark and sinister seem very much half-hearted. Personally that’s not an issue because I’m not big on gruesome horror tales to start with.

Back to Spook, I played him past his annoying early levels to get to what I feel is his signature spell for at least the first act: zombie dogs. These dogs are great for helping me kill things and tanked for me early on but they’re hard to manage since you have zero control over them. They’ll run off to engage monsters your don’t want to fight and sometimes get themselves killed that way. I used his area of effect Grasp of the Dead spell all the way to level 11 but now I’m trying out his Firebats spell. I’ve also finally passed on his stupid blowgun for Plague of Toads now that it has unlocked. The fact that you can respec at any time for free makes experimenting with builds easy and a lot of fun.

I’m going to take the rest of the classes for at least a short spin before my next First Opinion update. So far I have a level 5 demon hunter, level 7 barbarian and Spook, so the wizard and monk – the two classes I most used in the beta – are next in line.