Mike Schramm of Joystiq gives the Diablo 3 beta the full preview treatment:
There are no skill points or talent trees at all, which marks an interesting diversion in the series. Cheng says Blizzard did a lot of testing, and found that the number of choices players made wasn’t as important as which choices those were. “Would you rather have one percent bonus crit that you choose five times, which is a system that we could have gone with, or would you rather just pick one passive and say I’m good at critical hits?” asks Cheng. “Would you rather make 20 small decisions or three big ones? What we find, especially when it comes to defining your character, is that three big ones is more interesting and compelling.”
This is good to hear. Getting the right mix in Diablo 2 was challenging, and once the “experts” figured it out, people just copied it. I never liked how complicated it was and how bad decisions couldn’t be reverted.
Diablo 3 is a long time coming, and Blizzard has a solid reputation, but the expectations are high. I hope they deliver.