I was first introduced to Diablo in high school. There used to be four or five games that were very popular then, and with regular LAN matches after school - Quake, Age of Empires, Starcraft, Diablo and Red Alert. Of the lot, Diablo had the smallest number of players, and I didn't really play the game - but rather watched. I was hooked on the game in 1st year at UCT though, and played through a number of characters (I completed the game with the Warrior and Mage) shortly before the launch of Diablo 2.
Diablo 2 was an addiction. I have completed all the characters through Normal difficulty, playing the Barbarian and Assassin to Hell difficulty. But eventually it became a grind, and bad choices with character builds early in the game had significant impact on Hell difficulty. But it was fun, and the game offered lots of replayability.
So getting Diablo 3 was a no-brainer; but I left it late and missed out the collector's edition. The regret with missing the collector's edition was the loss of the music CD - Diablo 3 has some glorious backing music; although it is a lot more subtle than in Diablo 2. The graphics and design are impressive, with an amazing level of detail; especially in the level design. The subtle environmental effects (setting of traps etc) are fun to play with - especially in the right circumstances, as they can hurt both the player and the enemies.
I have so far only completed Normal with the Barbarian (only last night), as it gave me the easiest way to compare the differences in skill set up etc. I miss the ability to wield two large swords at one time; but the change in the skill set up is good. The idea of having set skills, with multiple configurations of those skills is good - and a "higher" configuration is not necessarily better. What I did find however, was that I ended up using a particular set of configuration from about middle of Act 2 onwards. I also missed the ability to quickly change between specific configurations; which actually also contributed to me using a specific set.
And no discussion about Diablo 3 will be complete without the always connected requirement discussion. I completely understand why it is there - it is however a big pain. I only play for an hour or two an evening; and to find that the servers are offline is damn annoying. And lag death is not fun - especially when fighting the big bosses. Last night, I died so many times when trying to defeat Izual, due to lag death; that I almost gave up.
There needs to be a better way to play single player without the network - even if it means that there will be no Auction House, or that signing in is required to start the game (like Starcraft 2). Ultimately, physics dictate that South Africans will always have comparatively high ping times to European servers, and unless Blizzard builds servers in South Africa (highly unlikely), I don't see lag death going away ...