A sort of walkthrough of the few first levels of diablo 3 posted on the diablo 3 forums. Its done without skillpoints and traits.
Its a great readQ u o t e:
I'll try to test it and see how well I do with no skills and no traits. Ugh. Sounds painful.
I gave this a shot today. First I picked a barbarian, it's my go-to character, which in hindsight was probably dumb because being melee it's likely going to get along much better with no skills, but also the build in question (why I was testing this) was a wizard.
Keep in mind this play experience is based on ignoring skills and traits, and simply equipping items found or purchased. This is something that I argue is non-optimal, and so I'm testing it to prove a point, but hopefully in an objective way.
Ok, so with the barbarian. Start the game with sword and board, and this takes 1-2 hits (usually 1) for the softer zombies and 4-6 for the tougher ones. At level 2 I found another one hander (basic low dps club) and started dual wielding. This helped a bit. Finally found my first piece of armor halway through level 3. Pants! At some point I was back in town and was able to (barely) afford a new broad axe to replace the mediocre club I had picked up. And then I realized I could have bought a better weapon, but now had almost no gold. Dual wielding with some style now anyway, and hitting quite a bit faster as the APS of the club it replaced was pretty low. Venturing out I ran into my first champion (one strong guy with a couple affixes, and a pack of his friends that take on the same affixes), this time it was a Molten Teleporter. Grotesques. Tough because melee'ing molten means I'm standing in the fire trail and taking damage regardless of his actual attacks. I managed to take out two of the smaller guys, then died. First death at level 3. Almost died again trying to take out the remaining two (one of which was the actual champion), but prevailed. Plodded along until level 5 where I died participating in a random quest event. Managed to use a potion, but it wasn't enough. Died. Ran into another champion group, Carrion Bats, molten teleporter again!? No matter, they were fairly easy. Then I ran into a miniboss (?) and survived with only a few health. It was a close fight. Plodding along, then I ran into another champion pack which were clearly bugged as they one shot me every time. After throwing my corpse against their attacks five more times I decided to stop.
So, I wouldn't say that it was a tough experience, the melee nature of the barbarian and built-in toughness made it not too terrible. But keep in mind that was only until level 6. I'm sure going to 14 would have been increasingly painful. Using skills I'm positive I could have avoided all of those deaths (barring the bugged champions at the end).
Ok, so I swapped to a wizard. So again, playing, just wanding everything to death (weee), until I found a sword. Started slicing things in the face, not much difference attacks-per-monster wise, I just prefer it to wands. I ran into a medium sized pack of zombies aaaaand, dead. Level 2, first death. After finally clearing that pack out I was lucky enough to have a rare spawn, an easy rare, and lo and behold he dropped a very nice wand for me. I'm one-shotting everything at this point and I'm going along fairly quickly. No real trouble until I hit level 5 and start running into more champion packs, and a few more random quest events. All of which either kill me at least once or take me within an inch of my life. Definitely not too fun and a real slowing effect in my attempts to rush levels.
So I think the takeaways here are sort of muddled due to a very limited (and potentially flawed) test. I talked to Jay briefly about point hoarding yesterday and he brought up a couple good points. First of all is that the balance of availability of respecs should be that there is no incentive to hoard points. Hoarding points isn't fun, and if that means having respecs be more common, so be it. I think the better point he made though was that runes have a dramatic effect on skills, and one that likely can't be fully realized by theoretical builds. An example he gave was Magic Missile is a tier 1 skill, but fully runed will rapid fire projectiles easily make it end game viable, and cheaper to cast than other higher tier skills. With skill points alone very few early skills can boast late game efficiency, but high level runes can sometimes (not always) change the rules.
-ed Also sort of on that point, there is always one rune for every skill that boosts flat damage or efficiency of the base skill. You're never forced to keep the rune slot unused because you don't want to change the base skill into something else. I had seen some confusion on that.
Of course the availability of respecs always brings up the question of rerolls and necessity of multiple characters. Personally I think you're going to want to have a PvE and PvP character of each class anyway, but beyond that we have plans for players that like and want to re-roll, and to reward that in a tangible way.
Anyway, hope this was enlightening to some degree. The game is still a lot of fun to play, even in such sub-optimal circumstances. It's been a while since I've just played from the start of the game and there's some really awesome stuff going in.