| So far, I love this game. Here is my experience so far..
I have just finished normal difficulty for the first time, with about 19 hours of play. I got the game on release night and have been playing whenever I can find time since.
Character and Skills
I have played as a Witch Doctor, and loved the skill setup. Used corpse spiders, grasp of the dead, haunt, zombie dogs, gargantuan and zombie charger, and I was using all six skills in every fight, which was so much fun. I have just changed corpse spiders for a poison dart rune that returns mana. So far, I am loving all the witch doctor skills and the mana system, and mana is forcing me to think tactically rather than just spam zombie chargers all the time.
The monster variety is awesome, and I find my tactics change every time I meet a new monster property. I am finding new elite monster properties constantly; just started finding enemies with the 'freezing' property and they genuinely scare me! Monsters appear in a variety of ways and places, which adds a lot to combat. Overall, combat is so much fun that just fighting for its own sake is great, although that may have more to do with the character.
The bosses have a great feel to them, and do interesting things. They are not as much of a difficulty spike as they were in d2 normal mode though.
My first death was due to lag very early one, not due to difficulty. Act 1 was easy enough that I did not have to worry about death; I focused on equipment that added experience at the exclusion of everything else. At the start of Act 2 I died a second time while experimenting with a ton of unfamiliar skills at once, and after this I took the game a bit more seriously. My third death was on the final boss, who was terrifying. Overall, the difficulty felt similar to how Diablo 2 felt; with caution and experience I would never die in normal mode. I loved the removal of potion and town portal spam though, it makes you feel a lot less safe.
They have gone for a far more story-driven approach than I expected, and it made me feel a great deal more immersed in the game than I ever felt in Diablo 2. Very well done, I think.
Items were interesting at the beginning, where there seemed so many choices. At higher levels, I have found myself just focusing on Intelligence, Vitality, Life and Damage, and not bothering with much else. Certain properties (melee attackers take X damage per hit) seem very weak compared to others. I do love the follower-specific items though. Crafting is a lot of fun, and the jeweller's unsocketing ability makes gems fun to use, but I wish there were a few more choices regarding items. I have yet to pick up a single legendary or set item, and so I can't comment on them.
At certain times of day, connecting is completely impossible. I occasionally have massive amounts of lag, which makes the game unplayable. When the lag hits, monsters just stand still, and although I can move, I cannot use any skills. I also cannot leave the game until the lag resolves or I am officially disconnected, which leaves me sitting there waiting and hoping I am not dead when the lag stops. This is definitely not a fault with my brand-new computer, so is either a fault with battle.net or my ISP. Either way, I miss singleplayer and hope this is soon resolved.
I think that - on normal mode - Diablo III is an amazing game. It would be absolutely perfect if there were enough interesting item stats to give me meaningful choices regarding items, and if I could guarantee always getting online and staying there to play. There is no point where anything I have done has felt tedious, which is very impressive for this kind of game.