Not since I sat down and loaded up my first session of Diablo 2 back in the summer of 2000 have I witnessed such unbridling Barbarian brawling. Having not gained access to a beta key myself (not bitter at all!) the emergence of beta footage is the next best thing.

For your education, delectation and delight, here is the first part of the full run through of Diablo 3’s beta, featuring the mighty Barbarian class.

Whether you enjoy the commentary style of video creator “Force” or not, hopefully the footage of the beta in action was enough to set the nerve endings in your RPG fingertips on fire.

Here’s a couple of things that really stood out for me in the video. We’ve known for some time that they would be featured, but it’s so good to see them work well in practice as well as theory:

Skill switching: This is another area of controversy that has had some old school Diablo fans up in arms. Not everyone wants to leave the old skill tree system behind. However, consider how handy it is to be able to switch out skills as and when the situation calls for it. No more wasted skill points, no more time-consuming respeccing, just quick and easy exploration of the class skills.

Lore on the fly: I really like the idea of being able to hear Diablo 3 lore without slowing the pace of the action. It adds another layer of detail without making you stand by a bookshelf to read it, idly twirling your weapons.

Cauldron of Jordan: This takes a leaf out of the Torchlight “Why bother lugging your crap loot back to town?” book. I love it. I hated having to portal back to town every 10 minutes with a cartload of trash. Now there’s no muss, no fuss, just a tidy inventory.

Destructible environments: The crushed and sagging walls, the scattered pages from the bookshelves, it’s all gorgeous. I can’t wait to bring a whole heap of rubble down on some demonic minions.

Stay tuned to Force’s YouTube channel for the run-throughs featuring each of the other four Diablo 3 classes.

If you’re still thinking of boycotting Diablo 3 because of the controversial decisions that Blizzard made regarding modding, the auction houses and the game being always online, that’s a tough decision because it looks like you’re going to be missing out, big time.