This is a series of notes about Diablo3, written from the perspective of "I never played this game before but I think I'll try it out." This isn't a deep statistical analysis.
So... you're new to the game and you've picked a Barbarian because it's one of the easier classes to play. There's some specialty gear that drops for each class (Barbarians get a lot of belts -- don't ask me why) and this particular class gets extra bonuses just for standing around and wearing armor. Sounds good right?
A note on character designs -- the male Witch Doctor appears to have a bad case of Parkinson's disease and although I love the idea of having Black characters in the game, the constant twitching is a bit much. Nor do I like the prancy-girly female Demon Hunter in her high heels with twin crossbows is a real visual turn-off.
When you log in, you begin Act 1 -- to find the "fallen star" and kill a lot of monsters. You have two attacks (right and left mouse buttons -- the right mouse button costs more energy than the left mouse button attack) and two large globes at the bottom of your screen. The red one is your health. If it goes away, so do you. The right globe is your energy (rage) and you need certain amounts of it to do certain attacks that cause more damage. As you level, you will get options (the sword icon at the bottom (next to the person icon (your inventory)) will blink and you'll be able to choose from a number of confusing looking options.
Never fear, grasshopper. You'll get it sorted out after a bit. Time to go adventuring. Run down the hill and kill whatever gets in your way. At the bottom of the hill is Captain Rumsford. You'll talk with him and the fun will begin.
Once you've got all the zombies sorted out (and dead), the gate opens and you can enter New Tristam. Quest givers have glowing exclamation marks, people who want to yak at you have blue-white asterisks, and if you get lost, the icon (bottom of your screen) that looks like a wine cup has your journal with tabs about what you just read (or should have) from manuscripts you picked up and what quest you're on.
Brother Tristam: healer if you enter town and are still at low health.
Tashun the Miner: Vendor. He buys, sells, and repairs.
Bron the Barkeep: (inside Slaughtered Calf Inn. He sells health potions and does repairs.)
Tip: Look around for books (in Leahs' room, in Deckard Cain's house, and in pouches on the ground (among others) -- reading improves your character (adds experience points)
Once you've talked to Leah, the storyline of the game begins. Talk to any character that you can -- this counts toward an achievement. At level 2, you'll get a new skill (make sure that it's bound to your right mouse button) and killing the zombies at the gate should get you a few pieces of very low level equipment. Wear them (click on the picture of the man in your toolbar and drag the clothes to the right spot. If this really is your first time, then the big glowing red globes that sometime appear floating over your kills are health globes and will heal your character. Run through them, every time you see them.) You should also turn over (by clicking on them) any body you find. Gold is picked up by running over it, but you have to click on other things to pick them up.) Items with names in gray color are poor quality, white is good quality, blue is high quality, gold is superior quality.
On your minimap at the top, rooms you can enter are shown as glowing orange doors and will appear as a sparkling doorway (or cellar entrance) in the game. Clicking on it changes your mouse shape to a grasping hand -- grab the portal to enter. Shoot any barrels or other objects that a mouseover causes their outline to change to red -- those sometimes drop gold and gear.
When you get near an objective, you will see a glowing yellow "pinging" spot on your minimap.
The layout of the land will change in some areas -- this is part of the gameplay so that the map and game has a slightly newer feel each time. This means that the entrance to the mine/archive/tomb/whatever may not be in the same place every time.
Every time you go back to town, sell stuff. In general, it won't be useful to buy items from the vendors (except for health potions.)
On the very first time through the game, play each area 2-3 times. If you're playing more than one character at a time (like I do), make sure that one of them is far advanced from the others. The gear that drops in each area is "appropriate" for the level, but doesn't help you much when you get to the bosses!