A Better Action Game
That pretty well sums up this particular goal and Blizzard has several new improvements to help that happen. They've improved the controls, provided "less spam and more depth" and created a new breed of monster.
Gone are the days of the two skill button mash. D3 will feature a skills hotbar, though it is small. Players will be able to map up to six skills to the hotbar. Given the nature of the D3 beasts (see more on this below), players can (and should) map out escape, crowd control and buff skills to their hotbar. Yes, that's right: More than just "run up and kill the monster" will be necessary in D3.
Kiss those full rejuvs goodbye too. D3 is all about skills over potions. Rather than a belt full of rejuvs, healing potions and/or mana potions, players will find monsters dropping health balls. Not only will they heal the character running into them, but they will heal all in the immediate vicinity making them more valuable for team play and a way for characters to help one another out. Wilson said that there should be times when a character's health is down.
Gone are the days of being weakened and either escaping to town or chugging a potion while in the middle of battle. These monsters aren't your grandma's monsters anymore. They are aggressive and can deal massive amounts of damage.
For instance, the Berserker is highly aggressive and can deal huge amounts of damage through his charged attack. He's vulnerable if he misses and players will have the chance at a few cheap shots while he's working his hammer out of the ground.
This bad boy would be a meat shield if he had any meat on his bones but he does have a huge shield that can be 'whittled' away by players though it takes a long time. They are slow and methodical and provide cover for ranged monsters. They are literally, according to Wilson, a 'wall of health' for the baddies in the back.
Wilson wrapped up this panel with the notion that D3 is going to be more about story and provide players a chance to be more involved with it. There won't be that "opt in" feel to the story with more NPC interactions, better quests and events. The new adventure system plays into this as well.
My feeling from this panel is that Wilson and his team have a lot more up their collective sleeve to entice the community. This bunch is passionate about the game and, contrary to many opinions, they actually do listen to their community.
Stay tuned for more about the story and lore in D3 later today as the final panel is set for 4:30pm PST.